National Maritime Day

IMG_7966.JPG

The Maritime Industry just plugs along and people continue fueling their cars, sipping coffee and buying out of season fruit.

Today is National Maritime Day and I can't think of a better day to think about what we're buying, where it comes from, and how it gets into your hands.  Even President Obama has a bit to say about honoring the Women (and Men) who take to the seas to boost our economy.  

The next time you're at the grocery store buying a banana - especially if you live somewhere where it's impossible for a banana to grow consider these facts:

  • Sea Transport has been the primary means of moving freight through recorded history!
  • Each year the Maritime Industry transports 13 trillion dollars worth of goods totalling 70% of world wide freight (source).  
  • The Maersk Triple-E can carry 18,000 containers - 10 above and 10 below deck - and are to large to transit the Panama Canal (source).  
  • The Philippines is the largest source of Seaman in the world - and has been since 1987.
  • More than 60% of the dry cargo ships lost were bunkers older than 25 years in the period 2009-2013 (source).  
  • A modern large crude oil tanker (VLCC) for example, is able to transport the same amount of cargo twice the distance as of 20 years ago using the same amount of energy.  Marine diesel engines, the prime mover of the world merchant fleet, has undergone similar efficiency improvements and modern engines installed today use about 10 to 15% less fuel per kilowatt-hour as compared with engines installed 20 years ago (source).
  • In the 1970s there were about 3.2 million tons of oil spilled in the 2000s there was less than .25 million tons of oil spilled (44% of that was from 2 incidents) - major progress!
  • Shipping transfers approximately 3 to 5 billion tonnes of ballast water internationally each year.  A similar volume may also be transferred domestically within countries and regions each year.  The IMO (International Maritime Organization) has developed and adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments which, when in force, will require all ships to carry out Ballast Water Management procedures to a given standard (source).  (Here's a post from 2010 when I talk about Ballast Water!)
  • In 2010 Somali Pirates seized 1,181 Hostages.
  • Thanks to Navy Patrols by Coalition Warships there has been an almost 90% decrease in Piracy in Somali waters!
Via

All you need to do is look at these shipping lanes in black & red to see the magnitude of what's being moved across the worlds oceans!

(it is completely by accident that I blogged at length last night about The Jones Act - it can't be National Maritime Day without mentioning the importance of the Jones Act and how misunderstood it is.)

 

HAPPY NATIONAL MARITIME DAY!!!!!

The Jones Act - A Discussion

The Jones Act only makes the news every now and then.  When a politician wants to gather votes by pointing out he can save the American public billions by lowering shipping costs.  When a shipping company wants to save money by hiring foreign labor and points out how antiquated the Jones Act is or when a shipping company wants to build a new ship and doesn’t want to have it built in a shipyard in the United States.

Just recently, the Jones Act was under attack by Senator McCain.  He is probably the most vocal about his Jones Act Hatred - which is incredibly ironic because he was gave the commencement speech at Maine Maritime Academy in 2005.  He tacked it on to the Keystone Pipeline Legislation which in my opinion was completely inappropriate and underhanded. 

Whenever the Jones Act is under attack most times the first statistic that is thrown out is the amount that Americans would save by being able to use foreign vessels at reduced freight rates.  Normally, this number is in the Billions (insert mental image of Austin Powers).  I’d first like to point out that the Jones Act does much more than protect jobs on ships for American Mariners.  It also ensures that ships continue to be built in the United States - this obviously protects shipyard workers jobs but it also keeps Naval Architects busy, it keeps ship building innovative (because lets face it what America often times has to offer the world is creativity).  I’d also like to point out that one reason US Shipping is more expensive than foreign shipping is because we are a heavily regulated industry.  It costs more to be safe.  Repairs are conducted in a timely manner, safety equipment is replaced and renewed, our vessels are inspected - inspections aren't free, we are more environmentally friendly - newsflash:  low sulphur diesel is more expensive than heavy fuel oil, we follow international regulations regarding rest hours - we don’t falsify rest hours - this means we have larger crew sizes.  You get the idea.  The cost of the Jones Act is hard to actually pinpoint.  Sure, it costs more to operate a US Vessel but, in the future, there may be incredible cost savings by operating well maintained vessels safely with qualified mariners.  

