Oh, the cost of staying attractive! (A reprint of Vol. XXXVI, Art. 11 – One year ago today.)

Get this. The Top Story in Monday’s (July 22, 2013) CARGOBUSINESS was:

“Efficiency, reliability controlling costs called key for U.S. Pacific ports” – by Richard Knee.

Malcom McLean finally convinced shippers, on April 26, 1956, that the best road to efficiency and cost control was to containerize everything. So here we are in 2013, and the top maritime officials have yet to figure out a way to get the job done. These intellectuals, by the way, are all being paid respectable six-figure salaries – by you, the taxpayer/consumer.

Here’s some of Mr. Knee’s report.

“Heightening competition, local politics and imminent labor contract talks pose huge challenges for U.S. Pacific ports and marine terminal operators trying to stay attractive to shippers, leading executives with a pair of industry advocacy organizations and a veteran freight-watching journalist told an audience from the shipper, carrier, logistics and port sectors over lunch in Oakland on Thursday.

“West Coast ports and terminal managers need to operate efficiently, reliably and in a business-friendly manner, and must control operating costs to compete with cargo load centers on the East Coast and in Prince Rupert, Canada, said Presidents John McLaurin of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and James McKenna of the Pacific Maritime Association, and senior editor Bill Mongelluzzo of The Journal of Commerce at the Ports and Terminals Luncheon sponsored annually by the Pacific Transportation Association …

“The two main factors that shippers will weigh, he (McKenna) said, are the total cost of landing goods and which ports can handle cargo reliably and efficiently …

“Part of a port’s attractiveness stems from a perception that it is a ‘happy place with happy people,’ and (CEO) Lytle’s departure from Long Beach made it clear that that port authority was having internal problems, Mongelluzzo said …” —

We’ve sent lengthy faxes and letters to each of the above-named individuals. They know all about our “efficient, reliable, space-saving, cost-effective, programmed and patented storage and retrievable system.”

And they know all about our in-house delivery system. The real problem, as they see it, is that our systems will solve all the problems that require their annual attendance at Ports and Terminals Luncheons and maritime related conferences around the country.

Maintaining the primitive, problem-infested status quo is all that’s important to port and terminal executives – otherwise nothing would justify their six-figure salaries and exalted positions.