Archive for July, 2011

On the Hunt for New Sources of Finance

July 26, 2011

“If you want to understand the container shipping market, fly to Phoenix, and go about an hour out in the desert and see all the aircraft laid up.”

These are cautionary words from Graham Porter, chairman of Hong Kong investment firm, Tiger Group Investments and a director of Seaspan, one of the Tiger Group’s holdings. Porter underscores that for the world’s carriers, the search for financing has become as important as the search for shippers.

The strife in the container market was detailed in an article by Peter T. Leach in The Journal of Commerce last week. The 2009 financial crisis all but closed the doors to financing sources in the shipping market—both traditional and nontraditional. As evidenced in the graph below, German KG shipping investments plummeted from 2008 to 2009 and have not recovered.

In addition, more liner companies are practicing risky business by ordering scores of new super-sized ships. The new ships are coming on top of a record amount of new container ship capacity scheduled for delivery next year, according to Braemar Seascope’s latest Containership Fleet Statistics. Carriers are scheduled to receive 1.55 million TEUs, increasing available capacity to 16.8 million TEUs, beating the previous record of 1.52 million TEUs in 2007.

Some 200 KG funds restructured because of the financial crisis and more are restructuring this year. As a result, shipping order financing is moving toward more regionalized banking sources and both public and private equity funding.

With news like this, there’s no wonder words like “uncertainty,” “risk” and “unpredictability” have become a part of the transportation industry professional’s everyday lexicon. Access the crucial intelligence you need to keep an eye on these and other developments in transportation by trying PIERS products and solutions.


Bills, Bills, Bills: Gaining a Competitive Advantage and Unlocking New Markets

July 19, 2011

Master and House Bills of Lading are important to all parties in the supply chain, particularly for NVOs, freight forwarders, and 3PLs. Being able to view the relationship between the two bills on a regular basis can mean opening doors to new markets and gaining an inside track on your competitor’s strategy.

A Master Bill is issued by the carrier and can provide important details about the relationship between the carrier and the Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) or Beneficial Cargo Owner (BCO). A House Bill, issued by the NVOCC, is between the NVOCC and shipper/BCO—a gold mine of company names and commodity information.

Often multiple House Bills appear under each Master Bill, helping to identify markets, gain market share and obtain sales leads. Users of PIERS TI have already made this a part of lead generation research. Isn’t it time you took the guesswork out of your strategy?

Contact us today to receive a free demo and experience the PIERS difference.

Container Shipping Outlook Dips, Lackluster Labor Markets to Blame

July 12, 2011

As the Rolling Stones famously said—“you can’t always get what you want.” But according to PIERS/JOC economist, Mario Moreno, the transportation industry might still “get what it needs” to fully recover, just much slower than previously anticipated.

According to The Journal of Commerce Container Shipping Outlook—2nd Quarter 2011, the outlook for U.S. real income growth is suddenly less upbeat now than it was earlier in the year. The dip caused participants in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s ‘Second Quarter 2011 Survey of Professional Forecasters” to slash their predictions for 2011 growth from an average of 3.2 percent to just 2.7 percent.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, U.S. residents know all too well the cause of this deflated optimism. The U.S. Congress, discouraged with job growth efforts, is now turning its attention to deficit reduction and away from employment, says Moreno.

Globally, a combination of structural factors and natural and man-made economic shocks have worked to sharply undermine confidence in the global economic recovery that began in 2009. While the recovery has not been derailed it has been continually challenged by circumstances largely beyond the control of economic policy authorities.

Ultimately, the industry is still on the path toward recovery, but is likely to remain on a flatter trajectory than economic recoveries of the past. The implication for trade is that it will continue to grow but at a more moderate pace than had been projected in 2010 and early in 2011—forcing companies to take a much more realistic look at their plans for the rest of the year.

Start getting real about your business positioning with PIERS products and solutions. PIERS’ forecast reports help you gain a realistic picture of the global market before making important business decisions.

Using Comprehensive Import Data—A Healthy Education

July 5, 2011

Did you know that the vitamin pill you just washed down this morning is likely to have been produced outside of the U.S.?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sliced and diced a variety of data to analyze the growth of the importation of foods, medications, medical devices and household products regulated by the agency. In a special report titled “Pathway to Global Product Safety and Quality,” the FDA acknowledges the problems it’s had in the past with tracking imports in an ever-changing world.

Following an urgent call from FDA commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg, the administration created the report to outline better ways to monitor imported food and drugs, and is seen as an important strategic turning point toward ensuring safety, according to the New York Times.

According to this report:

  • 10-15% of all foods consumed by U.S. households are imported.
  • Nearly two thirds of our fruits and vegetables, and 80% of all seafood come from outside the U.S.
  • 50% of all medical devices used in the U.S. are imported.
  • 80% of all pharmaceutical ingredients used in medications are produced outside the U.S.
  • Imported FDA regulated products come from 150 different countries, and this year, will arrive in 24 million shipments.

To address their challenges, the FDA has outlined a plan that called for the development of a global data information system allowing regulators to share information and resources in real time. The FDA also seeks an expansion of intelligence gathering and use, including analytics.

Sound familiar? PIERS solutions provide major organizations the same kind of support needed to accurately structure and track vital information—the kind that could mean the difference between ensuring food and drug safety, or risk having harmful materials cross U.S. borders.

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