Mark Szakonyi

S&P Global

Executive Editor, JOC.com and The Journal of Commerce, Maritime & Trade

Mark Szakonyi leads JOC.com and The Journal of Commerce. The JOC editorial team of 18 editors and correspondents provides business-critical and data-heavy business intelligence and analysis. Szakonyi oversees the magazine's 100-plus special reports a year, including the Annual Review and Outlook and Top 100 Importers and Exporters issues. In addition to supporting all JOC events, including TPM, TPM Asia, and the Inland Distribution Conference, he is chairman of the annual Canada Trade Conference. His analysis and work have been quoted in mainstream news media including the BBC, The Economist, NPR, and USA Today. 

Sessions With Mark Szakonyi

Sunday, 27 February

  • 02:15pm - 02:45pm (EST) / 27/feb/2022 10:15 pm - 27/feb/2022 10:45 pm

    Shipper Briefing

    A special, off-the-record discussion and preview of TPM22 and the issues dominating today's containerized ocean shipping industry. By Reservation Only for Shippers.

Monday, 28 February

  • 10:20am - 11:20am (EST) / 28/feb/2022 06:20 pm - 28/feb/2022 07:20 pm

    The Container Shipping Market: When Will the Tide Turn?

    With momentum on import volumes continuing into 2022, there will be little opportunity for supply chain bottlenecks to quickly resolve themselves, which means continuing upward pressure on spot and contract rates. As a historically disruptive 2021 neared a close, factors favoring continued strength in volumes were outnumbering factors suggesting an easing of demand in the trans–Pacific. Though big-box retailers leveraged their volumes to break through port bottlenecks and stock their shelves for the holidays, inventories overall remained very low. Meanwhile, consumers are flush with cash, employment is rising, economists see a low risk of recession, the stock market is at record highs, and a normal pre-COVID balance of spending between goods and services has yet to be restored. On the other side, falling consumer confidence and rising inflation eventually may temper demand, but as of late 2021, it hadn’t happened yet. Thus, the demand pressure on the supply chain will continue well into 2022, slamming hard into stubborn realities such as labor and chassis shortages that are proving resistant to easy fixes. Disruptions at origin and perhaps a post-holiday-shipping lull led to slightly easing trans–Pacific import spot rates, but continuing port congestion is tying up the vessel, container, and chassis capacity, a key reason for elevated ocean rates. Time will tell how much such a scenario will be in play by the time TPM begins in late February, but this panel will undoubtedly provide the context shippers and service providers need to guide them through the turmoil.

  • 11:20am - 12:00pm (EST) / 28/feb/2022 07:20 pm - 28/feb/2022 08:00 pm

    Ocean Contracting: Is the Dynamic Changed Forever?

    Early trans-Pacific service contract negotiations are shaping up to be markedly different than in prior years, and, generally not to the benefit of importers. Container lines are reluctant to expand minimum quantity commitments (MQCs) and want to reduce how much so-called free time they provide. Some carriers are simply dropping customers whose cargo they don’t want, or only agreeing to provide contracted cargo on specific lanes. That’s a challenging negotiating environment even when considering that many importers’ 2022 volume forecasts aren’t necessarily robust. This session will address what importers need to understand and do to cross the contracting finish line with some MQC certainty, and how they can improve the likelihood that their cargo allocation guarantees are met through the life of the contract.

  • 02:50pm - 03:20pm (EST) / 28/feb/2022 10:50 pm - 28/feb/2022 11:20 pm

    The Regulatory View of Container Shipping

    US port congestion and global shipping disruption has galvanized the Federal Maritime Commission, launching investigations into unreasonable storage fees and congestion surcharges. FMC Chairman Daniel Maffei and his fellow commissioners are simultaneously sharpening their monitoring while working with the industry to forge commercial solutions. At the same time, Congress is considering legislation that, if passed in current form, would transform how the agency regulates container shipping. Following the chairman’s update on the FMC’s 2022 priorities, Maffei will discuss with JOC Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi how the agency is approaching a wide range of issues, including detention and demurrage, and congestion surcharges.

  • 04:35pm - 05:20pm (EST) / 01/mar/2022 12:35 am - 01/mar/2022 01:20 am

    How Would the Industry Change Under an OSRA21?

    For the first time in more than two decades, Congress is considering legislation that would upend how the United States regulates container shipping. For the National Industrial Transportation League, National Retail Federation, and other supporters, behavior by the carriers and marine terminals over the last two years of disruption has shown the need for the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. If passed in current form, the legislation would pressure carriers to accept more export bookings and force carriers to certify that storage fees comply with federal regulations. Container lines, as represented by the World Shipping Council, along with terminal operators and stevedores warn shippers that any short-term benefits would be outweighed by long-term damage. The carriers argue that the legislation would only increase detention and demurrage and slow the supply chain. Getting past the rhetoric, the opposing sides will make their case in a constructive debate moderated by JOC Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi.

