Short sea shipping in the US?


#61

[QUOTE=KPChief;194170].

Dear Mrs. +A465
We regret to inform you of the loss of your loved one +A465B. He went far too soon. He dared to engage a large vortex of logical fallacy but got too near the event horizon and was sucked in. He engaged with logic, facts, nuanced reasoning but was met with only pointless droning prolixity and hyperlinks. Some might say it was a mistake to speak reasonably even in the face of a supercilious font of blather but is it ever a mistake to fight the good fight? I think not. Please accept this ceremonial monkey fist with sincere thanks from a grateful forum.[/QUOTE]

Prolixity it is ? Prolixity … I can hardly bear it any more.[I]

“How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?” [/I] - last words of Sophie Scholl, German student convicted of resisting the Nazis by distributing resistance leaflets.

More seriously, I saw some popular Facebook posts yesterday calling for a whole lot more “law and order” after the Ft Lauderdale Airport shooting. As if rounding up anyone the cops deem out of the ordinary would make a difference to a nut case bent on destruction … Yet the sentiments so strongly expressed without a second thought for the real long term consequences brought to mind how close we are to a national “event horizon” …


#62

[QUOTE=+A465B;194172]Prolixity it is ? Prolixity … I can hardly bear it any more.[I]

“How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?” [/I] - last words of Sophie Scholl, German student convicted of resisting the Nazis by distributing resistance leaflets.

More seriously, I saw some popular Facebook posts yesterday calling for a whole lot more “law and order” after the Ft Lauderdale Airport shooting. As if rounding up anyone the cops deem out of the ordinary would make a difference to a nut case bent on destruction … Yet the sentiments so strongly expressed without a second thought for the real long term consequences brought to mind how close we are to a national “event horizon” …[/QUOTE]

As to the Aalesund dynamo…I don’t know how you attempt to reason with that. My intent was to recognize valor in the face of attempting same.

As to the other above, the point is frighteningly real. You can’t get all your info from one source and though I dislike the link rich environment posts are becoming I can not refer you here without one. You only need to read the first three paragraphs. I recognize a similarity in their and your point. But basically how [B][I]we[/I][/B] all, citizens of USA act and react now is the point not what our new leader is or isn’t. I don’t agree with everything written there but they have a unique outlook. I suggest checking in on the Jaundiced Eyeball column from time to time.

Right now I’m going to pull up my long pants and head out to the short sea.


#63

KPC,

I got it. I was just taking advantage of the Alesund Alcolyte’s persistence to have a whinge. In his town I’ve seen the coastal cargo ships and Hurtigrunen ferry discharge small LTL cargo. There, it works. For the FE-US Inland container trade, no way, especially if the marketing ploy is “environmental” concerns.

But a lot of Europeans, and I’d bet Americans, don’t get how fundamentally the new money-politics-business-media game just changed in the US. There is no shame in hypocrisy anymore, none at all. Rather, we see there is profit in it, and its effect is ramping up like a 747 taking flight. What it means, we’ll all find out soon enough.


#64

[QUOTE=+A465B;194175]
But a lot of Europeans, and I’d bet Americans, don’t get how fundamentally the new money-politics-business-media game just changed in the US. There is no shame in hypocrisy anymore, none at all. [/quote]

Just changed? Shame died when Ronny Raygun walked into the White House. The crimes have always been there but at least they had the decency to commit them out of public view. They have since learned there is no longer any reason to hide. Unlimited bribes from mystery donors are now perfectly legal, what is there to be ashamed of?

The Great American Experiment couldn’t last forever. it couldn’t withstand the onslaught of such greed and we are watching it unravel. Our children and their children who are not lucky enough to get a seat on the corporate jet will be the real victims.

Rather, we see there is profit in it, and its effect is ramping up like a 747 taking flight. What it means, we’ll all find out soon enough.

Just as it always has, it will end up in a smoking crater at the end of the runway.

Read the history books, this is nothing new.


#65

Having lived in Germany for a good while, I managed to get a sense of history there. I didn’t seek it, it just was absorbed by exposure to the society and people and places and why things were as they are nowadays.

