Commentary

Commentary

Third-party logistics is a key element of a U.S. economy that is the primary bright spot in the long tunnel of the global economic recovery. In particular, the truck-related components of domestic third-party logistics have prospered during the current economic expansion.
Intermodal transportation in North America is poised to break more records. In 2013, intermodal rail operators handled 15.5 million container and trailer units combined. For 2014, intermodal units easily could top 16 million, if the run rate through 2014’s third quarter — up 5.3 percent year-over-year — holds. 2015 should continue this trend, but not without some anxiety for shippers.
If there is one observation that stands out from the experience of 2014, it’s the complete absence of concern for the shipper in U.S. longshore negotiations. It is fundamentally anachronistic that those who ultimately pay the bills and whose business creates not only all the longshore jobs but also millions more in the larger economy, should suffer the neglect and business disruption shippers do in the U.S. when confronted with labor-management issues on the waterfront.
Although U.S. income growth in the first three quarters of 2014 was only marginally better than the same period a year earlier, it was sufficient to provide the U.S. unemployed with much-needed relief. With hiring picking up momentum, consumer confidence in the U.S. has been moderately positive with the expectations component showing clear signs of improvement.
Logistics real estate markets around the world strengthened in 2014, thanks to more customers being in expansion mode, tightening occupancies and rising rents. In 2015, the cycle will advance further into expansion, although several themes will shape the year.
As we start 2015, the question for international traders is how much more can change? Put another way, what will happen next?
The second half of 2014 saw strong air cargo demand driven by a number of technology releases and the overall rising consumer confidence in the European Union and U.S. To sustain prolonged periods of air cargo success in subsequent years, however, the industry must address some key issues.
2014 was unprecedented in the number of potential regulations tumbling around in the U.S. regulatory machine, but there’s more to come. Here’s a look at what to expect in the coming year.
Employers need more cost reductions and workplace flexibility on the U.S. West Coast docks to handle the big ships coming their way, and the sum total of progress from all the rounds of earlier negotiations isn’t enough to justify the investments that will be needed.
I find myself marveling at the astonishing pace at which another year has come to an end. I thought I would take a moment to look back at 2014 and at some of the more noteworthy items within the context of People, Processes and Enabling Technology.
The “Obama is soft on the unions” explanation seems questionable, as sending a federal mediator and invoking the Taft-Hartley Act aren't easy cures.
An owner-operator shares some often overlooked facts about U.S. truck driver hours of service rules and how they affect his business.
Can the International Longshoremen's Association and United States Maritime Alliance tweak their bargaining process so that it doesn't scare shippers every three to six years? We'll find out ... eventually.
2014 will surely go down as a momentous year — and not in a good way — for those who depend on international container transportation. Hardly a year of progress, this was a year when the system regressed.