Exports can revive U.S. seaports

A prominent shipping industry economist emphasized that change may not be ongoing

By ·

Ocean cargo shippers can expect a slight surge in business this year, with the economic tide lifting all boats. This will be particularly evident when it comes to measuring port throughput across the Continent.

Speaking at last week’s San Francisco Roundtable Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, (CSCMP) in Oakland, a prominent shipping industry economist emphasized that change may not be ongoing, however.

“The fact that the U.S. is resuming economic leadership is comforting,” said Dr. Walter Kemmsies, Moffatt & Niclol’s Chief Economist. “And our exports are largely responsible for driving this trend.”
Kemmsies, who pioneered development of container volume forecasts by trade lane, utilizes a blend of regional economic data with the identified market reach of U.S. ports. He said almost every major U.S. outbound ocean cargo gateway is benefitting by demand for U.S. goods.

“But we are still looking for sustainable numbers,” he said. “Emerging markets are making the rebound possible but our ongoing deficit in petroleum imports is worrisome.”

Meanwhile, U.S. port authorities should continue to lobby for funds to expand infrastructure, said Kemmsies. The observation resonated with the Port of Oakland shippers who comprise the nation’s top exporters of agricultural cargo.

“Bulk commodities and specialized capital goods (project cargo) fit the profile of U.S. comparative advantages,” he said. “Relative to faster growing emerging markets, the U.S. has a lower cost of capital. It also has a relative abundance of scarce resources – like water – and more advanced biotechnology. Finally, we have more reliable quality control and surveillance of compliance.”

But the higher cost of U.S. labor remains a problem, said Kemmsies, and may not be able to offset the strong demand for raw materials.

“And we don’t want to live much longer with a jobless recovery,” he said. “At the same time, we are encouraged by the government’s commitment to invest in its ports and related industries.”


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Efficiency improvements in Track/Trace Enhances Customer Loyalty
Consumer satisfaction with the quality of your products is clearly important, but the service you provide before and after the sale is equally important to any business, but often overlooked as benefiting the bottom line.
Download Today!
From the October 2016 Issue
Over the past decade we’ve seen a major trend in regards to safety regulations for freight transport within the United States as well as for import and export shippers—that trend is the “international­ization” of rules and regulations.
European Logistics Update: Post-Brexit U.K. moving ahead, but in which direction?
Badcock Home Furniture &more: Out with paper, in with Cloud TMS
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
How API Technology Connects the Transportation Economy
Dynamic decision making is made possible through accurate, actionable data. When combined with progress in data science and the Internet of Things, technology companies that add value to direct-to-carrier APIs and combine them with high-power data analytics will create new concepts for the information economy.
Register Today!
Motor Carrier Regulations Update: Caught in a Trap
The fed is hitting truckers with a barrage of costly regulations in an era of scant profits....
25th Annual Masters of Logistics
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and...

2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...