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Shipping Support Consolidated with Descartes ShipRush™

Descartes

Shipping Support Consolidated with Descartes ShipRush™

Descartes’ cloud-based ecommerce shipping solution ShipRush™ now provides customers increased visibility through its added less-than-truckload (LTL) freight management options.

The global logistics solutions provider announced the adding of LTL freight to the offering, further increasing efforts in streamlining shipping operations while supporting companies as they determine carriers and efficient service options.

“Descartes continues to drive ecommerce shipping innovation by bringing together LTL freight, parcel shipping and rate shopping on a cost-effective platform for ecommerce companies,” said Troy Graham, Senior Vice President, Business Development for Descartes Systems Group.

“These combined capabilities help companies, like ZUP, remove the guesswork from choosing the best combination of cost and service for their shipments.”

“As a multi-channel business, ZUP’s shipping needs are complex. We process both individual marketplace orders and large palletized orders for our network of dealers,” said Nick Kierpiec, director of operations for ZUP.

Beyond increased visibility with its all-in-one capabilites, ShipRush™  supports customers in determining the most cost-effective options for LTL management and usage. The platform assists in how and when to use LTL and can produce bulk shipping savings up to 50 percent while offering access to integrated Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERP) and carrier rate selection processing.

“The ability to do everything in one platform, including process incoming orders and rate shop the best price and delivery options for parcel and LTL, saves us both time and money,” concluded Kierpiec.

 

Pilot

Pilot Freight Selected for “Logistics Provider of the Year”

Major motion picture 3PL provider, Technicolor, recognized Pilot Freight Services as the 2018 Logistics Provider of the Year. The eMemphis-based, long-term Pilot customer relies heavily on the freight forwarder for time-sensitive deliveries of  DVD displays to big-name retailers, ultimately supporting Technicolor during peak, fourth quarter deliveries while providing the company unwavering support.

“Pilot pulled out all the stops to make sure we were in every store we needed to be in for Black Friday and continued their stellar support through the busy holiday season,” said Elaine Singleton, vice president of supply chain at Technicolor.

A variety of strengths launched the global company at the top of the list for the recognition, among them included on-time service; communication and proactive tracking; billing accuracy; and proof of delivery. The final decision was made by Technicolor staff votes.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by Technicolor as their Logistics Provider of the Year,” said John Hill, president and chief commercial officer of Pilot. “We’ve had a longstanding relationship with Technicolor and our abilities to coordinate and handle time-specific deliveries have been able to help us both grow in our respective industries.”

Source: Pilot Freight Services

WHAT IT TAKES TO BE OR WORK WITH A 3PL THAT HANDLES PERISHABLE FREIGHT

In a world that is becoming more globalized by the second, the literal array of products being shipped in 2019 is extremely diverse. One diverse segment is the perishables industry, which distributes goods that naturally deteriorate due to time or environmental conditions. This is an understandably complex segment, requiring a logistical savviness and excellent partners to ensure products arrive in time and, most important, fresh and intact.

Meats and meat by-products, dairy, fish and seafood, chemicals, flowers and pharmaceutical products make up the perishable goods segment. According to Technavio, a leading market research firm, the sector is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of nearly 8 percent (2017-2021). A revealing report published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2000 astutely signaled this growth, arguing that the advances in transportation technology would significantly ease perishable freight trade via the reduction of shipping costs and streamlined delivery times.

A Valuable Partner

Transporting perishable freight is a multiple, moving parts effort. As such, third party logistics (3PL) providers play a vital role. Outsourcing to 3PLs allows shippers to not only hang onto their capital for reinvestment in their own, core operations, but they can additionally take advantage of 3PL technology which is generally ahead of the curve.

A good 3PL will provide access to economies of scale, enable superior elasticity in areas such as route planning (to lessen unnecessary “hand-offs”), provide access to cutting-edge temperature tracking technology and enable the use of shared, cold storage warehouses with the shipper. The latter alone offers tremendous cost savings.

Choosing the Right 3PL

Food Logistics holds annual awards, prominently recognizing the top 3PL and cold-storage providers. Jumping into a 3PL partnership should not be taken lightly. While the agencies in the Food Logistics awards list are clearly leaders in the industry, fully vetting potential partners is highly suggested, with these five areas are an excellent place to start.    

