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You Can Now Hail A Helicopter From Your Smartphone

Posted by Land Link on Jun 12, 2019 12:22:05 PM

The Transportation industry has evolved dramatically in the last several years all thanks to the smartphone. Without it Uber and Lyft would not exist, nor would Uber Freight. It seems now you can request a Uber helicopter in New York City. Uber is adding regular helicopter air service to the heaviest users of its platform with Uber Copter; a new service line launched this month that will provide on-demand transportation from Lower Manhattan to JFK airport for, on average, between $200 and $225 per person, which includes car service to and from the helipad at each end. A ground transportation ride to the same destination is less than half the helicopter ride but the convenience and thrill may be worth it. Given the NYC traffic it may be worth the extra fare to not miss your flight. Plus, this isn’t something just anyone can access: It’s reserved for Platinum and Diamond members of Uber’s Rewards program, which means you’ll have to already be dropping a lot of cash on rides to even qualify for whirligig service. If you qualify, the rides are available either on-demand, or bookable up to five days ahead of time. Each helicopter has room for up to five passengers. In time the service will be available to anyone. The depths of service which technology has opened up is truly staggering.

Safety Is Always A concern

In the non asset world of transportation providers, we all depend upon equipment providers. Vetting these providers on behalf of our shippers is a primary responsibility. This is only one of the values of contracting with a 3Pl. A helicopter crashed this week in NYC which had previously dropped off passengers. The weather turned foggy over Manhattan that morning. Turns out the pilot did not have the required certificate that would have allowed him to legally fly when the visibility was less than 3 miles and where he could use the instruments on his chopper to guide him through the gloom and rain that enveloped the city. So the question here is who is vetting these helicopter pilots, weather private or for Uber. I question whether Uber, which is a mere child in the transportation industry at 7 years old, is schooled in the transportation vetting process which is necessary to provide safe cargo and personal conveyance in both inter and intra state transportation. It seems technology is setting such a pace that safety cannot keep up. Speed and convenience seems to have taken a back seat to safety.

How Much Risk Are You Willing To Take?

With the convenience of transactions comes risk. Sure you can hail a car, a helicopter, or who knows, even a boat to transport you or your loved ones. But how much do you know about who is picking up your precious cargo? It is also possible to hail a truck to transport your freight through Uber or several other apps...same question applies. Are you seriously going to trust your brand equity to some trucker you assume has been professionally vetted? While all of these conveniences have their acceptable levels of risk you must consider your options when the stakes are high. When you need a quick ride downtown or your late for the airport and want to take a helicopter ride that's your risk. But when you freight shipment is of high value or the client satisfaction is of great importance you need to consider everyone's risk. That's when you need to go with the experienced and proven freight transportation providers like Land Link Traffic Systems. We will provide the most reliable assets available and track the shipment throughout its journey. Satisfaction is guaranteed. Give us a call today for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Topics: Transportation News, Industry Trends, Technology

Technology Is Transforming Our Business

Posted by Land Link on Jun 6, 2019 4:03:59 PM

The transportation and logistics industry are currently going through some major transformations. The current metamorphosis is creating opportunities as well as challenges. Successful shippers are looking for ways to adjust to the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. The economy, labor, and I believe, most dramatic, is the technology component which will be the game changer. Astonishingly what seemed like an unrealistic idea ten years ago, today, is now plausible because of technology. From robotics to radio frequency identification technology to block chain applications, the possibilities are intriguing to say the least. The challenge for supply chain professionals is how to stay current on these applications and how they can give your business the competitive edge that often makes the difference between black and red on the financial statements. Here are a few key areas in which every supply chain professional should have a firm understanding.

Economic Forecasts

Everyone is enjoying a robust economic environment at home even with the Trump administrations tariff threats. The domestic manufacturing economic forecast is a practical place to start in planning your logistics budget both operationally and financially. It's not all about the dollars.  Shippers need to assure themselves of available assets to deliver and receive goods.  The driver shortage is real, there are no significant players entering the asset-based transportation industry so capacity issues will be a common challenge. Existing carriers can only add as much capacity as drivers available to operate the equipment. Online retail spending is estimated to increase up to 20-30% over the next 3-4 years. These growth estimates will impact future freight distributions and patterns by creating additional density for retailer’s networks. Crowd sourced delivery options, much like Uber, will become a significant pool of delivery drivers.  Automated trucks will become more increasingly in demand as soon as the technology can be trusted.

