When you meet her there’s no doubt, Silvia Ding knows what she’s talking about. As Maersk Line’s Senior Director of Economy and Finance based in China she is responsible for Maersk Line in Southern China, Maersk Line’s 2nd largest agency globally.
As widely reported, China recently adjusted their 2015 GDP predictions to 7%, less than their 2014 predictions of 8% and 0.4% less than was the reality. Despite international speculation, Silvia isn’t worried and believes that it is actually healthy for China’s plans for long-term sustainable growth. Additionally, she reports that there was no noticeable impact on volumes in 2014.
While traditionally known as the world’s “factory floor” and the centre for global manufacturing, in recent years, thanks to the growing middle-class, Asia and China in particular has emerged as the centre for global consumption. ‘Manufacturing will always be an important part of the Chinese economy, but will grow at a slower rate’ says Silvia. ‘We’re noticing a lot of manufacturing centres opening up in other parts of the world which may have a positive impact on intra regional volumes.’
‘With such a dynamic market like China things move very fast and the Chinese are always looking for the latest innovation’ says Silvia. ‘Maersk Line’s eCommerce solutions are a major differentiator for our customers and we have a high degree of customer acceptance as they are increasingly coming to expect these service offerings.’
Like their hunger for eCommerce and social media the Chinese are keeping a keen eye on new trade routes. In particular, the contentious Nicaraguan Canal, a potentially $40 billion project funded by HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. and the Arctic Route which is still in its nascent phase. Despite the enthusiasm, the immediate business opportunities of these new routes are limited.
Silvia is confident that Maersk Line’s scale and global presence are attractive to Maersk Line’s Chinese based customers. ‘It’s a place we can successfully do battle. We can offer our customers who may have factories in Poland, Latin America and China truly global solutions’ says Silvia.
When asked how she motivates her team towards excellence her response is simple: ‘Your Promise. Delivered.’ It’s a brand promise that resonates with our customers and one that our employees take very seriously. Much has been said about China’s rapid pace of change but for Silvia it is very important to hang on to Maersk Line’s traditional values. ‘Constant care is very important to us as the industry is at the mercy of a number of uncontrollable factors: weather, infrastructure and regulations to name a few. It’s our challenge to make the lives of our customers as easy as possible’ says Silvia.
‘That’s what keeps me up at night, making sure I can defend our name whilst ensuring our profitability.’