Random thought: I ate a Clif Bar yesterday that was labeled “70% Organic.” I’m thinking of selling a Cuban pulled pork sandwich on rye and labeling it “20% Kosher.”
Lots of news this week regarding 3PLs, trucking, and the economy…
- C.H. Robinson Europe Expands to Rotterdam with Temperature Controlled Transportation Office
- Menlo Secure with TAPA Certification Confirmed Once More
- Southwest Airlines Introduces New Cargo Companion Product
- FedEx risks losing $1 billion-plus Post Office contract to UPS (Reuters)
- SAP Unveils New Analytics Innovations That Turn “Big Data” Into “Intelligent Data”
- OOIDA files lawsuit against FMCSA over safety record database
- New ATA report focuses on ways to address the truck driver shortage (Logistics Management)
- Retail sales fall for third straight month in June (Reuters)
- IMF cuts global growth forecast as emerging economies slow (Reuters)
- IEA Sees Rise in Global Oil Demand in 2013 (Wall Street Journal)
- U.S. Says Iran Plans to Disrupt Oil Trade (Wall Street Journal)
Some news from Europe this week by both CH Robinson and Menlo Worldwide Logistics. CH Robinson Europe opened a new office in Rotterdam that will focus on providing temperature controlled logistics services. The company has 34 offices in Europe, some of which already provide refrigerated transportation services, but this one will be the first one to specifically focus on this service. “During the first phase, the Rotterdam office will focus on agricultural full truckload movements, while assisting the C.H. Robinson Europe network in other related verticals within the temperature controlled environment.”
Meanwhile, Menlo was audited by the international classification and certification bureau, Germanischer Lloyd, and was awarded renewed certification as fulfilling the Technology Asset Protection Association’s (TAPA) Freight Security Requirements (FSR). According to the press release, “the certification bureau’s personnel visited Menlo’s Eersel facility in the Netherlands and carried out a further combined TAPA FSR (A) and ISO 9001 audit at the Schiphol-Rijk location near Amsterdam…Roland Brück, lead auditor and senior surveyor of GL Systems Certification said, ‘Menlo’s processes and specifications for secure supply chain management have been verified.’”
Back in April 2009, I wrote that “Everything Will be Tracked Wirelessly in 10 Years,” and I pointed to a few critical items that needed to happen for this to become a reality, including the development of hybrid Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) devices that integrate a combination of technologies (such as barcodes, passive and active RFID, satellite communication, GPS, cellular, and sensors) and the introduction of new business models that will provide the “wireless tracking of everything” as a service. The announcement this week by Southwest Airlines is an example of where we are on this journey.
The company introduced Cargo Companion, an asset tracking service that provides customers with visibility about the location and environmental status of high-value and time/temperature-sensitive items shipped via Southwest Airlines Cargo. As described in the press release:
Designed for freight forwarders, couriers, perishable commodity Shippers, and Shippers of time-critical and high-value items, Cargo Companion features:
- State-of-the-art wireless asset tracking devices that monitor the location, shock, light, temperature, pressure, and humidity of cargo during transit.
- Tracking by air waybill capabilities that enable Customers to track the status of their cargo on swacargo.com.
- Prompt e-mail alerts that inform Customers when their shipment crosses predefined checkpoints; arrives at its destination; or if potential issues arise during transit.
Customers using Cargo Companion must prearrange the service for a specific flight the next day. The asset tracking devices are provisioned in advance and sent overnight to the Customer to be packed with their shipment. Complementary reverse logistics are included with the service, and Southwest makes it easy for Customers to return the devices for subsequent use.
On the trucking front, The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration with regard to its Pre-Employment Screening Program and the DataQ appeal process. According to the press release, “The suit alleges that FMCSA releases records of alleged safety violations to potential employers before drivers have had their day in court and that it refuses to delete references to such violations even after drivers have been exonerated in court. The data stored in the safety records database is also utilized by the Compliance Safety Accountability enforcement program, known as CSA.”
Meanwhile, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) released a report to help fleets recruit and retain qualified truck drivers. The report is based on interviews with more than 50 fleets, which have 130,000-plus trucks and oversee more than 155,000 drivers and contractors. Here’s an interesting quote from the press release:
“We found more and more carriers are considering hiring inexperienced drivers [emphasis mine] and are turning to truck driver training schools to help them place those drivers,” [ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello] said. “Demand for new, inexperienced drivers is likely to increase at a faster pace than in the past. Fifty-six percent of truckload fleets we spoke with said while they currently do not hire inexperienced drivers, they are considering hiring these drivers.”
What do you think will happen to safety — and the issues raised by OOIDA in its lawsuit — if more inexperienced truck drivers hit the road?
Finally, storm clouds are emerging on the economic front, with US retail sales down 0.5 percent in June (the third straight monthly decline) and the IMF cutting its global growth forecast for 2013 by 0.2 percent. Also, oil prices have climbed up over $90 barrel again, and if Iran follows through on its reported plans to disrupt international oil trade, then you should expect higher prices in the months ahead.
Have a great weekend!
Song of the Week: “All Our Love” by Gentlemen Hall.
(Note: CH Robinson, Menlo Worldwide Logistics, and SAP are ARC clients and/or Logistics Viewpoints sponsors)