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

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.

coast

AMERICA’S LEADING PORTS FROM COAST TO COAST

What makes a well-functioning port? Let us count the ways. There are a number of factors that contribute to the success of a port. First is location. A port should be in a region with natural resources, access to transportation and enough space for future growth. Second, it should have access to funding through government or private investment. Without this, infrastructure that facilitates the transport of goods can’t be built—tanks, cranes, quays and jetties, for example.

Third, a port should be able to accommodate ships. Does the port provide easy access during low and high tides? How well are the facilities maintained, particularly during flooding, droughts, or in extreme weather? Great ports also have the resources needed to function, including piers, stacking yards, and warehouses. And last, for the ports with an eye toward the future, they should also have access to land that will help with expansion. It will provide easy access to transport—river, rail, road.

A great port is the rare amalgam of art and science—like these leading American ports from coast to coast.

1. Port of New York and New Jersey

With 72 percent of the first port of calls on the East Coast, the Port of New York and New Jersey is the busiest in the region. It has contributed to the New York City area becoming an affluent commercial district nationally and globally. The largest port on the East Coast is also the third-largest in the United States.

It supports 400,000 jobs and has generated almost $8.5 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenues. It has facilitated more than 85 million tons of cargo worth more than $211 billion. Its top exports are wood pulp, wood and articles of wood, and plastics. Top imports are beverages, plastic and machinery parts. New York and New Jersey is No. 3 nationally for the total volume of exports, the highest on the East Coast, behind the West Coast ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

2. Ports of Tacoma and Seattle

The Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma—both located in Washington State and jointly operated by the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA)—is the fourth-largest container gateway. The NWSA, by way of the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma, also ships bulk, breakbulk, project/heavy-lift cargos and vehicles. These ports provide a gateway for major distribution points in the Midwest, Ohio Valley and East Coast.

The NWSA is also a key trade partner with Asia. International trade generated was worth $75.3 billion in 2017. Domestic trade, which includes routes through Puget Sound on the way to Alaska, generated $5.4 billion in 2015, according to the NWSA. The No. 1 gateway for refrigerated exports, the NWSA ports helped generate more than $4.3 billion in revenue for Washington State.

3. Port of Los Angeles

The Port of Los Angeles isn’t quite located in the city of Los Angeles but is 25 miles south in the San Pedro Bay. Nonetheless, the Port of LA is the No. 1 container port in the U.S. in terms of cargo volume going in and out of the port. It includes 7,500 acres of land and 43 miles of waterfront. The Port of LA has passenger and cargo terminals that accommodate containers, cruise lines, automobiles, dry and liquid bulk, breakbulk and warehouse stage space.

Also, the No. 1 container port in the Western Hemisphere since 2000, the Port of LA moved more than 9.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2019. The port is currently undergoing a $2.6 billion infrastructural redevelopment project to strengthen its economic arm and cargo efficiency. The gateway for trade with Asia has a diverse array of exports ranging from avocados and zinc.

4. Port of Long Beach

The Port of Long Beach is the No. 2 busiest container seaport in the U.S., which is fitting because it operates in concert with its numero uno neighbor the Port of Los Angeles. Long Beach’s port supports one in five jobs in its city and contributes to $200 billion in trade annually. The port handled more than 8 million TEUs in 2018, its busiest year. Its Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project is pioneering sustainable practices through a 10-year construction program. It will redevelop two older terminals to create a more advanced, greener container terminal.

A western gateway to Asia, the port has more than 90 percent of its shipments bound for East Asian countries. The Port of Long Beach boasts 3,520 acres of land, 4,600 acres of water, 10 piers, 62 berths and 68 post-Panamax gantry cranes. It also handles 82.3 million metric tons of cargo per year.

5. Port of Houston

Houston might not be the first city that comes to mind when you think “international city,” yet the Gulf Coast location serves as a gateway to various countries. That explains why its port is built for international trade—to the point that it’s the No. 1 U.S. port in total foreign waterborne tonnage, with imports and exports combined.

The Port of Houston contributes 20 percent of the GDP for the state of Texas, worth $339 billion. With 69 percent of all U.S. Gulf Coast container traffic, the Port of Houston is the largest container port. It also prioritizes air quality in the local region through the use of alternative fuels and low-emission equipment and vehicles.

6. South Carolina Ports

Here are two winning statistics: the South Carolina Ports boast more crane moves per hour than any other U.S. port (37), and it also exported more than 194,000 vehicles in 2019. Opened in 1942, the South Carolina Ports Authority consists of public maritime terminals at the Port of Charleston, the Port of Georgetown, and inland ports in Dillion and Greer.

Deep channels accommodate vessels up to 48 feet, and ships are two hours sailing distance from open ocean to South Carolina Ports. Turnaround times for trucks at the gates are 23 minutes with nine minutes at the interchange gate. Transportation is also amenable with interstate access within two miles of all South Carolina Ports, and rail access through CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads.

7. Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland waters are 50 feet deep to accommodate vessels that hold capacities of up to 18,000 TEUs. This up-and-coming port has transportation partners that include Union Pacific and BNSF Railway. International accounts for 92 percent of the port’s trade, with 78 percent being with Asia, 11 percent with Europe and 2 percent apiece with Australia/New Zealand and Oceania and other foreign countries. The Port of Oakland is one of the three major container ports in California that account for more than 50 percent of total U.S. cargo volume.

The port contributes to more than 73,000 jobs in the Oakland region, and more than 827,000 in the United States. Growth With Care, a five-year growth plan the port released in 2018, aims to bring in more business, with a goal of 2.6 million TEUs and an 8 percent increase in containerized cargo volume by 2022. Investing in large projects and focusing more on sustainable practices throughout the port are also part of the growth plan.

8. PortMiami

The Port of Miami (a.k.a. PortMiami) is the U.S. container port that is closest to the Panama Canal. It provides global access to Florida and much of the rest of the United States. It’s also the closest East Coast port to Mexico.

More than $1 billion was invested in 2019 to make PortMiami even more accessible globally. It has a deeper dredge to welcome large cargo vessels, and on-port rail provides alternative transportation. The port also has an underwater tunnel that connects to the interstate to keep port traffic off of the highway. PortMiami is located strategically at the nexus of north-south and east-west trade lines.

