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Commerce finds subsidized steel flange imports from China, India

Steel flange exporters in China receive government subsidies of 174.73 percent, while in India, these exporters receive government subsidies ranging from 5 percent to 239.61 percent, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
The U.S. Commerce Department has preliminarily determined that certain U.S. imports of steel flanges receive unfair countervailable subsidies from the Chinese and Indian governments.
According to the department, steel flange exporters in China receive government subsidies of 174.73 percent, while in India these exporters receive government subsidies ranging from 5 percent to 239.61 percent.
Countervailable subsidies are given to companies by foreign governments based on their export performance or use of domestic inputs over imports in their manufacturing.
Specifically, in its China investigation, Commerce calculated a preliminary subsidy rate of 174.73 percent for Both Well (Jiangyan) Steel Fittings Co. Ltd., Hydro Fluid Controls Ltd., Jiangyin Shengda Brite Line Kasugai Flange Co. Ltd., and Qingdao I-Flow Co. Ltd., due to their failure to cooperate with the investigation. The department assessed the same preliminary subsidy rate against all other Chinese producers and exporters of this product.
In the India investigation, Commerce calculated a preliminary subsidy rate of 239.61 percent for Bebitz Flanges Works, due to the company’s failure to cooperate with the investigation, and a preliminary subsidy rate of 5 percent for Echjay Forgings Private Ltd. Commerce assessed a subsidy rate of 5 percent for all other Indian producers and exporters of this product.
Commerce will now instruct Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of stainless steel flanges from China and India based on these preliminary rates.
According to Commerce, imports of stainless steel flanges from China and India in 2016 were valued at $16.3 million and $32.1 million, respectively.
The petitioner for the investigation is the Coalition of American Flange Producers, along with its members Core Pipe Products of Carol Stream, Ill., and Maass Flange Corp. in Houston.
Commerce is scheduled to announce its final countervailing duty determinations on April 3 and May 29, for China and India, respectively.
If Commerce makes affirmative final subsidy determinations and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) similarly makes affirmative final injury determinations, the department will issue countervailing duty orders. If the department makes negative final subsidy determinations, or the ITC makes negative final determinations of injury, the investigations will end and no countervailing duty orders will be issued.

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Newsletter January 2018

2018 Rate Outlook: Economic Expansion, Pushing

Trade and transport analysts see rates rising across all modes in accordance with continued expansion of domestic and international markets. Economists, meanwhile, say shippers can expect revenue growth in transport verticals to remain in the 3%-plus range.

The best global growth rate in seven years—3.2% in 2017—is based on firm foundations, contend leading economists. They add that, barring a significant shock, this current expansion has plenty of “staying power” and should continue to push rates up and keep capacity constrained around the globe.


Freight market update: Outlook for 2018

2017 was an interesting year for the global freight market. The growth of e-commerce sparked air freight capacity shortages on core trade lanes and drove air freight rates to record highs. The ocean market in 2017 was more stable, with greater predictability (fewer blank sailings), an early and flattened-out peak season, and price levels between 5% and 20% higher than in 2016. This was mostly driven by the unsustainable market in 2016 that led to Hanjin’s bankruptcy and massive consolidation. Further significant disruptions were caused by the Petya malware virus and storms like Hurricane Harvey, leading to delays, re-routings, and temporary capacity issues.


U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works to hear from AAPA and port stakeholders

Friedman’s testimony, which will focus on issues related to navigation infrastructure maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement, is to help committee members better understand and appreciate some of the critical infrastructure issues faced by America’s public ports.

Speaking on behalf of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), Port of Cleveland President and CEO William Friedman will testify tomorrow before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) in a hearing titled America’s Water Infrastructure Needs and Challenges.


U.S. Ports Update Part 1: Expanded Panama Canal Changes the Balance

Following the close of its 2017 fiscal year, Panama Canal authorities announced that the entrepot welcomed a record 403.8 million tons—the largest amount of annual volume ever transited in its 103-year history. Industry analysts say the impact on U.S. ocean cargo gateways will soon become evident.