1. Proven Success – To the detriment of the “start-up” 3PLs, entrusting your perishable freight in the hands of relative novices is not the best idea. Go with a winner that can provide excellent client feedback.

2. Robust Technology – This is an area where your 3PL should be much farther ahead of the technological curve than the shipper. Good 3PLs are agile enough to have resources on-hand to stay on top of the very technology that will cut costs and increase efficiency times.  

3. Scalability – Once a 3PL is in place, the shipper is entering a shared-space environment. This is the natural advantage of outsourcing, so ensuring the 3PL can scale in a parallel manner with the shipper will facilitate economies of scale.

4. Location Networks – A seasoned, successful 3PL will take a more nuanced, strategic approach to network configuration, ensuring the shipper can count on the right distribution center locations.

5. Commitment to Improvement – While last, this is a key point because every 3PL will be faced with pressure to continuously evolve and improve. During initial conversations, addressing what these challenges have been and how the 3PL addressed them in the past will reveal much about the firm. 

3PL Key Issues

As a 3PL charged with perishable freight, the issues are frankly numerous. On the trucking side, it is not machine nor technology-based–it’s humans. Driver shortages are a major concern, with Bloomberg reporting earlier this year that the shortfall has leaped to 296,311 as of the second quarter of 2018. The root of the issue goes back to 2004, when federal law mandated stricter oversight of hours worked per day. Cuts were made, which meant more drivers were needed due to the current crop having to work less. Couple this with the aging trucker population and shortages have been rampant ever since.   

A strong economy has been another issue that partly explains the trucker shortage. Manufacturing and construction have had an easier time finding new entrants into those sectors than has trucking. The former sectors are tapping into the same general population as the latter, and weeks on the road, away from families, is not as attractive as working at a given site and returning home every evening.

To combat this, 3PLs need to provide better services and remain highly efficient. Transportation is still the weakest link in supervising what’s known as the “cold chain.” Low-cost providers can enter easily, which results in a host of marginal players making it hard for suppliers to weed out the true high performers.

On the sustainability side, shippers are increasingly seeking 3PLs with the smallest carbon footprint possible. Packaging and warehousing are well-known polluters, which has put pressure on 3PLs to generate as few pollutants possible. Utilizing eco-friendly electric vehicles to adopting “green storage and packaging” processes, logistics innovation and alternative fuel implementation are major issues larger and savvier suppliers are seeking. 

As with any industry, challenges are ever-present, but the 3PL sector is revolutionizing how we consume and enjoy perishable items on a global scale. Thanks to these nimble entities, hundreds of millions of people have regular access to affordable products in ideal states, something our grandparents and many of our parents could not have said. 

How Global Shippers Optimize Deep-water Strategies

Deep-water ports continue to make leaps and bounds within the trade sector, increasing overall twenty-foot equivalent units while breaking new ground and records, as seen this year with the Georgia Ports Authority’s recent confirmation of an impressive 4.36 million TEUs for 2018 and projecting a continuation of success for 2019. The port recorded 8 percent growth compared to the 2017 numbers.

Executive Director Griff Lynch cites the combination of cargo expansion and increased U.S. demand with shifting the global logistics arena toward the deep-water terminals in Savannah. The port implemented a strategy focusing on trade in December that was projected to set them up for continued success.

The Connecticut Port Authority claims that efforts toward integrating solutions that fit individual maritime needs are the driving factors behind its growth and successes.

In a detailed report highlighting deep-water port trends, the environment was the first on the list of increased industry concern and priority, which can prove problematic for trucking companies and beneficial for global shippers that anticipate regulation changes before industry competitors do. In 2020, the IMO fuel sulfur regulation will officially change how emissions are handled, ultimately restricting options for those who want to maintain uninterrupted operations. With this regulation change, there will be a 0.5 percent global sulfur limit on fuel emissions.

Proactivity is the driving force behind the success and stability of shippers looking for solutions for sustainability. Seatrade Maritime News presents three options that shippers should take into consideration sooner rather than later: install exhaust gas cleaning systems; purchase fuels within compliance (which are at a higher cost); or run ships on liquid natural gas. Whatever the choice might be, the demand for each of these tangible solutions is bound to increase drastically and change the pace for the global refineries.

