If 2015 could be summarized in a word, that word would be “uberification” as the on-demand delivery model really took off. Many industries have been affected by uberification, with several entrepreneurial ventures popping up this last year with their pitch being “Uber, but for X”. Given that uberification is focused strictly on the distribution and not necessarily production of goods, this means that this latest trend will have the greatest impact on the last-mile end of the supply chain.

To kick off our first ebook of the year, let us look at a bit of the history of this trend and why it has evolved so suddenly!

eBook – Uberification and Its Impact on Logistics

Click the Cover Image below to access our ebook!

morai-logistics-blog-uberification

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

With the rapidly changing environment of the logistics and supply chain industry, it has been a busy one for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the third-party logistics sphere. There is a lot of pressure for 3rd party logistics providers to expand their services; customers and clients are now looking more and more for a one-stop solution for all of their logistics and supply chain needs. Combine this with a need to drive scale in specific markets and a desire to go global for rapidly growing companies and you’ve got a recipe for a healthy M&A environment.

This month we thought we’d focus on exploring how these concepts are affecting 3PLs and compiled the most insightful facts we could find!

9 Facts Looking at the Trend of Mergers and Acquisitions in Third-Party Logistics

morai-logistics-infographic-9-facts-looking-at-mergers-and-acquisitions-in-3pls

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

Morai-Logistics-Blog-3D-Printing

Last week, Frost & Sullivan published the 2015 Supply Chain Foresight report which analyzed key megatrends impacting (or predicted to impact) industry stakeholders. More importantly, the survey
A key point of the survey was that the findings were based on how the industry leaders who participated felt about the impact (or possibility of impact) the emerging megatrends would have on their supply chains, businesses and industries.

3D/4D printing and copying was given a low ranking, whereas technology innovation, the rise of African and Asian economies, device connectivity and big data, e-commerce and robotics were cited as the most pressing megatrends.

In our view, the assessment and ranking of the emerging megatrends by the study’s participants isn’t incorrect. However, we feel that it lacks some imagination and that the full implications of this technology is not being fully appreciated from a supply chain and logistics perspective.

3D/4D Printing’s Effect on Manufacturing & Transportation

One of the many appeals of the potential of 3D/4D printing as a technology is that if it were to continue its drop in price, it would then be financially feasible to incorporate into a manufacturing facility in mass. Such an action could effectively localize the entire production process, affecting the transportation and manufacturing sectors in profound ways.

“While manufacturers benefit from the operational efficiencies 3D printing can bring, transportation providers may take a revenue hit if they aren’t fully prepared. Global commercial transportation lanes are particularly at risk since more products will be manufactured locally. A recent analysis found that as much as 41 percent of air cargo business and 37 percent of ocean container business may be affected. About 25 percent of over-the-road (OTR) trucking business is also at risk, due to the potential reduction in goods that start as air cargo or as containers on ships” says an article from Load Delivered (quoting statistics from Strategy&).

3D/4D Printing as it is today

Although it is likely that it’ll be several years before the potential for 3D/4D printing to be fully realized, the technology has however resulted in logistical innovations.
The militaries of Britain, America, and China have already started using 3D printing on the field to replace equipment parts, and to print out surgical instruments and protective masks directly in war zones.

NASA has also experimented with 3D printing as an economical alternative to sending tools and spare parts into space to fix delicate equipment. Rather than using the limited space in a shuttle to transport a wrench to use on the International Space Station, NASA can simply email and print the wench on the station itself.

Other Implications of 3D Printing

The problem with trying to list all the ways that this technology will affect the supply side logistics industry is that the far reaching implications, consequences, and innovations it affords is mostly uncharted territory as there’s nothing like it. It’s ability to collapse the space of manufacturing and transportation of goods is similar to the automobile and will potentially have just as great as an impact on the industry overall.

As mentioned, although the far reaching implications of this technology is murky at best, there are some implications that are generally agreed upon . According to an article on Manufacturing Global Magazine, they are the following:

  • Easier prototyping
  • Easier customisation
  • Greater creativity and efficiency
  • Improved consistency
  • Reduced lead times
  • Lower prices

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

In recent years, the growing trend with many U.S. companies has been to relocate some or even all of their off-shore production back to North America. China no longer holds the sway that it used to, but countries such as Mexico are quickly becoming the much more attractive option. Here are 12 reasons why you should consider near shoring in Mexico.

The Right Time to Consider Nearshoring Strategies to Mexico

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As foreign investment in China stalls, Mexico’s foreign investment continues to grow. As a result, demand for facilities and land is beginning to drive up. Thus, the best time to invest in Mexico for your manufacturing or sourcing potential for your organization is now.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

Morai-Logistics-Blog-Canada-Rail

On the 20th of February, Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt revealed The Safe and Accountable Rail Act which proposes amendments to the Canada Transportation Act and Railway Safety Act. The Act, which is a response to the Lac-Mégantic disaster in 2013, will make railways and crude oil shippers responsible for the cost of accidents said Raitt.

