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

The Port of Oakland has undertaken a series of measures in recent years to attract more import volume.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico increased 8.2 percent from September 2013 to September 2014 at $102.2 billion.

NS said that the D&H lines it plans to acquire connect with the NS network at Sunbury, Pa. and Binghamton, N.Y. and give NS single-line routes from Chicago and the southeast U.S. to Albany, N.Y., which is in close proximity to NS’ Mechanicville, N.Y.-based intermodal terminal.

This follows a 1.6 cent decrease last week, which was preceded by a 5.4 gain the week before and stands as the first increase going back to the week of June 23, when the weekly average headed up 3.7 cents to $3.919 per gallon.

BNSF said that its 2015 capital expenditures will be allocated towards various areas of its business, including maintenance and expansion of the railroad to meet the expected demand for freight rail service, with 2015 representing the third straight year BNSF has invested a record annual capital expenditures investment.

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