OVERVIEW & OUTLOOK – August 2014 Container Shipping

BIMCO publishes monthly container shipping reports and outlook for the next period.  They are based on good data they collect, and are sort of a reference standard.  This summary comes from the Shipping Tribune, a daily publication that aggregates various news feeds.

BIMCO SHIPPING MARKET OVERVIEW & OUTLOOK – August 2014 Container Shipping | Shipping Tribune.

There’s still overcapacity in container shipping.  New ships of very large size are coming online, and the tonnage expected to be retired is less.  Interesting facts on building of ships and demolition sales.

The BIMCO link is https://www.bimco.org/Reports/Market_Analysis/2014.aspx

Feedback for us?

Midwest Association of Rail Shippers discusses rail bottlenecks

Rail bottlenecks have been a problem in our area for a very long time. Here from the recent MARS meeting we have some perspectives, captured in presentations.

Midwest Association of Rail Shippers

Every intermodal solution needs a rail partner! Understanding their problems is key to learning how to negotiate with them to obtain benefits for all.

Any thoughts to add?

Building a New Consensus on Infrastructure

MIT’s supply chain blog has an interesting article on some new thinking about infrastructure planning.  I recommend the PhillyFreightFinder website mapping tool to visualize locations of freight and other resources.


Philly rail lines and intermodal yards

Philly rail lines and intermodal yards

This is useful but of course is static and does not represent the flow volumes.

Building a New Consensus on Infrastructure | Supply Chain @ MIT.

The MIT approach is one way regional planning for freight could go forward.  It would provide much better information than the project based planning that happens now.

Interested? Let us know what you thnk.

Supply Chain Talent Shortage The Missing Link?

Maybe this is the career for you.

Lora Cecere, one of the supply chain gurus I follow, has a report on the supply chain talent shortage, believed to be around 1.4 million workers in the next few years.  It’s a business with an aging workforce, and it’s rapidly expanding, especially here in the Chicago area.  Join the webinar to hear the report summary.

Could Supply Chain Talent Be The Missing Link? Join Our August 5th Webinar!.

Talent_banner_webinar_um 2

USF has concentrations in Logistics in both their MBA and their undergraduate BSBA programs.  You’d be prepared for a good job in the supply chain field.  Tell us if you’re interested!

Costs of Possible West Coast Port Strike are Significant

We get a lot of stuff from the west coast. And we also ship out a lot of ag products and manufactured goods out there.  A major port strike is brewing if the players do not settle their differences. Here’s a story from Supply chain 24/7

Costs of Possible West Coast Port Strike are Significant, According to NAM and NRF Study – Supply Chain 24/7.

It’s the season when goods for holiday and fall seasons are starting to come to the US.  Retailers can’t be without these goods when the season starts. (Halloween? Before?)  Unions of course chose a maximum impact time to strike.  It’s the only time in the life of a contract (3 or 4 years) that they have leverage, so why wouldn’t they? You would too if you were in their position.

What would they like to see made better for their workers?  Read up on the issue at the ILWU and PMA websites. PMA is the negotiator for all the port and terminal operators at these ports.

Tell us what you think about the issues.  What would you like to learn about the role of ports in our economy?

Derek Leathers of Werner testifies to Congress

Here is a considered view of the state of trucking and freight transportation, and some ideas on how to improve things, from Derek Leathers, President of Werner Enterprises, an important logistics firm.

04 24 13 — Derek Leathers Written Testimony.pdf.

Derek is a highly respected executive in the industry, and he presents some important points.

  1. He believes the fuel tax is the fairest and most efficient way to fund the repair of our highways, and needs only to be adjusted for inflation and for improving efficiency of vehicles.
  2. He thinks the FMCSA rules and procedures for safety improvement have some systematic issues which unfairly affect truckers and place undeserved responsibility on them.
  3. He talks about the difficulty of obtaining roadable chassis and its cost to the consumer, and points the finger at unenforced maintenance provisions for chassis pool owners.

These are a few of the issues truckers face. It’s good our government is paying a bit of attention. Let’s hope they take action.

What do you think?


Driving Value Over the Last Mile

It’s an interesting point that last-mile workers are really salespeople or customer service workers.  How should they be trained? Shouldn’t they have the business skills we expect of in-store sales associates or sales reps?  The truck driving becomes a small part of the equation.  MIT has been looking at this area of transportation.

Driving Value Over the Last Mile | Supply Chain @ MIT.

I’m interested for two reasons.  First, how should these jobs in the supply chain be classified in government statistics on jobs in different fields? Are they sales people or transportation workers? It’s an example of how we can be misled about a job related to logistics, and perhaps underestimate the effect logistics has on our economy.

Second, the new emphasis on the last mile, direct customer contact with transportation is creating new opportunities. If we really are to have delivery within 24 hours, with customer support as part of the package, our supply chain operations skills and talents need reexamination and refocusing.  Our workers wioll need to be more talented and be better educated in business and human skills as well as technical ones.  Those who train themselves to manage logistics as customer service will put themselves in a position to make big contributions at companies and be leaders on the fast track.