Archive for Global Trade


This past Tuesday, April 15, marked the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. It was a moment that brought shock, terror, sadness, anger, strength, and pride to the city of Boston. The local and national media have done a terrific job of capturing the raw emotion of the events, and the healing process of the last year. I don’t feel it is necessary for me to recount my thoughts and opinions of the tragedy. But, I will ask that we keep all of those affected by this tragedy in our thoughts. I also want to wish all of the runners in Monday’s 118th running of the Boston Marathon good luck and happy running.

And now, on to the news.

Gap Inc. has sad that it will expand its omni-channel operations by testing a new “order in-store” capability later this year. This capability will allow online and mobile customers to reserve items in certain Gap and Banana Republic stores. This capability pushes the customer experience forward as it offers “endless aisle” shopping. This move helps to combine the digital and physical world and allows Gap to carry less inventory in stores, as long ass the order can be fulfilled quickly from a warehouse or DC.

Zebra Technologies, a provider of bar code printing technology, has agreed to purchase Motorola Solutions Inc.’s business scanners. This deal combines Zebra’s bar-code labels and radio tags with the computers and scanners made by Motorola. This can simplify and streamline a company’s ability to track items through the overall distribution network. Investors were skeptical however, as Zebra’s stock fell 10% after the announcement.

Cargo theft is on the rise. Despite three years of decline in Europe, 2013 saw a rise in cargo theft. Thefts in Europe were up more than 60% last year. This is in direct relation to the rise in organized cargo theft gangs. Though rarely seen in the United States, European cargo vessels are still susceptible to violent heists and hijackings.

While a harsh winter impacted agriculture and crop production, it didn’t impact the Union Pacific Railroad. The railroad announced it delivered 14 percent higher quarterly profit as it hauled more agricultural, industrial and coal shipments. So there is good news for the freight railroad business, while at the same time, the trucking industry is struggling. A driver shortage has been plaguing the industry in recent years, and things are not looking better. The new issue: a shortage of qualified technicians. This shortage means that keeping trucks on the road will be harder than ever, which could seriously impact the future of trucking.

“The trucking industry could face a technician shortage as large as 200,000, say sources, and the Department of Labor predicts the current 1 million jobs in auto, diesel and collision repair industries to grow 17 percent by 2020. However, only about 3,500 diesel and truck techs enter the labor market through schools each year — not nearly enough to keep up with growth and demand.”

That’s the news for this week. Have a great weekend, and enjoy the song of the week: “More than a Feeling” by Boston.


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When the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented in 1994, it removed trade barriers between the United States, Mexico and Canada, and encouraged economic activity among the partnering countries. NAFTA created the world’s largest free trade area, and trade between the partners soared after the agreement came into effect.

NAFTA now links 450 million people producing $17 trillion worth of goods and services,1 and U.S. commerce with… Continue reading

Categories : Global Trade, Logistics Trends, Regulations
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March 24 marked the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound in Alaska. The impact of the oil spill is still being felt today. While the majority of species affected by the spill have recovered to pre-spill levels, and the commercial fishing industry has mostly recovered, federal scientists estimate that between 16,000 and 21,000… Continue reading

The definition of transportation management systems (TMS) continues to evolve. In the early days of TMS solutions, the primary goal was to manage truck-based freight. Over time, point solutions were developed to support particular modes for particular industries such as ocean and air freight.

At the same time, traditional TMS providers began to incorporate basic multi-modal capabilities into “truck-centric” solutions. Migrating from a truck-centric solution to a truly multi-modal… Continue reading

I publish in both Logistics Viewpoints and  Often, but not always, the blogs appear in both locations. As measured by page views, here are the most popular blogs of the year (I’ve omitted one blog about Conferences to Attend in 2013 because it is no longer relevant).

  1. Amazon vs. Walmart: E-Fulfillment vs. Omni-Channel Logistics
  2. Logistics Impacts from Widening the Panama Canal