Talking Turkey: Thanksgiving Stats That Will Leave You Feeling Full!

The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, and each year this time allows us to reflect on what we’re thankful for and to truly appreciate everything we have. This includes delicious food and spending quality time with friends and family. And in the giving spirit of the holiday, we wanted to serve up some interesting data tidbits for you to gobble up and enjoy. Do you know how much Americans spend on food for Thanksgiving each year? Or how many turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving Day? Our infographic below is stuffed with all of the answers!

Thanksgiving Infographic 2015 FINAL PNG

Are you surprised by any of these Thanksgiving stats? What are you thankful for this year?


International Transportation Services Are Changing – Are You Keeping Up?

Sheila Hewitt_2014

By: Sheila Hewitt, Vice President, International Logistics, Transplace

International logistics services have changed over the last few years and are continuing to evolve. The change has been customer driven, and is due to many of the major global players letting their infrastructure lapse in keeping up with the demands of the global supply chain. When it comes to international logistics, there are a number of separate entities involved on both the import and export side, and there’s not one cohesive location managing everyone as well as all the data involved. Until recently, where we’ve been able to connect and manage all the dots. Due to the nature of our business, we’ve been able to step in and handle all of these relationships and processes, upping our international services game.

The Importance of Infrastructure

The lag in keeping infrastructure current comes from these large global players having a much lower budget and resource pool on international transportation spend vs. what their domestic spend is (oftentimes tens of millions of dollars vs. hundreds of millions of dollars). Why? The risks are greater with international transportation, and sometimes so is the cost. Companies are always looking for a way to drive out cost and incorporate efficiency, and when it comes to international transportation, they look at reducing actual first cost with ocean freight, and procurement is a way to do that. Extra costs are the result of a poorly executed supply chain. Our goal is to serve as a single source to allow these global players to be able to make decisions based on unified visibility and actionable data.

The IT infrastructure is critical to the global supply chain and serves as the foundation for a solid logistics program. From our point of view, there are three parallels of the global supply chain:

  1. Physical movement of cargo
  2. Data associated with the movement of goods
  3. Actual documentation associated with the movement of goods

When you have multiple parties involved, the common denominator is being able to report on all three of these – physical, data and documentation – moving in sync. If it’s out of sync, there are fines and additional costs involved, so IT infrastructure is fundamental to your logistics program. All three are codependent and equally important, and you can’t have one without the others. More importantly, you don’t want to automate a bad process. The first thing you do is build a solid process design and then the IT is structured around that. By collaborating with our global customers, we make sure we have the right process design in place that meets all the needs within the reorganization and then structure and build the IT to properly support the design.

International Services with Transcending Benefits

The value of providing international services has extended reach. For example, because these global players are often so large, there are cross-functional groups that touch international and overlap in processes. There are communication gaps and redundancies in roles and responsibilities. By applying our lean principles to our international services and design, we can help identify which ones can be eliminated, improved or automated. We can do an overview of groups across functions and see these gaps as well as the opportunities, and then implement the changes needed. It’s important to note having change management support within the organization can help make it all the more successful.

From a risk standpoint, regulatory compliance is a critical part of an international transaction and is at the core of the process design and IT infrastructure. It’s of the utmost importance to have all of this information and to be on top of it. Another benefit has to do with exception management. We’re relieving the decision making process for management by delivering to them more information around key performance indicators (KPIs) including meaningful reports from a strategic procurement standpoint. We have the ability to arm decision makers with enough data to demonstrate whether their international transportation plan is on track or if they need to get back on course.

International Services Reboot

Currently, there’s no one system on the market that does end-to-end management of all the international transportation services needed. Yet, we have the tools to facilitate strategic procurement, RFP exercises as well as maintain all of those contract rates to create an electronic routing guide in a database so that everyone involved can see the data. By showing inventory in real time, you can plan for real-time scenarios. From purchase orders and execution all the way through to track and trace, by automating processes and evaluating data, customers can obtain real-time visibility and save time. No more logging onto carriers’ websites to track a system, it’s all automated and up-to-date. How about that for the latest international transportation services?

Is it time to reexamine your international services?

Transportation TIP List: Week of November 15th, 2015

Much is up in the air and on the precipice of transformation in today’s transportation and supply chain industry. From the extended funding provided by the newest highway bill, to the Trans Pacific Partnership and the continuing development of the international supply chain, things in this industry are certainly on the move. Well, except for the many ships currently waiting in the Panama Canal –unfortunately, they seem to be a bit stuck!

