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What will the reopening of the Canadian border mean for freight?

According to Freightwaves:

Canada is beginning to reopen its borders for nonessential travel after a 16-month shutdown in response to COVID-19. Starting Aug. 9, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents can enter the country.

Even though trade has been exempt from the restrictions — allowing trucks to move freely between Canada and the U.S. — the reopening of the border still has significant implications for freight. And not just because more congestion and wait times will undoubtedly accompany the return of passenger traffic. 

It stands to be a big driver for freight demand.

“The opening of the border will be a boon for the transportation and logistics industries as a whole,” said Peter Stefanovich, managing partner at Left Lane Associates, a Toronto transportation mergers and acquisitions advisory firm.   

It will come from an expected influx of visitors from the U.S. Ahead of the pandemic, in 2019, 25 million U.S. residents visited Canada, including 15 million tourists, according to Statistics Canada

Just how fast they’ll return remains to be seen. But they will be spending money at restaurants, hotels and events. And that spending will drive demand for freight, Stefanovich said.

Visitors from other countries will be allowed to come to Canada in September, adding to the momentum. 

In short, it will drive demand in the hospitality sector, which has struggled from the absence of foreign visitors. The only challenge may be to secure capacity in big markets like Toronto, particularly for temperature-controlled freight.

For now, the United States is keeping its land border closed for nonessential travel. But when it does open, U.S. border communities will undoubtedly see the welcome return of Canadians and their penchant for cross-border shopping, in search of deals on everything from milk to shoes. 

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At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.

LFS keeps you updated with the latest news, if you need additional information about our freight shipping solutions, contact us or follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter.

For cargo insurance experts, please contact Skholl, our partner to avoid any freight damage.

By: Freightwaves

February 8, 2021

Carriers
CARRIERS
Operation Safe Driver Week set for July 11-17

According to Safety+Health:

Law enforcement officers will target speeding and other unsafe driving behaviors during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Operation Safe Driver Week, slated for July 11-17.

They’ll be on the lookout for passenger and commercial motor vehicle drivers following too closely, driving distracted, making improper lane changes, failing to use a seat belt and driving while impaired.

Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council show that, in 2020, the rate of motor vehicle deaths in the United States climbed 24% compared with the previous year, even as the estimated total number of miles driven fell 13%.

During last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, citations and warnings related to speeding were most common among both groups of drivers: CMV drivers were given 2,339 citations and 3,423 warnings, while passenger vehicle drivers received 14,378 citations and 11,456 warnings.

“Data shows that traffic stops and interactions with law enforcement help reduce problematic driving behaviors,” CVSA President John Samis said in a press release. “By making contact with drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel aim to make our roadways safer by targeting high-risk driving behaviors.”

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At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.

LFS keeps you updated with the latest news, if you need additional information about our freight shipping solutions, contact us or follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter.

For cargo insurance experts, please contact Skholl, our partner to avoid any freight damage.

By: Safety+Health

December 7, 2021

Shippers
CARRIERS
Tank Truck Driver Scarcity Could Result in Spot Fuel Shortages

According to TTnews:

Trucking and oil industry experts are warning of possible delays in fuel deliveries during the peak of the summer driving season as the pinch from the driver shortage — particularly among tanker truck drivers — could slow down service to fueling stations.

“We’ve been worried since May that the one issue that will rear its head in July and August would be the difficulty of getting the fuel from the petroleum terminals the last miles — the last 60 miles to the stations,” Oil Price Information Service Founder and industry analyst Tom Kloza told Transport Topics. “We’ve only had cases — where there have been outages — where it’s been, maybe, someone is out of unleaded for six or 12 hours, but the driver shortage is real.”

Kloza said tank truck companies have enough equipment to move fuel to fueling stations, but industry officials tell him the sector is short about 16% of the drivers it needs on a day-to-day basis to keep stations supplied.

Kloza said he worries that if a station is without fuel for just a few hours, the news could spread through social media and lead to panic buying like that seen in the aftermath of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown. After suspected Russian hackers on May 7 took control of the computer network that ran that company’s pipeline — which supplies gasoline and diesel shipments along the East Coast — panic buying of fuel set in.

“I see a huge swath of the American public that’s prone to apoplexy this year,” Kloza said. “I’m not predicting widespread outages — it’s transitory — but what will the reaction be? Predicting human behavior is impossible.”

A report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration said gasoline demand is virtually identical to what it was during the same period of 2019, but is up 16% from the end of 2020 when many Americans were still staying home amid the pandemic.

The increased demand for fuel is coming at a time when the price of both gasoline and diesel continues going up. According to the EIA, gasoline averages $3.06 a gallon nationwide, up 93 cents from a year ago. Diesel averaged $3.29 per gallon on June 21, 86 cents higher than a year ago.

American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello noted that many tanker companies laid off drivers last year as the economy plunged into recession and fuel demand plummeted. Now demand is picking up and those companies are hiring again.

“Gas stations weren’t taking nearly as much fuel, and tank truck companies laid off drivers a year ago. Now, you don’t just flip a switch and say, ‘Hey we’re back.’ They have to rehire and train these drivers,” Costello said. “It takes a lot of training. It’s one thing to drive a truck, but it’s another thing to put the fuel in the tank.”

