Thinking spring…

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
March 27, 2014 - LM Editorial

Maybe just maybe, Old Man Winter has made his grand exit. OK-that might be slightly premature, but having dodged a forecasted snowfall here in southern Maine yesterday, I feel the need to feel to good about something, when it comes to the winter we have had here and you, too, if you have ploughed (er, plowed) your way through this interminable cold season.

It goes without saying that this winter had major impacts, none of which were really good, in terms of supply chain efficiency for the most part. That is, unless, missed shipments, delays, and backlogs, are suddenly key objectives among shippers (they are not…). But with Opening Day in less than one week and forecasted snow not falling–at least not yesterday- it seems like a good time to look back at what everyone dealt with and how, hopefully, things get better from a volume and timing perspective for all supply chain stakeholders. 

Looking at the motor carrier market, one thing stands out above basically everything else on the truckload side: capacity was, is, and will likely remain tight, with some shippers and carriers saying it is as tight as they have seen it in years.

As you have read in the print edition of LM and on this site, that thesis could hold firm, aside from the weather, due to things like the ongoing driver shortage, the regulatory drag from CSA and now HOS that continues to crimp capacity, and a relatively slow economic recovery, although things are certainly moving in the right direction, with key metrics like ISM’s manufacturing and non-manufacturing data, retail sales, truck tonnage and rail and intermodal volumes showing some promise.

On the other side, housing data in recent months has slowed down, which could potentially hinder freight growth in the coming months at a time when all supply chain and logistics sectors could certainly benefit from an uptick. With “spring selling” season coming up, coupled with (hopefully) a return to better weather, perhaps housing will regain the momentum we saw not all that long ago.

And the upstart commitment on behalf of consumers to all things e-commerce obviously needs a watchful eye. We have all seen how more and more e-commerce activity has a direct effect on supply chain operations, whether it be for order fulfillment, inventory optimization, and reverse logistics, among other things.

These are just a few examples of things we are seeing, hearing, and writing about in print and online. There are a whole host of others to keep an eye out for sure. But as the seasons change, market conditions can, too, not that they necessarily will. That is still to be determined. While what happens in the coming months remains an unknown for now, at least we will hopefully get a little warmer as things unfold.



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

Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers, recently said it is opening up the “vault,” so to speak. The vault in this case is making its copious amount of trade data accessible through an Application Programming Interface (API), which enables customers to extract Panjiva’s trade data into their own database.

Freight transportation and logistics services provider Averitt Express recently announced it has rolled out improved transit times for less-than-truckload (LTL) service from the Midwest to Toronto and other cities.

Data issued by the National Retail Federation lowered its 2014 retail sales forecast, due to a slow first six months of the year (and largely negatively influenced by the terrible winter weather), but noted that retail sales are expected to be strong over the next five months to finish the year.

Anne Ferro, a ferocious advocate for greater truck safety and a constant thorn to truck drivers and some unsafe trucking fleets, says she is leaving as administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. No successor has been immediately named.

Data issued by the National Retail Federation lowered its 2014 retail sales forecast, due to a slow first six months of the year (and largely negatively influenced by the terrible winter weather), but noted that retail sales are expected to be strong over the next five months to finish the year.

Article Topics

Blogs · Trucking · Capacity · 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 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA