Carriers’ lack of success implementing spot market freight rate increases in September is less worrying than it appears, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.As lines managed to tame some of the volatility, Drewry’s World Container Index has shed around USD 190 over the past six weeks, just over the sum it had previously added in a single week at the start of August.On the surface the characteristics of this year’s spot market are no different to previous years. Weekly price cuts are common and, just as in the past, the tendency has been that the weekly erosion is punctuated by the life-giving properties of a general rate increase (GRI) at the start of a given month.The difference this year is that the GRI inflation has been lower – averaging USD 120/40ft versus USD 160/40ft in 2016 – but the weekly decreases have been much shallower.Carriers have experienced fewer highs but less alarming lows this year. The end result of this greater calm is that freight rates along some of the main East-West headhaul trades are up by as much as 50% year-to-date.While carriers have become accustomed to weekly decreases they have always needed the monthly GRIs to give life to sagging rates and prevent a prolonged tailspin.“Missing out in September is obviously not what they wanted, especially after having also failed to get any traction in June, but it is important to add some context before we rush to pronounce the market’s collapse,” Drewry said, adding that it is not uncommon for GRIs to come and go without success, only for the pattern to re-establish itself very quickly.In any case, the importance of GRIs and their successful adoption is over-stated. In reality GRIs have always been a rather crude device to raise rates (usually only temporarily) without much basis in real supply-demand economics. Their size and success rate has in the past more often depended on how well carriers pleaded poverty when rates sunk to non-compensatory levels.With freight rates expected to remain profitable, GRIs will become less important and more modest in size, more proportionate to the prevailing supply-demand dynamics.“Using this criteria a measure of industry health, carriers are undeniably winning right now. Freight rates have been profitable for most of the year and are significantly higher on average than last year, supported by solid supply and demand dynamics,” Drewry said.
Should that happen, the Suns will have pushed Kokoskov aside and be left scrambling for a replacement.At some point, the team is going to hire a new coach, and like it or not, that will require a press conference. Some explanation as to what on earth is going on with the franchise will have to be proffered.Who knows? Maybe Bower will even show up for that. It’s been two weeks since the Suns hired new senior vice president of basketball operations Jeff Bower, and we’ve yet to hear a word from him. The team promoted James Jones to the top of the organizational hierarchy in a surprise shakeup (we use that word loosely; nothing is a surprise in Phoenix), but it wanted a veteran front-office guy with NBA relationships to help things run smoothly.Generally, you’d put that guy in front of the local media hacks for a few questions about the state of the team and his vision for where things are heading. But the Suns being the Suns, Bower has remained stashed away, presumably in his new office. Or in a janitor’s closet. We’d have no idea of knowing either way. OFFSEASON PREVIEWS:Lakers | Knicks | Bulls | Pelicans | Mavericks | PacersBower had a similar role as his current gig in Phoenix while he was in Detroit as Stan Van Gundy’s general manager, a job he accepted in 2014 after one year and a 12-19 record coaching Marist. With the Pistons, it can be assumed he was helping Van Gundy make personnel decisions, doing legwork on draft prospects and free agents.Or maybe he was in his car playing Words With Friends. We don’t know, because Bower did not talk to the media much then, either.Bower will have to come out of hiding soon, though, because the Suns announced late Monday night that they were firing coach Igor Kokoskov after just one season. Certainly, it was a miserable, 19-win season, but there were some rays of hope — Devin Booker continued to blossom, Kelly Oubre proved to be a keeper, No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton held his own and Mikal Bridges showed promise as a two-way contributor.That probably should have been enough hope to warrant keeping Kokoskov around another year, or at least to see how the team started off next season.But Jones and Bower are in, and Kokoskov is out. The Suns’ Robert Sarver continues to build his legacy as the NBA’s most fickle and infuriating owner. The team’s next coach will be the ninth in 16 seasons (including interim coaches) and the fourth in the last four years (Jeff Hornacek, Earl Watson, Jay Triano and Kokoskov).The Suns will make a