“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 Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
June 09, 2011 - LM Editorial

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

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

When publicly-traded Class I freight railroad and intermodal service providers issued second quarter earnings results earlier this summer, the topic of less than ideal service on the rails was a common theme within the earnings releases and question and answer sessions with top management at those companies.

Supply chain security provider Freightwatch International has released its semi-annual report on cargo theft in the Asia Pacific region for the first half of 2014, which contains some heartening news for U.S. shippers reliant on trucking, warehousing and retail.

FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation, reports today that a decision by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed previous rulings by the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in three class action cases involving mostly former independent contractors for FedEx Ground

More talking remains before the deal is done

The transpacific U.S.-flag carrier has been ranked number one in the ocean carrier category for Logistics Management magazine's Quest for Quality award

Article Topics

News · Ocean Freight · Ocean Cargo · World Trade · All topics

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 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA