Freight Industry October Roundup

Freight Industry October Roundup

Welcome to the Freight Industry October 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!

I know it’s November already and this is the October Roundup! There’s a simple reason for that. I got so excited last week at the prospect of working for Amazon I switched tack and wrote about that instead. Hey, if a company is going to employ me to play with Drones all day then I have to give it some serious consideration. (Only joking boss!) Talking of which…

Wal-Mart Seeks to Test Drones

Wal-Mart Drone

Amazon aren’t having it all their own way. According to Reuters:

“Wal-Mart Stores Inc applied Monday to U.S. regulators for permission to test drones for home delivery, curbside pickup and checking warehouse inventories, a sign it plans to go head-to-head with Amazon in using drones to fill and deliver online orders.”

The interesting point I noted:

“Drones have a lot of potential to further connect our vast network of stores, distribution centers, fulfillment centers and transportation fleet,” he said. “There is a Walmart within five miles of 70 percent of the U.S. population, which creates some unique and interesting possibilities for serving customers with drones.”

Amazon have a hard time competing with that although they are ramping up their D.C. footprint at a significant rate.

Doorman Comes to Chicago

Doorman Comes to Chicago

Major disruption is occurring in the last mile of the supply chain driven primarily by Millenials and their online purchasing habits. It’s a magnet for tech startups that are entering this space with fresh perspectives and innovative technology solutions in vast numbers.

Doorman has a mission to eliminate missed package deliveries. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had packages left on my doorstep and stolen, delivered to the wrong address or not delivered at all and I’ve had to go and pick them up.

Essentially Doorman gives you and address they accept your package at and arrange to deliver it on your schedule, up to midnight, wherever you are. Everything handled via their free app.

Shyp will collect, pack and ship cheaper than you can do it yourself. They also offer “address free” shipping. You are give a user name and packages will be either dropped off or shipped to wherever you happen to be at the time. The sender/recipient does not need to know your location when shipping/receiving. You guessed it – everything handled via their free app.

I wonder if there’s an app for shipping frac sand from Michigan to Texas via rail? If there is please let me know in the comments below.

Railroads are Still Operating – But it Was a Close Call!

positive train control

According to Railway Age

“The rail industry’s frenzied push to extend the Congressionally imposed deadline for implementing Positive Train Control—one of the largest unfunded mandates ever foisted upon a U.S. industry—finally came to fruition on Oct. 29, 2015.”

That was the date President Obama signed HR 3819 into law which gives the railroad industry a three year extension to implement Positive Train Control

According to the Association of American Railroad the railroad industry has spent $6bn to date on this coplex technology and they project another $4bn will have been spent before it’s completed.

How come Congress get to order an industry to do something and pay $10bn out of their own pockets to actually do it? In my book there should be a law against that kind of treatment!

LIFE on the Rails

Freight Car

I’ve pulled this up from the archives to finish on a lighter more nostalgic note. LIFE magazine published a retrospective on the master photographer Walker Evans color photos of railroad freight cars. The series was commissioned by Fortune Magazine in 1957 and evokes the somewhat romantic image the railroad had in those days. Enjoy!

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