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FREIGHT BUSINESS JOURNAL Saunders Associates Ltd Station House Mersey Road Liverpool UK L17 6AG

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Whatever one may think of the US politicians, their senior spokespeople cannot be accused of being shrinking violets. Not only did transport secretary Ray LaHood fly all the way down to Georgia to give a lengthy and detailed address to the TIACA Air Cargo Forum in Atlanta in early October - just days before the US general election - but he stuck around to answer quite a few questions from this highly specialised and in parts quite skeptical audience. This certainly came as a welcome revelation to Brits used to seeing their cabinet ministers swiftly ushered away from the scene by massed civil service flunkeys after delivering their all-too-rare speeches to industry forums. Mr LaHood even had the honesty to say that he didn’t know the answer

to a question on cabotage, rather than adopt the British tactic of giving an answer to a completely different one.

Pushing through an application for a major port development is a hard enough task in itself – but it is being made even more difficult by the activities of rival port operators. As the port of Liverpool said in a recent press statement on its plans for a new container terminal, “it is not unknown for rivals to raise objections at the eleventh hour, causing applicants extra cost and delay”. And the port of Southampton has indeed had just such an experience when its plans for a major expansion to its terminal was blocked by a judicial review of its application, sparked by an objection from a port over a hundred miles away. As a spokesman for the port said, the planning process is fraught enough

as it is, with myriad bodies allowed a say in the process, many of them who would appear to have only a peripheral interest at most in what is going on in the docks. So far, thankfully, ports that have been a victim of competitors’ objections

have ruled out getting involved in ‘tit for tat’ actions in what appears to be a misuse of the planning system. But such episodes are hardly a great advertisement for ethical standards in the industry.

At the time of writing, three Asia-Europe shipping lines have announced cuts to schedules – at the very time when services would normally be stepped up to cope with the Christmas rush. Clearly, this is a sign that all is not well in an industry that has had more than its fair share of upheaval in the past few years. Only time will tell whether this is a blip or the start of a long and severe capacity cutting exercise.

Issue 6 2012 FROM THE EDITOR

As we write this, the port of New York and New Jersey was out of action following Hurricane Sandy’s visit, though other ports along the US east coast were picking up the pieces and beginning to reopen. While it would be an exaggeration to say that the shipping industry had taken the problem in its stride, the events of the last few days are a demonstration of the resilience and ‘can-do’ attitude of the people who work in transport and the supply chain. With luck, by the time this appears in print the Hurricane will be beginning to recede into memory and the effect on shop shelves will be negligible. It’s a testament to the effectiveness of modern supply chains that such an extreme weather event can have so little effect, all things considered.

By Chris Lewis


FBJ has already become established as the only UK and one of the few pan-European Multimodal newspapers. The comments we have received prove there is still room for a hard copy publication with the freighting industry. You don’t have to look at a screen all day!

FBJ boasts the most informative and authoritative source of information with unrivalled in-depth knowledge of the rapidly changing freight business environment.

As the definitive publication within the sea, air, road and rail freight sectors, each issue includes regular news and analysis, in-depth coverage discovering the business decisions behind the news stories, shipper and exporter reports, opinion, geographical features, political and environmental issues.

If you have any stories or letters which should be of interest or any feedback on FBJ, please contact our editor Chris Lewis - +44 (0)208 6450666

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In the midst of such difficult times, it is hard to keep your spirits up. But there is potential out there for British exporters, and the freight industry that services them. As a recent study by UPS and the Centre for Economics and Business Research points out, while there is a lot of talk about the so- called BRICs (high growth emerging markets) in actual fact UK exporters have only begun to scratch the surface of a potentially huge market in Brazil, Russia, India and China. Despite the manifest potential, we remain very dependent on the traditional top five export destinations of the US, Germany, Netherlands, France and Ireland. Many firms cite the ‘difficulty’ of dealing with markets in unexplored and

underdeveloped parts of the world – and yet exporters in other countries seem to manage. And the UK freight industry itself has long experience of dealing with these so-called hard to reach places. Anyone who is at all worried could do worse than have a chat with a knowledgeable freight forwarder.

I don’t want to worry anyone, but the Newsnight programme featured a new ‘3D printer’. Also sometimes known as additive manufacturing, in theory it will allow anyone to create a multitude of physical objects – anything from a flower vase to complex machinery or even circuit boards - from basic feedstocks of raw material and from plans and diagrams delivered over the internet. The necessary machinery can be had for under a thousand pounds, apparently. I don’t think this spells the end of the freight and package delivery industry

just yet – Jeremy Paxman for one seemed very sceptical – but the experience of the last three decades tells us that it would be foolish to underestimate the potential of any new technology. But I suspect that FedEx, DHL and UPS, not to mention the postman, will be calling at our house for a good few years to come.

Our next issue will include features on Pallet Networks, Security,

Russia+East Europe & Carribean . There will also be our regular IT Section and news pages. For further details contact: John Saunders - +44 (0) 151 427 6800

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