New Articles

The Next Big Disruption of the Supply Chain Network

gas

The Next Big Disruption of the Supply Chain Network

Turkey and Greece Clash Over Oil and Gas in the Eastern Mediterranean: 14 Actions to Take to Keep Your Cargo Moving and Your Supply Chain Agile and Resilient.

While the Mediterranean Sea as a whole has been the center of oil and gas explorations, it is in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea that massive gas fields exist. “According to a 2010 study by the US Geological Survey, the Eastern Mediterranean could hold as much as 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in total, equivalent to the reserves of Iraq.” However, the discovery of oil and natural gas in the region has reignited territorial conflicts between Turkey and Greece, both of whom are members of NATO.

Turkey has always felt that the Treaties of Sèvres and Lausanne were not only humiliating but that they stripped the country of valuable territory which is now very promising financially, economically, and logistically. In addition to Turkey and Greece, the discovery of gas affects Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Libya. But for Turkey especially, it could be a means to leverage itself into a much stronger regional power.

In addition, Turkey felt that excluding it from the regional energy development talks in the Eastern Mediterranean, was a slap in the face. As a result, both Turkey and Greece are boosting their military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. There is no doubt that 2 events emboldened Turkey’s actions; the world is busy fighting the coronavirus and the strides made in technological advancement which made manufacturing and acquiring weapons a lot cheaper than what it used to be.

BCOs (Beneficial Cargo Owners) operating in this geopolitical climate should consider these long- term strategies:

-Rethink your supply chains by examining the geographical locations, financial and logistical strengths, weaknesses, agility, and resiliency of your suppliers.

-Add 2 to 3 weeks to your transit times. This will protect you from unexpected weather delays, blank sailings, removal of ships from service, or even the cancellation of sailings altogether if the conflict escalates and waterways and bridges are closed.

-Increase your lead time and inventory level, which may seem expensive at first, but will actually be less expensive in the long run, when you will be forced to resort to shipping by air in order to maintain high service levels and promises to customers.

-Review and revise your forecasts weekly.

-Increase your buffer stock and inventory when necessary; doing so won’t necessarily reduce your cash flow if you negotiate good credit terms with your suppliers.

-Build-in your budget increases in spend on ocean freight rates, BAF, and WRS.

-Assume the worst-case scenario and have alternative procurement sources should sanctions be imposed or should war break out.

-Account for the increases in duty should the alternative suppliers be located in countries subject to higher duty rates.

-Make sure that your cargo carries additional insurance coverage to mitigate war risk.

-Avoid the carriers whose ships carry the flag of the conflicting countries.

-Monitor the financial stability of all links in the value chain frequently, especially the stability of ocean carriers given the consolidations and reorganizations that have been taking place lately.

-Make sure that the air freight cost is accounted for and that your customer will accept the additional charges should you have to resort to airlift any cargo. Having these contingency plans negotiated and agreed upon in advance will eliminate delays, surprises, and even possible plant closures due to last-minute disagreements.

-Communicate, plan, and execute with internal and external stakeholders frequently. Constant communication cannot be emphasized enough. So is the frequent evaluation of all suppliers and service providers for products, services, and contract revisions if necessary due to the volatility and complexity of today’s supply chains.

-Stay abreast of events in the whole Middle East region given the daily geopolitical developments some of which may affect the movement of cargo between that region and the world.

This is a conflict that, at first sight, seems to be between Turkey and Greece but, in reality, it’s much more complicated than that because now the USA and the EU are involved. As a matter of fact, the EU is considering sanctions against Turkey.

The best course of action would be for the clashing countries to renegotiate the treaties that caused their grievances including but not limited to their territorial waters and the Law of the Sea.

Lastly, the latest military escalation was not the result of the discovery of gas only as it carries within its centuries of territorial and religious conflicts. Most importantly, this is happening between Turkey and Greece who at one time were glorious empires and who are intent on bringing that glory back.

______________________________________________________________

Omar Kazzaz specializes in business strategy, BPI (Business Process Improvement) as well as supply chain design, planning and execution. He has 28 years of experience in international business, global logistics and supply chain.   

Mr. Kazzaz is a long-standing member of the Global Thinkers Roundtable. In addition, he has been involved in numerous panel discussions on global trade and global logistics. His comments and articles on international trade agreements, global manufacturing and supply chain have been quoted in many publications. 

Mr. Kazzaz holds an MBA in International Management from Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management in Glendale, AZ, and a BA in German and Economics from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Besides his native Arabic language, Mr. Kazzaz speaks French and German. 

intermodal

SHIPPERS ON INTERMODAL: CHANGES NEEDED FOR GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES

The intermodal transportation sector is experiencing an interesting shift as of lately. The combination of disruptions from the pandemic while others are caught playing catch up to adequately refill warehouses and distribution centers has posed new questions for a variety of sector leaders. For the intermodal sector, however, a new question is present in the minds of leaders and players in this arena: What is needed to leverage opportunities for growth post-pandemic and moving forward with the “new normal” we keep hearing about?

