Is a Nicaraguan Canal Viable?

By John A. C. Cartner

Is a Nicaraguan Canal Viable?

There has been a lot of talk about a canal across Nicaragua. Is this talk or is the project viable.
Any project of the sort envisioned by Chinese backers must hThere has been a lot of talk about a canal across Nicaragua. Is this talk or is the project viable.
Any project of the sort envisioned by Chinese backers must have the four P’s: politics, public funds, and persistence and it must also have some sort of economic need to make it pay in addition to any public need it fulfills. Any one of these four is not easy. When combined with the quanta of funds and person-hours with a shaky need, the outlook is not very good.

Read more and watch the video after the jump!

Port Congestion – It is an ill wind which blows nobody good

By John A. C. Cartner

Port Congestion – It is an ill wind which blows nobody good

We hear a lot about port congestion especially on the West Coast. In shipping there is always another way and it seems that the NVOCC’s are coming out of the woodwork offering East Coast and Gulf Coast alternatives to the West Coast routes. They are prospering. I am not sure the regulars are in the container trades. So how does this work?
NVOCC’s act likes carriers and book cargoes but they do not operate vessels but charter slots or ships on the spot market or for the customer. They are more than forwarders. But the point here is that they can be very nimble.

Read more and see the video after the jump

The Financialization of Shipping

By John A.C. Cartner

The Financialization of Shipping

Until about wo decades ago shipping was the world’s most extensive mom-and-pop operation. Most companies were family-owned and most operated under the parochial protection of states where the vessels were flagged and where the owners lived or had some relationship other than registry.  Debt financing was the way ships were bought and working capital came from lines secured by equity. This has all changed. Shipping has become financialized. What does this mean?

The House of Cards and the Three Stooges Security Program

By John A. C. Cartner

The House of Cards and the Three Stooges Security Program

It seems that the Transportation Security Administration has yet again a new rule. In order to get a Transportation Worker’s Identification Credential or “TWIC” the applicant must present a US passport. As my long-suffering readers know, I am no fan of the TSA. I saw the announcement of this seismic change in the back pages of several trade journals. My first reaction was that the TSA had made yet another irrelevant change in the government’s most irrelevant organization.

Read more and view the video after the jump.

Here Come the Marines! On a Panamanian Ship.

By John A. C. Cartner

Here Come the Marines! On a Panamanian Ship.

Recently it was announced that the US Marine Corps was contemplating deploying US Marines on foreign-flag ships. This will not do. The second Bush administration pushed the hiring of mercenaries to the furthest extent in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were called “contractors.” Americans have had distaste for mercenaries since the Hessians. In doing so that administration essentially broke the back of proper state function in war and the Westphalian monopoly on state violence valid since 1648. An unintended consequence of these acts has been the development of an attitude that the government can contract out anything on the world market. This reinforces the attitude existent that the DoD use United States flagged ships only when it must after tortuous and complex arguments against them and then only when publicly exposed and compelled thereafter to use domestic tonnage. This is not the first time this show has come down the road. In the current political climate it will not be the last.

Read more and view the video after the jump.

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Maritime TV 'Conversations with Cartner'
A weekly discussion on maritime industry issues of the day with Shipmaster and Maritime Lawyer, Dr. John A.C. Cartner.


The opinions expressed by Dr. John A.C. Cartner in the ‘Conversations with Cartner’ Video Series and accompanying blogs are the opinions of Dr. Cartner and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff and management of Maritime TV, or its parent network, TV Worldwide, Inc.

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