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GCC Ports: Surviving the COVID-19 Crisis

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.

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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.

suffolk

PORT OF VIRGINIA PUT SUFFOLK ON THE COFFEE MAP

Coffee’s contribution is not peanuts

Established in 1742, the little town of Suffolk, Virginia served as a port along the Nansemond River in Virginia’s Tidewater region, eventually becoming a hub for railroad transportation. An Italian immigrant put Suffolk on the food production map, establishing the Planters Nut and Chocolate Company in 1912. A Peanut Queen is still crowned at the annual peanut festival.

These days, Suffolk has a newer claim to fame in the food industry. Home to several large coffee roasters including Massimo, Zanetti USA, Keurig Green Mountain, J.M. Smucker — and soon — Peets Coffee, Suffolk has become the most caffeinated city east of the Mississippi. The coffee industry has built out a cluster of related activities that generate significant employment and revenue for the people of Suffolk.

A deep commitment to Virginia coffee

Until the 1960s New York City was the undisputed home to the coffee industry. Since then, coffee has been imported through a variety of ports on the East Coast and elsewhere throughout the country, including the ports of New Orleans, Houston, Los Angeles and, of course, Seattle which is the home of Starbucks.

How did Suffolk become a coffee epicenter for the East Coast? Location and maritime advantage. Suffolk is 30 miles west of the Port of Virginia, which was the first to accept the much larger neo-Panamax ships transiting the expanded Panama Canal beginning in 2016. Port of Virginia has embarked on a $700 million expansion project of its own. By 2025, it will have a 55-foot channel depth, making it the deepest port on the East Coast, and will be able to handle an additional one million cargo containers at two of its terminals.

Centrally located on the eastern seaboard, Port of Virginia is capable of serving the major population centers east of the Mississippi. The ports of Baltimore, Savannah, Charleston and Virginia together now account for about one-third of all the green (unroasted) coffee imported into the United States. Suffolk is conveniently located to all of them.

Roasting the competition

Suffolk’s rise to roasting prominence started with one company – Hills Bros, now Massimo Zanetti. Once Hill Bros moved to Suffolk from New Jersey, others began to see its merits as an East Coast base. Building on the foundation of early investment by Lipton, which built its first plant there in 1955, the region is now the third-largest coffee and tea cluster in the country.

The City of Suffolk, together with the Virginia Economic Development Program, welcomed the industry with large industrial sites close to Port of Virginia and collaborated to have three coffee warehouse companies licensed by the International Coffee Exchange (ICE). Only beans stored under very particular, climate-controlled conditions can be certified for trading on ICE’s commodities exchange.

Bean roasting connoisseur allowing customer to smell the aroma from the coffee beans

To ensure the people of Suffolk could move into value-added jobs in the coffee industry, local educational institutions, such as Paul D. Cook Community College in Suffolk, developed training programs tailored to the industry’s needs offering new credentials such as an Industrial Technology and Electronic Controls certification.

The companies offer interesting career paths. “Cuppers” are specialized technicians who test beans for quality and taste the beans after roasting, grading their suitability and characteristics for blending. Nora Johnson came to Suffolk to work as an intern with Massimo Zanetti in 2016 as a Florida Gulf Coast University student. Upon graduating, she joined Massimo Zanetti full-time as a Commodities Analyst, analyzing customer positions on the coffee futures market and has become involved in the company’s sustainability and responsible sourcing initiatives.

Toast the roast

The coffee industry contributes approximately 10 percent of Suffolk’s gross regional product directly, and another 13 percent through indirect and induced effects. The Port of Virginia started a new annual celebration, “Coffee Day,” so everyone can toast the roast and celebrate the opportunities trade brings to the region.

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Evelyn Suarez

Evelyn Suarez is a legal expert and consultant specializing in customs compliance and anti-corruption. Ms. Suarez serves on the Virginia Maritime Association Board, and advisory boards to the George Washington University Center for International Business Education & Research and Georgetown University Law Center International Trade Update.

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

Port of Baltimore Announces $1.8 Million Grant Towards Diesel Emissions Reduction Act

Older diesel-powered equipment including forklifts, yard tractors, other heavy cargo machinery, and 44 dray trucks at the Port of Baltimore will soon be replaced with newer and cleaner equipment options as part of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA). The Port of Baltimore announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contributed $1.8 million grant towards the initiative this week in conjunction with the EPA’s Clean Diesel Program.