The answer to this question is not found within one single solution or technology offering. In fact, there is no single answer at all. The perfect mix of artificial intelligence, increasing capacity and creating more visibility and agility within operations will ultimately be the key to reviving and maintenance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all parts of the supply chain, from operations and compliance to technology integration, and although many players have successfully restarted operations, it is important to consider the ways transportation has been forever impacted to better prepare for future disruptions. But in what ways has the pandemic impacted the intermodal industry? Doug Punzel, president of Celtic Intermodal, explains exactly how the pandemic has impacted the sector and how methods are shifting to accommodate continued movement.

“As COVID-19 continues to impact the supply chain and logistics across industries, some areas have limited access to trucks,” explains Punzel. “The truck shortage has increased demand for intermodal transportation. In fact, beginning the third week in April, we have begun to see surges in volume–especially in California, Texas and Mexico. We are seeing shortages of box and train capacity in some areas, as shippers with expanding needs are caught up and filling warehouses. At the same time, many markets in the United States have plenty of box, drayage and train capacity.”

Utilizing a robust technology toolbox further supports the industry, although some sectors are slower to adapt than their partners. The key to remember here is not how much tech is being used, but what challenges are solved through their implementation and how they are customizable for specific customer needs.

“AI, machine learning and other software advancements allow real-time visibility of end-to-end supply chain operations to keep a pulse on the business,” Punzel says. “The ultimate goal is to reduce risks, capture more competitive freight pricing, and identify optimal routes for the greatest cost savings.

“With today’s volatile current events that threaten to disrupt the supply chain on a regular basis, flexibility is vital for business success. For many shippers, intermodal transportation has incredible potential to be a reliable and affordable component of logistics strategy. Technology innovations are supporting real-time visibility, mitigating risks, and optimizing transportation costs.”

Celtic Intermodal, a Transplace company, offers a unique solutions portfolio for customers seeking the perfect solutions, offering flexibility and visibility while keeping an eye on the unexpected. Celtic focuses on what the customer needs are throughout the process while identifying areas of improvement both operationally and financially. The company offers customers Strategic Capacity Solutions, Door-to-Door Intermodal, 53-foot Containers, 40-foot Containers, Cross-border Intermodal and International Drayage in addition to managing more than 20,000 40-foot container shipments each year. Celtic’s robust network of steamship lines and dray provider partners further support consistent capacity to meet the needs of their global customer network.

“We implement dynamic solutions to our customers’ transportation needs by providing exceptional customer services, capacity, reliability and expertise,” Punzel says. “With access to over 70,000 containers every day and strong relationships with major rail providers, including Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, CSX, BNSF, CN, CP, and KCS/KCSM, our dedicated account team focuses on our customers–providing the best combination of rates and routes.

“Our cross-border intermodal services bypass border-crossing issues and congestion,” he continues. “We enhance the security of customers’ shipments while reducing overall transportation spend with our door-to-door intermodal services across Canada, Mexico and the U.S.”

The unique relationship Celtic has with its Class 1 Railways network offers customers competitive options in transportation that others cannot. Punzel points out two specific pros to working with Celtic that keep shipments moving and customers satisfied.

“We are strategically located near our customers and where rail ramps are located,” he says. “We can be more effective with short-haul moves within five to 800 miles because we are closer to rail ramps. And in case of derailment or tunnel outage or another type of outage, we leverage our relationships to remain in close communications with Class 1 Railways and be more collaborative to support our customers’ needs. We conduct network analysis to help customers identify modal conversions and scale up or down with volume. With well-integrated intermodal transportation, overall shipping costs are greatly reduced.”

Punzel goes on to explain that the simplicity of scheduling is a significant factor to promoting growth for the intermodal sector. It goes directly back to predictability and the constant need for progression within the industry. The relationships developed and utilized by Celtic provides added security for customers in case of the unpredictable. This is especially important in today’s “new normal,” where measures in safety and regulation seem to change without much notice. The supply chain does not have time to stop and companies such as Celtic present solutions for issues before they happen.

“Customers with over-the-road freight are open to conversion to intermodal only if the schedule is predictable,” Punzel explains. “Over the past three years, all railroads have improved service by maintaining reliable, scheduled, on-time performance, which is key to growth.”

So, what exactly needs to occur for progression and growth within the intermodal sector? In simple terms, the perfect mix consisting of the right technology that provides accurate and timely visibility, advanced predictions analytics, integrated communications, and removing inefficiencies that create unplanned costs. This perfect mix is not as hard to attain when customers are paired with the right partners for the job. As we learned with Celtic, strategic locations and competitive offerings make a significant difference in offering the best options and supporting the bottom line.

_______________________________________________________________

Doug Punzel is the president of Celtic International, to which he brought more than three decades of transportation experience. He joined Celtic in 2014 and has been instrumental in the company’s growth. Throughout his tenure in the industry, he has served in a number of roles, including sales, customer service, operations and leadership. Prior to Celtic, he was a leader within the intermodal sales division at Schneider National.

shipping containers

Pros and Cons of Re-using Shipping Containers

If you keep up to date with the latest worldwide architectural trends, you must know that a lot of fuss has been made over old shipping containers. These days, they aren’t just discarded after their expected life is over. Instead, people turn them into houses, storage units, coffee shops, restaurants – you name it. You have to admit how crafty this is for those who want to start a business amid a global crisis. However, it can’t be denied that there are both advantages and disadvantages of reusing shipping containers. I would like to cover the basic ones, in case you are pondering about giving an old shipping container a new life.