Ryan Streblow, the new president and CEO of the National Tank Truck Carriers, said his group is facing several challenges with getting new drivers into the industry. He cites the COVID-19 pandemic and an associated rash of retirements, pandemic-related closures of state departments of motor vehicles that slowed the flow of new drivers, restrictions on driving schools and additional hazmat qualifications that tank truck drivers need before being allowed to deliver fuel or chemicals.

“Families going on vacation, volleyball tournaments, camping, baseball tournaments — the demand is there. We just don’t have the available resources to move that commodity from point A to point B,” Streblow said. “It extends well beyond fuel. Our chemical haulers, our food grade, our dry bulk aggregate — they’re all in the same boat, searching for qualified drivers. We do believe this is an issue we are going to be battling for some time.”

Streblow said between 10% and 25% of tanker trucks are idled because of the driver shortage.

Wharton, N.J.-based Carbon Express is a liquid bulk carrier that transports fuel and other commodities. CEO Steve Rush told TT the driver shortage in the tanker industry is a very difficult challenge, and noted his company has raised driver pay numerous times recently to keep and attract drivers. Rush said his company pays drivers by the hour plus bonuses — instead of by mileage — and this has boosted their overall pay and kept his driver turnover rate in single digits. He said many of his drivers are making more than $95,000 a year.

“Pay them by the hour. It’s not what you pay, it’s how you pay,” Rush said. “The driver shortage is awful. The competition for drivers is intense. We know what’s going on.”

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At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.

LFS keeps you updated with the latest news, if you need additional information about our freight shipping solutions, contact us or follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter.

For cargo insurance experts, please contact Skholl, our partner to avoid any freight damage.

By: TTnews

December 7, 2021

SHIPPERS
NEWS
A New Approach To Security: Staying One Step Ahead Of Today’s Cyber Criminals

According to Frobes:

2020 exposed the cybersecurity industry’s fundamental data problem. For years, cybersecurity was thought of as a problem only for the technology sector. However, as industries spanning education to government accelerated digital transformation with a focus on remote workforces, the data these organizations generated increased — and thus, so did the opportunity for cyberattacks.

In the last few weeks, we saw hackers target everything from a computer system at a Tampa, Florida, water facility and an entire county’s public school system in Baltimore, Maryland, to a medical center in Burlington, Vermont.

While there are certainly many lessons we can learn from these recent examples, one thing is clear: the way we think about cybersecurity must change. 

Prioritizing The Security Of Our Supply Chains

When adding a new piece of software to an organization's network, very often we overlook the risk and security maturity that software carries. This may not seem like a huge oversight, but keep in mind most software vendors still view security as a liability, and they will do the bare minimum to be secure. In today’s cybersecurity landscape, are you comfortable only having the bare minimum protection? We didn’t think so.

To keep your organization secure, it’s imperative to take the security of your supply chain into your own hands. Ask yourself the following: Do you know every Chrome extension your employees download on their laptops that could possibly be opening your network up to unwanted exposure? To keep your supply chains secure, it’s important to embrace a “zero trust” security philosophy in which device, cloud and identity layers are closely controlled. Ensuring devices are protected with predictive and AI-powered technologies, coupled with a powerful visibility layer, is the bedrock of securing an organization's data. 

Shifting Our Perception Of Ransomware From “If” To “When”

In 2020, a company was hit with a ransomware attack every 11 seconds. And the costs from these attacks are expected to reach around $20 billion by 2021.

We need to shift our mentality from what we should do if ransomware infiltrates our networks to what we should do when ransomware infiltrates our networks. To catch ransomware early on, it’s imperative to understand everything that is on your network. While that might seem daunting, AI-powered technology can help organizations fingerprint and profile devices across the network to not only enable complete visibility, but they can also help identify weak links and minimize risk over time. By understanding what’s on your network, your security team will be better equipped to identify malware and ransomware binaries before they have the opportunity to wreak havoc and stop the attack before it ever occurs.

Going Beyond Legacy Technologies

Legacy antivirus solutions simply haven’t kept up with the rapidly changing cybersecurity landscape. Most legacy solutions only rely on scanning files to detect known attacks, which makes them extremely vulnerable to new attack techniques. While standard vendors only look for the known — a known hash, IP address, vulnerability or behavior — next-generation technologies go a step above, providing organizations complete visibility into all activity across the network.

Once upon a time, signature detections might have been “good enough,” but today, any solution that doesn’t encompass behavioral AI and machine learning will be easily outwitted by attackers in seconds. With ransomware, phishing and malware all on the rise, the modern enterprise needs a modern solution.

2020’s cyberattacks taught us that hackers' techniques are advancing at an alarming rate. Security can no longer be viewed as a liability, but instead must be viewed as essential infrastructure. We must embrace technology to bolster our security efforts, which isn't nearly as daunting as it sounds. To begin, it can be helpful to catalog the capabilities your organization needs new technology to address — those that were overlooked by the old. From there, it can be as simple as mapping those capabilities to current processes, procedures or workbooks that need to be updated and selecting the new technology that maps to the capabilities you’ve listed.

We must do better and prioritize security together. Adapting our views on enterprise security will enable us to take on cybercriminals head-on and, hopefully, be in the position to beat them at their own game — especially on the day your organization is under attack.

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At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.

LFS keeps you updated with the latest news, if you need additional information about our freight shipping solutions, contact us or follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter.

For cargo insurance experts, please contact Skholl, our partner to avoid any freight damage.

