Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Green" Goes Mainstream - The Effect of the Environment on Everyday Products

Walmart has announced their worldwide sustainability index initiative. They want vendors to produce products that are more efficient, last longer, and are made in a responsible way - a.k.a. - GREEN.

Here is an excerpt from Walmart's Blog:

"We will provide our more than 100,000 global suppliers with a brief survey to evaluate their own companies’sustainability. The questions will focus on four areas: energy and climate; material efficiency; natural resources; and people and community. The survey is a key step toward enhancing transparency in our supply chain."

So what does this have to do with you?? If your company manufactures ANYTHING, chances are that Walmart's Sustainability Index will be a major boost to the trend to go GREEN.

Consumers are going to be demanding more responsible manufacturing processes and companies that recognize and adapt will more than likely gain a competitive advantage over companies that do not. The Product Carbon Footprint World Summit was held in September - of course, Walmart was present.

You can bet that Walmart will be having labels and promoting a major campaign on the topic of green products and manufacturing processes. With Walmart's lead, consumers are going to become increasingly aware of the need and demand for GREEN products.

Not only will the manufacturing process will be considered, but you may want to make sure that your transportation carriers have the Smartway Certification, which indicates that carriers have met requirements to promote a "greener" environment.

Click Here To view the Walmart Supplier Sustainability Assessment

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What Does the Spot Market Tell Us About Truck Supply??

What does the spot freight availability tells us about the market?? We'll let you decide, but here are some interesting statistics:

Source: TransCore Trendlines

1) Spot Freight Availability is on track to exceed 2008 levels for all equipment types in the fourth quarter, on a year over year basis;

2) Freight Postings rose by 9% in the last week of September, as shippers expedited before the end of the 3rd quarter;

3) Load Availability Declined by 6% in the week ending October 10th, while the load to truck ratio rose to 2.46;

Of particular interest are the highlighted areas - notice the increases in loads to trucks - in other words, there are more loads with fewer trucks. We all know what is coming when demand starts to inch toward exceeding supply!!

Van freight is up 31% and reefer freight is up 25%.

We've had many indicators that the economy is improving. If you are a shipper, you'll want to keep all the indicators and today's article in mind. The trend is that pricing is already starting to change. Companies who are smart enough to recognize this trend will be doing what they can to lock in their trusted carriers before it is too late - overpayments for shipping could be the result in playing the "spot freight" game!

For more information on TransCore Trends, visit

Monday, October 5, 2009

Logistics business: Cass Freight Index is up, but economy remains down

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor -- Logistics Management, 10/2/2009

WALTHAM, Mass.—In what may be viewed as positive news for freight trends, the Cass Information Systems Freight Index was up on a sequential basis from August to September, with a 2.8 percent gain for shipments.

The September index, which measures freight expenditures and payables at 0.966 (1990=1.00), was down 10.6 percent year-over-year, ahead of August, which was down 16.6 percent year-over-year and July, which was down 15.3 percent year-over-year.

According to Credit Suisse Analyst Chris Ceraso, the Cass Freight Index sometimes leads the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) monthly tonnage index when freight picks up. The ATA tonnage index is also showing positive momentum of late, with a 2.1 percent gain in both August and September.

While the Cass Freight Index is up, many economic indicators remain mixed—making it hard to gauge in some cases just how much the economy is recovering since many economists and industry organizations have indicated it has bottomed.

A few examples of the mixed signs include: today’s jobs report from the Department of Labor indicating unemployment is just under 10 percent, the Department of Commerce’s report that manufactured goods orders in August were down 0.8 percent—or $2.8 billion—to $352.9 billion, consumer spending remaining down, coupled with trucking volumes and the Cass Freight Index up, as well as the Institute of Supply Management reporting its September manufacturing index was up for the second straight month.

Even with the economy showing some signs of life, an industry source told LM there is still more bad news than good news when it comes to a meaningful recovery.

“I don't see the economy improving, said the source, “and I don't see reason to be hopefully optimistic. Unemployment continues to rise, which means spending will continue to drop which means companies will have to continue to cut.”

In a recent interview with LM, IHS Global Insight Economist Paul Bingham said even though the economy remains largely down, there are reasons for optimism, as well as recognition that a contributor to the recent freight transportation volume increases is the long-standing seasonal factors at work, even if muted by reduced household and business purchasing activity.

“There are early signs of recovery also in the numbers as same-month year-ago comparisons turn positive, against already weak comparable months last year ago when the recession was already underway,” said Bingham. “We project the recovery is upon us in North America in the 4th quarter of the year, albeit with a slow pace. The projection is not for any return to the booming double digit annual volume growth rates we saw during the first half of the decade. This is primarily due to consumer spending not being able to reach the rate of consumption that implied because household savings rates will remain positive and more limited consumer credit availability both work to constrain import spending.”

Click Here a link to this article in Logistics Management