Tuesday, 1 March

  • 10:45am - 11:15am (EST) / 01/mar/2022 06:45 pm - 01/mar/2022 07:15 pm

    TPM22 CEO Series: From Chassis to China, Why Ron Widdows Says Shippers Will See Little Relief in 2022

    Ron Widdows’ warning to the virtual TPM21 Conference last March was scarily prescient: The supply chain story of 2021 would be all about volatility. Widdows, the former chairman of the World Shipping Council and now the CEO of FlexiVan Leasing, sees little signs of significant easing in 2022. New chassis equipment may not be delivered until late in the year, there are few signs that demand for Asia’s imports will slow dramatically, and the Asia-US shipping system is maxed out from end to end, meaning small disruptions quickly expand into larger ones. Known for a frankness that matches his prescience — both based on experience that stretches to 50 years this March, Widdows will sit down with JOC Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi to discuss how he sees 2022 playing out, and the implications for shippers.

  • 11:15am - 12:00pm (EST) / 01/mar/2022 07:15 pm - 01/mar/2022 08:00 pm

    TPM22 CEO Series: Opening Up New Routing Options: A Conversation With CP Rail CEO Keith Creel

    As it prepares to acquire Kansas City Southern Railway in what would be the first Class I railroad merger of this century, Canadian Pacific Railway under Keith Creel’s leadership is dramatically expanding the carriers’ network. The merging of the railroads would open up new port routing options for US and Canadian importers and exporters. But even before the tie-up, CP has been carving out space in new gateways for its customers, whether it be serving Hapag-Lloyd at the Port Saint John on the Atlantic coast, or collaborating with Maersk to funnel transloaded cargo quickly through Vancouver out west. Now, Creel is looking farther south — to Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, which has long been eyed as a gateway for US goods but has failed to scale up. In a one-on-one discussion with JOC Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi, Creel will explain why operating a single North American line can open up Lazaro Cardenas to northern markets and how CP will inject new routing competition into the broader continent.
  • 02:15pm - 02:45pm (EST) / 01/mar/2022 10:15 pm - 01/mar/2022 10:45 pm

    Shipper Perspectives: Seizing Control of Your Import Supply Chain

    Like many US importers, Mary McNelly, the senior director of global logistics and supply chain for Crocs, can’t get her goods into the country fast enough. But port delays, unfulfilled contracted ocean obligations, and a production crunch in a locked-down Vietnam somehow made 2021 even more chaotic. Yet, the shoes found their way to consumers’ feet. Crocs expects to end 2021 with between 62-65 percent higher revenue than 2020. Now, under still strong demand for the iconic footwear and trans–Pacific pressures easing only modestly, McNelly will share how Crocs is taking short- and long-term steps to prepare for and mitigate supply chain disruptions. After nearly two years of disruption, she stresses that logistics managers can still control their supply chain and there are levers to pull beyond just paying more.

  • 04:45pm - 05:30pm (EST) / 02/mar/2022 12:45 am - 02/mar/2022 01:30 am

    Shippers Sound Off: US Advisory Group Has the FMC’s Ear

    The new 24-member National Shipper Advisory Committee is the first of its kind for the Federal Maritime Commission, giving importers and exporters a louder and more direct voice in how regulators monitor and work to strengthen the industry. Hearing frustration from shippers about everything from service levels to data integrity, the FMC encouraged Congress to establish a vehicle to better keep importers and exporters front-and-center to their work. In this session, advisory committee members, coming from small, medium-sized, and large shippers of all kinds of goods and commodities will share what challenges they’re facing in their containerized supply chains and how that’s instructing their committee work in terms of the group’s priorities for 2022. 

Wednesday, 2 March

  • 09:00am - 09:45am (EST) / 02/mar/2022 05:00 pm - 02/mar/2022 05:45 pm

    Whatever It Takes

    As one of Canada’s largest importers, Canadian Tire faced a challenge shared by all major trans–Pacific BCOs over the past year: gaining access to and controlling capacity when traditional ocean carrier services were full to capacity and unable to fully support the company’s need to keep its 1,700 retail locations stocked with product. As 2022 begins, the company’s supply chain supporting imports of 100,000 TEU a year looks very different from just a year ago. Among other unconventional moves, it entered the vessel market as a charterer, securing multiple ships — including a breakbulk vessel that it successfully modified to safely move hundreds of loaded proprietary 53-foot containers from Asia. In August, it acquired a 25 percent stake in an inland container terminal 300 kilometers east of the port of Vancouver (Ashcroft Terminal Ltd.) operated by Singapore-based PSA Corp. It enabled container stacking at inland locations using reach stackers, expanding capacity. “It’s all about being creative and innovative and building resiliency,” said Gary Fast, Canadian Tire’s vice president of transportation. Gary will discuss how the company pivoted in the face of unprecedented challenges in this 45-minute one-on-one conversation at TPM.