At this time last year, industry analysts were waiting to see if the Trump Administration would deliver on its promises to enhance port infrastructure. While the jury is still out on that one, the focus has now been placed on finding the customized solution for U.S. ports reliant on the Suez and newly-expanded Panama canals.


Air freight capacity stretched thin as e-commerce flourishes

Shippers and carriers always view the holiday season with concern, if not dread. Do we have enough staff? Vehicles? Inventory? Are we ready for the online purchases and, later, the returns?


Autos and Agriculture Key Priorities in U.S.-South Korea Trade Talks

Negotiators met Friday to discuss reworking another free trade deal the president has threatened to sink.

Already facing trade threats from China and the prospects of a dissolved North American Free Trade Agreement, President Donald Trump’s administration put another iron in the international commerce fire on Friday as negotiations began between U.S. officials and their South Korean counterparts over the future of a trade deal with Asia’s fourth-largest economy.


Brexit: EU ‘tightens transition guidelines’ on immigration, trade and fishing

The UK’s freedom to determine its own rules on immigration, trade and fishing in a transition period after Brexit may be further restricted, according to revised EU guidelines on a transition.

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November News Update

Top 35 Ocean Carriers: Still a puzzlement
The collapse of Hanjin in 2016 fueled speculation that new players might be emboldened to enter the “top tier” and begin competing for market share. With this, logistics mangers putting container shipping to work are facing the biggest shift in their carrier base in 20 years—and now must adapt their procurement and contract strategy. More
Ports of LA/Long Beach move ahead on zero emission mandate
According to port spokesmen, the document “provides high-level guidance for accelerating progress toward a zero-emission future” while protecting and strengthening the ports’ competitive position. More
Japanese carriers perform well
Japanese carriers K Line, MOL and NYK all performed well in their half year reports ahead of their merger into Ocean Network Express (ONE) next April. More
Hamburg Port to Attract Clean Ships with New Fee System
The Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) plans to introduce a new fee rating system featuring an environmental component in an effort to support clean vessels calling at the port. More
NRF: Modernize NAFTA, Do Not Withdraw
The United States should work to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement but should not withdraw from the agreement, the National Retail Federation said. More
NRF: Imports at Top US Container Ports Set a 2nd Record High
Imports set a second all-time monthly record high at US major retailer container ports this summer and are continuing at unusually high levels this month, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report published by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates. More
Container carrier reliability stood at just over 72 percent in September, marking the third straight month of declines, according to Lars Jensen, chief executive officer and partner at SeaIntelligence Consulting.
Container industry trends creating new challenges for port terminals.
Carrier consolidation and the deployment of larger containerships, coupled with lagging infrastructure has created significant issues for North American terminals, according to a new report from consulting firm AlixPartners.
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FMC’s NVO rate agreement simplification moves to proposed rulemaking

