Tag Archives: logistics

ReedTMS Logistics Volunteers at Feeding Tampa Bay

ReedTMS Logistics kicked off its fall philanthropic push on Saturday, August 12th by volunteering at Feeding Tampa Bay.

Feeding Tampa Bay, part of the national Feeding America network, focuses on providing food to the more than 700,000 hungry in the 10-county area of West Central Florida.

You might be surprised to learn that Florida is fourth in the nation for family hunger. Or, that 60% of the population in West Central Florida is eligible for food stamps. Many at-risk students won’t eat at all between lunch on Friday and breakfast Monday morning. Although these facts may surprise you, they are hard realities for the one in six in our region who live with daily hunger.

According to the new Hunger in America 2014 study conducted nationally by Feeding America, you would be surprised to learn the characteristics of the 841,000 hungry people in the community served yearly by Feeding Tampa Bay.
Too often, we associate being hungry with negative stereotypes, such as being homeless or uneducated, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. The new Hunger in America data humanizes the hungry in our community by showing they’re largely families or seniors with homes. They truly are our neighbors, our friends, our fellow church members and our coworkers.

Employees at ReedTMS, helped package food into 20 different categories in order for the goods to be easily distributed throughout the community. When it was all said and done 9,823 meals were packaged for malnourished families in the Tampa Bay area on Saturday morning!

For More information about Feeding Tampa Bay and how you can get involved in the cause, please visit their website here.

Story By : Andy Patel

Amazon has filed a patent for its drone delivery systems

Amazon teased consumers with drone delivery during a 2017 Super Bowl commercial, though the ad bore a disclaimer: “Prime Air is not available in some states (or any really). Yet.”

Back in December 2016, Amazon made its first successful customer delivery in a trial area in the United Kingdom; in March 2017, the online retail giant completed a test delivery at its invite-only MARS 2017 robotics conference in Palm Springs. Now that it has filed a series of patents for drone delivery systems, Amazon seems to be following through on promises that Prime Air will eventually become a reality.

An old joke says, “You don’t need a parachute to skydive. You only need one if you want to skydive twice.” This logic applies to dropping packages—which could contain any number of fragile products—from the air. Amazon’s latest approved patent reveals a design that incorporates a parachute directly into a package label, according to documents obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trade Office.

Using these labels, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)—or drones—could deploy packages from the air and let them drift safely to the ground. This would reduce delivery times by eliminating the need to land and take off. Packages could even potentially be dropped without the drone stopping, which makes it possible to use multiple types of UAVs instead of just those that can hover and land.

The patent also states that “different sized parachute canopies can be used for different sized shipping container’s descent appropriately to prevent damage to the contents of the shipping container,” suggesting that Amazon would scale the technology for a wide range of package sizes and weights. The patent also describes multiple ways UAVs might carry a parachute-labeled package, including mechanical arms, a suction system, magnets, and retractable shelves.

The retailer also received recent patents for a magnet-based delivery system and a coiled spring model, so it seems likely that the company will use a combination of many technologies to get drone packages on doorsteps.

Amazon continues to wait on Federal Aviation Administration approval before it can complete more widespread Prime Air distribution testing. This process will most likely take several more years, but there is little doubt that the company plans to drop its packages from the skies as soon as it is able.

Story by Jason McDowell @ inbound logistics

Uber Freight Expanding Into Six Markets This Year


Uber Freight will expand to Arizona, California, Georgia, North and South Carolina and into the Midwest-Chicago area over the next few months after a test run that began in Texas.

“These new areas represent where drivers like to run, which makes sense: These regions including Texas cover over a quarter of the country’s drivers and freight,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Unlocking this geography allows more carriers and their drivers to grow their businesses with Uber Freight’s instant load booking and quick payment. While today we still have most of our loads in Texas, over the coming months drivers can expect to see an ever-increasing number of loads available on the app in these new markets.”

The transportation giant also said that it has heard from truck drivers who prefer to haul specific types of freight in specific lanes. As a result, Uber announced it will build new features to “automatically learn drivers’ preferences based on their past loads, their location, their home base, and more. When a new load is available that matches these preferences, the app will notify the driver.”

