Seventy per cent of Fortune 500 companies have offices in Tianjin, according to the mayor of Tianjin.

My first visit to Tianjin has been enlightening in many ways. The ride from the airport to my hotel gave a glimpse of a city adapting to growth and creating its own niche in architecture, design and mobility. The seaport city is one of the fastest growing in the world and has been a host to the Forum’s Summer Davos several times. The vibrancy and energy of the city is superb – a huge attraction for the hyper Forum community.

One of my first sessions at the Summer Davos, on enabling global trade, was a great start in getting the right perspective from business leaders from supply chain management companies on current bottleneck and pain areas. Supply chain risk, an important subject, was subsequently covered. As a panellist, I had the privilege of addressing the future of transportation. Key trends like rapid urbanization, increasing consumption in underdeveloped markets, retail crowd sourcing and e-commerce will dramatically affect global supply chains. Clearly, smaller product life cycles will have massive effect on long supply chains. A need to be agile and creative and to construct resilient and sustainable supply chains was an inevitable conclusion.

A phenomenal session with Nik Gowing on the impact of digital and social media was eye-opening. Mr Gowing defined the “tyranny of real time” as a disconnect between the speed of action taken by governments and real-time events. According to him, the effect of social media platforms has just started to unfold and will end up changing our world forever. Thomas Friedman’s session touched on various aspects of globalization in the light of the upcoming US elections. I particularly enjoyed two Mentor sessions, with Jeffrey Joerres, Chairman of Manpower Group, and Xiong Weiping, President of CHINALCO, both of whom talked about the importance of talent management and growth in a fast-changing environment.

My personal impression of this year’s Summer Davos theme, “Creating the Future Economy”, is that in an indeterminate global economic climate, there is a renewed sense of optimism to look beyond the present. Almost everyone I met echoed the need to rethink business models and that, too, with a social inclusion agenda. The Forum’s effort towards this objective is finally being driven home.

Author: Vineet Agarwal is Joint Managing Director, Transport Corporation of India, and a member of the Global Agenda Council on Logistics & Supply Chain Systems.

Pictured: Vineet Agarwal discusses the future of transportation at this years Annual Meeting of New Champions, in Tianjin, China 2012.