9. Port of South Louisiana

This 54-mile long port sits at the intersection of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River, which provides easy distribution for products at the domestic and international levels. The Port of Louisiana has three main interstates that connect to the port. It is also served by six major gas and oil lines, transporting more than 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day.

In 2019, the Port of Louisiana had 3,495 calls from oceangoing vessels, and 54,921 barge calls. The total throughput for the year totaled more than 258 million tons of cargo through vessels and barges. Port of South Louisiana’s Foreign Trade Zone 124 was ranked No. 1 by Merchandise Magazine based on admitted products worth $51.8 billion. The port, which is also ranked No. 1 domestically for total throughput tonnage, boasts the largest grain port in America. Air cargo is accessible through the Louis Armstrong International Airport.

10. Port of Corpus Christi

Operating since 1926, this 36-mile Texas port provides a 47-foot deep channel for domestic and international trade. It provides access through rail and road, connecting to two major interstate highways (37 and 181) and three railroads (BNSF, Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific). It is the third-largest port domestically and No. 2 for crude oil exports.

With a warm climate that allows for easy operation year-round, the Port of Corpus Christi is also a part of the Intracoastal Waterway that stretches from Brownville, Texas, to Boston, Massachusetts, along the Atlantic Coast. The port also implements renewable energy practices by using wind energy for breakbulk and heavy-lift cargo.

11. Port of Mobile

The Port of Mobile carries more than $22.4 billion in economic value to Alabama. The only deepwater port in the state, it sits on the Mobile River. It houses 5 million square feet of warehouse and open-yard space and has a channel depth of 45 feet. Its tonnage in 2018 totaled 26.8 million tons.

Major imports for the Port of Mobile include heavy lift and oversized cargo, containers, coal, aluminum, iron and steel. Major exports include heavy lift and oversized cargo, containers, coal, lumber, and plywood. The port has 1,500 miles of inland and Intracoastal waterways. It serves the Gulf of Mexico, the Ohio and Tennessee river valleys and the Great Lakes. It is owned and operated by the Alabama State Port Authority.

12. Port of Greater Baton Rouge

The Port of Greater Baton Rouge sits where the Mississippi River and Gulf Intercoastal Waterway converge. Its 45-foot shipping channel is upheld by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This port also offers access to intermodal transportation via connections to interstate highways.

The Midwest and other U.S. regions can be accessed through the Port of Baton Rouge’s 15,000 miles of inland waterways. The port also provides access to the Gulf of Mexico, Latin America and the Panama Canal. Its bulk and breakbulk cargo include asphalt, aggregates, limestone, barite, carbon black, coal and coffee.

13. Port of Plaquemines

Twenty miles south of the Port of New Orleans (and also in Louisiana) is the Port of Plaquemines, which boasts of more than 100 miles of deep-draft access, with a minimum of 45 feet. It’s within the same Plaquemines Parish where you will find the unincorporated community of Venice, which supports oil and gas tonnage. Venice has pipelines, petroleum infrastructure and draft wharfage with both deep and shallow water to support vessels carrying oil supply.

The Port of Plaquemines, which can be accessed by 33 U.S. states, has annual tonnage exceeding 55 million tons. Popular imports include coke, carbon black feedstock, crude and fuel oil. Exports include coal, grain-corn, soybean and wheat.

14. Port of Metropolitan St. Louis

That is how the city of St. Louis, Missouri’s port authority refers to the important trade hub in the Midwest. The 70-mile port is the second-largest inland port in the U.S. Its cargoes include grain, coal, chemicals, and petroleum products.

Metro St. Louis is also the 17th largest port in the U.S., with an intermodal transportation system that includes six Class One railroads, seven interstates, and two international airports. It has access to two foreign trade zones and contributes to thousands of jobs in Missouri and Illinois. The Port of Metropolitan St. Louis ships more than 36 tons of freight annually. It has 16 public terminals and more than 130 piers, wharves, docks, and fleeting.

15. Port of Portland

Oregon’s Port of Portland may be on the West Coast, but it is a central trade hub for the Midwest, having shipped more than 4 million tons of grain worldwide in 2017. It has been an auto gateway since 1953, importing and exporting vehicles manufactured by Ford, Toyota, Hyundai and Honda. More than 300,000 automobiles were imported or exported through the Port of Portland’s terminals in 2019.

This port’s intermodal transportation includes rail and interstate highways. With three airports, four terminals, and five business parks, the Port of Portland has also helped generate more than $6.4 billion a year for the region. It has also helped spur the creation of 27,000 jobs and contributes to more than $1.8 billion in wages.

16. Port of Pascagoula

More than 32 million tons of cargo pass through this Southeastern Mississippi port each year. The Port of Pascagoula is Mississippi’s largest seaport. This port provides easy access for shipment through the Gulf of Mexico. Shipping lanes can be accessed within two hours from open ocean, and the channels are 42 feet deep.

The Port of Pascagoula is operated by the Jackson County Port Authority. Popular imports are forest products, crude oil, and chemicals. Exports are forest products, paper products, petroleum products, chemicals and project cargo. It ranks No. 23 in total trade—domestic plus international—with a volume of 27 million tons in 2018, according to statistics from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Each of these ports fulfills different factors that help them to successfully function in their respective regions. Whether it’s the depth of the channels to allow for varying size ships to dock or easy access to transportation, these ports help to facilitate domestic and international trade. In turn, they help spur the creation of jobs and stronger local, state and national economies. Overall, these ports are helping to shape the United States economy for the better—one import, one export, at a time.

GT Podcast Episode 121 Beating Covid and What Lies Ahead

GT Podcast – Episode 121 – Sean Strawbridge with Port of Corpus Christi

In this episode we welcome special guest, Chief Executive Officer of Port of Corpus Christi, Sean Strawbridge, to take a deeper look at what to expect for our ports and trade in the midst, as well as after, Covid 19.

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.

ports

Ports Must Consider Pros and Cons Before Automation Implementation

Ports across the globe have been slow to embrace digital technologies in comparison to other supply chain industries. Most container ports still rely heavily on manually operating massive container yards, which presents several challenges, especially in large ports.

The biggest port in the U.S., the Port of Los Angeles, handled 5,039,363 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2018 alone, for example. In ports of this size, finding a specific container would be a considerable challenge without technology.