Find out more from this week’s recap of the latest industry trends:

  • House Passes Highway Trust Fund Extension Through December 4th: Funding authority for highway programs would be extended through December 4th under legislation the House easily passed on November 16th. The bill is meant to give transportation leaders on Capitol Hill a few extra weeks to finalize a multiyear highway policy bill, but still needs the Senate to act on it.
  • Ships Waiting Up to 11 Days at the Panama Canal: The Panama Canal is still dealing with a high backlog of vessels waiting to pass through the waterway, leaving ships, crews and cargo waiting for days before making the roughly 12 hour transit. A perfect storm of multiple issues has created waiting times of up to 11 days at the canal.
  • Transloading on the Rise at US-Mexico Border: The dynamics of cross-border trucking between the U.S. and Mexico are changing. More U.S.-bound shipments are being sent to transloading facilities at the border before heading north, which is opening up new opportunities for many companies.
  • November Forecast to be a Strong Month for US Ports: Retailers anticipate a jolly November for U.S. ports, with the National Retail Federation predicting that containerized imports will increase 8.3 percent over November 2014. And last-minute importers of holiday merchandise should experience little if any port congestion.
  • The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and International Supply Chain Development: The TPP details have finally been released by the participating countries’ governments – the participating countries are working to integrate multi-national supply chains through the reduction in government imposed competitive barriers.
  • Diesel Prices Climb Back to $2.50 Per Gallon: The country’s average diesel price climbed back above the $2.50 mark last week, rising 1.7 cents. The average price of a gallon of on-highway diesel now stands at $2.502. The most significant increase came in the West Coast less California region, where prices increased by 5.8 cents.
  • New Research Quantifies Impact of Non-Preventable Crashes on CSA Scores: Recently issued CSA research takes a deep dive into the impact that non-preventable crashes would have on motor carrier CSA Crash Indicator BASIC measures. The 7 BASICs are: driving, fatigued driving, driver fitness, alcohol and drugs, vehicle maintenance, cargo security (now HM Compliance) and crash history.

How are these trends affecting your business this week? Let us know in the comments!

Q3 Logistics Review


By: Tom Sanderson, CEO, Transplace

There was some question as we entered Q3 about whether freight volumes would surge resulting in capacity shortages. That clearly did not happen. In fact, capacity became more readily available throughout Q3. Below you’ll find some key highlights from the third quarter, including economic data driving freight demand, as well as legislative and regulatory issues affecting freight transportation. I’ll also share my expectations for the remainder of the year. Now, let’s take a look at Q3.


Capacity Remains Available, Fuel Prices Fall, Ocean Rates Fall but Remain Volatile

Continuing what we saw in Q2, truck capacity continued to become more readily available throughout Q3. According to the Morgan Stanley’s freight indexes, van, refrigerated and flatbed capacity is far more readily available for this time of year than normal. While capacity had modestly tightened through June, it has eased substantially since then. The dry van capacity-demand balance line is at its lowest point in the last six years.

And while refrigerated capacity began 2015 tighter than normal, the market shifted and capacity was not nearly as constrained as normal in Q2 or Q3. The index is now lower than at any point since 2009, and it appears capacity will not tighten for the balance of 2015 or into early 2016.

Diesel prices continued to fall, dropping to $2.476 per gallon in late September – the 17th decrease in the prior 18 weeks, totaling 43.8 cents. Diesel prices are at the lowest point since June 2009 and are 34% below prior-year levels.

East and west coast spot-market ocean rates remained volatile, but are at far lower levels following the conclusion of the west-coast port strike earlier this year. As of late September, east coast rates were down 44% while west coast rates were down 34% year-over-year. The spread between east and west coast ports declined from a peak of $2,937 on 2/27 to $1,048 on 9/18. The spread has not been this low since November of 2012. Carriers clearly exercised their market power during the strike as shippers diverted freight to the east coast, but now spot rates have corrected to levels considerably lower than those preceding the strike.

Retail Sales and Manufacturing Growth Sluggish, While Housing Starts and Auto Sales Remain Solid

Following a disappointing Q2, retail sales remained sluggish in Q3. Unadjusted for inflation, year-over-year sales were growing at 2.2-2.4% in Q3, but adjusted for inflation growth was 0.3%. Inflation adjusted numbers are more relevant for freight volumes.