Along with other previously introduced rail safety requirements, this new act will introduce the following:

  • Railways moving large volumes of crude oil will now be required to carry insurance of up to $1 billion to cover the costs of a potential accident.
  • Oil companies shipping their product in railway cars, meanwhile, will now face a levy of $1.65 for every tonne of crude shipped roughly 23¢ per barrel.
  • The Act will bring in minimum insurance requirements for railway crude oil shippers using federally regulated railways, from $25 million for carriers of minimally dangerous goods to $1 billion for substantial quantities of them.
  • Two new liability insurance levels — $100 million and $250 million — will be phased in during the two years after the bill receives royal assent. Companies will be required to come up with half that amount in the first year and the full amount the year after that.
  • Companies that ship crude oil will also have to pay a fee per tonne shipped that will go into a $250-million backup fund to cover costs above what their insurance covers if they’re involved in an accident involving crude oil.

Too Much or Too Little?

Although the reaction to the announcement of the Act has been mostly positive by the Canadian press, it hasn’t been without some controversy.

An article in the Financial Post quoted Greg Stringham, of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’
vice-president of oilsands and markets, who expressed some concerns.

In today’s price environment, every little bit affects the economics. Crude oil prices have plunged more than 50% since June, causing many producers to cut spending.

Mr. Stringham said about 200,000 barrels of oil were moving by rail in Canada every day at the end of 2014. He continued by saying that oil and gas producers don’t know whether additional costs from the new insurance burden will cause oil-by-rail movements to become more expensive for producers.

Looking at the comments section of the articles covering this story, it’s easy to see that there is also the other side who feel that the newly proposed Act can isn’t being taken far enough. It seems that this sentiment stems from the recent Canadian Pacific Railway strike which ended just before employees would’ve been legislated back to work.

In a Maclean’s article, NDP Labour critic Alexandre Boulerice condemned the government for taking quick action against the workers when it was revealed that that there was a legislation being poised in end the strike. “It will put public safety at risk, since the problem of long hours and fatigue among those conductors will not be resolved,” he said at the time

A Problem With No Clear Solution

The growing number of train derailments has to do with the growing volumes of oil being shipped. This is a trend and problem for both Canada and the U.S. There’ve been different long-term solutions that have been recommended, but for now, let’s hope that the new Safe and Accountable Rail Act shows some promise in curbing this deadly trend.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

Morai-Logistics-Blog-Intermodal-ThreatsLast week, the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) reported in its most recent edition of the Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report, a strong full-year and fourth quarter 2014 performance for intermodal volumes despite harsh weather conditions, and continuing intermodal congestion.

An article from Logistics Management by Jeff Berman on the report noted that:

Total 2014 intermodal volume—at 16,276,892 containers and trailers––saw a 4.8 percent annual increase compared to 2013. Domestic containers—at 6,444,532—were up 5.7 percent, and international containers—at 8,166,010—were up 4.4 percent. All domestic equipment at 8,110,882—was up 5.1 percent, and trailers rose 2.9 percent to 1,666,350.

For the fourth quarter, total volume—at 4,111,401—was up 3.0 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. Domestic containers were up 5.1 percent at 1,672,332, and international containers—at 2,011,754—were up 2.1 percent en route to leading all intermodal segments for the fourth year in a row and seven of the last eight years. Trailers eked out a 0.1 percent gain at 427,315, and all domestic equipment was up 4.0 percent at 2,099,647.

Based on IANA data, the report observed that 2014 marked the first time in three years that international, domestic containers, and trailers each saw annual gains, while showing the strongest overall intermodal growth since 2011. What’s more, international volume posted its largest annual increase since the economy was emerging from the depths of the recession in 2010, with the 4.4 percent annual growth rate almost double the previous three years, while total international volume was only 4 percent below 2006’s pre-recession peak. And 2014 trailer volume saw its first annual gain in three years, while seeing a 35 percent total decline in the past decade.

IANA President and CEO Joni Casey commented on the findings: “For the first time in four years, international, domestic container, and trailer market segments all posted year-over-year growth. And volume gains were widespread geographically, with eight out of nine regions recording increases during 2014.” IANA officials also suggested that the reason international growth exceeded expectations in the fourth quarter, was because of “stronger than expected container imports.”

Casey added that considering that the overall volume growth rate of 4.8 percent was above 2013, as well as higher than in 2012, 2014 intermodal industry performance modestly exceeded expectations.

The Skies Aren’t All Clear Yet

Although the findings in the report are very encouraging, an article written by Mark Szakonvi on JOC argues that caution is required going forward.

