Monthly Archives: February 2014

Getting Your Product to the Customer Faster and More Cost-Efficiently with Supply Chain Management

Beginning in the 1990’s, with the advent of increasing customer baselines by pursuing the global market, innovative and progressive companies began formulating more cohesive and defined supply chain management techniques. Being able to meet quality, cost and delivery commitments while still satisfying end user requirements, took on global ramifications for companies interested in staying competitive in the world marketplace. There are many factors that influence getting your product into your customers’ hands in a more effective, timely and cost-efficient manner. To begin at the beginning, begin by involving your key suppliers in the improvement of your supply chain management. Probe methods to involve key suppliers in the early phases of the process; explore ways to maximize the product, cost, quality and speedy delivery to your end user. Next, utilize your own purchasing department and encourage initiative in finding ways to shorten time to market and cost reduction among every person on your staff. Encourage your acquisitions department to keep the flow of incoming raw materials maximized to support production. Encourage new product development ideas. Establish a “commodities group” to manage the collection of parts and suppliers on schedule. Broaden your new product development efforts. Try to reduce the time a… read more »

Merging of XPO-Pacer Will Expand the Intermodal Market

Intermodal freight transport, or using multiple methods to move freight, without handling the freight itself, improves security, reduces damage and loss, and results in faster transport of the freight. It also reduces greenhouse gases and reduces transport time. It’s no wonder, then, that the merger of XPO Logistics and Pacer International (the 3rd largest intermodal operator in the US) is an exciting development in the freight world. This $335 million deal is a step in the right direction for the future of truck freight brokerage, encouraging growth in the Northern American markets. Intermodal volumes have been increasing lately, up 7.7% domestically last year. This is rewarding for shippers and truckers alike, because of the resultant cost savings and margin increases. XPO Logistics has been building its intermodal business over the last two years, purchasing ten companies to build its international freight transportation. XPO acquired Pacer International last summer, at the cost of $365 million. Bradley S. Jacobs, XPO Chairman/CEO, stated, “We’re positioning ourselves to be a one-stop, full-service provider. A customer would much rather deal with a single-source provider than several companies. There’s a lot of value in winnowing down your vendor base” With a projected $5 billion in annual… read more »

The Global Market and the Need for Expert Supply Chain Management

Effective management of your supply chain is imperative to improving your competitiveness in today’s global market. Electronics, the web, better communications, travel, and other factors are increasingly opening global markets all over the world. This “shrinking” of world markets offers customers a much wider variety of products to purchase, but also opens competition for goods and services worldwide. Business is faced with three major challenges: More competitive markets with possibly superior products and services A shifting market where consumers can and do place more emphasis on both price and quality Facing the fact that to succeed in today’s marketplace, industries must be prepared to succeed on a global level. You must be able to look at the competition through the eyes of your consumers, maximize every opportunity to exceed your customers’ expectations for products and services, and surpass the efforts of your competitors. Having effective, productive and strategic supply chain management will help you get the advantage you must have over your competition. This globalization of business has given your customers more options to choose from, what they can buy, how much they will pay, and the terms they want to commit to. On a global level, companies are producing… read more »

California’s Ports the First Worldwide to Require Container Ships at Berth to Operate from Shore-Side Electrical Power

Effective January 1, 2013, California ports became the first worldwide to require vessels operate from shore-side electrical power while at berth. This required the international shipping industry to equip vessels and container berths with equipment to operate the vessels’ engines with low-polluting electrical power while at berth. In addition, low-sulfur fuel regulations, aimed to reduce harmful diesel emission from vessels in transit, required using fuels with no more than 0.1% of sulfur content. The at-berth regulation must be conformed to over the next six years. In that time frame, 50% of a container line’s fleet must be able to use shore-side electrical power, with increases to 70% in 2017 and 80% in 2020. Standards to measure compliance are already in place. Environmentalists are confident that this pioneering California model will eventually and gradually be adopted by other ports in Asia, Europe and the US. Once California-bound vessels comply, they will be allowed access to other ports around the world, having already complied with the stringent California regulations. T.L. Garrett, vice president of the PMSA, which represents shipping lines and terminal operators on the West Coast, advised that any vessel, on its first berthing in Los Angeles, Long Beach, or Oakland,… read more »