Housing starts dropped slightly in August, but snapped back in September. Annualized housing starts totaled 1.206 million in August, up 6.5% from August. Starts were above expectations, and were 17.5% above the September 2014 rate.

Auto sales reached the high point for the year in September, at an 18.1 million unit annual rate (SAAR), and remained at or above a 17-million unit annual pace for five consecutive months. The unit sales pace continues to exceed the early decade average (2001 – 2007) that has served as our primary barometer of the auto industry’s recovery. This could be a sign of rising consumer confidence.

Manufacturing growth experienced at the end of Q2 began to weaken in Q3. The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) reported that the Purchasing Managers’ Index decreased to 50.2 in September from 51.1 in August – both down from 53.5 in June. PMI came in below expectations (50.5) and indicated the slowest rate of growth since May 2013.

A Long-term Highway Bill Postponed Again but Now Looks Possible

At the end of July, President Obama signed yet another extension of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) highway bill, extending funding until October 29, 2015. This was the third extension since MAP-21 was passed in July 2012 to fund surface transportation programs through FY2014. On October 29, the President signed a 3-week extension in anticipation of a longer-term bill.

The Senate passed a six-year highway bill on July 30; however, House Republicans were not on board and left town the day before it passed. The key challenge is how to pay for the $15 billion per-year gap between proposed highway spending and highway user fees, raised primarily from federal fuel taxes, which have not been raised since 1993. On November 5, the House passed a $300 billion 6-year highway bill. The two bills are now in a reconciliation process that, if successful, will send a long-term bill to the President.

While increases in fuel taxes are widely opposed in Washington, a minimal increase would go a long way in improving the nation’s highways. However, the current bills continue to use various gimmicks to close the $15 billion per year gap between receipts and expenditures. In the Senate bill only 3 of the 6 years are funded with no requirement to determine in advance how to fund the final 3 years. The House bill requires that a mechanism for funding the final 3 years be determined in advance.

 Q4 Forecasts & Expectations

Freight transportation in 2015 continues to be dramatically different than 2014, and we don’t expect much change in Q4 or early 2016. As previously mentioned, we aren’t seeing peak season capacity shortages on a broad basis like we have in previous years.

On the legislative and regulatory front, we will see shortly if Congress can finally agree to a long-term solution to funding transportation infrastructure. It now seems likely, although the funding shortfall could doom the bill. The FMCSA is also working hard to complete a study to submit to Congress to try to reinstate the suspended HOS restart rules. While it’s unclear whether submitting the report is enough to trigger a regulatory “snapback,” the report must be submitted to the Department of Transportation Inspector General by the end of the year then will likely go to Congress in February. That means the current rules, which allow a truck driver to restart his or her weekly duty after 34 hours off-duty time, will remain in place into 2016.

To stay updated on what’s going on in the logistics industry, visit my blog or follow me on Twitter: @TomSandersonCEO.

Did Q3 meet your expectations? What will you be watching for the end of 2015?

Transportation TIP List: Week of November 8th, 2015

Happy Veterans Day! We’d like to take a moment and say thank you to all of the men and women of the armed forces, both past and current, for their service to our country. Our thoughts and gratitude are with you today!

And while we have past and present military service members on our minds today, this week’s TIP List is looking to the future. From shipping for the digital age and a “smart” truck parking system, to virtual reality and the Internet of Things, the transportation industry is definitely looking ahead.

  • U.S. House Passes $325B Highway Bill: The House approved a bill to spend up to $325 billion on transportation projects on Thursday after a weeklong vote-a-rama and an intense debate about federal gas taxes. The measure also includes a reauthorization of the controversial Export-Import Bank’s charter, which has been held up in Congress since it expired in June.
  • Shipping for the Digital Age: Robots, autonomous vehicles, and other fancy hardware like drones are the cool new toys in logistics. But although logistics and transportation make up one of the largest markets on the planet, the relative lack of innovation in the sector is surprising.
  • West Coast Ports Widen Lead on Imports: West Coast ports handled more than half of U.S. seaborne imports for the first time in nearly a year, the latest sign that the region has shaken off the effects of last winter’s labor problems. In September, the Pacific ports handled 50.7% of imports into the U.S., measured by the value of goods.
  • US Shippers Shifting More Freight from Truck to Rail than Vice Versa: For the first time in nearly a year, more U.S. shippers say they are shifting freight from truck to rail than the other way around on improved intermodal service. Shippers said their expectations for intermodal volume growth through third quarter 2016 were their lowest in more than three years.
  • Virtual Reality: The Supply Chain’s Next Stage of Evolution: Virtual reality (VR) originally became commercially popularized through video games and movie media, but has since evolved for use in major urban development projects, to the point where it is being applied to manufacturing, retail, distribution, installation and healthcare supply chain operations.

