|Amanda Rasmussen, the chief operating officer of ITL and chairwoman of Amcham Ho Chi Minh City
Chief operating officer of ITL and chairwoman of Amcham Ho Chi Minh City, Amanda Rasmussen, told VIR about the efforts to maintain the success and business strategy of ITL in the near future.
What challenges did ITL have to overcome under the effects of the world economic downturn in 2019?
Many sectors and companies faced challenges resulting from real or perceived potential world economic downturn in 2019. What we saw in the logistics industry that is specific to this market was cooling off of transportation volumes in terms of volume growth compared to the last 2-3 years.
Equally, we saw a more balanced equilibrium in terms of supply and demand in logistics, resulting in a further downturn in the overall rate levels and costs to shippers and importers globally. Domestically, Vietnam enjoyed greater than average GDP growth globally, closing 2019 with an estimated 7.02 per cent growth. Ultimately, these challenges resulted in price pressure and greater competition in terms of market share.
What did ITL do to overcome the headwinds and affirm its position in the local and regional industry?
ITL will be focusing on core businesses and customers to protect our existing market share while ensuring that we continue to deliver best-in-class levels and achieve our expected growth levels. Disruption and uncertainty are a key part of the challenges we face in the industry today, locally and regionally, and to overcome these challenges, we must remain focused and committed to our strategy.
For ITL, we saw the launch of new domestically-focused business units such as our new distribution business in 2018 and warehousing business in 2019. This enabled us to continue to benefit from our international play but also ensure we were in the right position to leverage on domestic growth. Equally, we have positioned ourselves to be a leader in international e-commerce cross-border logistics which is a major game-changer and growth area in the industry.
What achievements helped ITL make it into Top 10 most reputable companies in the transportation and logistics industry in 2019?
I believe the areas mentioned earlier such as the launch of new business units to diversify our product base and better ensure our strategic position in the industry as well as focus on key areas to strengthen our business, such as our technology platform, customer-centric business model, health & safety initiatives and our employee well-being and CSR activities.
In 2019, we launched our partner facility with Saigon Newport (SNP) in Binh Duong, which is not only the largest multi-user in the area at 51,000 square metres but also considered to be state-of-the-art in comparison to other existing facilities in Southern Vietnam. We are heavily expanding across Vietnam in this area, including complementary products and services.
We continue to invest in not only our capabilities and assets but our people as well. We consider ITL a family and with a special DNA that sets us apart from the competition. Our vision is to be the ‘National Champion’ in the logistics industry in Vietnam as local hero also possessing the ability to compete internationally. This platform of technology, people, and a customer-centric mindset are central to this strategy.
How do you think the Vietnam and global logistics industry will be in 2020, as well as in the next five and ten years?
I believe that the industry in Vietnam will remain steady in 2020 and is expected to be one of ASEAN’s top performers in 2020 resulting from positive developments and gains in industrial production, domestic consumption, and exports.
The domestic economy continues to be a buffer against the potential slowing of the global economy or more localized offsets resulting from U.S-China trade tensions and potential to impact Vietnam due it its growing trade surplus. That said, the country is still expected to grow at a healthy 6.6 per cent in 2020 and 6.5 per cent in 2021.
Globally, I believe we will continue to see a balanced supply and demand in 2020. However, with the potential impact of disruptors and global e-commerce trade, we may see this change in the coming 12-24 months and beyond. Of course, Vietnam is vulnerable to the impacts of changes in the global economy and trade tensions. Looking ahead, growth should remain well above the ASEAN average due to fast-developing domestic demand, ongoing FDI, the manufacturing sector as well as even the growing tourism sector.
What is ITL’s vision and strategy in the near future to catch these trends and overcome the upcoming challenges?
Our core focus is to provide the most integrated and innovative transportation, aviation and e-commerce logistics services with mutual respect and extreme goodwill to those we serve.
Moreover, ITL will keep expanding co-operation with the strategic partners SNP and Maple Tree to keep up with the trend of developing and serve customers and partners better. In 2020, we will also celebrate 20 years of establishment and development, ITL will have more breakthrough developments.
It is said that ITL will invest an additional $70 million in 2020. What will you use this for?
The investment will be to further strengthen our position as a leading player in Vietnam and Indochina through further mergers and acquisitions activity and asset development. I believe the market will hear and see more of ITL in the near future as we expand our footprint and capacities.
Vietnam is expected to become the air transport hub of the region soon. Which role will ITL play in this important trend, and how will ITL contribute to domestic and regional air logistics?
ITL will play a central in this area by leading the development of this new offering for Vietnam, together with the industry leaders, customers, partners, local agencies and our own asset development. We will focus on this development not only in the air, but also in sea transport as well. This has a significant opportunity for the domestic and regional market by not only creating new revenue for Vietnam but equally allowing this volume to move closer to such an important centre of gravity as an exporting and even importing market.
ITL is aiming to become the National Champion – the leading logistics company of Vietnam and the region - as well as a $500 million company in the next two years. Based on your current potential and position, why not set a higher goal?
The goal of ITL as a $500 million company in the next two years is already ahead of schedule for this period due to our results over the last several years. This is our short-term goal. We believe a higher goal is achievable and the market remains very exciting and buoyant in the long term in Vietnam. We look forward to sharing these plans and the results with the market, our customers and our partners soon.