Transportation TIP List: Week of January 15th, 2017

Over the weekend, we saw space exploration technology company SpaceX successfully send 10 satellites off into orbit. And just like this launch has revolutionized space technology, this week’s TIP List stars a number of articles — including the revolutionary changes that cloud computing technology is bringing about in the retail industry, the latest TMS trends and some long-term projections for the transportation industry. Take a voyage through all of the top industry articles below!

  • 2017 Could Outdo Last Year for Shipper Risk: If 2016 was incredibly difficult to predict, 2017 may be even more so. South Korean shipping company Hanjin’s collapse not only shocked and disrupted the industry, but also capped a historic year of consolidation that will reverberate throughout 2017 and beyond.
  • 8 Big Tech Battles That Will Be Fought In 2017: There are 8 technology-related battles that will likely be fought in 2017 — in Washington, in courts and in markets. And each of these battles will produce both “winners” and “losers.”
  • 2017 Transportation Management System Trends: As the world’s transportation networks and supply chains become increasingly intertwined and complex, the systems that support them are improving and advancing at the same rapid speed.
  • Big Pharma is Trump’s Next Supply Chain Target: In President-elect Donald Trump’s first post-election press conference, he launched an attack on the pharmaceutical industry, calling for manufacturing facilities to return to U.S. production.
  • Why the Macy’s Downward Spiral Isn’t the End of Retail: It has been a tough few weeks for retailers. Macy’s announced that it would close 63 stores, and Sears said that 150 of its locations will go dark. But this isn’t necessarily the end of brick-and-mortar retail as we know it.

What innovative retail and transportation trends are you exploring this week?

Transportation TIP List: Week of January 8th, 2017

In the past week, many southern states (including Texas!) saw cold temperatures and even a light dusting of snow. As we battle through January’s chilly winter weather, we wanted to catch you up on the hottest trends and topics in the transportation industry. This week’s TIP List showcases the rise in Mexico’s fuel prices, Amazon’s new flying warehouse and what to expect from the supply chain and retail industries in 2017. Grab a hot cup of tea and check out the articles below!

  • 2017: The Year for the Supply Chain Transformation: Procurement leaders recently surveyed the plans of procurement executives to reform their functions. The research revealed that 82% of procurement organizations are currently undergoing a transformation.
  • Five Predictions for Retail In 2017: It’s the time of year when everyone is setting their expectations for the year ahead. 2017 promises more disruption for retailers as they try to keep ahead of the changing shopping behaviors of their digitally-savvy customers.
  • Amazon Wins Patent for A Flying Warehouse: Amazon has been awarded a patent for a giant flying warehouse that acts as a launch pad for drones to deliver items within minutes. This includes an “airborne fulfillment center” (AFC) such as an airship or blimp that would float at an altitude of around 45,000 feet.
  • States Wire Up Roads as Cars Get Smarter: Transit planners say it’s only a matter of time and money until self-driving cars travel on “smart-roads” that communicate directly with vehicles to help them move as quickly and as safely as possible.

What supply chain and retail industry trends are you following this season?

Mexican Fuel Price Hike: What You Need to Know

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By: Ben Enriquez, SVP Transportation Services

In Mexico, the government controls fuel prices, and has done so for many years – and the intent of deregulating the country’s fuel market has been to reflect global fuel pricing conditions. However, in the past three years, the current government has not adjusted diesel prices in accordance with the global standard. In December 2016, the Mexican government announced an increase in diesel prices for this January. Many had thought that it would be a small increase, but on January 1, the price of diesel went up a whopping 13% – 20% (depending on the region).

Since this price increase, many cities in Mexico have plunged into turmoil. Trucking companies and other businesses that rely on fuel consumption set up blockades in protest. And although the situation is still developing, this unrest has a number of consequences for shippers to consider. Below are a few FAQs and answers for those who may be shipping in an out of Mexico in January, February or throughout the rest of 2017.

Why did the Mexican government increase the fuel cost? The federal government has defended the increases on the grounds that subsidies have maintained prices that do not reflect the true cost of products. They are also in the process of preparing for the full liberalization of gasoline and diesel pricing, which will take place beginning in March and conclude at the end of 2017.mx-maps_2-02

What will fuel prices look like moving forward?

The current price, $17.05 MXN/liter ($3.22/gallon) for diesel, will be in effect January 1 through February 3, 2017. There will be two weekly price updates in the first two weeks of February, and the price of fuel will be determined on daily basis after February 18.

