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Must Arrive By Delivery Date Dilemma: A BG Case Study

SCENARIO:

Tremendous growth leads to challenges related to the distribution of this rapidly expanding health and beauty products distributor. With much of their business moving toward “big box” retailers, the need for carrier management would be required to fulfill the commitments made to their clients. The true cost of doing business seemed more complex than fulfilling orders.

 

MUST ARRIVE BY DILEMMA (MABD):

With vendor scorecards dwindling, and charge backs against purchase orders mounting, the need for a better solution was apparent. From numerous carrier meetings, to drive on time compliance, to costly upgrades in service levels, the trend continued to show little improvement. Lead times were not an issue, and inventory levels were manageable, yet carriers could not seem to comply with the Must Arrive By Date (MABD) displayed on the BOL. Purchase orders were being shipped with ample lead time and in most cases, early with guaranteed service at a premium. Even with upgraded service, the carriers would refuse to refund the charges since they were delivered “on time”, per the standard transit. BlueGrace began by analyzing the data and scorecards to determine root cause of the issue, and set a baseline for current state performance. Next, an assessment of ERP integration capabilities was performed. Through minor customization, the potential for real-time connectivity to BlueShip TMS was an opportunity. This connection would allow BlueGrace to receive incoming orders from specific clients and apply custom business rules to achieve the Overall goal. No matter when the order was received, BlueShip would effectively route the “Best Value Carrier” AND provide the most optimal ship date. This meant that each order, once approved within the ERP, would be rated and routed; with a Wal-Mart approved carrier, at the lowest cost, with standard service and shipped on the day that would best fit that carrier’s network to allow for a delivery within the specified MABD window. Our client showed a 90% reduction in charge backs within the first 60 days of implementing this program. Combined with the dedicated support at BlueGrace proactively tracking each flagged order, the company received the best scorecard performance in recent history.

 

FREIGHT COST ALLOCATION:

The next phase consisted of reviewing what the true cost of each order was when freight cost was allocated. BlueGrace analyzed the average freight cost as a percentage of sale. This percentage was incorporated into the product cost to determine pricing to the end customer. BlueGrace knew there was opportunity to drill down and allocate a freight cost not only at the customer level, but the customer location, customer location type (Direct to Store or Distribution Center) all the way down to the SKU level. Since freight cost was not passed to the client, this would either show a net margin loss or show opportunities to reduce the freight cost allocation to become more competitive. The result highlighted regions that were more costly to ship to, products that did not have enough margin potential to validate shipping cost and insight into regions of the country that would benefit from an additional warehouse location.

Continued Growth:

BlueGrace provides scalability for growing companies to achieve their goals without labor or technology investments. Our expertise and processes provide our clients with the bandwidth to operate efficiently and drive direct cost eduction through our procurement and dedicated management.

Rate Reductions Coincide with Fuel Price Decreases

Gas Prices

Gas prices are now reaching under 3 dollars for the first time since 2010! It seems like a miracle driving around seeing signs in the 2’s, but it IS a reality. Obviously the lowering of the price of gas is due to a drop on the price of oil, but do you know why? Researchers say there are various reasons, such as drilling in Iraq and Libya, or because Americans have reduced fuel usage in the past few years by driving more efficient cars and/or carpooling in order to save money, while in turn creating an overstock of fuel. The low gas prices are predicted to last through the holidays, however, it is likely they will rise above 3 dollars by spring or summer.

Do these new gas prices lower shipping rates? It is a little early to say but it is likely to happen, as carriers will have extra money for gas. Transportation such as bus and airfares have not yet lowered and may not, since the holidays are still the most expensive time to travel, and the demand during the season does not subside.

Make sure to check back for more updates on reduced rates!

Tampa Ranks as Third-best U.S. City to Find a Job

shutterstock_23526721

A recent article that appeared in the Tampa Bay Times shared a report from Wallet Hub that ranks Tampa as the third-best city in the country to find a job in 2014.  This is great news as Tampa is coming out of the recession that hit the area so hard.

Headquartered in Riverview, right outside Tampa, BlueGrace calls Tampa Bay our home. Our local economy is bouncing back and we’ve been seeing signs of this throughout our business. In the last year, BlueGrace has continued to grow and with that growth has come new positions to be filled. We’ve started out the year strong with welcoming 35 new hires to the BlueGrace team here in Tampa. This growth will continue in an upward trend as the year progresses.

