Commentary

Will air freight hold its
As social and business media lit up with outrage over consumers not receiving promised shipment deliveries by the end of the day of Christmas eve, it was clear this was a previously unseen scenario, linked to a surge in last minute orders.
Global commerce is increasing at a dizzying pace, and we’re in the midst of the “give it to me now” era, so you’d think air cargo would be booming. Instead, it’s struggling. How the maritime industry has left air cargo lost in space.
What will 2014 deliver to the docks of trucking companies and shippers moving freight over the highways?
With so much money needed, why haven’t public-private partnerships succeeded in becoming funding sources for infrastructure expansion in the U.S. port industry?
A grocery retail chain suspects a transloading occurred, and questions if he can be paid full value of a shipment load after declaring it a total loss. Though the shipment appears to be intact, the seal number doesn’t match that on the bill of lading.
“Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” Winston Churchill wasn’t talking about the freight transportation industry when he paraphrased the famous quote originally penned by author George Santayana. But he could have been.
An insurer agrees to pay a claim for a load of goods damaged in an accident, but demands to keep the products for salvage. Does it have a case?
Fifteen years ago, my contributions to this particular column for The Journal of Commerce began. At the time, liner shipping companies were economic successes.
Last month, I wrote that we had to look backward before we could look ahead, and I reviewed some issues that came into play this year that likely would have an impact on 2014. I’ve had four weeks to think about 2014 and gather more data, and believe I have a relatively good view of where 2014 is going.
I believe the recently initiated European antitrust investigation of container lines may be a lot more important than people are giving it credit for. And if I’m right, the inquiry, announced on Nov. 22, could result in significant changes in how the industry operates.
Think back to a year ago. In December 2012, the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance were locked in tense contract negotiations that had East and Gulf Coast ports on the brink of a strike.
It was a trip that almost didn’t happen. Intended to be a two-week mission involving a two-state delegation from Oregon and Washington, various factors conspired to reduce it to a one-product, one-state, eight-day, three-city whirlwind.
What started as an innocuous blip on supply chain radars within the high-tech industry, the topic of rare earth minerals has grown into a strategic concern for U.S. manufacturers and security.

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