 How are you showing your appreciation to our nation’s veterans today?

Transportation TIP List: Week of November 1st, 2015

Despite the clock “falling back” this weekend, our latest TIP List is ready to spring ahead with this week’s top trends in the transportation industry. And at the forefront are a number of timely and intriguing topics, including a new highway bill, container weight rules and the continuation of the problematic driver shortage. While the clock is ticking on many of these issues, that extra hour of sleep has us wide awake and ready to dive into this week’s TIP List! Check it out below.

  • Free Shipping Trumps Fast Shipping During the Holidays: When it comes to winning online shoppers’ business this holiday season, free shipping is far more important than fast shipping. According to a just-released report, 87% of shoppers say free shipping is more important than fast shipping, and many (60%) expect retailers to offer free on-time shipping as late as Dec. 17.
  • Chipping Away at the Driver Shortage, One Bite at a Time: Using traditional trailer placards to advertise for qualified truck drivers is no longer enough. Trucking companies have resorted to renting highway billboard space to attract prospective drivers – and as one wag put it, “The next step is for the carriers to get down on their knees and beg.”
  • Senate Approves Three-week Highway Bill: Last Wednesday, the Senate approved a measure to extend federal transportation funding for three weeks, sending the bill to President Obama. The bill would extend federal transportation spending until Nov. 20 and prevent a shutdown in funding when the current authority expires.
  • Black Swans and the Risks in Supply Chains: When safeguarding their supply chains against disruptions, companies commonly assign the highest priority to events that happen relatively often and hit hard. But those disruptions with the highest likelihood and the greatest potential impact are not the worst perils that companies face.
  • What Shippers Need to Know About New Container Weight Rules: Too few shippers are ready to meet new global regulations requiring the weighing of containers before they are allowed to be loaded onto a ship. Here’s what shippers need to know about the risks of not complying with the rules set to take effect July 1.
  • How to Move Forward with Reverse Logistics:Reverse logistics is the invariable result of unintended consequences and can represent a significant supply chain cost. And there tends to be disorganization around managing reverse logistics that is more challenging than conventional “forward” logistics management.

Did we miss anything that’s on your TIP List this week? Let us know in the comments!

Transportation TIP List: Week of October 25th, 2015

Happy Halloween! Even though the houses are haunted, the ghosts are out and the ghouls are appearing, we’re certainly not afraid to bring you the latest and greatest supply chain trends. This week’s TIP List covers rising supply chain costs for CPG companies, high-tech hospitals and the potential buzzing of drones along our nation’s railways. How is your supply chain holding up against the things that go bump in the night? Read on to find out!

  • Rising Supply Chain Costs a Key Concern for CPG Executives: Greater supply chain complexity is taking a toll on many consumer packaged goods companies. Strategic and operational obstacles are affecting company performance in terms of service, costs and inventories – and transportation is also a top concern.
  • Hospitals Take High-Tech Approach to Supply Chain: Hospitals, facing growing pressure from insurers to cut costs, are taking an axe to their supply chains. New forms of payment triggered by the Affordable Care Act have threatened to reduce revenue for hospitals, prompting providers to add services and constrain costs.
  • Trucking Poll Shows Public Backs Tax Hike to Fix Roads: A new national poll finds strong public support for federal investment in highway infrastructure. “This poll tells us the American people now believe what we’ve been saying for some time: Our roads and bridges are in need of repair and we need to raise revenue to do it,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves.
  • Truckers Again Becoming More Competitive With Rail: Fuel prices are low enough that truckers are again becoming more competitive with rail. As fuel prices skyrocketed and trucking companies faced driver and capacity crunches, railroads became a logical, cheaper choice. But diesel prices have fallen by about 30%, making trucking prices more competitive again.
  • Could Automotive Supply Chain Snap?: A combination of rebounding sales and an unprecedented number of new models in the works has stretched the auto parts supply chain so taut that the entire industry is holding its collective breath that it does not snap.
  • How to Prepare Your Supply Chain for Capacity Challenges: Truck capacity constraints are having a significant impact on shippers’ transportation and logistics programs. George Abernathy, president and chief commercial officer of Transplace, offers advice about what they can do to address the challenge on a long-term basis.
  • Cold Chain Logistics, Services Transforming: It’s amazing how quickly the cold chain industry is changing, and the role of cold storage operators continues to morph into that of a 3PL. Some customers aren’t aware of the expanding suite of services their cold storage providers offer, even though it’s evolving customer demands that prompted this very transformation.
  • Drones Taking to the Railways: The next sound heard buzzing along the railroad tracks may not be a train, but a drone instead. Railroads are exploring the use of drones to cost-effectively monitor hundreds of miles of track, aid in maintenance work and enhance security.

