66 Eric Ip, Hutchison Port Holdings
Under Eric Ip’s leadership Hutchison Ports is looking to the future, signing up for the Global Shipping Business Network blockchain consortium and developing the world’s biggest ship-to-ship transfer hub in Malaysia
It was a busy year as the group managing director took the company into its 50th anniversary with a slew of new investments, having been at its helm for almost half of that time
HUTCHISON Port Holdings group managing director Eric Ip has led one of the world’s biggest port operators through a busy year of new investments, as well as seeing several key projects come to fruition.
The container terminal-related activities of the Hong Kong-headquartered company, which in 2019 celebrated its 50th anniversary, ranged from new investments in markets as diverse as Egypt and Pakistan to Canada, while also officially launching Terminal D at Laem Chabang, one of its key terminals in Southeast Asia.
In the meantime, Hutchison Ports, under Mr Ip’s leadership, also has one eye on the future, signing up for the Global Shipping Business Network blockchain consortium that groups together some of the biggest names in container shipping.
It has also inked an agreement with Malaysian ship-to-ship transfer specialist KA Petra to develop the world’s biggest STS transfer hub.
This astute leadership comes from a good understanding of the markets and their respective opportunities. Hutchison Ports, which Mr Ip has led for more than 20 years, seems to have an almost innate ability to position itself in markets ahead of demand.
For example, the launching of Terminal D, one of its most advanced facilities and located at the region’s main hub port of Laem Chabang, comes as the Indochina economies start to take off as they benefit from the Sino-US trade war.
With an eye towards the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, Hutchison went into Myanmar at an early stage and is now boosting its investments in Egypt and Pakistan, where its investments are expected to total $1bn.
Mr Ip’s previous experience at the logistics arm of Hutchison Ports also gives him a keen understanding of the whole supply chain and the role the company can play in it. This includes making investments in critical rail infrastructure in both Europe and North America.
Although throughput flattened out at 84.6m teu in 2018, Hutchison Ports achieved a milestone of 1.3bn teu as it celebrated its half-century in May.
Notably, while growth dropped off at its ports in China, a good rise was seen at some of its recent investments in Europe and Australasia.