While American politicians cannot seem to agree on very much, there exists a strong U.S. policy to encourage manufacturing development and exports. As ocean carriers, it is our responsibility to follow trends so we can be prepared to offer the required services for our customers.
Reports about the renaissance of U.S. manufacturing are significant. U.S. shale oil and gas, for example, provide low-cost energy for petrochemical industries. U.S. domestic oil production declined significantly between 1970 and 2008. As a result, we all thought the U.S. would rely on imports to meet its future oil demand. Technological innovations reversed this decline, and this revolutionary development is reducing America’s reliance on oil imports.
Today, carriers face major expenses in repositioning empty containers back to Asia. The first half of 2013, for example, saw U.S. imports from the Far East at 6 million TEUs and exports to Asia at half, just 3 million. That translates as 3 million trans-Pacific containers being returned as empties, remitting no revenue but utilizing fuel, labor and ancillary costs.
The U.S. manufacturing renaissance will increase container demand for exports and reduce carriers’ empty repositioning costs. This is good for all of us involved in global commerce.
Jack Yen is Chairman of Evergreen Shipping Agency (America).