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Chapman Freeborn South Africa Flies 10 Cars to Malawi for the SADC Summit

Chapman Freeborn South Africa Flies 10 Cars to Malawi for the SADC Summit

In August, Chapman Freeborn South Africa transported vital cargo from Johannesburg International Airport (JNB) to Lilongwe International Airport (LLW) ahead of the 41st SADC Summit.

The SADC Summit is an important event during which the Southern African Development Community gather to discuss policy direction of the 16 member states. The cargo comprised of 10 vehicles which were urgently required to provide transportation during the Summit, and the operation required excellent cooperation and efficiency to ensure they arrived on time.

Chapman Freeborn Cargo Charter Manager Africa, Gerhard Coetzee, worked in conjunction with the client, Imperial Clearing and Forwarding South Africa Pty Ltd, to find a suitable solution in the shortest possible timeframe. He arranged for the vehicles to be transported on a Boeing 777-200F on a part-charter to Malawi, and the operation went to plan with the cargo arriving on schedule for the Summit.

Abhilash Kunjupilla, Operations Director at Imperial Clearing and Forwarding South Africa Pty Ltd, said “It was once again a pleasure working with the team at Chapman Freeborn, their ability to create innovative solutions at very short notice as well as still maintaining the level of service is impeccable.  My team and I are always able to rely on the consistent service from you.“.

The Chapman Freeborn Cargo Team has over 45 years of experience and work with clients all over the world to arrange delivery of their time-critical cargo. From automotive components to energy industry structures to life-saving humanitarian aid, Chapman Freeborn will ensure your shipments reach their destination on budget and on schedule.

Get in touch with the team today by emailing cargo@chapmanfreeborn.aero to discuss your requirements.

lading

AVOIDING ERROR IN THE BILL OF LADING LIFECYCLE

There is constant chatter surrounding gaps within the supply chain–from driver shortages to lack of technology adoption. While solutions to these problems may seem simple enough, many fail to realize the multiple moving parts of a supply chain that would need to adopt these solutions.

Just this year, the Port of Los Angeles became the first port in the Western Hemisphere to process 10 million container units in a 12-month period. “Over the past 12 months, port terminals have worked an average of 15 container ships each day, up from a pre-pandemic average of 10 ships a day, representing a significant increase in productivity,” the Port of L.A. reports. With America’s busiest port breaking records for annual volume, it sets a new standard for the industry.

With a new record of goods being shipped, this introduces a magnitude of opportunities for error. Perhaps one of the most common is in the bill of lading (BOL) lifecycle. A BOL serves as a contract between an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the shipper and the carrier–acting as a legal document to protect all parties involved.

From the time an item is developed overseas to the time it takes to reach an end consumer, that product and BOL have switched hands multiple times. There’s the OEM, the carriers, port staff, freighter’s crew, other port’s employees, the carrier again, a potential distributor, more carriers and then finally the retail store, where the end consumer can purchase the product. With products being mass shipped and divided at ports or distribution centers, this leaves room for error when it comes to BOL accuracy.

Because of this, an electronic bill of lading tool (eBOL) can help create a valid, blockchain-like record of a product’s journey–from origination to end consumer–resulting in less human error, faster turnaround times and reduced inflation costs.

What can go wrong with the BOL? 

According to a recent study, the top challenges in supply chain management were recorded to be visibility (28%), fluctuating consumer demand (19.7%) and inventory management (13.2%). Consider the effects of COVID-19 this past year, and these areas have since then largely increased. In fact, the global e-commerce market is expected to total $4.89 trillion this year, and keep growing over the next five years. 

With rising demand, the BOL is essential in the supply chain lifecycle to ensure accuracy and transparency throughout. This means facilitating collaboration, standardization, digitization and automation across all supply chain parts.

With the BOL serving as proof that the shipper has given permission to haul goods, the traditional paper copy leaves room for human error. For example, during a pickup or delivery, the driver is recording the product, quantity, whether it’s cold storage or not and the final destination of a shipment. Next, the clerk would sign the paperwork and the driver would be on their way. After that, the BOL paperwork would need to be faxed in, but consider the driver’s route. A driver might be gone for a week or two (even more) before the BOLs would be able to be turned in. And it doesn’t stop there–once the driver’s packet of BOLs makes it back to headquarters, the office then needs to process them manually and store the physical copy for years for auditing purposes.

The long turnaround time simply sets companies back. Additionally, if a driver recorded the wrong product name or number, this could result in a product having to be returned, costing companies time and money.

How can an eBOL platform help?

An eBOL is not a new concept within the supply chain, but due to the amount of moving parts and interoperability challenges, it hasn’t reached wide-scale adoption. However, due to the visibility, inventory and growing capacity as well as safety challenges, companies are starting to include eBOL and digital pickup and deliveries as part of their supply chain digital transformation initiatives. An eBOL tool creates streamlined workflows for all supply chain parties, resulting in more efficient shipments and greater transparency. 

As discussed, traditional paper BOLs leave room for human error and improper documentation in addition to lengthy turnaround times. By eliminating paperwork and manual processes, an eBOL can instantly capture key information and significantly cut down on dwell times. In fact, companies who have used an eBOL tool saw a significant decrease in driver dwell times–from 66 minutes on average down to 23 minutes.

Going beyond paperwork, an eBOL tool has the ability to boost collaboration by supporting just-in-time manufacturing and replenishment planning. This provides visibility that allows logistics partners to make faster decisions in case freight needs to be re-routed to different plants, distribution centers and stores to meet customer demands. Overall, the entire supply chain becomes more agile. 

Additionally, given the current environment of COVID-19 cases spiking and taking into consideration the delta variant, eBOL tools are effective in reducing health and safety risks for drivers and yard workers by minimizing paper and physical interactions. Now that information can be accurately tracked and shared through a contactless option, this makes the process self-service for drivers and eliminates the need for in-person check-ins. 

What effect does an eBOL tool have on the end consumer? 

It all starts with capacity. Driver shortage is not a new concept in the supply chain and logistics industry. Currently, the supply chain is stressed with a heavy demand and not enough capacity due to driver shortages, which can drive up shipping costs that translate to the end consumer. 

However, if drivers across the supply chain spend less dwell time at facilities, that time can be spent making an additional stop. One more delivery added to a driver’s route could help create more capacity and stabilize shipping prices that has the potential to trickle down savings to consumer products.

In addition to strengthening supply chains, companies across the country are trying to find ways to keep inflation from rising. Using an eBOL tool turns those in-person interactions at facilities into quick, digital processes, streamlining the delivery and pickup process. By getting drivers in and out of facilities faster, companies can improve capacity challenges by enabling drivers to add another stop to their days, which will hopefully reduce shipping costs and benefit consumers in the long run. 

