Archive for the ‘Imbalance’ Category

Retailers Import Into US For Holiday Rush Despite Port Issues

Posted on: September 17th, 2014 by The IAS Team No Comments

The West Coast Longshoremen’s Contract is still under negotiation, but retailers continue to import merchandise into the US at above-average rates in order to be ready for the holiday shopping season. Retailers want to make sure that consumer demand during the holidays is met, so they are shipping products to alternative ports.

Import volume at U.S. ports is expected to total 1.47 million containers this month, according to a report issued by Global Port Tracker. This is down from the all-time monthly record of 1.53 million set in August as retailers imported merchandise early in case of any disruption on the docks. September has averaged 1.42 million containers over the past five years.

The contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired on July 1, prompting concerns about potential disruptions that could affect back-to-school or holiday merchandise. A tentative agreement on health benefits was announced in August but both sides are continuing to negotiate on other issues as dockworkers remain on the job.

The National Retail Federation is forecasting a sales growth of 3.6 percent in 2014. While cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales numbers, it is still a good measure of forecasting retail sales expectations.

International Asset Systems (IAS) helps carriers improve drayage assignments, appointment times, invoicing, visibility, rates, and optimization for ocean, air, LCL/LTL, international and domestic moves. IAS Dispatch coordinates shippers’ needs with the resources of partners in their global transportation network, resulting in improved profit, improved equipment utilization, and improved customer satisfaction.

Impacts of the US housing market on transportation: the upsides and downsides

Posted on: March 16th, 2012 by The IAS Team No Comments

The US housing market has been bouncing along the bottom for the last 5-6 years. Signs that the market could now be improving could have a number of positive, and indeed negative, implications for the US transportation sector.

Clearly, if the market does start to improve, a rise in real estate construction could lead to an increase in the import of goods used to supply that market. Fixtures and fittings, whether for the new market or for people looking to upgrade and improve existing homes, all stand to benefit.

A secondary benefit could be the resurgence of the US domestic market. Starting in the early 1990s, shipping lines discovered that they could save significant dollars on empty repositioning by supplying US domestic logistics companies, or Intermodal Marketing Companies (IMCs), with their excess equipment. The IMC would pick up the 20ft, 40ft, or Hicube container in a surplus location like Chicago, load it with one-way cargo for the US West Coast, and return it to the ocean carrier in Los Angeles or the Pacific North West. Then the ocean carrier only had to load it empty on a vessel back to Asia. The situation was a win-win. The savings to the ocean carrier were valuable, anywhere between $300 and $500 per container. And while the IMC and their shipper had to use a smaller container than the usual 48′ or 53′ box, the credit paid by the carriers was more than enough to make it worth their while.