Rail & Intermodal >> Editors' Blog
The annual State of Logistics Report has a new author this year - and with it, a marked shift in some key trends.
Those idle cranes in the Port of Oakland's Outer Harbor stand as mute testimony to the changes that are roiling container ports and terminals today.
It takes a lot of time and energy to turn around one of those massive new containerships in mid-ocean. The same goes for reversing the assumptions that led to the construction of those behemoths in the first place.
In the Superman comics, the Bizarro World is a planet where normal people and events become strangely inverted. Which, in the world of global trade and supply chain, appears to be happening with increasing regularity.
Want to get a sense of how new federal regulations will affect transportation tomorrow? Look at California today.
By the time you read this, the largest containership ever to call a U.S. port will have visited the ports of Los Angeles and Oakland. It won't be the last. But will regulation and environmental pressures prevent carriers from developing the infrastructure needed to handle these seagoing behemoths?
Mexico is competing with the U.S. for manufacturing work coming back to the western hemisphere from China and other parts of Asia. Will it pose the same challenge for U.S. ports?
Shippers are still steaming over delays caused by West Coast dockworkers during contract negotiations with terminal operators in late 2014 and early 2015. But problems at the region's ports extend well beyond union intransigence.
It's been about five years since ocean carriers began selling off their chassis in the U.S., forcing shippers to obtain the equipment elsewhere. But the new regime is anything but settled.
There was a time when ocean carriers fashioned themselves as providers of premium, door-to-door transportation. Not anymore.
If we're to believe the big container lines, ever-larger ships are the remedy for their financial woes. Why, then, are so many of them still losing money?
It's a government program. It involves technology. And it's a good thing.
Importers and exporters were holding their collective breath last week, praying that negotiations for a new West Coast longshore labor contract wouldn't result in a temporary shutdown of the ports. But service providers were just as concerned about what happens if they stay open.
We speak incessantly about the impact of "consumer demand" on manufacturers' supply chains. But do we really understand what that term means?
It looks as though we're in for a year of continued economic recovery and job growth, however gradual. That should be good news for ocean carriers - assuming they don't undermine their own success by flooding the market with capacity, then engaging in rampant discounting to fill it.