22/06/2021 – Event / Petrochemicals / Chemicals / GPCA / Gulf / Supply Chain
Collaboration is key to building resilience, say speakers at 12th GPCA Supply Chain Conference
The Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA) Supply Chain Conference was held virtually on 26-27 May, attracting over 1,300 attendees from 450 companies in 62 countries.
Over the past year or so, the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the acute importance of collaboration to build more agile, resilient, and responsive supply chains, according to industry leaders at the 12th Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA) Supply Chain Conference, held virtually at the end of May.
Senior executives from across the chemical and petrochemical value chain, alongside logistics service providers and shipping operators, urged industry leaders to capitalise on the lessons learned during the pandemic, and to act upon these in the future – from collaborating more closely with regulators, their customers, and strategic partners, to driving better supply chain visibility, investing in digitalisation, building their workforce capabilities, and focusing on supply chain sustainability.
Exploring ‘out-of-the-box’ supply chain solutions
In his keynote address, Hamad Alterkait – Chairman of Kuwait-based company PIC – encouraged chemical leaders to engage in supply chain collaboration even with their competitors, and to keep their inventory in close customer proximity to improve their reliability and better serve their end markets. He told attendees at the virtual event: “Regional chemical producers must diversify their supply base – even if it means incurring higher costs – in order to cushion the impact from any future crisis. Companies must also explore ‘out-of-the-box’ supply chain solutions, using different scenarios, which may aid in addressing important challenges at a critical time.”
Echoing Mr Alterkait’s remarks on the importance of collaboration were Hosam Al-Zamil (VP, Global Supply Chain, SABIC); Ahmed Abdulla Al-Salahi (CCO, Q-Chem); and Ahmed Al-Katheeri (SVP – Supply Chain Management, Borouge) in the conference’s inaugural panel on the future of chemical supply chains. The Covid-19 pandemic was a test to chemical supply chains’ resilience, the panelists said, as it demonstrated that the world is one global community.
“The future will not be the moving of our products; it will be the moving of data which will help enable responsiveness and agility and drive customer-centricity to stay competitive. However, we cannot achieve this by working in silos. The chemical industry is just one part of the supply chain and we must work together to build a more resilient future,” Mr Al-Katheeri added.
The path to recovery for GCC’s chemical companies
A recent GPCA survey confirms the insights shared by speakers. It found that chemical supply chain and operations have been the single most impacted business function within downstream organizations in the GCC in the past 15 months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the path to recovery, chemical companies must focus on supply chain digitalization, sustainability, trade facilitation and regulatory engagement. Within these trends, carbon neutrality, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will be the key segments to focus on and drive the highest impact on businesses’ supply chains today, the survey found.
Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA, commented, “I was pleased to welcome the regional and global chemical industry to the virtual edition of the 12th GPCA Supply Chain Conference last week and gain first-hand insight into the challenges associated with the pandemic on their chemical supply chain and operations. The audience was left with a message of positivity on what’s to come next and provided with a range of practical tips on how to address the uncertainty and any new crisis in the future. I hope delegates enjoyed attending the event and thank all our sponsors and partners for making this edition possible.”
The 12th GPCA Supply Chain Conference was held under the theme ‘Powering a Resilient, Responsive and Agile Supply Chain’, attracting over 1300 attendees from 450 companies in 62 countries.
Established in 2006 to represent the downstream hydrocarbon industry in the Arabian Gulf, the GPCA today voices the common interests of more than 250 member companies from the chemical and allied industries, accounting for over 95 percent of chemical output in the GCC. The industry makes up the second largest manufacturing sector in the region, producing over US$108 billion worth of products every year.