Goods movement industry poised for growth, experts say

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Goods movement industry experts and executives convened this week in downtown Long Beach, Calif., and said there is a growing sense of optimism for cargo’s upcoming “peak season,” the time of year when international trade traditionally ramps up from mid-summer into fall.

The eighth annual “Pulse of the Ports – Peak Season Forecast” conference hosted by the Port of Long Beach examined the trends and expectations in international trade.

A panel of representatives from across the supply chain told the audience of about 400 people at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach that customers who ship cargo internationally are looking forward to a busier year this year compared to 2011.

“Importers are optimistic and they believe sales will increase this year – and they are excited about it,” said Daniel Wall, senior vice president of Expeditors, a logistics firm.

Exports are supporting the U.S. economic recovery, with overseas purchases of U.S. autos, construction equipment and agricultural products expected to continue to rise, said Walter Kemmsies, chief economist for Moffatt & Nichol.

But given the precarious position of economies in Europe and other economic challenges, the optimistic mood of the forecast conference was tempered by concern for regulatory challenges facing the trucking industry and the sense that economic recovery in this country is still a work in progress.

Erxin Yao, president of the OOCL Inc. shipping line, said it’s clear that future success in the ocean transportation business depends on efficient and sustainable freighters that can haul the most cargo at the lowest cost, using fewer resources.