Ocean Transportation News — November, 2008

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Where's Transportation Management Headed?
Transportation accounts for 50 percent or more of the logistics costs of most companies. It's no wonder most are looking at such options as fuel hedging, improving load factors, putting their transportation out for bid, investigating intermodal and rail, and collaborating with others. And, of course, investing in transportation management systems, says Adrian Gonzalez, research director of ARC Advisory Group. The TMS market was valued at $1bn in 2006, and it's only going to grow, he says. "If you can't justify a TMS in this environment today, I don't know when you can."...
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Container Lines Face Further Regulatory Challenges in Europe
Hot on the heels of the abolition of liner shipping conferences in Europe on October 18, container lines face another major regulatory challenge--a planned revision of EU (European Union) competition law with respect to joint (consortia) services between carriers. Ocean carriers see those intended changes to the exemptions from EU competition law to which they are currently entitled (due to come into effect in April 2010) as potentially very restrictive to their operations.
Speaking at a European Shippers' Council Forum in Oslo, Norway, last week, Chris Bourne, Executive Director of the European Liner Affairs Association (ELAA), the trade body representing ocean container carriers in Europe, explained: "The EC's (European Commission) Directorate of Competition (DG Comp) is reviewing the Block Exemption Regulation (BER), (which) currently defines how liner consortia operate within EU competition law."
Bourne added that the new draft BER looked very different to the existing one and DG Comp had allowed the shipping industry only one month's consultation period. That was clearly insufficient time for the extensive discussions on the changes required between ocean carriers and shippers, he argued. Furthermore, pointed out Bourne, that deadline was unnecessary, considering that the planned implementation date was not until 2010.
Referring to carrier consortia and alliances, Bourne asserted: "The lines will not stand idly by in such difficult commercial times and see the most effective tool for reducing shipping costs for all, be rendered impotent."
The ELAA has expressed three main objections to...
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Retail Container Traffic Through US Ports Set To Be Lowest Since 2004
Cargo volume handled by major retail container ports in the US fell again in October and 2008 is now expected to be the slowest year since 2004 "as the downturn in the nation's economy continues", according to the latest monthly Port Tracker report released on Friday (November 7) by that country's National Retail Federation (NRF) and IHS Global Insight.
The report stated that volume was now projected to total 15.3m TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) for the 2008 full year, compared with 16.5m TEUs in 2007. "That would be a decline of 7.1% and the lowest total since 2004, when 14m TEUs moved through the ports," stated the NRF. "The estimate is down from the 15.43m projected a month ago, which would have been a 6.5% decline from 2007 and the lowest number since 2005's 15.4m."
NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold commented: "Retail sales forecasts this year are the lowest they've been in more than half a decade and the cargo volume we're seeing...
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Changing Strategies to Deal With Higher Transportation Costs
A thought leader explains why and how supply chain strategies must evolve in order to cope with the long-term consequences of the rising cost of fuel and transportation.
Transportation costs all over the world have dramatically increased throughout 2008, largely in part to fuel costs, surcharges and related rate hikes. More recently, global economic sluggishness and volatile oil prices have bewildered manufacturing and retail executives trying to manage their supply chains. To find out how these volatile shifts are permanently changing logistics strategies, Global Logistics & Supply Chain Strategies spoke to Brooks Bentz, who is a partner in Accenture's supply chain management service line and is responsible for leading their supply chain transportation practice globally. His expertise spans 37 years in transportation strategy and operations, outsourcing, third-party logistics and fleet management, as well as strategic transportation procurement and network optimization.
Q: Fuel costs skyrocketed earlier in the year forcing up all transportation costs, but recently moderated. What is the real trend for fuel costs, and how is the logistics industry reacting to high costs and volatility?...
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XATA Improves Digital Mapping Functions on On-Demand Fleet Operations Software
XATA Corporation says it is adding improved digital mapping software to its XATANET on-demand fleet operations software. The upgrade will provide XATANET end users with more high-quality data, including larger and more dynamic maps, to help better track exact vehicle location and improve route details. Available in November 2008, the enhanced mapping capability is part of the XATANET 4.3 release.
XATA will leverage maps from Microsoft Virtual Earth, which...
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VeriTainer, Erudite Partner on Nuclear Scanning of Containers
VeriTainer has partnered with Erudite Inc. to deploy a system for the detection of nuclear shielding materials within cargo containers. VeriTainer is a seller of crane-mounted systems for maritime security. Erudite develops cargo security and counter-terrorism technology. Together they are offering a system known as Synchronous Vibrational Cargo Imaging (SVCI). It combines VeriTainer's VeriSpreader crane-mounted scanning capability with Erudite's SVCI. VeriTainer will market SVCI worldwide, as an integral part of VeriSpreader. In the process, SVCI technology will be seamlessly integrated...
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Past Ocean Transportation News issues:
September, 2008
July, 2008

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