This Week in Logistics News (August 9 – 15)

Russian Aid Convoy

Russian Aid Convoy

Its not every week that there is a logistics image that has been witnessed by virtually anyone and everyone that watches or reads the news. This week does have such an image, and that visual is a line of incredibly nondescript white tractors and trailers hauling “aid” destined for the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. Of course, since the image has been so well publicized, it makes one wonder (realize?) if visibility, attention, and media coverage is really the true purpose of the convoy…but I digress.  Now on to the rest of the news.

Manhattan Associates announced its acquisition of the GlobalBay Technologies assets for mobile POS and clienteling. The acquisition extends Manhattan’s omni-channel and distributed order management capabilities out to the enablement of in-store mobile sales and clienteling. As my colleague Chris Cunnane’s discussed in his piece about the omni-channel customer experience, customers want a brand experience that allows them to interact through multiple channels during the shopping journey. And in the end, they want to get the product they desire under terms acceptable to them. Distributed order management, cross-channel inventory visibility, and the ability to facilitate these processes are at the center of the omni-channel paradigm. In store clienteling extends the value of the retail locations, creating a stronger bond between the in person experience and the online presence of the organization.

The Cass Freight Index Report for July reports that the logistics sector slowed sequentially from June to July, but was up year over year. The sequential drop is a seasonal trend consistent with years past and is not considered a sign of a trend. The report stated that rates were remaining consistent, but LTL carriers have been stating that their pricing is starting to strengthen, a possible sign of future upward pricing pressures.

FTR released its trucking conditions index for the month of June. The report states that  “carriers are gaining market power but rates are struggling to keep up with cost inflation.” Jonathan Starks, FTR’s Director of Transportation Analysis further stated:

Truck freight continues to show steady increases and the capacity situation is unlikely to loosen up any time soon. These good developments are partially offset by slower than expected growth in contract rates. Spot market rates are still elevated, although they have shown normal moderation during the summer months. We expect to see both spot and contract rates continue to rise as we get into the fall.

Wal-Mart reported its second quarter earnings earlier this week. The company reported a decreased in same store customer traffic for US Walmart stores, and only a slight increase at Sam’s Club. The cut in its profit forecast is partially due to  investments in e-commerce. We have written extensively on this blog about omni-channel commerce and the efforts that traditional brick and mortar retailers must take to leverage e-commerce AND their physical presence to survive in today’s omni-channel world. Wal-mart’s market share continues to be pressured by e-commerce providers such as Amazon, and a robust e-commerce and omni-channel strategy is necessary for the company to continue its growth in established geographical regions.

The recent sanctions and trade bans between the US and western European countries on one side and Russia on the other, are beginning to show their impact on food stocks in Russia, but the effect on the logistics environment is less evident. A Fresh Plaza article quotes a spokesman from Hapag Lloyd saying that containers initially bound for Russia now need to diverted to other destinations once new buyers are found. Also, an associated from Belgian 3PL Rejo Fresh stated that the negative impact on logistics will soon follow the current pricing environment, as all trucks initially destined for Russia now must find other destinations.

Have a great weekend.

This Week’s Video. A flash back from the 70’s..Convoy!!


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