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
Is Your Logistics Strategy Keeping Pace with Your Manufacturing Efficiency?
U.S. manufacturers continue to invest in world-class technology and innovation, as a growing number of businesses choose to expand U.S.-based production — or return manufacturing from Asia.
Download Today!
From the April 2017 Issue
While adoption rates have remained relatively flat, yard management systems (YMS) are helping logistics operations turn that important space between the loading dock and the gate into a vital link in the supply chain.
Information Management: Wearables come in for a refit
2017 Air Cargo Roundtable: Positive Outlook Driven by New Demand
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Maximize Your LTL Driver Adherence with Real-time Feedback
This webinar shows how companies are using real-time performance data to optimize the scheduling of their city fleets, as well as the routing of their standard, accelerated and time-critical shipments.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...

ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...