Cooked Goose

1. As reported by The Journal of Commerce, nine carriers have filed a complaint to the Federal Maritime Commission requesting that the commission order the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to quit collecting fees that they claim illegally subsidizes intermodal rail shipments.

Port officials reply that the cargo facility fee was designed to encourage more cargo to move via intermodal rail instead of truck, and that the fee would reduce pollution caused by idling trucks and provide more money for nearby road improvements.

2. The Journal of Commerce also reported that the Drewry Container Rate Benchmark for shipping containers from China to the U.S. West Coast just jumped 21.5 percent- from $ 1,525 per FEU to $ 1,853 per FEU – as members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement imposed peak season surcharges.

The justification for this increase – according to TSA members – is that delivery of new container ships this year and relatively weak increases in demand for shipping space has eroded rates on the trans-Pacific and the Asia-Europe trade, and has caused losses to many of the leading container lines in the first half of 2011.

So who’s right? Is it OK for the carriers to impose fees to offset financial losses? They do it to fatten up their bottom lines every year, don’t they? So shouldn’t it be OK for concerned port officials to impose a fee that would lead to reduced pollution – an even greater concern than increased profits? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, isn’t it?

It’s a shame that maritime and port officials haven’t looked into the solutions we’ve been offering for the past dozen years. We’ve sent hundreds of faxes and e-mails to port authorities and carriers in our attempts to show them how to “fatten up their bottom lines” and “reduce pollution caused by idling trucks”.

We’ve advised the ports that our patented storage, retrieval and delivery systems could be installed on about one-tenth the acreage they’re now using, thereby;
– … freeing up (and selling) thousands of waterfront acres for more practical and profitable uses;
– … using just a fraction of the sale price to pay for the installation of our automated system;
– … creating many more job opportunities for threatened longshoremen;
– … and reducing across-the-board costs – as well as health-threatening pollution.

And the carriers? Shame on them. Instead of opting for our efficient and low-cost automated container ship design, their main concern was to upstage one another by ordering ever-larger and unmanageable leviathans – monstrosities designed to ply the oceans at 25 knots, but which are now reduced to an embarrassing, “slow steaming”, 10 to 12 knots. And all this in a disguised attempt to avoid scrapping excess capacity. But all that excess capacity will inevitably be scrapped. Big time.