Commentary

Commentary

Shippers are breathing a sigh of relief because there haven’t been any major disruptions at U.S. West Coast ports, nearly a month after a brief extension of the contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Association expired. Both sides seem to understand that a shutdown of any kind wouldn’t be in their best interest.
An ocean forwarder will soon handle overseas shipments and questions liability impact of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and the Carmack Amendment regarding imports and exports.
Pressures on supply chain and warehouse operations have grown more critical as e-commerce market dynamics have evolved, led by Amazon and Wal-Mart.
I’ve been arguing since early this year that international transportation is headed for trouble because of a variety of transportation-specific problems exacerbated by an improving economy that’s driving faster volume growth and pushing capacity to the limit. With half the year over and the peak shipping season about to begin, those concerns are only deepening.
Managed services can be an effective alternative to internal staffing under the right conditions, with two of the most critical being the ability of the managed services provider to meet the customer’s service needs at a price point that would preferably be lower than it would cost to hire a person.
For months, we’ve been asking how North American infrastructure at ports, rail heads and on the roads would hold up when imports grew at sustained levels beyond the low-single-digit levels seen through the first quarter of this year. Well, the returns are starting to come in, and the news is anything but good for beneficial cargo owners.
Last winter’s supply chain disruptions were simply glimpses into what could become the new normal.
Maybe you’ve heard about China’s rejection of the P3 Network. In all seriousness, I’m hesitant to cover an issue such as this because of the overwhelming analysis and observation that has come before me. But I have strong feelings about why China refused to allow it and a lot of questions about the real outcome.
In the end, does the “why” really matter? After 12 months of planning and countless millions of dollars, isn’t it enough that China said no to the largest vessel-sharing alliance ever proposed?
With the stroke of a pen on June 17, China transformed itself from a non-player among regulators of container shipping to the most important one. In the process, it belatedly took on a role commensurate with its stature as the world’s largest container market, accounting for some 25 percent of global liftings.
There’s been no shortage of turbulence on the West Coast lately, and more is in store with the midnight June 30 expiration of the ILWU contract. In addition, there has been mounting pressure on Pacific Northwest ports, seemingly caught in a vise between the western Canadian ports to the north and California to the south.
JOC economist Mario O. Moreno updates his projections regarding U.S. containerized trade with South America.
Apparently, the U.S. Congress is of the view that $75,000 is a more appropriate bond requirement for the brokerage industry in terms of offering protection to those who might be injured if a broker went out of business. Will it really have that effect?
Although port labor strikes are anything but a recent phenomenon, the recent pace of strikes is quickening in response to escalating economic changes worldwide.