We currently have openings for Systems Engineer, Carrier Invoicing, Account Receivable, Customer Loyalty Representative, Corporate Paralegal, National Sales Representative, Enterprise Development Manager and Enterprise Development Representative. If you’re interested in any of these positions, you can email your resume to careers@mybluegrace.com or visit the Careers section of our website.

BlueGrace Scheduled to Host Talent Acquisition Blitz (TAB) in Chicago, February 24-25

BlueGrace Logistics, one of the fastest-growing logistics services firms in the country, is enhancing our presence in the Chicago area.

To support our hyper-growth, we are opening an office in Oak Brook, IL, a suburb of Chicago. The BlueGrace Talent Acquisition Blitz (TAB) in Chicago will take place February 24-25, in an effort to scout new recruits to join our team.

BlueGrace President and CEO, Bobby Harris, is expected to be in attendance to meet with prospects and hand select the top candidates to help grow the Chicago office. TAB will be held at our Chicago headquarters: 700 Commerce Drive in Oak Brook.

We will be looking to fill 20 positions, including sales, truckload operations, customer service and management positions. All new hires to join our Chicago team will receive a $1,000 signing bonus!

Candidates can submit their resume via email to careers@mybluegrace.com, as well as request information about the company by visiting www.mybluegrace.com/bluegrace_careers.

Common Concerns and Simple Solutions of U.S. Manufacturers

How does logistics differ among manufacturers across the globe? Do the logistics needs of a particular steel manufacturer differ from that of a food and beverage supplier versus or a chemical manufacturer? In some instances, absolutely – But, according to a recent Logistics Management article that discusses the results of the “Business Strategy: 2012 Supply Chain Survey – Manufacturing Priorities and New Technology Adoption,” most all manufacturing companies share a common concern – reducing supply chain costs by implementing simple solutions through the use of technology.

There is no doubt that the global economy is impacting all manufacturers and retailers. Consumers demand faster production, higher quality materials, and lower prices. Transportation logistics typically accounts for 30% of the cost of any good. Here are some ways you can stay competitive in your marketplace, while increasing your bottom line:

  • PLAN AHEAD: Begin planning for the increase in demand for the holiday season this year. Retailers have prepared their forecasts and are analyzing consumer purchasing trends. Perhaps your item is going to be on the “hottest-selling” list this year. Are you ready? Back-to-school season is fast approaching and the ports have been planning for a virtuous year for retailers.   As we all know, no matter how well you plan – stuff happens! You must be flexible, react and make changes when necessary.
  • Lean strategies and operations: Whether it’s wasted materials or labor hours, a business must adopt lean thinking and processes to remain competitive and profitable in a global market. Eliminate waste in your production: hours, materials, etc.
  • Transportation efficiency: That’s where we come in, and there’s that word efficiency again! Trucking companies, ports, and 3PLs (like BlueGrace Logistics) are continuously searching for ways to move goods across the globe seamlessly. Technology plays a critical role in efficiency and a transportation management system (TMS) could be just the perfect solution for your business’ logistics needs. With a TMS, you are able to quote freight shipments, book the carrier of your choice, and track 24-7.  BlueShip® offers customization and can be integrated to your businesses information system. Controlling transportation costs is led by route optimization, reduced fuel consumption, and reduced idle time.

Take a look at the findings of the Business Strategy: 2012 Supply Chain Survey – How does your company’s concerns differ or mirror those of over 350 U.S. manufacturers surveyed? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

Contact one of our transportation experts today to book a shipment! Shoot us an e-mail or give us a call at 800.MY.SHIPPING

Lesson for Heavy Weight Shippers

Overloaded Dry Van
This is a caution to heavy weight shippers! You cannot overload a trailer in the middle of the van.

Now this is something you don’t expect to see on your way home from work…

One of our team members captured this scene of a dry van that caved in, and as you can imagine – causing major delays during 5 o’clock rush hour on northbound I-75.

This is a caution to heavy weight shippers! You cannot overload a trailer in the middle of the van. Instead, the weight (under 45,000 lbs) must be evenly distributed throughout the trailer. Perhaps this shipment was best fit for a flatbed. Flatbeds have reinforced steel beams underneath that are designed to support heavy loads compared to a dry van.

