Welcome to the Freight Industry March Roundup, a series of articles where we gather breaking news and important information from the Logistics Industry and add our unique perspective to it. Why waste time searching for news yourself when we do all the work for you? Enjoy!
Ports Are Showing Strong Import Growth
It feels good to kick off the March Roundup with some good news!
“The Port of Los Angeles handled a February record 372,744 loaded 20-foot containers-worth of imports—a jump of 46.6% from February of last year, when West Coast ports were plagued by congestion as dockworkers completed contract terms with port operating companies after months of negotiations. Exports grew 11% to 146,488 containers.”
Not to be outdone there is similarly good news from the Port of Long Beach:
“The Port of Long Beach, Calif. handled 295,870 loaded 20-foot equivalent units, a standard measure for container cargo, on the import side. That was a February record for the port, and a 45% increase over February of 2015, when protracted labor contract negotiations, among other issues, led to weeks of severe congestion and low container volumes at ports up and down the West Coast.”
East Coast ports are not doing too badly either. Georgia ports Authority are reporting an 8.5% increase in container volume over January which is a 22.7% increase over March 2015. Both the ports of Virginia and Charleston also showed increases.
“There’s some cautious restocking of inventories going on,” said Charles Clowdis, a trade economist with IHS Inc. “I think we will have into 2017, this steady, reliable consistent 2% GDP growth, and that’s what we’re going to have to suffer through…I wouldn’t look for a big inventory restocking blast over the summer.”
That’s a pretty cautious outlook but hey I’ll take it wherever I can get it!
Trucking Demand Also Soared in February
“The American Trucking Associations’ seasonally-adjusted truck tonnage index rose 7.2% in February from a month earlier. At 144, the index was up 8.6% from February of 2015, and it dwarfed the previous all-time high of 134.7, notched in December.”
“ATA’s chief economist attributed February’s strong volumes to shippers playing “catch-up” after winter storms in January held up some shipments. The ATA’s Bob Costello cautioned against reading too much into the steep rise. “If March is strong, then I’ll get more excited,” Mr. Costello said in a statement.”
Well let’s hope March figures get Mr. Bob Costello fired up!
Transportation Department Has Ordered Some of Volvo’s Heavy Trucks off the Road
Ouch! It doesn’t look like any Volvo truck drivers were enjoying any of the benefits of increased trucking demand in February!
Volvo AB issued a recall of their heavy-duty trucks because they may have installed 19 defective steering shafts amongst the roughly 15,835 trucks sold between May 11 and March 8. It’s unusual for the US DOT to step in but the following quote may explain why.
“In this case we’re looking at a loss of control of the vehicle without prior warning, which is an extreme condition for these vehicles,” said Bruce York, chief of the medium and heavy vehicles division with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a regulator helping coordinate safety measures in response to the recall. “The imminent risk is more severe than a lot of other recalls issued by other manufacturers.”
“Wednesday’s announcement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was a rare and unusually strong measure for the regulator to take and indicates the severity of the safety issue, trucking industry experts said. The order allows roadside inspectors and highway patrols to immediately pull affected trucks from service. The recall affects 2016 and 2017 model-year Volvo VNL, VNM and VNX trucks, as well as certain 2016 and 2017 Mack Titan trucks.”
Dynamo Accelerator Program Starts in Chattanooga Tennessee
Now this has got me really excited! How’s this for a statement courtesy of the Dynamo website
“It is 2016 and logistics is no longer about slow freight and air pollution. The evolution of the industry – from steamboat to stealth drone – and the opportunity for innovation are tangible. And Dynamo is the premier logistics, transportation, and supply chain accelerator ready to help your business idea truck ahead into the future.”
Ted Alling, Managing Director of Dynamo states:
“Dynamo is inviting young companies in the logistics space to apply for its unique accelerator program. The goal? Push forward the lagging logistics industry to create efficiencies and faster business results with technologies and practices ranging from the “Internet of things” and robotics to big data, drones and beyond.”
At last! Someone who “gets” technology and is prepared to put their money where their mouth is. The logistics industry is finally going to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century and who knows maybe the 21st century too!