________________________________________________________________________

Brian Belcher is the COO and co-founder of Vector, a contactless pickup and delivery platform that ensures supply chain partners get the right load to the right place at the right time. Prior to Vector, Belcher led Customer Success at Addepar, a wealth management platform, which manages more than $2 trillion in client assets. Before joining Addepar, Belcher co-founded Computodos, a socially-minded supply chain solution that helps source, transport and distribute recycled computers to developing countries. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Santa Clara University. 

Everything to Know about Tarp Systems

Tarp systems provide benefits for various industries, such as logistics, manufacturing, and lumber. The below infographic includes details about several purposes for tarp systems, including securing all items and keeping others safe while products are in transit. Components of a tarp system are also discussed and are broken down based on three types of systems- the electric tarp system, crank tarp system, and ratchet tarp system.

The infographic also includes considerations to keep in mind when deciding which tarp system is most suitable for your business needs. A few key points to remember when choosing a tarp system are the size of your products, the ability of the person transporting the items to physically maneuver the tarp, and the distance that your items will be transported.

 

This originally appeared here. Republished with permission.

intermodal

INTERMODAL IS HOT: HOW SIX CITIES ARE MEETING LONG-HAUL CHALLENGES

How hot is intermodal right now? Total volumes rose 20.4% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2021, according to the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) Intermodal Quarterly report

International containers gained 24.8% from 2020; domestic shipments, 15.7%; and trailers, 18.5%, according to the Calverton, Maryland-based association’s report, which also found that intermodal volumes not only grew for the fourth consecutive quarter in Q2, but the double-digit gain was the largest quarterly increase since Q3 of 2010 as well as the sixth quarter with a double-digit growth rate in the history of the data. 

“What is noteworthy is the breadth of the gains,” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA, before September’s IANA Expo in Long Beach, California, where the Q2 surge was a source of industry optimism. “With one or two exceptions, the three market segments showed positive performance in all of IANA’s 10 regions.”

Trans-Canada led with a 29.6% total growth increase, followed by the Southeast-Southwest at 28.9% and the Midwest-Northwest at 26.6%. The Intra-Southeast likewise posted a 25.9% increase; the South Central-Southwest, 24.5%; and the Midwest-Southwest, 21.8%. The Northeast-Midwest came in at 20.9%.

“Freight volumes are expected to slow but experience steady q/q growth into 2022,” forecasts the 2021 Second Quarter Intermodal Quarterly report. “For 2021 as a whole, truck loadings are forecasted to be 7% higher than 2020 levels.”

Freight demand pressures, the end of consumer stimulus infusions and unemployment supplement and the ongoing surge in small new trucking companies have complicated matters, according to the report. “Intermodal remains highly competitive with trucking due to very high rates and tight driver supply. 

This situation will likely continue at least into early 2022, however, could be affected by a quicker stabilization in the trucking market, as reflected by a peak in truck spot metrics.” 

Managing the ups and downs of intermodal transport is greatly assisted by the IANA, whose roster includes more than 1,000 members from railroads, ocean carriers, ports, intermodal truckers and over-the-road highway carriers, intermodal marketing and logistic companies, and suppliers to the industry. (Learn more at intermodal.org.) But at the hyper-local level, economic development corporations (EDCs) also play a role in keeping freight trains rolling. Below are six cities meeting intermodal challenges with the help of their EDCs.

MILLERSBURG, OREGON

The Albay-Millersburg Economic Development Corporation estimates that 81% of the exported agricultural products from the Mid-Willamette Valley of Southern Oregon are loaded onto ships at the Seattle and Tacoma ports, with the remainder exported from ports in Long Beach (8 percent) and Oakland (3 percent), California. 

Complicating the flow of produce is traffic congestion near Portland, Seattle, Tacoma and farther down Interstate 5 into California.

However, like an oasis of calm sits Millersburg, which allows agricultural producers in the region to consolidate their products efficiently and avoid bumper-to-bumper nightmares altogether. To that end, the Linn Economic Development Group (LEDG), which is an affiliate of the Albay-Millersburg EDC, is constructing the Mid-Willamette Valley Intermodal Center (MWVIC) in Millersburg.

The town of around 2,000 people just happens to be where the Union Pacific Railroad mainline, BNSF’s Portland Western Railroad and I-5 come together. The MWVIC was made possible by passage of the state’s Keep Oregon Moving legislation, which appropriated $25 million toward development.

The intermodal center will include a main office, parking lot, space for about 100 trucks to park overnight, amenities for truck drivers, capabilities to handle domestic and international containers, track space for inbound and outbound trains, a 60,000-square-foot storage warehouse and docks to support reloading and transloading onto rail, with capacity for longer-term storage of product.

Agricultural producers and train operators are not the only beneficiaries of the project. Shippers will now have the option of choosing the best transportation alternative for each individual load. The LEDG estimates that under full utilization, private transportation cost savings will total $2.1 million per year.

But the public should turn out to be the biggest winner. Reducing the number of trucks on the highways would lower maintenance costs, reduce congestion, improve air quality and decrease carbon emissions—while the MWVIC at the same time increases jobs and local spending. 

ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

The Norfolk Southern Allentown Rail Yard is among the railroad’s largest facilities, but only a few of the 200 manufacturers in the Pennsylvania town transport goods by rail. The Allentown Economic Development Corporation would like to change that. Saying of the yard “we’re very fortunate to have it,” Scott Unger, executive director of the Allentown EDC, says he and his team are pulling out all the stops to increase rail usage.

Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Rail Freight administers a special grant program called the Rail Freight Assistance Program that provides financial assistance to companies that are interested in bringing a railroad spur directly to their property for freight shipments. The goal of the grant program is to preserve and stimulate economic development through new and expanded rail service.

Also hoping the state incentive program lights a fire under local manufacturers is the R. J. Corman Railroad Co., LLC, which owns 11 Class 3 short line railroads in the Mid-Atlantic and the South, as well as the R. J. Corman Allentown Rail Yard.

“Products that are ideal for transloading include palletized commodities which can be loaded and unloaded in a boxcar,” explained John Gogniat, director of Commercial Development for R. J. Corman. “In addition, products such as lumber or steel that can be unloaded with a forklift are ideal candidates. That said, we are open to entertaining any potential commodity and will develop a mutually desirable solution for its loading and unloading.”

Gogniat notes that Allentown’s strategic location provides access to Philadelphia, Scranton, York, Harrisburg, Wilmington, New York and beyond.

WILKES COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA

The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Rail Industrial Access Program also uses state funds to help construct or refurbish railroad spur tracks required by a new or expanding company. Program funding is intended to modernize railroad tracks to ensure effective and efficient freight deliveries.

Many companies taking advantage of the incentive are located in Wilkes County, which was established in 1777 and is still known today as a mecca for outdoor recreation, small-town living . . . and a big business mentality. 

Consider the Yadkin Valley Railroad, which offers Wilkes County businesses rail access to ship their products into the Ronda and Roaring River areas. Operating out of the Winston-Salem area and hauling 11,500 carloads per year with freight, Yadkin joins G&O’s short line railroads, which offer connections to CSX and Norfolk Southern, in figuring into the logistical operations of Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility.

