Trending Transportation News: May 2016

Posted by PLS Logistics May 27, 2016 at 11:00 AM

  • Driver Shortage Worsens for Truckload Fleets. For the year, turnover averaged 79% at smaller fleets and nearly 95% at larger fleets. The turnover rate shows that the driver market remains a serious challenge for truckload fleets. Among LTL operators, turnover was 11% for the fourth quarter and for the full year of 2015. (Haven’t felt the effects of the driver shortage? Click here to find out what’s going on with freight rates and driver’s pay.)
  • California Invests in Zero-Emissions Trucks. The state of California is awarding $23.6 million to the South Coast Air Quality Management District for a statewide zero-emission drayage truck development and demonstration project. The funds will reduce pollutants, GHG, petroleum usage and toxic pollution where reductions are needed most. The project will accelerate the commercialization of heavy-duty, zero-emission technologies.
  • Additional Handling Charges. FedEx and UPS have announced new surcharges for additional handling on ground packages. The new rule requires a $10.50 handling fee. FedEx’s surcharge applies to any package greater than 60 inches, but equal to or less than 108 inches along its side. For UPS, the surcharge is applied to any package with the longest side exceeding 48 inches.
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Announcing the Newest Surcharge for LTL Shipments

Posted by PLS Logistics May 26, 2016 at 8:00 AM

The US transportation system moves more than 54 million tons of goods worth nearly $48 billion each day. Freight tonnage is expected to increase by 45% by 2050. In the US, nearly 70% of all freight tonnage is moved by trucks.

To meet the strict requirements of consumers, many shippers find themselves sending smaller, more frequent freight shipments, using less-than-truckload shipping. LTL freight shipping has increased about 1% this year.

Best Practices of LTL Shipping

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7 Practical, Profitable Goals for Your Next Freight Assessment

Posted by PLS Logistics May 24, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Shippers are always looking for opportunities to easily reduce transportation spend. One of the best ways to drive logistics-related savings is by reviewing processes and using technology. Shippers who review supply chain processes and transportation performance, while taking advantage of historical and real-time data, will eliminate costs without an effect on efficiency.

  1. Use the right mode. To find the best freight rates and service, figure out which transportation mode works best for your cargo. Choosing a mode is dependent on knowing your load size, freight volume, and specific regulations to discover whether you should use truckload shipping, LTL shipping, intermodal freight moves, or a mixture of those options.
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Best Tip Ever: CPG Can Use JIT Transportation

Posted by PLS Logistics May 19, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Transportation is vital to CPG operations. In fact, in a recent study, 83% of supply chain leaders in the CPG industry say transportation is their top concern. The CPG supply chain has become more complex and consumer demands are driving the need for transportation efficiency.

In 2013, 6% of supply chain leaders said redesigning their transportation network was a concern. By the end of 2015, 72% said it was their number one concern. This rapid shift in priorities could be attributed to three reasons:

  1. Omni-Channel Shipping Challenges. Only 16% of retailers and CPG shippers say they maintain profitable omni-channel fulfillment. Omni-channel supply chains require new forms of inventory management and fast order fulfillment, both of which strain transportation efficiency.
  2. Capacity Constraints. Fulfilling the demands of omni-channel commerce can be unprofitable for carriers and a burden for drivers. CPG manufacturers want more resourceful and carrier-friendly routing so that carriers will work for them at a reasonable price.
  3. High Operating Costs. The increasing complexity of CPG supply chains leads to less efficient operations, which leads to higher costs. As with many companies, transportation is ripe with opportunities to cut costs and improve service levels – something CPG manufacturers are in desperate need of.
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Price Surge Coming: Lock in Low Transportation Rates Now

Posted by PLS Logistics May 17, 2016 at 11:30 AM

Transportation rates are near their lowest point and are expected to rise later this year. New forecasts predict rising contract and spot market rates caused by numerous economic and regulatory factors - which will create tough conditions for shippers to negotiate rates. Shippers who don’t lock down rates now could miss out on a great opportunity.  