For more information on flatbed versus dry van shipping or to book an LTL or truckload shipment with a top rated carrier contact us today.

Our team of logistics experts is happy to assist you – and fellow commuters will thank you!

Logistics in the U.S. – Facts at a Glance

Logistics in the U.S. - Facts at a Glance Every facet of American life is touched by transportation. With freight being the economic staple that it is, every haul is a piece of a complex logistical puzzle that powers our nation. We’ve dug up some interesting factoids to help shed some light on just how large of a role transportation plays!

  • The US is comprised of 566 railroads (138,623 railroad miles).
  • Total 2011 U.S. logistics spend was estimated at $1.28 trillion up 6.6% over 2010.
  • According to the 2012 3PL Study, shippers who partner with third-party logistics providers report an average cost reduction of 13% and nearly two-thirds (64%) of survey respondents reported an increase in their use of outsourced logistics services.
  • 3.5 Million: The approximate number of truck drivers moving America’s freight. To put this in perspective, 1 in every 15 people working in the U.S. is employed in the trucking industry.
  • The transportation and warehousing sector totaled 4.292 million people in 2011. You can be an addition to this number, check out a career with BlueGrace Logistics!
  • Fact: Trucking is the dominate mode of transportation for our nation’s freight movement by approximately 71%.
  • 1.2 Million: The number of trucking companies operating in the U.S.
  • The highest-valued imported products in the U.S. include: agricultural products 4.9%, industrial supplies 32.9% (crude oil 8.2%), capital goods 30.4% (computers, telecommunications equipment, motor vehicle parts, office machines, electric power machinery), consumer goods 31.8% (automobiles, clothing, medicines, furniture, toys).
  • There are 149 ports located in the U.S.  South Louisiana, Houston, New York/New Jersey, and Long Beach often hitting the top of the list when ranked by tonnage or TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).
  • American businesses transported over 19 billion tons of raw materials and finished goods in 2002, valued at $13 trillion (including domestic commodity movements and domestic transportation of exports and imports).
  • More than $1 out of every $10 produced in the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) is related to transportation activity.

After exposing your brain to all of this info, the importance of transportation should be crystal clear. You can see how each load is merely a link to an ever-globalizing supply chain. There’s never been a better time to get involved in this industry!

Any of these numbers surprise you? Share your logistics facts and figures with us!

Let us know what you think!

Are You Prepared if a Natural Disaster Disrupts Your Supply Chain?

Although the Weather Channel forecasts a below-average hurricane season in 2012 – there is still uncertainty and history says you can never be too prepared. As Senior Meteorologist Stu Ostro instructs,

“people in hurricane-prone areas should be equally prepared every year regardless of seasonal outlooks.”

So what can your business do to prepare this hurricane season? Our team has outlined a few simple procedures to integrate throughout your entire supply chain to help you be proactive and prevent potential loss.

Flooded city hurricane aftermath
Flooded street in the Soho area of Manhattan from last year’s Hurricane Irene. Source: http://bit.ly/LhejIK
  1. Team: Are you prepared if your team is short-handed? Remember that cell phones, email, land lines, etc may become unavailable, which can cause great confusion. To avoid this stress, be sure to have multiple channels to communicate important messages and announcements to your staff. Satellite telephone systems offer a reliable form of communication for your immediate staff members.
  2. Customers: If/when your business is notified of a potential storm, let your customers know immediately so that they can plan ahead and adjust their inventories. Are there any products or materials that will be high in demand before or in the aftermath? The key is to remain flexible.
  3. Supply Chain: Daily operations and supply chain processes can be complicated very easily in the presence of severe weather. An easy way to prepare is to run through best and worst case scenarios with your team so that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and how to respond quickly and effectively.
  4. Suppliers: Do you work directly with a single supplier? Is the business located in a hurricane prone area? If so, plan ahead with the supplier and ask how they have prepared to provide services or products in times of disaster. It’s also a good idea to maintain good relationships with multiple suppliers especially if you find yourself in a pinch.
  5. Freight: Be prepared to make special arrangements for your shipments. If the roads are dangerous, truck drivers will be pulled off for safety. An easy proactive measure is to schedule your freight shipments earlier or work with a logistics provider to see if there are any alternative routes. Keep in mind port availability. In the case of heavy rain and flooding, your freight may not be able to move. Consider all modes of transportation.
  6. Insurance Provider: Be sure to have a copy of your policy and get any questions answered from your provider so you’re not left wondering.
  7. Data: Backing up your data is critical. In today’s global economy, businesses function on computer systems and databases. Be sure that your business documents, records, etc are stored at an off-site location.
  8. Community: Once your business has a backup plan, reach out to others in your community and share your tips and advice on how you prepared your business for a natural disaster. Hint: You can start by sharing this information!

