Annual Review and Outlook - Maritime

Annual Review and Outlook - Maritime

ARO Commentaries

Sealand pursued a strategy of integration during 2019, focusing on customer experience with fewer handoffs, greater visibility, and digital e-commerce.
In 2019, Safmarine addressed the vicious cycle of no-shows with its Spot solution, offering cargo loading guarantee at a fixed price upfront, 24/7 online availability, and guaranteed equipment availability from Safmarine.
Regardless of the unprecedented challenges presented to the shipping world during 2019, prudent ports in 2020 will focus on their spheres of influence: improvement in supply chain efficiencies and capacity expansion supported by environmental stewardship initiatives and digital business tools.
To keep pace with rapid growth in the form of three new direct Asia container services, Port Tampa Bay is expanding terminal capacity with additional paved storage, extended berths, cranes and equipment, and new transload warehouse facilities.
In an ever-changing market and industry, innovations at seaports must help ocean carriers, cargo owners, and port users make the best use of infrastructure. The key is monitoring the evolution of industry and communicating with port users to understand and anticipate needs.
Port NOLA is becoming an integrated gateway to capture distribution and e-fulfillment opportunities created by the Amazon model of just-in-time delivery expectations, which has created entirely new supply chain dynamics.
While North American East Coast container ports have been enjoying consistently solid growth in recent years (in some cases by double-digit percentages), capacity issues are gradually surfacing.
The Port of Los Angeles in 2020 will implement universal truck reservations, eliminate on-site chassis storage, and upgrade its on-dock rail network, as well as opening a new Cyber Resilience Center and continuing emissions reduction projects.
Seventy percent of Port of Long Beach’s business is with China, but 2019 was the port’s second-best year ever despite the trade war. Credit goes to the port’s aggressive infrastructure program and initiatives like its Common Carrier Incentive Program, which rewards carriers for every additional loaded container moved through the port compared to the prior year.
The current trade war, because it involves the two largest economies in the world, is different from previous ones, but ports that are more diversified and handle different types of cargos will be able to adjust more easily to tariff impacts. Meanwhile, local, state, and federal elected officials must be educated about the important role ports play as economic engines.
As major infrastructure upgrades continue at Port Everglades, regular meetings between staff and the port’s cruise, cargo, and petroleum customers and other port stakeholders are key to maintaining the port’s industry position during periods of heavy construction.
An ongoing priority for Port Canaveral is balancing berth utilization with the highest demand for bulkhead space in the port’s history. Continued growth in central Florida and the increasing needs of the Space Coast region’s expanding commercial space enterprise are driving investments in waterside and landside infrastructure improvements.
Major external forces will continue to challenge carriers in 2020, spurring efforts to managing cost recovery effectively and to dynamically adjust deployments to match capacity supply with changing demand. The latest technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, will play a significant role in meeting these challenges.
We got through 2019 without disaster — but many of 2019’s dramas continue to play out in 2020, particularly unpredictable tariffs, Brexit, and enforcement of IMO 2020 fuel regulations.
More differentiated solutions in ocean and land will help the container shipping business overcome commoditization pressures leading to low margins, a cost to serve that went well above the investment in capital expenditures, and poor service that leaves customers dissatisfied.
A harbor deepening process anywhere in the country from start to finish can be painstakingly slow due to required approvals, so patience is a virtue for a port director who is eager to take advantage of the economic opportunity such a project represents for customers, the port, and our community.
Challenges often present opportunities, as in the Port of Halifax’s effort to build infrastructure that serves the ultra-class container vessels over 10,000 TEU that are increasingly being deployed along the East Coast of North America.
In 2019, the Florida Ports Council (FPC) studied port resiliency regarding threats from sea level rise, hurricanes and other natural disasters, and even cyberattacks and other security threats. Next up in 2020, the FPC will focus on alternative fuels as a cost-effective and reliable way to be in compliance with stricter air standards.
Increased ocean freight rate volatility increases the focus on rates to a point where other carrier efforts to add value may be overlooked; carriers should consider more judicious use of the pricing tools that contribute to rate volatility.
Coupled with consistently high rainfall across the Mississippi River Basin, recurring high rivers will more regularly affect shipping on the Mississippi River and thus, the global economy. While we have high hopes for a more normal river level in 2020, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature.