Commentary

Commentary

As we enter the second half of 2015, the year is unfolding as an amalgamation of pleasant and unpleasant surprises, a stinging interview, some conflicting actions and actions that defy logic. Many shipping interests might say, “So what’s new? It’s a typical year for the industry.”
Congress has failed to fully support interstate commence — a job tasked to it by our founding fathers.
The International Longshoremen's Association, in opening the door to the possibility of a long-term contract, certainly is looking to capitalize on the congestion and raw memories of the recent past that have put West Coast ports in shipper crosshairs. The ILA, indeed, is preying on that shipper sentiment, and the soon-to-open expanded Panama Canal that could shift more cargo from West Coast to East Coast. And who can blame it? That’s business.
President Obama’s legacy now will be defined at least in part by success on trade. It was indeed an achievement to have secured the first presidential “fast track” authority in eight years, paving way for completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 nations covering 40 percent of U.S. trade. But without transportation, there can be no trade. Expanding trade agreements without improving the infrastructure needed to handle it defeats the purpose.
China’s slowing economy has led to port development projects being delayed as operating companies start to leverage more powerful IT software and more focused management expertise.
Don’t have the time to rehash last year and want to know what’s in store for the next 18 months? You’ve got freight to move, so here are the takeaways from the annual State of Logistics report released on Tuesday by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and JOC.com reporting.
A collection agency asks about the lack of a “Section 7” on a bill of lading, protecting a shipper from charges on a collect shipment, and wants to know if he can collect from the consignee if payment isn’t made by the shipper.
There is a way out of the madness inherent in current labor-management relations in the port sector. Social Dialogue is the North Star that will guide the way.
Meeting in Asia this month with a number of carriers that participate in the project by submitting their berth productivity data to The Journal of Commerce, I’ve never seen a greater sense of urgency to find ways to get ships in and out of port faster. It’s a simple calculus: The quicker a ship leaves port, the slower the speed and less fuel is needed to get to the next port on schedule.
Take a close look. That truck with the empty cab where the driver used to sit may become reality much sooner than anyone thought even a year ago.
A local trucking company sometimes engages in interline transport with other carriers. And there are also times when it would arrange pickup from outside the state using another carrier. Does this company need brokerage authority to tender to another carrier any shipment tendered to them?
Cleaning up shipping and its emissions is a hot topic, pushing the whole industry and its regulators towards a greener future. Since January, the latest regulations require shipowners to use low-sulphur fuel oils in emission control areas or to retrofit their vessels with scrubbers or use alternative energy sources.
As an aviation and a technology enthusiast, it’s been exciting for me to follow the developments of two technology platforms that are poised to write new chapters in the book of aerial delivery. The first is the hybrid-airship, the focus of my February column whose first commercial application is expected to be the delivery of container-size cargoes to oil/gas, mining, and similar companies that operate in severely austere locations. The second technology is unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.
The port operation challenges associated with mega-container ships, which only will grow as dozens of these ships enter service in the next few years, is a key issue pointing to the likelihood that conditions at ports will get worse before they get better.