Uber has declined to publicly release data on the number of carriers and shipments brokered so far, but the group told USA Today that load counts have increased tenfold in Texas since January.

Story by Transport Topics

Growers expect big strawberry volume for late season

Growers expect bountiful summer strawberry supplies to carry over into autumn.

Strawberries were abundant in the summer, and that trend should continue as the season heads toward autumn, marketers say.

“Right now, there’s still a lot of strawberries available in promotional quantities into September, and then we transition to a fall crop out of Oxnard and that goes into December,” said Jim Grabowski, director of marketing with Watsonville, Calif.-based Well-Pict Inc.

Well-Pict grows strawberries and raspberries for the late-season deal on about 700 acres in Oxnard, Calif., Grabowski said.

The late-season deal has a challenge not like any other, Grabowski said.

“The trouble is, this time of year, we have a lot of competition from other fruits out there,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people fighting for promotional spaces on the ad pages and space in the produce department. This is our time to work harder.”

Summertime strawberry promotions are ubiquitous. It falls on marketers to keep the momentum going in the late summer and fall, Grabowski said.

“It’s a matter of reminding people,” he said.

“They’ve been seeing (strawberries) all summer and, once you transition to fall, if you can keep retailers to keep them front and center, they still will move.

“It may not have to be the No. 1 item in the ad — the idea is to be in the ad.”

Strawberries have eye appeal, which counts for a lot in a retail produce department, Grabowski said.

“If strawberries can stay in a good position, prominent in the produce department, they still will sell,” he said.

Salinas, Calif.-based Naturipe Berry Growers has a fall crop in Santa Maria, Calif., said Craig Moriyama, director of berry operations.

“By design we set that back from a year ago because there was too much overlap (with the Salinas Valley crop),” he said.

“We pushed that back more toward an end-of-August, September and first-of-October-type deal. Oxnard will go in October and November with their fall strawberries.”

Production has been steady over the summer, with somewhat mild conditions, Moriyama said.

Everything looks good for the fall crop at CBS Farms in Watsonville, said Charlie Staka, operations manager.

“We are on track with that crop, and it looks like we’ll have good volume for the fall,” he said.

The late-season deal should begin under “stable” market conditions, said Jason Fung, berry category manager with the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Oppenheimer Group.

“Obviously, the Fourth of July and post-Fourth often has an effect on all items on produce,” he said.

As of July 14, strawberries from the Salinas-Watsonville District packed in flats of eight 1-pound containers with lids were $5-9 for size medium to large, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A year earlier, the same item was $8.

The start of the 2017 season was a bit rocky, slowed by some cool, wet conditions in the late winter and early spring, but the crop settled in nicely afterward and continues to produce good-quality fruit, said Cindy Jewell, vice president of marketing for Watsonville-based California Giant Berry Farms.

“We are not expecting any real shifts in volume for the next several weeks, as summer weather patterns have really settled in and volume will be somewhat consistent on a weekly basis,” she said.

Story by Jim Offner at Thepacker.com

How Uber’s Technology Represents Progress for Trucking

Although trucking has a reputation as an industry that is conservative and slow to change, it actually is an early adopter of technology. CB radios were big with truckers long before they became popular with consumers. As international freight and logistics in all its forms – air, freight and rail – remains painfully offline, trucking has already hit its tech stride.

Transportation service provider YRC Worldwide, for example, is rapidly blending technology into its LTL, or less-than-truckload, hauling network, Justin Hall, the carrier’s customer service chief, said in recent industry remarks.

Both giant carriers and start-ups are deploying technology to reducing excess capacity and make trucking even more efficient. More than a baker’s dozen of “Uber-for-freight” start-ups were joined this year by Uber itself with a cloud-based, on-demand, full truck-load freight brokerage called Uber Freight.

This isn’t just a drive-by-night business. Freight tech start up Convoy – which has received seed funding from the founders of LinkedIn, eBay, Salesforce, Expedia and others – recently landed Unilever as a client, proving that the big boys are listening.

Even Amazon.com – whose founder Jeff Bezos also has invested in Convoy – has on-demand trucking aspirations.