Save your time and money

Building a home from scratch (or any other structure that provides shelter) is not only an expensive project – it is also a time-consuming one. Anyone who has ever been in the situation to go through the entire construction process will be able to give you first-hand insight into all the difficulties ahead. The good thing is that most of those time and money-related problems can be solved by repurposing shipping containers.

Not only are they very affordable, but you can also build them incredibly quickly: you stick them together like Lego pieces. An added benefit is that you can easily move them to a new location. After all, that is their original purpose. This certainly comes in handy in the fast-paced world we live in – you never know where you might end up.

Shipping containers are durable

As you already know, shipping containers are built to sustain all the challenges of maritime shipping. The ocean can certainly be rough at times, leading manufacturers to build extremely durable units. Compared to cement units, shipping containers are lightweight since they have a steel structure. All of this leads to a much more resilient unit against earthquakes – a feature you surely want your home or business property to have.

Apart from being safe, one has to admit that a structure made by putting together a couple of shipping containers does look contemporary and unique. Talk about a great way to have a safe yet aesthetically-pleasing home at the same time.

Protect the environment by reusing shipping containers

It’s quite simple to see how you protect the environment by repurposing shipping containers. Did you know that you can save about 3500 kilograms of steel by reusing just one shipping container? Now imagine how much you save by using a couple of them. Moreover, by turning a plethora of shipping containers into a building, you can prevent the use of brick and cement for the new structure. Knowing that cement is one of the biggest sources of CO2, one of nature’s biggest enemies, gives you an additional reason to reuse old containers.

The temperature inside a container can be a problem

It’s impossible to talk about the biggest cons of reusing shipping containers without mentioning the difficulties of controlling the temperature inside. Since containers are made of steel, they can very easily absorb both heat and cold. So if you are thinking about starting a new business or building a home entirely out of shipping containers, you will need to invest in insulation. Otherwise, you could be facing incredibly low temperatures in the winter and extreme heat in the summer. And those are two extremes you definitely don’t need to experience.

The possibility of rust and corrosion

If you plan on repurposing old shipping containers, you need to be ready for the fact that they require a lot of maintenance. They are not corrosion or rust-proof and they do best in moderate climate conditions. If you live in a dry area with very little rainfall, you live in the perfect place to avoid the problems mentioned above. But if you don’t, we suggest you prepare for the fact that rust and corrosion might appear sooner rather than later.

Be aware of toxic exposure when repurposing

Many shipping containers will need to be exposed to multiple insecticides to meet the global import and export regulations and procedures. If you plan on residing or starting a business inside such containers, you might face toxic exposure. Since you don’t want to risk your health and that of others, I strongly suggest you remove the container’s wooden floor. Also, cover the inside surface with bare metal, which you should later cover with non-toxic paint.

Whether you decide that reusing shipping containers is the right move for you is your decision. I wanted to familiarize you with both the benefits and the disadvantages of doing so. If you don’t mind putting a bit of extra maintenance into the process, repurposing a container is a great idea. Otherwise, you might do better by going down the traditional route.

_________________________________________________________________

Julia Richards is the owner of a small business with a degree in finance and accounting. Apart from being a successful business owner with 15 years of experience, Julia also enjoys working as a freelance writer on a variety of different topics and a number of websites, including Zippy Shell of Greater Philadelphia. Her passion is helping young entrepreneurs surpass the challenges of the business market, as she has been doing for over a decade. Julia resides in Seattle with her husband, two kids, and a family dog. 

ships

DON’T LOOK SOLELY AT THE LARGEST SHIPS IN GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS

When it comes to ocean transportation, some might automatically think of massive container vessels carrying loads upon loads of cargo with ease. Vessels such as the OOCL Hong Kong, COSCO Shipping Taurus or Madrid Maersk are on the list of the largest shipping vessels across the globe. Although these and other large-scale shipping vessels significantly contribute to the movement of goods in the supply chain, there are quite a few smaller vessels and ships that are just as important and continue contributing to the transportation of goods and fulfilling other purposes for those on the water.

Our goal is to give these smaller vessels credit where it is rightfully due, all while examining their position in the ocean transportation industry and where they are headed.

REEFER SHIPS (AND CONTAINERS)

Known for being smaller in size and scale, the reefer ship serves a special purpose in transporting goods, specifically perishable goods including food and other items requiring specific cooling capabilities. The major differentiator among these ships is their unique design exclusively for transporting cold items. These ships are typically equipped with specific access points and pallets capable of holding reefer containers (usually twenty-foot TEUs). Port Technology has appropriately referred to these reefer containers as “large fridges carried by containerships.”

Among the types of cargo commonly found on one of these reefer ships, bananas are considered the most important over fruits, meats, and even blood and other expensive types of cargoes, according to Port Technology. Other items include pharmaceuticals, flowers and other perishable food varieties. Without the capabilities of these reefer ships to ensure proper temperatures are maintained during transport, many parts of the supply chain would suffer.

The reefer ship does have its competition, however. The previously mentioned “large fridges” are becoming savvier and offering more in terms of temperature variations during transport. Port Technology reports that in 2018, only eight total reefer transport specialist companies existed out of the original 20+ back in 2000. These upgraded reefer containers are cited as the main culprit of this.

