“The Turbulent ‘10s” will have profound impact on ocean shipping

“The escalating price of fuel trumps almost every other ocean carrier concern,” said Dr. Walter Kemmsies, chief economist for Moffat & Nichol

By ·

While labor costs and “green” initiatives may be making West Coast ports less dominant in the coming years, they are hardly at risk, said a prominent industry analyst.

“The escalating price of fuel trumps almost every other ocean carrier concern,” said Dr. Walter Kemmsies, chief economist for Moffat & Nichol. “Ships will continue to make inbound calls to leading load centers here because of the huge resident populations, and then will push off under their own power with a little export cargo.”

Tongue firmly in cheek, Kemmsies added: “I believe the expression is ‘slow steaming.’”

Speaking at the annual “Ports & Terminals” luncheon sponsored by the Pacific Transportation Asssociation in Oakland yesterday, Kemmsies shared several other observations on “The Turbulent ‘10s.”

“Structural problems persist in the U.S., as it struggles to come out of the past recession,” he said. “Ports and railways need more investment, but seem to have to come up with it themselves most of the time. The nations sill lacks a transportation policy. China and India are the world leaders in this regard.”

The tepid employment recovery in the U.S. has also been led by the private sector, with the federal government remaining concerned with stabilizing the housing and financial markets, said Kemmsies.

“And what does that do for ‘consumer confidence?’” he asked. “Even for those of us with good jobs, the will to spend is just not there. The companies we work for are also focused on cost control, rather than spending.”

Macro-economic trends will also define the next decade for shippers, said Kemmsies. As the need for raw materials ramps up, U.S. exporters may become a larger part of the solution.

“This is a huge food-producing nation,” he said. “And it touches upon every imaginable aspect of world trade, including bio-technology. We have the water and forest products that much of the developing nations lack, and those resources, too, will be in greater demand.”

That forecast will certainly be greeted with enthusiasm when Kemmsies speaks to the Agriculture Transportation Association (AGTC) tomorrow. The association’s annual conference in San Francisco begins today, with exports being the major topic of conversation, advocacy, and debate.

For related articles click here.


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 pburnson@peerlessmedia.com.

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
Top 5 Trends in Enterprise Labeling
Supply chains and the solutions used for managing them have become increasingly important as businesses become more global and interconnected.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Issue
As the new administration sends waves of uncertainly through the global trade community, this could be the best time ever for shippers to build an investment case for GTM. Here are five trends you need to watch if you’re about to put these savvy systems to work
Carrier Consolidation Keeps Shippers Guessing
Getting Value from the Cloud
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Advance your career with the fastest growing logistics certification – APICS CLTD
During this webcast presenters will give an overview of APICS and the new Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) designation. Learn how the CLTD program can help you stay on top of current trends and advance your career.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
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...

Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...
Making the TMS Decision: Ariens Finds Just the Right Fit
The third time is the charm for this U.S. manufacturer on the hunt for a third-party logistics (3PL)...