I could talk for hours about the Jones Act and the long term consequences and implications of doing away with a law that protects our Nations Maritime Industry.  I whole heartedly agree that the Jones Act could stand to be modernized.  The global economy is constantly changing and evolving and legislation which directly affects it clearly should grow and evolve with it however; its incredibly frightening because it doesn’t seem that our Government can have a thoughtful discussion.  Once the Jones Act begins to be modified it can't be ignored that any mega corporation could throw a Congressman a few bucks so that his corporation could save a few bucks.

This past month I shipped my Household Goods from California to Hawaii and it changed how I feel about the Jones Act and the cost of shipping goods domestically.  

I’m going to tell you a story.  It’s long.  Sorry in advance.

Remember when I left Houston?  I put everything into a U-Haul UBox and sent it from Houston to California until I decided what to do with it.  Well, it was time to go home to Hawaii - so I was going to arrange to send it from California to Hawaii.  The cost was going to be 3500.  This seemed very expensive so I also called Matson and received a quote for a 20ft container.  Their rate was also 3500.  This told me one key thing:  U-Haul is basing their price off the price of a container.  They know I won’t unpack my U-Box and stuff a container for the same price - there would have to be a price savings on the container.  To make a container cheaper for myself I could find someone to share it with but, this is complicated because I’d need to find someone going to Hilo - if I didn’t need my items in a timely manner that might be fine.  One critical point of information here:  A U-box is 300 cu. ft.  A 20’ container is approximately 1360 cu. ft.  (the height of containers can vary).

So I decide that I’m way smarter than all of them - and I go find a 3PL (Third Party Logistics) they handle the warehousing, and logistics required prior to transport.  I find one who quotes me 1100 for shipping (based on cubic) and 800 to re-crate it.  I feel like a genius.

Freight Forwarders are licensed and basically negotiate ocean freight.  They are also responsible for all the paperwork necessary to complete the Bill of Lading which is required for shipment.  

Even though I’m in the shipping industry it would have been really hard for me to go directly to the Freight Forwarder.  Basically, I knew just enough to get myself into trouble.  

It turns out that what I actually found was a con artist.  He took my money for the logistics and didn’t pay the Freight Forwarder - which meant that my shipment was impounded in Honolulu and I had to negotiate the release of my Household Goods.  I had to file claim disputes with my bank and credit card companies and shut down all my accounts.  

The Jones Act isn’t costing the American Public billions of dollars.  Individual companies are charging rates based on the rate of container.  They are grossly overcharging Americans per cubic foot.

Freight Forwarders have increased the cost of shipping Household Goods over other types of items because they know its a high claim item but, they also don’t charge an individual the same rates that they charge a 3PL.  Which means, I have to use a 3PL to save money with the Freight Forwarder.

It’s statistically impossible that I just happened to select the only con-artist 3PL.  3PL’s aren’t exactly popping up on Yelp so, you basically take a gamble when you use one.

What initially would have cost 3500 to ship has cost 5000 by the time I got swindled.  Want to know what the actual freight cost was?  1400.  

So the next time you hear someone quote how much Americans are losing by shipping their goods on US Flag vessels you can divide that number by three.  At a minimum.  Then you add in what it’s worth to keep jobs in America.  Can you put a price on clean water and white sand?  How about the very human element involved - shouldn’t foreign sailors make a livable wage like American Sailors?  These things are hard to quantify but protected by the Jones Act.

The next time you hear the Jones Act mentioned please remember that it’s reach is far and most often misunderstood.

 

Sometimes the mood strikes me and I hit the keyboard and tap away furiously.  These are often the times that make me feel nervous when I hit publish.  I normally don't read through before hitting publish because if I do I'll chicken out and not post.  I apologize for any errors.

