Third-Party Logistics

3PLCarrier ManagerIndustry NewsShippersThird-Party Logistics

By Erik Jensen, CTB If you’ve worked in the transportation industry long enough, chances are you have participated in many RFPs (request for proposals).  If not, I’ll do my best to explain one quickly. Typically, a customer sends out a list of lanes and the number of times they expect these lanes to ship during a specified time-period. Our job is to give our customers rates we can hold for this particular time-frame along with committed capacity. Sounds simple enough, right? Not so fast… In an ideal world where the market stays the same and fuel prices never change—which is relatively close to what we’ve seen over the past couple years--this can be accomplished somewhat easily. Rates would stay the same and nothing would ever change. But with events like hurricanes occurring and mandatory ELD Implementation dates approaching, this creates a level of uncertainty. To be quite honest, there might not ever be a more difficult time to participate in an RFP than now. Carriers that have implemented ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices) have stated we can expect a 4-7% reduction in fleet utilization as they learn to operate under the new technology, and some industry experts think that number might be too low. Many carriers are waiting until the last second possible to install these devices. Some of these carriers, for all intents and purposes, would rather just hang up the spikes than install ELDs, while another group of carriers that have actively been “fudging” their logbooks will be put out-of-service for a short period of time and might not have the resources to get back in the game. It’s safe to say that capacity will be harder to come by in 2018 and beyond—which means higher rates. Some industry experts expect rates to increase by at least 10%, and possibly even more. But then again, who really knows?  We can only predict what we’re going to see based on extensive conversations with carriers and our knowledge of the industry. What we can predict with ALMOST 100% certainty is that rates will increase and capacity will decrease, your guess is as good as mine for how long though....
3PLIndustry NewsThird-Party Logistics

Written By: Jesse Baker, CTB The new keyword in business and consumerism is Blockchain.  From the distribution of data to financial transactions, blockchains are being used everywhere.  But what exactly is blockchain?  Let’s take a look at an example that will describe it best. To best describe blockchain, it is easy to say it is just like Google Sheets.  Google sheets is a spreadsheet that is shared publicly (distributed through different servers, where every server sees each transaction), is decentralized (everyone is allowed to create a transaction and set rules), secure, trusted, and automated.  What makes this so nice is that the flow of data is happening all at once, while preventing duplication. Here is a great reference for the actual flow of the transaction, from beginning to end As the above example shows, blockchain is vital to the growing ecommerce world because of how secure, automated, and efficient it is.  Be prepared to one day be a part of a blockchain, as it will soon start moving in to every sector and be commonplace....
3PLIndustry NewsThird-Party LogisticsTransportationTrucking

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been devastated by the relentlessness of Hurricane Harvey. We are inspired by the strength and bravery shown by the first responders, volunteer rescuers, and residents who are helping in the wake of this landmark event. Along with the visible damage left by Hurricane Harvey, supply chain networks have been thrown out of wack and the storm is expected to cost the economy tens of billions of dollars. Below are some key points you should be aware of as relief efforts in the area continue. I'm not in Texas, why is my capacity impacted? Houston is one of the biggest cities in the country, and because of that, the supply chain the city serves has the market in a state of flux. Trucks have been unable to get empty and the ability to find a reload has been very challenging and will continue to be so for the immediate future. Shippers will need to understand this and implement certain procedures to make this scenario less problematic in the coming weeks. We encourage shippers to offer longer lead time, give drivers flexibility when it comes to shipping hours and ship dates, be flexible with equipment requirements if at all possible, avoid unrealistic expectations and show empathy for carriers as they battle through the change and devastation left by Harvey. One thing we have seen as a course of action from shippers to continue to serve their respective markets is changing the origin points in the southwestern United States. This will help goods reach those who need it most but will have an immediate impact on several markets. To combat this, storm relief is being sent into the area from FEMA-designated points. FEMA sets the market for transactional transportation in these lanes, but this also impacts the transactional market rates to all destinations from those origins. Along with the issues facing the trucking industry, people across the country will feel the economic impact left by Harvey. Houston is a massive hub for the oil and gas industry, producing half of the petroleum and gas exports in the United States. Harvey has forced 13 refineries to completely or partially shut down, which will lead to nearly two million barrels of lost production. That means higher gas prices around the country. Harvey will also have a major impact in the plastics industry. Houston is responsible for 70 percent of the nation's ethylene, which is the main ingredient in plastics. Experts are saying 37 percent of U.S.-based ethylene production will be disrupted by the storm. This will impact the economy but to a lesser extent than the oil and gas industry. All told, Harvey has and will continue to leave a lasting impact on the trucking industry and the economy as a whole. Time and patience dealing with these changes will be necessary and beneficial to all. Feel free to call the AM Transport team if you would like our feedback in what we're seeing in the market and what we expect to see in the coming weeks. Example Carrier Network Shipping INTO storm impacted area halted OUTBOUND shipping lanes shut down Equipment unavailable to meet customer commitments as it has not been repositioned ...
3PLConferenceThird-Party LogisticsTransportation

