Commentary

The SOLAS verified gross mass requirement is not a panacea, but it is a definite safety improvement over the status quo.
A new era in the ocean shipping industry is beginning, based on the activity of 2016. It’s a natural time for industry leaders to pause and take stock. It’s at a time such as this when new thinking could emerge.
Shippers should plan to deal with 12 or fewer carriers in the not-too-distant future. They should develop true relationships to meet their company’s service needs and not expect rates to remain where they are.
Although growing volumes challenge ports and terminal operators, only shippers are asked to pay for programs like extended gate hours despite the fact that the growing volumes that make such programs necessary result in increased revenue for terminal operators.
A shipper should be sure to engage brokers (or carriers who have a broker sideline) with a solid financial position and some standing in the industry. Avoiding brokers who leave their carriers unpaid will ensure the shipper won’t have unpaid carriers to worry about.
The economic success of nations is significantly reliant on the development of infrastructure like roads, rails and ports; corporations hoarding trillions of dollars in off-shore accounts threaten the economic preeminence of the U.S.
The reaction of shippers to West Coast longshore labor disruption is evolving in such a way that West Coast ports have reason for concern.
Entering a factoring arrangement with a carrier without terms clearly set in writing may initially seem to work when accomplished through informal deals between principals, but sooner or later problems arise.
Containerization, “the box that changed the world,” was the catalyst that allowed global trade to grow to where it is today. From 1986 through 2006, global trade quadrupled. It doubled again from 2000 to 2006. The link between the growth of containerization and that of global trade is no coincidence.
Although the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission has no direct role in SOLAS compliance, the agency is monitoring the issue because of its potential impact on shipping productivity. “There’s a solution here,” William Doyle, FMC commissioner, said recently, “and we’ve got to find a solution.”
Many corporate trade compliance departments receive inadequate recognition and support in spite of the highly complex and risk-filled duties they perform.
Sometimes it can feel as if freight transportation is about to get “disrupted” by brilliant software engineers flush with millions of dollars in startup funding from Silicon Valley. Not only do we learn about new logistics-focused venture funds backed by people whose prior startups are the epitome of success, but we also see disruption in action every day.
Port cartage is the weakest link in the international supply chain, and the final miles from port to customer may soon become the longest and hardest of them all.
Motor carriers are legally prohibited from “double-brokering” loads to other carriers unless they have broker authority from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and represent themselves to the shipper as acting in a broker capacity.