Certainly, many obstacles faced by ports can be overcome with the introduction of technology. People, equipment, infrastructure and other critical assets can all be connected across the ports using Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as sensors and digital radios. This would not only improve productivity but also reduce operational costs in the future.

With a significant number of potential benefits, many may wonder why port operators are hesitant to embrace the Industrial IoT (IIoT). This is because many port operators focus on the cons of port automation as opposed to the long-term benefits of automating their key processes.

Emergence of the IIoT and Its Benefits

Industries across all sectors have taken advantage of the technology revolution, using IIoT devices to increase efficiency and reduce costs. IIoT devices are often more sensitive and precise than IoT devices, as they are often used in environments where precision is critical. Examples of these applications include the monitoring of health equipment, using robotics in factories, and analyzing data so users can better understand the performance of their operations.

A significant benefit of IIoT is that is has opened up opportunities to automate services for a number of industries, in particular ports. Automation can completely transform ports from mostly manual operations to a much more machine lead process, which can result in optimized operational productivity and efficiency.

Pros of Port Automation

The significant reduction in potential errors and the opportunity to introduce more services are just some of the reasons port automation will be an unmissable opportunity for many port operators. As many industries have already discovered, the pros certainly outweigh the cons when it comes to automation.

Increased efficiency is a significant benefit of port digitalization, with reports stating that productivity could rise by 10 to 35 percent. Examples include:

-Helping to predict and forecast demand by monitoring the arrival-and-departure patterns of container ships

-Easy to schedule the maintenance of equipment for optimal availability

-IIoT devices used to allocate equipment and frontline staff, as well as adjust the allocation in real-time

-Machine intelligence used to make plans ever more accurate

-Data collection standardized and used to help make ports and terminals more efficient

Port automation is also highly cost-effective; this is because while the initial start-up cost may be high, in the long-term operational expenses can fall by 25 to 55 percent. There are multiple reasons for this reduction in operating costs. For example, with the right network in place, operators can predict performance across the network, reducing human failures.

The landscapes of ports, in which their physical environment is structured and predictable, makes them a great platform to introduce new and innovative IIoT technologies. Ports are also able to generate large amounts of collected and processed data, which can be used by IIoT devices to increase efficiency and reduce costs massively.

Cons of Port Automation

The digitalization of ports is not without its drawbacks, though. Due to the ever-changing environment of ports, making sure data isn’t misaligned—or even absent—is extremely difficult. Any potential dead zones will prevent ports from collecting and exchanging information efficiently. This is particularly an issue for automated ports as unlike conventional ones, they can’t contain problems at individual functions or process steps, so there must always be close collaboration among activities.

Equally, with the extremely complex nature of ports, such as the necessary operational and security functions involved in the successful movement of cargo, the network used will need to be highly secure and highly mobile.

The initial investment cost of automation is exceptionally high with such a complex network being needed and is not affordable for every port, particularly those in developing nations. There are also potential updates that need to be considered to ensure ports can keep up with advancements in software. Ignoring these advancements could leave ports open to security breaches, which would be highly damaging.

On top of this, installing and maintaining an automated port requires a new skill set within the port industry. Finding these specialized technicians will not only be challenging but also costly for ports.

Enhancing the Pros, Reducing the Cons

Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh technology can provide robust and mobile-enabled connectivity that ports need to capitalize on the opportunities of IIoT fully. By using Rajant’s innovative BreadCrumb radio nodes with patented InstaMesh software protocol, connected port infrastructure has the ability to communicate wirelessly peer-to-peer, via multiple simultaneous connections. Information can be shared back and forth in a fully mobile, highly resilient web of communications.

Rajant’s BreadCrumb nodes are easy to install, as well as cost-effective. More BreadCrumbs can be introduced seamlessly to the network depending on the needs of the ports. The BreadCrumbs can also be directly deployed on a port asset—for example, a vehicle, quay crane, RTG, straddle carrier, light mast or drone—essentially turning that asset into a network node. These can then communicate not only with centralized access points but with other moving nodes within the network as well, meaning that all can share information back and forth in a highly interconnected web of communications—providing total network mobility.

DP World Antwerp

Rajant’s wireless Kinetic Mesh technology was chosen by BT to help form a wireless data backbone that could meet DP World Antwerp’s complex demands. Rajant’s “Make-Make-Make-Never-Break” method of forming connections played a significant role in this, ensuring that no connections have to be broken for new ones to be made, minimizing DP World Antwerp’s interference challenges.

What’s more, the Rajant network dynamically adapts to an autonomous, mobile environment of moving vehicles, such as containers or large ships, guaranteeing that DP World Antwerp can keep up with its ever-evolving, in-motion environment. Rajant’s ability to combine fixed, wireless, and mobile nodes together ensures that DP World Antwerp’s critical data always gets to where it needs to go–rapidly.

Handling more than 2.5 million containers every year, 3,000 trucks daily and almost 950 ships annually, it is vital that DP World can carry out its operations efficiently and effectively. With the help of Rajant and BT, DP World is now able to provide secure and resilient connectivity to 900 of its employees at Antwerp Gateway. Furthermore, DP World can analyze and optimize its processes and operations, such as the movement of vehicles around the terminal. This ensures that DP World Antwerp’s employees have an end-to-end view of operations, enabling timely analysis and decision making.

The Living Network of Tomorrow

In today’s competitive world, the demand for IIoT devices in ports will only increase. With the help of Rajant’s Breadcrumb nodes, which can be easily installed onto any object to turn it into an IIoT device, meeting this demand will become easier than ever.

By creating a living network such as this, port operators can protect their assets with proactive monitoring and improved situational awareness, whilst meeting the increasing demand to move a higher volume in and out of their ports.

With Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh technology, any potential cons associated with port automation will disappear, while the possibilities for the future of ports expand.