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission voted to move forward with issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register calling for industry feedback into simplifying the agency’s rules and procedures for NSAs and NRAs.
The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on Wednesday voted to move forward with issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register calling for industry feedback into simplifying the agency’s rules and procedures for non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVO) service arrangements (NSAs) and negotiated rate arrangements (NRAs).
“I am pleased that the Commission has taken this step to move forward on a petition to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens that increase complexity and costs in America’s ocean supply chain,” said Acting FMC Chairman Michael A. Khouri in a statement following the commission meeting.
“Ultimate adoption of these rules will makes NSAs and NRAs more useful for consumers in the marketplace. Additionally, I hope to receive more comments on whether the rule could go further, as requested by NCBFAA in their petition, to expand the NRA to utilize non-rate commercial terms,” he said.
NRAs are negotiated between NVOs and their shipper customers. The FMC published its regulations allowing NRAs in March 2001 and were amended in July 2013. However, the final rule excluded the ability to modify the arrangements after the initial shipment was tendered.
The National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) filed a petition (P2-15) with the FMC in April 18, 2015, calling for the commission to revise its regulations to allow for NRAs to include economic terms beyond rates, such as surcharges, credit terms, minimum quantities, forum selection and arbitration clauses, and be modified any time upon mutual agreement between an NVO and shipper.
In addition, the petition requests eliminating the filing and essential terms publications requirement of NSAs or eliminate Part 531 in its entirety.
The FMC Regulatory Reform Task Force in March identified P2-15 as an immediate objective to address burdensome, unnecessary and outdated directives.
“The OTI (ocean transportation intermediary) commenters have made a substantial case that continuing the filing requirement for NSAs does not appear to offer any regulatory benefit. From staff’s view, our experience indicates that NSAs have been largely beneficial and not a source of competitive abuses or malpractice. NCBFAA correctly points to the absence of a larger base of shippers (BCOs) utilizing NSAs as an indicator that more needs to be done,” said Peter King, FMC’s deputy managing director, in a prepared statement to the commission.
“In removing the NSA filing and essential terms publication requirements, the commission seeks to preserve the current range of pricing and contracting choices among those NVOs offering NSAs, while eliminating the attendant filing and publication costs,” he added. “Regulatory relief is likely to make NSAs a more attractive pricing and contracting tool and thereby encourage increased use of NSAs. NVOCCs preferring the flexibility of including both service and rate-related items in their contract offerings can readily use NSAs, provided they are relieved of the [tariff] filing and publication burdens of same.”

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News Update Sep 2017

NY/NJ handles 14,400 teu vessel following Bayonne Bridge raising

The 14,400 teu capacity vessel, CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt has become the largest container ship to call the Port of New York and New Jersey after arriving at APM Terminals (APMT) Elizabeth container terminal. more…


Shipping bosses: two-year Brexit transition will not be long enough

Industry leaders will tell Theresa May that new customs system must continue to ensure frictionless trade. more…


China will use ‘all necessary means’ against US trade probe

Commerce ministry adds to previous condemnation of plans by Trump administration to investigate alleged theft of US intellectual property. more…


U.S. Trade Deficit Rises as Policy, Weather Cloud Future

The U.S. trade deficit has ballooned, but its path forward is uncertain Combined increases in U.S. exports and imports have inflated America’s trade deficit by $27.9 billion over the year – a hike of 9.6 percent that brought the U.S. commerce shortfall to $43.7 billion in July.more…


USA needs to fix its massive global trade gaps if ‘America First’ is going to work

A sense of urgency is needed to fix a weak and unbalanced U.S. economy. more…

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July News Update

Commentary: Dockworkers hold fist over America’s supply chains
U.S. shippers should not underestimate the power the nation’s longshore unions hold over the flow of containerized cargo, said Chris Gillis, editor at American Shipper. More…

Senators introduce legislation to prevent port slowdowns
Legislation was introduced last week in the U.S. Senate aimed at preventing labor union slowdowns at ports.More…

Brexit: Seven things that have happened in the seven days since the UK triggered Article 50
Talk of war with longstanding allies, hate crime and national hysteria over a dubious story about chocolate eggs have marked the beginning of the UK’s divorce from the EU. More…

OCEAN Alliance Starts Ploughing the Seas
CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Line and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) launched the forty new services through the OCEAN Alliance on Saturday, April 1.
The OCEAN Alliance comprises a total of 323 ships with an estimated total carrying capacity of over 3 million TEUs, and will run for the next ten years. More…

Singapore grants Japan’s ‘Big 3’ approval to merge container operations
Separately, the three Japanese ocean carriers – NYK, “K” Line and MOL – on Friday filed an agreement with the Federal Maritime Commission to merge container operations.More…

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News Letter April 2017

Commentary: Dockworkers hold fist over America’s supply chains
U.S. shippers should not underestimate the power the nation’s longshore unions hold over the flow of containerized cargo, said Chris Gillis, editor at American Shipper. More…
Senators introduce legislation to prevent port slowdowns
Legislation was introduced last week in the U.S. Senate aimed at preventing labor union slowdowns at ports.More…
Brexit: Seven things that have happened in the seven days since the UK triggered Article 50
Talk of war with longstanding allies, hate crime and national hysteria over a dubious story about chocolate eggs have marked the beginning of the UK’s divorce from the EU. More..