pitch for Monty Williams, who was hired by a group that included Bower in 2010 when Bower was running the New Orleans Hornets. Williams was a good pick on Bower’s part, though Bower was not around long to work with him — he was fired shortly after hiring Williams.The guy Bower wanted most for that job was Tom Thibodeau, who wound up in Chicago. Perhaps if the Suns miss out on Williams, they could pursue Thibodeau, who would likely bring in Luol Deng and play Jamal Crawford 38 minutes a night. Oh, the fun the locals could have on Twitter with that.The Suns have been a mess in recent years, and Bower’s zipped-lip approach isn’t helping. There is much to be explained here, and the more the franchise refuses to do the explaining, the worse the whole operation looks. And not many teams look worse these days.Watson, for example, was not much of a coach. But he was fired three games into last season. That’s not how things are done in the NBA.What?!— Earl J Watson (@Earl_Watson) April 23, 2019MORE: Former Suns player calls Sarver “worst owner in the NBA”Ryan McDonough gave Sarver plenty of reasons to fire him in recent years, but the Suns gave him the axe just eight days before this season started. McDonough had struggled to find a point guard for the team but, according to sources, was on the phone trying to complete a deal for a point guard when he got the call to tell him he’d been fired.That’s not how things are done in the NBA. Or in any employment setting, really. Even “The Apprentice,” after making contestants run scavenger hunts and construct faux ad campaigns, gave the process of firing some air of solemnity.It’s entirely possible that Williams will look at what’s going on in Phoenix, will look at how both Kokoskov and Watson were handled, how the firing of McDonough went down, and decide to sign on elsewhere. He’ll be a top candidate for any job that opens.
“It’s a collaborative organization that has grown from a few people to 1,000 affiliates,” Linsley said. “We bring leaders together to try to develop grass-roots solutions to basic problems.” Through Connect LA, for instance, 3,000 teenagers came together last October as part of Teenagers Make a Difference Day. Teens from various community centers and programs cleaned up parks, spruced up neighborhoods and fed the homeless. For its efforts in connecting those teens to Make A Difference Day, Connect LA is being honored today by USA Weekend, which is carried by the Daily News every Sunday. Known as the nation’s largest day of service, USA Weekend’s Make A Difference Day is held the fourth Saturday of each October, with more than 3 million volunteers participating. Aided by Connect LA, a group of teens was teamed up with the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks to aid the city’s homeless population. “The Parks Department played a huge part, because we had so many sites we could go to,” said Francisca Castillo, recreation coordinator for the Exposition Park Intergenerational Community Center. “My team cooked a full-course meal, and we went to the Downtown Women’s Center and ate with the women there.” Fourteen-year-old Lashanaye James, who participates in activities at the Exposition Park center, said she found volunteerism extremely rewarding. “Volunteering teaches you responsibility, which is good because you need to know that to go into the real world,” she said. “When we were (at the Downtown Women’s Center), I felt so good. We were part of a national movement, and many people don’t think that teens want to volunteer.” Lashanaye’s team received a cash award and an overall teen project prize from USA Weekend. “It gave the teens a sense of awareness and empowerment that they can actually make a difference in people’s lives, and what they say and do does not go unnoticed,” Castillo said. “It was a very powerful activity for the teens. Some of them teared up.” Teens will meet again in May to discuss other ways they would like to help the city. Homelessness, anti-drug campaigns, graffiti cleanup and recycling seem to top the list of ways they would like to contribute, Linsley said. email@example.com (818) 713-3664 Connect LA is among the volunteer agencies being honored by USA Weekend, in today’s newspaper, for its efforts on Make a Difference Day. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! They’d connected as volunteers, working in the nonprofit world before becoming friends. For Ellen Linsley and Marjorie Matsushita, the next, natural step was to connect all of Los Angeles. “We did it because we saw a need in the community to connect L.A.-based organizations in the area,” said Linsley. “We saw that resources and information were out there, but it wasn’t being shared.” In 1996, Linsley and Matsushita formed Connect LA, an umbrella organization that brings together various agencies and departments throughout Los Angeles County, all with the goal of bettering their communities.