Using technology to connect customers and truckers is far from a new idea.

U.S. domestic trucking has been shifting toward technology for nearly half a century. Truckers and customers used to coordinate loads through bulletin boards at truck stops. This was digitized when Dial-a-Truck, now called DAT, launched a telephone freight matching service in 1978, followed by an electronic version years later. Electronic load boards have since evolved into  $150-billion freight brokerage market with brokers leveraging sophisticated technology to manage both inbound and outbound shipments for clients.

Trucking in the United States has two key drivers – incredible infrastructure and outstanding technology. Together they helped lower the U.S.’s percentage of GDP spent on logistics to “only” 7.5 percent. That compares with around 18  percent in China and well over 20 percent in less developed countries.

In 2015, trucking revenue reached $726.4 billion, with 3.6 million trucks moving 10 billion tons of freight. That’s a lot of freight. But it can get more efficient. As a matter of fact, there are at least 10 on-demand freight companies that have billed themselves as an “Uber-for-freight”:

Story by Eytan Buchman

2017 State of Logistics: Less-than-truckload (LTL)

The once beleaguered $35 billion LTL market is enjoying a revival thanks to its substantial investment in technology, difficult-to-replicate hub-and-spoke networks, the boom in e-commerce as well as other non-traditional growth areas.

Simply put, it’s about market share and pricing power. The top 25 LTL carriers still account for nearly 90% of market share. And with giants FedEx Freight and UPS Freight upping the ante with multi-million dollar investments in technology and operations improvements, the LTL sector continues to enjoy pricing power over shippers that the highly fragment truckload (TL) sector does not.

According to David Ross, veteran LTL analyst for Stifel Inc., 2017 will be “generally good” for LTL carriers, with results improving as the freight year progresses.

“The expectation remains for better times ahead in LTL due to the prospect of lower taxes, reduced regulation, increased capital spending and the administration’s stated focus on domestic jobs, infrastructure and manufacturing,” says Ross. “In theory, these should all work to drive earnings per share higher for LTL carriers—but in practice it may take a while.”

For some leading LTL carriers, it’s already happening. XPO Logistics, the nation’s 2nd-largest group of LTL carriers, earned a profit in the first quarter of a year for the first time since 2010. According to CEO Brad Jacobs, XPO, the former Con-way Inc., is benefitting from the boom in e-commerce, last-mile delivery capability, investment in technology and cross-selling among other XPO units.

Dating back to last year, overall LTL demand is picking up, if only slightly. Fourth quarter daily tonnage and shipments at public LTL carriers rose about 1% on average, but at least both were positive for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2014. Low-single-digit growth rates are forecast for the rest of this year.

Stifel’s Ross says that the key to 2018 growth is an improving manufacturing sector and reduced truckload supply, which might be sufficient enough to cause lighter-weight TL shipments to flow back into LTL networks.

Ross adds that LTL pricing should be higher for the rest of this year. In fact, revenue per hundredweight (yield–not pure price) rose on average 1.8% in the fourth quarter. He’s currently forecasting 2% higher rates this year.

Unlike the TL market, which recently saw a $6 billion merger between Knight and Swift Transportation, analysts are not expecting similar moves in LTL due to the fact that public LTL carriers already have their networks largely built out. Few analysts are expecting any mega-mergers in LTL. “There simply aren’t any benefits,” says Ross, who adds that smaller, “bolt-on acquisitions” could make more sense down the road.

However, Saia—the only public LTL without a national footprint—is moving down the organic expansion path. “Even if Saia buys someone to accelerate its growth into the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast, it probably won’t be a publiccarrier, as they’re all too big,” adds Ross.

Of course, all these LTL companies are chasing Old Dominion Freight Line (ODFL), which posted a sector-leading $195 million in net income last year while posting an 83.8 operating ratio, a mark that leads the LTL sector.

ODFL vice chairman and president David Congdon says that his company formula for success is simple: 99+% on-time service in regional, interregional and national market lanes at competitive rates with low claims. That’s easy to say, but difficult to do consistently in the highly competitive LTL market place.

Story by John D. Schulz at Logistcsmgmt.com