I know youíve heard about the economy picking up, but have you thought about how the entirety of the supply chain? Here are some trends to keep in mind. Some are good. Some are bad. But above all, theyíre important matters to attend to.

Terrorism

When the recent attempts to blow up plans with bombs, we can all give praise those guys for the miserable experience we live called international shipping. Itís nearly impossible to fix every problem, but try telling that to the government and the people who have to change their business models to meet any standards that arenít met.

The Economy

Even though the recession is being hailed as something in the past, there are still a lot of people trying to play catch up. With millions of people still unemployed, itís hard to see an amped recovery period in the near future. Until that day arrives, we have to still worry about our financial security of our suppliers, carriers, and customers. Itís going to take years, if that, until the entire system is back on its feet.

Sea Transport

Now that the Panama Canal is going to upgrade its capabilities by 2014, a lot of are shipping companies are even buying up new vessels to accommodate the expansion. Watch out for other expansion projects and retrofitting taking place at major seaports in order to meet the growing demand from colossal ships.

Rising Fuel costs

According to the latest stats, diesel fuel is going to stay around $4 per gallon this year, or about a dollar more than last year. Even though weíre all going to see the prices go up and down, I honestly believe that fuel will be a forever thorn in businessís backside.

Road Power?

If the hard times pick up, everyone getting their business going again could cause some problems. A lot of carriers sold their assets when times were slow, and the people who drove their trucks canít drive something the company already sold. Even though truck orders are picking up, you can expect to see some hesitation in the early stages.

Railroad regulations

Did you know thereís a bill in Congress that still being tossed around that centers on the way the rail industry should be regulated, more like controlled, but thatís just me. Even though I feel for the shippers, I believe regulation is a bad move, leading to higher costs for the people who need it, stifled productivity, and more headaches to meet constraints *ahem* complaints. Itís always a tricky situation when it comes to Congress, but if everything plays out right, the bill will be left in the dust of time.

Trucking Costs

With fuel incher close to $4/gal and new talks about regulations controlling engine emissions will mean more money out of your pocket this year *sigh and facepalm*. Some companies are already working with rate robberies, but as we all know, expect to expect more.

Whatís with the roads?

With all the stimulus money floating around, there has been little, if any, improvements for infrastructure. We are not even close to the levels we need to meet the growing demand of the coming increased traffic. If things do improve right away, itíll only make a bad situation worse.

Export Initiatives?

Remember back in 2010 when Obama talked about a plan to increase U.S. exports within five years? Well, itís going to be a hard road to travel (pun intended, see above) with the way our infrastructure is headed. Trade disputes with our Mexican neighbors donít add to the situation at all. Mexico, probably our strongest trading buddy, has forgotten about key tariffs on imports from the U.S.A. because America has a hard time solving its own border problems.