Safeguards needed on dangerous rail cargo

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New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has called on the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration to strengthen safety measures to prevent oil spills and other hazardous accidents on New York's railways. It's part of an ongoing effort by public officials to provide added protection for communities on the regular route of trains transporting oil and other hazardous materials.

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Freightos

Freightos™ makes shipping smoother with the world's online freight marketplace and freight automation technology. The Freightos software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology allows freight forwarders and carriers to manage contracts, and automate and manage the quotation and sales process, from their own web site. Freightos combines all freight rates including fees and surcharges into one web based Freight (SaaS) Operating system. We can directly import all major carrier contracts into the system.

OTHER ARTICLES

Put Strategy First When Pondering Automation for Your DC

Article | October 15, 2020

The unsurprising investment eagerness of venture capital funds is manifesting in an automation tech glut in the distribution center space. Motivated by enabling trends like labor and land shortages, DCs are amid an automation transformation. Never has defining an automation strategy been more important. There’s no shortage of VC cash available to logistics tech startups With a brightly shining spotlight centered on supply chains for the past two years, it’s no surprise that total funding in logistics startups has seen a dramatic increase – growing at over 70% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate). Logistics technology startups raked in over $25 billion in the first three quarters of 2021. That’s more than half of the total amount raised in the whole of 2020, and the incentives for continuing investment persist. The rise of the of the “micro” DC “Micro” is a relative term. The size of a micro fulfillment center (MFC) can range from 5,000 to 50,000 square feet. Those reduced square footages allow location in dense urban areas, typically within 40 miles of most of their intended customers. In addition, smaller footprints lead to reduced rents compared to a standard customer fulfillment center (CFC), and the proximity to consumers makes for lower final mile delivery costs. It’s no wonder that MFCs accounted for more than half of the logistics real estate leasing activity in the third quarter of 2021. The “urban logistics” trend is fueling demand for these highly automated, smaller locations. Vertical logistics integration grows ever more fashionable among retailers It’s a very “in” thing right now, these acquisitions and partnerships, and they won’t be going out of fashion soon. For example, American Eagle took in Airterra and its parcel optimization tech and third-party logistics (3PL) provider Quiet Logistics. Target started early. They bought Grand Junction, a software platform that helps retailers determine the best delivery method and track carrier performance, in 2017. Their 2020 acquisition of Deliv brought with it same-day delivery routing technology that they’re now applying to their 2021 purchase, on-demand delivery service Shipt. Target uses Delivs’ tech to generate more efficient routes for Shipt. Kroger has partnered with UK’s e-grocery specialist Ocado to build automated CFCs across the US and expand their retail footprint. The first CFC opened last spring in Ohio and their second in Florida later that year. They plan to open 20 CFCs over the next three years. “The proliferation of DC automation solutions and modalities, the rise of MFCs in high-density urban areas, the increasingly automated vertical integration of logistics, and the need to rapidly expand order fulfillment capacity have all, in combination, advanced the need for and application of clearly defined strategies concerning the implementation of automation technology. Do not operate without one.” Vikas Argod, Principal, Supply Chains Operations practice at Chainalytics Coping with shortages in warehouse space and labor availability Third quarter, 2021 US demand for industrial real estate exceeded supply by 41 million square feet. This pushed the national vacancy rate in the fourth quarter down to a record 3.7% in the Cushman & Wakefield US National Industrial MarketBeat report for Q4 2021. Who knows what the record might be when the Q1 2022 report breaks in a few weeks? On the labor side, the December 2021 US unemployment rate was 3.9%, lower than in December 2019 (3.6%) yet reflecting a tighter labor market. Labor force participation rates are at 61.9%, nearly 2% below February 2020 levels, because of lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rising wages and signing bonuses of the past year offer silent testimony to the ongoing constraints in today’s labor market. Both trends will remain with us for the near- and mid-term, making an automation strategy a necessary part of your DC operations as you attempt to mitigate the effects of both. In addition, warehouse labor shortages are most pronounced in markets with high distribution center densities – Greater Memphis, In-land Empire, Allentown, PA, et al.) Building the capability to rapidly open DCs at scale No other factor drives home the need for a coherent DC automation strategy like this one. Let’s explore it with an example. We’ll call this “A Tale of Two Companies.” One jumped on the automation bandwagon without hesitation – not a bad thing – but applied no strategic groundwork. The other is, well, Amazon. Company one responded to increasing demand by creating DCs in their usual, strategically located fashion. However, with automation, the lack of a logical strategy led to adopting “the best that money could buy.” So, while these DCs work fine on their own (most of the time), each employs unique implementations from a variety of vendors, with little to no overlap of methods, capabilities, and management procedures between DCs. It’s functional, but a needlessly complicated hodgepodge. On the other hand, it definitely looks like Amazon has a standardized automation strategy. One that can easily adapt to exploit the individual physical specifications of any space. This makes it simple to arrive and equip it with a standard package of automation solutions. That’s probably how Amazon blanketed the US with over 400 new DCs in just the last two years. They waste no time or money on repeating unnecessary decisions along the way. Now, we all can’t have the resources of an Amazon. However, the rise of on-demand warehousing companies like Stord and Flexe allow organizations to dramatically decrease the cycle time of standing up additional fulfillment capability. Developing an automation strategy will feel familiar. It begins with benchmarking, order profiling, current performance drivers, EBIT targets, and theoretical evaluations of newer technology options. All this leads to the creation of a decision framework for DC automation. The goal here is achieving alignment among the leadership on critical capabilities to focus on. These include rapid fulfillment, labor shortage, capacity constraints, safety challenges, or sustainability. Those that commit to this process will start slowly but finish with a strategy that will underpin thousands of decisions and enable sustained rapid growth. If, in the end, you decide that automation is not right for your operation, that’s a perfectly valid strategy as well. So long as you have a method to evaluate all of your options, and you base your decision on cost-service-sustainability trade-offs, the right strategy for your organization may be no automation at all. There’s no point in chasing shiny robotic objects if automation makes little sense‌. The rise of automation and the multitude of technologies to choose from require the development of a strategic decision framework. Contact us and see how Chainalytics – an NTT DATA company – can be your guide in developing this critical part of your foundation for growth. Our top supply chain talent, enabled by proven, leading-edge digital assets – tools, methods, and content – deliver actionable insights and measurable outcomes to some of today’s largest and most complex supply chains.