Wilkes County Economic Development Corporation will point businesses to other local and state incentive programs to improve rail access—dependent on the applicant’s potential to create new jobs and invest capital in the region. The aim is to get companies to locate or expand in North Carolina versus another state.

“The North Carolina Railroad Company partners with the state’s economic development community and railroads on initiatives designed to drive job creation, freight rail use and economic growth,” reads an EDC release. “Through NCRR Invests we evaluate requests for investments to address the freight rail infrastructure needs of companies considering location or expansion in the state.” 

But Wilkes County does not live by rail alone, as the EDC also trumpets a location that is close to major freeways and interstates, two international airports (Charlotte Douglas and Piedmont Triad) and three major East Coast ports (Wilmington, North Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; and Charleston, South Carolina). 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

An ambitious program was born out of congestion, pollution and unconnected cargo transportation options in the Big Apple. Freight NYC aims to expand the use of rail and water to move food, building materials and other goods that are normally trucked in from outside the five boroughs.

“Freight NYC will better equip New York City to meet 21st-century demand by modernizing the city’s freight infrastructure, reducing truck traffic and improving air quality, while creating nearly 5,000 good-paying jobs in the process,” says James Patchett, chief executive of the New York Economic Development Corporation. “This plan is a win-win for our environment and economy.”

The city would invest as much as $100 million in the program that would include a 500,000-square-foot distribution center on the site of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, adjacent to the New York New Jersey Rail carfloat hub, as well as a new air cargo center near John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens.

Private participation in a $20-30 million barge terminal on five acres of land owned by the city in Hunts Point, a major distribution crossroads for produce in the Bronx, is also part of the multimodal plan. 

Small rail freight yards on a line through Brooklyn and Queens, where goods would be transloaded to smaller vehicles for final delivery, is also envisioned.

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

When you think of the granddaddy of rail operations in the Midwest, you think of Chicago. That’s part of . . . heck, the main problem, according to Nicole Bateman, president of the Decatur Economic Development Corporation and executive director of the Midwest Inland Port. The Windy City is not only the nation’s busiest rail freight gateway, it’s the third-largest intermodal container/trailer port in the world, following Singapore and Hong Kong, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

What comes to mind when you think about freight, Singapore and Hong Kong? Congestion. As such, shippers on both ends of the supply chain need alternatives to Chicago—which is where Decatur (as Bateman’s fingers cross) comes in. 

Located 160 miles southwest of Chicago, Decatur is now being propped up by its EDC and the Midwest Inland Port as a distribution transportation center, which is fed not only by four railroads but easy access to interstates and airports. The port association is utilizing public-private partnerships to capitalize on Decatur’s geographic location, while the EDC seeks to make the city Illinois’ designated downstate freight transportation hub as a way to relieve rail and highway congestion in Chicago.

Users of the Midwest Inland Port have experienced savings in freight transportation costs and significant reduction in transit times, Bateman recently told American Shipper.

SEGUIN, TEXAS

Talk about strategic locations, Seguin sits alongside Interstate 10 and the banks of the Guadalupe River, with San Antonio a mere 35 minutes to the west, Austin only 55 minutes north and Houston about 2 ½ hours to the east.  

Besides the easy access to I-10, Seguin also connects to State Highway 130, which it bills as “the safe, fast and reliable alternative to congested Interstate 35 in Central Texas.” Two international airports (San Antonio and Austin-Bergstrom) and two deep-water ports (Houston and Corpus Christi) are an hour of so away.

But perhaps the biggest jewel in the close proximity crown is Union Pacific’s San Antonio Intermodal Terminal (SAIT), a $100 million state-of-the-art facility designed to support the growing intermodal volume in southern Texas. The expansive facility is designed to handle 250,000 annual container lifts as it serves markets across South Texas.  

If that hasn’t sold you, allow the Seguin Economic Development Corporation to work its magic. The EDC helps guide businesses through the maze of available loans, grants and tax breaks from the city, county and state. To hear the EDC tell it, finding applicants should be no sweat considering Seguin’s “easy access to four of the United States’ largest consumer markets, allowing manufactures to get their products to millions of consumers, all within a five-hour drive.”

IoT

KEEP AN EYE ON IoT: THE FUTURE IS NOW WHEN IT COMES TO TECH’S ROLE IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT

The Internet of Things is a revolutionary technology of today. If implemented optimally, it can bring about immense benefits in different industries including transportation, retail, healthcare, finance and supply-chain management. For processes like forecasting, management and oversight applications, IoT can assist fleet managers in improving the operational efficiency of distribution along with adding transparency to the decision-making process. 

IoT can play a vital role in improving supply chain management, with its main applications in tracking and monitoring processes. Additionally, IoT can be applied to other processes.

TRACKING LOCATION IN REAL-TIME

The IoT can help provide real-time data of a product’s location and its transportation environment. It can be tracked at all times and you can get real-time alerts if anything goes wrong during transportation and can monitor the delivery of raw materials and ready goods.

With environmental sensors, shipments can now be tracked for internal conditions such as the inside temperature of the vehicle, humidity, pressure and other factors that can potentially adversely affect the product.

C.H. Robinson ties its recognition as a challenger in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms to the Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based global logistics company’s solutions such as Navisphere Vision. Delivered by C.H. Robinson’s TMC division, Navisphere Vision’s IoT device integrations allow shippers to monitor and immediately mitigate issues when freight is impacted by shock, tilt, humidity, light, temperature or pressure.

Recognition is great, but to expand on C.H. Robinson’s newer capabilities, the company has announced it will invest $1 billion in technology over the next five years or double its previous investment. 

“Several major events over the past year have emphasized the vital importance of supply chains, but also highlighted their fragility in some cases,” explains Jordan Kass, TMC president. “The companies who will excel in the years to come will be those with real-time visibility into their supply chains. The ability to consume, combine and analyze data from the growing number of integrations and data points will be essential for building a resilient, competitive and profitable supply chain.”

24/7 20-20 VISION

IoT devices help managers in making decisions about product arrivals and increasing delivery forecast precision. Not only does it help predict final delivery date, but it also assists in mitigating risks before they can occur. 

With real-time location trackers, warehouse employees can track the exact aisle for specific parcels. When paired up with artificial intelligence, it also allows for automated vehicles to retrieve a particular package without any human supervision. And tools such as smart glasses assist the warehouse workers and ensure that they spend lesser time in completing their task. Furthermore, IoT gathers data which allows for continual improvement and increased efficiency as the process continues. 

“Faced with the acceleration of e-commerce and new consumer demands, the automatization of logistics warehouses is an essential response to handle growing flows in an ever-shorter timeframe,” says Philippe de Carné, executive vice president, Business Development, Innovation & Business Excellence at global supply chain operator GEODIS, which has about 50 automated sites worldwide.