______________________________________________________________

Gary Anderson is senior vice president of Business Development with Rajant Corp., a Malvern, Pennsylvania-based provider of wireless telecommunication equipment. Anderson’s background includes several high-tech business start-ups, including the founding of AEI, where he served as president and CEO, and the director of sales at Vivato. Selling AEI in 2001, he was subsequently nominated by the Bush Administration to serve as the Assistant Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, after Sept. 11, 2001, he withdrew his nomination and volunteered to assist the White House in establishing he Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. The retired U.S. naval officer joined Rajant in January 2006.

gcc ports

GCC Ports: Surviving the COVID-19 Crisis

Global trade has come under severe pressure as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to significantly disrupt economic activity across the world. Shipping liners have drastically cut capacity, with a notable rise in the number of canceled departures worldwide to 212 in first week of April. Capacity declined by about 34% on the Asia-EU route and about 25% on the Asia-US route. As a result, almost 11% of ports globally have recorded a more than 25% drop in container vessel calls, according to the May 2020 IAPH-WPSP Port Economic Impact Barometer Report.

In the short term, GCC port operators need to prioritize the physical safety of their employees. They should put in place the requisite emergency response procedures to ensure that ports remain open for business. Some readily available digital solutions can help reduce employee interactions, handling such tasks as document management, customs payments, and even access points such as gate entry. Port operators also need to cut costs, preserve cash, collect outstanding payments, and ensure that they remain sufficiently capitalized.

Port operators also need to analyze variations in trade volumes. For example, gateway ports in the region will likely experience continued volume declines due to limited manufacturing activity and the global drop in demand for crude. Transshipment ports, however, could enjoy a short-term surge in traffic. As a lack of outbound capacity makes shipping calls uneconomical, many ocean liners will seek to off-load cargoes at transshipment hubs.

Longer-term, port operators will need to prepare for a protracted slump in rates and trade volumes. The following five measures will help them strategically reorient themselves for the future.

Improve operational efficiency. GCC ports should focus on reducing costs, improving productivity and asset utilization, and streamlining and automating processes. In doing so, many operators will need to revise their budgets and capital allocation. Over the past decade, GCC ports have invested heavily in physical infrastructure as a key component of national economic diversification programs. The region’s capacity is on track to more than double, from the equivalent of about 45 million standard containers in 2012 to about 100 million by 2022. Yet utilization rates remain low, averaging under 50%. Accordingly, port operators need to shift away from sheer capacity. Instead, they should focus on improving efficiency according to metrics such as asset utilization, revenue per ship, unit profit from cargo handled, and return on invested capital.

Upgrade port capabilities through digital. To improve efficiency, ports must invest in digital, which will give them the capabilities needed to capture cargo, reduce costs, better manage capacity, and improve cross-border trade. There is a wide range of applications, from blockchain to autonomous vehicles, drones, smart sensors, 3-D printing, and cloud platforms. These can help cut costs, improve asset utilization, and significantly improve the customer experience across the value chain.

Expand into inland logistics. Before the pandemic, some terminal operators had already started expansion into inland logistics. The aim was to better connect with owners of cargo, improve transparency, and reduce the friction in trade flows. GCC ports, especially gateway ports, should consider such expansion as a means to secure the inland trade system, improve supply chain resilience, safeguard operational continuity, and deliver more reliable and transparent service to their customers.

Rethink pricing. GCC ports should reassess their traditional pricing structures to help ease pressure on shipping lines, improve productivity, and maximize their return on assets. To achieve this, GCC ports first need to ensure that they have pricing freedom within regulatory regimes. Then they need to explore a shift to value-based pricing, which encourages effectiveness and efficiency among shipping lines, and extracts maximum value from end customers.

 Acquire assets at distressed valuations. The pandemic will lead to a shakeout in which some assets come up for sale at attractive prices. GCC ports can take advantage of their strong balance sheets and low-interest rates to make strategic acquisitions. Deals can be particularly beneficial if they help ports pick up assets in high-growth and emerging markets with a healthy commercial outlook and growing volumes.

A sharp decline does not automatically mean a slow and painful recovery. The decisions that GCC ports and operators make today will shape their future. It is critical that they take steps to keep operations and markets open, and develop programs to reorient themselves to succeed in times to come.

_________________________________________________________________

Dr. Ulrich Koegler and James Thomas are partners with Strategy& Middle East, part of the PwC network. Shantanu Gautam is the director and Kushal Sinha is a senior manager with Strategy&, India, part of the PwC network.

cordero

SUPER MARIO: CORDERO HELPED SHAPE PORT OF LONG BEACH’S PIONEERING GREEN PORT POLICY YEARS BEFORE HE BECAME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Mario Cordero was an attorney in Long Beach, defending industries and municipalities in workers’ compensation cases when he went to lunch with a local elected official. This was in the early 2000s when environmental issues were hot topics in a city that, by population, ranks second in Los Angeles County, seventh in California and 39th in the nation.

“He asked me if I’d be interested in being appointed to the harbor commission,” recalls Cordero of his lunch partner, who was referring to the City of Long Beach’s port authority. “I said of course I would. When you are talking about the port authority, that’s the pinnacle of civic involvement.”

But Cordero could not help but wonder … why him?

“At the time, port authority appointees had backgrounds either politically or as a developer or financier or someone in that circle, or as a community or environmental advocate who is a strong fundraiser,” he says. “I didn’t come under any of those classifications. So I asked, ‘Would the mayor consider me when I don’t have the history of those people who have been propelled to the port authority before?’ He said the mayor was looking for a different mindset, someone who was more sensitive to the concerns of the community and the environmental agenda.”

Cordero accepted the appointment and was sworn onto the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners in July 2003, going on to serve as vice president and president during his eight-year stint. The Los Angeles native is now beginning what will this year be his 17th year as a maritime leader, not only locally and nationally but internationally, as he resigned from the harbor commission in 2011 to join the Federal Maritime Commission, the U.S. government agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers and the American consumer and fostering a fair, efficient and reliable international ocean transportation system, while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.

Cordero, who became executive director of the Port of Long Beach in May 2017, now leads a Harbor Department staff of more than 500 and oversees a budget that was $982 million for the 2019 fiscal year.

The crowning jewel of his career (so far) is arguably the nationally recognized, globally influential Green Port Policy, which outlines a sustainable ethic for all port operations, mandating that trade growth run parallel with environmental stewardship. Cordero began working on the initiative in late 2004, while still on the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. “We rolled it out,” he says, “and the rest is history.”

