2014: Our Year in Review

As 2014 comes to a close and we prepare for the New Year, we take a moment to look back fondly over these last 12 months. 2014 has been a year filled with significant key moments for our company. What were our favorite highlights of the year? Keep on reading to find out just what made this year so special and what our proudest accomplishments were in 2014:

Our success couldn’t have been possible this year without our valued employees, customers and partners. Thank you for making 2014 great, and here’s to a terrific 2015 for you all! Happy Holidays!

Tracking Trucking Rates – What You Need to Know

With capacity declining and truck rates forecasted to increase 8-10%, shippers are realizing 2015 just might be the year of powerful partnerships.

Why is this happening? Check out our latest infographic to read up on the factors impacting truck rates, capacity and what you need to do to prepare for it.

DOWNLOAD PDF VERSION SOURCES: Kilcarr, Sean. "Big Rate Boost Projected for Trucking." Fleet Owner. N.p., 11 Nov. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. Solomon, Mark B. "Shippers Show Grudging Acceptance of Truck Rate Hikes." DC Velocity. N.p., 3 Nov. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

DOWNLOAD PDF VERSION

SOURCES:
Kilcarr, Sean. "Big Rate Boost Projected for Trucking." Fleet Owner. N.p., 11 Nov. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.
Solomon, Mark B. "Shippers Show Grudging Acceptance of Truck Rate Hikes." DC Velocity. N.p., 3 Nov. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

How do you plan to buffer against rising truckload rates in the coming year?

Oil Prices are Falling! How Does this Affect Your Transportation Management?

By Alaster Love, Vice President, Oil and Gas, Transplace

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Recently, it’s not the sky that’s falling - it’s oil prices. Oil was more than 100 dollars a barrel at the start of the summer. Now it's around 56 dollars a barrel, and many forecasts say it could go lower still.

So what exactly is going on, and how does it affect your transportation network?  

There are a number of reasons for the drop in oil prices; first, our boon finally caught up in terms of mid-stream ability to take product to market. Prior to this catch-up point, a challenge existed in how oil was brought up through pipelines – but now, there’s a glut of materials available in the market. Additionally, OPEC’s decision not to cut production continues to drive the supply, forcing other smaller producers to cut back on their production amounts. 

Due to the surplus of supply and subsequent decrease in oil production, there will be a lesser need for trucks to move supply. Smaller trucking companies that lease month-to-month may not survive this change, leaving less capacity in the market and contributing to an already-concerning industry capacity crunch. The larger carriers that are able to ride out the drop in oil prices could take this as an opportunity to raise rates. This makes it all the more vital for companies to take a strategic look at their transportation management systems and find ways to optimize and cut costs.

Here are a few tips for weathering the oil price storm:

1. Embrace tech. Get a holistic view on your transportation spend with a centralized corporate look into costs and procurement. Utilization of a transportation management system (TMS) can be extremely beneficial for finding areas that can be optimized. 

2. Centralize real-time visibility of transportation. A TMS system is a great tool for this, as it’s important to determine how many trucks you need, what you spend and what carriers you use.

3. Practice strategic procurement. With volumes fluctuating and some companies forced out of business, there will be real opportunity in the coming months reap significant transportation cost savings. This may require expertise and flexibility in managing a dynamic rate market.

Has the drop in oil prices affected your transportation management strategy?  Do you think oil prices will continue to drop?

What Transplace’s Acquisition of LMS Means for the Company and You

By Frank McGuigan, President, Transportation Management, Transplace

As you may have heard, Transplace recently acquired Logistics Management Solutions (LMS). A non-asset third party logistics (3PL) provider, LMS has particular strength in the chemical and industrial manufacturing sectors and offers advanced technology as well as results-oriented services that help shippers improve their safety, service levels and financial performance.

Acquisition supports Transplace’s commitment to growth

Acquiring LMS helps further support the commitment and strategic plan to continue growing Transplace – both organically and through smart acquisitions. By bringing the LMS team on board, we’re adding to our management team and strengthening our bench of knowledgeable, experienced employees. This allows Transplace to offer expanded services to our existing customers and to serve an entirely new set of customers, as well as continue to grow our presence in key verticals, such as the chemical industry.

