This Week in Logistics News (June 10-14, 2013)

I’m short on time this morning, so let’s go straight to the news.

Transplace is among the relatively few 3PLs that use and provide to clients their own internally-developed transportation management system (for related commentary, see “The IT Dilemma for 3PLs”). This week the company announced the release of Freight Allocation Module™ (FAM) 2.0, “a web-based application that optimizes transportation by allowing shippers to auction freight with approved carrier partners.” Here are some excerpts from the press release:

FAM 2.0 is an application in Transplace’s Transportation Management System (TMS) that gives carriers instant visibility to freight, allowing them real-time access and communication to bid on loads. It also allows users instant access to information on transportation services, minimizing miscommunication on routes and improving the efficiency and accuracy of service for shippers.


Highly customizable, FAM 2.0 provides greater flexibility in establishing how the freight is presented to authorized carriers, and the amount of visibility carriers have into the progress of the auction. Authorized carriers may offer capacity for each load based on rates already established or based on shipper-established parameters. FAM 2.0 can also support a public exchange environment to secure capacity and rates in a backhaul, capacity-constraint market.

In other technology news, Google reportedly sealed the deal to acquire Waze for $1.3 billion. As I highlighted last month, Facebook was also interested in Waze, an Israeli company that calls itself “the world’s fastest-growing community-based traffic and navigation app.” Waze’s solution is similar to the “Smarter Traveler” solution IBM started working on two years ago in partnership with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and California Center for Innovative Transportation (CCIT) — see “Apple, Google, and IBM: Different Takes on Location Tracking” for my write-up about it.

As a side commentary, there’s been a lot of huffing and puffing this week about the NSA’s data mining activities, yet Waze tracks the smartphones of 50 million members to generate maps and traffic data, and retailers like Target have the ability to know a customer is pregnant before the rest of her family. Not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, but still in the fruit category. The bottom line is that we’re living in the Big Data era, and in many cases actively enabling it by opting into loyalty programs and sharing info (sometimes too much) on social networks, so expectations of privacy are arguably different today than in the past. And to make matters worse, most people don’t understand the science behind Big Data, or the difference between meta-data and specific data, so a lot of the huffing and puffing is based on misinformation.

Another week, another trucking company announcing a general rate increase of 5.9 percent (see last week’s news). Starting June 24, Con-way Freight will implement a general rate increase averaging 5.9 percent applicable to non-contractual business. According to the press release, “The rate increase will be implemented for customers on the company’s CNW 599 tariff and will apply to general LTL rates, minimum charges and accessorial or supplemental fees for special services associated with LTL shipments moving within the United States and Canada, as well as cross-border shipments moving between the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.”

Speaking of transportation, the Freight TSI Index fell 1.2 percent in April from March. Here’s some analysis from the press release:

The 1.2% decline in freight transportation was driven by declines in shipments by water, pipeline shipments, and rail intermodal…Trucking was stable in April on a seasonally adjusted basis. The stability in trucking, the decline in rail intermodal, and the decline in the overall Freight TSI were consistent with a slight decline in manufacturing output, and a larger decline in housing that took place in April.


Even with the April decrease to 112.4, the index has remained above its 2012 range for four consecutive months…The April index was still higher than the index had been during any month between April 2009 and the beginning of 2013 except for December 2011, when it reached the all-time high.

Unfortunately, I’m out of time this morning. Have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “Rain” by The Cult