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Financial Analysis of a Corporations Annual Report

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Financial Analysis of a Corporations Annual Report




Introduction


Over the past few years the airline industry has been offering competitive prices and competing more then ever for cargo that has been traditionally transported by ships because of their cheaper prices. Because of this ship owners have been looking for ways to keep cost to a minimum and to decrease the time it takes to transport cargo from seller to buyer. The time it takes the ship to transport cargo from one port to another cannot be reduced with out building faster ships, which is not practical because of the cost of development. However the ship owners have had larger ships built to transport more cargo at one time. Forcing some to dredge their harbor entrance and the channel leading to their port. They have also, been putting pressure on terminals, to decrease the time it takes to transport cargo from the ship to truck or rail.
Vessel sharing agreements have also forced ports to improve service. Vessel sharing is when shipping companies form certain partnerships to maximize space abroad ships by filling one ship to capacity with one or more carriers? cargo rather than each partner sailing different ships not loaded to capacity. This affects ports because carriers in these agreements may reduce the number of calls to a port or a port's worse nightmare; stop calling altogether.
These demands placed on the ports have forced them to develop new ways to offer competitive prices between ports for the business of the shipping companies.
Different ports have recently come up with new ways do to this, some have offer financial incentives for shipping companies to rebuild the existing terminals. Others have chosen to keep their existing terminals while turning to technology to help increase the movement of cargo within their port. ?In a world where demand for information is at a premium, ports are pushed hard to consistently increase productivity; and, increasingly, productivity is centered on being able to capture key data electronically and optimize its use?(Port of Charleston).


Port of Charleston


The Port of Charleston is the fourth busiest port in the United States and is a good example of a port that has planned for the future by upgrading the port with a state-of-the art computer system. Currently they are using a computer system called the Orion, which is a mainframe-based system that has it limits both physically and in terms of customer interface. ?We recognize that in order to remain a leader in the port business, we have got to continually improve productivity on our terminals and improve the way customers are able to interact with us? (Port of Charleston).
The management at the Port of Charleston has realized that one way to improve the port by updating the entire system to a PC-based system. The system includes an interface for billing, finance, break-bulk cargo, and for container yard management. The container yard management system is the most important system because it deals directly with cargo flow and optimizing the terminal performance. This system is a fully integrated, real time, yard management system. That is able to give the status, location, condition, and history of every container right down to the second. To do this it keeps track of the containers by the identification number on each container. ?We know the second a top-lifter unloads a truck chassis. We know how many trucks are in the yard at any given time, when they arrived and when they exited. We know how many empties we have, how many chassis, and how many open slots. This system provides a very clear picture of the activity on-terminal and do it in real-time?(Port of Charleston).
This system took many man-hours to develop. Because a computer system like this one cannot be based on laboratory theory, it must be based on experience. The team that developed the yard management system spent a tremendous amount of time interacting with customers, watching, and asking questions. ?They were looking hard at the old way of doing things so they could understand the established processes and know what to build on. The Team spent three months in the field in the analysis phase. They watched gate operations, they watched work in the yard, and they met with port users. They even personally attended meetings of the Charleston Motor Carriers to get feedback from the trucker's perspective. All this information was critical to giving the project the proper direction and goals? (Port of Charleston).
Another problem facing ports today is the increased in the size of the ships. Because of the increase in the size of many vessels, ports have been forced to increase the depth of their harbor. While the current channel conditions are adequate to serve a large portion of existing commercial vessels, they create delays with larger vessels that must ?ride the tides.? With a five- to six-foot tidal lift, Charleston regularly moves vessels drawing in excess of the 40-foot project. It is important to note that by the year 2010 the USDOT expects nearly 40% of containerized cargo to be carried on ships capable of drawing more than 40 feet of water. Allowing ships to sail freely from Charleston, regardless of their load or time of day, will hold down transportation costs and improve manufacturers? international competitiveness. It was obvious that the harbor had to be dredged to be a competitive port in the future. Now the only question left was where to get the funding needed for the project. Recognizing the need to accommodate the ever-increasing size of vessels calling Charleston, the Ports Authority began the process to deepen its channels in 1990 with a resolution by the U.S. Congress. Over the next five years, the project proceeded through the required federal steps of the Reconnaissance Phase and a Feasibility Study under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. All of this required preliminary work.


After concluding that the 45-foot project met the engineering, economic cost-benefit, environmental and sponsor financial capability criteria, U.S. Congress authorized the work in the 1996 Water Resources Development Act. Preliminary engineering and design work began in 1997. The above work represents a $3.7 million investment in the Charleston Harbor Deepening ...

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