Commentary

It goes without saying that 2016 will be a momentous year for the container shipping industry. I should say another momentous year, considering the year just ended certainly held its own in that category. Unfortunately, synonyms to the word “momentous” when referring to container shipping aren’t words such as “historical,” “pivotal” or “decisive,” but are more along the lines of “chaotic,” “disruptive,” “costly,” “agonizing” and “painful,” and you could add to that “annoying” and “dispiriting” or even “depressing.”
In many respects a success story, the Port of Los Angeles' handling of the mega-ship Benjamin Franklin was the culmination of huge investments in dredging, facilities and systems. But the story looks different from another perspective.
When the JOC editorial team last fall looked at themes and subjects that would dominate 2016, there was no shortage of possibilities: continuing port congestion; the opening of the Panama Canal’s new locks; container weight regulations that will put the burden on shippers to verify that what they say their containerized freight weighs actually does; and, of course, carriers’ continuing battle to stay above water in an age of record-low freight rates. It’s that last issue that ultimately shined a light on what, we believe, will be the story of 2016: consolidation.
The proposed rule linking truckers' safety ratings to CSA data is an Internet-age vision, but more clarity is needed when it comes to the data and processes that would support it.
There are many hidden costs and variables which should be taken into account when comparing a price quote for what appears to be the same widget from, say, Changzhou, Jiangsu, versus that of Fuling, Chongqing.
The challenges facing businesses involved in imports and exports are complex. One constant theme in the industry is the rising cost of compliance. A related theme has to do with the expanding complexity of issues demanding compliance efforts.
With implementation just six months away, a palpable anxiety about how the IMO’s container weight rule will be implemented is becoming ever more manifest.
After reaching a record high in 2015, U.S. containerized imports are likely to stay on an upward track this year as housing market gains strengthen and import prices remain subdued.
Trucking companies facing a new Canadian eManifest deadline should follow these five steps to prepare for the rules and avoid fines and border delays.
2015 was a historical year for the third-party logistics industry, not in terms of industry revenue because lower fuel surcharges brought top-line dollars down from their record highs in 2014, but in terms of industry consolidation. The 3PL industry witnessed a record number of mergers and acquisitions among the segment’s largest players over the last 12 months. Favorable financial markets are enabling large companies to secure the money necessary to make sizable acquisitions that translate into top- and bottom-line growth.
With the dawning of the mega-ship era in the U.S. with the 18,000-TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin calling at the Port of Los Angeles in December, the need to develop additional means to fight port congestion is all the more urgent.
It’s difficult to find a catalyst for acceleration in domestic intermodal activity. Shippers were jolted by the capacity shortage that occurred during the so-called Snowpocalypse winter of 2014, and scrambled to lock up intermodal capacity. But as the situation calmed in 2015, they returned to show-me mode in terms of the coming capacity crunch.
Out of necessity, ports are taking strategic steps to enhance their leverage, reduce risk and protect their market share. They’re doing this by entering into more collaborative relationships with partners that are often their strongest competitors.
China's ports and warehouses are refusing to handle dangerous goods cargoes in the wake of the Tianjin port explosion, driving up costs and threatening the supply chains, logistics operators, and manufacturers that deal in those products.