Category Archives: Shipping

Can The United States Postal Service Be Saved?


Pictured above represents a Supply Chain Management Control Tower. Don’t expect to currently find one in back of your local post office. Look for lots of them at company called DHL which is the German Post Office.

Jim O’Reilly, writing in EBN, presented a very good discussion on saving the USPS.

Yes, his ideas are good and I encourage you to read his article. Other countries, like Canada, have postal cost problems and are following a deliberate path to shed unneeded buildings, cut home delivery, etc.

But out there is a winner: Germany, the owner of DHL Express, a division of the German Post Office.

The United States government, and the sometimes-awkward Congress have surprisingly “thought out of the box” a couple of times in the last forty years in a very successful way. First in 1976 with CONRAIL, then more recently with General Motors.

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Guess What? A “Traditional” Retailer Might Beat Amazon and Google at “Same-Day Delivery”


Much has been made of Amazon’s  race for same-day delivery and Google looking to cut them off at the pass. In fact, Google just revealed they have been testing their own airborne drone delivery system, dubbed Project Wing, that could deliver small items to customers. While Google and Amazon’s drones are still a few years away – these online giants are still going to need physical space from which to distribute. That’s a substantial capital expenditure.
What if then, there were a store that already had “distribution centers” all over the country from which they could offer same-day delivery right here and right now.
That store could be MACY’s
It is a known fact that they are piloting it in four markets. They are working with FedEx, UPS and eBay. They are adding all sorts  of  technology as part of the renovation of their New York City flagship store.

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Yet Another Predictor For This Year

Lot of folks enjoyed this


As 2015 begins to roll, it’s time to consider what this year may bring along with it in terms of issues and opportunities along the supply chain. Certainly things will change as they always do, but whether those changes will be good for each of us individually or not will depend on circumstances that will be different for every company.

In his story “Supply Chain Predictions for 2015” our own Michael Martz looked at topics including big data, robotics, drones, and the Internet of Things. I agree that all those expanding technologies will have significant impacts on everyone in the supply chain in the coming years. But I also think that the most significant issue we will see this year will be something prognosticators tend to disregard.

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What Will the Panama Canal Do For Florida East Coast Railway?



The 48 mile-long international waterway known as the Panama Canal allows ships to pass between the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean, saving about 8,000 miles from a journey around the southern tip of South America. A project is underway to build new locks as well as wider and deeper channels that is expected to double the canal’s capacity. This will allow megaships to move through the Canal.

Though traffic continues to increase through the canal, many oil supertankers, huge container ships and aircraft carriers can not fit through the canal. There’s even a class of ships known as “Panamax,” those built to the maximum capacity of the Panama canal and its locks. the Panama Canal expansion project will allow ships double the size of current Panamax (“Post-Panamax”) to pass through the canal, dramatically increasing the amount of goods that can pass through the canal.

The expansion project is a little…

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Grain 1 – Trains 0

Rail Delays Slow Shipments, Pushing Prices Up Despite Bumper Crops

ONIDA, S.D.—The worst rail delays in more than a decade are impeding crop shipments in the Midwest, causing grain-storage facilities to fill up and sending pries for corn, soybean and soybean meal up sharply.

Congestion on railroad networks, now threatening to extend into a second year in the U.S. Farm Belt, is forcing some buyers to purchase additional soybean meal, used mainly in animal feed, to ensure a steady supply, analysts said.

That helped push futures prices up 11% in the past week. And soybeans and corn both jumped by around 7% as livestock and poultry operations in the eastern U.S. rushed to avoid feed shortages and speculators bid up the price of the commodities related to soy meal, analysts said.

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Oswego port needs federal designation to export grain, Sen. Schumer says

Port of Oswego, NY
Port of Oswego, NY
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) last week called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide the Port of Oswego, N.Y., a federal designation to export grain and other agriculture products for the first time.

The port each year receives about 10 million bushels of grain — primarily soybeans, corn and wheat — that some companies transport by rail to Virginia, where it’s exported because the Oswego port isn’t eligible for grain exports, Schumer said in a press release. The port is served by CSX Transportation.

If the port received a certificate from the USDA to conduct required weighings and inspections to safely export grain, it could export the products and grow its footprint in the area, said Schumer.


“Each day, goods like aluminum, cement and salt come in and out of the Port of Oswego, so it makes no sense why grains can come in but cannot be shipped out,” he said. “The inability to export grains is a lost opportunity for the port and the entire central New York economy.”

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Egypt Hopes New Suez Canal Dredging To Double Revenues, Improve Economy

Egypt hopes it will reap a financial windfall when the new Suez Canal, being built alongside the existing 145-year-old waterway, opens for business in August 2015. In fact, that nation foresees the new shipping canal will bring in upwards of $13.5 billion annually by 2023.
Plans also include an international and logistics hub designed to attract more shipping traffic. The Suez Canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia. Six firms, two from the Netherlands, two from Belgium and one each from the UAE and the United States, recently signed contracts to dredge the new canal.

Suez Canal
Suez Canal

Meanwhile, the biggest expansion of the Suez Canal since it opened in 1869 will boost syndicated bank loans in Egypt, according to the Commercial International Bank (CIB) Egypt SAE, Egypt’s largest publicly traded bank.

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AAR: U.S. railroads broke one-week-old intermodal volume record

For the week ending Sept. 20, U.S. railroads reported 279,777 intermodal loads, breaking the weekly volume record of 279,052 units they just set a week earlier, according to the Association of American Railroads. On a year-over-year basis, intermodal volume rose 6.4 percent.
U.S. roads also reported 302,178 weekly carloads, up 5 percent. Total combined traffic increased 5.7 percent to 581,955 units and nine of 10 of carload commodity groups posted gains, led by petroleum and petroleum products at 26.8 percent, grain at 23.2 percent and nonmetallic minerals at 10.8 percent.

For the week, Canadian railroads reported 85,453 carloads, down 0.2 percent, and 60,870 intermodal units, up 7 percent compared with the same week last year. Mexican railroads reported 13,459 carloads, up 4.8 percent, and 10,511 intermodal units, up 2.6 percent.

Through 2014’s first 38 weeks, U.S. railroads increased carloads 3.5 percent to 11,020,960 units and boosted intermodal volume 5.7 percent to 9,802,259 units compared with the same 2013 period. Canadian railroads reported a 1.4 percent increase in carloads to 3,015,371 units and a 7.1 percent gain in intermodal volume to 2,169,836 units, while Mexican railroads’ carloads ratcheted up 1.7 percent to 593,441 units and intermodal volume rose 4.3 percent to 396,140 units.

Through 38 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 14,629,772 carloads, up 3 percent, and 12,368,235 containers and trailers, up 5.9 percent compared with the same 2013 period.


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