Companies such as Hasbro, Kellogg, and Tyson Foods have been in the news recently speaking on the impact that higher freight costs are having on their bottom line, with Tyson’s CEO Tom Hayes noting that the company’s shipping costs are expected to grow by $250 million this year. In fact, according to DAT Solutions, the cost per mile for spot rates is up 29% year-over year and tightened capacity is definitely one of the culprits.(1)
Internet of Things, 3D printing, sensors, self-driving vehicles, electric logs: if there's one thing that stays the same in shipping and logistics, it's that everything changes. One big change in logistics that will reshape how we do business is the impact digitization will have on our industry. But even though it's a huge buzzword right now, many people in logistics don't know what digitization will mean to our industry. Here's a brief overview to help get you started.
Imagine docking your trailer at a shipper’s facility, asking to use the restroom while you are waiting, and being denied. Better yet, imagine being told to go relieve yourself behind your own trailer “like everybody else does,” by one of the employees. So was the case a few years back when one driver made headlines for the treatment he received at a food packaging facility. The facility later told the driver that they would be changing their policy within the next month to allow drivers to use their facilities’ restrooms.
A partnership between the Women in Trucking Association (WIT) and the National Transportation Institute (NIT) surveyed companies regarding the number of women in the industry, finding the figure to increase in 2017. In order to track information regarding the benefits, driver wages, retirement plans and other data, the two organizations surveyed hundreds of trucking firms. According to the information that was gathered, the percentage of women drivers rose in 2017 from 7.13 percent at the beginning of the year to 7.89 percent at the end. The presence of women in management also increased in 2017 from 23 percent to 23.75 percent.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) recently released its projections for the industry, stating it to be strong for at least the next 18 months. The chief economist at the ATA, Bob Costello, noted that three major factors have come together to provide a solid future for the freight industry: strong online sales growth, low unemployment and booming housing starts. In fact, Costello told a group of investors via a conference call that not since 2010, when the country was recovering from the recession, have these factors come together to provide a concrete environment.
Did you know that overweight trucks are involved in more crashes compared to the standard trucks? Overweight trucks are more difficult to stop or avoid a collision in case of emergency. They can damage the brake and steering system of the truck and the accidents are usually more catastrophic due to their size and weight. Not only would you face heavy fines but there is a possibility of the truck drivers getting arrested for driving an overweight truck.
Freight rates continue their climb north in a year that has already shown a 28% increase in trucking spot quotes from Jan. 1st through March 23rd, according to a Bloomberg report. But the higher prices in freight transportation (and ultimately consumer goods) should not be unexpected. The northeast, for example, was embraced with three Nor’easters within the first two weeks of March, with seven of those states getting hammered with over 20 inches of snow, shutting down roads and hampering businesses.
Just as it is now quite possible for an airliner to fly with no human intervention, the prediction for the not-so-distant future is that vehicles will be able to ferry passengers to their destinations with no hands on the controls. The future has arrived in limited form; drivers are now able to take their hands off the wheel as vehicles efficiently maneuver themselves into tight parking spaces. While full automation is on the way, however, complete autonomy of vehicles is still a way off.
The shortage of truck drivers in North America isn't a new topic. There is a wrinkle in it that isn't as widely covered but that is crucial to the success of the United States' economy: hazmat drivers. Though they are naturally lumped in together with the general driver shortage in terms of numbers, a driver with a hazmat certification is often even more difficult to find.
Have you ever gone to the supermarket and wondered why they don’t sell half a loaf of bread? While many freeze the other half, others simply throw it away. Sounds like a waste of money right? Or when was the last time you purchased a single banana at the supermarket as opposed to a bunch, only to end up tossing them in the garbage? In fact, according to the documentary, Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, an average American family throws away nearly $1,500 of food each year!
On the heels of the leaked contents of President Trump's infrastructure plan and the increase of his funding goals as mentioned in his State of the Union address, the full reveal of the details has raised the ire of trucking and highway control groups alike. While there are several areas of contention, by far the largest one is centered on how the plan will be funded. As of this writing, President Trump noted that the federal government plans to invest just $200 billion total across all aspects of the plan -- not just those earmarked for highways. It is the president's contention that this infusion of funds will be enough to prompt another $1.3 trillion of spending at the state and local level with the goal of improving the country's entire infrastructure system.