No matter how many hurricanes, tropical storms, or natural disasters occur – it only takes one to impact our communities and cause major disruption. Get a plan started today and re-evaluate periodically, especially if severe weather is on the way.

We hope that these hurricane preparedness tips and reminders are helpful to your business. Of course, it is our hope that you will never have to put your plan into action. If you would like more information on how to formulate your own plan, build a kit and get involved, check out this natural disaster preparedness resource from FEMA.

 

Shippers and Fellow Transportation Partners Take Note: Logistics Providers are Closed on Memorial Day

Are you ready for a 3-day weekend and some BBQ? Take note before you start grillin’ that BlueGrace Logistics and carrier partners in the transportation industry across the U.S. will be closed on Monday, May 28th in observance of Memorial Day. BlueGrace Logistics will be open tomorrow, Friday May 25th and resume business on Tuesday, May 29.

What does this mean to you as a shipper?
Freight will not be picked up, delivered and/or in transit on Memorial Day.  Be sure to contact your logistics provider today to be sure that your freight shipments scheduled recognize that businesses and trucking companies are closed.

We hope that all remember the meaning of Memorial Day as we honor men and women who have dedicated their lives in service to our beautiful country. Thank you to the soldiers and their families.

From your friends at BlueGrace Logistics, have a safe Memorial Day weekend!

 

Partnership Reduces Costs and Transit Time… Creating Benefits for All

This is a fantastic read and I wanted to share it with you! Logistics Management reports how a closeout retailer, Tuesday Morning, partnered with a leading transportation provider, Averitt Express, and increased their bottom line.  Headquartered in Houston, TX, the retailer strived to find a solution to transport its “obnoxious freight” and keep inventory moving. The experts at Averitt Express, one of our valued partners, provided a distribution center (DC) bypass solution, eliminating significant transportation costs and shipment days for Tuesday Morning.

Kudos to the transportation professionals at Averitt and congrats to the team at Tuesday Morning! It’s evident you are a dynamic match!

At BlueGrace® Logistics, our team of experts can evaluate your supply chain to identify inefficiencies and propose solutions to eliminate time and enhance your bottom line. Contact us today for a free audit and to discuss collaborative distribution.

Read the Logistics Management article  “Tuesday Morning’s DC bypass cuts two weeks, 19 percent cost out of supply chain.”

 

– Samantha Hill, Community Manager
Follow @SamHill_BG on Twitter!

News: Gas Tax Debate

I read a great op-ed column in The New York Times today titled “The Clear Case for the Gas Tax.” It explains the importance of not only passing a new gas tax by September 30th but also strongly considering raising the tax. It is important that everyone know the impact of what raising the gas tax would do.

For those that don’t know, Americans pay an average of about 43 cents per gallon in taxes. This is only about one-eighth the average gas price. Countries in Europe are paying twice what we do in the US for gas and half of Europe’s cost is in taxes. I don’t think we need to go anywhere near their numbers, but Americans would much rather see gas prices increase to repair roads, create new transportation projects and create more jobs rather than inflate the profits of oil and fuel companies.

I want to make sure everyone is aware of the importance of Washington passing a gas tax bill. At a minimum we need a gas tax extension, although I would prefer at least a slight increase to stimulate infrastructure projects in transportation. What would you like to see happen with the gas tax?

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG

Today’s Transportation and Logistics News:
Survey: Local solutions, tolls wanted for road repair
The gasoline tax expiration date is coming soon
US Diesel Prices Hit 24-Week Low
Obama Funds Biofuels Projects for Ships, Planes
Abolish the federal fuel tax?
FTR Shippers Condition Index Improves Slightly
The results of the 20th Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends (Masters of Logistics)

News: He Who Knows Everything Has Much to Learn

Check out this article about a 63-year-old Floridian that held off a robber with a wrestling move he learned in college. I found the article interesting because the man instinctively acted to disarm the robber and save himself by using something he learned throughout his life. It made me think about personal and career development, a popular topic at my office right now.

