Global trade and the many direct and indirect stakeholders that take part in supply chain delivery execution have been responding to and managing change for decades, perhaps even centuries.
2017 was yet another year in which many in the maritime industry realized the need to run as fast as possible just to stay in place. Cost pressures continued to plague the industry in 2017 in spite of the fact that it appeared to be a year of relative recovery with growth in volumes and freight rates in some of the major global trades. However, overcapacity still looms large with the renewal of mega-ship ordering and its potentially negative impact on the market.
There was an unexpected pickup in global trade for the period January-September 2017, with CTS figures that we have not s
2017 saw the results of the previous year’s consolidations of liner carriers and the transformation of the alli
Shipping is now adopting technologies that have rapidly changed other industries, bringing the advantages and challenges of digitization. The introduction of new tools for carriers and cargo owners has been slow by some measures, with regulatory and international barriers affecting their implementation and return on investment. These barriers seem unlikely to change in the near future, and technology has and will find ways around those obstacles.
There has been massive transformation in the global supply chain in the recent months.
The overall trade outlook for Canada enjoyed a positive uplift after the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement came temporarily into force on Sept. 21. The trade deal was inaugurated by Canada’s international trade minister at Montreal’s new Viau Container Terminal, signifying the symbolic role of Montreal as a natural North American gateway for European trade.
In the trans-Pacific, we await larger and larger vessels as they begin to cascade out of the Asia-Europe trade, replaced by even bigger ships. For those of us in the port business, long-term planning and significant investment in landside infrastructure is critical in order to efficiently accommodate these mega-vessels.
Collaboration, information sharing, and transparency are some of the key areas that, as an industry, we must do more of to deliver a better service for our customers. With more collaboration between terminals, container lines, warehousing and distribution providers, shippers can benefit from a better end-to-end service by reducing operating costs, and making significant short-term savings for long-term competitiveness.
As the only deep-water port on the US-Mexico border — serving as a major international conduit in and out of both countries — we remain very watchful of the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
In North Carolina, we remain bullish on international seaborne trade in our region.
We will see a further embrace of technology as a means to mitigate marine terminal congestion and facilitate cargo transportation. While the technology is not new, certain sectors may have been slow to recognize its value in streamlining cargo transportation. Most notably, technology has been deployed in the form of enhanced information portals that provide real-time information over the internet on container availability, booking status, and vessel schedules and truck reservations systems.
Everyone has grown accustomed to so much variety — delivered daily courtesy of the nation’s seaports — that a single glitch in the transportation network or supply chain system can dominate headlines for weeks.
One of the most detrimental changes in regulations would be the weakening, or repeal, of the Jones Act.
The consolidation of the ocean container shipping industry into less than 10 major companies is further evidence that the trend to deploy large container ships to US ports will continue. In 2017, we saw the first deployment of a 13,000-TEU ship system to the US East Coast. We expect multiple such ship systems on the US East Coast by May 2018, while the dominant vessel size will be in the 8,000-TEU range.
Global trade is more dynamic than ever. To some, this is viewed as a challenge; to others, it highlights the opportunity available for those who can adapt.
The economies of scale and the downstream forces they create continue to dominate our short- and long-term plans and strategies.
One important conversation that continues is the inadequate funding of the US Army Corps of Engineers to operate and maintain our nation’s ports and construct the projects that have been authorized and identified as having significant benefit to our nation.
Our industry is experiencing the next chapter in our evolution as we are now handling the biggest ships in history and moving record-setting amounts of cargo.
2017 will be remembered as the year of the new alliances. Most carriers in this day and age have joined an alliance to share expenses, cut costs and expand their services. As alliances are a fairly new concept, the first go round for most of us in this industry was a learning experience. Now that we have had some experience under our belts, most of us are going into these new alliances with more knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.