“The arrival of increasingly autonomous intelligent robots and a constant search for competitiveness are paving the way for increased automatization,” notes Antoine Pretin, vice president of the GEODIS Engineering Group. “Such solutions provide great leverage to improve performance and assist in order preparation in e-commerce warehouses, reducing repetitive tasks, but also gaining quality and reactivity.”

MORE BENEFITS IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT

IoT devices help plan and change transportation routes by considering any accidents or delay-causing occurrences along the way. Thus, it allows for optimal path while developing contingency planning and getting to the cause of delays. 

In terms of increasing operational efficiency and reducing operating costs, IoT SCM platforms exponentially increase the speed of supply chain efficiency. The IoT helps reduce feedback cycle, allows quick decision-making, mitigates risks and improves goods-locating efficiency in the warehouse. 

Connected platforms are easily accessible and faster than on-premise systems. With a cloud-based IoT system in place, supply chain managers can ensure that all concerned stakeholders can access important information. Furthermore, a connected IoT service can give insights for particular scenarios, thus helping the workers throughout the supply-chain process. 

IoT also gives a detailed insight to supply chain managers on goods turnover. This assists the managers and retailers estimate how many units of each product they need for shelving. It also increases accuracy by avoiding human error and helping in the identification of packages, while also avoiding financial overheads that are otherwise incurred in the form of time and money. 

Bethesda, Maryland-based aerospace and defense contractor Lockheed Martin recently signed an agreement with SyncFab, a Silicon Valley distributed manufacturing platform, to streamline supplier capabilities across Switzerland. How? SyncFab will provide Lockheed Martin with direct access to its parts procurement and secure supply chain platform that connects Original Equipment Manufacturers to members of Swissmem, which represents Switzerland’s mechanical and electrical engineering industries. 

“SyncFab is honored and privileged to work with Lockheed Martin in our mission to expand access and digitally transform Swiss Industrial Supply Chains in partnership with Swissmem,” said SyncFab founder and CEO Jeremy Goodwin, who bills his company’s platform as the first Supply Chain Blockchain solution for parts suppliers and buyers. 

The platform works as a “matchmaker” between OEMs and SMEs, enabling SMEs to compete for long-term supply chain opportunities with large international companies. This platform has already helped mechanical engineering and electronics firms in the U.S. provide products and services to large OEMs, including electronics, aerospace, automobile, medical technology, and renewable energy.

Other top defense suppliers such as Thales, RUAG and Mercury have joined the SyncFab platform consortium as has the Cleveland, Ohio-based National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) and its more than 1,400 SME supplier members.

IoT also allows for sorting data and determining patterns to indicate potential reasons for improving or hindering the profitability of the goods. It helps supply chain managers and retailers segment the goods according to the target audience. Thus, businesses can better understand which product is preferred by which particular segment of customers. 

Perhaps the one to put it best about IoT’s growing and important role in supply-chain management is Bill Berutti. He’s the CEO of Troy, Michigan-based Plex Systems, whose cloud-based Smart Manufacturing Platform assists with manufacturing execution, ERP, quality management, supply chain planning and management, tracking, Industrial IoT and analytics. 

“Smart manufacturing isn’t something that will happen years down the road,” Berutti says. “It’s real, it’s imperative and it’s happening now.”

DOT inspections

What Fleet Managers Should Know About DOT Inspections

Operating a trucking company typically means covering a lot of variables, from vehicle depreciation and traffic jams to driver sick days, broken-down equipment, conflicts with business partners and everything in between.

One thing fleet managers definitely cannot afford to overlook in this list of responsibilities is the importance of DOT inspections. What do fleet managers need to know about DOT inspections, and how can they prepare for the next one before it arrives?

What Are DOT Inspections?

First, what are DOT inspections, and why are they so important?

State troopers or other enforcers, working under the authority of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) carry out surprise roadside inspections to ensure both truck and driver are in good working order.

The goal of these inspections is to keep truckers and other motor vehicle operators safe on the road. An inspector is tasked with determining whether a truck and its driver are following all of the applicable rules and regulations designed to prevent oversights and accidents.

The Six Levels of DOT Inspection

There are six levels of DOT inspection a truck and its operator may be subject to. Which one is carried out depends largely on the whims of the inspector. Drivers will never know what level of inspection to expect until they’re stopped, so it’s essential to be familiar with all six.

Level 1

Level 1 inspections are as comprehensive as they are commonly performed. There are 37 steps to complete for a Level 1 inspection, assessing both the driver and the vehicle as well as addressing the presence of any illegal cargo.

All of the truck’s systems will be inspected, from the brakes and electrical to the steering, seatbelts, and everything in between. The driver will also be assessed to determine whether they’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Level 2

Level 2 inspections are nearly as thorough as Level 1, though inspectors are not required to go underneath the vehicle to ascertain its condition. The driver assessment to look for the presence of drugs and alcohol remains the same, however.

Level 3

Level 3 DOT inspections focus solely on the driver. The inspector will review all pertinent paperwork, such as driver’s license, medical examiner’s certificates, and skill performance evaluations, to determine whether the driver is in compliance with all applicable FMCSA regulations.

As with the first two levels, the driver will also be assessed to determine if they are under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance.

Level 4

Level 4 inspections are not as common as some of the others, since they’re used for one-time examinations. They’re useful for tracking violation trends or other data, and they often don’t take up a lot of time for either the driver or the inspector.

Level 5

Level 5 inspections are the same as Level 1 inspections with one major caveat: the truck is the only thing being inspected. The driver does not even have to be present for this level of inspection, which frees them up to perform other tasks while their vehicle is being inspected.

Level 6

Level 6 inspections are only necessary for vehicles tasked with hauling radioactive materials. The Enhanced NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments is the same as the standard Level 1 inspection, but it pays special attention to any radiological emissions.

Once the truck and driver have passed inspection, the truck is marked with a clearly visible nuclear symbol that is removed once the delivery reaches its destination.

Preparing Vehicles for a DOT Inspection

Getting ready for a DOT inspection is a two-fold proposition: it involves preparing both the vehicle and the driver. First, let’s take a closer look at getting fleet vehicles ready for inspections.

By far the easiest way to pass a DOT inspection is to be prepared. This can entail but is not limited to keeping the vehicle in tip-top shape, keeping it clean, and ensuring all required and recommended maintenance is carried out in a timely manner. Understand the systems that will be inspected and address any problems promptly.

Fleet managers may wish to seek out a DOT Inspection Certification as well. While this will not prevent an inspection from occurring if there is an obvious violation to address, it can help streamline the process a little bit in some situations.

Keeping the vehicle clean may not be a requirement for DOT inspections, but it can ensure the inspector is focusing on the details of the inspection rather than becoming vexed because of the state of the truck.

Preparing Drivers for a DOT Inspection

Drivers are the other part of the equation when it comes to successfully preparing for a DOT inspection.

Driver inspections tend to require a lot of paperwork. Inspectors will go over everything from the driver’s commercial licensing, to their medical card, waivers, daily logs, and hours of service. They will also assess the drivers to see if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and will verify any HAZMAT requirements.