We are currently competing in a competition called “Battle of the Bulge” to lose body fat and promote a healthier lifestyle at my workplace. This is just one step in the development process though. It is important to continue to develop yourself as a person, employee and leader. I always remember the quote “He who knows everything has much to learn.” It means you should never stop learning new things and finding new areas to excel in. The more you are capable of as a person will help you throughout your life. It could be the promotion you have been hoping for, the girl/guy you have been going after, or the lives saved of you and your family. It could even be just living a longer, healthier, happier life. Continue to teach yourself throughout your life and never stop learning!

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG

Today’s Transportation and Logistics News:
NAFA Urges EPA To Reconsider E15 Waive Decision
Truck Driver Social Media Conference to be Held
Analysis: Infrastructure woes – a roadblock to growth
EPA regulation coming at the wrong time
DOT’s Stimulus Payouts Reach $30.4 Billion

News: Innovation and Prosperity

If you didn’t hear yesterday, the first photo was released of the woman mauled by a chimpanzee in 2009 that had a full face transplant. It is an inspiring story and it is amazing to see what we are capable as a country. Our medical field has excelled to the point that it can completely reconstruct and transplant an entire face, as well as completing hand transplants.

The US has continued to work hard to be a leader in the world and to be at the leading edge for innovation and development. The issue we hit now is, can we afford this lifestyle as a country? We are cutting back on budgets and the likelihood is that we will also be cutting back on government funding towards many projects that produce results like these.

No matter if taxes are raised or there is tax reform, it is time for Americans to put it on our backs to see that our country never stops being an innovator. If you are young enough, pursue a career in a field of medicine, research, science or technology. If you aren’t, foster a culture of innovation and prosperity in your company that those around you in the industry can see. If all that is too difficult, simply donate time or money to a charity that funds research. My favorite is The V Foundation for Cancer Research that gives 100% of donations to cancer research. Have any ideas of your own? Everything can help to make sure our country is always at the leading-edge.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow us @ben37dBG

Today’s Transportation and Logistics News:
Obama: Tell Congress to ‘get past differences and send me’ highway bill
Gas prices expected to fall
“Passengers” documentary features diverse voices on transportation
U.S. exports decline as consequence of economic uncertainty
Spot Market Truckload Index Rise 22 Percent
USPS Wants to Cut 120,000 Jobs

News: Liberty Under Construction

I heard earlier today that the Statue of Liberty will be shut down for a year while it undergoes construction. For those planning a visit, make it to New York by Oct. 28th to see it before the closing. I found this to be interesting and fitting with the state of our country.

The Statue of Liberty stands tall as a symbol of our great country. The fact that this monument is under construction, just as our country is going through a huge reconstruction of our spending and taxing habits, seemed fitting. Unfortunately I have never been able to visit New York or the Statue of Liberty. I will have to plan a visit soon after the construction is finished. At that point, maybe our country will be on the right path towards rebuilding for our future as well!

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG

Today’s Transportation and Logistics News:
Survey Finds Drivers Still Don’t Understand CSA
Shippers Oppose FMCSA Efforts to Regulate Waiting Time
Lawmakers’ FAA spending fight comes to an end, but likely only temporarily
Transportation pricing trends – August 2011
Is natural gas a transportation game changer?
DOE Awards $175 Million for Vehicle Fuel Projects
Survey Sees Major Shift of Truck Freight to Intermodal
US Trade Deficit Balloons to 20-Month High

News: Achieve Greatness in Life & Career

I read an article this morning that really inspired me. The story is of a 98-year-old woman that became the first woman ever to earn Judo’s highest-degree black belt. Her story can be found here. The reason this inspires me was because of the obstacles she had to overcome in order to achieve this high honor. She started practicing Judo in 1935 and had the barrier of being a woman that stopped her for 30 years.

Sensei Keiko Fukuda said she approached her life with the intent to “be gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong both mentally and physically.” This approach helped her to achieve every small goal along the way to her final achievement. So this leads to a few questions. What are your life goals or career goals? Have you set any yet? Why not?