In particular, he noted that a number of threats from the reappearance of brutal weather conditions seen last year, to a West Coast port lockout could quickly derail the rail industry’s gains.

“The railroads aren’t out of the woods yet. Although the waterfront employers said on Jan. 26 that it had reached a tentative agreement on chassis maintenance and repair with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union— a major roadblock to a labor contract — there is still concern of a terminal lockout by employers. If that were to happen, BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad, the two major U.S. Western railroads, would no longer accept marine container terminals. Analysts differ on the severity an embargo of international intermodal traffic would have on rail service, but they agree it would be negative.”

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

We hope everyone has had a great holiday and we would like to wish all of our readers a Happy New Year! To kick off the year, we have finished compiling our infographic on the top logistics and supply chain facts from the news that we’ve collected throughout last year. As there is a large number of news items spanning the many large topics in the logistics industry, we decided to create our Top 10 by focusing on categories:

  1. Drones
  2. Same-Day Deliver
  3. Supplier Diversity and Women
  4. Sustainability
  5. RFID
  6. World Bank Institute’s Private Sector Platform
  7. Automation
  8. Online Retail
  9. Truck Driver Shortage
  10. Logistics Slow Growth

Each of these topics have some pretty interesting facts and statistics that may have been missed in the hustle and bustle of fellow logistics professionals and enthusiasts. And while we haven’t covered all of the interesting facts from 2014; we felt that these topics helped changes the face of the logistics and supply chain industry in 2014 and serves a good snippet to review the year.

Top 10 Logistics and Supply Chain Facts of 2014

Morai-Logistcs-Top-10-Logistics-and-Supply-Chain-Facts-of-2014

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

Morai-Logistics-Blog-Reverse-Supply-ChainWith the hustle and bustle of the holiday season come and gone, many people are now returning to their normal work and home life. That is, if you in any fields that are not retail or logistics.

After the holiday season, and especially after Christmas, many shipping services, retailers, e-retailers, and 3PLs get inundated by deluge of unwanted or ill-fitting gifts that need to be returned to their retailer of origin in a process called reverse logistics.

By simply looking at some facts and figures from this Wall Street Journal article, it is clear that the post-holiday time presents major opportunities for many 3PLs, especially those with a specialization in reverse logistics.

  • 20 % of returns happen during the holiday season
  • The U.S Postal Service reported handling 3.2 million returns last year during the two weeks following Christmas
  • Returns policies are critical in driving purchase decisions. In a recent survey of 5,800 U.S. online shoppers, 82% said they were more likely to complete purchases if free returns via a prepaid shipping label or an in-store option were offered, according to comScore Inc., a data-tracking firm that conducted the study for UPS
  • About 66% of consumers now review a retailers’ return policy before making a purchase

The opportunities inherent in reverse logistics, stems from the current e-commerce boom. As demand for online shopping grows, so the does the percentage of customers dissatisfied with their purchases. A large number of retailers and e-commerce companies are ill equipped with the growing number of returns (which is up 15% from the holiday season only two years ago).

With reverse logistical networks being an inherent part of many 3PLs to varying degrees, it makes sense that they be the natural choice for providing the service for other businesses. In fact, the necessity to switch toward more customer-centric strategies (such reducing lead times, improving planning, improving fulfillment, and improving post-sales/returns capabilities) is the focus of an article on MarketWatch.

It is in this same spirit of reverse logistical capitalization that FedEx recently announced its forthcoming acquisition of GENCO, a leading third-party logistics provider in North America that specializes in end-to-end reverse logistics.

Through GENCO’s leadership position in reverse logistics, FedEx will be able to expand its North American presence in the e-commerce market as GENCO’s reverse logistics customer base includes some of the top companies in the technology, retail, and healthcare industries in North America.

An article in SupplyChain Management Review has very interesting information concerning best practice for reverse logistics when it quotes Gary Cullen, chief operating officer of 4PRL LLC:

“A growing trend of being “cheaper and nearer” seems to fit well within the cost sensitive and eco conscious reverse logistics chain of events.

Much efficiency can be found in near-sourcing third party service providers (3PSP) who specialize in the services of redeployment, repair, reuse, recycling, reclamation and resale. This appears to be a successful business model in today’s fuel conscious and green minded environment.

A closer country allows for use of cheaper modes of transportation as well as less overall time and movement.”

Efficiency and response time are the key terms to take away when discussing reverse logistics as the problem of potential value loss arises if items are delayed for too long, especially when it involves fashion items.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

2015_new_yearIf you were reading Forbes’ website last week, then you would’ve come across an interesting article concerning predicted trends for the logistics industry in 2015. Sarwant Singh, a Senior Partner in Frost & Sullivan lists a total of 15 likely trends to occur in 2015 with common threads between all of them being Information & Communication technology providing new avenues for production, solutions, and business models; and societal trends transforming the corporate, market, and personal landscapes.