Start by ensuring all of the driver’s paperwork is up to date. Then keep a copy of all the necessary paperwork in a folder in the cab — as well as backups located elsewhere in case something happens to the originals. A lot of this information, such as the daily logs and hours of service, can sometimes be accessed digitally, depending on how the fleet is set up. Fleets that haven’t switched to digital data collection for hours of service and daily logs may wish to consider doing so to speed up the inspection process.

Make sure your drivers are always polite and professional when dealing with inspectors. It’s always a good idea to treat these individuals with professional courtesy, even and perhaps especially if they’re flagging a violation.

Don’t Fail an Inspection by Lacking Preparation

DOT inspections might be a hassle, but they are an unavoidable part of operating a trucking fleet. The easiest way to fail one of these inspections is to go into them entirely unprepared. As long as the fleet is operating properly, all violations are addressed as quickly as possible, and drivers and fleet managers are working to keep themselves and other drivers safe, then passing these inspections with flying colors should be easy.

They say that failing to plan is planning to fail, and that is a rule to live by when it comes to preparing for DOT inspections.

supply chain

6 Emerging Challenges for the Supply Chain and How to Address Them

The past 18 months have exposed major weaknesses in the global supply chain. For many companies, the pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic stretched logistics to their limits, revealing inefficiencies and areas for improvement.

These existing weaknesses are being compounded by new supply chain challenges and changing market conditions. Here are six of the most important emerging challenges for global logistics — and what businesses can do to address them.

1. Lead Time Expectations

Consumers and business clients both expect increasingly quick turnaround times on new orders. In part due to the rise of ecommerce giants like Amazon, many consumers consider it normal for an item to be delivered a day or two after an order is received.

For the global supply chain, however, this is often unrealistic. International shipment can take weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the item ordered.

These consumer expectations aren’t likely to change any time soon. As a result, more effective demand forecasting and supply planning will be essential for businesses. Flexible supply chains that are capable of expediting orders as needed — for example, taking advantage of backup air freight contracts when land or sea would be too slow — will become an invaluable asset.

Strategies that keep goods close to buyers can also help businesses meet these expectations. Distributing warehouse space, if possible, can make it more likely that items are nearby buyers when ordered, making them quicker to ship.

2. Port Congestion

Port congestion, in part caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, remains a major challenge for logistics. Right now, ports around the world are experiencing record levels of congestion, meaning freight shipped by sea is likely to be delayed significantly.

Businesses are experimenting with different solutions to this problem. In the United States, some major retailers have begun chartering their own ships to import goods ahead of the 2021 holiday season. Chartering these ships allows the retailers to unload at less-congested docks, like those in Portland, Oregon.

Most businesses likely don’t have the resources to charter their own cargo ships. Instead, demand forecasting and carrier choice may help companies keep sea freight moving. Staggering shipment containers across multiple vessels may also help businesses avoid the worst of a port’s congestion while also mitigating risks in other ways.

The diversification of sourcing in a supply chain strategy can also help. If port congestion makes it nearly impossible to obtain a good or raw material from one supplier, there may be other suppliers available via air or land freight.

3. Aging Equipment

As they age, vehicles become less reliable and more prone to failure. Regular replacement of fleet vehicles is essential to keep the supply chain running smoothly, but the high expense of a new truck or tractor-trailer means businesses are continuing to use legacy equipment for longer than they would typically.

Vehicle failures can happen suddenly. Even simple issues can cause massive problems when a part that’s been on the verge of failure begins to break down.

Replacing old vehicles with new ones is one way to minimize downtime due to failures. An upgrade is also an opportunity to investigate alternative fuel vehicles and electric trucks.

For businesses that can’t afford the capital expense of a new fleet, knowledge and careful maintenance can keep vehicles running longer. Preventive maintenance and effective upkeep is the best way to extend the lifespan of a vehicle.

For example, the lifespan of tires that are underinflated by just 20% may decrease by as much as 30%. Proper tire inflation can keep vehicles on the road and decrease maintenance costs over time. Other common semi-truck issues, like brake failures, can also be avoided with the right maintenance practices.

Some businesses may also deal with niche-specific maintenance problems. For instance, transporting crops can put significant strain on the suspension of a vehicle or machine, especially its leaf springs.

Regular inspection and maintenance of these suspension components can help logistics companies avoid costly breakdowns and significant downtime.

4. Aging Infrastructure

A similar, related problem is emerging on the state side of logistics. Dated transportation infrastructure is beginning to show its age. In 2021, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave American infrastructure as a whole a C minus. Roadways fell behind even this low average and were given a D grade.

Bridge closures, roadwork, and infrastructure failures can all create serious difficulties for logistics companies. When essential routes are closed for emergency maintenance, companies may have few options for avoiding delays.

As with port congestion, diversification may be the answer for businesses. Distributing risk by partnering with a larger number of suppliers can help businesses create a more responsive and flexible supply chain network.

5. Digital Transformation and Cyber Vulnerability

Data has become one of the most valuable assets available to logistics companies. With the right customer information, a business can more accurately predict demand, anticipate crises, and mitigate risks.

This same information can also make a company much more vulnerable, however. The value of data stored on business networks makes these networks a more attractive target for hackers.

At the same time, digitalization, the adoption of Industry 4.0 technology and IoT devices, and the pivot to working from home have all increased the number of critical business assets exposed to the internet.

The consequences of a successful breach can be massive. Businesses that suffer a breach may pay multi-million-dollar ransoms, lose critical files, or face a badly damaged reputation. Downtime and fines from government regulators can further increase the cost of a breach.

Effective cybersecurity is the best way to reduce the risk of a breach. Investing in IT, developing best practices, and participating in industry conversations on cybersecurity will help businesses ensure that critical assets and digital infrastructure are kept safe from hackers.

6. Rising Freight Prices

Higher shipping costs are likely here to stay. For logistics providers and vendors, this can be a serious challenge. Already, experts are predicting that businesses will hike prices to offset the growing freight costs. The impact will likely be felt in almost every sector of the economy.

Better technology may help businesses adapt to these higher prices. Transportation management utilities that allow businesses to compare carriers and optimize routes, for example, can help them to both navigate around delays and minimize freight costs.

How Businesses Can Adapt to a Changing Supply Chain

The global supply chain is transforming fast. Businesses that want to develop effective logistics strategies will need to manage both old and new supply chain challenges.

Technology and diversification may both be essential. Partnering with a range of suppliers can help businesses distribute risk and avoid emerging issues like port congestion. New technology can make it easier to optimize routes and identify the most valuable carriers.

fleet managers

What are the Best Ways Fleet Managers Can Reduce Costs?

Effective fleet management can be expensive. To keep vehicles operational requires spending on labor, fuel costs, maintenance and telematics. Managers also must consider external factors — like driver behavior and weather — that can further impact fleet performance.