I remember a quote from Vince Vaughn in the movie Dodgeball. He said, “I found that if you have a goal, you might not reach it. But if you don’t have one, then you are never disappointed.” The truth is that you may never be disappointed if you don’t set any goals, but if and hopefully when you grow to the age of 98 years old, do you want to be able to look back at your life and realize you accomplished nothing? Set goals in your life. Set goals in your career. Do what it takes to overcome whatever stands in your way and achieve greatness!

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG

Today’s Transportation and Logistics News:
Report: Get Out of the Highway-Obsessed Eisenhower Era
The Role of Labor in Transportation
The Heart of U.S. Economic Decline: Our Inability to Raise the Gas Tax
Early Reaction to Truck Efficiency Standards Mostly Positive
Shippers demand creation of “jobs agenda”
Fed Pledges Two Years of Low Interest Rates

News: Go Green!

Today, the truck fuel standards for 2014-2018 were announced. These standards should help the trucking industry save approximately $50 billion and cut oil use by 530 million barrels by 2018. This is great news for the industry and the environment. This is great news for our country’s dependence on oil. As the ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said, “While it is too early to know all the potential effects of this rule, we do know it sets us on the path to a future where we depend less on foreign oil, spend less on fuel and contribute less to climate change.”

The National Wildlife Federation said the long-term impact of the fuel economy standards would cut 639 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution by 2030. These standards won’t go into effect overnight and the ATA is actually calling for more standards to cut fuel use, such as a 65 mph speed limit for all vehicles. Trucking companies and manufacturers will have plenty of time to develop and deploy new technology to meet these standards.

So here is my question for you. What are you doing to help the environment? What is your company doing to “Go Green”? Find ways to create a better environment for our future. Start recycling at home. Find out if anyone wants to carpool to work. Maybe start a campaign to use less paper at the office like BlueGrace. Whatever your idea may be, find a way!

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG

Today’s Transportation and Logistics News:
Trucking Capacity Index Climbs 8.8 Percent
Transportation Stocks Lead Market Dive
Obama Urges Transport Spending, Tax Cut Extension
Trade agreement with Panama still on hold
Ensuring economic prosperity for the future by investing in transportation
Diesel Drops Steeply; Oil Hits Lowest Price This Year
Obama Seeks 20% Reduction in U.S. Big-Rig Truck Fuel Use by 2018

News: What S&Ps downgrade really means for the US economy

After listening to President Obama’s speech today, it helped to answer some of the questions regarding the recent downgrade of our nation’s credit rating. For those that don’t know, Standards & Poor (S&P) downgraded the credit rating of the United States from AAA to AA. As Obama stated, this is not a doubt in the ability of our country to pay our debt, but a doubt in our political system’s ability to act. The President made some great points, many that focused on the fact that we didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that our country needs a balanced, long-term approach to policies.

The Standard & Poor’s rating agency has actually caused a stir among those who feel the downgrade was unnecessary and inconsistent. The other top two agencies maintained AAA and Warren Buffett even said he would give the US an AAAA if there was a rating. S&P’s determination also led them to downgrade the credit ratings of agencies linked to long-term US debt, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This has caused markets to fluctuate, but is it something that should worry us all long-term? If similar situations from other countries are any indication, we shouldn’t have too much to worry about. As the President said, “Markets will rise and fall, but this is the United States of America. We will always be a AAA economy.”

What this all really comes back to is the need for Washington to cooperate and form the balanced, long-term proposals necessary to maintain our country as a superpower. The lack of political will to work towards achieving these proposals needs to stop. Combining spending cuts with tax reforms and adjustments to healthcare programs is a necessity for the future of the US. As we look back at those soldiers who lost their lives this past weekend, we need to honor their memory. They served our country as a team and we all need to work together to ensure our generation, and future generations, can enjoy the freedoms we do today.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG

Today’s Transportation & Logistics News:
Survey Shows Driver Shortage Limiting Hauling Capacity, Growth Potential
Partisan Finger-pointing Draws Credit Downgrade Warnings While Oil Prices Tumble
OOIL Sees ‘Disappointing’ 2011 Outlook
Trucking Industry Hiring Slowed in July
Obama Finalizing Truck Fuel Efficiency Rules

News: “Bandaids” or Duct Tape?

News has come out that the FAA shutdown has temporarily come to an end, as Congress has continued to work together to pass a temporary extension until September 16th. It is great to see that both sides are finally starting to work together towards making sure the country continues to operate. This goes to show that while there are large differences between the sides, getting Americans back to work and the loss of money for the government lights a fire.