Cordero, who was appointed vice-chairman of the Board for the American Association of Port Authorities in October 2018, outlined his port’s strong 2019—despite a dip in exports due to the U.S.-China trade war—and the progress of sustainability efforts during his Jan. 23 State of the Port address at the Long Beach Convention Center. Last year, the Port of Long Beach moved 8.1 million shipping containers or its highest total ever. An $870 million project in the pipeline to improve the port’s rail yard will have more containers hauled by trains instead of trucks, he noted. “Rail is a big part of our green future,” Cordero told the audience. “For the American exporter, my message to you is this: Our rail will move your cargo faster and more efficiently, and we are on track to make it even better for you in the years ahead.”

He also highlighted the Clean Air Action Plan that the ports of Long Beach and neighboring Los Angeles, which together form the largest port complex in the nation, implemented in 2017. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. “We all know climate change is a major global effort, and a global threat,” Cordero told the crowd. “We need to transition to sustainable low-carbon, and the Port of Long Beach will do its part. Our challenge is not just to reduce carbon emissions. It’s to eliminate them altogether. … Yes, we face great challenges, but this port of the future is meeting that challenge. With our many projects, we’re planting seeds so this region continues to thrive.”

Over the phone a week after his State of the Port address, Cordero credited his time on the Harbor Commission with helping to bring about his port’s revolutionary change. “That was the game-changer with me to be part of the port authority,” he says. “I started during a time when there was a real contentious relationship with environmental groups and neighborhood groups who questioned the impacts of having such a great port. Their primary concerns were the harmful emissions that came from those operations and congestion on the highways, streets and so forth. As a result, then-mayor Beverly O’Neill appointed me to the Harbor Commission, and one of my mandates was to bring different thinking to the commission, one that is more sensitive to the concerns of the neighborhood and communities, especially when it came to the environmental issues coming before us.”

Cordero helped usher in the Green Port Policy that the port formalized in January 2005, sealing his reputation as a leader who can bring together different stakeholders or constituencies when it came to economic and environmental sustainability. “Our motto was Grow Green,” he notes. “Back then, in 2004-’05, a lot of naysayers in the industry felt that if you try to do both, it will negatively impact business operations. Looking back, that of course, as I thought then, was not to be the case.” The League of California Cities bestowed Cordero an environmental award in 2007 (the same year the Mexican-American Bar Association named him Attorney of the Year). And still, after two decades of operating under the Green Port Policy, the Port of Long Beach ranks second in the U.S. when it comes to container moves. (The Port of Los Angeles is No. 1.) “It’s not only Grow Green, but we are also a growth leader,” Cordero says. “We eventually laid out a model for ports around the world.”

Some of those ports in the U.S. would not mind cutting into Long Beach’s trade action. “We recognize that we have to have a competitive edge in terms of competing with other gateways in the U.S. lobbying for a piece of the Asian-Transpacific cargo moves,” concedes Cordero, who during his early days in the industry became “intrigued” by “the whole issue of commerce and international trade.” He plunged into examining globalization, especially as it related to economic partnerships with Asian countries. His self-education, coupled with the port’s economic and environmental successes, led to President Barack Obama appointing Cordero to the Federal Maritime Commission, which he chaired from April 2013 to January 2017.

The FMC experience “gave me context into the high levels of Washington, D.C.,” he says. “That leadership really put the Port of Long Beach on the national front. I am very proud of that history.” It was forged by Cordero’s ability to get local residents, environmentalists, union workers, terminal operators, cargo owners, international shipping companies, transportation entities and government regulators to all buy in to the port’s vision when it came to what had previously been viewed as polar opposites: trade growth and environmental sustainability. “We had to educate the community about the importance of international trade, not only as a job producer, but every household is a beneficiary of international trade,” Cordero says. “And number two, the Port of Long Beach was serious about exploring ways we can further sustainable development.”

He points with pride to “a tremendous monetary investment” the port has made to mitigate air and water pollution. “We moved forward to introduce and put in place shore power, which is also known as cold ironing,” he says. “An investment in excess of $180 million resulted in international vessels coming to port and hooking up to the electrical infrastructure as opposed to burning bunker fuel, or what they call hoteling. The way it [previously] looked at the port was that the vessels were emitting black smoke while they were here. Not much more changed dynamically until, on the international front and the state level, the implementation of standards requiring environmentally friendly fuels and the getting away from the common use of bunker fuel, which was the worst kind to use as far as the diesel infrastructure.”

Cordero is pleased with where the port is in terms of achieving the goals of the Green Port Policy. Referring to the marketing spin that makes a supposedly green entity sound more focused on sustainability than it really is, Cordero conceded, “Many thought in the environmental community, and I don’t blame them, that we were just greenwashing here. Obviously, we did more than greenwashing. … Mitigating harmful emissions—we’ve done that. In 10 years we have reduced particulate matter 88 percent, noxious emissions 57 percent, and we’ve reduced sock emissions at a level of 97 percent. Those are astounding numbers in terms of what we did.”

In the same breath, he acknowledges the port must do more as it tries to meet the bold goals of zero emissions in cargo handling by 2030 and zero emissions from trucks by 2035. “There are 18,300 trucks registered at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. There can be anywhere from 14 to 16 truck moves a day. Our goal is to not be satisfied in reducing emissions and diesel emissions until we get to zero, so by 2035 trucks will be running on electric batteries or fuel-cell technology.”

That is why Cordero is not ready to pop the cork on the bubbly just yet. “I am satisfied at this point in terms of what this port and this city have been able to do, but ultimately we must meet our current quest of going zero emissions,” he says. “That is something we will celebrate in the future.”

It’s all pretty heady stuff when you consider Cordero “was not even thinking about being on the Harbor Commission until I had that lunch. … I love to speak to students assessing what careers they are looking at. Number one, I tell them to give 110 percent at the job they are doing. Second, I say you never know what door is going to open.”

freight forwarders

20 FOR 2020: THE TOP 20 CITIES FOR FREIGHT FORWARDERS

Even domestic shipping can be complicated. That’s why freight forwarders exist—they handle much of the complex paperwork and hassle needed to move cargo across borders. For freight forwarders, some cities are definitely better than others.

To find out the best cities for freight forwarders, we asked Carlo De Atouguia, the chief operating officer of Western Overseas Corporation. For more than four decades, Western Overseas has provided freight forwarding, customs brokerage, warehousing, distribution, cargo insurance, and e-commerce services to small and large companies across the globe.