“This EPA grant will help us continue cleaning the air around the Port of Baltimore,” said Governor Larry Hogan.  “Working with our federal partners, the Port is showing how to be a responsible steward of the environment and, at the same time, break cargo records, grow business and expand jobs for Marylanders.”

“We are proud of the Port’s continued leadership on cleaner and greener solutions and appreciate the support of EPA and Congress,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “These investments are important for Maryland’s steady progress on clean air, public health and climate change.”

Beyond the DERA, the grant provides dual-support for the Port of Baltimore’s Diesel Equipment Upgrade Program. The ten-plus year program has been successful in replacing a total of more than 200 dray trucks, 110 pieces of cargo-handling equipment and repowered 10 marine engines and retrofitted 16 locomotive engines.  Reductions resulting from this initiative include 3,304 tons of nitrogen oxide, 922 tons of carbon monoxide, 165 tons of particulate matter and 141 tons of hydrocarbons.

“Through initiatives like our Diesel Equipment Upgrade Program and EPA’s Clean Diesel Program, we have reduced pollutants in the air around the Port by more than 10,000 tons in the past 12 years,” said David Thomas, acting executive director of the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA).

airfeight

Airfreight vs. Sea Freight – Which Works Better?

Airfreight vs. sea freight has become a burning dilemma for all those in need of this type of services. While both solutions come with a set of advantages and disadvantages, the final choice one makes will depend on a variety of factors. We are willing to share our knowledge and findings with you so that you can make the best possible decision regarding your shipment in the given circumstances. 

Airfreight vs sea freight – the costs can be a decisive factor

Undeniably, the amount of financial means necessary to afford airfreight services is considerably higher than that of sea freight. Moreover, the appearance of the largest cargo aircraft in the world announces great changes and improvements in this field. The Antonov An-225 could cause a further rise of the airfreight costs, but it will also guarantee higher quality. On the other hand, sea freight is much more affordable and, consequently, the number one choice of a vast majority of clients. Opting for sea freight provides clients with acceptable service but at a significantly lower price.

Time matters greatly!

Most often, clients want their shipment delivered as soon as possible, which can cause problems for those offering sea freight services. Not seldom do customs issues or hold-ups at ports cause serious delays. However, we must admit that a giant step forward is evident in this field. Firstly, high-quality, modern ships are much faster now than it was the case in the past. Secondly, there are some canal upgrades that can eliminate tedious and tiring delays on some routes. Finally, sea freight forwarders can guarantee delivery times, which is vital for business owners when it comes to organization.

The type of cargo affects the final choice on airfreight vs. sea freight dilemma

The type of cargo is one of the most important factors influencing the choice in the airfreight vs. sea fright dilemma. In this case, we must admit that sea fright seems like a much better solution since it has no limitations you have to be aware of. One of the crucial pros of the maritime shipping is that you can ship even the bulkiest and extremely heavy goods. Conversely, airfreight is limited in this discipline. Before you opt for this type of goods transportation, it is advisable to make sure that the type of your cargo is acceptable. In addition, there is a very long list of the items which are prohibited and those listed as hazardous materials. Depending on your final destination, the rules and laws may differ. Yet, getting sufficient information on the subject must still be the first step in the process.

Safety of your cargo is the top priority

Understandably, the safety of cargo is always the top priority. It is important to emphasize that air cargo has to be dealt with the utmost attention and in accordance with the regulations which are very strict and clear. All the crucial elements, including handling and securing your cargo as well as the proper storage, are defined by airport regulations. This is a great benefit and a guarantee that the safety of your goods will be at the maximal level. On the other hand, we cannot say that sea freight is a bad alternative either. In this case, the goods are transported in containers, but the human factor is crucial. Proper packing strategies are essential in order to decrease any chances of potential damage during transport. If this is not conducted appropriately, the chances are some of your goods might get seriously damaged or even cause further problems on the ship.

