In the past month, I have witnessed, and probably others have as well, the most convincing moves of the military buildup gaining traction since the Department of Defense announced its plans to move Marines to Guam in 2006.
Ten years ago some local businesses in anticipation of the decision were making what we now know were very premature moves — buying up property, expanding warehouse space, creating plans to position themselves in the path of federal dollars and the military customer.
Following the release of the Department of the Navy’s Record of Decision on Aug. 29 and Congress’ May 15 approval of $8.73 billion for construction and relocation costs over the next 13 years, a large number of business decisions are once again being made based on anticipated economic activity associated with the buildup — only this time the movement is joined by players who follow the military market. They have been watching and waiting offshore and are now confident enough that they’re setting up a physical presence here.
One such company is American President Lines Ltd., or APL, which, the president of the carrier told me on his October visit to Guam, is the third largest carrier of military cargo in the world. The carrier has been assessing a practical, profitable time to re-establish service to Guam and Saipan since divesting in the region in 2006, and come Nov. 24, it will begin a fortnightly service to Guam and Saipan with a locally based general manager and team.
These incoming businesses are bringing another important factor to Guam’s economy: competition. Each one that comes in snags a portion of the market share from the existing players in that industry.
Rather than viewing these incoming players as a threat, they should be viewed as an opportunity. Competition is healthy for business. It encourages innovation and motivates businesses to develop better solutions rather than the status quo. Competing businesses of the same industry in the same market can also learn from each other’s business models and decisions.
In a market of growing competition, we are still a small community, and businesses will do well to maintain good camaraderie. Find ways your competition can be beneficial to your company’s growth.
Some prime examples of good business sportsmanship can be found in our list of Top Companies this year. Some have recently come together in joint ventures and partnerships to capitalize on federal contracts using the best of each of their capabilities.
We’d like to welcome three new companies to the list this year: Advance Management, AM Insurance, and GHD Inc. And we’d like to congratulate all of our Top Companies on their continued success and for their leadership in diversifying our economy.