When facing tight fleet budgets, it’s important to know how simple adjustments to vehicles and driver practices can reduce costs. These are some of the best strategies fleet managers can use tWhen facing tight fleet budgets, it’s important to know how simple adjustments to vehicles and driver practices can reduce costs. These are some of the best strategies fleet managers can use to do that.

1. Track Driver Behavior

How drivers use fleet vehicles can have a significant impact on fuel economy and vehicle lifespan.

Many modern telematics systems make it easy to track events like harsh braking and idling — practices that can increase vehicle wear and tear and fuel consumption. They can even put drivers in violation of certain city ordinances. These systems can help any business reduce unsafe and wasteful driving practices.

2. Keep Vehicles Maintained and Road-Ready

Proactive vehicle maintenance ensures vehicles are ready for use and less likely to break down on the road — reducing potential downtime.

The correct care can also have a significant impact on vehicle handling and the longevity of different components.

Properly inflated tires, for example, can make many vehicles easier to control and can also help tires last longer. Under-inflated tires tend to run much hotter, according to studies on tractor-trailer tire performance, and just 20% under-inflation can decrease tire lifespan by 30%.

Because tires naturally deflate over time — and because tire pressure can increase or decrease as temperatures change — it’s not unusual for vehicle tires to become under-inflated.

The right grade of motor oil can provide similar benefits for lifespan and fuel economy.

Preventive maintenance is more expensive than repairing vehicles as problems arise, but it can help fleet managers drive down overall upkeep costs in the long run.

Advanced telematics systems can provide fleet managers with instant notification on unusual performance or behavior, allowing them to schedule inspections or repairs as quickly as possible.

For example, networked tire pressure sensors can provide managers with a real-time view of fleet-wide tire pressure readings. Data from engine control units or similar onboard sensors can alert managers when components begin to fail or flag warnings.

In the near future, these systems may also enable predictive maintenance, a maintenance strategy that uses vehicle performance data and AI algorithms to determine when care will be needed.

3. Shop Based on Lifetime Costs

It’s not unusual for a fleet manager to primarily base purchasing decisions on a vehicle’s sticker price. While price will have a major short-term impact on budgets, it doesn’t always reflect how much it will cost in the long term.

Maintenance and fuel costs, downtime, taxation, and insurance can significantly impact a vehicle’s lifetime and recurring expenses. Opting for vehicles that are more expensive but reliable and cheaper to maintain can reduce fleet costs significantly.

When buying a new vehicle, consider reviewing weight and size, vehicle maintenance schedule and customer reviews. Owners may also want to investigate the possible savings alternative fuel vehicles may provide by eliminating the need for gasoline and diesel.

Adopting a forward-looking approach to vehicle and equipment purchasing can help in other ways, as well.

For example, the construction industry currently faces rising demand for almost every type of equipment as the economy recovers from COVID-19. Demand significantly outpaces the industry’s current workforce capacity and supply of resources and heavy equipment.

After a weak year, demand for heavy machinery recovered and then hit record highs in 2021. Many machines are in especially high demand as both residential and non-residential construction starts continue to trend upwards to pre-pandemic levels.

Demand for concrete pumps is expected to rise to meet the need for new foundations and infrastructure investments. At the same time, tight supply has already caused significant price increases for skid steer loaders, tractors, earthmovers and other types of construction equipment.

Considering the state of the market and likely future demand will help managers make additional purchases in the future, when prices are higher and vehicles are harder to come by.

4. Optimize Driver Routes

Efficient route planning is one of the best ways to reduce fuel costs and keep operating expenses low. Many modern fleet scheduling and management solutions offer tools that help managers find the fastest possible route for each given job.

The tool uses information like vehicle location, fuel economy, traffic and even weather conditions to automatically schedule routes so drivers reach jobs as quickly as possible, with minimal fuel consumption.

Savings from optimized routes can add up over time, helping teams cut down on one of the most significant fleet expenses.

5. Know How and When to Right-Size

Fleet right-sizing is the process of purging underutilized or overly specialized vehicles from a fleet. These vehicles are likely not necessary for operations or can be replaced by more useful models. They can significantly increase maintenance, storage and fuel costs while they remain with a business.

The right-sizing process typically follows a few steps, some of which can help managers identify underperforming vehicles in any fleet:

1. Break the fleet down into major vehicle groups or classifications.

2. Calculate average utilization for each vehicle or machine (often a measure of business mileage over a year-long period, or hours in use).

3. Identify vehicles with particularly low utilization — typically in the bottom 25 or 50 percent.

4. Identify low-utilization vehicles that are still necessary for operations.

5. Create a list of nonessential vehicles and right-size.

Other important metrics to use alongside utilization may include fuel consumption, maintenance costs and average hours in use. These metrics can be useful when the miles traveled metric does not accurately reflect the utility of a fleet vehicle.

The right disposal practices can help to make a business’s right-sizing more cost-effective. Selling vehicles as soon as possible after they are identified as being underutilized is important due to the high depreciation rate.

A formal disposal strategy that includes gathering users’ manuals and shop guides and cleaning and removing equipment can streamline the process.

How Fleet Managers Can Reduce Fleet Costs and Streamline Operations

Operating a fleet will always be expensive, but managers can use these practices to keep expenses within budget. Because driver behavior and maintenance costs are significant expense generators, telematics systems and procedures that track and minimize these expenses will typically be a good investment.

Management practices that take advantage of route optimization software and right-sizing strategies will also ensure minimal operating costs.

As alternative fuel vehicles become more common and practical, they may also be a good investment for fleet managers. The electricity these vehicles need is often cheaper than gasoline or diesel, and fewer moving parts can make for lower maintenance costs.

_____________________________________________________________

Emily Newton is an industrial journalist. As Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, she regularly covers how technology is changing the industry.

technology

TECHNOLOGY LEADS TO MEET MODERN CHALLENGES: PART III

For part three of our tech-focused featureGlobal Trade identified industry players who confronted challenges with the help of technological partners. Our case studies are arranged by the categories Global Trade covers on the regular, including ocean carriers, ports, trucking, and warehousing. Read part one here and part two here.

OCEAN CARRIERS

Company: Atlantic Container Lines of Westfield, New Jersey

Challenge: Enhancing operations and market share for refrigerated shipments

Problem Solver: Carrier Transicold of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Solution: PrimeLINE refrigeration units

In an attempt to gain new operational advantages and efficiencies for its refrigerated shipping operations, Atlantic Container Line (ACL) began acquiring 150 new containers equipped with Carrier Transicold PrimeLINE refrigeration units in May. The cube-shaped, 40-foot-high containers, which help preserve and protect food, medicine and vaccine supplies, have been put into service on trade routes between the U.S. and western Europe.

“With its energy-efficient performance, the PrimeLINE refrigeration unit is a perfect complement for our fleet, which includes some of the world’s largest, most fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible roll-on/roll-off containerships,” says Maurizio Di Paolo, Corporate Liner Equipment Department manager, with the Naples, Italy-based Grimaldi Group that includes ACL in its portfolio.

