Securing strategic anchor clients for a major container terminal operator

The challenge is well known to most terminal operators. With capacity to fill and intense competition, securing new liner volume is difficult to say the least.

And if that was not enough one particular client was under additional pressure from the board to not only grow aggressively but also tasked with actually doubling throughput within 3-5 years or face potential loss of their expansion option and with that potential more competition right next door (this operator was already at a level putting them in the top 100 terminal bracket.)

Further, their closest competitor was no run of the mill operator, but one of the biggest global operators and the terminal itself in the top 20 global hub league. It was truly a classic David and Goliath setting.

Despite the enormity of the task at hand it was however not difficult to scope out an effective framework and agree on rules of engagement that would allow us to make the best use of our two respective teams.

Together we embarked on what we had identified as the shortest, although not simple, path to goal.

Our client was running a lean organization with restricted resources and needed extensive help throughout the process to cope with the project at hand.

Consequently as InduStreams we were tasked with providing support and taking the lead on a number of streams including:

  • Target analysis and prioritization
  • Developing customized liner target propositions
  • Substantiating and estimating cost/benefit (including network savings) to the target lines
  • Deal value assessment and financial modeling
  • Taking the proposition to market with the client
  • Agreement framework design and deal facilitation
  • Decision-base development and presentation to secure board mandate
  • Driving momentum to reaching goal and closure on all primary anchor tenant terms

The process was guided by LEAN principles and optionality thinking meaning:

  • From the outset we accepted a great deal of uncertainty and did not over-build before going to market.
  • We took incremental steps and improved our offering and proposition frameworks every time we learned more about target behavior and needs.
  • We scoped out and continued building target streams that allowed us to work concurrently with a pipeline of 20 plus deals whilst prioritizing and only putting effort into the select 3-5 that at any given time had the highest feasibility and impact match.

The outcome was securing of the first major anchor client in the port and a client who is well on track to fast-track utilization and double throughput over the coming 3-5 years. Through our joint efforts a process and system had been developed that allows for effective engagement of further anchor tenants and expanding the efforts to other strategic commercial streams.

Michael Pomerleau

Michael Pomerleau

Investment, BD and Commercial

Former Director of Investment and Business Development China and Europe at APM Terminals, Michael works with port operators, investors and owners to maximize investment and portfolio value.

During his career at APM Terminals Michael has worked with portfolio strategy setting, securing terminal investments as well as divestments and business development projects.

Educational background: Master in Finance and International Trade and various management school programs including INSEAD.

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