Market Update: Secure Capacity with These 3 Tips

Posted by PLS Logistics March 14, 2017 at 9:03 AM

Shippers are expecting higher rates and less capacity this year, so many are trying to lock in contract rates and secure trucks before the spike. Carriers have been hammered by low fuel prices, strict regulations, and rising equipment costs.

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Shippers: Don't Believe These 4 Myths about TMS Software

Posted by PLS Logistics October 26, 2016 at 10:00 AM

  1. A software as a service (SaaS) transportation management system (TMS) solution doesn’t add value, is expensive, and doesn’t present ROI for years.
  • A TMS sanctions effective and fast decision making. It has a customizable interface, streamlines operations, reduces carrier overhead charges, optimizes routes, and has track and trace features.
  • A TMS identifies supply chain pain points and logistics challenges that might have been disregarded.
  • The SaaS model of TMS software requires little to no IT or monetary investment, unlike traditional software. SaaS solutions don’t require costly upgrades. With a SaaS solution, the shipper’s organization pays for what is used.
  • Implementing a TMS creates immediate ROI because it takes away the manual processes. A TMS enables better processes, delivering better customer service at a lower cost. In a 2011 ARC Advisory group survey, 40% of respondents felt that TMS software offers a strong ROI, and that if they were to give up their TMS and go back to manual processes, their total freight spend would increase.


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The 3 Most Popular Uses of TMS Technology

Posted by PLS Logistics October 4, 2016 at 4:10 PM

Supply chains are increasingly complex, and companies who leverage technology find competitive rates, enhanced operations, greater flexibility, and cost reductions. Logistics providers continue to work in order to provide added value to their client’s supply chain processes. Successful 3PL relationships include committed and ongoing value through technology -- access to historical and real-time reports can be used to make data-driven decisions that enable lasting results.

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Market Update: LTL Volume Down but Prices Stay Firm

Posted by PLS Logistics September 8, 2016 at 8:00 AM

The less-than-truckload (LTL) market is adjusting to a soft freight environment, triggering less volume, revenue and profits. As the U.S. freight economy weakened, LTL carriers saw a slip in revenue year-over-year. To date, the only large LTL carrier that hasn’t reported a decline in revenue is FedEx.

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Market Update: 9 Factors Determining the Rise in Transportation Rates

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

Freight shippers are enjoying a buyer’s market at the moment. There’s widespread overcapacity in the trucking industry, forcing carriers to lower prices in an attempt to keep their trucks full. For now, shippers can find low transportation rates relatively easily.

As with any cyclical industry, this will all change. Soon, carriers will be dictating rates and shippers will be competing for trailer space, paying much more for transportation than they are right now.

Why is this happening? And when can shippers expect to pay higher rates?

There are 9 major factors that will determine the severity and timing of the rate hikes.

Operating Costs

  1. When energy prices rebound, it will increase operating costs for trucking companies. In response, they will have to increase fuel surcharges to cover their expenses. Carriers make more profit from fuel surcharges when fuel costs are high, so the surcharge increase won’t be proportional.

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3 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get Better Transportation Rates

Posted by PLS Logistics August 9, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Getting low rates for transportation services is challenging. The problem is that most people don’t have time to learn the complexities of the transportation industry. And, most people don’t understand the pricing leverage they already have.

For shippers of any size, there are three easy ways to get the lowest contract rates.

  1.  Get to it. Right Now. You’re Almost Too Late.

You need to start looking for a transportation partner right away. Freight rates are

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Logistics and Transportation Outlook: More Challenges Ahead

Posted by PLS Logistics August 4, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Last month, CSCMP and consulting firm A.T. Kearney released the highly anticipated 27th Annual State of Logistics Report. The report reveals a strong shippers’ market in 2016, a slow rise in transportation rates in 2017, and vaguely states there will be large obstacles to productivity in the future.

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Manufacturing Productivity Generates Focus on Transportation

Posted by PLS Logistics August 2, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Deloitte’s 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index (GMCI) displays the influence manufacturing has on economies in terms of infrastructure initiatives, technological developments, employment rates, and contribution to the GDP.

US manufacturers have contributed $2.17 trillion to the economy. The manufacturing sector continues to grow and is directly linked to the growth of our country’s economy and non-manufacturing industries.

There are over 12 million manufacturing workers in the US; about 9% of the workforce. According to the Economic Policy Institute, each manufacturing job supports nearly 3 additional employment opportunities in the economy.

Manufacturing accounts for 12% of the US economy. According to the GMCI, the US continues to improve its global ranking and is projected to move from its current ranking at second into the number 1 position as the most competitive manufacturing nation by the end of the decade. Now, China is the most competitive manufacturing nation, and Germany is rated third.

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2 Simple Reasons 3PLs Have Remained Extremely Popular

Posted by PLS Logistics July 19, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Despite the negative connotations of the terms ‘broker’ and ‘outsourced’, third-party logistics companies have gained popularity and are employed by nearly every industry in the U.S. How did this happen?

The Motor Carrier Act of 1980, which deregulated the trucking industry, allowed different types of businesses to fight for market share in transportation. Trucking companies bought warehouses, freight brokerage firms popped up, smaller carriers entered the industry more regularly –the structure of a traditional transportation company was shaken up and the industry was changed forever.

The 3PL as we know it today didn’t truly exist until after the 2000s tech explosion and the widespread availability of the internet. This opened up entirely new ways of managing transportation.

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Panama Canal Expansion: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by PLS Logistics July 7, 2016 at 10:30 AM

History of the Panama Canal

During the 1800s, businessmen didn’t have an efficient or quick way to ship goods between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The British proposed a canal through Nicaragua that was never built and the French attempted to build a canal through Panama but evacuated the project due to fatal diseases. Despite the unsuccessful attempts, Americans were undeterred. In 1914, the United States began to build a canal in Panama. 

In 2006, the Panamanian government authorized the first major expansion of the Panama Canal since it opened in 1917. The expansion is set to be complete in 2016. (As of April 2016, the project was 98% completed). The expansion is expected to double the capacity of the canal.

The Panama Canal is an important link to global trade, accepting an estimated 5% of the world’s total cargo volume. It takes a ship about 8-10 hours to make its way through the canal. The canal serves over 140 maritime trade routes to over 80 countries. American ships use the canal the most, followed by China, Chile, Japan, Columbia and South Korea. Every vessel must pay a toll based on its size and cargo volume. Tolls for the largest ships can run as high as $450,000.

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