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.
Susan Kohn Ross
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.
Peter Tirschwell, Chief Content Officer
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.
Mark Szakonyi, Associate Managing Editor
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.
Joseph Bonney, Senior Editor
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.
The less-than-truckload industry saw some resurgence in 2014 with carriers’ ability to dig out of suboptimal returns from low-single-digit operating margins. Third-quarter results for publicly traded LTL carriers show a collective operating ratio of 92, a significant improvement from 94 a year ago. This should give LTL carriers optimism about achieving a much-needed 10 percent operating margin by the third quarter of 2015.
From crumbling roads and bridges to congested airports and a “vast majority of seaports in danger of becoming obsolete,” a 60 Minutes television newsmagazine feature pulled no punches about the risks not only to U.S. competitiveness and freight supply chains, but also to the safety of the American public.
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