The real story of the National Socialists (Nazis) got going in the late 20’s. Matters unraveled pretty quickly after the 1933 elections, as the NDSAP settled the score and systematically eliminate the politically relevant opposition (of all stripes) by misrepresentation, regulation, decree, law and ultimately, force.

Regular German folk suffered mightily …a this wasn’t a matter of just Jews and Gypsies from 1937 onward. No, it started out insidiously, with ridicule of others not like the NDSAP preferred types.
Social and sporting clubs were banned. Anyone of another opinion or political party was soon enough beaten, harassed, jailed or just shipped off. And this by 1936…

So it happened quick. In 1933 Germany was not an unsophisticated country nor her people a bunch of rubes. It was an international culture, a center of industry, knowledge, science and commerce. The citizens had legit concerns in 1933, but the factors that let the NDSAP run amuck aligned…as they are in the US with unlimited political contributions and biased or untrue media propaganda (of all stripes) now accepted and legal.

Slave labor that built fortifications you still see in Germany was often drawn from the ranks of civilian political prisoners in the nearest city… Read about the Edelweiss Pirates in Cologne. Just kids man … Kids that didn’t want to line up with the company line. Hunted, tortured, hung just before Cologne was liberated. I been to the spot, merely by accident of tourism, and one open eyed visit to the Koln Documentation Center (the old Gestapo HQ) will change your mind about intolerance. The final stories of real people who were then like you and I today, are scratched into the walls…

So we all know how it all ended. I guess we know how it started, but oh yeah, the Allies put an end to it. Sounds familiar?

It pains me to see US politicians now whip up and take serious, serious big time advantage of regular American folk that are feeling squeezed many ways for many complex reasons … not just “Obama”. These newly hatched American political wastrels care mainly to secure their personal money and their power to protect it.

Manipulation, misdirection, obfuscation and lying all suck. If you have a better idea, then use facts and live in reality to make your case. If you have to lie to get your way, maybe it it really isn’t the best way before God, honor and country. I save my worst criticism for Congress, as they are indeed beyond shameless.

I’m no radical. I’m just old. But time and experience gave me a sense of history and how fast things can change. Remember the offshore bust of 1987? The deep sea blowout of 1994. The economic crisis of 1979? The recent oilfield bust? All of it was able to be sensed in advance, a little, but man when it hit, it hit. And I can still remember what it was like to be poor, with only hands, back and an engineers ticket to turn my last $75 bucks into a secure future. Like most of YOU.

So It’s not funny when corruption and capital can steer US national policy, in entirety. This thread got going about short sea shipping. Well, there is no meaningful cost for emissions in the US (or soon won’t be one) so there is no environmental reason for a US short sea option here.

Atop the newly amplified political power of moneyed business, add in the propaganda power to “whip up the crowd” against (insert name or topic here). Business thought they could work with the NDSAP in 1933. Then as now, the danger is that the politicians have other ideas and use that cooperation to their advantage.

To see American folks nowadays posting simple chest thumping feel good “round 'em up” law and order type stuff that has nothing to do with actually solving real problems, well, the circle of history is coming around, and it is a genuinely dangerous time.

Beware my friends, because if you should somehow stand between a politician or his “business friendly job creating” industry supporters getting the money or power or recognition THEY want, their net of “unacceptable” can snare you and your family faster than you might ever think was possible. And that ain’t crying wolf


#66

Bravo, +A465B, bravo!

The Germans, most of 'em, thought they were free.

Turned out, like all feel-good fairytales do, not to be true. And by the time enough people figured it out it was much too late to do anything effective about it.

A whole nation of cultured, educated people willingly drove itself off a cliff, essentially committing national suicide, just like that. They were in firm denial and therefore never saw it coming. Neither did Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and the French aristocracy. Epic bloodbaths ensued. History is littered with examples of this phenomenon. They all failed spectacularly to see it coming.

It can happen anytime, anywhere, to any people, no matter how special they think they are, if the conditions are ripe enough for it. Well, the fruit flies are buzzing about in abundance.

