The status of major ports and the supply chain situation has evolved a bit since the last check-in published here. And while some of those changes can be counted as improvements - with more capacity generally available and better rates for shippers - there are plenty of issues pointing the opposite direction as well. You've probably heard most of the examples of negative pressures, but in case you haven't - a potential California port strike, Covid-19 lockdowns in China, gas/oil prices and Russia's invasion of Ukraine count as a few of the major ones. For the latest on the good news/bad news combination of leveling off to lower spot rates and considerably higher diesel prices, check out our Intermodal Spot Rate Pricing Trendline Analysis updated every week. Let's go into more depth on some of the other supply chain and port status updates of the day.
The logistics of vaccines and PPE - aka personal protective equipment - have become complicated since the pandemic began. While these products have long been necessities in the medical field, demand for vaccines and PPE during different coronavirus periods placed logistics front and center. It hasn't only been about vaccine approval or production of masks, but getting those finished products to where they're needed most when they're needed most. And where they're needed most has at different times been literally everywhere. When considering the logistics of vaccines, there are very specific security and temperature-controlled cold chain needs. While PPE - masks and the like - don't have the same requirements, they present unique shipping challenges as well - especially when they're needed yesterday.
Everything you need to know about domestic intermodal and how to be successful implementing it into your logistics strategy. Gives tips, tricks and insights on intermodal and what to watch out for when converting from truckload to intermodal.
The need for medical equipment, medical supplies and medicine is never-ending, and getting all those items to where they are needed when they are needed is healthcare logistics. The practice of healthcare logistics is similar to any other industry, only with potentially higher stakes. Logistics in healthcare is a true life and death scenario as if the right pharmaceutical or medical tool is unavailable where it's needed, patients suffer the consequences. Within healthcare or medical logistics are unique supply chains depending on the product. Some medicines (and even some equipment) require temperature-controlled environments, while some equipment may need special packaging due to fragility or awkward sizing. Regardless, healthcare logistics is multi-faceted and quite important, so managing the process is made easier by a logistics service provider with the right expertise.
Whether you follow freight and logistics news closely or not, it's no secret the supply chain has behaved differently for quite awhile. And a major link in the stressed supply chain in early 2022 continues to be backups at several ports of entry. In fact, backups at major North American ports like Los Angeles and Long Beach have led to a chain reaction causing problems at traditionally smaller ports as carriers search for alternatives. Ports that were never setup to handle the heavier volume are adding to supply chain stresses that are spilling inland and across freight modes like intermodal, rail, and truckload as well.
When the clock hits triple zeros for each Super Bowl, the new champs always seem to magically have Super Bowl apparel signifying that victory instantaneously. But it's not magic that puts those hats and shirts in their hands so quickly, it's the logistics of Super Bowl apparel. As Super Bowl LVI approaches, whether fans actually see Cincinnati Bengals or Los Angeles Rams championship gear depends on the outcome, but rest assured the retail supply chain is prepared either way. And the losing team's gear? That doesn't disappear either.
When the annual tradition of Valentine's Day comes around each February 14th, there's a scramble for gifts like flowers, chocolates, and jewelry. What do those Valentine's Day gifts have in common? They require logistics to traverse the supply chain into the hands of Valentines everywhere. Since we're a freight and logistics company, it's only natural we'd think of this romantic holiday in terms of shipping. Awhile back, InTek President Shelli Austin wrote all about Valentine's Day shipping and logistics in an article for 3PL Perspectives magazine - an article we're reposting here. Happy Valentine's Day!!
The holiday season is in full swing, for Christmas shoppers and - for our purposes - those involved in freight and logistics. As hectic as this time of year can be - especially this year - it's important to step back and smell the roses (or evergreens - if you can get your hands on one). That's why we're sharing a special twist on a holiday classic. Feel free to make it a new tradition at your holiday gatherings. Enjoy our freight and logistics Christmas poem...
With the many supply chain issues facing freight and logistics today, it can be hard for businesses to see the forest for the trees. But in uncertain times, the certainty of a long-term strategy is even more important. While developing such a plan is tough for many businesses, making it a 3PL strategy (third-party logistics strategy) takes the burdensome part away. The shipper working with the right 3PL provider gets the best of both worlds, a coherent long-term vision, and responsive service when unexpected needs arise.
The advantage of transloading in today's supply chain cannot be limited to singular form. In fact, the benefits of transloading - put simply, the transfer of goods from one transportation mode to another (and often from one container to another) - can include cost savings, improved flexibility, faster shipping and more. With the caveat that every case has its own particularities, let's go over some of the general advantages of transloading: Faster customer transit times While the act of transloading does take time (think one to three days), by not limiting to one particular mode of transport, transloading allows you to take advantage of the various forms of freight transportation available to choose the fastest possible combination for your needs. Speed is also improved by other transloading efficiencies when well-planned. Flexibility for better product positioning Particularly for maritime freight, since it stops at a port for staging ahead of its next move, a shipper can shift the load based on current needs. So if a product is out of stock in one region and plentiful in another, the shipper can reprioritize the destination of the load. Distribution Center Optimization In some cases, you may not need distribution centers (aka DCs) at all, as you can group goods while transloading and ship them straight to their final destination. If DCs are still needed, at the very least, additional steps can be removed by performing a series of value-added services at the time of transload. Ability to reach more destinations This may seem obvious, but don't forget that transloading gives you options to use whichever combination of freight transportation options is best to reach a given destination. With these combinations, it also means loads can reach just about anywhere. Save container inventory, and cost Steamships are placing a premium on their maritime freight containers, with costs rising exponentially throughout 2021 partly due to supply and demand issues. By transloading at the port, you're using that container less than if it continued on over land, therefore you're paying a bit less. And as an added benefit, the container is returned to circulation faster for the next shipment. And with all the above-listed benefits out of the way, you're probably thinking, "how much?" Read on to see more about how cost factors in.
Freight and logistics is a high-stakes game for shipper/receivers and truckers who carry the freight - perhaps more than ever with supply chain stresses. As InTek President Shelli Austin says, it can feel like a logistics tug-of-war! But that doesn't mean it needs to be contentious between all parties. A simple Google search will show a variety of tips for trucker etiquette at the docks, but there's not too much guidance out there for shipper/receiver etiquette. So we thought we'd offer a few tips from our experience that shipper/receivers can follow to make life easier for those transporting loads - and themselves.