Will slow steaming become a non-issue?

Both the National Industrial Transportation League and the Agriculture Transportation Coalition have issued recent objections to the practice, noting that it offers no service advantages for shippers.

By ·

While the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is moving forward with an investigation of slow steaming practices in the transpacific, some analysts question whether it will even be an issue after the upcoming Lunar New Year.

Both the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) and the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) have issued recent objections to the practice, noting that it offers no service advantages for shippers.

Since then, FMC Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky Jr. has taken a leading role in the inquiry. At the same time, he has given the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) members permission to discuss slow steaming under antitrust immunity.

Given the recent crisis in Egypt, there is some chance the TSA will insist that there’s never been a better time for “slow steaming” – a strategy that not only spares the environment, but also saves on fuel costs.

Furthermore, said analysts, this may all be a moot point if imports begin to slacken on the Eastbound trade late, said Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser.

“We can already see a big reduction in U.S. orders from multinationals sourcing from China,” he said. “And after the Lunar New Year, we don’t expect it to improve greatly.”

Finally, with the recent introduction of Horizon Lines and other smaller liners in the trade, shippers do have an alternative to slow steaming cartel members.

As reported in LM last week, Horizon Lines announced it had instituted a 15-day transit schedule for containerized cargo shipped from Shanghai to Kansas City with its new International service.

Amid considerable fanfare, the company launched the Five-Star Express (FSX) trans-Pacific ocean service between China and the United States in December, and selected Kansas City as a key hub for its express ocean-rail intermodal package.


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
Download the Full 2017 Logistics Management Salary Survey
How does your earning power match up with your logistics and supply chain peers? Find out by downloading the full 2017 Salary Survey from Logistics Management
Download Today!
From the April 2017 Issue
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management market, and in marked contrast to 2016, paints a rosier outlook for career placement and advancement.
Is Your Tractor Trailer Yard a Black Hole?
Information Management: Wearables come in for a refit
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...