“Global refiners will be put under enormous strain by the shifting product slate,” explains the International Energy Agency. “If refiners ran at similar utilization rates to today, they would be unlikely to be able to produce the required volumes of gas oil. If they increased throughputs to produce the required gas oil volumes, margins would be adversely affected by the law of diminishing returns. In order to increase gas oil output, less valuable products at the top and bottom of the barrel would be produced in tandem, which would likely see cracks for these products weaken and weigh margins down.”

Beyond proactivity and preparation, global deep-water ports focus on redefining infrastructure while evaluating opportunities for significant increases in cargo intake. But what about the ports that aren’t seeing the results they want? Let’s take a look at the European ports and the challenges and proposed solutions featured in an article from Port Strategy. Of all the solutions presented and discussed, the first was the need for infrastructure evaluation.

“The challenge ports everywhere face now,” details a report shared by the ESPO, “is to implement projects which often are financially unattractive to the port authority and even less attractive to external investors, but which are essential for wider societal and economic reasons. Some ports are financially strong enough to finance such projects and accept the low financial returns. Other ports are challenged to implement projects which are essential but are entirely beyond their means.”

Another challenge is the demand for increased cargo but a limit in capacity, as many ports claim they are close to reaching max capacity but can’t provide an opportunity for competitors to swoop up that for which they can’t make room. Gauging these issues requires a carefully thought out and strategic approach to ensure shippers evaluate the next steps for 2019.

In the theme of modernization, Port of Oakland shared insight into its 2018-2022 strategic plan, which is inclusive of growing net revenue, modernizing and maintaining infrastructure, care for the environment and improving customer service. The use of technology to streamline operations was one of the highlighted objectives and strategies (impacting almost every area of the business) that the report emphasized on. In the age of information technology, automation and technology solutions, this goal would provide more than just a seamless flow of information, but it would supply owners, customers and employees improved efficiencies and reduced room for error. There seems to be a trend among these ports.

“Each of our businesses has specific modernization and maintenance objectives to meet, notably development of long-term asset management plans,” states the Port of Oakland report. “Moreover, those objectives require careful attention to environmental, social responsibility and human resources issues.”

The key to implementing strong logistics solutions can be found in an all-in-one approach that is inclusive of your company goals and vision, the well being and safety of your employees, customer satisfaction, competitive advantage as well as cost-effectiveness and proactivity. The common denominator is found in digitization through advanced technology solutions, fully integrated within the service platforms, touching on all bases of the operations and supply chain.

For 2019, more of these solutions will become the wining differentiator with competitors, and the demand for digital integration will continue to rise. Take advantage of the opportunities to research and learn the primary areas of improvement, addressing those first. The primary issues will ultimately impact the remaining areas of your business–start at the root and go from there. Implement proactive measures to ensure your company is well prepared for changes in regulations, considering long-term solutions over short term. Consider analyzing what competitors are doing; this is just as important as knowing what they are not doing to stay ahead in the markets.

Vincent Campfens, author of IBM’s THINK blog, put success initiatives into perspective: “Being a smart port is much more than merely introducing awesome new technology into a port to make it safer, more efficient and more sustainable. It is also about looking further ahead in time, making strategic choices to ensure that the port still exists in the future, whilst responding to changes in climate, politics, technology, industries and cargo flows. One of our recent strategic choices is a targeted commitment to digital innovation.”

Old Dominion Freight Line Recognized for Disaster Responder Program Support

Old Dominion Freight Line amped up its efforts to support the vision of the American Red Cross with a pledge of $250,000 through the Disaster Responder Program in addition to launching the redcross.org/odfl platform to streamline additional donations from its employees and customers. These donations help the nonprofit organization further efforts to respond to more than 62,000 annual natural disasters each year.

“Every day in the face of disasters, the generosity of Disaster Responder members like Old Dominion Freight Line ensures the Red Cross can provide comfort and care to people in their darkest hours,” said Don Herring, chief development officer at the American Red Cross. “We are extremely grateful for these contributions before disasters strike because it enables us to respond to disasters immediately and compassionately, when help and hope are needed most.”

The American Red Cross reports house fires are the most common type of disaster they respond to annually, topping hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. The funds donated to the organization enable opportunities to educate communities – including Old Dominion’s employees, on disaster preparation and recovery.

