Interesting piece about automated customs bond filings by truckers. It is starting to be a reality, but there are still issues like airports not accepting them, and adoption issues– resistance from truckers to using the online forms.
Later in the piece it points out that truckers must pay a fee for each transaction on the system. For larger companies that isn’t maybe a big deal, but for independent truckers it’s one more nail in the coffin.
It seems that despite all the fuss last year about the size of container ships and all the studies showing that they should not be built, the trend is continuing. I’ve maintained all along that the cost savings just can’t be ignored, and big ships will continue, maybe getting even bigger. Now we see there’s not a reversal yet, despite the academics. These new ships will be in the range of 24000 containers. Mike Wackett’s article does a good job of examining the tradeoffs and the actual geometry and stacking of the containers that’s contemplated. And see the followup piece below in the same journal the next day.
Another interesting fact in the story is the divergence on what to use for energy. One line is going for LNG power, the other for conventional fuel with stack scrubbers. But clearly the environmental concerns are holding up, and companies are making plans to deal with the new regulations on environmental emissions from ocean carriers.
There’s been some written about the efficacy of scrubbers vs LNG and the economic and engineering tradeoffs aren’t totally clear, but clearly there are merits on both sides of that debate.
This followup piece is interesting in that more people are shipping smaller packages than container-size. This means that consolidation will be a key function. that is where 3PLs have a role. The carriers and especially ports need to get in that service business also, and make the process seamless for their end user customers. It’s a big challenge, requiring a lot of cooperative activity. Not the carriers’ or ports’ strong point.
Of course we could use 20 foot containers instead of 40’s but that would just push the problem down a bit. Short term it might be viable though.