By: Forbes

June 25, 2021

SHIPPERS
NEWS
Increased containerboard output not enough to keep prices down

According to Supply Chain Dive:

Dive Brief:

- Recent data from the American Forest and Paper Association suggests the containerboard industry is producing close to full capacity, as the operating rate for containerboard companies was 98.4% in March (up 2.8% YoY), according to a statement from Terry Webber, the association's executive director of packaging.

- As production ramps up, corrugated packaging manufacturers, such as WestRock, are raising prices. During the company's Q2 earnings call, Ward Dickson, WestRock's executive vice president and CFO, said the "implementation of these price increases and improved business mix drove $88 million in year-over-year earnings improvement."

- The index measuring cardboard prices increased to 369.4 in May, compared to 342.1 for the same month in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Producer Price Index for corrugated and solid fiber box manufacturing. Prices shot up during the first half of 2021, after remaining fairly flat in 2020 despite an uptick in demand.

The PPI for for corrugated and solid box manufacturing shot up

The Producer Price Index for primary products related to corrugated and solid fiber box manufacturing, since Jan. 2019.

Chart: Edwin Lopez / Supply Chain Dive  Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics  Get the data  Created with Datawrapper

Dive Insight:

​Although American Forest and Paper Association found that containerboard production increased 9% in March compared to March 2020, the boost in supply was not enough to keep prices from going up this month.

Rising containerboard prices could be a threat to companies that rely on packaging to deliver goods ordered online to their customers. If prices continue to shoot up, companies will have to pay even more for shipping boxes and figure a way to balance out the additional cost. That could mean setting higher prices to absorb the increase.

"Boxes are the most widely used packaging for e-commerce shipments," Webber said. And to meet the rising demand, manufacturers have "steadily increased over the last decade" by expanding capacity by 14% between 2010 and 2019he added.

Manufacturers are now operating at almost full tilt. Many investments are geared toward recovering product fibers for reusable packaging to secure supply.

"Boxes are ... the most recycled packaging in the United States providing a versatile and sustainable packaging solution for retailers and consumers alike," Webber said.

American Forest and Paper Association expects the industry's capacity expansion to continue with billions in investments lined up through 2023.

This story was first published in our weekly newsletter, Supply Chain Dive: Procurement. Sign up here.

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At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.

LFS keeps you updated with the latest news, if you need additional information about our freight shipping solutions, contact us or follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter.

For cargo insurance experts, please contact Skholl, our partner to avoid any freight damage.

By: Supply Chain Dive

June 25, 2021

SHIPPERS
NEWS
Companies Need to Develop New Innovative Approaches to Supply Chain Design

According to Supply Chain 247:

Time to Modernize Supply Chain Design

In light of the dramatic changes that supply chains have undergone over the last 20 years, companies need new, innovative approaches to supply chain design that shifts the focus from cost-minimization toward value creation.

And the design process must mature to capture the complexity, volatility, and uncertainty of the competitive environment in which modern supply chains operate.

These challenges can be met with the support of advanced methods that combine the power of analytical models with the implicit knowledge of expert human-decision makers.

The new approach improves decision-making transparency, enriches design solutions, and reflects the real-life challenges that companies now face.

A New Supply Chain Environment

The field of supply chain design is rooted in conventions developed through studies carried out in the 1990s. These studies primarily focused on the physical configuration of supply chains, such as facility location and customer allocation decisions. Supply chains were designed to minimize costs such as those associated with facilities, warehousing, and transportation.

Also, in the conventional approach, the design of a supply chain is typically reviewed once every few years; these exercises are rarely linked with tactical planning decisions.

Such conventions are no longer adequate. The competitive environment in which firms operate has changed over the last two decades. During this time, the acronym VUCA has been employed to describe the increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of business conditions.

Today, operating in a VUCA environment is no longer the exception but the reality to which companies must adapt daily. Globalization, multi-outsourcing, and the proliferation of brands are driving the structural and organizational complexity of contemporary supply chains. Increasing economic and political volatility creates uncertainties on the demand and supply side of global operations.

Furthermore, new models such as omnichannel retailing and shifting customer expectations in terms of service responsiveness and flexibility are radically changing the way we think about supply chain design. As supply chains have become a major competitive differentiator, design has moved center stage in the development of corporate strategy.

Traditional supply chain design approaches fail to capture these realities in several ways.

First, conventional methods fail to capture the complexity of contemporary supply chains. The decisions that underpin these designs were historically constrained by limits on computational power and data availability. Also, traditional design processes rarely incorporate factors such as demand uncertainty, supply chain disruptions, and multi-channel distribution.

Second, the focus on cost minimization is outdated. Traditional approaches mainly focus on decreasing the logistics costs under a given demand, which often results in the use of centralized facilities in areas with low real estate costs. Today, proximity to the end customer and delivery speed are major drivers of competitive advantage.

Consequently, when deciding on the deployment of logistics assets, companies must consider aspects of revenue management. Design approaches need to implicitly consider trade-offs between the ability to capture additional revenue by meeting customers’ increasing delivery expectations and the need to keep fulfillment costs under control.

Third, given the highly volatile and uncertain conditions that now prevail, success in contemporary markets requires decision-making agility and speed. As a result, supply chain design must be evaluated much more frequently than before. Thus, supply chain design must become an ongoing process that involves continuous updates of the variables and methods used, rather than one-shot exercises carried out every few years.

