From Good to Great – Making the TOS Leap 2.0

By | 06/12/2018
In this 2-part series, we continue to take inspiration from the book ‘From Good To Great’ authored by Jim Collins. One of the success factors to an organization is by focusing on one area and being the best at it. On the same note, ports and terminals have to consider realigning themselves to the needs of the market. From great automation to service excellence, we attempt to discuss the importance of having great people and great partnerships facilitates the transition from good to great. The acclivity can only be achieved as the company drums up on the level of discipline to drive the business forward.


1. Great People

People is the backbone to the success of an organisation and the maritime industry is no exception. Research indicates that high employee satisfaction rate encourages an intrinsic desire to give one’s best at work which would eventually lead to high morale and motivation. Managing Director of Drewry, Arjun Batra1, says that “human capital is more important than hard physical assets in the uncertain world of shipping, especially those professionals capable of managing vessels technically and commercially.”

Indeed, the industry faces a continuous issue of attracting a younger workforce. Bearing in mind, the traditional characteristics the industry typically displays where many are still family-owned businesses. As shipping is affected by the macro side of things, the great differentiator will have to be great human capital, people who are intrinsically driven to advance the company.

2. Great Partnerships

The true value of shipping can no longer be centred on size, but players across the industry must be better connected in order to address the existing challenges and drive growth. Over the past two years, the industry has seen a trend toward market consolidation. Container lines were merged and acquired. We see shipping alliances taking place. Terminal operators have also been seen to be partnering major shipping lines to secure volumes. Singapore terminal operator PSA has seen throughput grow 9% to reach 33.35m TEUs, a result attributed to PSA’s partnering with French ocean carrier CMA CGM.

The expanding size of ships are a positive factor for ports because they have the capacity to handle mega ships, whilst smaller neighbouring terminals can potentially partner to meet the demands of shipping alliances through merger and acquisition activities. 

Guiding a company from good to great demands intense discipline and dedication in its drive towards terminal excellence. Companies should exist beyond just mere profit-making company. Instead, companies can be passionate for a higher purpose driven to produce tangible positive outcomes for the company and the industry at large. There is indeed, a premium tag for first movers who are determined to be a change agent and be the ones who set the standards, that will establish great terminal operations.