Short-sea shipping? We’ve sunk so much $ into the gradually-failing status quo that we are psychologically incapable of altering course much now, no matter how dire the warning signs. Sort of like Joaquin and the SS El Faro, but with far more at stake. Our inability, both politically and fiscally, to maintain our nation’s basic critical infrastructure is a classic symptom of an empire, or just a garden-variety civilization, on the permanent downward trajectory. The likelihood of us changing in the necessary ways now is almost nonexistent, and we haven’t the capital for it anyway. We long-since blew it all and started “printing” to make up the difference.

Once the peak is reached and terminal decline begins the only questions that matter are how long will it take and how ugly, violent and out-of-control will the crack-up be. Rome took about 500 years, give or take. Downward-bound civilizations generally have opportunities to periodically level off for a time, to flatten out the glide path enough to allow for at least the possibility of a semi-controlled crash landing that maybe a substantial number of people can survive and walk away from, instead of a nose-first catastrophe. But in the longer term the descent is relentless.

Crashing nose-first at high speed is just plain stupid when your flight controls are still functional. We’ll soon find out about ours.

Of course I’m completely nuts, but I’d much rather see what treasure we’ve got left invested in, among other things, something “less efficient” but with a much more realistic long-term future: advancing modern small to medium-scale sail freight operations. Ombugge’s techno-rapture love affair with the bright & shiny future of autonomous shipping is a fool’s errand: a technically feasible project (but only with huge hidden subsidies that will never be acknowledged) that’s economically doomed in the long term. It will never be able to pay for itself within the broader system. The more we move in that direction the more impoverished by our own technology we become, as the jobs lost will never be replaced in number or in kind. Just like all of the lost manufacturing jobs.

It’s an “unintentional” by-product called demand destruction. When enough of the out-sourced peasantry becomes too broke to support “the system” financially the whole thing comes apart. Slowly at first, as the old saying goes, then all at once. The rich can’t possibly float it all.

Our system is supposed to produce “creative destruction”: new jobs created, of comparable quality, to replace those destroyed by technological advances. That hasn’t happened in a long time, nor is it likely to resume. We just keep bleeding as the few remaining good jobs continue to disappear into the black hole of technological advances, “voodoo economics” and exponential metastasizing debt. Eventually you bleed out.

I’ll add, in closing, that no existing politician or political party in America is touching this with a 10-foot pole. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon, either.


#67

[QUOTE=captjacksparrow;194186]
Crashing nose-first at high speed is just plain stupid when your flight controls are still functional. We’ll soon find out about ours.
[/QUOTE]

Considering we have just put our own Andreas Lubitz into the left seat I expect a rapid descent into unforgiving terrain.


#68

[QUOTE=captjacksparrow;194186]…

The Germans, most of 'em, thought they were free.

Turned out, like all feel-good fairytales do, not to be true. And by the time enough people figured it out it was much too late to do anything effective about it.

… The more we move in that direction the more impoverished by our own technology we become, as the jobs lost will never be replaced in number or in kind. Just like all of the lost manufacturing jobs.

It’s an “unintentional” by-product called demand destruction. When enough of the out-sourced peasantry becomes too broke to support “the system” financially the whole thing comes apart. Slowly at first, as the old saying goes, then all at once. The rich can’t possibly float it all.

Our system is supposed to produce “creative destruction”: new jobs created, of comparable quality, to replace those destroyed by technological advances. That hasn’t happened in a long time, nor is it likely to resume. We just keep bleeding as the few remaining good jobs continue to disappear into the black hole of technological advances, “voodoo economics” and exponential metastasizing debt. Eventually you bleed out.

I’ll add, in closing, that no existing politician or political party in America is touching this with a 10-foot pole. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon, either.[/QUOTE]

I think you’re on to something there. I like the link to the book. Look at the 1935 edition of [I]It Can’t Happen Here [/I]by Sinclair Lewis, of all people. The story line looks like 2017 to me …

      • Updated - - -

[QUOTE=Steamer;194187]Considering we have just put our own Andreas Lubitz into the left seat I expect a rapid descent into unforgiving terrain.[/QUOTE]

A great analogy but perhaps not a cool analogy.


#69

It just so happens that I re-read “It Can’t Happen Here” last summer after the dust had fully settled from the primaries. I felt a refresher was in order, given the arc of events. 1984, too, for good measure.

