In this episode, we discuss the growth happening in freight and how to navigate it during peak season.
Few industries experienced such record-breaking growth like that of e-commerce in 2020. As the world came to terms with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, a general belief that the pandemic would end abruptly took root. Unfortunately, that was not the case. And as the virus continues to plague the world and results in increased demand for e-commerce shopping in the upcoming holiday shopping season, time moves forward. Now, shippers, carriers, freight forwarders, and freight brokers are all turning their eyes to the next event, the peak shopping season. At the same time, e-commerce growth is almost unsustainable, leading to a massive strain on freight capacity, and navigating freight growth amid peak season planning is going to be challenging at best. As a result, supply chain leaders need to understand a few things about how to get through this unusual situation.
Editor’s Note: Today’s blog comes from our friends at Barrington Freight where they give us a glimpse as to what the next 10 years will look like for automation in the freight industry.
Autonomy and artificial intelligence are two of the hottest tech ideas being integrated into modern industries. And the freight industry is no exception to that rule. New technologies are being experimented with and tested all of the time and the worry for many people in the industry is that, sometime soon, human intervention won’t be necessary at all. As freight and logistics solutions are getting smarter, it begs the question as to what will become of the automated freight industry in the next ten years.
One of the biggest pieces of freight news that most people recognize is automated freight trucks. While the testing of these automated trucks has already been given the go ahead, there is a lot of concern around what this technology could mean for the 1.7 million truckers in America. For the company owners, however, self-driving trucks could massively cut down on costs, which means that more profit can be put towards improving other operations and developing on already existing technology to enhance its capabilities. However, it may still be some time until this technology is actually put to use as tests are still in the very early stages. Some professionals have predicted that it will take 30 to 40 years until self-driving trucks to brought into operations, and even longer for them to replace drivers completely, if ever.
While automated ports might be cutting down on jobs, they are potentially saving lives and increasing the efficiency of operations tenfold. Gantry cranes, transport vehicles and stacking cranes can be operated all by software, which means that a number of errors can be reduced and human workers need not be present in more dangerous areas of the port where goods are being loaded and unloaded. Typically, gantry cranes which pick up containers from the ships that carry them require a person present to unlock the container before it can be picked up. However, many ports have started to use equipment that can be automatically locked and unlocked, which means that no employees need to put themselves at risk by climbing the containers and getting in the way of the crane.
The port of Rotterdam, in particular, is a great example of an almost fully automated port which is almost completely run by software. Rotterdam is a huge port with almost 450 million tons passing through it per year and with software running the show they have a more consistent pace for loading and unloading and regular errors have reduced significantly.
Drones are being used for everything these days and the possibilities of their capabilities are being explored all over the board, including air freight. Two Swiss companies, in particular, are experimenting with drones for air freight solutions. Swiss Post and Swiss WorldCargo are expecting to use drones to deliver to more remote locations that can’t be accessed by road. While these types of drones won’t be able to deliver around the world, local delivery seems more than feasible. The online retailer Amazon has been conducting similar experiments with drones, although they expect to replace a significant portion of their logistics services with drones. As well as delivering to remote locations, they expect to use drones for fast-track delivery.
Time will only tell how successful these new technologies will be and while they all seem very impressive in their development stages, there is a lot of work left to be done before we start seeing drones knocking on front doors and human-free ports. Until that time most freight forwarders are finding the most up-to-date technologies to help customers find the most efficient and cost effective means of transporting their goods.
Cerasis Inc., announces that their “Essential Guide to Freight Claims Management” Webinar is now open for registrations by shippers of all sizes. Cerasis will present educational material covering all things freight claims on June 6th, 2017 at 10 AM CST.
Register for this webinar by visiting this link here: https://goo.gl/BwLKFl
The Latin phrase “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est” may be the most quoted maxim of our information age—Knowledge is Power.
One unsung area where properly applied knowledge yields power is comprehensive freight claims management. An old joke asks, “What’s the easiest way to be a millionaire?” The answer: “First, get a million dollars.” So what’s the easiest way to manage your claims? First, get knowledge.
The Cerasis freight claims management team instructs shippers on how to first understand freight claims, damage, & loss and then files the freight claim on the shippers’ behalves, following up with both carriers and shippers until the claim is satisfied. In fact, all of our freight claims managers, are certified through the Institute of Logistical Management by passing their extensive freight claims course.