Maersk Promises Not to Flood the Intermodal Network With New Super Ships

Maersk has recently released what are now the world’s largest container ships. These ships are 18,000TEU in capacity and are currently being put into use in the AE10 string between Asia and North Europe. The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller was the first of 20 Triple-E Class ships that was put into use in June of 2013. Currently, there are 5 of these Triple-E Class ships in service and all 20 of the ships are expected to be in service by 2015. The industry has been alarmed by the release of these ships because of the fact that there is already weak demand for east-west trades resulting from the recession that was experienced in Europe and North America. Maersk is watching the markets carefully to make sure that they do not roll out the remaining ships too quickly. The company expects demand to remain weak through 2016. Falling exports from China are also an issue that is affecting the trade and the trend is moving toward ordering smaller container shipments more frequently rather than large infrequent shipments. Rolling out the large capacity shipments could mean major damage to freight export raises and would flatten the demand.In the past year freight rates have… read more »

Greater Efficiency Is the Aim of Conditioning Hulls of Container Ships

A new program has been created in order to optimize performance and reduce fuel and emmissions for container ships. The program is the HPS ‘Newbuilding Solution’ which was created by Jotun Hull Performance Solutions (HPS) and announced back in 2013 at the Kormarine Exhibition in Busan, South Korea. The program is targeted at ship yards that want to increase the energy efficiencyof the vessels that they produce. The goal is also for the ship yards to produce eco-design ships. Cost effectiveness is one of the most important aspects to ship yards in this regard and therefore they demand that ship coatins include performance antifouling coatings that can keep barnacles and boring creatures off the bottom of the ship. The plan is focused around the product SeaQuantum X200, slated to be one of the best anti fouling coatings with low friction properties. The SeaQuantum X200guaranteeds a lifetime of performance and also has three different levels of upgrade options for ,ater adjustment. The first component of the program upgrade is the Smooth Application Package in which the company will measure the roughness of the water for the client and also include an anti-corrosive system that is optimized for the client’s needs. The… read more »

Intermodal Boom Offers US Primary Produces Easy Access to Foreign Markets

The boom in intermodal networks has resulted in new opportunities for farmers in the middle of the country to get access to foreign markets. As a demonstration of the growth trend, a new rail yard has been opened just in the last few months in Decatur, Illinois by the agriculture giant Archer Daniels Midland. The company plans to use the rail yard to help businesses in the region ship more products and is expected to increase its shipping capacity three-fold in the next few years. The rail yard is already equipped to handle 50,000 containers in a single year. Farmers are seeking to take advantage of the empty shipping containers that are ending up all over the United States as a result of international companies exporting goods to the United States. In addition, grain cooperatives and exporters are taking advantage of this modular transportationtrend to ship graininternationally. The modular transportationtrend is becoming an increasingly important part of the agriculture business and farmers are estimated to have shipped 140 billion dollars worth of products over the past year. The main products being sent are corn, soybeans and wheat. These products are mainly being shipped to Asiaand Europe. Previously these shipments were… read more »

Short Line Railroads Benefit From the Growth in Intermodal Networks

Short distance freight train companies have managed to carve out a niche market and these companies are currently benefiting financially for the overall growth of intermodal networks in the United States. This assessment was made when rail and business leaders met in Chicago inOctober 2013 to discuss the impact of short-line railroad companies on United States domestic business as well as global business. The impact of the short line railroads is that they help to create connections between regions and larger rail networks for businesses needing to transport goods from regional locations. The Staggers Railway Act of 1980 served to create this niche market because many of the larger rail networks gave up their influence over the short line networks due to the costs. The slack was then picked up by entrepreneurs who creates the systems that are in place today. Short line railways are also becoming more in demand because regulations are changingin the truckingindustry which is increasing the cost of moving freight via truck. Therefore the short line railways are increasingly appealing to businesses as a more cost effective way of moving freight. An example of the evolution is that of the short rail line company South Shore… read more »