This Week in Logistics News (January 16 – 22)

afc-championship-game-2016This past Monday marked the one year anniversary of “Deflategate.” And with the NFL considering whether to release PSI measurements from the 2015 regular season, one would think that the game officials would have been on top of all things game ball related last weekend. However, upon arriving at the stadium for last Saturday’s Patriots – Chiefs divisional round playoff game, officials realized they left the kicking balls and air gauges used to measure the PSI of the footballs in their hotel. The problem – the hotel was by Logan Airport, or about an hour from Gillette Stadium. Realizing it was too late to go back, the NFL had the State Police retrieve the balls and gauges and escort them to the stadium in time for pre-game measurements. Another solid effort by the NFL. With that being said, let’s hope my Patriots can take care of the Broncos this week.

And in the words of Bill Belichick, we’re on to the news.

Amazon ChinaAfter making moves into trucking and air freight, Amazon appears to be turning its thoughts to the sea. The e-commerce company’s Chinese affiliate, Amazon China, has registered with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission to become a licensed ocean freight forwarder. The filing is just the first part of a longer regulatory journey required before Amazon China could actually ship packages. But this is certainly a huge step for Amazon as it moves closer and closer to becoming a delivery service by itself. Other recent projects and rumors include drones deliveries, a private fleet of trucks, new branded trucks for transferring merchandise from distribution centers to sorting centers, and a rumored air cargo operation, dubbed Aerosmith.

foodkickNew York-based online retailer FreshDirect has launched a new venture called FoodKick, an app that offers curated foodie selections as well as one-hour delivery. The app is geared towards young, busy, urban consumers. In fact, in its initial release, FoodKick is only available in Brooklyn and the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. Features of the new app include daily curated selections, customizable meal ideas and solutions, produce, meat, fish, dairy and pantry staples, and food and alcohol pairings. With so many grocery delivery options out there, companies need a differentiator. For FreshDirect, the time frame is obviously crucial. But a bigger selling point could be the food and alcohol pairings, as this option will especially appeal to younger urbanites.

UberEats-930x519Uber is ready to go live with a full-scale meal delivery service across 10 cities in the US. This is just the latest move by Uber to become all-things transportation-related. The company has already used drivers to deliver ice cream, kittens (to pet), and small packages. The app, known as UberEats, has been available for over a month in Toronto, where Uber has tested an expanded meal delivery service with more than 100 local restaurants. Customers there have been able to order any item from a full menu between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., and have it delivered by an Uber driver in 30 to 40 minutes. The service will soon be available in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Austin, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle, and Dallas.

fuel pricesMost parts of the country saw significant decreases in diesel fuel prices last week, according to the Department of Energy’s weekly report. The U.S.’ average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel now stands at $2.112, which is 6.5 cents lower than a week ago and 82 cents lower than the same week last year. This is the 10th straight week of declining fuel prices. The most significant drop in fuel prices came in the Midwest region and California, where prices dropped 7.3 cents during the week. The nation’s most expensive diesel is still in California at $2.489 per gallon, followed by the Central Atlantic region at $2.305 per gallon. The cheapest fuel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $2.014 per gallon, followed by the Midwest region at $2.023 per gallon.

Summary-RatesAnd finally, load-to-truck ratios and truckload rates on the spot market slid downward during the week ending Jan. 16, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. In the van freight market, load posts decreased 21% while the number of available trucks rose 29%. As a result, the van load-to-truck ratio dropped 38% from 2.7 to 1.7 loads per truck. The national average van rate fell 5 cents to $1.68 per mile. Reefer load posts decreased 26% and truck posts jumped 22% during the week as the national average reefer rate dropped 6 cents to $1.90 per mile. The load-to-truck ratio fell 39% from 6.7 to 4.0 loads per truck. Average flatbed rates edged lower to $1.90 per mile, down 2 cents compared to the previous week.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend, and the song of the week, Dream On by Aerosmith.

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