Ocean Alliance starts ploughing the seas
CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Line and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) launched the forty new services through the OCEAN Alliance on Saturday, April 1.
The OCEAN Alliance comprises a total of 323 ships with an estimated total carrying capacity of over 3 million TEUs, and will run for the next ten years. More…

Singapore grants Japan’s ‘Big 3’ approval to merge container operations
Separately, the three Japanese ocean carriers – NYK, “K” Line and MOL – on Friday filed an agreement with the Federal Maritime Commission to merge container operations.More...

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China Consolidation has arrived

Our clients have asked for a quicker more consistent transit time for LCL cargo from China, just like we provide in our European consolidation. We have responded by kicking off our ocean consol service from Shanghai.


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Shanghai and Pittsburgh CFS warehouses
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 Transit time approx.30-32 days
FOB Shanghai to door
Mid-Atlantic United States locations
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from our Pittsburgh office to manage your urgent cargo

Call us today to book your next LCL shipment from China!

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News Flash

  ILA members call for shutdown of ports along Atlantic, Gulf Coasts

The International Longshoremen’s Association said it plans to march in Washington, targeting the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor and the South Carolina Ports Authority.

The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) said it is calling for a shutdown of ports along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and a march on Washington next week.
   The union, whose members work at marine terminals from Texas to Maine, said the protest “is expected to bring much of America’s port economy to a halt.”
   The ILA said it is protesting “job loss and the resulting negative impacts on America’s economy,” but is using the event to protest two issues:
     • Its long-standing desire to eliminate the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor;
     • And the use of state employees at terminals operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA).
   The ILA has not yet announced what day and exactly where the march will be held, but said it will “highlight hiring practices in some of the nation’s ports that purposely reduce the numbers of dockworkers, causing immeasurable damage to the nation’s economy.”
   The union said, “Specifically, interference by the South Carolina Port Authority has reduced the number of dockworkers, injuring not only the port itself, but also the local and national economy.”
   Over 500 state workers are employed at SCPA terminals. They operate ship to shore cranes, and container handling equipment in the container yards at the port. ILA members shuttle containers between the container yard and cranes and man the gates truckers use to move containers in and out of the terminals.
   The ILA also complains that the Waterfront Commission, an agency created in the 1950s to fight corruption and crime on New York and New Jersey docks and regulate the supply of labor is “damaging the regional economy of the Port of New York and New Jersey” by “causing hundreds of jobs at the port to remained unfilled.”
   “We will wake up the decision makers and force them to focus on our ports,” said Kenneth Riley, vice president and president of ILA Local 1422 in Charleston. “We are protesting damage to the nation’s economy that is caused by the kind of interference that President Trump promised to stop.”
   When contacted by American Shipper, neither the Waterfront Commission or the SCPA were willing to comment on the ILA announcement.

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News Flash

The after effects from container shipping industry’s momentous 2016

Last year saw massive changes in container shipping, but will they benefit retailers and other shippers in 2017?   By Chris Dupin  AS Magazine Jan 30, 2017
This year, shippers will have to grapple with the implications of changes that rocked the container shipping industry in 2016 – the continued delivery and deployment of dozens of mega-containerships; widespread overcapacity; carriers suffering huge financial losses, eventually leading to the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy; and a wave of mergers and acquisitions, some consummated and some still in progress.
Many retailers and others importing goods from Asia are grappling with these changes as they renegotiate transpacific shipping contracts, which commonly run from May 1 to April 30.
Those contracts will kick in as carriers consolidate the four major global container carrier alliances on the east-west trades between Asia, North America and Europe into just three agreements this April.

