North Atlantic Alliance Association Inc. www.naaai.com
Joseph T. Saggese, executive managing directorComing into 2001, most people could have predicted that prosperity was running on fumes and about to end. A struggling U.S. economy continues to tank as manufacturing consistently declines, and the once mighty stock market gives back gains of the past two years and then some. The shipping industry has followed the same path as imports weakened early in 2001 and continue to decline. Exports are not far behind, decreasing to unprecedented rate-volume levels, eroding any gains in freight rates over the previous 18 months, and then some.
Then came Sept. 11, which seemed to push everything over the edge and guarantee that 2001 would go down as one of the worst years in the history of America.
Immediately, we saw a country come together, Congress put aside differences and began working together. The president and the mayor of New York asked Americans to give of themselves to help the rebuilding process.
The global shipping industry will experience, as other industries, a great era of restoration. It will, however, take a coalition of industry leaders to bring about immediate change. Shippers and carriers, traditional adversaries, must come together for the sake of rebuilding the industry and their own survival. Carriers must put aside their insatiable thirst for market share at any cost and react responsibly to help sustain profitability, which creates jobs and feeds the economy. Shippers must put aside the cold corporate greed that measures only the earnings per share at any cost, and look to support the economy that feeds them well.
The leaders in our industry must follow the lead of Congress and the president, setting aside their differences, and give of themselves to the restoration of the shipping industry.