BARGE VESSELS

Known for its unique “raft” appearance and functions, the barge vessel stands out by offering much more than what meets the eye. This special type of transport method requires some powering from another source, meaning it does not have its own engine to keep it moving. Although there are some self-powered barges in the modern market, the classic barge in known for relying on a tugboat to move from point A to point B successfully. The barge maintains its position for inland transportation through its environmentally friendly benefits such as reduced fuel usage while transporting more in fewer miles compared to trucks.

According to a report from the American Maritime Partnership, more than 750 million tons of cargo are moved by the famous tug-and-barge combination every year, in addition the $30 billion economic impact in America. The barge industry is not exempt from disruptions, however. Last year proved to be a difficult time for the industry due to extreme flooding and trade tensions, directly impacting the agricultural sector. The Waterways Journal reported that 19.8 million acres went without planting in 2019 due to flooding.

“While some freight rates have appreciated, we still face downward pressure in agricultural and coal markets that need significant improvements in demand before the barge industry can realize a true recovery from what we have seen in the last three to four years,” commented Mark Knoy, president and CEO of American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL) in the report.

TUGS

Think of tugs (or tugboats) as a “part two” of the barge vessel. The tug holds its own in the maritime world, however, and is not solely confined to pulling the barge in its lifetime on the water. Whether it is an ocean, sea, rescue or harbor tug, these much smaller helpers on the water work alongside non-powered vessels or other watercraft, including some sizeable ships that needs assistance when in trouble.

These small-but-mighty supporters have a decent range of displacement anywhere from 300 to 1,000 tons, depending on which type (ocean, rescue, harbor). Large tugs are of great importance to global navies. One of the largest of these types of tugs is the Russian Navy’s Vsevolod Bobrov, which boasts a 9,700-ton displacement and the ability to break ice when needed.

CHEMICAL TANKERS

Think of these tankers as the hazmat vessels of the maritime shipping world. Ranging from S1, S2 and S3 rankings of ships, the chemical tankers on the ocean vary in degrees of safety measures based on the types of chemicals onboard and their requirements outlined by the International Bulk Chemical Code (IBC). These tankers vary in size but are typically anywhere from 5,000 dwt all the way up to 50,000 dwt, although the larger tankers are not as frequently seen. These ships come equipped with individual deep well pumps, pipelines and other systems to ensure minimum risk of exposure and potential contamination.

Chemical tankers are a different breed of ships as they come with an increased set of risks from the liquids they transport. Among common risks, cargo compatibility, cargo spillage, toxicity and flammability all pose potential problems for those onboard and the environment. Compliance simply cannot be subpar in efforts when it comes to transporting chemicals and leading chemical carriers such as Odfjell Tankers, Fairfield Chemical Carriers, and B+H Shipping continue to make waves in the transport of chemicals and other related liquids across the globe.

These are just a few of the various types of watercraft supporting the global supply chain. Without these ships guiding the way, many of the things needed to keep domestic and global economies afloat would not be as easily accessible, transportable, or available. As containerships and other mega-vessels continue to challenge the ocean shipping landscape, it is important to consider the ways these smaller ocean vessels and ships can transform to better meet market demands while supporting sustainable operations. At this point in time, these smaller players in ocean shipping are here to stay.

customs bonds

Understanding Customs Bonds

When you’re constantly plagued by bureaucracy and inventory management in the world of shipping, there’s one moment that makes it all worth it: importing the goods. However, that process has one extra step before it’s finalized — obtaining a customs bond. But what does this actually entail? Why must you even have a customs bond? And which one should you get? Don’t worry — we’ll help you with understanding customs bonds right here!

Bonds, Customs Bonds

First of all, we should note that all information found here is valid for the ocean ports and other import points in the United States. The notion of a customs bond originated here. To define it in the simplest possible terms, a customs bond is something like an insurance policy during the import process. But not for you — for the government of the United States. It’s a guarantee that all import taxes and duties will be paid. In the professional world of shipping between leading ports, this is simply called a “bond”.

But why must importers have one in the first place? To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, the only two things that are sure in the world of importing and exporting are taxes and duties. If you have a customs bond, the government has a solid guarantee that it will receive its taxes and duties; even in a force majeure event that leaves your logistics company helpless to pay.

In other words, if an import company goes bankrupt, this bond will cover the air and/or ocean shipments in terms of duties and taxes. This is something that you’ll simply be required to have if you want to import anything into the United States; it’s all within the price of doing business. And bear in mind that these bonds expire as well, so don’t expect to hold onto the same one forever.

Bond Requirements

So, when do you need a customs bond? Mainly, when you’re trying to import goods for commercial purposes with an estimated value of more than $2,500. Apart from this, there may be other requirements for particular goods posed by different agencies of the United States government.

As an example — if you’re importing food items, you will be required to obtain a customs bond regardless of the amount or value of the items. You will also need to comply with other FDA regulations.

When it comes to the different types of bonds that you can have as an importer, there are two primary ones. There are continuous bonds and single-entry bonds. Their names are pretty self-explanatory — the latter only covers a single import shipment, while the former is valid for multiple shipments in a certain time period. Usually, we’re talking about twelve months.

So, which one should you get? This largely depends on the nature of your business. If you’re someone who only imports goods on a rare occasion, like a couple of times a year, you may not need anything more than a single-entry bond.

