NASSTRAC study takes wide look at shipper insights

By Jeff Berman · April 12, 2013

A recently released study from the National Shippers Strategic Council (NASSTRAC), entitled “Freight Transportation 2013,” revealed many interesting takeaways on various links of today’s supply chain operations and performance.

NASSTRAC said that the objective of the study, which was based on feedback from transportation executives with manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, and distributors, was to explore shippers’ perspectives of emerging trends in freight transportation with a focus on a wide variety of issues, including business strategy, collaboration practices, carrier selection, rates, capacity, mode selection, outsourcing, advocacy issues, technology, and sustainability.

Surveys like this are always helpful in assessing what factors are driving market conditions. And given the stop and start nature of the economic recovery, a highly partisan Congress, and a general amount of uncertainty, these findings come at an opportune time to really take stock of what is going on.

Here are some of the main findings of NASSTRAC’s “Freight Transportation 2013” study:
-nearly 90 percent of respondents said their companies have long-term supply chain strategies of at least three years, with nearly 97 percent saying they have a transportation planning strategy that is tied directly to their overall supply chain strategy;
-nearly 33 percent said that collaborate with their providers for productivity gains, and an additional 54.9 percent said they collaborate with other shippers as well as their providers through things like network optimization, mode shifts, technology investments and enhancements, and reducing transit times;
-for carrier selection, shippers said they find the most import criteria to be rates (50.9 percent), reliability of on-time delivery (47.4 percent), and financial stability (18.4 percent);
-47.4 percent of shippers said LTL rates will increase and 45.6 percent expect truckload rate increases and early 33 percent expect increases in intermodal rates;
-37.7 percent of shippers said that that have moved to intermodal in the last year, with 42 percent noting it was to reduce costs, and 57.7 percent said a modal shift is in the cards for 2013;
-37.2 percent of shippers say they outsource 25 percent or less of their transportation spend to third-party logistics companies, and 23.3 percent outsource 26 to 50 percent of their freight spend;
-81.7 percent of shippers continue to make investments in transportation technology, with 42.1 percent focusing on TMS for route optimization and shipment aggregation

Looking at all this data, one could make the case that each of these segments could have their own individual studies. There is a lot to chew on in terms of gauging the market and how shippers are reacting to things, too.

Some findings, like rates, for example were not a huge surprise, but others like the somewhat low outsourcing numbers were unexpected, at least by me.

This was the inaugural study by NASSTRAC. I hope it continues going forward as it is replete with great information and data.


About the Author

Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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