What topics are you conjuring up for your TIP List this week?

The Holidays (And Seasonal Demand) are About to Hit: Is Your Supply Chain Prepared?

Managing the supply chain to match customer demand is difficult any time of year, but peak seasons can add a number of particular challenges. During the holiday season, companies need to capture as many sales as possible without overestimating demand and ending the season saddled with excess stock. Depending on the type of product, holiday shipments start in September, October and November — and if your product isn’t on the shelves by the first week of December, you’ve lost the sale.

It has become a real challenge for shippers to meet customer demand accurately and cost-effectively. So how can shippers best prepare to meet this challenge? In the upcoming peak season, don’t just meet freight volumes — reap the full benefits of increased demand with the following tips.

1. Plan Ahead: Thorough planning is essential to handling seasonal demand, and shippers should implement a strategy early. It’s important to be continuously prepared throughout the season!

  • What are your goals for the season?
  • What supply chain gaps or potential disruptions stand in the way?
  • It’s critical to predict demand as precisely as possible. Bring in forecasts from the beginning and keep your finger on the pulse.

2. Utilize Technology: With the increasing complexity of consumer markets, predictive analytics technology can bring the right products to the right place at the right time.

  • Accurate forecasts help protect against overstock and costly expedited transportation.
  • With freight estimates you will be able to plan out your shipment schedule and understand exactly where capacity gaps exist!
  • Then you can lock in sufficient transportation capacity and meet with carriers to align service level/pricing with customer needs.

3. Increase Visibility: Once you select the carriers, suppliers and logistics partners that will help you meet your goals, the next step is determining the visibility level needed by each party.

  • The more upstream visibility you provide, the less risk you take!
  • By accessing data such as booking details, volume and origins sooner in the supply chain, your partners can plan to avoid capacity/pricing-related disruptive events.
  • Visibility is something that most companies can achieve, but what makes a supply chain truly agile is upstream visibility of highly accurate data.
  • And when it comes to meeting seasonal demand, agility is a major success factor.

4. Build Success on Benchmarks: Supply chain visibility is a gift that keeps on giving past the peak season. If you use this data to track KPIs, you can look back at hard numbers, not just previous forecasts, next season.

  • The key to success is improving on previous experiences.
  • Document how quickly, efficiently and inexpensively freight was handled so that you can optimize the process going forward.
  • Ensuring that you’re in constant communication with your partners is extremely important.
  • Be sure you select partners that are willing and able to help you plan ahead, increase supply chain visibility and continuously improve performance.

How Do You Benefit From Seasonal Supply Chain Planning? 

  • You’re better prepared, and your supply chain is better off for it.
  • If you can control your inventory better because of things you’ve learned in the past, it’s going to impact your expense line.
  • Better communication with your carrier base gets product to your customers at the right time.
  • This affects the customer’s bottom line — they’re buying more from you — and this can also improve your own bottom line profits.

A seasonal demand spike is a double-edged sword, but with proper planning and an agile supply chain, shippers can turn holiday challenges into big opportunities. In fact, for some retailers, the Christmas season alone delivers half of their annual profits! The most successful supply chains capitalize on extra demand with an agile strategy to keep service seamless and the planned capacity to carry it out.

What steps do you plan to take to prepare your supply chain for the upcoming holiday season? 

Transportation TIP List: Week of October 18th, 2015

As we’re nearing the end of October, we are getting closer to baseball’s biggest games of the year. Have you been following the exciting journey to the MLB World Series? We certainly have, and our newest TIP List gathers up its own series of important topics, including the recent trucking boom, the rise of intermodal and why the U.S. infrastructure needs a serious overhaul. This week’s list knocks it out of the park with the trends you need to know.