Obviously, a continuous bond represents a far better option if you’re going to be shipping regularly. And this type of bond has another benefit; when you’re completing the Importer Security Filing information, you won’t have to buy additional bonds. This is data that you need to submit in advance before you load any goods on a ship in a country of origin that’s headed for the United States. Having this information allows the CBP enough time to judge if your cargo poses any security or safety risks.

Bond Expenses

Now that we’ve explained the nature of customs bonds, the question that must be on your minds is — how much do they actually cost? Well, you need to look at customs bonds like any other kind of insurance policy. In the sense that, when you purchase a bond, it’s valid for a specific level of coverage. And naturally, the cost of continuous and single-entry bonds differs.

Single-entry ones can be quite tricky. The minimum amount that you’ll pay for the bond can’t be lower than the estimated monetary worth of the goods plus the taxes that you’d have to pay for their import.

And if these goods have to comply with other agency regulations as well, the initial value is raised to three times their estimated value; that would be the case with the above-mentioned food items, for instance.

When it comes to continuous bonds, the situation is far simpler. The minimal amount is $50,000 — alternatively, it can be ten percent of all the fees and taxes for imports that you’ve paid during the previous fiscal year. That means that the expenses for the bonds can vary, but they’re still far more cost-effective if you’re someone who regularly ships things between ports.

And finally — how do you actually obtain a bond in practice? The easiest method is going through a freight forwarder or a customs broker, that will deal with all of the assorted paperwork. On the other hand, if you’re going to do so yourself — the Treasury Department issues licenses to sureties that will sell you a bond.

___________________________________________________________________

Samwell Stein is a freelance author and logistics advisor. He frequently cooperates with professional shipping and moving companies like Transparent International and advises them on the best industry practices.

risk management

SURVEY: RISK MANAGEMENT CONCERNS RISE AT PORTS AROUND THE WORLD

The deadly spread of COVID-19, and the economic and trade disruption the pandemic has caused, is prompting port managers to examine new ways to improve risk management and digital processes.

Those are the conclusions in the latest biennial global ports survey conducted by Remy InfoSource, which was established in 2001 in the Netherlands to provide artificial intelligence diagnostic solutions to the high-tech and transportation industries. The lifecycle contract management specialist is now based on Australia.

The “2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey” was undertaken during the height of worldwide economic lockdowns in the second quarter of 2020 and on behalf of iSpec, the world’s leading web and mobile-based software procurement solution for buyers of capital intensive outsourced projects such as ports.

The survey revealed that 51 percent of port executive respondents now identify risk management as the key area they would like to improve on in the future, up from 32 percent in the previous iteration of the iSpec Ports Industry Survey in 2018. That year, the top two areas for improvements noted by ports and terminal executives were shorter lead times and more standardization.

“I think it’s no surprise that in such an uncertain world the importance of risk management has increased dramatically,” says Pieter Boshoff, CEO of Remy InfoSource. “Disruption to supply chains has increased across the globe causing operational and investment uncertainty and, with social distancing rules, also changing the way we all conduct our business.

“Managing that risk has become a major challenge at ports, particularly when it comes to managing outsourced equipment tender and procurement projects that are often complex in nature and frequently involve multiple vendors.”

Port operators represented 71 percent of the respondents to the 2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey, up from 58 percent in 2018. More than two thirds of respondents are responsible for the procurement of quay cranes, reach stackers and trailers.

Asked how the COVID-19 lockdown had affected the way ports were conducting business, 41 percent of global respondents said the pandemic had required a shift to more digital collaboration, 49 percent said more projects were now on hold, and 62 percent said they were now working from home more often.

The 2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey also found that “quality” has become the leading reason for customer/supplier disputes. In the 2018 survey, “delays” was cited most often as the cause of customer/supplier disputes.

“No matter what the business, the spread of coronavirus has forced executives to find new ways of conducting business and for the most part this means turning to digital solutions,” Boshoff explained. “There is no doubt in my mind that this is a trend that will accelerate in the future. It is becoming abundantly clear that for many businesses there are benefits and efficiencies in the new online and outsourced methods they have developed during the pandemic. I think many of the work processes adopted during lockdowns, particularly around communication, will outlast the coronavirus crisis and become part of our normal way of working.”

ocean

An Ocean of Potential in the Blue Economy

The Blue Economy

The ocean has always been an essential part of life on this blue planet. Oceans cover over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of the world’s water. We rely on its resources to sustain and improve our lives.

The World Bank created a definition for this “blue economy” that encompasses “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.”

Economic activities associated with the ocean include traditional sectors such as commercial fishing, coastal tourism and maritime transport to support global commerce. Increasingly, the ocean has been tapped for energy sources and generation of off-shore renewable energies like wind and tidal energy. Marine life is explored for applications to pharmaceuticals, desalination offers an opportunity to meet demand for freshwater, and the ocean can be used for carbon sequestration to mitigate climate impacts.

World Bank Definition of Blue Economy

Vital to Livelihoods and Growth

In one form or another, trade in ocean resources contributes between $3-6 trillion to global GDP, supporting the livelihoods of over 3 billion people on the planet.

Recognizing the importance of measuring the economic impact of the ocean, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) in 2019 to develop prototype statistics to measure the ocean’s contribution to the U.S. economy. From aquaculture to shipbuilding, offshore mining and power generation, marine-related activities contributed some $373 billion to U.S. GDP in 2018.

