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Latest News Jan 28, 2013

Truck Tonnage Sees 2.8% Jump in December

Word Trade | January 30, 2013

The ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.8 percent in December after surging 3.9 percent in November.

Report Details Trends In Overseas Chemical Bulk Freight Market

Supply Chain Brain | January 25, 2013

On an aggregate basis, freight rates for shipping chemical liquid bulk loads throughout Europe have decreased slightly between 2011 and 2012, according to a benchmark study conducted by LHC Consulting, a CLX Logistics company. The study accounted for differences in transport specifications, including mode of transport, equipment type and product classification. Companies participating in the study collaboratively spend approximately €420m ($560m) annually on chemical liquid bulk freight.

The Consumer-Driven Transportation Network

World Trade | December 06, 2012

Consumer channel preference is driving changes in retail supply chains.

The rise of the omni-channel consumer – the multi-channel shopper dedicated to finding the best combination of product features, price and service – has changed virtually every aspect of the way retailers and manufacturers conduct business. Brick-and-mortar retailers are forced to compete with alternative channels on the basis of price while also keeping service quality high. Manufacturers are challenged to operate with razor-thin margins while still offering the innovative products and continuous updates dictated by today’s shorter lifecycles.

While the omni-channel consumer has created new challenges in every part of the supply chain, a significant impact is felt in the area of transportation, as consumers have quickly grown accustomed to the “fast and free” home delivery.. Many companies are finding that their traditional transportation networks are simply not built to serve the demands of the new omni-channel consumer.

This ongoing transformation requires both brick-and-mortar retailers and their manufacturing partners to rethink their traditional transportation strategies. As we look toward the future of transportation, a key strategy for both parties will be to increase their level of collaboration and information sharing. For example, it might make strategic sense for manufacturers to take a larger role in shipping their products directly to consumers in small packages instead of sending truckloads to a regional retail distribution center – and then placing the onus on retailers to deliver products across all their channels, including in-store and at-home deliveries.

Report Outlines Business Continuity Programs that Go Beyond the Disastrous First 48 Hours

PwC | January 14, 2013

Plans that detail a business’s initial emergency response provide a road map for keeping operations running through a crisis and ready a business for the return to full operational effectiveness in the weeks that follow a disruption. These forward-thinking solutions are critical components to effective business continuity programs, according to a new PwC US paper entitled, “Beyond the first 48 hours: Can your business continuity plan go the distance?”

“Business disruptions, whether natural or man-made, are inevitable today and are leaving businesses of all shapes and sizes crippled for days, weeks and more recently months. It’s no longer a matter of when a business disruption will strike, it’s a matter of how devastating it will be to a business, their resources and operations,” said Dean Simone, leader of PwC’s U.S. Risk Assurance practice. “An effective and tested crisis management plan will get a company through the initial impacts of major events, but in order to address the aftermath, organizations need a comprehensive plan. Today, a company’s ability to respond to a business disruption could either protect or damage their brand for decades to come. The best-prepared companies are ready with a complete and coordinated business continuity management process that covers the full crisis lifecycle beyond the first 48 hours – from emergency response to crisis management to recovery.”

PwC’s report examines the critical challenges of coping with the increased and unexpected risks of business disruptions. The paper outlines PwC’s recommended approach to effective business continuity management programs:

  • Emergency response, crisis management, IT disaster recovery, and business continuity plans
  • Recovery of critical business processes, prioritized to the organization’s overall functionality
  • Assures uniform and consistent planning, implementation, and upgrade of business continuity policies and procedures
  • Uses specialists who have created and assessed hundreds of business continuity programs and can provide out-of-the-box solutions across the planning process, from analysis to reporting

“Companies need the right business continuity management program to react quickly and effectively to mitigate any revenue loss, potential damage to their reputation and return to full operational status,” said Phil Samson, leader of PwC’s Business Continuity Management service. “Having a holistic plan helps an organization absorb the initial crisis, makes them resilient enough to remain standing through the aftershocks, and properly organizes them to return critical processes in the weeks and months that follow.”

“Beyond mega-disasters, advances in technology increase the possibility of devastating man-made crises such as cyber-attacks,” said Ken Coy, leader of PwC’s Governance, Risk & Compliance practice. “From deleting data to deliberate acts of destruction, having a risk-resilient design and tested crisis response is not enough. Establishing a governance and program management structure which aligns your crisis and business continuity management objectives are the keys to effective planning.”

Export Demand Supports U.S. Distillate Markets

EIA | January 28, 2013

Diesel fuel prices have generally declined since October as a result of narrowing distillate crack spreads. On January 28, the average U.S. price for on-highway retail diesel fuel was $3.93 per gallon, 22 cents per gallon lower than its 2012 peak of $4.15 per gallon, reached on October 15. This price decline is similar to that of gasoline prices, however prices during the first month of 2013 have been higher than year-ago levels; this reflects growing global distillate demand, which has spurred increased refinery runs in the United States to increase distillate production for export

U.S. refiners have increased production, encouraged by diesel crack spreads that remain attractive, notwithstanding the recent decline noted above. For the four weeks ending January 25, U.S. average gross refinery inputs totaled 15.0 million bbl/d, a 1.7-percent increase from the same period a year ago. The increase in runs has resulted in increased production of all fuels, including gasoline and diesel. With the strong demand abroad, U.S. refiners have exported their additional distillate production from the Gulf. However, increasing volumes of distillate fuel were also exported from the East Coast.

EIA forecasts retail diesel prices to continue decreasing through 2013. This decrease is expected to be driven by lower Brent crude oil prices, as EIA expects distillate crack spreads to remain fairly stable through most of 2013. EIA forecasts U.S. average on-highway retail diesel prices will stay near current levels in the coming weeks to average $3.93 per gallon in February, before falling modestly through the rest of the year, reaching the neighborhood of $3.80 per gallon at year end. Needless to say, the value of futures and options contracts demonstrate the significant uncertainty in any forecast of prices.

TODAY IN ENERGY: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 EIA

China consumes nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined

Coal consumption in China grew more than 9% in 2011, continuing its upward trend for the 12th consecutive year, according to newly released international data. China’s coal use grew by 325 million tons in 2011, accounting for 87% of the 374 million ton global increase in coal use.

TODAY IN ENERGY: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 EIA

Stretches of Upper Mississippi River near record-low levels

As a result of last year’s drought, stretches of the Upper Mississippi River have approached record lows. These low water levels have jeopardized commercial barge traffic shipping agricultural and energy commodities on the river. Recent rock blasting and dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and rainfall in the near-term forecast are expected to provide some relief.

Logistics News from Around the World

RLS | January 28, 2013

U.S. and Canada adopt a common, increased threshold for informal entry of goods
11 January 2013-U.S. and Canadian customs agencies have loosened import rules, allowing goods valued at up to $2,500 to qualify for “informal entry.”

Fulfillment and logistics are bottlenecks to China’s ecommerce growth
12 January 2013-China’s ecommerce market continues to skyrocket with estimates of 2012 B2C sales likely to top $107bn. However this growth has placed pressure on the logistics infrastructure resulting in delivery issues. Not only is delivery a problem, but according to 360Buy, one of the largest Chinese ecommerce providers, “Ecommerce is developing quickly but fulfillment and logistics are the key bottlenecks.”

Walmart Canada Announces Expansion Plans
Mississauga, Ontario—22 January 2013—Today Walmart Canada announced that it plans to complete at least 37 supercenter projects in the company’s next fiscal year, which runs from February 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014. The company also announced it will be expanding its distribution network to support its ongoing store growth and expansion plans.