By Erik Jensen, CTB When I found out I would be attending the 2017 TIA Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, I was extremely excited. I’ve been working at A.M. Transport for four years and always look forward to hearing about the conference and the wealth of information attendees come away with. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity, so I leaned on Mike and David who would attend the conference too with questions as simple as “What should I wear?” to searching questions such as “What do you enjoy the most about the conference?” And while I knew the experience would provide me with new-found perspectives, I was surprised at how much there was to take in when we arrived. The conference exceeded my expectations in three particular areas: 1) the sessions with so much industry knowledge shared on panels and by speakers, 2) networking and meeting with new industry friends, 3) the trade show and exposition where I demoed and tested some great technology. I am an information junkie, so the education sessions were my favorite part of the conference (I ended up attending nine specific sessions). These sessions ranged from “How are Shippers Leveraging Their Relationships With the 3PL Community?” to “The Path to Growing a Freight Brokerage” to “I’m With The Government And I Am Here To Help: 3PL Rules And Regulations.” I didn’t attend a session that didn’t enlighten in some way, but the Economic Update really stoked my interest. Noel Perry of Transport Fundamentals and FTR Associates shared a bunch of eye-opening information that I’d be happy to share if you have any interest in it. I’m pretty sure I have about eight pages of notes. Networking and meeting new people was a blast. Folks were nice and willing to share tidbits of information that helped make their companies successful. As a first-time attendee, I found it a bit shocking. I’m pretty competitive—so it was odd to see 3PLs and brokers sharing ideas and methods with their competition. But this is what makes the TIA Conference so special; everyone wants to see everyone else succeed. I spoke to people in the industry for just a couple years and others who’ve been in it for 40+ years. Each person shared the same inspiration for their craft and desire to keep learning. I felt as if I’d walked into a group of old friends and left with the intention of keeping in touch to share thoughts and information as we continue our growth process. The Exhibition Hall (trade-show) was something else.  The big-shots were there with impressive booths displaying their products. It was thrilling to see how other systems worked in comparison to ours. While I had fun checking out the displays, I really enjoyed talking to the younger start-up companies that were trying to get their feet in the door of our industry. They had great products and a lot of initiative. Most of these companies are attempting to automate the mindless daily processes that eat our time. I have a feeling a few of them are on to something big. And yes, we were in Las Vegas, so of course, I had to do a little bit of gambling. And yes, I lost. It’s ok, though, because I gained more from four days than I lost at the table (I did have a little explaining to do to my wife—she’s not much of a gambler). Overall, I had a great time and expanded my knowledge base at the TIA Conference. I’m still processing the unforgettable experience, and I sure hope I have the opportunity to attend again. As for those eight pages of notes—I do have them. And if you are interested in hearing more about the individual sessions, give me a shout. I’d love to share....