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Rail Disruption Impacts Truckload Capacity & Price

For months now, the supply chain has continued to battle one issue after another. Many shippers have had to modify the way they move goods due to backed-up ports, labor shortages, and lack of truckload capacity. And rail disruption is no exception, especially off the West Coast.  In fact, Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) reported that the share of imports hauled by rail from Los Angeles/Long Beach fell to an all-time low Jan- April 2022, dropping 40%+ YoY. And while imports dropped, the average daily number of intermodal trains serving the ports dropped from 33 in 2019 down to 27 in 2022.  “Unfortunately, rail disruption is not an isolated issue”, said Michael Paul, VP Sleek Sales. “As with any mode of transportation, when disruption occurs all modes are impacted as shippers try to figure out how to keep goods moving so they deliver on time. To prove this point, DAT reports very tight capacity in LA and Abilene, TX with load to truck ratios reaching 4:1, which will cause over-road rates to increase during the fall peak season.”    Congestion at West Coast ports, along with the threat of labor shortages and strikes, has led to a steady increase of trade moving away from the West Coast to the East Coast. To understand market share, one can refer to trends in container volumes. From January through May, Port of New York import containers increased 11.5%  while Port of New Jersey increased 6.5%. To make matters worse, ports have begun to see an unusually early arrival of holiday products, including Christmas trees and Winter appeal. Household appliances are also part of long...
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How Industry 4.0 Has Helped Advance Freight Procurement

Buzz words come and go, quickly. But it seems “Industry 4.0” might stick around for a while as manufacturers continue to search for innovative ways to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase their profits. Industry 4.0 has revolutionized the way companies manufacture and distribute goods. And those who were slow to join the digital transformation movement have finally realized they need to catch up by replacing manual, outdated processes which hinder agility and the ability to remain resilient during unforeseen challenges.    Given how unstable and chaotic the supply chain has been over the last 24 months, experts agree that manufacturers who embrace Industry 4.0 will have a much greater chance of survival. So what exactly do manufacturers need to embrace to make their operations smarter? Industry 4.0 refers to the convergence and application of innovative digital industrial technologies, such as advanced robotics, additive manufacturing, augmented reality, simulation, cloud, integration, and cybersecurity. Two major themes stand out: AI-powered automation and real-time analytics! AI-powered Automation Automation helps minimize human involvement in critical processes, reducing wasted time and money. AI’s inherent ability to learn and continuously improve on-the-fly will make any manual process more efficient and productive. For example, freight procurement (a critical supply chain process) has relied on transportation RFPs to help source contracted carriers to ship goods. As with any request for proposal, many hours and human capital are used to complete the process. AI-powered automation technology has advanced freight procurement by using unique shipper attributes and proprietary algorithms to dynamically match the perfect pool of carriers to shipper loads. When the right carrier– at the right location and price–...