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Steve Saxon


Helps travel and logistics organizations to develop distinctive strategies and improve commercial performance

Steve joined McKinsey’s UK office in 2000 and transferred to Asia in 2005. He leads McKinsey’s Travel, Logistics & Infrastructure Practice in China, and our travel work across Asia. Steve’s knowledge spans shipping business growth, ports, airline transformation and strategy, commercial airlines, logistics, urban transit, and China travel and tourism. He currently leads McKinsey’s knowledge development on the Chinese outbound tourist.

Examples of Steve’s recent client work include the following:

  • developing the turnaround and restructuring plan for a Southeast Asian airline, including achieving significant savings on external spend, procurement, and leases
  • supporting the launch of an innovative cruise product, attracting the Chinese consumer and winning international awards in its first year of operation
  • helping a Chinese state-owned logistics organization over multiple years in its growth strategy and development, including helping the organization to integrate two major mergers successfully
  • building an innovative joint-venture structure for Asian ports and terminals organizations, to improve efficiency and support competitiveness of the local port against regional peers
  • supporting private equity investors on sector scans and due diligence, including in Chinese infrastructure, Southeast Asian logistics, and Asian aviation assets

Before joining McKinsey, Steve worked for the UK finance ministry and civil service. He is a sought-after travel and logistics expert, regularly quoted in mainstream media and invited to speak at shipping and airline conferences.


Shipping rates are finally falling. Will they reach prepandemic levels?, McKinsey & Company, November 2022

How Shanghai’s lockdowns are affecting global supply chains, McKinsey & Company, May 2022

When are shipping rates going to normalize?, McKinsey & Company, November 2021

What’s going on with shipping rates?, McKinsey & Company, August 2021

Published work

How could Panama Canal restrictions affect supply chains?,” McKinsey & Company, January 2024

Checking in on the aviation value chain’s recovery,” McKinsey & Company, October 2023

The hotel of the future,” McKinsey & Company, July 2023

Outlook for China tourism 2023: Light at the end of the tunnel,” McKinsey & Company, May 2023

The path toward eco-friendly travel in China,” McKinsey & Company, March 2023

What to expect from China’s travel rebound,” McKinsey & Company, January 2023

Understanding the pandemic’s impact on the aviation value chain,” McKinsey & Company, December 2022

How to transform your shipping company,” McKinsey & Company, December 2022

China’s theme parks face a new era,” McKinsey & Company, October 2022

Why rising fuel prices might not be as bad for the airline sector as it seems,” McKinsey & Company, July 2022

The six secrets of profitable airlines,” McKinsey & Company, June 2022

Taking stock of the pandemic’s impact on global aviation,” McKinsey & Company, March 2022

Five things to know about the Chinese logistics market heading into 2022,” McKinsey & Company, February 2022

Reimagining travel: Thailand tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic,” McKinsey & Company, November 2021

A travel boom is looming. But is the industry ready?,” McKinsey & Company, July 2021

Back to the future? Airline sector poised for change post-COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, April 2021

Airline data: What next beyond crisis response?,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

Data will decide success in the next normal of bulk and tanker shipping,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

Will airline hubs recover from COVID-19?,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

What can other countries learn from China’s travel recovery path?,” McKinsey & Company, October 2020

Reimagining the $9 trillion tourism economy—what will it take?,” McKinsey & Company, August 2020

China’s travel recovery gains steam: How families are planning their summer vacations,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

The way back: What the world can learn from China’s travel restart after COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Coronavirus: Airlines brace for severe turbulence,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Viking Cruises founder Torstein Hagen: How tailoring experiences for Chinese tourists drives growth,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020

How Chinese airlines can brace for impending turbulence,” McKinsey & Company, November 2019

Taking on airlines’ toughest challenges,” McKinsey & Company, January 2019

Huānyíng to the new Chinese traveler,” McKinsey & Company, November 2018

Miles ahead: How to improve airline customer-loyalty programs,” McKinsey & Company, October 2018

Does your airline still cross seat belts? A ten-point lean checklist for leaders,” McKinsey & Company, August 2018

Container shipping: More mergers, better mergers,” McKinsey & Company, February 2018

How container shipping could reinvent itself for the digital age,” McKinsey & Company, October 2017

The alliance shuffle and consolidation: Implications for shippers,” McKinsey & Company, January 2017 



Cambridge University
Master’s, computer science