And fourth, in addition to these changes, in recent years there have been significant advances in data science and a massive increase in the amount of data available to supply chain professionals. Data analytics and machine learning tools make the structure and performance of complex supply chains more visible

Furthermore, advanced network science methods enable companies to characterize the complexity of relationships between multiple suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.

A Supply Chain Fresh Approach

With the benefit of these developments, traditional optimization and simulation models can be extended to include more information and complexity. Consider, for example, a network design study carried out recently by the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics (MIT CTL) for a major e-tailer that looked at multiple sales channels. The study explored the integration of direct sales and third-party flows as well as multiple distribution channels with deliveries to customers or traditional stores. Additionally, multiple delivery services, including same-day and instant delivery and customer and transport infrastructure information at the level of each neighborhood, were part of the study.

The shift toward value creation also extends supply chain, design models. In addition to traditional decisions such as the number, location, and size of facilities, models can now incorporate go-to-market decisions including distribution channels, tactical asset deployment, and operation governance rules.

Importantly, studies no longer need to be confined to decision-makers within logistics and the supply chain function; executives from strategy, finance, sales, and marketing can now participate in design projects, bringing a level of cross-functional collaboration that is rare in traditional modeling exercises.

The ability to include other disciplines in the design process is a hugely significant development that will enrich supply chain designs and make companies more responsive to an ever-changing competitive environment.

For example, in a project carried out recently in MIT CTL’s CAVE Lab, a team of executives from a leading manufacturer modeled iterations of a supply chain design. Participants from various disciplines, including logistics, finance, sales, and marketing, worked jointly on defining key features of the design.

See the video here --> https://youtu.be/9_YyVFG88AM

The exercise revealed that increasing the density of warehouse and asset deployment throughout the United States enabled the company to increase its market share significantly. This increased revenue more than compensated for the additional logistics costs incurred. Direct engagement of sales and marketing executives in the design process injected critical knowledge of market conditions. The co-design event was essentially a sales and operations planning exercise at a strategic level, quickly aligning intuition and accelerating the market response.

Given the central role that supply chain design now plays in corporate strategy, the modeling process must reflect the corporate goals of each company and the decisions needed to implement design changes. This level of specificity requires a shift from generic supply chain design solutions to a highly customized approach. Rapid prototyping and software development enables companies to implement tailor-made design solutions at a lower cost and update them more frequently.

Supply Chain Visualization Adds Value

These analytical advances are a promising avenue for capturing the structural and organizational complexity of contemporary supply chains - but are not sufficient. The sheer amount of data now available can lead to information overload and decision-making paralysis. Furthermore, “black box” model solutions can cause a lack of engagement, especially in the context of decision-making in cross-functional teams.

To address these challenges, it is necessary to provide intuitive interfaces with analytical models as well as the underlying data. Here, interactive visualization enables human decision-makers to grasp all of the information contained in large datasets, identify trends and patterns and build data narratives to support decision-making and engagement.

Also, decision-makers often have knowledge about implicit constraints or objectives that are not comprehensively captured by the analytical tools. Interactive visualization was essential in capturing local salesforce expertise in the previously mentioned case. Decision support systems utilizing mixed-initiative approaches - which combine the inputs of expert users and the analytical power of the machines - allow design teams to arrive more quickly at solutions that address more realistic challenges.

For example, a company was investigating better network configurations for its global distribution network that comprised hundreds of facilities and tens of thousands of customers. For each of the thousands of products manufactured by the company, researchers used network science methods to identify the best warehouse locations. Using a visual analytics tool, users selected the most promising locations based on their knowledge of the specificities of each product. Finally, a machine learning algorithm recomputed the performance metrics for the newly constructed network, and a visual interface enabled the participants to fine-tune the analysis and arrive at appropriate designs quickly.

Accepting Supply Chain Change

Today’s supply chain design processes must capture both structural and organizational complexities that have emerged over the past two decades. The focus needs to be broader, to emphasize value creation based on the ability to serve customers speedily and flexibly. Moreover, the design process must be more inclusive, tailored, and carried out regularly.

We have the technology and the data to redefine supply chain design - but we also need companies to acknowledge that conventional methods are outmoded, and to seek the development of new design paradigms.

About the Authors

Milena Janjevic is a research scientist at the Megacity Logistics Lab in the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics (MIT CTL) and can be reached at mjanjevi@mit.edu.

*Jarrod Goentzel is director of the MIT Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab at MIT CTL, and is an early developer of supply chain design technology. He can be reached at goentzel@mit.edu.

Matthias Winkenbach is director of the MIT Megacity Logistics Lab at MIT CTL and can be reached at mwinkenb@mit.edu.

Collectively together, they are spearheading the launch of the Supply Chain Design ab at MIT CTL.

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At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.

LFS keeps you updated with the latest news, if you need additional information about our freight shipping solutions, contact us or follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter.

For cargo insurance experts, please contact Skholl, our partner to avoid any freight damage.

By: Supply Chain 247

June 25, 2021

SHIPPERS
SHIPPERS
On top of all disruptions, we now have a pallet shortage

According to DAT Freight & Analytics:

Due to record-high lumber prices, there’s a disposable pallet shortage, which further stresses already strained supply chains.

The cause for the high lumber prices?

Low interest rates and urban flight are fueling the housing boom. According to the National Association of Homebuilders, the unprecedented spikes in lumber prices have added nearly $36,000 to the average price of a new single-family home, and nearly $13,000 to the price of a multifamily home since April 2020.”