As to how my fellow Norteamericanos will psychologically process, view and react to the events just past and yet to happen, Mr. Sinclair may yet serve as an uncannily accurate guide: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

Jobs & $'s are at the heart of current events. The president-elect rode into the power vortex of The Swamp on the back of that singular issue and those related to it (immigration, primarily). The time was ripe indeed and both major corporate-owned & operated political parties were caught off guard big time. Trump was laughed at until he put a flamethrower to the establishment branch of the GOP. Who’s laughing now? The GOP is playing the “We’re all BFF’s” tune for all it’s worth but it’s just a con while they wait to see how they can maneuver around him for advantage.

Meanwhile, the likelihood of the angry, humiliated, marginalized and desperate formerly-employed or under-employed citizens (mostly conventional D’s or R’s who got the shitty end of the economic stick for just a little too long) who came out in droves for Mr. T doing any serious questioning of his methods or motives is not very high.

Historical parallels here aplenty.


#70

Is it time to revive the 1987 TV series “Amerika”?: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/the-1987-tv-miniseries-that-predicted-a-russian-takeover-of-america-214609


#71

[QUOTE=ombugge;194165]Yes I agree that the present way cargo are handled in US ports make Short Sea Shipping very difficult to implement. Inbuilt resistance to changes are well known.

Union resistance to changes “killed” UK ports back in the 1960/70s. It became cheaper to ship goods to Continental ports and truck them to the UK by Ro/Ro ferries and the Chunnel then to have ships delayed for days/weeks due to strikes in UK ports.

Is that what is about to happen to US ports as well?: https://www.flexport.com/blog/port-automation-oakland-rotterdam/[/QUOTE]

It appears it will happen, or already have happened: http://www.joc.com/port-news/longshoreman-labor/international-longshoremens-association/ila-automation-stance-signals-tough-labor-talks-ahead_20170105.html


#72

[QUOTE=captjacksparrow;194186]B

Rome took about 500 years, give or take. Downward-bound civilizations generally have opportunities to periodically level off for a time, to flatten out the glide path enough to allow for at least the possibility of a semi-controlled crash landing that maybe a substantial number of people can survive and walk away from, instead of a nose-first catastrophe. But in the longer term the descent is relentless.
[/QUOTE]

Wow. What a lighthearted discussion on “short sea shipping” this thread is! I feel like I was going into a theater to watch “Sound of Music” and stumbled into “Schindler’s List”!

No arguments with Capt. Sparrow, but I do feel the urge to intercede once comparisons of the USA are made to Rome or the British Empire, which happens daily in the media, so here are my 2-cents:

Comparing present circumstances with past history can be entertaining, but not always accurate.
The Roman and British Empires are often compared to the U.S.A. but the comparisons are muddled at best. In neither economy, geography or politics were the Roman and British Empires similar to the U.S.A. The only similarity is the outsized role in history they all possess.

Take the Roman Empire. Rome as a city-state and player in the Mediterranean world lasted over a thousand years, from 509 BC to 410 AD, but it was only an empire (in other words, a place ruled by an emperor), from 27BC to 410 AD, or a little less than half its existence. When someone compares the USA to Rome are they talking about the Empire, or the Republic which lasted from 509 BC to 27 BC? Politically the two were very different.

Interesting anecdote about the Republic: In 217BC the Carthaginian general Hannibal invaded Italy and proceeded to wipe out Roman armies on their home turf, and this with inferior sized armies. At certain times Hannibal marched right up to the walls of city of Rome itself. Armies were sent to defeat him, with new battle plans, and overwhelming numbers. Hannibal kicked Roman ass every time. A lot of Romans whined and cried and said things were over for Rome, and that the Carthaginians were the new bad boys on the block.
Finally, a Roman general named Scipio decided the best way to beat Hannibal was to forget everything the Romans thought they knew about war and learn tactics from Hannibal himself. From that day on the Romans began to beat Hannibal. It wasn’t until 210 BC that the Carthaginians were licked, but when the Romans were done, not one stone sat on another in Carthage.

