Annual Review and Outlook -

Annual Review and Outlook -

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Walmart remained atop the list of the 100 largest US importers by a wide margin in 2019, while Koch Industries retained to the No. 1 export spot.

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The less-than-truckload (LTL) industry is catching the wave of digitization transforming supply chains, as e-commerce heightens shipper demand for improved service and visibility.
One marine terminal in Montreal has begun turning away refrigerated exports as a series of strikes will last until at least Friday.
Uber Freight and CH Robinson announced links with accounting and ad hoc project software providers, a sign they need to extend their range of services to reach pools of small shippers.
In expanding the surcharge to all shippers, UP cited “a significant increase in demand for container capacity across the system” that is expected to “increase further in the coming weeks.”
Sources expect Bangladesh’s export figures for August and September to fall sharply, given the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the United States and bankruptcy declarations from some major apparel retailers.
A new dredging project will allow vessels that use the Panama Canal’s wider locks, which can accommodate ships of 14,000 TEU capacity, to navigate the Mississippi River up to Baton Rouge.
A tech-enabled cross-border truckload marketplace is giving shippers access to instantly bookable contract rates for up to a year as it seeks to build density with enterprise customers.
Crowley Maritime’s switch to lift-on lift-off vessels a decade ago didn’t pay full dividends until it adopted an aligned terminal operating system to support its grounded operations at its hubs in Florida and Puerto Rico.
The latest strike notice adds to the shipping industry’s fears that the disruption will have lasting damage on Montreal's attractiveness as a gateway for so-called discretionary cargo.
Ocean Network Express (ONE) said blank sailings were key to boosting ship utilization, with use on eastbound trans-Pacific services hitting 96 percent.
The uncertainty that marks cargo forecasting in the largest US trade lane is largely a reflection of consumer purchasing habits, which have not followed normal seasonal trends due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Aggressive capacity management in response to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and escalating tariffs has helped the top 10 container carriers operating in the Europe–US trade increase their share of the market so far in 2020.
With e-commerce demand surging during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon is taking steps to alleviate capacity constraints in its fulfillment facilities and last-mile delivery services.
The heavy equipment manufacturer saw second-quarter sales tumble 42 percent in North America as the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis crushed end-user demand.
The Asia–US West Coast spot rate exploded past $3,000 per FEU this week, but forwarders expect pricing to stabilize for the coming month as demand and supply are reaching a state of balance.
Container carrier ONE said an increase in COVID-19 infections in South Africa has also disrupted port operations in Durban, causing vessel delays to ships operating on its South Africa Central service.
Observers say the port strike, if it drags on, could create lasting damage to the Port of Montreal, which handles a significant volume of discretionary cargo able to move through other ports.
The Latin American market can leapfrog past its supply chain inefficiencies by using technology, but there’s an uphill climb to overcome inertia and differences between markets, a Chile-based forwarder told JOC Uncharted this week.
Logistics managers have to negotiate dueling mandates around speed to market and carbon emissions reductions; a new tool from APL Logistics is designed to help them determine which metric is more important.
Amid reports of tightening LTL capacity, ODFL, ArcBest’s ABF Freight, and XPO look to put more distance between their businesses and April’s steep decline in volume.

ARO Commentaries

The reality of hundreds of thousands of marine chassis scattered throughout the major ports and inland intermodal hubs — with different operating rules, different operational models, and competing interests in each location — contributes to the significant complexity in the North American intermodal container paradigm.
The big story in 2020 is the continuing evolution of technology to eliminate waste and improve productivity in corporate supply chains. Shippers and carriers should continue to make significant investments in their technology infrastructure to address the way companies like Amazon and Uber are changing customer expectations.
Maritime transportation companies must equate the cybersecurity threat in 2020 with the physical security threats they faced in the post 9/11 world and take the same layered approach to maritime security that was the hallmark of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.
The Northwest Seaport Alliance is preparing for another period of transformational change by making major infrastructure investments to redevelop marine terminal facilities at both harbors.
It is hard to predict that liner shipping will have a better year in 2020, but the key to remaining afloat lies in how fast and decisive carriers are able to be in adapting to the uncertainty.
Despite a decline in the global merchant vessel fleet growth rate and the development of new vessel automation technologies, the IMO World Maritime University predicts that that overall demand for mariners will increase over the next 20 years, making the challenges of recruiting and retaining motivated and qualified vessel personnel ever more relevant.
The refrigerated cargo sector, arguably the most profitable for the shipping lines, remains resilient and is poised to grow at a faster pace than the dry cargo sector — 6 to 9 percent — in 2020, driven by population growth, stronger demand for protein in markets like China, and mode conversion from air to sea.
Our industry needs to leverage innovation and technology. Digital supply chains need to make the shift from concept to reality, and terminals need to adapt to these dynamics and help drive them.
In the low-margin business of transportation and logistics, logistics managers must contain costs by finding the path of least resistance. In 2020, that’s efficient cargo movement that wrings delays out of the system.
One of the fastest-growing ports in the nation in container cargo, Houston has seen a 50 percent increase in business in four short years. To remain efficient, reliable, and competitive, the port needs to invest in staying ahead of the demand curve with infrastructure, including cranes, equipment, pavement, and technology.
In 2020 evolving cargo sourcing centers and geopolitics will inform the global trade landscape, but the fact remains that global trade has been and will continue to be resilient.
Modernizing terminals — and in some cases introducing automation — will be the driving force in helping West Coast ports win back business. And beyond the competitive advantage, modern and efficient terminals have the added benefit of cleaning the environment and creating healthier communities.
 With longshore labor peace secured, the New York Shipping Association will focus in 2020 on continued implementation of the provisions of the NYSA–International Longshoremen’s Association agreement in the Port of New York and New Jersey, as well as the ILA East Coast Master Agreement’s limits on automation implementation.
Investments in navigation and land-side infrastructure have generated peak problems among a wide range of ship sizes requiring different levels of terminal capacity that can be solved by implementation of smart port and “chain port” concepts.
 The Georgia Ports Authority’s central challenge of 2020 is staying ahead of exponential growth in demand for intermodal rail service, prompting significant rail expansion at Savannah’s Garden City Terminal.
New technology such as monitoring devices on chassis and remote management of refrigerated containers is helping logistics providers adapt to changing needs. The next step is to use data science and predictive analytics to anticipate the pace and volume of cargo movements and equipment utilization.
AMA Capital Partners predicts that 2020 will be a year of eventual repair and a slow climb back to normalcy. In the meantime, liner profitability in 2020 is expected to be severely challenged at least for the first half of the year.
In a volatile and challenging business environment, carriers will need to take a more all-encompassing view of the supply chain and enhance their value-added services in order to gain a competitive edge.
 The marine transportation system will require a digital and tech-savvy maritime workforce as it becomes more integrated, automated, and increasingly dependent on data and digitization, and maritime education and training must evolve to meet that need.
Forecasting that East and Gulf Coast ports will soon handle 50 percent of the US–Asia trade, the South Carolina Ports Authority will push forward in 2020 with ambitious expansions in capacity financed by a $1.6 billion capital plan.