Carrier’s Lynx Fleet digital platform monitors the cold-chain containers, although Di Paolo says that “is only the beginning” when it comes to providing benefits to the shipping line. “We are especially looking forward to the advantages that come with refrigeration unit health analytics and the subsequent efficiencies for our maintenance and repair operations,” he said at the containers’ roll out.

Lynx Fleet includes integrated telematics and a cloud-based architecture to ensure information is always up to date; a data management platform that provides enhanced visibility on the health and status of a fleet’s refrigerated containers, reducing operational costs and maintenance & repair expenses related to conducting new off-line pre-trip inspections; as well as platform accessibility from anywhere via smartphone, tablet or computer, through an interactive user-friendly, digital dashboard. The ACL units will also utilize Carrier’s Micro-Link 5 controller, the first and only one in the industry with wireless communication capability, providing greater memory, processing power and connectivity compared to standard controllers.

“We are pleased to support ACL’s modern fleet with our latest container refrigeration technology, which is designed to improve fleet efficiencies and help control operating costs,” says Kay Henze, Carrier’s account manager.

The deal with ACL was sealed a month after Carrier announced that SeaCube Containers LLC of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, became the first intermodal equipment leasing company to incorporate Lynx Fleet into its fleet, with an initial deployment of 2,000 PrimeLINE units. 

“This is an exciting step forward for SeaCube as we move toward realizing our vision of telematics as a standard within our reefer fleet,” SeaCube CEO Bob Sappio mentioned at the time. “We are confident that the Lynx Fleet offerings will help drive improvements in our own operating metrics and resonate with our customers to help them achieve optimal reefer performance and act on data-driven insights.” 

PORTS

Entity: Port of Los Angeles, California

Challenge: Advancing the port’s ambitious Clean Air Action Plan  

Problem Solvers: Toyota Motor North America of Plano, Texas; Kenworth Truck Co. of Kirkland, Washington; Shell Oil Products US of Houston, Texas, and multiple stakeholders 

Solution: Hydrogen fuel cell electric freight vehicles and stations

North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $259 billion in trade during 2020 and remained open with all terminals operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The port currently has 18 projects under way aimed at achieving clear air, clean water and sustainability.

Under an $82.5 million Shore-to-Store project, the port has teamed up with Shell, Toyota, Kenworth Truck Co. and several other public and private-sector partners for a 12-month demonstration of zero-emissions Class 8 trucks. The project—which rolls into a larger-scale, multiyear demonstration that is designed to advance the port’s Clean Air Action Plan goals—is designed to assess the operational and technical feasibility of the vehicles in a heavy-duty setting.

Kenworth designed and built the trucks that rely on a fuel cell electric system designed and built by Toyota. Of course, these vehicles need places to refuel, so Shell designed, built and will operate two new high-capacity hydrogen fueling stations in Wilmington, which is 7 miles from the port, and Ontario, which is 60 miles inland. The vehicles’ duty cycles will consist of local pickup and delivery and drayage near the port and short regional haul applications in the Inland Empire. 

“Transporting goods between our port and the Inland Empire is the first leg of this next journey toward a zero-emissions future,” said Port of L.A. Executive Director Gene Seroka during a demonstration in June. “This project is a model for developing and commercializing the next generation of clean trucks and cargo-handling equipment for the region and beyond. Just as the air we breathe extends beyond the port’s footprint, so should the clean air and economic benefits we believe this project will yield.”

Further expansion of the project will include five more hydrogen-fueled heavy-duty trucks, two battery-electric yard tractors and two battery-electric forklifts, whose feasibility under the rigorous demands of the Southern California market will be studied by the partnershipThey will also measure the reduction of nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.

“Shell believes hydrogen offers a promising solution to achieving net-zero emissions both in terms of immediate improvements of local air quality as well as meeting long-term climate goals, especially for heavy-duty vehicles and for long-distance travel,” says Paul Bogers, Shell’s vice president, Hydrogen. “That’s why we are working with truck manufacturers, fleets, governments and others to coordinate hydrogen infrastructure investments in high-traffic freight areas like the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, the Los Angeles basin and the Inland Empire.”

TRUCKING

Company: Paramount Transportation Logistics Services of Fort Myers, Florida

Challenge: Accelerate their digital freight management initiative

Problem Solver: Trucker Tools of Reston, Virginia

Solution: Smart Capacity real-time load tracking technology

Paramount Transportation Logistics Services (PTLS), which is part of the R+L Global Logistics family of companies, provides comprehensive logistics and transportation management services, including warehousing, distribution, asset-based truckload and LTL services in North America as well as freight forwarding globally. Having embarked on a strategic technology initiative to enhance broker efficiency, improve carrier engagement and expand the provision of real-time shipment information for customers, Paramount performed a detailed examination of companies to consider as a platform partner. Trucker Tools won the pony.

“Trucker Tools checks three principal capability boxes for us,” explains Mark Funk, Paramount’s director of Capacity Procurement. “The first is automated, real-time, GPS-based location tracking, which gives us reliable shipment updates every 15 minutes. Second is predictive freight matching, which automates finding available trucks, and makes it easier for truckers to book with us. By digitizing this process, we also cut the time and cost to cover a load by over 50 percent, increasing the number of loads our team can secure.” 

Trucker Tools’ multi-functional, multi-party mobile driver app and its wide adoption among the truckload community also factored into Paramount’s decision, Funk added. “Carriers are our customers, too,” he noted. “Importantly, we can leverage a common mobile app, familiar to thousands of independent truckload operators and small fleets, to access a much deeper pool of capacity and improve how we do business with them.”  

The Trucker Tools mobile app, which is available for both Android- and Apple-powered smartphones, is provided free of charge to independent truckers and small fleets with 10 or fewer vehicles, which together account for 90 percent of truckload market carriers, according to the company.

“We are excited to welcome Paramount to our growing community of over 300 brokers and 3PLs adopting Trucker Tools as their strategic partner for digital freight management,” says Prasad Gollapalli, founder and chief executive of Trucker Tools. “We truly see ourselves as an integral partner in our customers’ continuous journey to leverage emerging technology, improve how they engage with carriers and provide ever more sophisticated and valuable services to their customers.”

WAREHOUSING

Company: GEODIS of Levallois-Perret, France

Challenge: Improving job safety, comfort and the pool of potential warehouse workers  

Problem Solver: Phantom Auto of Mountain View, California 

Solution: Remotely operated forklift

It takes a lot of thinking to be a multi-dimensional supply chain operations with a direct presence in 67 countries, a global network spanning 120 countries and business rankings of No. 1 in France,  No. 6 in Europe and No. 7 worldwide. And so, it was a thinker at GEODIS who came up the idea of operating warehouse forklifts remotely.

