Commentary

The shape of the world economy has truly become a global relationship with every country as a piece of the puzzle.
Industrial real estate markets across North America will post steady growth through 2012.
All things considered, 2013 is on track to resemble what we saw in 2012: economic uncertainty, growth opportunities in emerging markets and a push for an integrated supply chain.
The logistics real estate market in the U.S. fought an uphill battle throughout 2012. Tenants, primarily retailers and third-party logistics providers, absorbed approximately 125 million square feet of space, 35 percent less than 2011. Yet demand has been positive for 10 quarters, and 2013 will bring a nearly forgotten challenge for beneficial cargo owners and other users of large warehouses: a lack of quality space.
One of the major trends in 2013 in American industry and its handmaiden, transportation, will be a surge in insourcing from a trickle to a flood. A number of factors will contribute to production returning to the U.S.
Freight forwarding has been one of the most successful sectors of the global logistics industry over the past decade. The industry has achieved substantial growth due to globalization, which has led manufacturing to locate to remote markets.
Supply chains increasingly are viewed as a key competitive differentiator. Since the recession, shippers have aggressively sought supply chain savings.
2012 began with the global trade interests bracing for economic storms. It ended with a literal storm. As Hurricane Sandy sent waves crashing through homes in much of the U.S. East Coast, airports such as John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia in New York, and Newark Liberty in New Jersey closed. Flights and commerce were grounded.
The outlook for 2013 is sunny in the cloud.
Many of us in the freight transportation industry in general, and the container shipping sector especially, read multiple industry-related publications in an effort to keep up with issues, to try to understand the environment that impacts our daily working lives and, ideally, to help us in our decision making. I’m constantly drawn to numbers because they spin no tales, they have no agenda and they are what they are as long as you know and understand the context.
The industry will face economic challenges again in 2013 as the global economy is expected to continue to grow only modestly.
We have the ocean transportation industry’s version of the “fiscal cliff” for 2013.
I believe the East Coast will begin to see bigger ships calling with greater frequency but at fewer ports; the ocean carriers simply can’t afford not to adapt.
In 2013, we can expect threats to the security of our maritime supply chains, known and unknown, to persist. Changes in maritime security training regimes that will strengthen the professional competence of merchant mariners and port facility personnel to deal with these hazards are under way.

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