The Trump Factor. Adding more uncertainty is the election of Donald Trump, who has questioned how much the United States is benefiting from international trade, often focusing his attention on the outsourcing of jobs to and importing of goods from Mexico and China.
Trump’s transition team has reportedly discussed imposing tariffs as high as 10 percent on imports in order to spur U.S. manufacturing, either through executive action or as part of a tax reform package.
Still, it’s early to tell if Trump’s rhetoric, or the actions of his new administration, will reduce container trade.
It’s one thing for Trump to convince Carrier to keep making air conditioners in Indiana or Ford not to open another assembly plant in Mexico, but it will be a much heavier lift to return other manufacturing jobs to the U.S.
For example, 97.3 percent of the apparel and 98.4 of footwear consumed in the U.S. in 2015 was imported, with 33.5 percent of apparel and 75.4 percent of footwear from China, according to U.S. government statistics cited by the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA).
According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, “For 825 products out of a total of about 5,000, adding up to nearly $300 billion, China supplies more than all other U.S. trade partners.”
“Clearly there’s a downside risk,” said Paul Bingham, vice president of trade and logistics at Economic Development Research Group. “Any move by Congress to actually throw up tariffs or even non-tariff barriers can certainly inhibit the volume of trade pretty quickly on the transpacific.”
Tariffs or other barriers thrown up by other countries – whether pre-emptive or retaliatory – could also hurt U.S. exports.
Case in point: China last month raised and made permanent tariffs first put in place in January 2016 on U.S. exports of corn, ethanol, and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), an ethanol byproduct used as animal feed.
“These tariffs are the poster child of bad trade deals,” said Mark Marquis, chief executive officer of ethanol maker Marquis Energy. According to his firm, “U.S. farmers say these unfair tariffs will cost U.S. agriculture at least $2 billion per year.”
Last year, 234,895 TEUs of DDGS were exported from the U.S., 94,119 of those TEUs to China, according to data from trade information supplier Datamyne. Even with the lower tariffs in 2016, exports from the U.S. plummeted 70 percent in FOB value in the first 11 months of the year to $467 million.
“Even if there is some move to inhibit imports, if the dollar keeps strengthening, that will keep working to the advantage of the companies exporting to the U.S. and damage potential for exporters from the U.S.,” noted Bingham. “That will filter through to the container trades, as it has in the past for those products where the U.S. has essentially been a ‘swing supplier,’ and be competed away by other countries trying to export like the Europeans, Japanese, Canadians or Australians.” Many of those products are agricultural.

The Right Direction? Regardless of U.S. trade policy, some shippers are questioning the direction the container industry is heading. A report published in November by the Global Shippers Forum and supported by the National Industrial Transportation League said “mega-ships and strategic alliances reduce supply chain efficiency and rivalry on important parameters of competition, including capacity, sailing frequency, transit times, ports of call and associated service quality.”
The report asked if “the time is right to question the received wisdom that shipping alliances and consortia are preferable to consolidation between carriers,” even as 2016 saw the consummation of the COSCO-China Shipping and CMA CGM-APL mergers, and the announcement of mergers by Hapag-Lloyd and UASC, Maersk and Hamburg Süd, and the liner operations of Japanese carriers NYK, MOL, and “K” Line.
“To be honest, we’re still trying to figure out if the alliances, as a whole are good or bad,” said Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Jessica Dankert, senior director of retail operations at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), says ocean carrier competition is important for retailers, and that with consolidation comes a risk of “further commoditization” of ocean shipping services.
“It’s important to maintain that degree of competition,” she said, so carriers can “differentiate both at the alliance level and the individual carrier-line level.”
Walter Kemmsies, an economist for Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), believes further container industry consolidation is likely, but noted there is still “an awful lot of supply out there,” and rates could continue to suffer. Whether last year’s record containership demolition pace continues will be key.

