As ships get bigger and productivity fails to improve, the industry is digging itself into a hole from which it is increasingly difficult to escape.
The last two surface transportation authorization laws, President Obama’s recent surface transportation proposal and other plans to use one-time revenues to prop up the Highway Trust Fund have one thing in common: They all left or would leave the HTF in worse financial health after the bill expires than it was in before the bill was enacted.
The nine months of negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore and Warehouse Union and concomitant congestion leading to so much misery for so many cargo interests and logistics service providers made the 2015 TPM Conference a highly anticipated event.
Intermodal service is sliding back downhill, and things could get worse if federal regulators slow down crude oil trains, a move that would take velocity out of the entire network.
The Port of Oakland was recently quoted on JOC.com as saying, “Cargo is moving and the backlog is shrinking.” Such a statement doesn’t tell the complete story and causes a great deal of confusion and resentment on the part of cargo owners.
Michael D. Scheid
Less-than-truckload growth accelerated in a big way in 2014 as total market revenue grew 7.5 percent to a record $35.4 billion. After years of losing share to parcel and truckload carriers, it seems the LTL industry is finally regaining some of its old business.
Truckers, its time to link up the entire East Coast. This port transportation business has gotten completely out of hand. The actions of today's intermodal management are much more vicious than organized crime. Forcing truckers to play by impossible rules while working for the lowest of rates anywhere within the trucking industry is breaking labor laws, inhuman, reckless and in many cases considered theft by deception.
As thousands of logistics executives from around the world filled the halls of the Long Beach Convention Center over a three-day period for the 15th Annual JOC TPM Conference this month, I couldn’t help but flash back to the first TPM in 2000, when there were about 300 of us in attendance. In those days, the JOC was a daily newspaper delivered to my front door.
Taking the time to learn something about a country’s culture and business etiquette before doing business there isn’t only a show of respect that is usually deeply appreciated (and potentially rewarding), but also should be part-and-parcel of any corporate planning for conducting business abroad.
Drinking a glass of Florida orange juice this morning, I thought about the governor of Florida’s well-publicized letter to “shipping industry professionals,” touting Florida’s port system while at the same time taking a few cheap shots at the state of California by comparing Florida to California in a number of areas. I thought I’d respond in kind about some items that the governor of Florida failed to mention.
As the JOC Group held its 15th Annual TPM Conference in Long Beach, California, this month, it didn’t require any imagination to see the results of nine months of contentious labor negotiations that led to slowdowns and crisis-level congestion at the ports. Even though a tentative contract had finally been reached between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, the harbor was still dominated by the hulking profiles of dozens of giant freighters stopped cold, parked in place with a whole lot of goods going nowhere.
Standing on the stage at this month’s TPM Conference, Matthew Shay delivered a pointed message to those responsible for months-worth of delays, millions of dollars in lost retail sales, and the loss of jobs and export opportunities: “Enough is enough! The interest of thousands” can no longer threaten the livelihood of millions.
This year’s TPM Conference will probably always be remembered as the event that took place within weeks of the conclusion of the most bruising West Coast labor negotiations in recent memory — surpassing, in its ill-effects on company supply chains, even the 10-day lockout in the fall of 2002.
Between plummeting fuel costs, a surge in consumer spending and a worsening driver shortage, the last few years in the trucking industry have been characterized by extreme highs and lows. This year is shaping up much the same way, although with some new twists in the road.
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