The Labor Outlook

Driver positions are not the only area in logistics that are suffering shortages. Qualified warehouse personnel are also in demand. Particularly, as warehouse and distribution centers evolve into a more complex and technology driven environment. There are many reasons why labor is a problem, but two hurdles stand out. First, trucking has historically paid less than other business’ competing for the same potential employee. Second, the nature of the job requires drivers to be away from home in some cases for weeks at a time. As freight volume continues to grow labor will become an even bigger issue. To attract more recruits, some experts have proposed establishing more enticing industry standards such as a higher base pay and a flex time policy. Neither idea has yet to gain much traction. The simple fact is that truck driving as a career does not appeal to today's young people. On the operations side colleges and universities have historically offered somewhat limited programs in logistics as a science. I would expect the training options should improve as demand for these services increases.

Technology and Big Data

There is little doubt that data and the technology which allows us to interpret and leverage that data will be the future of supply chain management. It is well known that many transportation and logistics companies are late adapters of technology. Some are starting to be shut out of contracts if they cannot provide the data and technology required by customers, especially cyber security. Larger customers are adding minimum levels of cyber security to their contracts; this requirement will eventually become SOP.

Many carriers are even more behind in using analytics to make smart operational decisions. They do not understand the competitive edge analytics can give them even the simplest terms like route maximization. Successful shippers are thriving by seeking the guidance of logistics professionals who are trained in and equipped with the latest technology that mitigates risk to their supply chain and brand value. We are in the middle of a paradigm shift in the way transportation and logistics is executed. Adapt accordingly or die.

Count on the logistics professionals at Land Link Traffic Systems to navigate your company through what is certain to be some challenging supply chain waters in 2019 and beyond.

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Topics: Transportation News, Shipping News, Logistics News, Industry Trends, Technology

Walmart Matches Amazon Announcing Free One-Day Shipping on Many Items

Posted by Land Link on May 22, 2019 10:00:00 AM

In a bid to keep pace with their number one competitor, Walmart announced yesterday that they will offer free one day shipping on many items. Starting May 14, Walmart customers in Phoenix and Las Vegas who buy more than $35 worth of goods enjoyed free one-day shipping. The offer, which Walmart had hinted was in the works and will be applied to as many as 220,000 items, will extend to Southern California in the coming days and will reach about three-quarters of the United States by the end of the year. The $35 minimum was set with the expectation that the average Walmart at that price point would include several items thereby reducing individual unit shipping cost by sending the entire order in one box. Walmart's e-commerce business has not been profitable. In fact, management expects to lose more this year than they did in 2019. Amazon expects to spend $800 million this quarter to cut their shipping costs. Walmart's same day shipping is available to all customers without any membership fees. Amazon's service, on the other hand, is available only to Prime members at an annual cost of $119.

Walmart's Strategy

One thing is clear. The big package companies don't have enough capacity to handle the expected volume of same day deliveries from the big retailers. They may not even want the business. You can expect Target to be adding to the volume as well as other retailers.  Same day delivery from UPS or Fedex would be cost prohibitive. You'll find a range of about $27 to $55 at FedEx and about $30 to $63 at UPS which is clearly not a viable option. So what is Walmart's strategy for this same day service? Walmart is using a surprising strategy on free, next-day shipping that doesn't involve any of its 4,700 US stores. Instead, orders will be filled and shipped from 6 fulfillment centers across the U.S. Walmart plans to further drive down the costs of next-day shipping by making "aggressive investments" in automation and boxing technology. Fulfillment centers are better equipped for those kind of investments according to Walmart CEO, Marc Lore. Walmart will be utilizing its stores for same day order pickup. 

Who Is Gonna Make All These Same Day Deliveries   

The big retailers will have to utilize additional resources to UPS and FedEx. Dozens of start up companies are already in business offering same day delivery. The boom in        e-commerce sales has lead to a surge in package volume and shippers don't have the capacity or network to quickly deliver parcels. This has created a new market and presented a significant opportunity for last mile delivery startups to emerge.

Capital investment and labor are the deterrent to most companies entering the parcel market. For that reason, Deliv.com, Rodie and many others have opened up across the country with limited capital investment. They depend on private van and car owners to make the deliveries as contract workers which is very much like the Uber platform. With the driver unrest Uber has been recently experiencing, these start ups may find some new, willing drivers. The companies won't last if the drivers are not making an adequate wage and one also can't help but wonder when everyone became in such a hurry? To keep informed on this and other industry news, subscribe to our blog.

