41-42/2014 Transatlantic turnaround
«Europe worries us,» said William A. Strauss, a senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank, at the recent Iana Intermodal Expo, which took place in the Californian city of Long Beach in September.
He pointed out that the US economy grew by 2.5% last year, and that GDP is expected to improve by 3% in 2015. Whilst the analyst admits that this result is «only OK» and not at all satisfactory, it does illustrate that the trend in his country is pointing in the right direction. The latest figures underline his case: real estate prices are on the rise again in many places, whilst the unemployment rate is going down.
However, the list of urgent tasks facing the transport and logistics industry of the world’s largest national economy still seems never ending. It includes improving and expanding the infrastructure in particular, decongesting the country’s ports, ameliorating the lack of chassis and truck drivers and – not least – successfully concluding ongoing negotiations between port operators and workers.
So not everything is rosy in the US garden either. The nation is nonetheless once again looking more closely beyond its borders, and growing increasingly tense on account of what it sees there. Strauss’s assessment is thus hardly surprising. Besides the trouble in Ukraine and the resulting impact on economic relations between Russia and the EU, Southern Europe continues to suffer from difficult conditions. And that is not all: trade and industry in Germany, which has been top of the class for a while now, have been running less and less smoothly of late. Hans-Werner Sinn, who works at Munich’s Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, is one of the analysts who has recently voiced his concern that the economy may indeed be heading for a downturn (see page 38).
Our Germany Special highlights some interesting stories of how firms are gearing up to face the coming challenges. Beyond this focus we of course cover all our regular sections and were in action all over the world to bring you news of the latest transport and logistics industry events and trends.
In October we will be present at the Fiata World Congress in Istanbul and at the German national logistics meeting in Berlin, where we would be pleased to meet you. We trust that this issue of the ITJ will provide you with an enjoyable read on your trip – if you have not already devoured it at the office!
Antje Hanna Veregge