We already know that the U.S. trucking industry is under constant pressure from new government agencies, new or modified regulations, changing tax structures and increased competition. It’s also important to understand the affects these things have on another sector of the transportation industry: international freight shipping.
At the 16th Annual Journal of Commerce’s Trans-Pacific Maritime (TPM) Conference many complexities facing the 2016 global trade market concerning freight shipping companies, shippers and other stakeholders were discussed. We did our research to bring you the top 5 things discussed at TPM that you need to know.
1. SOLAS: Recently, the International Maritime Organization mandated the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) container weight policy. Since then, there has been some confusion as to what was going to happen by the July 1 deadline. That is until Coast Guard Adm. Paul Thomas confirmed the rule is not mandatory but only a guideline.
2. Trans-Pacific Shipping: The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) will offer many savings and sourcing opportunities pushing us to be more aware of what products qualify for free trade agreements. Navigating the requirements could be a huge challenge.
As far as our Trans-Pacific partners go, Vietnam has emerged as top exporter to the U.S., overtaking South Korea for Asian suppliers of containerized goods. China’s growing middle class consumption is considered as a benefit to global forwarders.
3. Labor Disputes: West Coast ports have faced instability over frequent port closures. These closures have been mostly due to bitter labor disputes between shipping lines and the union representing 20,000 dock workers.
International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association both announced at this year’s conference that they wanted to avoid a repeat of those events and hinted to an early contract extension.
4. Megaships: Megaships create enormous cargo surges overwhelming ports and making it difficult for harbor drivers to make more than a couple deliveries a day. This has led to an exodus of drivers from the piers. With the sinking of the MOL Comfort, it’s impossible not to consider risk management with megaships. The loss of one could cost more than $1 billion.
5. Big Data Tech: According to the JOC, the amount of funding for transportation-focused ventures spiraled up to $14 billion in 2015. It’s no surprise, especially with Amazon’s announcement of its interest in logistics, that the growing shipping industry has caught the attention of a number of tech developers. The need for regulations influenced and carried out by big data could be a great avenue for tech startups in the industry.