In this 60 to 75 minute freight claims webinar, attendees will come away learning the following information:
This educational webinar is perfect for North American shippers who are interested in either managing freight claims better or looking to an outsourced provider to drive value in the area of freight management and take the entire burden of freight claims off their shoulders.
Again, you may register at https://goo.gl/BwLKFl.
As most professionals in the freight business are already aware, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been implementing a Unified Registration System (URS) since 2015. It was bound to enact the second phase of the new system this September, but the deadline has been postponed.
The idea behind the URS is to unify all data about the entities whose activities are regulated by the FMCSA. In this way, the registration process for businesses would get easier and smoother.
The first stage of rolling out the URS was already executed in December 2015. Since then, all new registrations are conducted via the new system. The second phase was supposed to be launched in September 2016, but instead will start in 2017.
Let’s look at the details behind the URS and why the change of deadlines is taking place.
The purpose of the Unified Registration System is to replace the requirement for obtaining an MC, FF and USDOT number with a single registration system for all types of licenses issued by the FMCSA.
The move towards the new system came largely as an answer to the dissatisfaction of businesses who found the old process unnecessarily burdensome. Applications will no longer be accepted in paper form, as the whole application process will be moved online. By having a single place with all relevant data, the FMCSA will have a better overview and control over licensees. The old system was in place for 18 years.
More than 20 different registration system will be combined in the new URS. To make the transition process smoother, the FMCSA has decided to split it into three phases – for new applicants, for current licensees and for private and exempt carriers.
The first phase of the URS was enacted at the end of 2015. As of December 12, all new applicants have applied for a URS number instead of the old options for registration.
In the next 10 years, the new system is expected to bring savings of more than $9 million for the freight industry.
As for existing licensees already in business, the second phase of the URS was supposed to be rolled out on September 30, 2016.
However, since the change that the FMCSA needs to enact is significant and the information that needs to be processed is enormous, it will be postponed for January 14, 2017. The date for the second phase has already been postponed a few times because of these reasons.
This means that freight brokers, carriers and forwarders who are currently in operation have a few more months to prepare for the change. According to the FMCSA, only 16% of applications are submitted on paper. For freight professionals who are among these applicants, this gives enough time to adapt to the new rules and potentially look for a third party processing agent to assist you in the process.
The third phase will be rolled out as of April 14, 2017, which affects private and exempt carriers.
The URS is designed to make the licensing and controlling processes conducted by the FMCSA easier and lighter for freight businesses. It will decrease the volume of paperwork that licensees need to take care of, which means less administrative burden. Processing errors should also be reduced as a result of the new system.
It is not yet clear whether there will be other changes for current freight brokers, carriers and forwarders. The licensing fee of $300 might be increased, as has been suggested by the FMCSA. However, the freight broker surety bond requirement is likely to remain at $75,000, as it was increased from $10,000 back in 2013.
What are your thoughts on FMCSA’s new Unified Registration System? If you are already using it, what are your impressions? Please share your insights in the comments below.
Todd Bryant is the president and founder of Bryant Surety Bonds. He is a surety bonds expert with years of experience in helping freight brokers get bonded and start their business.
From cloud-based systems to transportation management, the state of the logistics industry is evolving to expand an increasing number of services. Meanwhile, the overall capacity of shipments is climbing higher, reports Jeff Berman of Logistics Management, and the driver shortage is becoming more essential as full truckload shipments decrease. Although an initial view of the logistics and freight industry seems stale, it represents how the flow of goods and services are sprouting and delivering more with fewer resources. Take a look at some of the most compelling factors that are playing into the current state of the industry.
Moving as much product as possible is critical to continued growth in the industry. However, recent years have seen more shippers turn to less-than-truckload (LTL) and freight consolidation with full truckload (FT) to reduce the number of trucks on the road. Many of these trends were in response to unforeseen surges in fuel costs and regulatory fees, but lower fuel charges over the last year have helped to reduce the urgency to avoid FTs at all costs. Instead, today’s shippers have found the overall savings can be achieved through a renewed focus on using LTL and freight consolidation to enhance the amount of product moving to diverse places.
