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UPS Warns A Possible Strike As Teamsters Eye Coming Vote

Posted by Land Link on Nov 7, 2018 6:20:34 PM

The Teamsters union is threatening a strike over the terms of this years contract. As of October 25, the Teamsters National Freight Negotiating committee has received its last best offer from UPS freight. Voting on the contract will be happening throughout this week starting November 7. The previous contract was rejected on October 5th. There is a 30-day extension of the current contract which will expire on November 12th. The negotiating committee demanded:

1) tighter restrictions and limits on subcontracting and rail usage;
2) higher wage increases that are not split;
3) earning protection for city drivers when they perform dock work;
4) elimination of the new qualifiers for pension and vacation benefits; and
5) a week’s worth of vacation pay for all classifications based on 1/52 of the prior year’s earnings.

The negotiating committee has determined that the LBFO does not sufficiently address the issues raised by the members. Nevertheless, because of the company’s insistence that there is no more money to be had and in order to allow its members to make an informed decision on a question that will affect them and their family, the negotiating committee decided to submit the LBFO for acceptance or rejection. a strike has already been authorized. While a strike is a last resort, if the members reject this final offer from the company there will be no other options and there will be a strike at a time and location(s) determined by the negotiating committee.

The Repercussions of A UPS Strike

Two decades ago, 187,000 employees at UPS walked off the job for 16 days. As of Wednesday, the company’s union workers, now numbering 260,000, are threatening to do so again. The walkout on Aug. 4, 1997, led to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for UPS. It was, at the time, one of the biggest nationwide strikes the country had ever seen. It was a different time, though. The strike impacted consumers differently than it would today since business owners saw the most direct effects, often unable to restock shelves. The consequences of a strike today may be much more severe than that of 20 years ago. The online community, from both a seller and purchaser viewpoint, will be dramatically affected. When we think online retailing we have to think about Amazon. They will be the barometer for the effects of a UPS strike on the economy and international commerce.

Amazon’s tight relationship with UPS is supplemented by one with the U.S. Postal Service. Should UPS be unable to deliver customer packages, it’s possible the retailer will lean heavier on the USPS. Trump, though, is no fan of that relationship, attacking Amazon in a series of tweets earlier this year, saying the company wasn’t paying enough to ship packages. Experts have disputed this position, saying Amazon and other online retailers have helped stanch the post office’s declining cash flow. Still, a weakened Amazon could bring another round of Trump attacks. Or, worse, inaction.

President Bill Clinton refused to stop the 1997 strike, even though he did have the legal power to do so under the Taft-Hartley Act. But Labor Secretary Alexis Herman strongly urged the two sides to stay at the negotiating table for 80 hours of talks in a five-day period. That pressure is credited as one of the reasons the strike didn’t last long. The LTL Strike of 1994 Crippled interstate commerce for weeks. I was a seasoned Transportation manager during the strike of 94. It involved the teamster drivers employed by some 20 plus common carries. LTL comprises the bulk of freight shipments domestically so the impact was huge. There was a mad scramble to consolidate shipments by carriers nationwide who were not experienced in consolidating small LTL shipments; typically 2-4 pallets. Equipment availability was severely impacted as was delivery schedules and rates. It was a bad time for shippers as they had to look toward truckload and expedited carriers to get their freight delivered. To make matters worse, the mid 90's began the JIT ( Just In Time )inventory system. Simply defined, It was a cost-saving measure to reduce inventory carrying costs started by the automotive industry. It was an effective business philosophy but relied heavily on tightly defined pickup and delivery windows. The significantly devastating downside of such a philosophy is definitely any type of work stoppage.

How Do Protect Your Business From A UPS Strike

It is not likely to happen but fortune smiles on those prepared. Asset availability is going to be the biggest issue. Given the timeframe of the potential threat, there is no time to go through the steps to get set up with additional providers. This is a time when an established 3PL can offer valuable alternatives quickly. In the event of a strike, contact Land Link Traffic Services to help your business get your product delivered. Visit us today www.Land-Link.com.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Technology, Shipping News

Managing Supply Chain Risk

Posted by Land Link on Sep 26, 2018 5:02:38 PM

There's always a little risk involved in any decision. That's where the fun, and profit, begin. The trick, of course, is when, how much and how dangerous. When do you take the risk, what is your level of commitment and what is the downside? Taking and managing risk in today's supply chain market is simply the cost of doing business in a competitive market. Knowing how to manage that risk is becoming increasingly important. 