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SOFTWARE AND TECHNOLOGY

Digital innovation in logistics warehouses

Article | April 19, 2022

Business Chief takes a look at three leading logistics companies and how they are digitalising their warehouses. With technology evolving at an exponential rate, and the logistics industry needing flexible solutions for its complex operation, we take a closer look at some of the successful deployments of digitalisation within the warehouses of leading logistic companies around the world.

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How to Test Major Changes in Your Supply Chain Process

Article | October 19, 2020

Did you know that the return of your supply chain process depends on how your software technology works as well as the efficiency of the people involved in the entire process? However, changes keep taking place, and you might feel clueless as to where your initiative is going. Supply chain testing is done in order to know and mark the various aspects where the supply chain is the weakest. Since data handling is a crucial aspect, managing it becomes even more necessary.

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Trends in Shipping by Vertical: Retail, Wholesale & OEM Shipping for 2020

Article | February 10, 2020

Global trends in shipping continue to evolve in the wake of uncertainty and risk. The recent outbreak of the Coronavirus threatens to undermine use of shipping options that would involve air freight between the U.S. and China, explains Wired. New hazmat regulations are taking effect in 2020. Retailers are trying to stay evergreen and compete with Amazon. The list of risks is endless, and the only way to really succeed will lie in understanding the trends in shipping by vertical and a few key sectors that require vigilance in the coming year.

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Spotlight

Freightos

Freightos™ makes shipping smoother with the world's online freight marketplace and freight automation technology. The Freightos software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology allows freight forwarders and carriers to manage contracts, and automate and manage the quotation and sales process, from their own web site. Freightos combines all freight rates including fees and surcharges into one web based Freight (SaaS) Operating system. We can directly import all major carrier contracts into the system.