It would seem as though all FTs are being eliminated, yet this is simply not true. FTs continue to make up a vital part of the industry, especially for shippers who need to move large volumes of product across vast distances. The key to understanding this symbiotic relationship lies in how the behaviors of today’s consumers. As more customers order more products online and through omni-channel solutions, the need to reach a wider market will subsequently increase. However, each customer or retailer may not be able to justify the costs of purchasing a FT of a shipment, which would leave the original seller with a loss. Therefore, the sellers must keep their minds open to how competition among shippers can help the industry grow, even if it is minimal when compared to the records of the past.
Competition is a healthy part of any industry. It enables the production to keep prices low by making each entity accountable to the end users. With the expansion of the industry in the past few decades, especially during times of record-breaking growth, as explained by the 2016 Third-Party Logistics Study, more third-party logistics providers (3PLs) have risen.
Emerging markets are driving shippers to consider the political, environmental and consumer-driven demands of new areas. Unfortunately, the focus of shippers has shifted away from any 3PL to the best 3PL. So, the conversation needs to turn toward another aspect of how 3PLs influence the state of the logistics and freight economy, digitization.
We know Big Data and analytics are game-changers, asserts Russel Reynolds Associates, but what are they actually changing? Some common benefits include:
Major players have used These technologies for years. However, it was not until cloud-computing capabilities dawned that smaller entities could actually influence the market. In other words, smaller players in the market mean larger entities need to focus more on how to squeeze greater profits out a stretched operation. The answer to the problem was already in work when 3PLs began to ponder the ideas of value-added services (4PLs).
Unfortunately, value-added services are something that cannot simply be instilled without work. They involve the use of low-energy, connected devices, which are then paired with the technologies of the Internet of Things, and radio frequency identification (RFID) measures to gain greater visibility, which helps the supply chain learn how to adapt in real time. As a result, supply chain entities can eliminate any fat to reach an unparalleled level of lean and agile processes. Unfortunately, the problem with much of today’s supply chain rests on traditional operations.
When executives in the supply chain were reviewed for capability in the digital supply chain, most respondents fell short. Either they did not understand how their operation was involved in a digital process, or they were incapable of discerning what digitization means. Therefore, the role of the 3PL is starting to encompass teacher and trainer, as well as provider. This will only serve to help the current state of the industry continue on a slow path toward growth. However, the issue of drivers’ needs must also be considered in today’s supply chain.
The supply chain of 2016 is not completely operated by robots (at least not yet). So, the biggest question about the state of the industry needs to think about who is getting products from A to B—drivers.
The driver shortage is evident, but the actual number of driver positions is climbing. Shippers are dealing with lost costs on 75 out of 500 trucks without an adequate number of drivers. Having the fleet in place is one step, but how do today’s shippers entice the drivers to come back? Like many occupations, it goes back to satisfaction, appreciation and time.
Shippers are doubling down on efforts to make hauls shorter, which is catalyzing a stronger push toward LTL and intermodal shipping options. Since the number of options has increased, even though capacity while at work has not really changed, more shippers are turning to 3PLs to realize their full potential. For those entities who do work with 3PLs, approximately 93 percent of shippers-client partnerships are reported to be “successful.”
By reducing overall logistics’ costs, supply chain entities can devote more time and resources to creating a driver-conducive environment, which may include shorter drive-times, less time spent waiting on shipments and less stress on the operation. As a result, drivers will be more likely to stay with their current employers throughout 2016.
Think about another aspect of the driver shortage. 47 percent of all workers in the U.S. are female, and only 6 percent of trucks drivers are female. Meanwhile, the average age of today’s truck driver is 47. In less than 20 years, the average truck driver will be retiring. As a result, the need for more drivers is only growing more prevalent. Today’s shippers will need to start making millennials and second-career-goers see how beneficial a career in trucking can be. In other words, a small investment in diversifying truck drivers’ “load-scape” today could be the push the industry to meet the demands of the future.
The logistics and freight industries of 2016 seem stale, but it is actually within the margin of error of record-breaking patterns in the past. The industry is experiencing growing pains, but even with trouble, growth is still occurring. The logistics and freight economy is evolving to include more factors than imaginable, and 3PLs are leading the charge to reclaim a better, more productive logistics and freight industry. By understanding the four major factors that are impacting the current state of the industry, supply chain executives and thought panels will be able to see what focuses can lead to stronger growth in the coming years.