Tourism and recreation generated the most, bringing in just shy of $143 billion in wages, profits, and tax revenue for coastal communities in the U.S. in 2018. The new data also showed that between 2014 and 2018, the American blue economy grew faster than the overall U.S. economy.

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

U.S. Ocean Economy

value added by activity in 2018 (millions of dollars)

Tourism and recreation – 38%

National defense and public administration – 33%

Living marine resources – 3%

Marine transportation – 1%

Offshore minerals and utilities – 15%

Deeper Dive into the Ocean Economy

Fisheries and Aquaculture

The ocean delivers a vital and primary source of protein in the diets of over 3 billion people. Marine fisheries employ over 200 million people either directly or indirectly. Expanded global availability of refrigerated storage and transportation has extended access to all kinds of fresh fish.

Overfishing, exacerbated by heavy government subsidies, has become a key concern, putting nearly 90 percent of the world’s fish stocks are at risk. Both the UN and the WTO have made removing these subsidies a priority to help protect vulnerable coastal communities who rely on fish for their own consumption and the local economy.

One-half of all fish we eat is farmed rather than captured. Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world. China produces a huge amount of the world’s farmed fish and is the top producer by value of carp, tilapia, catfish, shrimp, oysters and many other types. Norway leads in salmon, trout and smelt with Chile a close second.

Tourism

Tourism has long been vital to many coastal economies. Overall, tourism employs 1 out of every 11 people around the world. It is fast becoming one of the world’s biggest industries, making up 10 percent of global GDP. International tourism is an invisible export. Visitors spend money on transportation, housing and entertainment using income earned in their home country.

From scuba diving and surfing to cruises and all-inclusive beach resorts, coastal tourism comes in many flavors. It is particularly important for less-developed nations, as it creates jobs, promotes economic growth, and brings in money that is spent in local businesses like restaurants, shops, and tour services.

Tourism is the economic lifeblood of many Least Developed Countries and small island developing states such as those in the Caribbean and southeast Asia that collectively host 41 million visitors visit every year. These states are focused on delivering services to bring in more tourists while preserving the natural beauty and resources that attract visitors to their islands.

Shipping

Over 80 percent of goods traded internationally such as raw materials, food, consumer goods, and energy products were transported by sea in 2015. Despite reaching a record high of 11 billion tonnes shipped that year, world maritime trade growth decelerated to 2.7 percent in 2018, below the historical average of 3.0, reflecting a range of risks that intensified at the time including global trade tensions, protectionism, and the ‘Brexit’ decision.

Issues surrounding maritime transport are often intertwined with other global economic, environmental and political trends. Security conflicts occur over country ownership of key shipping routes and global discussions are active over the environmental impacts of fuel-guzzling container ships.

The world’s ports can often act as a weather vane for the economy as a whole. Dockworkers feel the effects of tariffs, disasters, and other trade policy changes before farmers, truckers, distributors and retailers do. Effects of the recent U.S.-China trade war and of the COVID-19 pandemic were experienced by dockers who saw the vast reductions in imports before the economic effects rippled throughout the economy.

As supply chains continue to shift and we watch for reshoring, the maritime transport sector may start to look different over the next few years, but will undoubtedly remain an essential part of the global economy.

Stats how we rely on the ocean

Preserving Our Oceans

Sustainability is a key aspect of the blue economy. Although there is an emphasis on environmental stewardship and protection in all parts of the, nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to our oceans, a finite and critical resource.

Overfishing or pollution could deplete fish stocks and cause a severe food crisis. Environmental degradation caused by the tourism industry could ruin the economies of coastal communities. Waste and pollution from shipping could cause accumulated damage to our air and water.

According to Conservation International eight million metric tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean every year. At this rate, by 2050, plastic would outweigh fish in the ocean. Other concerns cited include the runoff of harmful nutrients from agriculture into the ocean, warming temperatures that are bleaching and destroying coral reefs, and even noise pollution from shipping that is killing creatures such as jellyfish.

International governmental cooperation and advances in technology can combat these problems. Conservation and sustainable use form one of the five pillars used by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as part of their Ocean’s Economy and Trade Strategy project. This effort aims to mitigate damage while maintaining the important economic benefits of the blue economy that supports billions of people.

It seems no aspect of economic life has been spared disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, including many parts of the blue economy and related livelihoods. UNCTAD released a report to chart the waters of re-opening the blue economy to become more resilient post-pandemic. It proposes enhanced coordination and communication between fisheries and distributors to cut down on food waste, exercising restraint in sanitary protectionism, and closely monitoring shipping to prevent bottlenecks and delays. UNCTAD also suggests removing fishing subsidies to tackle wasteful overfishing; developing a “2.0 approach” to coastal tourism that showcases local sustainability efforts; and digitizing maritime trade procedures to achieve efficiencies and reduce CO2 emissions.

Untapped Potential

There is still a lot we don’t know about the world’s oceans, so embracing science and discovery will play an important role as we continue to draw on its precious resources and develop new markets. Untapped economic potential includes the capture of carbon, supporting the existence of a rich oceanic biodiversity, waste disposal, and the protection of coasts.

The blue economy is as diverse as its land-based counterpart – perhaps even more so. Sustainability will continue to be extremely important both for its own sake and for the preservation of the resources we rely on every day. With careful stewardship, the blue economy can continue to support billions of people and enrich all of our lives.