All this didn’t happen at the beginning of Rome’s existence, or at the end of it. It was just one of many existential threats the Romans had to deal with in their long run. At each one of these seemingly insoluble road blocks there were a whole lot of Romans crying and whining about how things were over for Rome. The way Rome kept coming back is that a quorum of citizens simply refused to give in, figured a work around, sucked it up, and kicked ass.
Pointing to a specific reason for the end of the Roman Empire is like asking for an autopsy after your 96-year old great Uncle Bob passes away. Sure you can cut him open and see he had a bad heart, prostate cancer, and emphysema. But really, he just died of old age. Everything dies. Nothing lasts forever. Rome didn’t die because of barbarian incursions, or over-taxation, or lead pipes (a real theory), or because they had a slave-based economy which guaranteed stagnant technology, thus eliminating the technological innovation that would have prolonged Rome’s life. In the end, Rome simply died of old age, after about 1,100 years. Not a bad run.

But even then you have a problem, because, technically, Rome didn’t fall in 410 AD, when the barbarians finally broke through her walls. Western Rome fell. The latter day Roman emperors purposely split the empire into Western and Eastern halves, in part because they guessed the Western part wasn’t long for the world. The Eastern Roman Empire (aka the Byzantine Empire, with HQ in what is now called Istanbul) lasted another 1,000 years.

So the question is, what segment of Rome’s long lifetime are we comparing the USA too? Or are we making a comparison to prove a specific point, the opposite of which can also be argued by looking at another segment of her 1,100 year-long (sorry 2,100 year-long) history?

The British Empire is nothing like the USA.

Most historians mark the beginning of the British Empire in the year 1763, when England cemented her possession of both North America and India. The UK seldom went about looking to make an empire. The UK just had lots of unruly surplus population it was always happy to get rid of. So the UK came up with this business model:

  1. Find a big place sparsely populated with less technology/politically sophisticated peoples ( let’s call them “cultural dummies”). Preferably cultural dummies with no resistance to Old World diseases (North America). After 90% of the cultural dummies die, because of all the plagues and things, send in all the unruly surplus population to set up shop, and begin mercantilism (see below)

  2. Find a big placed over-populated with disease-resistant cultural dummies, already divided into innumerable factions, and looking for someone to get them all working together. Then send in just a tiny bit of your of unruly surplus UK population to rule them. Just enough to get mercantilism going (see below).
    Mercantilism means starting colonies, then forcing the colonists to A) sell their goods only to the Mother Country, B) buy finished goods only from the Mother Country. Neato!..for the Mother Country. The British Empire got rich in a hurry.

The system had one major flaw. Both colonist and cultural dummies got smart after awhile. They learned the system was rigged against them. The jewel in the British imperial crown disappeared just 13 years after the Empire started. 13 colonies in North America bolted and formed the U.S.A. Note that the colonies which would become Canada didn’t go along with the USA. Nor did Australia, New Zealand, etc. The UK had learned the lesson that you can’t push colonists too far, or they rebel. After awhile the cultural dummies got smart, too.
With the USA gone, the big jewel in the British imperial crown became India. We think of India as always being a nation, but it was actually dozens of small kingdoms with different religions and languages, with a bizarre caste system overlying the whole thing. The Brits were smart enough to co-opt the caste system and put themselves at the top. At any given time the number of Brits in India was tiny. The place was run by Indians, who went along for the ride because the Brits offered them stability the sub-continent sorely lacked.

But just like with the 13 North American colonies the “Indians” got smart. By 1900 plenty of Indians were saying “Hey, just wait a minute, this seems strange…”. By the 1930’s the Brits were trying to make a multicultural Indian government—with them running it—to prevent revolution. But when you make up less than 5% of the population, it’s hard to make the case you should have 51% of the say in running things.

By 1946 the Indians/Pakistanis kicked the Brits out. So the British Empire didn’t even last 200 years. (Yeah they’ve still got Gibraltar and the Falklands. Big whup). The British Empire lasted a blink of a sliver of a hair’s breadth, in terms of History. Rome had socks that were older.
The question is, how is the USA ever like the British Empire? The British Empire fell for one reason: the cultural dummies they conquered went to night-school and said, “Leave buddy before we kick you out…”, and the Brits gulped hard, packed up and left, never more than 5% of the population in most of the places they conquered. Comparisons with military might, size of navies, monetary policy—none of these mean anything. Britain got rich on mercantilism Devoid of her colonies to suck off of, she became just another middle sized country with a great people and a rich heritage.