This acquisition, like the three other acquisitions Transplace has completed over the last few years, have been driven by the goal to increase our capabilities and better serve our customers. Adding SCO Logistics, Celtic International and Torus Freight Systems helped broaden our vertical experience, strengthen intermodal capabilities and expanded geographical reach. Those acquisitions also facilitated organic growth by allowing us to offer additional services and greater industry expertise to existing customers. This commitment to advancement is continued with the addition of LMS.

Transplace is always looking for ways to grow, and we will continuously look for acquisition candidates that align with our strategy and help us build a competitive advantage for our company and our customers.

Why LMS was a good fit

As with all of our acquisitions, it’s important to Transplace to find companies that are a great fit – both in their capabilities but also their culture. With LMS, we found a company with tremendous talent, a blue-chip customer base and values that are consistent with Transplace’s core values. It is a growing and profitable business focused on thrilling its customers through process and technology excellence. LMS strengthens our current position in the chemical and industrial manufacturing verticals.

As mentioned earlier, bringing the LMS team on board adds tremendous depth to our management team and adds significant expertise in supply chain issues facing the chemical and industrial manufacturing industries. Expanding our presence in the Northeast and establishing a presence in St. Louis will allow us to serve customers better and attract the talent required to better serve our customers. We also expect to add several LMS customers to our Customer Advisory Board, thereby facilitating collaboration with our current accounts.

Expanded Transplace service portfolio

Through this acquisition, LMS expands Transplace’s service offering in the chemical vertical as well as specific offerings, such as bulk, rail carload and LTL. LMS has excellent capabilities and services in the area of procurement, carrier contracting and relationships, and technology capabilities – all areas that are consistent with our solutions and focus areas.

Joining LMS with Transplace is going to allow us to grow across geographical areas and industry verticals all while enhancing service to customers. I’m very excited for what the future will bring to our growing company, leadership team, workforce and customer base.

Do you have questions about the acquisition?

Chassis Shortages Hit Hard: Is There a Long-Term Solution?

By Sheila Hewitt, Vice President, International, Transplace and Mollie Bailey, Director, LCB International Logistics, Transplace

As we discussed in our previous post, chassis shortages continue to cause significant issues at a number of U.S. ports and throughout many supply chains, perhaps even threatening the holiday shipping season. In light of these continuing problems, it’s time to take a close look at these issues and discuss some possible long-term solutions.  

The fallout from the winter’s polar vortex continues to be a large factor in these shortages, and with another hard winter likely ahead, it’s important to consider that long periods of bad weather require a number of months for some areas to recover from imbalances and be able to handle volume increases. To top it all off, increased fees in the supply chain ultimately get passed on in the retail price of the goods, directly affecting consumers - especially if these chassis shortages continue throughout the holiday shipping season.

Because of the time it takes to source and move large equipment like chassis, short-term solutions simply aren’t going to happen easily. While market forces could change and improve the situation, in the meantime, several large importers are experimenting with their own chassis fleets to protect themselves against these issues. However, that’s an extremely expensive investment that many companies simply can’t afford!

So what can shippers do to mitigate the risk brought on by chassis shortages, in both the short-term and the long-term? Whether a company has its own chassis pool or not, there are a few important things to consider when it comes to minimizing the effect of chassis shortages:

  • Creating strong relationships with carriers and other parties that manage chassis pools is key, and will help lessen potential problems.
  • Building in cost and time contingencies for potential delays in the supply chain is vital, as chassis shortage issues, in addition to driver shortages, are having a compounding inflationary impact on the economy.
  • Realizing that additional changes need to be made in how chassis are managed, and that technology has to be a critical part of the solution to provide universal visibility for all impacted users.

When dealing with these shortages, the most important thing to remember is to proceed with caution. Be aware of the current market situation. These shortages can and will happen again in the near future, and everyone involved in international shipping needs to be actively monitoring the situation and working with trusted partners in order to minimize the negative effects. 

To take a closer look at what factors are impacting these issues and the effect they have on shippers, carriers and consumers, check out Part 1 of our chassis shortage posts, “Why Are Shortages Such a Persistent Issue?”

How do you plan deal with possible chassis shortage issues in the future?