DIY backyard projects also soared during the pandemic. The frenzy bit deep into the 2020 summer lumber inventory, resulting in a historic lumber shortage.

While pallets are used in many sectors, the produce industry is especially impacted now that its peak harvest season.

In a recent letter to members, the United Fresh Produce Association who represent the full breadth of the produce supply chain, highlighted a multitude of issues impacting pallet availability including:

- A lack of pallet availability and rising pallet prices add to the stress of already squeezed supply chains

- Pallet costs are up 400% due to several factors, including high demand and rising lumber costs

- Wood pallets increased 8% in April (up 14% this year) in the latest Producer Price Index — the largest increases recorded in the last decade.

- Pallet manufacturers are competing for raw materials with the home construction industry, which has boomed in recent months

The shortage of lumber and wood products has increased the cost of raw lumber 200% to 350% and is making the cost of wood pallets increase incrementally

- Repositioning pallets is a challenge with a strained trucking capacity — not enough trucks and drivers are available to move the pallets from one location to another

- Pallets may be circulating in the supply chain, but not necessarily in the right place at the right time

- Dwell time is up for non-perishable inventory, which indicates pallets may be sitting longer at warehouses or loading docks.

Growers need to keep the pallet shortage in mind as they meet the escalating demand for produce. For carriers and brokers, the pallet shortage will also increase loading delays. We may even see hand-stacking cartons and bags of produce like we did in the days before pallets.

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At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.

LFS keeps you updated with the latest news, if you need additional information about our freight shipping solutions, contact us or follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter.

For cargo insurance experts, please contact Skholl, our partner to avoid any freight damage.

By: DAT Freight & Analytics

June 17, 2021

SHIPPERS
SHIPPERS
What Is Supply Chain Automation and How Can It Benefit Your Business Operations?

According to Supply Chain 247:

If your factory is the heart of your organization, then your supply chain is the veins and arteries and your operational efficiency depends on everything being connected to deliver a reliable service.

Supply Chain Automation

Today, many organizations have built operational efficiencies based on a patchwork of legacy systems, with gaps between applications leaving a disconnect in the supply chain, which can lead to inefficiencies, lack of visibility, and general uncertainty.

Supply chain automation provided by a low-code automation platform can automate tasks within the end-to-end supply chain and connect systems for a 360-degree view of operations.

What is Supply Chain Automation?

Supply chain automation is the use of digital technologies to improve efficiencies, connect applications and streamline processes within supply chain operations.

It usually incorporates intelligent technologies such as Digital Process Automation, Robotic Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning.

What Are the Benefits of Supply Chain Automation?

There are multiple benefits that can be seen when supply chain automation software is introduced to operations. Here are the four primary benefits:

1. Automate menial, manual tasks

A connected supply chain supported by automation technologies provides the opportunity to free employees from these menial, manual tasks.

“Supply chain management processes contain various documents such as delivery order, dock receipt, bill of lading (B/L), sea waybill, etc,” states AIMultiple.

“Employees in the supply chain department continuously store and process these documents for various reasons, yet, this is a time-consuming, manual task that inhibits businesses to reach operational excellence.”

These tasks are often carried out on pen and paper by employees in the warehouse, taking up valuable time and often leading to human error when recording and submitting information. The benefits of automation, both in and out of the warehouse include increased efficiency - manifested by increased fill rates and decreased cycle times, as well as increased warehouse throughput time, reduced labor and operational costs, elimination of human error, and improved inventory management.

The benefits of automation were realized by Bizagi customer, adidas. The largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe needed to transform its supply chain across 400 factories. Using Bizagi and an agile methodology allowed for less development, more efficiency, and cost reduction. They created standardized, reusable processes to deliver automation across departments.

These automated processes eliminated manual tasks and reduced operational costs, such as eliminating a million emails per year through system integration. They also halved factory onboarding time and sped up the two-month sports asset contract approval cycle to just one week.

2. Transparency and visibility of operations

Traditional supply chains often face unpredictable lead times and lack the transparency to know how inventory is progressing. Digital technology means that now even the everyday consumer is used to being able to see where their online delivery is in its journey from the warehouse to their front door. So why shouldn’t businesses expect the same visibility earlier on in the supply chain?

The reason for the lack of transparency in the past couple of decades has been due to poor connectivity. As more systems and applications were introduced to increase efficiency, they created silos and left gaps between systems, which meant that information could not be passed between them and it was hard to follow the status of a process end-to-end.

low-code automation platform can connect all systems and create a centralized location for your employees to access information, providing complete process visibility and orchestration. This provides real-time data to employees, not only giving them up-to-date status updates but also allows them to act with certainty when executing tasks that rely on important information.

Transparency not only benefits employees but also customers as they can easily get an overview of how their order is progressing through the supply chain. Traceability is now essential for customer satisfaction and a low-code automation platform can provide appropriate visibility.

3. Agility to respond to the unexpected

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. For some organizations, the COVID pandemic meant scaling operations back and operating on a bare-bones basis. For others, it meant ramping up production and shipping capabilities to meet increased demand.

Using a low-code automation platform provided the benefit of adaptability to respond to unforeseen circumstances, which is built-in when you connect information and data across your organization.

“Low-code platforms let technology teams build enterprise applications substantially faster to meet rapidly changing business objectives,” reports BM Magazine.

“To respond quickly to business needs, using low-code platforms with an API-driven approach can help you to create auto-responsive apps for websites, tablets, and smartphones at the desired speed.”