______________________________________________________________

Alice Calder received her MA in Applied Economics at GMU. Originally from the UK, where she received her BA in Philosophy and Political Economy from the University of Exeter, living and working internationally sparked her interest in trade issues as well as the intersection of economics and culture.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

vessels

Vessels for Life: Here are the Ships that Make Our Lives more Livable

It’s amazing how interconnected we are as a world—from delivering goods along the supply chain to your local grocery store to the social distancing that has helped to control what we’ll unlovingly refer to as “The Outbreak.” As much as it can be sometimes difficult to be connected, it is this interconnectedness that also allows us to subsist in our day-to-day lives. Toilet paper, cars, and even oil are goods that we can access thanks to the Svengali-esque magic—or organization, rather—of the global supply chain. One could say that it, in fact, makes the world go ‘round.

So today, we’d like to introduce some of the power players in this arena, the unsung voices that help us to have access to different goods each and every day. And these unsung voices are ships, the carriers that are key to our worldwide supply chains.

What follows are five major carriers and eight individual vessels that play an important role in shipping vehicles, cargo containers for manufacturers and other goods and equipment of all sizes that make our lives more livable each day.

MSC Gülsün (MSC)

The MSC Gülsün is a ship in the fleet of the Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), a world leader in container shipping. The MSC Gülsün is the largest container ship in the world, with a max capacity of more than 23,000 TEUs. (Try that on for size!) It has more than 2,000 refrigerated containers; a hybrid exhaust gas cleaning system; a dual-tower firefighting system; 35 cabins; and double-hull protection.

The MSC Gülsün also has an eye for sustainability, increasing the efficiency of the CO2 emitted by 48 percent. With a hybrid exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS), this ship is also self-cleaning. The vessel can carry 8 million solar panels, more than 47,500 cars, 223 million bananas, nearly 3 million washing machines and 386 million pairs of shoes, MSC boasts.

The ship was built in South Korea at Samsung Heavy Industries. The MSC Gülsün is 400 meters long and 60 meters wide. Despite its size, its engineering reduces resistance from the wind, which leads to lower fuel consumption.

Venus Leader (NYK Line)

The Venus Leader is a vehicle carrier with the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line, a global shipping and logistics company. The roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) division of NYK is the largest worldwide. Built in 2010, the Venus Leader sails under the Japanese flag. It carries up to 15,301 t DWT (tanker deadweight tonnage). Her draught is 7.1 meters. The Venus Leader has a length of 186.03 meters and is 28.2 meters wide.

The NYK line has a fleet of 118, which carries more than 3.4 million cars each year. In addition to cars, the NYK ro-ro division also carries agricultural machinery, plant equipment and specialty cargos such as boilers, transformers and yachts. The company has sustainability goals. For instance, by 2050, it aims to have a zero-emissions ship, the NYK Super Eco Ship.

M/V Liberty (ARC)

The M/V Topeka was re-flagged to American registry and re-named the M/V Liberty on Jan. 31, 2017, to be consistent with the practice of owner American Roll-on Roll-Off Carrier (ARC) to name its ships after American values. M/V Liberty is now among the most capable and militarily-useful vessels in the U.S.-flag commercial fleet, able to carry tracked vehicles, helicopters, trucks, and other military and high and heavy project cargoes. The vessel is 199.99 meters long with a beam of 32.26 meters, a stern opening of 15.2 meters wide and 5.4 meters high, and a stern ramp rated for cargo up to 237 metric tons.

Vessels in the ARC fleet are known for their ramp access and system optimization, which helps with quick reconfiguration that allows for maximum lift capacity. That explains why, besides military cargo, ARC ships carry commercial breakbulk as well as agricultural and construction equipment for developing countries. Considering itself one of one part of its partners’ supply chains, ARC also works with the warehousing capabilities of other countries.

Actuaria, ACX Crystal, ACX Diamond (ONE)

The top three vessels with Ocean Network Express (ONE), based on TEUs, are the Actuaria, ACX Crystal and ACX Diamond. Built in 2009, the Actuaria holds up to 6,589 TEUs and flies under the Portugal flag. Built in 2008, the ACX Crystal carries up to 2,858 TEUs and flies the Panama flag. And built in 2008, the ACX Diamond can handle 2,858 TEUs and flies the flag of Singapore. They are but three of 225 vessels in ONE fleet that travels to more than 120 countries and can handle a total of more than 1.5 million TEUs.

The sixth-largest carrier worldwide as of January 2020, ONE operates under four core values: “Lean & Agile” to be a new definition of what a new reality can be; “Teamwork” that builds new value; “Best Practice” through the collaboration of its partners; and “Challenge” that takes strengths to face challenges without being afraid to fail.

Magleby Maersk and Munich Maersk (Maersk)

Two of the biggest ships of Maersk—the Denmark-based logistics giant—are the Munich Maersk and the Magleby Maersk. The Munich Maersk, which has a TEUs capacity of 19,630, was built in 2017 and sails under Denmark’s flag. It has a draught of 7.1 meters with an overall length of 399 meters and a 58.6-meter width.

