Above the Fold: Supply Chain Logistics News (October 29, 2021)

The Gran Fondo Hincapie was as advertised: a very challenging but beautiful ride. 

This was the most difficult ride I have ever done, and the most climbing by far. I completed the route (83 miles, 8,000 feet of climbing) in 6:13. It was chilly in the morning (48F) and we had to wait over an hour at the starting line (it takes time for almost 3,000 people to line up), so it took me about 10 miles to warm up once we started rolling (the weather was perfect the rest of the day).

Skyuka Mountain was the first and most difficult of the climbs. It took me 45 minutes to get to the top (4 miles, 1,813 ft of climbing). The payoff was worth it: gorgeous view on top and a long and steep downhill on the other side. In comparison, the second climb (Saluda Grade) wasn’t too bad, but the final climb (Green River Cove) was a grind with 17 switchbacks to the top.

There were several moments throughout the ride where I was tempted to get off the bike and walk or questioned whether I could even finish the ride, but in those moments I always think of my daughter and everyone living with type 1 diabetes and how they can’t give up to stay healthy and alive, so I kept pedaling and climbing and made it to the finish line with a smile. 

I’m glad my good friend and teammate Ralph Cisneros (Intel) joined me for this ride, as well as fellow teammate Kelly McCauslin from BluJay Solutions (now part of E2open).

A big thank you to my family and friends for your support, as well as to our team sponsor BluJay Solutions. Our Logistics Leaders for T1D Cure team has raised over $29,163 for JDRF so far this year (bringing our total to over $283K since 2016)! Every ride, every mile, every dollar gets us closer to a cure, so thank you! Also, it’s not too late to help us cross the $30K mark this year. You can still make a tax-deductible donation via my donation page

Finally, JDRF announced that its destination rides will be back in 2022! They are planning six rides for next year across the country, including its signature Death Valley ride. Stay tuned for more details, but if you enjoy cycling and want to be part of our LL4T1DCure Team in 2022 (riders of all abilities are welcomed), please contact me. We hope to have our biggest and funnest year yet!

Ok, back to the world of supply chain and logistics. Here’s the news that caught my attention this week:

Playing the Blame Game in Supply Chain

Who’s to blame for all of the supply chain woes in the industry? 

Is it the lack of chassis, as Paul Berger reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Transportation executives wrestling with the supply-chain gridlock that is frustrating U.S. importers say the ability to clear the bottlenecks rests largely on a simple piece of steel and wheels that has long been an afterthought in global shipping. The trucking trailers, known as chassis and used to ferry containers from dockside terminals, have grown more difficult to find at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., officials said, as a flood of imports has swamped the facilities and tied up equipment needed to keep goods moving.

Or is it a shortage of truck drivers, as the American Trucking Associations reported recently:

Today, American Trucking Associations’ Chief Economist Bob Costello said the current driver shortage has risen to 80,000 – an all-time high for the industry…A one-page summary of Costello’s estimate said that, based on driver demographic trends, including gender and age, as well as expected freight growth, the shortage could surpass 160,000 in 2030.

Then again, back in October 2013, the ATA stated that “if freight demand grows as it is projected to, the driver shortage could balloon to nearly 240,000 drivers by 2022.” Goes to show you how much these predictions are worth. (See “Truck Driver Shortage: Getting Better, Worse, Or No Problem At All?” and “Truck Driver Shortage: Different Year, Same Headlines.”)

But truck drivers say they’re not to blame, as Dani Romero reports in Yahoo! Finance:

So who exactly is to blame? Some drivers lined up at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that have spoken to Yahoo Finance in recent days have an answer: Not us.

“There’s a lot of us that are willing to work,” Carlos Rameriz, a 25-year truck driving veteran, told Yahoo Finance in an interview.

Speaking from a nearby area where trucks have idled and multiple chassis have sat unattended, Rameriz blasted a reported driver shortage as “the biggest excuse,” and simply “not true.”

Many [truck drivers] are waiting over 3 hours to get inside the port to pick up a container. Sometimes the wait is even longer, Rameriz explained, with drivers at the mercy of longshoremen who operate on their own schedule [emphasis mine].

The blame game in the supply chain is in full throttle. Yet, as is always the case when this game is played, while everyone is pointing fingers at each other, the problems persist. Some way, somehow, things will ultimately get better. Then everyone will elbow each other to get the credit, especially the politicians. Such is life. 

And with that, have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “Anniversary” by Duran Duran