In the 21st century, the quest for greater efficiency will continue to shape the global logistics industry. As airports, sea-ports, ocean and air carriers, freight forwarders, consolidators and shipping firms make their business decisions, improving efficiency will remain a fundamental objective.
Throughout the Americas, this drive to reduce costs, improve transit times and provide quality customer service is already being reflected in a recent wave of consolidation within the transportation industry. For example, Fine Air Services acquired Arrow Air in May to create the largest scheduled international air cargo company at Miami International Airport. "We hope to become the first all-cargo airline serving every major market in Latin America on a scheduled basis," says Barry Fine, president and CEO. "We're also rapidly expanding our global service network."
Consolidation is also occurring in the world's shipping industry. Crowley American Transportation of Jacksonville, Florida, a subsidiary of Crowley Marine, is being acquired by Hamburg Sud. The German shipping group will purchase Crowley's business in the trade lanes between the US. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and South America's east and west coasts, as well as Venezuela. Chairman Tom Crowley says the sale, which will be completed in October, will allow Crowley to concentrate its assets" in our core service areas."
The drive for greater efficiency is also spurring the adoption of new technology throughout the industry. Virtually every major player in the transportation industry offers its customers Internet-based information services, such as shipping schedules, rates and e-mail communication capabilities. Some shippers have introduced on-line tracking services, so customers can check the status of their goods 24 hours a day. "Using the Internet saves everyone a lot of time, "says Rex Sherman, director of research and information services for the American Association of Port Authorities in Alexandria, Virginia. "It's another example of how new technology is benefiting businesses."
The push for privatization of many Latin American ports is also speeding the introduction of newer, more efficient technology. "One of the points of privatization was to entice large companies to develop the ports," says Sherman. "Now that they have won these concessions in Latin America, they are introducing new technology and investing in the region."
For seaports and airports, investing in new technology reduces turnaround times for cargo shipments and for obtaining customs clearances. Automated gate systems for trucks, bar codes and optical scanners to identify and track specific containers, and the growing use of electronic customs clearance forms provide important competitive advantages to ports and airports making these capital investments.
USING NEW TECHNOLOGY
FedEx is a leader in using new logistics and communications technology. Express freight customers have access to FedEx's electronic shipment status tracking that allows them to know the exact status of their shipments 24 hours a day. Automated shipping solutions eliminate the need for paper airbills, bills of lading and paper invoices, and cut valuable time from the shipping cycle.
Recently FedEx and Netscape established a strategic agreement to offer businesses and consumers a convenient one-stop portfolio of delivery services on Netscape's fast-growing Internet portal, Netscape Netcenter. In addition, FedEx will license Netscape's Custom Netcenter service to create a powerful FedEx Internet package shipping portal. This alliance is expected to simplify e-commerce transactions with streamlined shipping for online purchases, and personalized package status tracking.
FedEx is the world's largest express transportation company, providing fast, reliable and time-definite transportation of more than three million items to 211 countries each working day. FedEx employs more than 145,000 employees and has more than 44,400 drop-off locations, 624 aircraft and 42,800 vehicles in its integrated global network.
A CROSSROADS LOCATION
One of the best locations for reaching markets in North America and throughout the world is the state of Mississippi, which lies within one day's drive of 55% of the U.S. population. In addition to an excellent highway system - ranked best in the southern United States in a recent study - Mississippi has been commended by the Federal Highway Administration for the best record in planning and execution of highway improvements.
Mississippi's location on the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River gives it excellent access to markets in South America, Europe and Asia. Mississippi's main Gulf of Mexico ports -- Gulfport and Pascagoula -- are highly regarded throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. For example, Honduras ships roughly 60% of its exportable products through Mississippi ports. The state's ports have become so recognized as leaders in the efficient handling of tropical fruit that Mississippi now ranks second in the nation.
Three North American railroads -- the Canadian National, Illinois Central and Kansas City Southern -- have created a 15-year marketing alliance to link key North American markets with new and more efficient rail freight services. Under the alliance, Jackson, Mississippi, will become a new hub of rail activity between Canada and Mexico.
Shippers throughout the Americas are seeking out efficient ocean carriers and port operators, like the Port of Houston, the world's eighth-largest port. A 25-mile-long (40 km) complex of diversified public and private facilities just a few hours' sailing time from the Gulf of Mexico, the Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in foreign waterborne commerce and second in total tonnage. During 1998, the port handled 170 million short tons, with 7,093 ships calling. Petroleum and petroleum products were the port's top import and export commodities.