4. Ensure regulations are always met

Diminishing risk and meeting compliance standards are particularly hard in a post-COVID world. Even more so for manufacturers and suppliers with global sites observing different regulations, ranging from health and safety to best business practices. Auditing is then required to prove these standards have been met.

Establishing business processes that are then executed, either in part or fully, by automation technology can help improve both risk management and the overall supply chain management. All stakeholders can ensure best practices are followed while integrating compliance for effective and risk-averse operations.

Documenting and automating workflows is the ideal way to ensure specific requirements are met, and that operations can be agile enough to evolve. Additionally, the real-time visibility brought to the supply chain by a low-code automation platform can help organizations to mitigate risk and ensure compliance by identifying issues as they arise and preventing them from escalating further.

Connectivity and Automation

Connectivity and automation bring the efficiency and agility that so many supply chain operators crave. If you would like to find out more about how a low-code platform can help transform your supply chain, download the ebook, The Essential Guide to Automation in Manufacturing.

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At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.

LFS keeps you updated with the latest news, if you need additional information about our freight shipping solutions, contact us or follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter.

For cargo insurance experts, please contact Skholl, our partner to avoid any freight damage.

By: Supply Chain 247

June 17, 2021

SHIPPERS
SHIPPERS
North America supply chain reshoring will not happen, report says

According to American Shipper:

Companies are unlikely to reshore their supply chains from Asia to North America between now and 2025 due to high production costs, concerns about the business climate in Mexico, and fears of the loss of access to close-by markets of billions of consumers, according to a report released Wednesday by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the business intelligence operation of London-Based The Economist Group.

The conclusion goes against the widely held belief that businesses selling into North American markets would shift their supply chains from Asia in an effort to counter the massive and continuing supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the EIU report said that as pandemic-related concerns fade with more people getting vaccinated and countries reopening, the emphasis on business resiliency that was a key discussion point during 2020 and in the early part of 2021 will fade with it.

Andrew Viteritti, the EIU’s commerce and regulations lead, said in a Wednesday interview that most multinational firms with long-standing Asian operations will return to their pre-COVID-19 behavior of basing supply chain decisions on operational cost-effectiveness and maximum revenue opportunities rather than on the need to establish supply chain redundancies. This means, for the most part, a continued reliance on low-cost Asian production, Viteritti said. 

Shifting production and distribution operations thousands of miles is a costly and complex investment, and relocating supply chains to North America would deprive businesses of cost-effective means of penetrating Asian markets with consumers possessing more disposable income than ever before, Viteritti said.

Production of critical supplies like personal protective equipment and medical supplies may be reshored for national security and public health reasons, Viteritti said. However, the notion that businesses will leave Asia in droves is far-fetched, he said. The return to the status quo is likely to become clear once the current supply chain disruptions, largely a byproduct of the pandemic, begin to dissipate and supply-demand scales return to balance, he said.

Ironically, the report was accompanied by a chart that projected Canada and the United States as the highest-performing countries through 2025 across seven metrics of international business. Canada and the U.S. had the highest and second-highest overall scores, respectively, among 11 countries analyzed by the EIU. China ranked eighth overall.

North America boasts a deeply integrated marketplace, a large free trade area, short-distance travel times and new opportunities for policy integration under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on trade, Viteritti said. Still, those qualities won’t be enough to move the reshoring needle in a substantial way through mid-decade, he said. 

In particular, worries about Mexico will prevent North America from becoming a realistic substitute for reliable and established Asian production, according to the report. With the exception of the category of “foreign trade and exchange controls” where it scored very high, Mexico scored poor to slightly above average across the other six EIU metrics. It ranked ninth overall among the 11 nations surveyed.

Mexico’s lowest reading came in the category of “political effectiveness,” a reflection of market concerns that Mexico is adopting a more protectionist stance toward international trade. The country also scored low in the category of “private enterprise policy,” which may reflect an adversarial approach to business in general. Mexico’s labor costs are lower than in the U.S. and Canada, though it is an open question as to whether that will be enough to encourage foreign investment in the continent. 

Other concerns are the ongoing bilateral squabbles between the U.S. and Canada, and whether President Joe Biden’s push to encourage purchases of U.S.-made goods squares with foreign firms’ desire for truly free and open markets, the report said.

The EIU builds its intelligence model from a broad array of data sources. Created in 1946, it is one of the world’s most respected business intelligence operations.

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At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.

LFS keeps you updated with the latest news, if you need additional information about our freight shipping solutions, contact us or follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter.

For cargo insurance experts, please contact Skholl, our partner to avoid any freight damage.

By: American Shipper

June 17, 2021

DRAYAGE
DRAYAGE
Ship Orders Surge as Carriers Rush to Add Capacity

According to The Wall Street Journal:

Global shipyards that were retrenching and consolidating in a faltering maritime market barely more than a year ago are now flush with new orders, boosted by efforts by shipping lines to add capacity to meet resurgent consumer demand in Western economies.

Orders for new container ships in the first five months of this year were nearly double the orders for all of both 2019 and 2020, according to London-based maritime data provider VesselsValue Ltd., with the biggest gains going to shipyards in South Korea and China.

The order tally has been so strong that some yards have stopped giving quotes for new vessels and are trying to renegotiate existing orders for more than 20 ships as the price of steel plates used to build vessels has doubled since the end of 2020, according to people involved in those deals.

