A meeting in Dubai of almost 250 GAC company managers and partners from around the world was told that while there was a need for caution and diligent cost management, the Group was not deviating from its positive five-year growth strategy.
The global shipping, logistics and marine services group has experienced substantial growth over the past three years both in revenue and geographical reach.
GAC holds major management meetings every three years and the 2009 event was marked by a clear message of continuance and quiet confidence.
‘Times may be bad but they are not equally bad nor are they bad everywhere,’ said GAC Group President Lars S’fverstr’m.
‘We expect our operating income to grow by 13% in 2009 and our port call volumes to reach 60,000 for the year.
‘Marine Service remains solid and while our logistics and freight forwarding operations are clearly being affected by the global conditions, we still expect to see growth in that business area.’
S’fverstr’m told the management meeting that the coming years would see stronger emphasis on clear and open corporate governance and a greater commitment to high ethical standards.
‘I expect being ethical to align with being profitable as we go forward into the second decade of this century,’ he said.
The Group’s five-year strategic plan, Vision Y ’ Global Values, was adopted in 2008. It sets a range of targets including those for revenue growth, operating margins and initiatives related to staff development and retention.
S’fverstr’m said there would be increased focus on improving and refining internal processes to ensure more effective customer service.
‘In the end our task is simple,’ he said. ‘We have to stay close to our customers and, in these testing times, become highly innovative in our service offerings and in the cost savings that customers are looking for.
Among recent developments has been the establishment of a new business area called GAC Solutions whose task is to develop new services in partnership with leading global product and service providers.
‘We recognise the need to be light on our feet and to be alert to the challenges that our customers are going to face going forward,’ said S’fverstr’m. ‘Having a business area dedicated to exploring new ideas and new service initiatives is going to help us and definitely help our customers.’