Hanjin Bankruptcy. Hanjin’s insolvency had an “outsized impact” on the apparel and footwear industry, said Nate Herman, senior vice president of the AAFA. As manufacturers negotiate new contracts, many are taking additional steps to ensure they are sufficiently diversified should one of their carriers fall into financial distress. It took months in some cases for shippers to recover goods that had been in transit with Hanjin when the company went bust. Even last month Gold was hearing from NRF members still trying to return empty Hanjin containers.
London-based consultant Drewry estimates container carriers lost $5 billion in 2016 and projects average freight rates (blended contract and spot) will rise 12 percent globally and 14 percent on east-west trades, cautioning that contract rates could jump 20 percent to 40 percent on certain lanes in 2017.
There could be a “flight to quality,” as shippers seeking to book cargo only with the most financially stable carriers, said Drewry. But Herman said there is a “certain murkiness” surrounding the finances of some carriers, and that the demise of Hanjin was a surprise for most AAFA members.
“We learned from Hanjin that it’s not just one carrier who’s affected because of the shared space,” added Gold.
Dankert said retailers “are paying really close attention to” the reduction in the number of alliances and the long-range outlook for carriers as they negotiate contracts.
U.S. Federal Maritime Commissioner William P. Doyle said THE Alliance, one of the space sharing agreements that goes into effect in April, has inserted “framework language” about how members of the alliance could deal with a carrier in financial trouble.
The details still need to be worked out, but in theory, if an alliance carrier failed, a collective funding mechanism “could be used to pay operational expenses to bring ships into port and unload containers to ensure that cargo is not stranded on the water,” he said.
FMC Commissioner Rebecca Dye noted that such a plan is not part of the competition analysis performed by the commission, but she supports the idea if it is “in response to concerns and needs that are expressed by their customers and the marketplace.”
Herman said shippers are pleased with THE Alliance’s plan, but noted “the proof is in the pudding. Hopefully we won’t have to see how it works in reality.”
Bill Heaney, vice president and head of consumer and retail sectors in the Americas region for DHL Global Forwarding, said he is having more in-depth discussions with shippers “regarding bringing an NVO into their carrier base or contracts so they can be sufficiently diversified.”
Small retailers were always willing to talk to NVOs because they didn’t have the buying power to get lower rates, he said, and large retailers would sometimes use NVOs on smaller, more challenging lanes. But this year, even the largest retailers are talking to DHL in order to ensure carrier diversification, as well as maintain service to all the ports they had previously utilized.

Detention And Demurrage. Shippers have become increasingly concerned about port congestion, whether it is caused by the challenges associated with working larger ships, poor weather, insufficient infrastructure in and around ports, or labor problems such as those seen during the 2014-15 contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and employers.
After being hit with extensive detention and demurrage charges even when congestion prevented them from retrieving or delivering containers on time, a group of shippers petitioned the FMC in December to clarify when such penalties are “just and reasonable.” (Demurrage is a charge imposed on shippers for space occupied by a container at a terminal after a specified number of days, also known as “free time,” expires. Detention is a charge for the use of equipment such as containers and chassis after a similar grace period.)

