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- Thorsten Meincke
Adapting To New Ocean Shipping Dynamics
Amid the wild and unanticipated swing from plummeting Asia imports to record volumes that pushed the annual peak season into the final days of the year, one thing on the eastbound trans-Pacific has stayed consistent: carriers’ control over capacity and the pricing power that’s resulted. Importers aren’t alone in struggling to get space for record e-commerce demand. Exporters also are finding it harder to get space as the widening spread between inbound and outbound rates spurred carriers to prioritize higher-paying imports. The questions now are less about whether carriers will exercise capacity control but to what extent and whether the import growth will lose steam gradually or rapidly. For US exporters, the difference in the spot costs of inbound and outbound shipping has never been a better predictor of the service levels. And with the Biden administration signaling a more focused approach to trade talks with China, there’s the external wildcard of a potential easing of tariffs on exporters and importers alike. Within the industry, there are also promising signs in terms of new expedited and premium services. But carriers will have to show broader improvements in reliability on the water and to a lesser degree on the ground, or risk a shipper and even regulatory backlash. Among the takeaways you can expect from this critical TPM21 session are:
• How much capacity is trans-Pacific carriers adding and how does that match up with growth forecasts?
• What major challenges do carriers, shippers, and forwarders face in 2021?
• What have been the service challenges and causes, and will they recede or worsen in 2021?
• What are the risks if carriers don’t improve service, and in what areas are they making inroads on service improvement?