“From hurricanes and flooding to wildfires, we’ve seen the impact that the American Red Cross has on our communities. We’re dedicated to helping Red Cross keep their promises by assisting with disaster preparation and response. This partnership will help many communities around the country, communities where our OD Family lives and works every day,” said Chip Overbey, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning at Old Dominion Freight Line. “This announcement is a way to formalize the work we’ve done and the work we will continue to do with the American Red Cross. Our goal is to help these communities not only monetarily, but also through our OD Family support.”

Source: Old Dominion Freight Line

Air Partner Announces Houston Location

Following the most recent opening of its Los Angeles office, global aviation group Air Partner confirmed the opening of its newest headquarters in Houston, Texas this week. The new Woodlands office supports the company’s vision to continue efforts in expansion to better serve its clients in various regions.

“We are excited to open an office in Houston as we expand our reach and services across the U.S., providing local Air Partner representation to both established and new customers,” said David McCown, president of Air Partner U.S. “Houston is one of the fastest-growing major cities in the United States and is a hotbed of economic activity.  We see massive potential for growth in the region.”

In addition to extending reach for customers, the Houston office is in favorable proximity to the major oil and gas hub in the region, creating opportunities for Air Partner to extend its freight and corporate jet shuttle programs. With the Port of Houston currently serving as a top foreign trade zone, the company’s strategic location for the new office will also provides ample opportunities for the expansion of large freight and cargo operations.

The London-based company offers services including air charter,cargo services, private air travel solutions, specialist travel management, emergency planning, aircraft remarketing and aviation safety consultancy and training, including air traffic control and wildlife management

Air Partner currently has U.S. office locations in Fort Lauderdale, New York City and Washington, D.C. and shows no plans of slowing down expansion efforts in key regions.

Old Dominion Celebrates Growing Capacity

Old Dominion announced its success during the first half of 2019 following the opening of six service centers across the nation. Reduced shipping times, increased daily volumes and enhanced delivery flexibility are key benefits the service centers offer for customers.

Locations for the new center upgrades include:  Mobile, Ala., Pompano Beach, Fla., Houston, Texas, Otay Mesa (San Diego), Calif., Texarkana, Ark., and Anaheim, Calif.

“Our 2018 results confirm that strategically opening new and renovating existing service centers to accommodate customer demand is helping to grow our business,” said Terry Hutchins, Vice President of Real Estate. “We will continue that strategy of searching for new sites to increase capacity and grow our network to continue to deliver premium service that exceeds customers’ expectations.”

The implementation of new service centers are carefully considered in terms of location, network capacity opportunities, and access to the highest quality workers. Each center is equipped with the highest quality technology in anticipation of increased customer demand.

“We search for locations in growing markets where we have access to quality workers to expand our network capacity. Expanding our network allows us to immediately accommodate customer needs, and is critical to maintaining our award-winning low claims ratio and guaranteed on-time delivery,” said Hutchins.

The company announced scheduled open houses for each of the new locations to celebrate their success:

Mobile – March 13

Pompano Beach – March 20

Houston – April 11

Otay Mesa – April 24

Texarkana – April 25

Anaheim – April 25

 

Source: Old Dominion Freight Line

White Paper Identifies Ways to Reduce Supply Chain Costs

Today’s global supply chains must contend with global issues, like tariffs, severe weather events and labor disputes. To provide relief from these challenges and help companies control their supply chain costs, C.H. Robinson has made available a white paper on the benefits of global freight forwarding.

The paper describes three areas where companies can use freight forwarding to reduce cost and complexity in global supply chains.

The first area is cargo consolidation. Companies can take advantage of space in ocean and air shipping containers to realize potentially big savings. The second area is risk management. Understanding the risks to cargo can help companies properly protect their shipped goods. The final area is customs management. Knowing how to navigate compliance requirements can keep goods moving across borders and help companies avoid costly fines.

The white paper is available for free download at: https://www.chrobinson.com/en-us/lp/GlobalForwarding/global-forwarding-saving-opportunities/.