Atouguia zeroed in on a common theme to come up with the top 20 cities for freight forwarders. “These cities are key because they are integral gateway cities for both ocean and air,” he explains. “I believe it is an advantage having representation in these cities because it allows you to develop a personal business relationship with the major players in all facets of the freight forwarding supply chain in that city. These business relationships are key when negotiating spot rates, late cut-offs, drayage and expedited handling on cargo arrival.

“The other key factor is the sheer number of carriers and cargo flights available in a particular city,” he continues. “The more options you have, the better you’re able to service your customers’ freight forwarding needs.”

ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Air cargo and mail moving through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been steadily climbing for the past few years, from more than 624,000 metric tons in 2015 to a little over 704,000 metric tons in 2018, according to Statista. Which is why it wasn’t a shock that Georgia’s $40.6 billion worth of exports in 2018 was the highest in that state’s history. In fact, exports in Georgia have grown by 71 percent over the last decade, according to U.S. Census data. It’s no wonder there are more than 20 freight forwarders in the Atlanta area.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

In the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, 15 ship-to-shore gantry cranes move about 900,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) every year, according to 2018 figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation. It’s also one of the most diverse ports in the U.S., with the six public marine terminals handling autos, roll-on/roll-off, containers, forest products and project cargo. The 11 million tons of cargo that moved through the port this past year was a new record, and the nearly 2.9 million tons of cargo the port handled in between April and June of 2019 also set a new second quarter record.

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

The Port of Charleston is ranked ninth in the U.S. in terms of cargo value, according to the South Carolina Ports Authority. That translated into $72.7 billion worth of imports and exports in 2018. The port’s cranes handled 2.2 million TEUs that year. Thirteen of the world’s biggest container companies tie up there. While the port can already accommodate most post-Panamax vessels, efforts are under way to deepen the harbor from 45 to 52 feet. That’s why it wasn’t surprising when the port authority revealed in November 2019 that Charleston had doubled its cargo volume over the last decade.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is ranked sixth in the nation and seventh in the world in terms of the number of passengers and volume of cargo handled, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. More than 60 freight forwarders, customs brokers and international service providers use CLT’s Air Cargo Center, which has 570,000 square feet of available space and 2.2 million square feet of aircraft ramp space. The CLT also links to the Norfolk Southern and CSX rail lines. It processed 128,000 tons of cargo in 2015.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Since the 19th century, Chicago has been a railway and ocean hub for commerce. Even today, a quarter of all rail freight in the U.S. passes through the Chicago rail yards. (It’s also the only gateway in the U.S. where six of the seven major railroads can interchange traffic.) An amazing 30 percent of all consumers in North America live within a one-day truck ride from Chicago. But in terms of cargo value, the Windy City is the top international air gateway in the U.S., with about 2 million metric tons of cargo moving through O’Hare International Airport every year, all worth more than $200 billion, according to Chicago’s Department of Aviation.

CINCINNATI, OHIO

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), which provides non-stop service to 38 of the top 40 U.S. markets, moved 1.2 million tons of cargo in 2018 and is the eighth largest cargo airport in the U.S., according to the CVG airport authority. For the past three years, it’s been the fastest-growing cargo airport in the U.S. It’s also the location for one of DHL’s three “global super hubs,” from which it serves 220 nations. Amazon also has plans to build a $1.5 billion hub at CVG, which will support more than 100 Prime Air freighters.

DALLAS, TEXAS

Because many of the warehouses and distribution centers that stand between international suppliers of goods like China and retail outlets are located in Texas, Dallas is perfectly located to serve as a freight hub for the rest of the nation, according to a 2018 FreightWaves e-newsletter article. Indeed, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport considers itself “the nexus of Latin America-Asia transit freight.” More than 900,000 tons of cargo moved through the airport in fiscal year 2018. According to the DFW Airport Authority, 55 percent of it was domestic and 45 percent was international.

HOUSTON, TEXAS

The Port of Houston is one of the most heavily used water gateways in the country. According to the port authority, in 2017 it ranked first in the nation in terms of foreign waterborne tonnage (173 million short tons), second in total foreign and domestic waterborne tonnage (260 million short tons) and third in overall value of foreign cargo. It’s also the largest Gulf Coast container port, handling nearly 70 percent of all container traffic in that region. A little more than a million containers (imports and exports) moved through the port in 2001; today, that number stands at nearly 2.5 million.

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

Long Beach has one of the busiest seaports in the world. The Port of Long Beach says its 68 Post-Panamax gantry cranes move around 7.5 million TEUs every year, all valued at close to $200 billion. That translates into 82.3 million metric tons of cargo moved in/out on more than 2,000 vessel calls. It’s the second busiest port in the U.S., and the 21st busiest container cargo port in the world. All told, the port accounts for a third of loaded containers moving through all California ports. About 90 percent of the shipments moving through the port are part of trade with East Asia.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Let’s start with the fact that the Port of Los Angeles has been the top container port in the U.S. since 2000. In 2018, its 83 gantry cranes handled 9.5 million TEUs—the highest number ever moved by a port in the western hemisphere—making it one of the busiest ports in the world. Then there’s Los Angeles International Airport, the world’s fourth busiest, which handled nearly 2.5 million tons of cargo in 2018. According to Los Angeles World Airports, FedEx is the dominant airfreight carrier at LAX, carrying nearly 16 percent of the freight that moves through the airport.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

Situated on the Ohio River, Louisville is well placed to handle all sorts of cargo traffic. In fact, Jefferson Riverport is one of the few inland ports in the U.S. that connects to three railroads: CSX, Norfolk Southern and Paducah & Louisville. The city is also, as the State of Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is fond of pointing out, about a day’s truck drive away from 65 percent of the U.S. population. What’s more, Louisville International Airport is home to the UPS shipping hub—the world’s largest fully automated package-handling facility. One hundred thirty aircraft move through it each day, and it processes a remarkable 1.5 million packages daily.