The USA is her own thing, on her own ride, and any predictions on her future based on past “empires”, one way or the other,should be classed as “infotainment”, unless highly specific.

Again, no quarrels with you Capt, Sparrow. Always a pleasure reading your posts.


#73

Mexican ports are being developed to accept the new Mega Container ships and transshipment by railway to US destination: http://www.joc.com/port-news/international-ports/port-lázaro-cárdenas/top-mexican-ports-take-modernization-lead_20170110.html
Maybe somebody will see the possibilities to introduce feeder service by short sea/river vessels as well??


#74

Nope. No chance for short sea shipping here. There are three big reasons for developing Mexican ports: To bypass the absurdly overpaid (and overly powerful) US Longshoremen; LA/LB has too much port congestion; and it a good fit with China shipping its goods into Mexico for finishing where they suddenly become “made in Mexico” and enter the US duty free under NAFTA.

It will always be much cheaper to ship from Mexico into the US by rail or truck, than it would be to short sea ship into ports controlled by the super expensive, technology and efficiency resistant, and strike prone US longshoremen. Furthermore, the Mexican truckers work cheap and can deliver a container to Chicago or Boston for a lot less than American truckers.


#75

There is one point that has yet to be mentioned but is highly relevant to this discussion. How are the varying infrastructures maintained as this directly impacts the cost of a service? Please correct me if I am mistaken in this post but Ports have the Harbor Maintenance Tax which gets doled out project by project by the administrating authority, i.e., the Federal Government. Railroads get a tax credit (50% I think) for the maintenance they do. Roads and Highways are supported by State and Federal fuel taxes (and tolls). I should add the waterways are also benefited by fuel taxes but that pales in comparison to what Road and Highways get.

I would argue truck transport has an advantage with regards to their infrastructure maintenance as roads are shared and thus supported by the general public in addition to trucking companies. They therefore are also the squeakiest wheel if there is congestion or a lack of maintenance. The Harbor Tax Fund seems to accumulate more funds than are being spent on projects. The Federal deficit may have something to do with that. Railroads have to spend their money first before getting a tax credit.

Just my 2 cents.


#76

Forgot to mention the Harbor Maintenance Tax. Port of Tacoma was suing the government over its imposition citing boxes imported from Canada via rail were not subject to the same tax, thus placing at disadvantage. Not sure how that turned out though.


#77

[QUOTE=+A465B;194168] And given the ability in the US to make multimillion dollar political campaign influencing “contributions” without disclosing the donor base, as well as the new methods to foster misinformation, disinformation, misdirection, deception and just flat out lie in order to influence US politics … well, no one is going to produce any “environmental” measures that add cost to the process. Man, that pussy environmental stuff is the new Communism.[/QUOTE]

For every member of Congress in 2011, there were 23 lobbyists trying to twist their arms. 12719 of them, and they spent big money. Probably by now there will be even more. This is a seriously wrong situation which for some reason is tolerated. All part of the democratic system. Nice…


#78

That is an excellent point.

I believe that a handful of super expensive, poorly managed Corp of Engineers projects, mostly on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, eat up most of the federal harbor tax money.

Roads have dedicated tax revenue for roads? The feds are required to give most of the road fuel tax money to the states. Some of it is earmarked for ferries, intermodal transportation projects and so on, but the vast majority of the money goes to roads. Most states (Alaska is the only exception that I’m aware of, are required to spend their own road tax money on roads. Everyone personally uses the roads. Most people don’t personally use harbor and waterways. The typical voter is in favor of road spending, but things that waterway spending is just a subsidy to rich business men and yacht owners.


#79

Harbor Maintenance funds were leveraged against the National Debt for the longest time and not used much at all for its intended purpose: Harbor Maintenance. It wasn’t until few years ago that that the fund was fully used (which might have been a good thing) to deepen harbors/channels and update infrastructure to accommodate the new Panamax vessels. Even now the corps will only approve parts of some projects and local money will have to account for the balance if the they (the ports) want the project to their specifications.


#80

I seem to recall a lot of the Harbor money being eaten up by a large lock on the river system that was years behind schedule and grossly over budget.