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Commentary: Cato’s Jones Act numbers wrong

John McCown, a former shipping company CEO and transport hedge fund executive, debunks the faulty calculations in the Cato Institute’s analysis of the Jones Act as it applies to Puerto Rico.

Most container traffic from the US flows from Jacksonville FL to Puerto Rico. Containers headed to Puerto Rico must be carried in US-flagged hulls, due to the cabotage restrictions of the Jones Act.

It appears Cato Institute researchers’ figures are patently wrong, their methodology is flawed, and they have excluded several factors that would affect the Puerto Rico – US container trade link.  Cato researchers came up with an 88% decline in the cost of shipping a container by their flawed technique. But Mr McCown’s spreadsheet says it is more like 10-12%, an amount that is hardly worth junking the Jones Act.

The purpose of the Jones Act is to maintain a capable US maritime segment. It embraces, for instance, container shipping between US ports, US shipbuilding, and US seamen and training, along with the stricter requirements for seamen’s well-being that a US flag puts into effect.

The Cato Institute seems to have aligned itself with some radical allies of the sitting US President. We don’t see why they would be so eager to cook the books on this issue.  And we don’t understand why they insist on repeating their false conclusions even when they have been called into question by a serious critic, on fairly easily ascertainable facts.

It seems as though Cato is falling prey to the fake news fad, and won’t shut their collective mug when they are found out.  It’s a good way to lose everyone’s respect.

 

   via Commentary: Cato’s Jones Act numbers wrong

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Flexport – moving beyond freight forwarding?

This article looking at Flexport now appeared recently under Cathy Morrow Roberson’s byline in The Loadstar.  We enjoy hearing about what Flexport is doing now.  But the idea that they are changing direction to become more like a 4PL is not the point. That’s where they were always going!!  The press and financial folks may have perceived them as a technology play.  But all along Ryan Petersen has intended to create a firm that actually helps customers manage their supply chains, by giving them visibility, a certain amount of in-depth analysis, and good service assistance in dealing among supply chain partners, temporary or permanent.  I don’t think the vision has changed; just the world’s view of it.

  via The Morrow-Roberson road test: Flexport – moving beyond freight forwarding  – The Loadstar

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How robots change the world | Oxford Economics

Thanks to Supply Chain Digest for promoting this study by Oxford Economics.  Read the article here for a synopsis of its findings: Supply Chain News: Oxford Economics Says Robots Benefits will Outweigh Cons

Basically, it says robots will greatly raise productivity and take jobs with a repetitive aspect, displacing workers toward jobs with high cognitive content.  But there may be local dislocations that will be hard for some people.   We’d better prepare for that and put in measures to alleviate the suffering, if we care about people and their lives.  They think about 1.6 jobs will be lost for every job robots take. but GNP may grow 5% as a result.  China is the major user of robots now, and the revolution promises to be harder on them than any other country as it looks now.

It isn’t clear from the summary whether the 1.6 jobs lost will be found again in other sectors, such as service and sales, support of the robots, or technical work like fixing the robots.  Nonetheless this kind of assessment is an eye opener to concerns we may have in our economy and political world for quite a while.

The report is available here:  How robots change the world | Oxford Economics

Or here: Oxford Economics 2019 Report – How Robots Change the World