The Magleby Maersk, which can handle up to18,270 TEUs, is 398 meters long, 33 meters deep and 73 meters high. Built in the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering shipyard, the ship is engineered with two low-revolution and two long-stroke engines. Each packs 9,785 horsepower. According to Vessel Tracking, Maersk operates 538 container ships, which can ship more than 3 million TEUs.

In short, these are a handful of ships that are making waves in transportation and logistics, playing a major role in moving the goods that keep us going each day. Onward!

maritime transport

UNCTAD AND IMO: REMOVE UNNECESSARY REGULATORY OBSTACLES TO MARITIME TRANSPORT DURING AND AFTER COVID-19

The world’s reliance on maritime transport makes it more important than ever to keep ships moving, ports open and cross-border trade flowing, and to support ship crew changeovers, the United Nations maritime and trade bodies said in a joint statement published on June 9.

UNCTAD and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reiterated calls for governments to promote crew well-being by allowing crew changes and ensuring seafarers and other maritime personnel have access to documentation and travel options so they can return home safely.

Maritime transport depends on the 2 million seafarers who operate the world’s merchant ships, which carry more than 80 percent of global trade by volume, including most of the world’s food, energy, raw materials and manufactured goods. Crew changeovers are essential for the continuity of shipping in a safe and sustainable manner, but the process is currently hampered by travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNCTAD and IMO reaffirmed the urgent need for “key worker” designation for seafarers, marine personnel, fishing vessel personnel, offshore energy sector personnel and service personnel at ports. Governments and relevant national and local authorities must recognize that these workers provide essential services, regardless of their nationality, and should thus exempt them from travel restrictions when in their jurisdiction, the organizations pleaded.

“Such designation will ensure that the trade in essential goods, including medical supplies and food, is not hampered by the pandemic and the associated containment measures,” read their joint statement. “We emphasize that, for trade to continue during these critical times, there is a need to keep ships moving, ports open and cross-border trade flowing, while at the same time ensuring that border agencies can safely undertake all necessary controls. International collaboration, coordination and solidarity among all is going to be key to overcoming the unprecedented global challenge posed by the pandemic and its longer-term repercussions.”

global

Latest and Greatest Global Traders on the Move

Per our usual update, below is a list of the latest global trade movers and shakers impacting operations and creating higher standards in leadership. This is a comprehensive list for now, but we will continue to track ongoing recognitions for the next “Global Traders” spotlight. For now, let’s dive into major players across multiple sectors…

James I. Newsome III, the president and CEO of South Carolina Ports Authority, is among five global shipping leaders to be inducted into the 2020 International Maritime Hall of Fame, the Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey announced.

Joining Newsome in being honored May 13 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City are: Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises Inc., Miami, Florida; James R. Mara, president emeritus, Metropolitan Marine Maintenance Contractors’ Association, Rutherford, New Jersey; Dr. Nikolas P. Tsakos, president and CEO, Tsakos Energy Navigation Corp., Athens, Greece; and Lois K. Zabrocky, president and CEO, International Seaways Inc., New York.

Sergio Sabatini was recently named president and Gord Anutooshkin was promoted to chief operating officer (COO) at Denver, Colorado-based OmniTRAX,  the fastest-growing railroad in North America. Sabatini reports to OmniTRAX CEO Kevin Shuba. Anutooshkin, who had been senior vice president of Operations, reports to Sabatini, who had been COO.

Rob Russell, previously of Progressive Rail and Union Pacific Railroad, recently joined OmniTRAX as SVP of Marketing and Commercial Strategy.

Atlanta, Georgia-based Nolan Transportation Group, one of the largest and fastest-growing non-asset truckload freight brokerages and 3PLs in North America, recently named Geoff Kelley as its president. Kelley had most recently served as chief operating officer at Coyote Logistics, a subsidiary of UPS.

Consolidated Chassis Management (CCM) promoted Michael Mitchell to senior vice president and chief operating officer. Mitchell, who has been with CCM since its 2005 launch, had been serving as interim COO. Speaking of CCM, a leading cooperative chassis pool manager in intermodal freight transport, its CEO Michael Wilson was recently elected to a three-year term on the Containerization & Intermodal Institute’s Board of Directors. So have Dr. Noel Hacegaba, deputy executive director of Administration and Operations at the Port of Long Beach, and Gregory Tuthill, chief commercial officer at SeaCube Container Leasing.

Katherine Harper has been named chief financial officer (CFO) at BDP International. Harper comes to the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based global logistics and transportation solutions company from AgroFresh, a produce freshness solutions company.

Jeffrey M. Barlow was appointed CFO at Paxxal Inc., shipping platforms provider based in Noblesville, Indiana.

Rich Kurtz is the new director of National Accounts for BOLT Systems. He comes to the Nashville, Tennessee-based fleet management and freight tracking software company from Trimble Transportation.

The Oxnard Harbor District Board of Commissioners, which oversees California’s Port of Hueneme, recently voted unanimously for Jess Ramirez to serve as its president. First elected to the board in 1992, Ramirez has served as president five times before, and he worked as a longshoreman at the port for 51 years, prior to retiring last year.

Meanwhile, Celina Zacarias has been appointed to the commission. The senior director of Community and Government Relations for the California State University, Channel Islands and chairwoman of the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce was appointed to fill the vacancy that came with Oxnard Harbor District Commissioner Dr. Manuel Lopez’s passing.