Editor’s Note: This is a blog from our friends at market-inspector.co.uk. They are a unique service where you can compare quotes and offers from a range of different suppliers for your office. We, at Cerasis, thought this would be a fantastic time to talk about something important to all of us in the freight world: Shipping containers. More specifically, how to recycle and reuse them.
Shipping containers are increasingly being re-purposed to build many different structures around the globe. Sending empty shipping containers back to their ports of origin is costly when compared to the cost of the container itself, meaning many shipyards are filled with homeless containers.
Two types of containers are available for purchase. The first being worn-out containers that have been retired by shipping companies. These are the most affordable option. The second type of containers available are one trip containers that were only used for a single journey. These containers are often in excellent condition and are the more expensive option.
Where to buy your container? Shipping containers can be purchased from warehouses, port terminals, or even eBay and Craigslist! An important note! Before going ahead with your project, ensure there are no container building restrictions in your area.
Shipping containers are increasingly being used to build a large variety of structures around the globe. The recycling of cargo containers is the perfect way to reuse materials while building beautiful and unique structures.
Shipping container construction is the ideal way to give all the lonely containers at port terminals another chance!
Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog from our friend Vic Lance. Vic is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates. In this post, Vic discusses the roundtable that the FMCSA plans on having later this month to discuss the BMC-85 trust fund and what it means to freight brokers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is organizing a Broker and Freight Forwarder Financial Responsibility Roundtable on May 20 to discuss BMC-85 trust funds, used by freight brokers and forwarders. It seeks feedback on these practices due to some recent complaints. The biggest issue with trust funds, as it appears now, relates to the procedures in case of brokers’ financial failures. The BMC-85 trust fund is one of the options for freight brokers and forwarders to meet the $75,000 financial guarantee requirement set by the FMCSA during the licensing process. The other way to comply with the rule and obtain their operating authority is to post a BMC-84, namely, a freight broker surety bond.
The FMCSA is collecting information from shippers and motor carriers about any difficulties they have met when making claims against freight brokers and forwarders. The point is to understand whether the interests of the parties that need to be protected by the BMC-85 trust fund are, in fact, actually safeguarded.
This initiative comes after many complaints related to BMC-85 trust fund providers have been filed with the FMCSA. The Administration also had to provide help to claimants who wanted to launch a procedure against brokers and forwarders with financial problems.
Due to these occurrences, the FMCSA wants to ensure that the financial instruments are working well and that freight brokers are solvent so that they can cover their financial obligations to fleets and owner-operators.
To address these pressing issues, the FMCSA is seeking feedback on a few core issues. It is collecting information if any BMC-85 trust fund operators have consistently failed to consider claims made by shippers and motor carriers.
The second point of concern is the type of assets that BMC-85 trust funds require to hold. The FMCSA is also looking to understand what is considered as the best composition of assets for these funds – solely cash or a combination with other liquid financial instruments.
A few questions are concentrating on the regulation of BMC-85 trust funds as well. The FMCSA wants to understand whether other authorities regulate trust fund filers and whether freight brokers and forwarders should be required to showcase the solvency of the trust funds they choose.
Last but not least, the FMCSA would like to get input from all interested parties what actions it can take to make the claims process smoother and to tackle issues with trust funds solvency. The goal is to ensure that shippers and carriers who are making legitimate claims against a trust fund can collect their legal reimbursement with ease.
The Administration underlined that the talks will not focus on any increases to the financial responsibility limits, currently set at $75,000 since 2013. Thus, brokers and forwarders should not worry about their requirements, but there might be changes for the financial institutions providing the trust funds.
The roundtable will take place on Friday. May 20 from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. The session is open to the general public and will be held at the Media Center of the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.
In 2013, the FMCSA introduced a higher requirement for the financial guarantee that freight brokers have to provide as a part of their licensing process. Earlier, the amount was $10,000, which was then increased to $75,000 in the form of either a BMC-85 trust fund or a BMC-84 freight broker bond.
The main difference between the two options relates to the initial investment that brokers and forwarders have to make to satisfy the FMCSA requirement. In the case of BMC-85 trust funds, the whole amount needs to be provided upfront and should stay in the fund for the duration of the license. As for BMC-84 surety bonds, brokers need to pay only a few percentages of the sum and renew their bonds annually. Their surety then guarantees that they can provide compensation up to $75,000 if a claim against them gets proven.