Pricing Conditions are Great for Shippers – For Now

Larry Gross, a partner at freight transportation consultancy FTR, says, “We are now experiencing the first sustained period of favorable shipping conditions since 2009.”

Right now, and the next couple of months, are the best time for shippers to lock in low transportation rates. FTR’s latest Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) reveals just how good things are for shippers today. The most recent score, 4.7, released in February, shows a favorable environment.  When the SCI reports negative numbers, it represents an unfavorable environment. The index reported a 4.3 in January, which was up from 3.0 in December, -0.6 in November, and -3.1 in October.

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Shipper Strategy: What to Do as ELD Mandate Threatens Capacity

Posted by PLS Logistics May 12, 2016 at 10:00 AM

The trucking industry is adjusting as fuel prices fluctuate, the driver shortage continues, and new regulations are authorized.

The ELD mandate is causing waves of concern among shippers and carriers. The rule could drastically change the trucking landscape.

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3 Ways Megaships Provide Opportunities for U.S. Ports

Posted by PLS Logistics May 10, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Efficiency in the international cargo transportation network is a critical factor for the health of the global economy. It’s no secret that U.S. ports lack in efficiency, capacity and technology compared to Asian and European ports, especially since the arrival of megaships.

Megaships, the largest of which can hold up to 20,000 TEUs, have created congestion at U.S. ports, and they’ve revealed deeper problems with American container transportation infrastructure.

What’s Wrong with U.S. Ports?

There are many challenges that create congestion and inefficiency at U.S. ports, but major problems include:

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FAST Act will not be Fast Enough for U.S. Infrastructure

Posted by PLS Logistics May 4, 2016 at 10:30 AM

For decades, U.S. infrastructure has been supported by last-second, short-term funding that’s been far from adequate. The recent implementation of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act was a much-needed boost in funding, but shocking new statistics from the DOT have brought into question whether it will be enough to stabilize our crumbling infrastructure.

Freight Activity will Increase Dramatically

The DOT’s Bureau of Transportation (BTS) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently released data forecasting freight growth in the next few decades. The data reveals an extreme rise in freight tonnage and a healthy, vibrant economy.

The BTS and FHWA predict daily over-the-road (OTR) freight tonnage to grow 40% by 2045 to 25 billion tons, with the value of that freight increasing 92% to $37 trillion. Compare that to 2015, where 18.1 billion tons of goods valued at $19.2 trillion are moved via trucks daily.

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Unexpected Support to Robotics in the Supply Chain

Posted by PLS Logistics May 3, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Logistics technology is increasingly valuable. Warehouses, trailers and operators use technology to improve productivity, efficiency and service.

According to a WSJ Logistics Report, more than half of supply chain managers surveyed by Deloitte and MHI expect robotics and automation to have a significant impact on their business. Autonomous technologies are changing supply chain processes – influencing businesses to work faster, at a lower cost.

Companies are willing to make investments on new technologies in order to exceed customer service expectations, promote efficiency, improve consistency, reduce operating costs and decrease human error. Companies are looking for functional applications that will drive business value. For this reason, today’s intelligent robotics technology is gaining popularity.

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How to Control Costs in Your Supply Chain

Posted by PLS Logistics May 2, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Supply chain costs are controlled by management and strategy. You can keep costs down by managing every step in the supply chain process. To find reductions in supply chain costs, supply chain strategies have to align with customer expectations and business goals.

Supply chain strategy gauges the cost-benefit trade-offs of operative components. Knowledge of your particular processes, requirements and needs is essential to find cost savings.

Common places to look for cost savings include warehouse space, inventory stock, supplier relationships, transportation modes and lanes, and order processing. Supply chains are active, so strategies should encourage a hands-on approach to innovation, data analysis, demands and operations.

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