More questions than answers when it comes to logistics landscape

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
August 31, 2010 - LM Editorial

Every so often, it is good to take stock of what is going on in your world—and the world around you for that matter. With that in mind, now is a good time to assess what is happening in the world of freight transportation, supply chain, and logistics.

One thing which has received a fair amount of attention is the matter of Peak Season? This brings up questions like: will there be one or did it already happen? Given that fact that the past 4 Peak Seasons have essentially been a bust to a large degree, those are good—and fair—questions in my opinion. But we need to let things happen to see what happened at the end of the day.

A shipper told me in a recent Peak Season story I wrote for logisticsmgmt.com that this year’s Peak Season will be a “doozy,” because of shrunken capacity, which can create challenges when it comes to re-positioning intermodal equipment. This situation, said the shipper, subsequently leads to carriers having a hard time getting boxes back to the West Coast. In short, that shipper said overall Peak Season activity will be driven by a lack of capacity, as opposed to growth in the economy.

This point leads me back to one of Newsroom Notes’ favorite topics—the economy. I am not an economist, nor do I play one on TV (excuse my poor attempt at humor here; I should be much funnier by Friday). But I don’t need to be an economist to determine that the confluence of mixed economic signals is still in fifth gear.

Last week’s 1.6 percent GDP forecast is certain to not get anyone excited, nor are the high levels of unemployment we continue to see either, or a steep trade deficit. But we need to keep in mind there are some encouraging things at play, too.

What are those things? For one, diesel and oil prices remain digestible for shippers and carriers for the most part continue to report demand is steady if not as strong as it was just a few weeks back.

Other good news signs are record-breaking weekly intermodal volumes over the past two weeks being reported by the Association of American Railroads and a resurgent air cargo market.

But at the end of the day, consumer demand and inventory restocking activity—which is clearly slowing down—look to be the Wild Cards, when it comes to assessing future freight volumes. What will happen? Who knows? But it figures to be a wild ride.

What do you think? Newsroom Notes wants to know. 



About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

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. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in March was up 1.1 percent on the heels of a revised 2.8 percent (from 3.1 percent) February decline, with the SA index at 133.5 (2000=100). This is off 0.3 percent from the all-time high for the SA of 135.8 from January 2015 and is up 5 percent annually.

Intermodal volume was up 8.1 percent annually at 280,016 containers and trailers. This outpaced the week ending April 11 at 270,463 and the week ending April 4 at 271,127. AAR said this tally marks the second highest weekly output it has ever recorded as well as the first time container and trailer traffic was higher than carloads for a one-week period.

Ocean cargo carrier service reliability across the three core East-West trades hit a five-month peak in March with an aggregate on-time performance of 64 percent, according to Carrier Performance Insight, the online schedule reliability tool provided by Drewry Supply Chain Advisors.

The Airforwarders Association, which represents more than 360 companies that move air cargo through the supply chain, today applauded an agreement reached by Congressional leaders to advance legislation giving the President authority to conclude key global trade agreements.

Despite great opportunity for growth, the logistics market in Latin America is lagging behind other emerging markets thanks in part to its notoriety for corruption, violence, poor infrastructure and government bureaucracy.

Article Topics

Blogs · Air Cargo · Trucking · Railroad · Intermodal · Peak Season · All topics

About the Author

Jeff Berman, News Editor
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.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA