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'Cautious Optimism' Felt in Transportation Industry
Monday, 11 January 2010 00:00

NEWARK, NJ—Transportation executives across the shipping world are taking a cautious view toward the prospects for economic recovery in 2010, with most businesses forecasting little substantial expansion until late in the year or even 2011, according to the special Annual Review & Outlook edition of The Journal of Commerce.

The special annual edition—including outlooks from 170 executives from major maritime, rail, trucking and air as well as retailers and manufacturers that buy shipping services—suggests transportation carriers plan to restrict any additions of new capacity for the rest of the year until there are clear signs of real economic growth. That cautious approach, some industry leaders suggest, could trigger a rapid upturn in shipping prices if demand scales up more rapidly than forecast. The yearly supplement provides in-depth analysis of the maritime, rail, trucking, logistics and trade landscape, critical statistical data and a comprehensive roundtable discussion with three prominent shippers.

For shipping industry providers and customers, 2009 will go down as one of the worst years in modern transportation history. Markets from retail to industrial tanked as the recession deepened, driving down international and domestic trade and forcing drastic measures as red ink flowed among transportation providers and suppliers alike. But as the economy stirred from its slumber late in the year, attitudes began to shift from "How do we survive?" to "How should we prepare for the recovery?" It marked a dramatic turnaround from the hopeless feelings of a year ago, and represented another testament to the resiliency of best-of-breed companies capable of weathering even the worst of downturns. Those cautiously optimistic reflections from 170 senior industry executives are a highlight of The Journal of Commerce's Annual Review & Outlook, a comprehensive examination of the year just ended and the year ahead.

This year's ambitious project, a supplement to the weekly JOC, includes in-depth analysis of the maritime, rail, trucking, logistics and trade landscape, as well as critical statistical data and the 2nd Annual Shipper Roundtable, a comprehensive discussion among the JOC editorial staff and three prominent shippers.

Seaports Press Review, 1/11/2010