March 14, 2022
The annual JOC Transpacific Maritime Conference was well attended by carriers, cargo owners and logistics companies alike. STG was there with a delegation that included our company's senior leaders because it was a chance to meet many of our customers and vendors in one place over an intense and packed few days.
TPM happened in the shadow of both the ongoing supply chain environment and the start of Russia's unprovoked war against Ukraine. The discussions certainly revolved around where the trade is today and what the collective "we" should be looking ahead to in 2022 and early 2023.
Based on the sessions and what we heard, there are three key takeaways for our customers that we feel warrant consideration and discussion.
Contract negotiations between the PMA and ILWU
A number of letters have already been written by trade associations to both sides strongly encouraging negotiations to begin early and conclude on time without any work stoppages or interruptions at a time when cargo and supply chains are already under pressure owing to rates, demurrage, delays and equipment shortages. One more stresser - and one perceived by many as being artificially created were it to happen - would impede any hopes of recovery in 2022, if not early 2023.
Technology is trying to offer solutions
Whether predictive analytics for vessel arrival times or creating virtual pools to manage street turns, extremely creative minds in logistics technology are attempting to help companies make more informed decisions based on large pools of available data and increased interoperability between stakeholders. One of STG's hallmarks is our investment in technology that we develop ourselves and pair with commercially available solutions. These technologies serve the needs of our logistics and cargo owner customers alike.
Reforms to regulations, additional oversight could bring D&D relief
FMC Chairman Daniel Maffei told the audience about his agency's recommitment to working with the Department of Justice to investigate collusive behavior, in addition to the bipartisan changes pending in the House and Senate to the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. In our role as managed outsource providers, we are aware of the challenges auditing both dates and dollars invoices by carriers on equipment and welcome any advancements that increase accuracy and identify responsibility which can be apportioned accordingly.
It's not just the west coast, it's nationwide
TPM is understandably focused on the transpacific and STG does see a majority of our cargo coming in from Asia. Our nationwide footprint means operations in Charleston and Savannah are equally affected by vessel delays and terminal congestion from cargo traveling across the Pacific and Atlantic alike. STG will continue to work with our customers during these rapidly-changing times to proactively find ways to continuously improve and deliver innovative solutions.