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Topics: Industry Trends, Technology, Shipping News

Freight Trends to Watch with the Busy Holiday Season Looming

Posted by Land Link on Jul 25, 2018 3:08:58 PM

The transportation industry is enjoying a strong year that has the potential to be even stronger than the previous one. DAT reports a particularly robust year in shipping in 2017, especially in the second half. Based on what we have seen in the industry during that time, here are a few trends to watch for in the freight transportation industry for the remainder of 2018 as we approach the busy holiday shipping season.

The Capacity Crunch Will Continue

There is little reason to expect any relief in the ongoing equipment availability issue. Particularly when approaching the 3rd and 4th quarter holiday shipping demands. A significant contributor to the capacity crunch continues to be the driver shortage. Interest in a truck driving career by the younger generation is just not keeping up with the retiring rate of older drivers. The work is difficult. It involves working long hours, driving long distances, being away from family for long periods of time and less-than-ideal pay. Fewer drivers mean fewer trucks on the road to haul this increase in freight, which, in turn, drives up the rates because of the premium placed on securing a truck.

Another major factor is government regulation. The ELD mandate went into effect December 18. It essentially requires all motor carriers to install electronic devices in their trucks that will automatically track drivers’ hours of service. By law, drivers are only allowed to drive for 11 hours with a mandatory, continuous rest period of 10 hours, daily. This regulation is expensive for carriers to implement, particularly on large fleets. Training drivers to use it can be extremely time consuming and compliance is slow to reach 100%. The reduced driver hours, cost of implementation and general driver acceptance all affect the cost of operation. Which, of course, will be absorbed in the carrier rate structure.

Rates Remain Strong

Given the good health of the economy, specifically the freight economy, it comes as no surprise to see the LTL market having a healthy 2018. Basking in what one trucking executive called a “robust, bright” market, LTL carriers are planning expansion in 2018, coupled with continuing increases in LTL trucking rates. Several publicly owned LTL carriers will add terminals, trucks, trailers, and employees to their operations this year, as industrial and e-commerce freight demand fills more pallets. Higher rates will certainly bolster bottom lines at trucking companies with historically tight profit margins. And as freight demand increases, LTL carriers have stuck to the pricing discipline that helped them improve those margins and begin to expand operations or reinvest in their businesses in 2018, adding new equipment and hiring employees.

Shippers and Carriers Need to Adjust to the New Normal

Both shippers and carriers will have to be flexible in this new shipping environment. Most individuals generally only change behaviors if they can no longer deal with less-than-ideal situations. With that, it will be interesting to see how shippers, especially the ones that have a reputation for not being driver friendly, change their behaviors. Carriers will be looking to do business with "Preferred Shippers." Read our previous post on how to become just that in the eyes of your carriers. On the carrier side, if supply and demand stay relatively status quo, you will see carriers act more selectively with the business they handle. Carriers are taking significant increases for a specific business or flat-out refusing to work with shippers that are no longer a strategic choice for them. The days of taking your carrier and their drivers for granted may be over for good.

Technology May Disrupt The Status Quo

The freight industry is in the middle of a storm, with technology giving conventional processes a makeover and making it more efficient and transparent to the players in the market. Cutting-edge technological ideas have been mushrooming in the freight hauling space, with major corporations and startups tussling for a share of the market.

The freight economy is one of the largest markets in the United States, with over $700 billion in revenue every year and employing 8.7 million people in the industry. This provides an incentive for companies to cash in and it was inevitable that technology would be adapted to fit the market needs. And here we stand at the crossroads of innovation, with the impact of technology looking to change the facade of freight hauling forever. With the current market growth and capacity issues, it’s highly probable that more shippers will become willing to embrace any new technology or app that provides them with a truck. And carriers will be more than willing to embrace it if they feel those platforms can offer them higher and faster paying the freight. Having the experience and industry expertise to disseminate the dependability of the new approach and the integrity of the service provider can spell the difference between a successful experience and utter disaster. 

