In the Precision Software News Round-Up: 11 January 2019, US trucking industry growth should cool in 2019; US manufacturing slows; UK retailers had a tough December; and SEKO buys GoodShip. Plus, we look at the five crucial questions parcel shippers should ask.
TRUCKING INDUSTRY GROWTH TO SLOW
Economists predict that the US trucking industry is to remain strong in 2019 but that growth will slow. Last year freight-hauling demand reached record-levels, while tonnage levels were the highest in 20 years. According to American Trucking Associations, from January through November, the total freight hauled by for-hire truck drivers was up 7.2 percent compared to the same period in 2017. ATA estimates the industry is short 50,000 drivers. Because of this, many companies increased pay and offered benefits to attract and retain drivers in 2018. Last December, FTR Transportation Intelligence forecast that freight growth will start 2019 at more than 3 percent. However, it should drop to 2 percent in the second half of the year. FTR also stated that the slowing of world economic growth could impact the trucking industry. You can read more on this here.
TRADE WAR WITH CHINA IMPACTS US MANUFACTURING
The ongoing US-China trade war is negatively impacting the US manufacturing sector. That’s according to the Institute for Supply Management. The ISM’s December report claims that manufacturing is showing signs of slowing. ISM's main manufacturing index dropped from 59.3 percent in November to 54.1percent in December. That is the index’s lowest level since November 2016. Industry respondents claim that the trade war with China is responsible. It’s not all bad news — business is still strong. However, new orders and imports are both growing at their slower rates. For more on this, please see Supply Chain Dive.
UK RETAILERS EXPERIENCED WORST DECEMBER SINCE 2008
The holiday period is generally a bumper time for retailers. Not so in 2018 — the UK retail sector its poorest December in a decade. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) stated that on a like-for-like basis, retail sales fell by 0.7 percent from December 2017. Furthermore, price cuts early in the season did not entice shoppers. Footfall for the last Saturday before Christmas fell more than 9 percent compared with 2017. A number of factors have been blamed for this, including uncertainty around Brexit, freezing temperatures and the popularity of online shopping. You can read more on this story here.
SEKO BUYS GOODSHIP
This week SEKO Logistics announced it has acquired GoodShip International Inc. GoodShip, headquartered in Chicago, is a customs brokerage and compliance consultancy. This is SEKO’s first acquisition of an independent freight forwarding company. SEKO aims to expand its global footprint and establish more strategic partnerships. “2018 has been another strong year for SEKO but after 42 years of organic growth, it is time to enhance our strategy to step up to the next level by working with the right types of strategic partners and undertaking acquisitions to enhance our technology, network and capabilities,” said SEKO’s President and CEO James T. Gagne. For more on details on this, please click here.
IS YOUR PARCEL SHIPPING STRATEGY WORKING? 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK
Here’s an interesting figure: 13 percent of shippers use manual processes for their transportation activities. That was one of the findings of the Supply Chain Technology Innovation Benchmark Study conducted by American Shipper and published in December 2018. The study also found that just 34 percent of respondents use transportation management systems (TMS). Furthermore, only 12 percent use global trade management (GTM) solutions. Another challenge facing shippers is the increase in parcel shipping volumes. E-commerce has made smaller, more frequent parcel shipments a reality for many industries. Even shippers with a TMS may struggle — traditional TMS systems were designed for freight, not parcel shipping.
The beginning of the year is a good time to take a critical look at your parcel shipping strategy. How well did it perform in 2018? Will it serve your organization’s needs this year? In the latest Precision Report we look at 5 crucial questions to consider. To read the full report, please click here.
SUBSCRIBE TO PRECISION
To subscribe to the Precision Report, or to receive notifications about Precision events, webinars and news, please click here.