MIAMI, FLORIDA

In 2018, Miami International Airport ranked fourth in the nation in terms of both total cargo and total freight, and No. 1 in international freight, according to the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. That year, 2.31 million tons of freight moved through the airport, nearly three percent higher than the previous year. At the same time, a thousand cargo ships docked at the Port of Miami—the East Coast’s closest deepwater container port to the Panama Canal—carrying 1.1 million TEUs worth around $27 billion. Nearly half the TEU imports to Miami came from Asia, while 70 percent of the exports went to Latin America, according to the Miami Port Authority.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Primarily due to FedEx, Memphis International Airport is the top international gateway in the U.S. by weight and the No. 2 cargo airport in the world. In 2016, 11.9 million short tons of cargo moved through the airport, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. FedEx accounts for a reported 99 percent of the cargo moving through Memphis International Airport, which carries out 450 combined arrivals and departures every day. Memphis is also home to the fifth largest inland port in the U.S., which is very close to the airport and lies at the juncture of major north-south and east-west interstate highways, as well as that of five major railroads.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

The only container port in Louisiana, the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) has six gantry cranes that can handle 840,000 TEUs a year. Containers make up about 60 percent of the cargo handled at the port, according to the Port NOLA authority. The port also ties into the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, offering daily intermodal service to Memphis, Chicago, Toronto and Montreal. Regular container-on-barge service also connects the port to Memphis and Baton Rouge.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

The Port of New York and New Jersey handled 41.3 million metric tons of general cargo worth more than $188 billion in 2018, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Put another way, the port handled 52 percent of all the unloaded and loaded TEUs on the North Atlantic. Add this to the 1.4 million tons of cargo that moved through JFK International Airport in 2018, and you can see why New York City holds such importance in the world of freight.

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA

Situated two and a half hours from the open sea, the Port of Norfolk’s 22 Suez-class cranes moved 2.7 million TEUs in 2017, according to the port authority. It’s also so rail-friendly, with two class 1 railroads operating on-dock, that 37 percent of all cargo moving in and out of the port comes by rail—the largest percentage of any East Coast port. Norfolk International Airport also operates one of the most efficient cargo operations in Virginia, moving 30,000 tons of air cargo every year. FedEx, Mountain Air and UPS all use Norfolk International extensively.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

For Philadelphia, location is everything. The city is about a day’s drive from nearly half the nation’s population, as well as six of the eight largest U.S. markets. There are also 400 distribution centers located within Philadelphia’s immediate vicinity. PhilaPort can handle cargo carriers holding 12,200 TEUs. The CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads both serve the port. In 2016, Philadelphia International Airport handled about 427,000 tons of cargo, and is home to nearly 40 freight forwarders. The airport sits next to I-95, which runs from Maine to Florida, and is close to both the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the New Jersey Turnpike.

PORTLAND, OREGON

The Port of Portland, the largest in Oregon, handles about 11 million tons of cargo every year, according to the port authority. The port can move containers, autos, breakbulk and drybulk. There are on-dock rail connections throughout the port, and BNSF Railway ties the container terminal directly to Seattle/Tacoma. Portland International Airport, located 12 miles from downtown Portland, is centered in the Columbia River Industrial Corridor. Eight cargo carriers use PDX, including UPS, FedEx and DHL. There are 47 freight forwarders serving the Portland area.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

About 488,000 tons of cargo moved through San Francisco International Airport in 2018. Nine cargo carriers operate out of the airport, serving destinations all over the world. Additionally, the Port of San Francisco’s five deepwater berths can accommodate a wide variety of container and bulk carriers. In all, 1.4 million tons of cargo moved through the port in 2017, according to the San Francisco Port Authority.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

The Port of Savannah bills itself as the largest single container terminal in North America, and it is the second-largest container exporter in the U.S. (13.3 million tons). Two class 1 railroads serve its nine deepwater berths, which operate 27 container cranes. In 2018, the port handled 4.4 million TEUs, a new record for the port. Its major satellite facilities include warehouses and distribution centers for Target, IKEA and Heineken USA. Savannah Hilton Head International Airport handled a further 8,600 tons of cargo during 2018.

Dubai

Dubai’s Latest Report Confirms Non-Oil Foreign Trade Increased 6 Percent in 2019

In the latest report by the Government of Dubai, the region was confirmed its efforts to achieve its 2025 trade target of AED2 trillion helped spur growth in trade last year. The report also confirmed that non-oil external trade saw an increase of 19 percent in volume from 91 million tons in 2018 to reach 109 million tons in 2019. Re-exports rose by a record 48 percent to reach 17 million tons, while exports rose by 45 percent to 19 million tons and imports grew by 9 percent to 72 million tons. These figures capped a prosperous decade for Dubai from 2010-2020, during which external trade grew by 70 percent.

Dubai achieved exceptional external trade growth in 2019 despite the headwinds from an intensified global economic downturn. In terms of value, Dubai’s external trade surged 6 percent to AED1.371 trillion from AED 1.299 trillion in 2018. Exports skyrocketed 22 percent to AED155 billion, re-exports grew by 4 percent to AED420 billion and imports rose by 3 percent to AED796 billion. Over the decade (2010-2019), the value of Dubai’s external trade went up by 52 percent thanks to the agility, versatility and flexibility of the external trade sector in the emirate, which discovered alternative markets and trade paths to make up for sluggish growth in some markets.

“Dubai’s external trade has contributed significantly to the emirate’s economic achievements, further raising its status as a global hub for trade, business, and tourism, giving it a solid platform for growth in the next 50 years and creating the optimal conditions for more sustainable development across sectors,” said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council. “Inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai’s external trade sector is progressing steadily towards the 2025 trade target of AED2 trillion set by His Highness.

“All government entities are working seamlessly together to provide the best services, facilitate trade and foreign investments, and further develop infrastructure across the emirate, especially at airports and free zones, to galvanize its journey of excellence and enhance its role as a commercial bridge between the east and west. Furthermore, hosting mega-events such as EXPO 2020 will provide opportunities for the international trade sector to explore new possibilities and expand growth.”

Dubai’s foreign trade out of free zones in 2019 was a major contributor to the overall increase, accounting for AED592 billion, an 11 percent increase year-on-year. Direct trade saw a 2 percent growth to reach AED770 billion. Customs warehouse trade hit AED9 billion.

Land trade grew by 11 percent contributing to AED228 billion, air trade rose by 5 percent to AED641 billion and sea trade increased by 4 percent to AED502 billion.

Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said: “Growth in Dubai’s external trade is the fruit of dedicated and well-planned work over the last few years, which helped us establish global leadership in different sectors. The future is promising and there are no limits when it comes to our expectations. We will keep growing and developing based on the latest and most advanced innovations and breakthroughs in AI smart applications following the vision and directives of our leadership.