Maximum prices will also differ between regions, depending on the costs of importing fuel to the region, including transportation and distribution. Keep in mind that Mexico is divided into a total of 90 regions (7 on the border and 83 inland) and prices will vary throughout these regions.

What are some of the major effects of the rise in price?

There are 18 states in which there were protests against the price increases, including: Hidalgo, Sinaloa, Guadalajara, Chihuahua, Mexico City and Veracruz. Additionally, the blockades created distribution problems in Chihuahua, Durango, Morelos and Baja California, and could affect airport operations in those states. All major entry ports between the U.S. and Mexico are currently open. Some gas stations have closed for a matter of hours, some for longer, and more have threatened to close.

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Mexican fuel surcharges are expected to be set for shippers, and transportation increases are being released by Mexican carriers. And, while we don’t know how much fuel will cost throughout 2017, we do know that prices will continue to increase. It is important for shippers that may be operating in and out of Mexico to monitor this situation closely and take extra steps to make sure any potential disruptions to their network are minimal.

Follow @Transplace on Twitter for more real-time updates. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your account team or connect with a Transplace expert.

How is the fuel situation in Mexico impacting your transportation strategy?

 

Transportation TIP List: Week of January 1st, 2017

Happy New Year! With a new year comes many new opportunities to take your supply chain and transportation logistics to the next level. Our first TIP List of 2017 is chock-full of inspiration, from a boost in electric truck sales and a jump in truck tonnage to the stellar 2016 retail holiday season. Whatever your goals are for 2017, our TIP List is here to keep you up-to-date on the industry trends you need to know!

  • U.S. Retailers on Pace for Best Holiday Season in Years: Surging online orders and last-minute shoppers helped retailers make up for a slow start to the holiday shopping season, fueling hopes that higher wages, the rising stock market and lower food and gas prices prompted Americans to spend more.
  • Truck Tonnage Jumped 8.2% in November: Following a 0.3% drop during October, the For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index surged 8.2% in November. And in November, the index equaled 142.4 (2000=100), up from 131.6 in October. The all-time high was 144 in February.
  • AAR: Total Weekly Traffic up 27%: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported that for the week ending December 24, 2016, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 496,633 carloads and intermodal units, up a whopping 27% compared with the same week last year.

What are some of your supply chain and transportation goals for 2017?

Cheers to 2017: Happy New Year from Transplace!

It’s almost time to flip the calendar and ring in 2017! The new year is a great time to look back at all that we have accomplished in the past year and look ahead to what may be in store for the future. And we’re especially excited for all that 2017 will bring for the transportation industry.

But for now, we wanted to share some fun facts in the infographic below to help you start the new year off on the right note. If you haven’t decided on a New Year’s resolution, we might be able to help. And, if you haven’t yet bought any champagne for your midnight toast, you might not be alone. Check out all of the stats below and have a happy new year!

 

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*Click on the image above for full view.

What are you looking forward to in 2017?

2016 Year In Review

This time of year has us not only excited for what 2017 will bring, but also helps us take a minute to enjoy reflecting back on all that we have accomplished these last 12 months. And 2016 has certainly been an eventful year! What made us proud this year? Keep reading to find out the highlights at the top of our list for 2016!

 

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Success in the 21st century takes a village, and we know what made all of these accomplishments possible was our dedicated employees, loyal customers and valuable partners. Thank you for helping make 2016 such a memorable year! We wish you a very merry holiday season and all the best for 2017!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Happy Holidays from Transplace!

Opening gifts, baking cookies and enjoying festivities with loved ones are just some of the things that make this season the most wonderful time of the year. And to ensure that all of your holiday essentials arrive safely and on time, the transportation industry continues to work hard throughout this time of year to help make the season special for all.

We wanted to wish you a happy holiday season and share these fun facts to get you in a festive spirit. For example, did you know just how fast a reindeer can run? Or how far Santa Claus travels from the North Pole to Dallas? Bundle up and enjoy all of the holiday stats below!

 

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*Click on the image above for full view.

 

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

 

Transportation TIP List: Week of December 11th, 2016

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday season is all about gift giving, festivities with loved ones and making New Year’s resolutions. And while you prepare your season’s greetings and make plans to ring in the New Year, we wanted to gift you our last TIP List of 2016. This year’s final list includes stories of truck drivers hauling during the holiday season and what to expect from the supply chain industry in 2017.

Read on for more, and we can’t wait to see you again next year!