Jettainer Acknowledged as "Best Service Provider"

A Certificate of Appreciation was presented to outsourced ULD management partner, Jettainer, during this year’s Oman Air Cargo Awards ceremony. The annual event, which took place on January 23,  honored its partners that supported efforts for company growth.
“We are on the path of achieving the goals set by our Group Company in line with the 2040 vision for Oman, in which the logistics industry has become an integral element of Oman’s future development plans. 2018 has been a successful year for Oman Air Cargo with a year on year growth in terms of revenue,” said Mohammed Al Musafir, Senior Vice President, Oman Air Cargo.
Jettainer’s “Best Service Provider” award directly acknowledged its efforts to reduce the existing fleet of Oman Air Cargo in October 2017 which resulted in an overall reduction of CO² emissions.
“The award for Oman Air Cargo is something very special for two reasons. Firstly, because the customers are the ones who are best placed to evaluate our service and the honors they bestow on us. Secondly, because we have only been working for Oman Air Cargo since the end of 2017 and our ULD management has been convincing right from the start,” comments Carsten Hernig, Managing Director of Jettainer GmbH.

Source: Jettainer

How to Become a Freight Broker

Do you have an interest in the transportation and logistics industry? Maybe you’ve always been drawn to trucking or shipping but don’t know how to put that passion to good use? Becoming a licensed freight broker may be a smart career move for you if these are questions you have pondered over time. A freight broker works as an intermediary between manufacturers and shippers, helping move products and goods from one location to the next. Freight brokers can make a steady living working for themselves or as part of a team, and they have an opportunity to do the work they love from home or an office setting.
However, there are certain steps one must take to become a licensed freight broker, including getting the right training, developing a business plan, meeting legal requirements, and obtaining a bond or trust fund. Here’s what you need to know if becoming a freight broker is in your future.

Get the Right Training

One of the first steps in becoming a licensed freight broker is obtaining the right training. Industry experience, in trucking, shipping, or logistics, goes a long way in laying the groundwork for a successful career as a freight broker. However, there are also classes and courses that can and should be pursued in order to get a full understanding of the business. These training opportunities are not legally required to become a freight broker, but they do offer information about trends in the industry, best practices, technology tools, and operating a business in the field.
Several freight broker training schools offer classes and coursework to those who want to work as a freight broker. Some schools offer in-person classes that provide a more personalized curriculum while others are self-study classes completed online. You can use this resource to uncover the top freight broker training schools as well as the classes you might want to complete in order to get your brokerage up and running successfully from the start.

Develop a Business Plan

In addition to industry experience and formal training in the freight broker field, you will also want to develop a business plan to set yourself up for success. Having a strong business plan allows you to evaluate what you need to establish your brokerage now as well as what is required for a solid, profitable future. A business plan includes detailed information about revenue sources, customer acquisition, strengths and weaknesses of the business, and projected financial information that acts as a budget. You can utilize business plan templates like those found on the Small Business Administration’s website to tackle this task.

Meet the Legal Requirements

After developing your business plan, your next step is understanding the meeting the legal requirements to become a licensed freight broker. You will need to register as a motor carrier and receive your motor carrier number through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA. You will also need to secure your motor carrier authority which is done through an application submitted online. This application requires you to pay a non-refundable $300 fee, so be prepared for this cost when applying. The process of obtaining these legal requirements and submitting the application can take several weeks. Be sure to review the information needed as part of the application process beforehand, and gather the right documentation before submitting your application.

Obtain Your Bond or Trust Fund

In addition to the application process mentioned above, new freight brokers must also satisfy the bond or trust fund requirement. The license to become a freight broker requires you to have a freight broker bond or to establish a trust fund in the amount of $75,000. The bond or trust fund protects shippers and carriers against bad business practices of the licensed broker.
The good news is that if you select the bond option, you do not have the pay the full bond amount of $75,000 up front. Instead, your surety agency charges you a percentage of the total bond amount, with the out of pocket cost ranging from $500 to $2,000. The price you pay is heavily dependent on your financial standing, including your personal credit score and history, so be sure you have your financial ducks in a row before applying.

Have a Marketing Strategy

After you have developed a sound business plan, met the legal licensing requirements, and obtained your freight broker bond, you’re ready to start working with customers. However, you will need a marketing strategy to help you get off on the right foot as a newly licensed freight broker. Many brokers use a combination of business relationships and freight load boards to create potential business, while others use social media, e-mail marketing, and an online presence to generate interest. Any combination of these marketing strategies can be beneficial. Just be sure to budget for the marketing methods you plan to use, and be flexible in your approach if one seems not to work as well as you intended.
The steps to become a licensed freight broker may seem daunting, but following this order makes it easier to get up and running in the industry quickly.

Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.