This Week in Logistics News (January 4-8, 2016)

The good news is that I didn’t break any bones skiing during the holiday break. The bad news is that there was virtually no snow on the mountains to go skiing.


But we did go for a nice hike in search of snow clouds. We didn’t spot any that day, but I hear there is snow on the mountains now, so we’ll pack the car and make our way back there again soon.


In the meantime, here’s the supply chain and logistics news that caught my attention this week:

FedEx accomplished something UPS could not: receive approval from European Union regulators to acquire Dutch parcel company TNT Express NV. According to the Wall Street Journal:

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said her agency had “thoroughly assessed the markets affected” by the deal due to the importance of affordable package delivery for many businesses and consumers, particularly in the burgeoning e-commerce market.

“The conclusion is that European consumers will not be adversely affected by the transaction,” Ms. Vestager said.

FedEx expects the deal to close by June. Let’s hope the company has better luck in Europe delivering packages on-time next holiday season. Here in the United States, FedEx experienced significant delays again this year, with many employees volunteering to work on Christmas to deliver delayed packages.

In technology news, INTTRA announced a partnership with JDA Software, which will give JDA customers access to INTTRA’s full suite of ocean shipping software, data and services. Here are some excerpts from the press release:

INTTRA and JDA are joining forces at a time when INTTRA is experiencing rapid growth in its container volume, which was up 12% in a year of much slower growth for the market. The company’s overall share of container volume has grown from 22% in 2014 to 24% in recent months.

“Given that 90% of everything we buy is transported by ocean, it’s important that we can extend our Transportation Management capabilities to INTTRA’s platform to bolster our ocean shipping capabilities exponentially,” said Fabrizio Brasca, Vice President, Solution Strategy, Intelligent Fulfillment, JDA.  

When it comes to executing ocean transportation shipments, using network-based solutions like INNTRA have become the standard in the industry, which is why JDA and other leading TMS vendors have partnered with INTTRA and GT Nexus for this capability.

Moving on to supply chain risk management, LoJack SCI and TransVoyant announced a partnership to provide companies “with the ability to identify, prioritize, and mitigate supply chain risks by increasing real-time alerting on factors that affect global supply chains.” According to the press release:

Information presented via [the Supply Chain Information Sharing and Analysis Center] is powered by TransVoyant’s CDI™ Platform. This live and predictive analytics platform filters through news sources (including Lloyd’s Maritime, CNN, and more), blogs, social media (ex. Twitter), and natural disaster alerting sources to find and disseminate content relevant to global supply chains. Real-time listening algorithms conduct searches around port strikes, cargo theft, driver safety, traffic, cargo ship locations, port congestion, airport closures, severe weather alerts, earthquakes, and more in order to provide a holistic view of current and forecasted global threats to supply chains. Customers will be able to better take advantage of information external to their organization and realize decision lead times that could save money on rush orders and shave days off of inventory cycle times.

As I’ve said before, leading practices in supply chain risk management are well documented in various books and publications, and new software applications and solutions (such as this offering by LoJack SCI and TransVoyant) are emerging to help companies manage this process. The challenge is getting executives to rethink supply chain risk management — that is, getting to the point where thinking and talking about risk (and taking proactive action to mitigate it) is as common and instinctual as talking and thinking about cost and service.

Another example of how transportation technology and managed services are merging: Transervice Logistics Inc. announced the launch of Transervice Integrated Solutions (TIS), a tech-based freight management entity that will leverage “its proprietary technology to fulfill company backhauls and provide freight management and brokerage services.” TIS was formed through the acquisition of logistics technology company Logistadvise Inc. Here are some additional details from the press release:

The platform is accessible at and consists of a TMS, Freight Marketplace, Live Load Tracking, Freight and Capacity Data Analytics, Business Intelligence and Reporting. Additionally, the entire platform is EDI and API ready and can be integrated into existing industry software. Clients have the option of allowing their shipments to be processed by TIS or to use the platform themselves to leverage their own operations. In fact, has already been operational to a select number of clients since October of 2015, and is now available to the public.

This news underscores one of my supply chain and logistics predictions for 2016: The 3PL value proposition is getting flipped — instead of logistics services enabled by technology, it’s becoming outsourced IT and business intelligence services powered by logistics.

And with that, have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “Joey” by Concrete Blonde

Note: GT Nexus and JDA Software are Talking Logistics sponsors.