Exports can revive U.S. seaports

A prominent shipping industry economist emphasized that change may not be ongoing
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
January 31, 2012 - LM Editorial

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

image
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 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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!

Recent Entries

As the calendar turns to September and we approach 2015’s final third, there are, as usual, many things that require our attention from a freight transportation, logistics, and supply chain perspective.

According to Panjiva data, July shipments-at 952,126-were up 1 percent over June, following sequential gains of 7 percent for May over April and 1 percent for June over May.

While the previous edition of the Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) from freight transportation consultancy FTR showed some encouraging signs for shippers in terms of a mild uptick in overall market conditions.

Supply Chain Expert John Caltagirone is working with an increasing number of large companies that need help addressing key issues that “keep them up at night.” Here’s what Caltagirone recommends supply chain managers do right now to prepare for the future.

What will it take to find, train, and retain talent going forward? Three supply chain experts dust off their crystal balls and discuss the top ways to build the workforce for 2025.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers 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. Contact Patrick Burnson

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA