Commentary

Commentary

Truck and rail capacity imbalance poised to be even worse than last year.
The end of the White House's hands-off approach to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union-Pacific Maritime Association talks holds risks for the union.
By blaming the ILWU for the congestion it's caused, the PMA employers are killing two birds with one stone: evading responsibility for the employers’ failures, and gaining support from retailers, shipping companies, the public and Congress in hopes of boosting their standing at the negotiating table.
So the International Longshore and Warehouse Union is solely responsible for the humongous mess our West Coast ports are in? It must be so because I read it on JOC.com. My first concern is that perhaps this blame is misplaced. To get at the truth, let's look at the background.
An enthusiast of antique guns finds a good deal on gunpowder when on a trip away from home. The trick is getting that black powder shipped home.
Has the ILWU been tamed? We asked that question in an October 2003 commentary, a year after the 10-day lockout that cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars and in the aftermath of a series of slowdowns and vandalism that summer over new technology at the TraPac terminal in Los Angeles, actions that prompted then ILWU-President James Spinosa and other union leaders to publicly condemn their own rank-and file.
Over the past few weeks, our coverage of the West Coast labor standoff on JOC.com has come under a barrage of criticism from members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and their supporters. In comments posted on JOC.com stories, in tweets and e-mails, we stand accused of bias against the union in our coverage.
At the beginning of any new year it seems the standard theme for most business articles is one of predictions, and this year has been no different. I enjoy reading these articles as an opportunity to catch a glimpse of that next thing that has the ability to be a true game changer.
When UPS on Jan. 23 pre-announced fourth-quarter earnings, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Yet some analysts said they were “troubled by the company’s inability to get peak (operating expenses) right during what is increasingly becoming the most important quarter of the year” and were concerned “that UPS got the service but not the cost, which is going to leave the market wondering if it can only have one or the other.”
The Queen of the Skies is fading away. The Boeing 747, the original widebody jet that has, according to Air and Space Smithsonian Magazine, “transported the equivalent of 80 percent of the human race” over the years, is being taken out of service far faster than industry observers had expected. The 747 is being supplanted by smaller but highly fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft such as the 787 and the new Airbus A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body). Is there a message in all this for other freight sectors? Is bigger, in fact, always better?
After a load was delivered short, and a proof of delivery late, does the carrier have any blame and financial responsibility for make things right?
Reading the JOC 2015 Annual Review and Outlook, I’m reminded of the continuation of the conflicts between service providers and customers, and question some of the logic in these conflicts.
Among the many topics covered in this year’s State of the Union Address, President Obama discussed two issues that are critical for the continued growth of the U.S. economy — international trade and transportation infrastructure. Both are priorities the retail industry strongly supports.
If you missed what Moffatt & Nichol economist Walter Kemmsies told the SMC3 Jumpstart Conference in January, his words bear repeating. As reported by JOC Group Senior Editor Bill Cassidy, Kemmsies said the biggest threat to global trade isn’t protectionism, war, terrorism, disease or natural disaster. Instead, it’s mounting congestion at ports around the world, a phenomenon that’s been building for years and burst out into the open in 2014.