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FREIGHT

Nexxiot and TRIG Form New Rail Cargo Digital Transformation Partnership

Nexxiot | July 15, 2021

Nexxiot, a global leader in supply chain data analytics, is collaborating with rail sensor technology developer TransRail Innovation Group (TRIG) to provide cutting-edge solutions for rail freight operators, the companies said today. The collaboration will integrate TRIG's patented rail freight sensors into Nexxiot's industry-leading modular hardware and cloud data network, with deployment to North American rail operators set to begin this month. TRIG develops transloading systems that use digital sensors to analyze liquid levels in real-time, monitor whether railcar handbrakes are on or off, and determine the open/closed state of doors, hatches, and manways. The data is sent wirelessly to the Nexxiot Cloud, where it is cleaned and analyzed by sophisticated algorithms to provide commercial value for operators and cargo owners. As a result, the Nexxiot Intelligent IoT Cloud Platform provides many advantages to various stakeholder groups. It is feasible to streamline operations and offer a whole new set of services for various participants and facilitators who need them using the location, timestamp, asset, and cargo status. Rail is three to seven times more sustainable than the road as a mode, but lack of transparency has often left it behind. Rail becomes a better choice now that it has enhanced safety capabilities due to having real-time visibility into asset conditions, and sustainability advantages can be achieved. TRIG has received substantial support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada to date, and Nexxiot was recently granted an IoT Climate Award for its contribution to allowing sustainable transport and de-risking rail for freight. More cargo can be moved with the same number of assets with sensors and IoT gateways providing critical data and the appropriate software processing capabilities. Improved safety standards result in fewer incidents for workers and the general public. In addition, new creative business models can be provided to various supply chain ecosystem players, allowing innovative operators to disrupt traditional operating models and gain an unbeatable advantage over competitors. About Nexxiot Nexxiot AG is a leader in tomorrow's digital logistics. Nexxiot, an industry leader in cargo transportation digitalization, enables global shipping companies and suppliers to harness the power of their data through proprietary, cutting-edge technology and integrated data solutions to track, find, and protect cargo from more than 160 countries around the world and across 450 network roaming partners to ensure accountability, security, and efficiency. Nexxiot, headquartered in Zurich, employs people from 21 different nations and operates across Europe and the United States. Nexxiot's secure, industry-leading Cloud contains data from over 2.5 billion miles driven. Committed to sustainability through corporate and social responsibility, Nexxiot's goal is to enable a 5% reduction in global CO2 emissions by increasing cargo transport efficiency and eliminating waste caused by empty runs and inefficient routes. About TransRail Innovation Group (TRIG) TRIG develops and manufactures advanced radar sensor and communications platform solutions for rail transloading and shipping. The company is dedicated to resolving health, safety, environmental, and economic problems impacting the hazardous liquids rail transportation sector in North America. TRIG is North America's only electronics company approved by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) to design and implement digital technology that penetrates rail tank car closures. These solutions are presently available in North America and have been shown to help the rail transportation sector reduce environmental effects while lowering overall railway emissions. The technique ultimately reduces the number of rail tank cars in operation, reducing emissions from tank car transport.

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Surface Transportation Board proposes rule changes

Railway Gazette | September 25, 2019

The Surface Transportation Board has begun consultation on proposed rule changes intended to reduce the cost and complexity of its rate review procedures, particularly in small cases, and to provide a streamlined market dominance process. The proposals build on recommendations made by STB’s rate reform task force in April. Comments on the proposals should be submitted by November 12, with responses due by January 10. The Association of American Railroads said it was reviewing the proposals and would remain fully engaged with the Board and rail customers about how best to create more efficient processes.

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BNSF Logistics recognizes suppliers for excellence

Progressive Railroading | April 15, 2019

BNSF Logistics LLC late last week announced its annual Supplier Excellence Award recipients. The honorees are among the more than 60,000 suppliers that BNSF Logistics uses globally across all modes of transportation. BNSF Logistics operations team members nominate the suppliers for recognition. Nominated providers are evaluated on performance metrics such as on-time service, capacity and overall customer service performance throughout the year."BNSF Logistics wishes to thank our award winners for being a vital part of our continued success," said President Dan Curtis in a press release. "Their top-level work with our operations teams in conjunction with the first-rate service they provide the customers is greatly valued."