Do not forget about the accessibility of your goods

If we analyze the accessibility of your goods as one of the criteria, airfreight is a more favorable option by all means. The procedures are clear, cargo is in smaller volumes and there are no unnecessary waitings to receive your goods. Using sea freight for your cargo often results in additional costs due to heavy congestions in seaports. If your goods are not delivered at the arranged time, you are required to pay for detention and demurrage costs, which may be a heavy burden on your budget. However, we must not forget to mention an advantage sea freight offers comparing to airfreight. The accessibility to markets is much higher in case of sea freight. The reason is very simple. When unloaded from ships, containers can move further inland by using the services of intermodal shippers

Eco-friendly practices 

Finally, let us not forget about the environment when choosing between airfreight vs sea freight. Applying eco-friendly practices is becoming increasingly important, so it does not surprise this is one of the factors shippers base their decision on. According to this particular criterion, sea freight is a more reasonable option since it has a significantly better carbon footprint. Quite the opposite, airplanes are serious polluters and require special attention and measures to reduce their carbon footprint to minimal values.

Final words on airfreight vs sea freight dilemma

The decisions and choices you make concerning airfreight vs sea freight dilemma will depend on miscellaneous factors. It is of key importance to weigh the pros and cons of each of these options and then make your decision final.  A serious effort is required to negotiate the best shipping terms and only then can you expect to ship your goods completely fuss-free.

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Susan Daniels is a passionate copywriter who loves exploring home improvement ideas and real estate market. Lately, she has gained considerable knowledge in the types of moving services and the qualities of respectable moving companies such as DA Moving NYC, for example. She enjoys giving advice on the best places to live and exciting places to visit. Traveling makes her happy as well as reading good books.

european

European Greenhouse: What Climate Change and Green Politics Mean for Business in Europe

France, Germany and the Netherlands broke 40-year temperature records this year. Traditional wine areas, such as Bordeaux, have had to accept new grape types into the area for the first time in 80 years to combat the devastating impact of new weather patterns. In Germany and other central European countries, large swaths of forest died off this summer due to climate conditions. 

This summer of extreme weather follows on the heels of a dramatic gain in Green party popularity during and after the spring European parliament elections. What does this mean for companies that do business in the European Union? How will markets and regulations change in the near future as a result of rising concern over climate change across the Atlantic?  

European voters (and consumers) and highly concerned about climate change, with many of them naming climate change as the greatest threat to world security. Equally important, there are substantially fewer people in European Union member states who doubt the impact that climate change is having on the world compared to countries such as the United States. 

In a recent poll, thirteen percent of U.S. respondents expressed doubt over the existence of climate change or that it was due to human influence. This American response was the highest level of skepticism in the developed world; double that of Germany or France, and much higher than other countries such as Spain, where polls have shown as little as 2% of the population voicing any doubt as to the reality and danger of climate change.

Why Europe having fewer skeptics matters

Extreme weather in the summer is not a new issue in Europe. The heat wave of 2003 was estimated to have killed as many as 30,000 people in Europe due to the lack of air conditioning and infrastructure to care for those vulnerable to heat strokes, such as the elderly. The heat wave that broke records across the EU this summer was even hotter. These weather changes, hand-in-hand with the sudden surge in Green party success in EU and national elections, underscore that there is both pressing concern over climate change and a willingness to prioritize it among voters. 

Without climate deniers across the political aisle to delay or weaken environmentally-oriented legislation, it is likely that the business environment will soon be dramatically changed as the EU and member state governments adjust policies and regulations to combat climate change and protect their populations from future extreme weather.

Why the ‘American solution’ won’t work and building styles won’t change

The U.S. has extreme heat on a constant basis in places like Arizona and Texas, but the classical solution – to air condition every building – will not work in Europe because energy costs are twice the U.S. average and likely to rise quickly as governments are forced to switch to more expensive (in the short-term) renewable sources. The EU’s renewable energy directive was modified in 2018 to establish a 32% renewable energy target for 2030, which will likely keep energy prices high as more investments are needed to help develop renewable sources such as solar, wave and wind energy ‘farms’.  

Logical efforts to change building materials and styles to improve the ambient temperatures for residents are near impossible to implement in established cities in Europe. Traditional building styles that are intended to save on heating costs by trapping air inside often exacerbate heat waves since these buildings cannot effectively cool. New materials and building styles in the suburbs offer energy-efficient solutions to newer areas, but traditional architectural areas in downtown Prague, Rome and Paris are poorly positioned to embrace these options. It is inevitable that air conditioning use will increase (currently only 5% of European buildings are equipped with air conditioning, compared to 90% in the U.S.) but based on electricity costs and emission reduction goals in the EU, it is only a partial answer to the extreme weather problem.  Europe must find its own solution, and this search for alternatives will open up new opportunities for innovative companies.

What business opportunities appear as Europe combats climate change?