“Hosting major international events will give our organizations a greater voice on the world stage, backed by our presence and strong network out of the 80 terminals that DP World operates worldwide, and our bold economic initiatives including the Dubai Silk Road.”

Bin Sulayem added: “Free zones in Dubai are a key factor behind the emirate’s trade success. The sophisticated infrastructure of our free zones, especially Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), has helped businesses benefit from different incentives and facilities, and attracted more foreign investments over the years.”

Bin Sulayem said Dubai Customs is continuously evolving to facilitate greater trade and provide more exceptional service to its customers. The number of customs transactions completed by Dubai Customs grew by a record 34 percent in 2019 to 13 million from 9.7 million in 2018. As part of the Dubai Silk Road strategy, Dubai Customs launched the World Logistics Passport, which links Customs World, DP World, and Emirates Group to enhance connectivity through Dubai and, through sharing of expertise and process development directly between partner countries. Dubai Customs also launched the second phase of the productivity engine, an initiative developed in-house and approved by The Executive Council with the aim of boosting productivity by 8 – 10 percent.

China remained Dubai’s largest trading partner, contributing AED150 billion. India was the second-biggest trading partner, contributing AED135 billion, followed by the USA with AED77.7 billion, and Switzerland with AED60 billion.

Saudi Arabia maintained its position as Dubai’s largest Arab trade partner. The country was the emirate’s fifth-biggest partner globally, contributing AED56 billion.

The highest traded commodity by value in 2019 was gold, jewelry, and diamonds which contributed AED370 billion, a growth of 7 percent from 2018. Gold took the lion’s share of trade with AED169.5 billion, followed by phones with AED164 billion, an increase of 9 percent from the previous year. The third-highest traded commodity was jewelry at AED116.6 billion, followed by petroleum oils which contributed AED85.4 billion in 2019, a growth of 55 percent, and diamonds which accounted for AED83.9 billion.

*Republished with permission

ro/ro

DOMINATE AND EXPAND: THIS STRATEGY PROPELS RO/RO LEADING PORTS OF BALTIMORE AND SAVANNAH/BRUNSWICK

Being the Nos. 1 & 2 busiest roll-on/roll-off (Ro/Ro) ports in the nation isn’t quite good enough for the ports of Baltimore and Savannah/Brunswick. At least the Maryland Port Authority and Georgia Ports Authority are not resting on their laurels, anyway. These East Coast ports are doing their best to maintain their top-two rankings through initiatives such as investments in expansion and training programs for warehouse workers that are designed to increase efficiency and reduce damage and accidents in the loading/unloading process.

These growth initiatives are helping to not just cement the ports’ statuses in the Ro/Ro world—Baltimore has been the No. 1 Ro/Ro port in the United States for eight years running—but it’s making them even more desirable and competitive places for automobile manufacturers to do business.

Port of Baltimore

The Port of Baltimore continues to expand and thrive despite an uncertain trade climate. Larry Johnson, sales manager of Trade Development, Automotive, credits his port’s success to efforts to maintain positive relationships with their automotive industry partners, keeping those industry partners loyal.

One such partner, Volkswagen Group of America, recently began a partnership with Port of Baltimore to begin importing vehicles through the Tradeport Atlantic in Sparrows Point, which could provide an increase of 120,000 vehicles annually—and an additional 100 jobs.

The port also benefits from its proximity to the Midwest—it’s the closest seaport to Middle America—and with top notch services like efficient rail, cargo can get to destinations faster than from any other port on the East Coast. Baltimore’s strategic location is within two-thirds of the U.S. with just an overnight drive.

The Baltimore port’s training initiatives have helped cultivate the lowest damage rates in the industry. The port has also pioneered a program, Ro/Ro Rodeo, which is an intensive class to educate manufacturers in the highly specialized processes required to handle each specific type of vehicle that is processed through the port. Ro/Ro Rodeo has even developed a program for the highly specialized processing of farm and other industrial equipment

With almost 200 acres of pavement at the Dundalk Marine Terminal alone, the Port of Baltimore consistently breaks its own records for Ro/Ro processes, often increasing its volume as frequently as month to month, and their investments in expansion and training will likely keep that volume increasing for years to come.

“The Port of Baltimore is the No. 1 auto port in the nation and continues to break cargo records every month,” says Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in the September/October 2019 edition of Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore Magazine. “Our administration is committed to furthering this growth and strongly supports our great port and its thousands of hardworking men and women handling the millions of tons of cargo coming in throughout the year.”

Ports of Savannah and Brunswick, Georgia

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) is the No. 2 Ro/Ro port in the United States. Its Port of Savannah increased volume almost 250,000 TEUs in 2019, according to the GPA. This growth of 5.6 percent over the previous year came at a time when auto sales are actually dropping–a true testament to the hard work of the port employees at Savannah and Brunswick.

A banner year for the ports, the Ocean Terminal recently won contracts with both Volvo and General Motors. The Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick is a Ro/Ro-only port that is already home to International Auto Processing, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Solutions and Mercedes Benz USA.

The GPA properties are undergoing an expansion that will eventually create an additional 150,000 spaces for automobiles, bumping their processing capacity from 900,000 annually to 1.5 million. There are currently three dedicated Ro/Ro berths that process cargo via nine different steamship lines.

“Both Savannah and Brunswick are outperforming the market, with Garden City container trade growing at a rate three times faster than the U.S. total, and Brunswick Ro/Ro units increasing despite a drop in U.S. vehicle sales in 2019,” says GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight in a Jan. 28 statement.

Growth Despite Uncertainty

Strategic locations, ample space and work ethics that include faster cargo processing, in-depth training and safety records that far eclipse many competing ports are just a few reasons that these ports are leading the pack in Ro/Ro. With the onset of trade tariffs, such as those imposed on China, and reports that the United States’ manufacturing industry has experienced slowed growth recently, these ports have nevertheless managed to increase growth consistently. Growth when economic uncertainly looms large is a true testament to the power of excellent service and sound investment.

If these and other Ro/Ro ports can continue to capitalize on trends such as exporting goods to other countries competing for business with China, they will have learned that they can not just maintain their positions in the Ro/Ro processing rankings, but keep growing.