Commentary

As the 2014 TPM Conference approaches, the rumblings of change in the container shipping world are growing louder. It shouldn’t be surprising. How long can an industry that has averaged a 1.7 percent profit margin over the past 15 years, according to Seabury, not be ready to break out into a new business model? But people have been saying that for years. The difference is that now things may actually be starting to happen.
As industries move into a new year, organizations are going to see new growth opportunities and new forms of value with Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.
More than 12 years have passed since INTTRA delivered a shipping portal that made multicarrier electronic shipping available to shippers around the world. Other solutions have also emerged, yet many ocean shippers still choose to ship manually by calling, e-mailing and even faxing carriers.
2013 was a turbulent year for trucking, and we expect 2014 to be more of the same. Pressure is building, and although a crisis isn’t inevitable, one could occur if a combination of events breaks the wrong way. Here is our take on the major themes that will be in place next year:
Fiscal year 2013 brought a slight decrease in Panama Canal tonnage, in part because of continuing weak demand in the United States and Europe and the general slowdown of emerging market economies. Canal traffic was also impacted by the maritime industry’s shift toward larger, more energy-efficient vessels, which are unable to transit the canal until the expansion program is completed.
The escalating political and economic crisis in Turkey, sparked by bribery and corruption investigations that have forced three cabinet ministers to step down, threatens to undermine the nation’s ambitious bid to become a global logistics hub.
The scandal over the intentional creation of bridge traffic jams by flunkies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has cast an unflattering spotlight on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
North American seaports are expanding their services and enhancing their cargo-handling capabilities, creating jobs and assisting businesses looking to tap into the increasing overseas demand for raw materials and domestically manufactured products.
A.P. Moller-Maersk Group has hogged the headlines in the first week of 2014 with a rush of announcements that could prove to be game changers for container shipping.
With its announcement on Wednesday that it will revive the SeaLand brand to launch a niche intra-Americas carrier, Maersk took yet another step in redefining the container industry.
They say the wheels of justice turn slowly, and there’s no better proof than the protracted prosecution of price-fixing by U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico carriers betwen 2002 and 2008.
Last year, many of us acknowledged how challenging 2013 might be for the industry. As the new year approaches, it seems as if, just like Alice in Wonderland, we ran very fast but remained at the same spot: 2014 appears to be just as challenging.

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