Read More

FREIGHT

Nexxiot and TRIG Form New Rail Cargo Digital Transformation Partnership

Nexxiot | July 15, 2021

Nexxiot, a global leader in supply chain data analytics, is collaborating with rail sensor technology developer TransRail Innovation Group (TRIG) to provide cutting-edge solutions for rail freight operators, the companies said today. The collaboration will integrate TRIG's patented rail freight sensors into Nexxiot's industry-leading modular hardware and cloud data network, with deployment to North American rail operators set to begin this month. TRIG develops transloading systems that use digital sensors to analyze liquid levels in real-time, monitor whether railcar handbrakes are on or off, and determine the open/closed state of doors, hatches, and manways. The data is sent wirelessly to the Nexxiot Cloud, where it is cleaned and analyzed by sophisticated algorithms to provide commercial value for operators and cargo owners. As a result, the Nexxiot Intelligent IoT Cloud Platform provides many advantages to various stakeholder groups. It is feasible to streamline operations and offer a whole new set of services for various participants and facilitators who need them using the location, timestamp, asset, and cargo status. Rail is three to seven times more sustainable than the road as a mode, but lack of transparency has often left it behind. Rail becomes a better choice now that it has enhanced safety capabilities due to having real-time visibility into asset conditions, and sustainability advantages can be achieved. TRIG has received substantial support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada to date, and Nexxiot was recently granted an IoT Climate Award for its contribution to allowing sustainable transport and de-risking rail for freight. More cargo can be moved with the same number of assets with sensors and IoT gateways providing critical data and the appropriate software processing capabilities. Improved safety standards result in fewer incidents for workers and the general public. In addition, new creative business models can be provided to various supply chain ecosystem players, allowing innovative operators to disrupt traditional operating models and gain an unbeatable advantage over competitors. About Nexxiot Nexxiot AG is a leader in tomorrow's digital logistics. Nexxiot, an industry leader in cargo transportation digitalization, enables global shipping companies and suppliers to harness the power of their data through proprietary, cutting-edge technology and integrated data solutions to track, find, and protect cargo from more than 160 countries around the world and across 450 network roaming partners to ensure accountability, security, and efficiency. Nexxiot, headquartered in Zurich, employs people from 21 different nations and operates across Europe and the United States. Nexxiot's secure, industry-leading Cloud contains data from over 2.5 billion miles driven. Committed to sustainability through corporate and social responsibility, Nexxiot's goal is to enable a 5% reduction in global CO2 emissions by increasing cargo transport efficiency and eliminating waste caused by empty runs and inefficient routes. About TransRail Innovation Group (TRIG) TRIG develops and manufactures advanced radar sensor and communications platform solutions for rail transloading and shipping. The company is dedicated to resolving health, safety, environmental, and economic problems impacting the hazardous liquids rail transportation sector in North America. TRIG is North America's only electronics company approved by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) to design and implement digital technology that penetrates rail tank car closures. These solutions are presently available in North America and have been shown to help the rail transportation sector reduce environmental effects while lowering overall railway emissions. The technique ultimately reduces the number of rail tank cars in operation, reducing emissions from tank car transport.

Read More

Surface Transportation Board proposes rule changes

Railway Gazette | September 25, 2019

The Surface Transportation Board has begun consultation on proposed rule changes intended to reduce the cost and complexity of its rate review procedures, particularly in small cases, and to provide a streamlined market dominance process. The proposals build on recommendations made by STB’s rate reform task force in April. Comments on the proposals should be submitted by November 12, with responses due by January 10. The Association of American Railroads said it was reviewing the proposals and would remain fully engaged with the Board and rail customers about how best to create more efficient processes.

Read More

BNSF Logistics recognizes suppliers for excellence

Progressive Railroading | April 15, 2019

BNSF Logistics LLC late last week announced its annual Supplier Excellence Award recipients. The honorees are among the more than 60,000 suppliers that BNSF Logistics uses globally across all modes of transportation. BNSF Logistics operations team members nominate the suppliers for recognition. Nominated providers are evaluated on performance metrics such as on-time service, capacity and overall customer service performance throughout the year."BNSF Logistics wishes to thank our award winners for being a vital part of our continued success," said President Dan Curtis in a press release. "Their top-level work with our operations teams in conjunction with the first-rate service they provide the customers is greatly valued."

Read More

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