The purpose of both the BMC-84 and BMC-85 is to protect shippers and carriers from fraudulent activities or financial failures by freight brokers and forwarders.
Individuals who are interested in sharing their opinion on the topic but would not be able to attend the roundtable physically can submit their comments to the FMCSA online.
What is your experience with BMC-85 trust funds? Do you see a reason for the FMCSA to introduce changes for it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Happy New Year! Since today is the last day of the year before we all get ramped up towards a productive 2016 and after finishing out top 10 most read articles in each of our five main categories (Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Logistics, Transportation, & Freight) we wanted to give you all a treat and list the top 50 most read articles of all time from the Cerasis blog.
When I hit publish on today’s blog, we will have published 659 blog posts on the Cerasis blog, with our very first blog post coming nearly 3 years ago to the day.
If you are a regular reader (or heck even if you are not) what you will see from our blog is a focus on education. This is in part due to the fact that as a third party logistics company, focused on efficient and strategic transportation management solutions through technology and services, it is vital for us to educate our shipper customers and our team in order to continually improve and always provide value.
We have also featured on our blog over 90 guest bloggers featuring voices from experts in all of the five main categories who have talked about such subjects as the Skills Gap, Reshoring, Technology, Innovation, STEM, the Maker Movement, Lean Manufacturing and Supply Chain, the Internet of Things, and much much more. I encourage you to use the search bar to the right or the blog category picker to explore many topics in depth. If you yourself would love to contribute your thoughts to our blog, feel free to contact us with an idea.
We have also now published an e-book, put out several white papers, and held several webinars. By clicking on the respective links, you can access this information as well.
We will feature the 50 most read articles of all time from the Cerasis blog by covering the 50th most read counting down to the most read blog of all time. We will simply list the blog title with a hyperlink for easy access. These 50 articles truly cover the gamut of our categories, but what is clear is that people love Infographics and they love trends.
Without any more words or ado, here are the 50 most read articles from the Cerasis blog of all time!
We hope you enjoy and continue to enjoy our blog posts and articles! From everyone at Cerasis to our customers and the manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, transportation, and freight community, Happy New Year!
We conclude our “Most Popular” Blog posts series, where we have been giving you the most viewed blog posts in 2014 from our main content categories. We first featured the most popular manufacturing blog posts followed by the top Supply Chain blog posts, then logistics, transportation, business, 3PL, and then finally we round out our series today featuring the most popular blog posts focused on freight and freight management.
2014 was surely a fun year of content on the Cerasis blog. We not only had over 200 blog posts, but we featured voices from all around the industry by having over 45 guest bloggers. This variety of voices gives us the best and brightest around all of these industries in a collective effort to provide value and education to the Cerasis blog readers. Now, why do we blog? In part, we do it to gain business, build our SEO equity, and show our thought leadership and expertise in transportation management and logistics. However, as we’ve built out our content over the last 21 months, we’ve also gained a passion for all of these subjects. Eventually, we’d love Cerasis to be a provider of not only excellent content, but one day a forum for all to contribute and engage around these subjects which are all related to the supply chain. We figure, if we give value to these categories, it’s an extension of our core values of continous improvement of not only our own company, but improvement for our shipper customers.
We thank you for being a part of or reading any of our posts on the Cerasis blog. Look out for great stuff in 2015! Happy New Year and we hope you enjoy!
Freight is something very near and dear to us at Cerasis. It’s the precious goods, the supplies, or a customer’s new order wrapped in shrink wrap and on a pallet which then needs a carrier to pick it up and deliver the goods. Most all of the things we have in our lives that we own came to us on a pallet, as freight, on a truck. We help manage transportation for our shipper customers, and freight is the materials they need to make products that they then ship to their customers. It’s a lot of work to effectively manage freight and that is evident as readers gobbled up posts around freight claims, freight shipment processing by understanding the documentation and how to class your freight so you can get a freight rate. Readers also wanted to know and make sure they were working with reputable freight brokers. Also of great interest were posts around freight accounting and naturally, how to reduce costs related to freight. Without further ado, here are the top 12 Most Popular blog posts in the freight category for 2014:
What in freight would you be interested in reading? Or would you like to be featured as a guest blogger? Then let us know in the comments below!
To subscribe to our blog, enter your email address below and stay on top of things. We'll email you with a confirmation of your subscription.
Send this to friend