GAC is pushing for greater innovation and flexibility in dealing with turbulent global markets, according to GAC Group President Bengt Ekstrand.
Dubai-headquartered GAC has maintained a solid balance sheet despite slumps in key markets such as shipping and oil & gas. Ekstrand used a conference of GAC company managers in Dubai at the weekend to outline the approach that the Group would be taking over the next five years.
“Disruptive forces are reshaping our markets almost on a weekly basis but in the process, new opportunities for growth are coming into view,” he says.
“Companies that are willing to rethink their business models, put their customers first, and take advantage of new technologies will find ways to prosper in these turbulent times.
“The challenge is to evolve in a smart way and not throw out important values that have served GAC for 60 years.”
GAC has continued to invest in capital assets such as vessels and warehouses in key locations around the world despite the difficult conditions. In 2016, total investment commitments have reached more than USD 65 million.
“We need to keep our focus on the long term,” says Ekstrand. “It’s important not to get swept away by the disruptive forces in our markets and start making wholesale changes just for short-term effects.
“Here in Dubai, we’ve broken ground on a new distribution centre and similar developments are under way in Indonesia and Thailand.
“We’ve entered a joint venture for operating a container terminal in Cyprus, and we have ordered five new vessels for our Marine fleet.”
Ekstrand explained that the biggest challenge was to ensure the skills, values and attitudes of GAC management and staff were kept strong and responsive to changing market conditions.
“GAC is known worldwide for going the extra mile for customers and for maintaining strong and clear ethical and compliance practices,” he says. “We have to keep our ‘can-do’ attitude to the fore while exploring ways to ramp up our use of smart technologies that deliver increased efficiency to our people and increased value to our customers.”