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

Kroger Introduces Automated Grocery Delivery In Houston

Posted by Land Link on Apr 24, 2019 4:25:05 PM

The grocery home delivery market is ultra competitive. The big grocery players like Giant, Shop Rite and Wegmans all offer home delivery via manned delivery vehicles. Kroger appears to be first in the autonomous grocery delivery service race. After successful testing last year in Scottsdale Arizona, Kroger, the nation’s largest grocer, has launched a self-driving grocery delivery service in Houston, the latest salvo in a massive grocery market that has supermarket chains investing heavily in new technology to win over online shoppers. Company officials this week showcased the first of dozens of autonomous delivery vehicles planned for Houston: Toyota Priuses outfitted with cameras, sensors and self-driving computer software. In today's competitive grocery market, companies are turning to autonomous vehicles, automation, robotics and artificial intelligence to stand out. Kroger is competing with Amazon, Walmart and other businesses to capture consumers who want fast deliveries without hassles. 

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Topics: Transportation News, Logistics News, Technology

Automated Vehicle Update; Some Hurdles Remain

Posted by Land Link on Apr 16, 2019 9:55:22 AM

Though field testing for automated vehicles has been relatively successful some hurdles to full implementation remain. Namely, consumer acceptance and comfort in riding in these vehicles. Also, alarming is the idea of an 80,000 lb commercial tractor-trailer rolling down the interstate on autopilot. Additional concerns include who will be servicing these vehicles and the threat of domestic terrorism by system hacking. 

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Topics: Transportation News, Technology

2019 Freight Outlook; Slowing Growth. Improving Availability.

Posted by Land Link on Apr 10, 2019 9:37:14 AM

While a number of struggles remain, some conditions have softened in Q4 2018, giving logistics buyers more room to breathe. After a 2018 that saw record setting levels of freight hauling demand and driver pay as tonnage levels reached a 20 year high, the trucking industry is expected to remain strong in 2019 but undergo a bit of a cool down, economists say. Revenue growth remains healthy for all major U.S. transportation sectors, though recent events could level off the rate of growth for some segments in the coming months according to Fitch Ratings in its U.S. Transportation Trends spring report. 

For the economy and the trucking industry, 2018 was spectacular. The U.S. Gross Domestic Product expanded at a 3.5% rate in the third quarter, and the December jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the economy added a robust 312,000 positions.

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Topics: Transportation News, Shipping News

NASSTRAC and CSCMP introduce the ‘Strategic Shipping Program’

Posted by Land Link on Apr 3, 2019 10:11:44 AM

 

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Topics: Transportation News, Shipping News

Transportation Management Trends For 2019

Posted by Land Link on Mar 28, 2019 11:20:28 AM

From expedited transportation services to shipping technology integration, 2019 is shaping up to be a year in which shippers evolve to meet the growing demands of both B2B and B2C sales. To help transportation managers cope with the changing appetites of a growing demographic we'll take a look at some developing supply chain trends in 2019.

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Topics: Transportation News, Logistics News, Industry Trends

The White House Is Getting Aggressive to Answer the Call for More Qualified Truck Drivers

Posted by Land Link on Jul 18, 2018 11:14:58 AM

Department of Transportation will launch a pilot program to permit 18-to-20-year-olds who possess the U.S. military equivalent of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate large trucks in interstate commerce. The Trucking industry has been struggling to meet driver demand for the last 20 years.

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Topics: Transportation News, Industry Trends, Big Data

Safety Tips for The Holiday Weekend

Posted by Land Link on Jun 26, 2018 1:19:01 PM

We thought we might take a break from our usual industry topics to draw attention to a serious issue; driver safety, particularly, over the holiday weekend. Transportation analysts expect a record number of people in the U.S. to travel during the Independence Day weekend. The travel group AAA says almost 45 million Americans will take trips to destinations at least 50 miles from home during the holiday period. Unfortunately, reported road rage incidents are on the rise. The increase in holiday traffic can only add to driver frustration. Do what you must to keep your patience in check this holiday for the sake and safety of your family as well as other travelers. Be cognizant of the stopping distances required by a fully loaded semi-truck.  A fully loaded semi-truck has a gross vehicle weight, depending on its cargo, of up to 80,000 lbs. Compare this to the average loaded weight of a passenger vehicle of 4,000 lbs, and you can see the difference in energy produced by both vehicles.

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Topics: Transportation News, Industry Trends, Technology