How will consumer habits change in the face of public concern over emissions and fears over ever-worsening extreme weather? What new business opportunities can we expect to see in Europe as Green-leaning governments and climate-conscious voters bring wholesale changes to the regulatory structure of the European Union in an attempt to combat climate change? Three areas of interest jump out: new government and venture capital funding for innovation, sharply increased transportation costs which will change logistics patterns and purchasing habits, and dramatic shifts to the land use and building traditions which should open up opportunities to U.S. companies.

Innovation will be valued and funded as never before

According to the Global Innovation Index for this year, seven of the top ten most innovative nations are located in Europe, and yet the U.S. (number three on the Index) outspent Europe on research and development by 20%. That is not to say that Europe is not investing in climate change innovation. On the contrary, in 2018, the European Investment Bank committed over 16 billion Euros to combating climate change, a number which has increased each year for a decade. Over $23 billion (US) was invested in innovative new European companies through venture capitalism last year alone.  These numbers will shoot up in the years to come as governments scramble to support new solutions to extreme weather challenges and climate change. 

The EU has already announced plans to focus on battery innovation and production, and will legislate an increasing use of renewables; supporting wind, wave and solar power projects to reduce oil, gas and coal use. Cleantech and Greentech projects are surging in clusters such as Cambridge, Copenhagen and Rotterdam. But there is a need for even more venture capital, and a growing recognition that governments will have to step in and add to research and start-up funding, as well as help scale up successful companies to compete regionally and globally.

A dramatic increase in transportation costs will shift production and consumer habits

Much like in the U.S., many European companies have a tendency to source materials and production overseas to lower costs. Unlike the U.S., they have generally been able to avoid the impact of the U.S.-China trade war. However, this breather is short-lived, as the EU seems to recognize the cost of transportation to society in the way of pollution and congestion and is likely going to be forced to ramp up emissions taxes in the near future, which will impact both the external and internal movement of goods. This, in turn, will force companies to recalibrate their logistics and likely move production closer to the point of sale. 

Companies will find that supporting local production becomes more reasonable as transportation costs go up, and EU member states with lower labor costs (under 10 euros an hour) such as Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Bulgaria should begin to see production facilities become more competitive compared to Asia as shipping costs increase in the face of emission taxes. Companies that were previously exporting goods into Europe will find that shifting production to Europe in support of EU clients is going to become substantially more cost-friendly (with the added advantage of avoiding import tariffs, should the global trade war broaden).

Land use and building codes are going to shift dramatically

A recent international climate change report supported what European farmers already have experienced: drought and extreme heat are forcing a rethink as to what is produced in Europe and how.  Climate change activists and consumer groups are also dragging EU trade agreements into the spotlight as countries like Brazil are accused of dramatically harming the global environment through wasteful agricultural practices – in part to increase beef sales to Europe. Increasing focus on how land is used and food produced in Europe will open up opportunities for innovative producers and new products (such as meat alternatives) in the European market. At the same time, European builders of new developments are being forced by regulations and consumer sentiment to use more environmentally-friendly materials and styles. 

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification has become a benchmark in Europe as well, and U.S. companies with know-how in this area of construction and building design can find robust new markets and development and construction partners throughout the EU who will be challenged by new regulations and public scrutiny to ‘green’ up their building projects.

Environmental challenges mean new opportunities for savvy companies

Changes in consumer demands and regulations imposed from the EU to the local level will open doors for companies that can bring in new, efficient and effective products. Governments attempting to be responsive to extreme weather challenges without taxing their voting population too directly (which is what sparked the ‘Yellow Vest’ protests in France) will demand more energy-efficient products and processes from businesses. Innovative companies, ready to expand and take on new challenges, will find it relatively quick and painless to register in the European market to take advantage of the possibilities that are manifesting due to environmental and consumer changes.   

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Kirk Samson is the owner of Samson Atlantic LLC, a Chicago-based international business consulting company which offers market research, political risk assessment, and international negotiations assistance.  Mr. Samson is a former U.S. diplomat and international law advisor who lived and worked in ten different countries.

GT Podcast – Episode 120 – Sean Strawbridge with Port of Corpus Christi

In this epsode we welcome special guest, Chief Executive Officer of Port of Corpus Christi, Sean Strawbridge to take a deeper look at doing business with ports and some of the important considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right port, and we will even touch on the recent drone attacks on the Saudi Arabian Oil Infrastructure.