The real question now is how long it will last. With so many important pieces of legislation being proposed to Congress, will they be able to form enough bipartisan committees and get enough support to continue these strides? I find it very hard to believe. The transportation reauthorization has been proposed “500 times by 500 different people” and no one seems to like anyone’s proposals. Word is already coming out that there may be some large differences in the approval of a gas tax extension.

It is great that they are passing some legislation, but I have started to notice that there are a lot of “bandaids” being placed on important subjects. While I appreciate the agreement to increase the debt ceiling, it seemed like just another small fix. The same is noticed with the FAA agreement, while the transportation reauthorization and gas tax could be next. It is time for Washington to take real action on these important topics. They can’t all wait until 2013, after all of the elections take place and politicians aren’t afraid of losing their seat. It’s time to start getting long-term programs finalized and build for our future. Forget bandaids, it’s time to start using duct tape. It will hold a lot longer than a bandaid! Let’s see some real ACTION!

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG

Today’s Transportation & Logistics News:
Gas tax may be next Tea Party target
FAA shutdown to end with deal, Harry Reid says
The gas tax is likely safe for now. And that’s the problem
Survey Shows Driver Shortage Limiting Hauling Capacity, Growth Potential
Will U.S. manufacturing step up?
Trucking Hiring Slowed in July

News: Bicyclists Beware

On my way to work each day, I am reminded of how appreciative I am for my life and the family and friends I have had throughout. The reason for this is because back on February 13th, I left my apartment complex and drove past the scene of a local bicyclist dying on the side of the road. He died before an ambulance or authorities even arrived. A white painted bicycle with flowers that is still present commemorates Robert Niedbalec and the mission for safer roads.

The reason I bring this daily routine and story up, is to stress the importance of investing in safer roads for bicyclists and pedestrians. This includes building and/or extending bicycle lanes, adding better sidewalks with more defined crosswalks and even widening roads as a whole. Without these improvements, there will be many more scenes like the one I witnessed across the US.

With the transportation bill reauthorization being discussed in Washington on a consistent basis, it is important that you realize a few things. The most recent proposal from John Mica did not include funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs, as part of his drive to consolidate federal transportation bureaucracy. Congressman Mica is a fraternity brother of mine that I have had the joy to spend some time with at various events. While I share his love for our fraternity, I have to disagree with his charge to eliminate this funding.

Transportation funding has a large impact on making roads safer for those without vehicles. Just because the roads are mainly used by motorcycles, cars and trucks does not mean that bicyclists and pedestrians aren’t also using them to get from point A to point B. These are also the people at the highest risk of dying should a motorist lose control. While I agree that we need to be more fiscally responsible as a country, it is important that we are not cutting things that affect the lives of Americans, especially those that actually put their lives at risk!

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG

ATA Says FMCSA Strategic Plan Doesn’t Go Far Enough
Will The Federal Gasoline Tax Be Grover Norquist’s Next Hostage?
Ocean cargo capacity exceeds demand
Obama Targets Trade, Infrastructure to Boost Economy
LaHood Blasts Congress for FAA Impasse

News: Share your Concerns!

As of 2:04 PM, the White House reported that President Obama has signed the debt ceiling bill into law. This is great news and will hopefully help to create bipartisan cooperation on the next few important steps towards rebuilding our budget of revenues and expenses. Even with this great step, many of us in the industry are still concerned with future legislation that has a large impact on the industry.

The American Transportation Research Institute is calling all industry stakeholders to complete a survey on your top concerns this year. With their call I will emphasize mine. It is important for all those with a stake in our industry to express our concerns with our colleagues, our industry leaders and our leaders in Washington. We need to be vocal as an industry to ensure that the US continues to invest in our infrastructure and our industry.

I hope that you can share my concern with the upcoming bill to help reinvest in the transportation infrastructure of the US. With a continued focus on repair and development, we can ensure that the roads are safe for truck drivers, car drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and even pedestrians. Restrictions are continuing to get tougher on drivers and more expensive on trucking companies. The lives saved from simple road repair or widening would be a great contributor towards lessening deaths on the roads and highways.

If you have any stake in the industry, complete the survey at www.atri-online.org. Be heard!

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG

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