So, as we approach some of the busiest shipping months of the year in a market that can be challenging during high demand, it is useful to do some proactive contingency planning. Perhaps a combination of several discipline changes may be in order. In markets like this one, the counsel of a qualified Logistics professional can be a wise investment. Contact one of our Logistics experts www.Land-Link.com today for a no-obligation review of your current supply chain protocols. Be prepared for what may be a tumultuous freight market ahead.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Shipping News, Reducing Freight Rates

How Retailers Plan to Meet Increasing Delivery Demands of Consumers

Posted by Land Link on Jul 3, 2018 4:19:20 PM

There seems to be no end to the demand for nearly instant delivery gratification of today's consumer. Interestingly, price doesn't seem to water down their desire to have what they ordered on their doorstep as soon as possible. In response, retailers are betting big on delivery services to drop off packages faster. Current delivery services are pretty much maxed out on capacity. Just last week Amazon announce it would form its own fleet of delivery vans, in addition to their existing fleet of trucks and planes, that would be operated by independent contractors to compliment, and eventually replace, current transportation providers.

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Topics: Shipping News, Industry Trends, Big Data

How the Trump Tariffs May Affect Shippers

Posted by Land Link on Jun 20, 2018 10:46:47 AM

The Trump administration on Friday escalated a trade war between the world’s two largest economies, moving ahead with tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods and provoking an immediate response from Beijing. Today Trump suggested possibly moving forward with additional tariffs which may exceed $200 million. The shipping community has been on edge about the impact the tariffs may have on the logistics market since the tariffs were proposed some 18 months ago. Before we examine the potential fallout lets outline precisely what industries will be affected.

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Topics: Shipping News, Logistics Business, Transportation News

Expedited Transportation: Which Options to Consider and When

Posted by Land Link on Jun 7, 2018 11:49:14 AM

Expedited transportation is something to know about. When to request it. How much weight are your shipping. What is the protect time. These are all considerations when something goes wrong in either the manufacturing timeline, finished goods refinement or shipping scheduling.  It doesn't matter where in the supply chain the problem occurred. It matters how you make up the time to avoid the ultimate disaster...a plant or partial plant shut down. At this point you are talking big money.  I know if we shut down any portion of an automotive plant in the 80's it was $10,000 per hour for every hour the truck was late. Extrapolate that to today's standards and you can appreciate the severity of tardiness in our business.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Shipping News, Transportation News

Plan for Potential Freight Delays June 5-7

Posted by Land Link on May 31, 2018 9:41:26 AM

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Road check will take place June 5-7, 2018. Over that 72-hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors in jurisdictions throughout North America will conduct inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers. This year’s focus is on hours-of-service compliance. Here is a quick summary of the HOS rules:

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Topics: Shipping News, Transportation News, Industry Trends

Diesel Prices at a 3 Year High

Posted by Land Link on Apr 18, 2018 12:39:49 PM

Just as the domestic manufacturing sector is enjoying a strong and steady growth a 6.1-cent jump in diesel fuel prices across the country, during the week ending April 16, have diesel at its highest point of 2018, and its highest since the beginning of 2015. The U.S.’ average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel now stands at $3.104, the highest since the week ending Jan. 5, 2015, when diesel averaged out at $3.137. The increase was spurred by significant increases in all regions across the country, with the most significant increases being seen in the West Coast, which saw a 7-10 cent jump.

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Topics: Logistics News, Logistics Business, Shipping News, Industry Trends

Amazon Could Acquire Toys R Us. On the Surface A Strange Move Back to Brick and Mortar

Posted by Land Link on Mar 28, 2018 8:57:35 AM

Toys R Us was very late to the e-commerce party at the turn of the millennium. To compensate for their outright short sightedness, they made a deal with what may have been the devil. In early 2000 Toys R Us signed a 10-year contract to be the exclusive vendor of toys on Amazon instead of investing in its own e-commerce platform. After the agreement ended, amazingly, Toys R Us was unsuccessful in implementing an in-house e-commerce presence. This coupled with over-dependence on a single vendor, a scary scenario, and draining debt servicing spelled eventual doom for one of the nation’s largest toy retailers.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Shipping News, Logistics News

Robots in Logistics and The Warehouse

Posted by Land Link on Mar 7, 2018 4:50:27 PM

The robotics market serving logistics and transportation companies is primed for rapid growth over the next five years. There is a myriad of routine, repetitive tasks common to warehouse and distribution systems that are well suited to robotic technology. Much of today's warehouses are manually operated, meaning they have little or no automation support. 

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Topics: Logistics News, Shipping News, Technology, Logistics Business