Think about it, the thinker, who is a GEODIS manager, thought: Such an operation would: (1) reduce injuries and increase overall safety in warehouses; (2) lower the number of people physically inside warehouses to enhance worker comfort; (3) create new future-proof remote operator jobs that can be carried out within an office environment; (4) allow the hiring of individuals who may have physical disabilities restricting their use of traditional forklifts, as well as individuals from other historically underrepresented demographics; and (5) allow for recruitment from regions outside of where warehouses are located, including areas of higher unemployment.

Call that a win-win—with a win-win-win on top!

To make this happen, the GEODIS thinker took his idea to a GEODIS think tank that concluded . . . We need help. La première étape (“step one;” finally, my seventh-grade French class pays off) was to find a worthy forklift maker. Deuxième étape (step two; oui-oui!) was to locate the technological know-how to make the contraption work remotely.

For the forklift, GEODIS did not have to look far. Germany’s Linde Material Handling GmbH, a KION Group company that manufactures forklift trucks and warehouse trucks globally, has a French subsidiary called Fenwick-Linde. But for the tech, GEODIS had to look west—waaaaaay west to the U.S. West Coast, where one finds Silicon Valley and Phantom Auto.

The Fenwick forklift combined with Phantom’s secure, network-agnostic and interoperable remote operation software now enables remote workers to “drive” the vehicle, unlocking efficiency and equipment utilization gains. For example, one remote worker can operate multiple forklifts at a number of warehouses at different times of the day, all from one secure, central location. Keep in mind that giant GEODIS has warehouses all over the world.

“Phantom Auto’s technology enables dynamic balancing of workforce allocation, safer warehouses, enhanced worker well-being, and employment opportunities to those who otherwise could not physically drive forklifts,” says Stéphanie Hervé, GEODIS’ chief operating officer, Western Europe, Middle East & Africa. “This innovation will be of benefit to the wider community and indicates the future of logistics operations. We believe that technology should serve people, and that is what this partnership with Phantom Auto illustrates.”

We began this story with market research, so let us conclude with StartUs Insights’ recent report that was based on an analysis of nearly 800 startup businesses and identified a number of Industry 4.0 technological trends. The top 10 are:

artificial intelligence, 16 percent; human augmentation and enhanced reality, 13 percent; edge, fog and cloud computing, 11 percent; network and connectivity, 11 percent; advanced robotics, 10 percent; Internet of Everything, 10 percent; big data and analytics, 9 percent; 3D printing, 8 percent; security, transparency and privacy, 7 percent; and digital twin, 5 percent.

Considering that report for The International Air Cargo Association, TIACA Director General Glyn Hughes noted that each trend StartUs Insights identified affects his members. While an email he recently sent to members is strictly tailored to his industry, his words actually apply to all the companies and problem-solvers cited in this article and beyond.  

“We have all moved on and technology has been leading the way forward and will continue to do so,” Hughes writes. “Future success will be determined by those who identify, embrace and capitalize on new opportunities.

“In that regard, the air cargo industry will also need to embrace these new opportunities. Many of these are already heavily influencing air cargo operational efficiency and a number of new solutions and industry best practices have resulted. When it comes to innovation, digitalization and technological implementation . . . it is very true to say that standing still is actually moving backwards.”

wind

Growing Demand for Lightweight Wind Blades to Augment Carbon Fiber Prepreg Market through 2027

The global carbon fiber prepreg industry is slated to record rapid growth from rising demand for greater durability, fuel efficiency, and low-weight components from the aerospace and automotive sectors. Carbon fiber prepreg is a reinforced fabric made from pre-impregnated and cured polymer matrix.

The material offers a high stiffness to weight ratio and superior resistance against chemicals and fatigue. Owing to these advantages, prepreg carbon fibers find a broad range of applications across a plethora of industrial avenues.

The incorporation of carbon fiber prepreg in automobiles drastically reduces the overall vehicle weight without compromising on strength. This leads to higher fuel efficiency and performance improvement in vehicles. Stringent carbon emission norms and growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles are encouraging motor vehicle manufacturers to incorporate more of these carbon materials in their product portfolios.

 


Moreover, with growing automotive production, the demand for carbon fiber prepreg is likely to go up to a large extent. As per the International Organization for Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, nearly 77.62 million commercial vehicles and cars were produced in 2020.

According to the latest industry report by Global Market Insights, Inc., the global carbon fiber prepreg market size is anticipated to grow considerably by 2027.

Carbon fiber prepreg materials are seeing a very promising application scope in the aerospace industry. Various aircraft manufacturers are increasingly refurbishing aircraft with these reinforced carbon fibers in a view to minimize aircrafts’ weight, enhance gasoline mileage, and provide affordable & safe air transportation services to the customers.

Carbon fiber prepreg also boasts of many other applications, including sporting goods, racing vehicles, pressure vessels, and commercial products. There has been an increasing demand for light-weight high-strength materials, particularly in racing vehicles, including bikes and cars, to make them lighter and hence, amplify their velocity and stability on the racetracks. Meanwhile, various sporting goods manufacturers are emphasizing on utilizing soft carbon fabrics to provide comfort to their customers, opening up additional avenues of business growth.

Carbon fiber prepreg industry share from wind power plants is expected to witness substantial momentum in the forthcoming years. This is owing to the growing utilization of pre-impregnated carbon fibers in wind blades. These materials offer high tensile and compressive strength due to which they are broadly adopted for the latest generations of wind turbines.

In addition, the material’s use provides a number of cost and performance benefits to the wind industry. According to Sandia National Laboratories, wind blades made from carbon fibers weigh 25% less than the ones made from fiberglass materials. This means that the carbon fiber wind turbine blades can be much longer than the ones made out of fiberglass. As a result, the wind turbines can effectively harness more energy across locations that were previously deemed as low wind areas.

Electricity generation through renewable sources is surging rapidly in developed countries. As per the U.S. Department of Energy, wind power is the second-largest source of electricity generation in the country, which accounted for a total installed capacity of 105.6 GW in 2019. With carbon fiber wind turbine blades pegged to become industry standard, the adoption of carbon fiber prepreg materials is expected to witness a  significant jump.

The North American carbon fiber prepreg industry is slated to hold a considerable share of the global market, particularly owing to growing demand from the automotive and aerospace industries. Leading OEMs in the country are focusing on employing lightweight materials in automobiles to enhance fuel efficiency and comply with stringent vehicles emission norms set by the government. Growing penetration of electric vehicles and rising preference for air travel are some of the more notable factors that would foster business growth in the country.

Park Aerospace Corp (previously Park Electrochemical Corporation), Hexcel Corporation, Toray Industries, Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd., Gurit Holdings AG, Axiom Materials, SGL Group, and Solvay SA are some prominent companies operating in global carbon fiber prepreg industry. These pre-impregnated carbon fiber manufacturers are eyeing focusing on leveraging novel technologies to produce highly efficient materials and cater to the larger consumer base.

Soaring adoption of lightweight, high-strength materials in numerous industries, to cater to the rising demand for efficiency, would outline the industry outlook. Additionally increasing environmental regulations to curb emission is also forecast to complement global carbon fiber prepreg industry trends.