The entire article is excellent and is a must read for anyone curious about the opportunities afforded by the evolving logistics industry. For this blog post, I would like to focus on three key trends listed in the article as, in my opinion; are the biggest deviations from the status quo in the logistics industry.

Moving toward Zero Latency

The world will prepare itself for faster processing speeds and faster response times. The next few years will see a move toward zero latency and human unnoticeable delays providing real-time experiences. This will increasingly be embedded into workflows and other processes.

The collapse in latency times in just the last few years has been astounding. The old expectation of same month delivery from traditional post service evolved to same week. This year saw same-day delivery become the standard for e-commerce companies such as Ebay, Amazon and even Google. However, even this hasn’t been quick enough with Amazon’s same-hour delivery service for its Prime members which it revealed last week.

The move toward zero latency is not only a massive drive for innovation in the logistics industry (such as Amazon’s delivery drones and DHL’s massive pledge of investment into creating more efficient supply chain networks in China), but also a key way in how many supply-side companies are marketing themselves to customers.

Transparency is the New Green

Increasingly pervasive analytics and collaborative platforms would make data and processes more transparent than ever before. Governments, corporations, organizations, communities, supply chains and even individuals will be more accountable and liable for policies, decisions and strategies.

Customer interactions with businesses of years past were very binary for the most part. A customer wanted or required a product, and a business provided it wholly formed. Questions such as where it came from, how it came to be weren’t asked and businesses weren’t forthcoming with the answers. The logistics industry was no different as the levels of supplier tiers, volume of oversee transactions, and technological limitations complicated the matter further for many companies in the industry.

The change in philosophy has been swift and pervasive in the last few years as large international companies such as Starbucks, Levi’s, and even McDonald’s and Amazon have embraced more open business models.

Our post last week focused on this trend, but suffice to say, greater transparency in the industry is good all-around as it offers customers more information, accountability, and ultimately better choices.

Women Focused Strategies

As the policymakers debate and implement policies increasing quota for women in boardrooms in 2015, we will see a lot more women focused strategies across companies in different sectors.

The industry of logistics has long been a “Gentleman’s Club”. As outlined in the Morai Logistics Infographic focusing on women in the logistics industry, compared to other industries women still have some room to catch up at all levels in the logistics and supply chain industry.

However, not only have more women been getting into the industry, but women focused strategies overall has been on the rise.

In a past article we wrote about how companies are realizing the benefits of supplier diversity go beyond the “social good.” We are now at an age where companies are starting to find that supplier diversity programs can be fiscally beneficial through ROI, and lead to bridge-building into the untapped force that is women-owned businesses.

All-in-all, 2015 will be an exciting year for the logistics industry.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Last week, the Association of American Railroads reported that Mexican intermodal volume reached a high that has not been seen in the last two years. More and more, Mexican shippers have been turning to rail in order to move their goods. In fact, Journal of Commerce claims that Mexico’s intermodal industry is seen as the industry’s quickest-growing sector. Volume of shipments using intermodal transportation has soared about 31% year-over-year to 14,238 units leading up to last week. Carloads for Mexico also increased by approximately 38%, reaching a total carload of 19,745 units.

We’ve mentioned in a previous white paper that nearshoring to Mexico for North American manufacturing has many advantages, one of them being that cross-border logistics to Mexico, through the efforts of governmental intervention and NAFTA, has been improving heavily especially in intermodal transportation requirements. Combine that with rising ocean transport costs, peak season surcharges, and the rising wages in China and you get a prime contender for a tangible, competitive consideration for nearshoring.

One of Mexico’s largest container port, Lazaro Cardenas, has been showing a steady increase in intermodal demand. Efforts to meet the growing demand is shown in the influx of inextments and developments such as the APM Terminal’s deep water terminal which is expected to become operational by 2016.

By the beginning of this month, Mexico contributed to the overall increase in growth for North American intermodal volume. Of the 13 North American railroads, a total of 347,857 units in intermodal volume was reported (a 5.4% increase in volume compared to the same week last year).

Factors that Affect Mexican Intermodal Business

Intermodal rail in Mexico has some great advantages with regards to cross-border logistics, adding more incentive to nearshore as a strategy for North American manufacturing. Below are some facts that show how both incentives from Mexico and the US governments are leveraging their neighbouring border towards a better solution.

  • With the right documents, clearance can take as little as 30 minutes for a 250-foot container, compared to the two hours it takes for a single-container truck.
  • BNSF Railway launched its first all-rail US-Mexico service in May to help facilitate faster movement between borders by partnering with Ferromex (a Mexican railroad).
  • AMP Terminal is currently developing a new deep-water terminal to launch by 2016.

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? If you’re interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news!