The container shipping industry is nearing that tipping point where several carriers are going to get out because they have no real choice, or those that can will sell or merge. The financial communities aren’t anxious to get involved further, and the government entities involved are seeking what they hope to be viable alternatives.
Gary Ferrulli, president-North America, Unicon Logistics
Chris Brooks, executive editor, The Journal of Commerce
How Beijing’s double dose of news in recent weeks — reportedly ordering a merger of state-owned Cosco and China Shipping that would create the world’s fourth-largest container shipping operator, followed by a stock market-rattling devaluation of the Chinese currency — plays out not only could dictate the course of trade and how it moves for the foreseeable future. It also might be the springboard to much-needed and long-awaited container shipping consolidation that could bring stability to oceanborne transportation providers sorely lacking it.
Colin Barrett, president, Barrett Transportation Consultants
A motor carrier has filed a lawsuit against a shipper after it was not paid for its services. The shipper did pay the middleman broker, but the broker never forwarded payment to the carrier, and has since disappeared. What is the best road for the shipper to take? Go to court? Make a second payment? Negotiate a settlement? Read on.
Peter Tirschwell, senior director, content, IHS Maritime & Trade
The turbulence sweeping global stock markets during the past few weeks is a belated recognition of what people involved in supply chains, including container shipping, have known for a while: Apart from a few bright spots such as U.S. imports, growth globally is slowing, in large part because of the slowdown in China, and with it has come growing overcapacity and heavier rate pressure in global container markets.
Todd Bryant, president and founder, Bryant Surety Bonds
If you're thinking about starting a freight brokerage business or evaluating whether it's worth increasing investment in your existing company, there are three main reasons why it makes sense.
Colin Barrett, president, Barrett Transportation Consultants
Legal though it may be to exercise set-off without even giving a motor carrier a chance to respond to your claim, it is arrogant and just plain rude. And it can get you into trouble.
Michael Scheid, senior analyst, SJ Consulting Group
The trucking industry has been clamoring about impending doom from industry regulations and the persistent shortage of qualified drivers since the end of the economic recession in 2010. Inability to add capacity and skyrocketing operating expenses are the two most often cited outcomes resulting from these industry changes. Although the long-term impact of these developments is yet to be determined, however, carriers’ second-quarter earnings show the gloomy scenarios aren’t affecting the bottom lines of the largest carriers.
Fran Flynn, Fleet Advantage
On the putting green, the golfer who putts last has the advantage of watching his predecessor "show him the line." There is valuable information to be gleaned if his attention is focused on the details. For instance, he can determine many uncontrollable factors like the speed, slope and characteristics of the green that influence the ball. He must have knowledge of these details in order to determine the ball’s path and the power of his stroke once he is over the ball.
Chris Brooks, executive editor, The Journal of Commerce and JOC Events
UPS's acquisition of Coyote Logistics is just the latest in a rash of acquisitions by asset- and non-asset-based service providers looking to offer end-to-end supply chain solutions, on the North American and international stage and in an increasingly complex market that requires the precision only technology can provide.
William B. Cassidy, senior editor, JOC.com
The soon-to-be-released electronic logging mandate is often depicted as a time bomb that will reduce truck capacity, driving smaller carriers and independents off the roads. There will be some reduction in available capacity once the mandate takes effect, sources tell JOC.com. But in the long haul, expanded use of e-logs and onboard computers, combined with other technologies, will help carriers, large and small, and shippers unlock truck capacity.
Jerry Peck, global trade management professional
I wrote on the topic of additive manufacturing, better known as “3D Printing,” two years ago as industry analysts were heralding its envisioned impact on manufacturing as nothing short of the next industrial revolution. So what happened to manufacturers’ predictions that they’d be making their own widgets on site, and the dramatic sea change that this would have on international supply chains?
Susan Kohn Ross, international trade attorney
From trade deals with Europe and Asia to the situation in Iran, there are any number of pressing international issues, but the one on every U.S. trader’s mind right now is ACE. Unless you’ve been living on a remote island with no connection to the outside world, you know Customs and Border Protection set Nov. 1 as the deadline by which all entries and cargo releases must be filed in its latest computer system, the Automated Commercial Environment.
Peter Tirschwell, senior director of content, IHS Maritime & Trade
I’ve always failed to understand the air of suspicion, and the periodic questions national antitrust authorities have raised, about alliances. Alliances are a carryover from the days when container lines enjoyed antitrust immunity. It’s been suggested that there is a “culture of collusion” that could take root within an alliance framework, but the evidence speaks for itself: No market in which collusion is occurring would still be plagued by the pricing volatility we see today.
Lawrence J. Gross, president, Gross Transportation Consulting
CSX's Northwest Ohio intermodal hub is essentially a giant classification yard for intermodal containers, with huge gantry cranes serving as the functional equivalent of switch locomotives. Strategically located at an operational node of the CSX east-west network, it serves CSX in much the same manner as an airline hub. Containers are flown from one train to another rather than cars being switched, although flat switching still occurs when the volume of like-destination cars in a train reaches a certain threshold.
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