  • Gradually Hike U.S. Fuel Tax to Boost Highway Fund: Our roads, highways, bridges and transit systems are in terrible shape in many parts of the U.S., and they’re getting worse. There’s a solution to this problem that would boost economic growth, productivity, and competitiveness, and make life better for millions of Americans. But it requires that our politicians first be truthful about the problem.
  • Drivers Ride High on Trucking Boom: After years of spending long hours behind the wheel without seeing their paychecks grow, U.S. truck drivers now have employers fighting for their services. Many freight haulers have in the past year pushed through their biggest raises in decades.
  • FTA: Shippers Should Prepare for New Container Weight Regulations: Shippers need to ensure they are prepared for new container weight verification rules that will be put into force next year, the U.K. Freight Transport Association (FTA) has advised. FTA said shippers could fall afoul of the new legislation after July 1, 2016 if they don’t put measures in place to verify the gross mass of containers before shipment.
  • Intermodal on the Rise in Mexico: Mexico’s rail capabilities have evolved significantly over the past decade, as Carlos Godinez, Intermodal Director, Mexico at Transplace, discussed in a recent episode of Talking Logistics. “It’s been a 180 degree change,” in terms of infrastructure and service improvements, with approximately $5 billion in investments made since 1997.
  • North American Freight Volumes Rebound in September: North American shipment volumes and expenditures both increased in September 2015 after falling for two consecutive months, according to the latest Cass Freight Index Report. The logistics payment solutions provider said overall shipment volumes grew 1.7 percent in September compared to the previous month, following 1.2 percent declines in both August and July.
  • New Reefer Technology Preserves Perishables for Extended Distances: In the hyper-competitive world of refrigerated transportation, ocean carriers are always on the lookout for new solutions to control the atmosphere inside their containers while satisfying their drive for energy efficiency and improved environmental sustainability.
  • Retail Sales Rise Less Than Expected as Americans Save More: Consumers in the U.S. tempered purchases at retailers in September, pocketing the savings from lower fuel costs and making for a weak finish to the third quarter. The 0.1% gain followed little change in the prior month that was weaker than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed Oct. 14 in Washington.

What home runs are on your TIP list this week?

Transportation TIP List: Week of October 11th, 2015

The central thread of this week’s transportation TIP list is a big one: expansion. With developments such as the Pacific Trade Deal, intermodal expansion in Texas and the exodus of manufacturers out of China, many in the industry are expecting large gains from a number of new avenues. Check out our sizable list below to see what’s trending!

  • Logistics Companies Expect Business Gains From Pacific Trade Deal: From small freight brokers to global logistics giants, supply chain providers are gearing up for a surge in business they believe the historic agreement will bring to Pacific trade. The sweeping deal, taking in countries that make up 40% of the global economy and a quarter of global trade, would reduce tariffs on a large range of goods that move between the countries.
  • UP Expands Texas Intermodal Terminal to Handle Rising Cross-border Traffic: Booming business at Union Pacific Railroad’s intermodal ramp in North Laredo, Texas is spurring a $90 million expansion at the facility tapping U.S.–Mexico cross-border trade. The first phase of the project, slated for completion in 2016, includes the acquisition of approximately 37 acres, the opening of a new entrance, and installation of an automated gate system and the construction of new buildings on the site.
  • Container Ship Operators Face ‘Overcapacity Crisis,’ Report Says: Overcapacity from bigger container ships will lead to several years of financial losses for container shipping lines, Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd. said in a report released Thursday. Drewry cut its forecast for the industry’s growth this year to 2.2% from twice that in an earlier projection, while fleet capacity is expected to grow 7.7%.
  • Why Are So Many Oil Trains Crashing? Track Problems May Be to Blame: The February 2014 crash fits into an alarming pattern across North America that helps explain the significant rise of derailments involving oil-hauling trains over the last three years, even as railroads are investing billions of dollars in improving the safety of their networks.
  • Manufacturers Step Up Search for Low Cost Alternative to China: The exodus of factories moving out of China in search of lower-cost options in southeast and central Asia is accelerating, as manufacturers face increased pressure to reduce unit costs. Few industries have been spared amid the search for cheaper manufacturing alternatives, with rising Chinese labor rates cited as a major concern affecting industries as diverse as apparel and high-technology.
  • Use Supply Chain Modeling to Mitigate Port Shutdowns and Other Risks: Recent massive strikes among dockworkers on the California coast brought the reality of supply chain continuity planning to the forefront once again for global businesses. The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports handle nearly half of the nation’s cargo, and are the main gateway for imports from Asia, including automobiles, furniture, clothing, electronic products, and crude oil.

 Were there any opportunities for expansion on your transportation TIP List this week?