The resurgence in ordering is being driven mainly by container ships as Western retailers such as Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. scramble to restock after a year of supply-chain disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic.

The rush to replenish depleted inventories, along with congestion at major ports in North America, Europe and Asia, has left cargo space hard to find and sent freight rates soaring. That has spurred big profit gains at operators like A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, CMA CGM SA and Hapag-Lloyd AG , as well as triggered moves to renew and expand their fleets.

“They are making bucketloads of money and when that happens, owners invest in new ships,” said Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at Denmark-based shipping trade body Bimco.

“Orders have doubled so far in 2021, nearly reaching the total tonnage ordered for all of last year. I won’t be surprised if there is another wave of ordering.”

The strong orders are in contrast with the past couple of years, when a long downturn in maritime trade left a dwindling backlog of orders at shipyards and forced some to consolidate.

Data from London-based shipping broker Braemar ACM Shipbroking show that in the first five months of this year, ships totaling capacity for about 2.6 million containers—measured in 20-foot equivalent units, a standard maritime measure—are on order, putting the business on track to surpass an annual record of 2.8 million containers’ worth of capacity ordered in all of 2007.

“It’s been our busiest period in years and it’s very much about container ships,” said a senior executive of South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. , the world’s biggest shipbuilding facility in terms of capacity. “The orders are mostly for bigger ships with all the extras to emit less, which is good for margins. We are almost out of slots to build new ships until late 2023.”

“I’ve never seen such demand in 20 years,” this executive said.

South Korea’s three big yards—Hyundai Heavy, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. and Samsung Heavy Industries Co. —account for more than a third of all shipbuilding orders for all types of vessels.

The other shipyards with big shares of global orders are China State Shipbuilding Corp., China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. and Japan’s Imabari Shipbuilding Co.

In the first five months of this year, 208 container ships worth $16.3 billion were added to the global order book, compared with 120 ships valued at $8.8 billion for all of last year and 114 vessels worth $6.9 billion in 2019, according to VesselsValue.

The South Korean shipyard executive said the boxship orders are mainly for vessels that can move around 14,500 containers and behemoths with a capacity of more than 20,000 boxes that are mainly deployed on Asia-Europe trade lanes.

An executive at one of China’s big state shipbuilders said owners of roughly two dozen ships are being asked to pay more if they want their vessels delivered because of rising steel prices.

“If the yards adhere to the original contract, they will be delivering the ships at a loss,” said this executive. “A big cargo ship needs around 25,000 to 30,000 tons of steel and that’s an additional $15 million on average from last year in terms of cost. There are at least 22 ships on order that are being renegotiated at big Asian yards.”

Steel can account for up to 30% of a vessel’s cost, depending on the type of ship. Tankers and dry-bulk movers need more steel than container ships. A very large crude carrier now costs around $100 million, up from $85 million last October.

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At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.

LFS keeps you updated with the latest news, if you need additional information about our freight shipping solutions, contact us or follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter.

For cargo insurance experts, please contact Skholl, our partner to avoid any freight damage.

By: The Wall Street Journal

June 9, 2021

SHIPPERS
SHIPPERS
Top Five Supply Chain Management Best Practices

According to SupplyChain:

1. IDENTIFY RISK

It is very beneficial for project managers or risk managers to carry out assessments of risk regularly. The events of Covid-19 have highlighted some key issues that supply chain leaders should become aware of as they plan for the future. There are various risks along the supply chain, especially for large logistics companies. Some of these include:

- Health and safety risks.

- Crime incidents involving transport vehicles.

- Regulation changes.

- Cybersecurity threats.

2. ACQUIRING SKILLS

As digital transformation becomes a critical focus for supply chains, companies aim to acquire more skills to manage sophisticated supply chain systems. Predictive operations systems are becoming more popular as the development of AI and machine learning manages menial tasks, which allows personnel to focus on the wider operations and procurement tasks. However, managing these systems requires new skills like any new system.

3. USING BIG DATA

Data analytics and business intelligence is a big trend in 2021. Many supply chains are moving towards big data usage, which is definitely important for keeping up with the industry. But only around half of supply chains are using technology to their advantage, despite them understanding its long-term benefits.

4. COMPETITION AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

Competition in the supply chain involves maintaining supplier relationships, understanding the need for fast operations and providing personnel with the equipment and skills to carry out their jobs. 

A particularly attractive financial strategy for supply chain companies in 2021 is cost reduction. As the use of big data widens, businesses can focus their attention on reducing production costs and tackling much-needed price negotiations.

5. COLLABORATION

Collaboration happens throughout every stage of the supply chain process, from sourcing and negotiations to product or service delivery. Providing the tools for personnel to collaborate will streamline each process. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is an excellent example of how a digital ecosystem can be used to monitor and collaborate in manufacturing and can even be used to manage robotics

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At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.

LFS keeps you updated with the latest news, if you need additional information about our freight shipping solutions, contact us or follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter.

For cargo insurance experts, please contact Skholl, our partner to avoid any freight damage.

By: SupplyChain

June 9, 2021

SHIPPERS
SHIPPERS
5 Tips To Navigate Sustainable Logistics

According to Forbes:

Last week I bought t-shirts and shoes from a well-known online fashion store in Europe. The very next day, I had three different tracking codes for my parcels which would be delivered on the same day, at different times. From a consumer perspective, it is impressive to see how fast big supply chains work. But from a sustainable logistics perspective, it seems more like our world is drowning in a sea of packaging waste and smothering the carbon emissions for the cost of rapid delivery.