Everyone Loves Saturday // Link Love

Right?

I'm currently wearing a beach coverup and a knit cardigan curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee surfing the interwebz.  This might be my bliss point.

If you're also enjoying a lazy Saturday Morning maybe you'd like some interwebz surfing suggestions?

Here we go....

I love following along with Kelly Purkey even though I'm not really a scrapbooker - and I especially think she gives great travel advice - like what to pack in a carry on.

A link round up here wouldn't be the same without a HONY contribution.  I LOVED THIS.  

The Crossroads of Should and Must.  Read this.  Seriously.  

Joy the Baker shared Marakesh Carrots - and it's pretty much been something I'm craving every since....

I'm a huge fan of Nicole.  I was an even bigger fan after she validated:  Because I want to.

The Best Way to Keep Fresh Flowers.  So glad someone figured this out for me.  

Did you read this exposé on NYC Nail Salons basically being sweatshops?  It's pretty disturbing...

These empathy cards really made the internet rounds so you might've already seen them but, I'm so glad they're here and had to share them myself!

Well, I could add links all day long - but I'm really looking forward to going to the farmers market so I gotta wrap this up.  Enjoy your weekend!

One last thing...this is what I've been listening to lately.  First Aid Kit.  They're Sweedish Sisters and I pretty much love them.  Hear them on David Letterman here (skip to about 1:45 if you just wanna hear them sing....):

Hello House, Remember Me?

My house and I have a long complicated history. We're kind of like a married couple who have a bitter divorce but then realize it really was meant to be and re-marry.  Except now that we've remarried we actually have to relearn eachothers quirks and idiosyncrasies. 

As in, oh yeaaah, that pink bathroom tile on the front porch really did always irritate me!   I forgot about that....  We're married again now though so I guess I better get over it...maybe I can just throw a lauhala may down and take a sun drenched photo?

image.jpg

The house has a lot of BIG projects that require tackling...like the gutters need cleaning, the exterior needs bleach and paint, *ahem* the front porch needs new tile...

Even though these projects are BIG I'm considering them the 'micro' and am instead focusing on the 'macro'. 

The overall big picture is that I need to learn to love my house again.

It's cute. Undeniably adorable.

Except I need to get comfortable here - make it feel like mine - again.

I'm still waiting for my things to arrive...I mean we all know how unpredictable those shipping schedules can be *wink*!  In the meantime I'm just relaxing here. 

image.jpg

I'm making coffee. I'm hanging curtains. I'm setting out photos. I'm listening to music. I'm working on the macro.  

I'm also documenting a lot of this process on Instagram with the hashtag #haleonautie (Hale O Nautie = House Of Nautie).  

Stuff. All of the STUFF.

Apparently I have a lot of 'stuff'.  I mean that in the most literal way possible.  This week I've been digging through boxes because apparently when you 'go nomad' you tuck boxes of stuff here there and everywhere.

car + stuff

I've been sifting, sorting and piling....and then avoiding, ignoring and coffee'ing...repeat.

Do you see what I'm doing here?  I'm ignoring the fact that you guys wanna know how the last hitch went and I 'm ignoring the fact I've been MIA.  Am I distracting you?  Is it working?  Let's carry on, shall we....

Here's the good news:  I fly to Hilo this week!  To say I'm excited might be an understatement.

Hope you lovelies are having a Happy Sunday! 

Here's to blogging comebacks!  Here's to vacation!  Here's to spring cleaning!

Tactical Error

It was maybe a tactical error to write about how bummed I was and then drop off the face of the planet.  

To all my friends and family who were worried - it's all good! 

I just happen to be on a ship with very little free time....and lots of rules...so I'm not free to use my camera. I didn't plan ahead and schedule posts so there you have it. This little blog baby of mine is suffering. 

I should be free soon - and then I'll write more! 

Miss you lovelies!!!! 

Here's a twilighty photo with some birds off the port bow to show you that it's not all bad. Pink skies always bring some cheer.