  • Trucking Delivers The Holiday: AAA forecasts that there will be nearly 100 million drivers on the roads this holiday season — and 3.5 million of those drivers will be professional truckers who are dedicated to ensuring the safety of all motorists on the road.
  • Supply Chain and Logistics Conferences to Attend in 2017: Conferences are a great example of peer-to-peer learning in action, but with so many great supply chain and logistics conferences available, how do you decide which to attend? This list can help you plan your 2017 schedule.
  • 10 Supply Chain New Year’s Resolutions for 2017: While many people may have already started thinking about their personal New Year’s resolutions, here are 10 supply chain resolutions that smart industry leaders should also be considering for the upcoming year.
  • E-Commerce Fueled Logistics Hiring in November: According to the U.S. Labor Department, logistics companies added thousands of jobs in November as warehousing and courier companies ramped up hiring to cope with the growing demand for e-commerce fulfillment.
  • Electric Trucking Charges Up: Officials in Colorado are planning a public road test of battery-charging technology capable of powering electric trucks while they drive. In this pilot project, vehicles equipped with “receiving coils” will draw power from coils buried in the road.

What industry trends do you think we’ll see in 2017?

Looking Ahead to 2017: Economist Brian Beaulieu Shares Key Positive Economic Indicators

At our 14th annual Shipper Symposium last May, economist and keynote speaker Brian Beaulieu discussed the future of the domestic and global economy. Beaulieu, the CEO of ITR Economics, spoke about current economic trends in manufacturing, retail, oil, gas, automobile, trucking and chemical. He believes that these industries can serve as leading indicators for predicting the future of the economy —and as we’re heading into 2017, we wanted to dig deeper into these indicators. What is Beaulieu looking for that may indicate positive growth in the new year? Keep reading for the highlights he shared at Shipper Symposium.

The Top GDP: Over the last 100 years, the United States has been leading the pack in national GDP. And Beaulieu believes that there are two attributes that determine if a country will be a long-term player in terms of GDP: demographics and natural resources. The U.S. has these specific qualities in abundance, where many other countries lack them — and because America still possesses these key traits, it will continue to be at the top of the list of world economies for the next 50 years.

In fact, the current U.S. population is around 323 million people, and Beaulieu projects that number will grow by another 100 million by 2050. This large number is good news, because Americans like to buy “stuff,” and the projected increase in population will have a positive impact on both the shipping industry and the economy as a whole as the number of American buyers continues to grow.

Consumer Spending: One effective way to determine where a nation’s economy is headed and predict what the future has in store is by using leading indicators. And a key leading indicator that Beaulieu believes accurately depicts the global economy is the United States consumer.

Today in the U.S., “real personal income” is higher than ever before. There is more personal wealth overall, which means that there are fewer people using food stamps and government entitlement programs. As a result of this, Americans have more money in their pockets. Beaulieu believes that “when Americans have more money in their pockets, they spend it; and they do this exceedingly well.” Americans’ clear balance sheets are, in turn, allowing for more money to be spent within the retail industry.

2016 Holiday Retail: We are in the middle of the most important time of year for the retail industry: the holiday season. Retail spending is one of the most influential economic drivers and is an important indicator to watch. Beaulieu pointed out that the growing retail industry – thanks to an increase in available spending in the pockets of Americans – will contribute to a bigger 2016 holiday shopping season than in 2015.

And Beaulieu’s forecast for the 2016 holiday shopping season is supported by statistics recently released by the National Retail Federation: “The NRF expects retail sales in November and December (excluding autos, gas and restaurants) to increase a solid 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion. Online sales are forecast to increase between 7 and 10 percent over last year to as much as $117 billion. Retailers are expected to hire between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, in line with last year’s 675,300 holiday positions.”

Transportation TIP List: Week of December 4th, 2016

This past weekend, the regular NCAA football season concluded – and the playoffs are right around the corner. While the college teams are perfecting their playbooks with the best strategies for the upcoming big games, we too, are coming to the field with the top transportation industry trends. This week’s TIP List has a game plan for victory, including stories about Otto’s upcoming autonomous truck shipment and innovations in digital freight matching technologies. Tackle the full round-up of articles below!

  •  Trucking Under Trump: Opportunities for Hours Reform: While the federal government’s ELD mandate is likely protected from interference from President-elect Trump, Republican control in Washington gives the industry hope for a more relaxed regulatory environment.
  • CPG: The Post-Replenishment Supply Chain Challenge: E-commerce continues to not only grow, but also accelerate, and it now comprises over 8% of US retail sales. The industry has increased by at least 15% year-over-year for the past five quarters, and is defining the future.

What transportation industry trends are you planning for?