Does it really have to be like this?

The answer is definitely not. Finding cost-effective sustainable solutions today is much easier for businesses compared to the past. Especially in the post-COVID-19 world where society became more conscious about the responsibility to the environment, we hear everyday news about corporations stepping in the game of being carbon neutral from design to operate. In this alignment, achieving sustainable logistics operations should and must not be an exception.

What practices can businesses apply to increase sustainability within logistics operations? Here are five tips to consider.

1. Harness data for end-to-end visibility

I don’t know if it is just me but whenever leave home for 5 minutes, the delivery guy will turn up in the same time slot! Are they hiding around the corner waiting for me to leave? Recently, I discovered one logistic provider that enables me to live-track the truck which carries my parcel and gives me the chance to change the delivery time up until the last hour. This helps the driver to plan the route to simultaneously lower last-mile carbon footprint, and eliminate a wasted trip, not to mention putting less stress on the customer.

Placing the data at the heart of supply chain operations enables businesses to work more efficiently and effectively. Improving freight collaboration, material, and goods tracking with an open logistics ecosystem connects business partners to manage logistics operations better by monitoring the transport methods in real-time and identifying the best alternatives. Also, businesses can eliminate the risk of empty milages by loading vehicles to optimum capacity, which is both environmental and profit-friendly.

2. Get closer to the customer with pop-up warehouses

Think about a quick win-win-win solution for businesses, consumers, and the environment at the same time. The answer is pop-up warehouses.

Last-mile delivery emissions associated with e-commerce are increasing, and logistics providers are under pressure to find ways to reduce the carbon footprint, which is one of the key measurements of truly sustainable supply chain logistics.

Setting up a pop-up warehouse brings the businesses closer to customers; which means it is an excellent way to reduce last-mile emissions. It helps businesses reduce delivery time and cost; as well as gives more flexibility to mitigate supply chain disruptions.

You can not only using the warehouses for storing inventory close to the demand but also combine on-site retail and pick-up point to cut down the shipping cost completely. Plus, considering the fact that the cost of renting a small warehouse is less than the shipping cost from centrally located facilities, it is a great way for businesses to optimize the supply chain operations while helping the environment.

3. Use alternative vehicle or fuel technologies

Looking out of my window, every day I see delivery vans driving to my neighborhood. Most of those delivery trucks use diesel as a fuel source since it is an affordable option. Not that gas engines are good for the environment, but compared to gas engines, diesel trucks increase the carbon footprint by exhausting %13 more CO2.

Using lower carbon fuels such as biofuel instead of fossil fuels, replacing the old trucks with eco-friendly vehicles would be the measures taken toward ecological and social sustainability goals. There is a wide range of eco-friendly solutions in the market which challenges traditional ways. Sea shipping, eco-friendly train solutions, hybrid or electric vehicles are available green alternatives.

Also, the emissions associated with the distribution facilities can be eliminated via clean energy-powered electricity, solar systems, and water recycling systems. One of the vertical farming companies, &ever, is helping the world minimizing the carbon footprint while producing sustainable and soil-free food. By changing the traditional way of farming, they use 85% less water and can grow 18 cycles a year instead of having 7 cycles a year. Protecting the planet and feeding the world in the most sustainable way possible can be the most profitable path if you take smart steps.

4. Optimize on-site resources, planning, and execution

Have you ever wondered how those huge containers are being carried and transported in between rail, ship, and trucks? What kind of truck is going to carry those pallets or boxes? How those containers will be moving to the next step and transported to the yard?

This is the point businesses use yard logistics to run smooth logistics operations with higher throughput and minimal environmental impact.

Yard logistics is part of the supply chain execution platform which businesses can use to strengthen the bridge between warehouse and transportation management. Efficiently planning the steps and activities in the yard helps to avoid long breaks or processing gaps in between the logistics operations; results in eliminating the waste, transport, and labor cost, and of course carbon emissions.

5. Utilize IoT for simple improvements

Did you know that driving on the highway at 80 kilometers per hour can save about 10 % of fuel? Eco-driving education is another significant way to reduce fuel consumption. It also minimizes the risk of possible damages to the driver, overall vessel, and products in it. As a part of the education, IoT and sensors can be used to monitor and collect the data on speed, fuel consumption, and breaking behavior of drivers.

Also, keeping tires at optimal pressure is an effective tool for keeping fuel consumption under control. With sensors mounted to the rim of the wheel, drivers can monitor the current tire pressure on the display. Using tire pressure sensors helps fuel consumption by up to 12 % at lower speeds, as well as extending the tire lifetime.

There are many ways to make businesses sustainable from design to operate: using sustainable materials, reducing waste, adopting clean energy resources, investing in eco-friendly technologies, and more. Implementing environmental friendly logistic solutions is one of the important building blocks of creating a sustainable supply chain in a journey to become carbon neutral.

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At LFS, we provide tailor-made logistics solutions to manufacturers, distributors, importers, and exporters across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are a 3PL company lead by a team of experts who will help you evolve your logistics through advanced technological platforms, providing you great efficiency, cost savings, and delivery speed in every shipment.

LFS keeps you updated with the latest news, if you need additional information about our freight shipping solutions, contact us or follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter.

For cargo insurance experts, please contact Skholl, our partner to avoid any freight damage.

By: Forbes

June 9, 2021