National Portal. A major initiative of the Federal Maritime Commission in 2016 was the creation of “Supply Chain Innovation Teams” that initially focused on improving the flow of imports through the largest U.S. cargo ports – Los Angeles, Long Beach, and New York/New Jersey – and are now turning to exports in their second phase.
Dye, who is heading up the FMC’s efforts, said the teams are “attempting to integrate the American supply chain by developing critical information that each of the actors need, making sure that it’s made available by the other actors.”
For example, information from port operators about when import containers are available for pickup must be accessible by shippers, information technology firms and inland transportation providers in a format that they can actually can use.
The FMC will create a pilot national information portal once the information needs of companies involved in exports have been determined, she said.
Dankert said RILA members hope the Trump administration will support increased investment in infrastructure, but it is crucial that “they are smart investments, and that we are looking at the network as a whole, and not just individual parts.”
Both Dankert and Gold said they were hopeful that efforts to improve the flow of cargo through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach by changing the way the PierPass program works would be successful.
PierPass funds operations of container terminals in L.A. and Long Beach at night and on weekends, and provides an incentive to use off-peak hours by collecting a fee on container cargo that moves in and out of terminals on weekdays. Many terminals in the two ports have also instituted appointment programs for draymen.
Stakeholders in recent months have discussed reforming the PierPass program to require reservations for all container movements and changing to a fee that would be charged round the clock. Another idea is to create a port-wide “peel-off” program where drayage movements would be handled in much the same way taxi drivers serve passengers in a queue at an airport, taking whatever cargo is given to them to whatever destination the shipper has specified.
Gold said after a decade in operation, it makes sense to evaluate PierPass and see if reforms are needed.
Other ports are also taking steps to improve the flow of cargo. Oakland terminals have set up truck reservation programs and nighttime hours, while the GCT Bayonne Terminal in New Jersey began phasing in an appointment system in January.

Omni-channel. One of the biggest conundrums facing retailers these days is figuring out how to reconfigure their distribution networks and physical store networks in the face of increased online shopping. Major retailers, including Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sears, and Walmart, have announced plans to close stores as a result of shifting demand patterns.
At the same time, Heaney says an increasing number of retailers are seeking multiple distribution centers closer to consumers so they can offer next-day (or at least faster) delivery to customers at their homes or local stores.
Mike Curless, chief investment officer for industrial and logistics real estate developer Prologis, said his company has seen growing activity by retailers, not just for space linked to “last-mile” deliveries, but for more traditional distribution requirements as well.
Three or four years ago, big retail distribution centers were more likely to be located in tertiary markets where real estate was less expensive. But retailers today are migrating those facilities to large population centers with major airports and, in some cases, seaports.
Consumer delivery expectations driven in large part by companies like Amazon are changing the decision-making process around facility location, said Curless. Proximity to major population centers is critical to having same-day, or even one- or two-day, delivery capabilities.
Because they are more likely to handle parcels than pallets, and because they are more likely to be involved in reverse logistics (some analysts say nearly 30 percent of e-commerce goods are returned, compared to 10 percent of goods sold through brick-and-mortar stores), e-commerce facilities must also be larger.
Greg West, vice president of less-than-truckload (LTL) at C.H. Robinson, said retailers and consumer goods companies are trying to find the best way to serve an omni-channel consumer that may want to shop on the internet, at a store, or over the phone.
Some companies are looking to spread inventory to more distribution locations or stores, as well as putting more pressure on their transportation providers and requiring tighter delivery times for merchandise.
If products are moving through a number of different distribution centers on their way from the port to the retailer, “there’s more of a chance for things to go wrong and on-time is probably just more difficult,” said West.
As a result, C.H Robinson has increased the scale of its LTL offerings and built a network of 16 consolidation centers, where products from multiple suppliers are co-loaded and then sent to retail distribution centers, helping suppliers to reduce the variability of delivery times to retailers.
Lisa Harrington, president of supply chain and logistics consultant the LHarrington Group, said she believes many manufacturing sectors – not just retail and fashion – may move toward shorter, regional supply chains due to the exponential growth of e-commerce and the accompanying consumer demand for shorter delivery times.
Instead of so many products being manufactured in China and moved over long distances to markets in the U.S., for example, those products could be made elsewhere in the Americas and shipped to the U.S. on north-south routes.
Harrington pointed to the success of clothing retailer Zara, which “broke the mold” by manufacturing clothing in Spain instead of Asia in order to shorten its supply chain.
Manufacturers must serve two masters, time and cost, she said. The ability to use analytical software down to the item level will make it possible to determine when it makes sense to produce an item closer to consumers and reduce inventory, or when manufacturing cost is paramount and longer delivery times make sense.

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