Category Archives: Ports

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Globalization in transition

This is a fascinating report about global trade, with many interesting statistics, and with points of view not often presented so cogently.

Authors Susan Lund, James Manyika, Jonathan Woetzel, Jacques Bughin, Mekala Krishnan, Jeongmin Seong, and Mac Muir point out that global trade in services already probably exceeds that for goods. If a fair value is placed on it, we would see the US trade deficit, for example,wiped out and replaced by a larger surplus.  They also point out that labor is a declining factor both in the value of production, and in labor cost’s ability to determine where products get made.  The intellectual property value is much higher, and often moves in reverse fashion to the goods. But it is hard to price into conventional labor statistics.

I can’t wait to read the whole document!

mckinsey-logo1  via Globalization in transition: The future of trade and global value chains | McKinsey  

Here is the full document link.

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Shipper hackles rise as Hong Kong box terminals announce operating alliance

Sam Whelan penned a report on the alliance of four companies managing terminals at the Kwai Tsing terminals in Hong Kong.

Apparently shippers are furious. They believe there will be collusion and rates will rise as a result.  Rates are already higher in Hong Kong than the mainland, and the Hong Kong fees add more cost.

The firms say it’s only to make the port more efficient and gain higher throughput.  Volume handled has been declining in 2018 compared to the prior year.

It’s true that greater cooperation would most likely improve port throughput.  Coordinating yard movements and berth use would offer possibilities for gains. I’m not sure it would have to be at the level of fixing prices.   Improving port and yard bottlenecks is an important activity for firms in port management today.

But you can bet shippers will be on their guard for any collusion on pricing, especially when there’s a falling need for services.  And since it’s China that is involved– these are Chinese firms– we can’t rule out geopolitical considerations that would be collusive.  WE need to watch this one and see how the volumes and prices play out, just like the shippers will.

logo  via Shipper hackles rise as Hong Kong box terminals announce operating alliance – The Loadstar

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Cost, operational challenges hinder port automation

Ben Meyer in American Shipper has summarized a McKinsey report on port automation and port modernization.  One interesting point in the discussion is that port operators are actually not seeing productivity gains in automated ports. Throughputs are actually slower.  They have some explanations for this, but it is a real problem.

It struck me that automation is often seen as going hand in hand with better visibility of cargoes in the port and readiness for delivery.  to the extent that the software requires automation, there may be a correlation here that does not bode well in the medium term.

In the long term it may well turn out better, but meanwhile, the customer may suffer.

 

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via Cost, operational challenges hinder port automation