The Economist – Page 5

  • News

    Economic hurdles remain


    COMMENT: Ports and terminals around the world are making major investments in upgrading facilities, building new ones and re-financing what they have. It seems as if there is a general belief that global trade will return to the growth paths seen before the Great Recession and that shipowners will pursue ...

  • Interface: it's the shoreside capabilities that will stunt ship growth. Credit: rainer.n.foto

    Affordability of economies of scale


    COMMENT: Like all things in our world we try to keep up with new trends in order not to be at a disadvantage. In economic terms this is known as comparative advantage, defined as the ability of a firm to produce goods and/or services at a lower opportunity cost than ...

  • News

    On the brink of change


    COMMENT: 2014 was a mixed year for economic fundamentals but little of this impacted the flow of trade, writes Ben Hackett.

  • News

    Just who's laughing now?


    COMMENT: Reading the press since the end of the labour dispute on the US West Coast brings a smile to one''s lips. The build-up of the West Coast congestion was relatively slow, as the ILWU and the PMA were locked in negotiations and shippers and carriers worked on how to ...

  • In perspective: have containerships reached their size ceiling? Credit: F. Berkelaar

    Limits of economies of scale


    COMMENT: We have long believed that economies of scale are the saviour of the maritime industry, for all sectors ranging from terminals and bulk, to tankers and containerships. But in the last few months we have begun to hear opinions suggesting that containerships have reached their maximum size. So, wherein ...

  • News

    All change in the eurozone


    COMMENT: A change of fiscal strategy for the Eurozone began with the Swiss de-coupling from the Euro, followed by the injection of €60bn a month for up to 18 months into the Eurozone economies and the change of government in Greece, writes Ben Hackett.

  • News

    Out of the frying pan


    COMMENT: Things are getting serious on the US West Coast: due in part to ongoing negotiations with labour at US West Coast ports not enough potatoes have been getting through to Japan for McDonald’s to meet demand for its French fries, writes Mike Mundy.

  • Wave rider: stormy waters could be behind us. Credit: Kees Torn

    Better things to come in 2015?


    COMMENT: The port industry is impacted by global and regional economics but not always in the direct way that one would expect. As an example, the weakness of the European Union in 2014 did not directly translate into a weak flow of cargo in Europe, but on the other hand ...

  • Teamwork: carriers need to look at the bigger picture. Credit: Kees Torn

    Downside of economies of scale


    Global carriers, having a hard time managing their pricing strategies, and therefore their profitability, turned to larger vessel sizes in the search for economies of scale that would lower the slot cost of voyages.

  • US growth could be hit by unpredictable stock markets and exchange rates. Photo: Ken Teegardin/Flickr

    Walking the economic tightrope


    The US continues to expand its economy but this is not enough to stop the sharp volatility in the stock markets, the volatility in exchange rates and the flattening out of trade.

  • News

    The Ukrainian port bubble


    COMMENT: Attending a conference in Odessa in September on the topic of the Black Sea ports and trade was like being in a bubble of peace and prosperity, writes Ben Hackett.

  • Hold back: we should not get too excited about European trade growth over the coming 12-18 months

    The idiosyncrasies of economics


    COMMENT: The life of an economist is truly challenging. We are always blamed for getting things wrong and accused of finding great excuses of why we should have been on the mark with our projections. When if we get things right it is rarely remembered for long, writes Ben Hackett.

  • News

    Heading for a new economic crisis


    China has scuttled the development of super alliances with its negative decision on the P3 whose rationale was for joint fleet management by the top three carriers which would have resulted in a reduction of capacity, which in turn would lead to a rise in freight rates.

  • Future economic growth remains uncertain

    Uneven growth dampens spirits


    COMMENT: The European Commission has predicted low inflation will remain a threat to euro-area expansion for at least the next two years as it trimmed its economic-growth forecast and warned of the impact of tensions with Russia - but this is tempered by uneven performance among the members, writes Ben ...

  • Economic upsurge: The fight for market share is rife. Photo: 401(K) 2012/Flickr

    Are we there yet?


    Irrelevant of what we are talking about in the maritime industry the answer is no. Excess capacity will continue to be the cross to bear for a number of years to come.

  • Counting the beans: Like any other industry the issue is supply and demand

    Demand versus counting beans


    Lo and behold, the container shipping executives have discovered that they cannot control their own pricing. What an earth-shattering revelation; how much do they earn to come up with this news?

  • News

    Applying the economic paradox


    We have come across the term ''paradox'', when the opposite of what one expects happens; can we apply it to economics? Of course we can.

  • Have the economic experts hit a brick wall with no further ideas of how to re-vitalise the economies?

    Economic recovery lacks traction


    Four years after the official end of the Great Recession and we are still struggling to find sustained recovery. Have we become accustomed to high levels of unemployment, and low levels of consumer confidence combined with low levels of sales? Have the economic experts hit a brick wall with no ...

  • Growth is expected as consumers finally open their purse strings

    Is the patient getting better?


    Now that the US Government is back at work, the new German Government well installed and China setting off with new economic reforms, it seems that all and sundry are trying to work out if we are solidly back on the road to recovery or still stumbling along a rocky ...

  • Coal - a staple diet of bulk handling

    Bringing problems in bulk


    According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), coal consumption will decline in Europe and the US, but will continue to rise in India and China, nearly doubling in consumption primarily intended for electricity generation by 2035.