The port's trade with Latin America totaled 55.5 million tons in 1998. The top five regional trading partners for imports were Mexico, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil and Aruba. Top export countries were Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and Peru.
The Port of Houston Authority owns and operates the public facilities along the Houston Ship Channel and is the channel's official sponsor. The authority is an autonomous political subdivision of the State of Texas. For more information, visit www.portofhouston.com.
Seaboard Marine is an ocean transportation company with deep roots in Latin America. A subsidiary of Seaboard Corporation, Seaboard Marine operates a fleet of 26 vessels, servicing 37 ports in over 20 countries and with 24 offices throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America.
As a top project cargo carrier, Seaboard Marine is well-positioned to transport oversized and heavy equipment of all kinds. At Seaboard, an entire division is dedicated to 807/9802 cargo, with a highly trained staff for handling perishable and dry cargo. Customers benefit from computer tracking, as well as a wide variety of containers and fixed-day sailing schedules.
Seaboard Marine is the largest ocean carrier operating from the Port of Miami and has its own 75-acre private terminal, equipped with the most advanced security systems. To better serve customers in Latin America from points of origin such as Europe, the Far East and Australia, Seaboard has established interline agreements with major global carriers. The company's multilingual, multicultural workforce is deeply knowledgeable about doing business with Latin America while building last relationships. For more information, please see www.seaboardmarine.com.
Intermarine, with headquarters in New Orleans, is a leading worldwide provider of ocean and inland transportation services with a concentration in servicing heavy industry construction projects, power generation plants and oil field development.
As the managing agent of the vessel operating companies, Industrial Maritime Carriers (USA) and (Bahamas), Intermarine is the largest provider of project and breakbulk cargo transport from the United States to South America and Asia. The company operates a fleet of more than 30 modern multipurpose vessels with cargo capacities up to 35000 cbms and heavy lift capacity in excess of 500 metric tons. Most vessels were built in the 1990s.
The service to the Americas offers up to four sailings per week from the U.S. Gulf to the Caribbean Islands and South America, including Trinidad, Venezuela and Colombia. The line also offers fortnightly service to the West Coast of South America and monthly service to Brazil and Argentina. Service from the U.S. East Coast is provided as needed. Intermarine is an ISO 9002 certified company with offices in Houston, Caracas, Guanta, Santiago, Seoul and London.
Air service throughout the Americas continues to grow, offering additional options for both passenger traffic and air cargoes.
Houston's connections to Latin America will expand in November, when Continental Airlines begins flying between Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Sao Paulo.
Bush IAH, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, is undergoing a massive construction and development program. One of the cornerstones of this program is a US$255 million expansion of the Mickey Leland International Airlines Building. That facility, opened in 1990, now serves over 4.6 million international passengers, making IAH the eighth-largest international passenger gateway in the United States.
As part of the expansion program, construction has begun on a new 10-gate $70.8 million concourse, scheduled to be completed in 2001. Another recent improvement at the airport is the new TerminalLink, an automated, above-ground people mover train that can transport travelers between two airport terminals in 90 seconds.
With 800 daily passenger airline departures, the Houston Airport System is the fourth-largest multi-airport system in the nation and the sixth-largest in the world. In 1998, IAH served 31 million passengers and is the nation's l2th busiest airport. For more information, see www.ci.houston.tx.us/has/.
Taking center stage in the burgeoning theater of global trade, Atlanta's famed international airport is sharpening its commitment to serve Latin America.
Already, the push to add more service to Latin American destinations is showing dramatic results. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport launched the largest air service route incursion into Latin America in aviation history in 1998, with new service to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Peru, Guatemala and Venezuela.
"We intend to establish Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport as the gateway to Latin America, "says Miguel Southwell, aviation marketing and public relations manager of the Georgia-based airport. "For passengers connecting to Latin America, Atlanta is the best airport option available. We have 2,400 flights a day in and out of Atlanta, with 185 direct destinations. That gives the traveling public more options, without the need to make many connections. And for cargo, shippers can cut out at least one day's transportation of their goods by ground, saving them time and money."
Historically a crossroads for trade and commerce, Atlanta lies at the centerpoint of 12 states, with easy air and intermodal connections to the Northeastern United States, the Midwest, the Southwest and points closer. The airport also has been a traditional hub for connecting flights from all over the United States--Atlanta is within two hours of flying time to most of the U.S. population.
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|Date:||Oct 1, 1999|
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