Coronavirus restrictions hit shipping, spreading global economic strain

The Times of Israel | February 23, 2020

Sea freight transport, the lifeblood of trade and a bellwether of the global economy, has been blown off course by the new coronavirus, sparking general alarm. As analysts pore over charts to gauge just how badly Chinese mega-factories have been hit, figures provided by cargo ship traffic paint a gloomy picture. The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) reflects the daily price of moving goods such as coal, rice and wheat along routes deemed representative of the global market. Some call it the canary in the coal mine for the economic world. The BDI has now reached lows last seen in early 2016, when the shipping sector was suffering a supply and demand imbalance in the wake of the 2008-09 global economic crisis. Its “Capesize” index for the largest category of ships — those that cannot even squeeze through the Suez or Panama Canals — is at historic lows.

Spotlight

Four months after the Hostess Brand was rescued, approximately 100 million snack cakes hit store shelves. Products sold out within two days, creating significant challenges for the supply chain. In this CSCMP Global Conference presentation by Kevin Hall, Sr. Vice President Supply Chain/Continuous Improvement at Hostess Brands and Eric Meister, COO of LeanLogistics, hear how Hostess returned to the marketplace and used the supply chain as the competitive advantage that made it a household brand once more.


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TRANSPORTATION

Shipwell Introduces Load Optimization as Part of Its Transportation Management System

Shipwell | May 18, 2022

Shipwell, an industry leader in cloud-based shipping and logistics, announced the release of a load optimization feature built directly into the company’s transportation management system (TMS). This feature helps customers significantly reduce the time it takes to plan and route shipments, the costs associated with moving them and the carbon emissions produced by the carriers hauling them.Combining orders into shipments is often a manual process done by an individual or team within the logistics department, who utilize third-party software or spreadsheets outside of their TMS. “Shippers finding ways to optimally consolidate orders into shipments and route those shipments with the fewest number of trucks required is critical, With the ever-increasing capacity constraints since the start of COVID-19, exacerbated by crunches such as produce season, load optimization is one of the biggest areas of need. Even with rates for truckload dry van and reefer dropping from historic highs, packing multiple customer orders into the most ideal mode allows a greater quantity to be dispatched at once, greatly reducing both the costs for the shipper and the number of miles those shipments need to travel before reaching their destination.” -Shipwell co-founder and CEO Greg Price How load optimization works to help shippers Shipwell’s load optimization feature leverages a proprietary algorithm to assess each individual order’s details, including size, weight, locations, pickup and delivery times. In a matter of seconds, the orders are consolidated into the most cost-efficient routes and modes. By utilizing Shipwell’s integrated pricing intelligence tool, the feature forecasts individual load rates and compares them to optimized routes to provide a clear picture of the potential savings. The feature eliminates customers’ need to manually import and export data from third-party planning tools while providing shippers with the ability to customize load plans. Whenever an order is manually added or removed from a shipment plan, the algorithm automatically recalculates the cost and most efficient route for the shipment. The tool helps planners save time and money. We used to spend four to five hours per week manually planning our shipments and looking for multi-stop truckload opportunities that would lower our shipping costs, said Debbie Lombardo, shipping manager at Tarrier Foods, a Columbus-based supplier of candy and nuts. “Shipwell’s load optimization feature has changed how we operate, and has helped us uncover routes we wouldn’t have considered, or realized were an option. Beta customers who partnered with Shipwell in developing the load optimization tool have realized savings ranging from 20% to 40% through consolidating their orders into full truckload or less-than-truckload shipments, and routing the trucks in the most efficient routes possible — all while ensuring delivery windows are met. Load optimization makes it easy for me to find consolidation opportunities that save us money and minimize our shipping costs,” said Angela Steele, head of inventory and planning at Crowd Cow, a Seattle-based supplier of sustainably sourced meat and seafood. I had never scheduled freight before, and Shipwell made the process so easy to learn and stay on top of all the moving pieces. After only a month of running freight, I now feel confident in my ability to work with carriers and know that I am getting the best rates. Efficient routing using the tool also ensures the shippers may reduce the carbon footprint of their shipments. One beta customer was able to reduce more than 10,000 pounds of carbon emissions by slashing the distance driven by more than 2,700 miles for just one shipment batch. To learn more about the ways that Shipwell enables shippers to efficiently plan and route shipments, request a demo today. About Shipwell In a world where shipping expectations and complexity are greater than ever, Shipwell is on a mission to empower supply chain efficiency at scale across every company size, stage, and industry. Supply chain solutions today are highly disconnected, rigid, and difficult to use, but Shipwell is disrupting the status quo. Our solution combines everything our customers need in a comprehensive platform that adapts as the market and business demands change, so they can effectively manage the entire process in one place and never have to rip and replace. Shipwell is proud to be recognized by industry experts as a leader in shipping and logistics, including Gartner Magic Quadrant for TMS, Forbes 2020 Next Billion-Dollar Startup, and was named fourth fastest-growing company in North America on the 2021 Deloitte Technology Fast 500. To learn more, visit www.shipwell.com.

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Collaborative warehouse bots are critical to e-commerce success, Shopify exec says

6 River Systems | September 16, 2020

A spike in e-commerce volumes driven by coronavirus travel restrictions may slow down after a safe vaccine is eventually found, but its impact on fulfillment automation processes is here to stay, according to a top executive at Shopify, an e-commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). As the pandemic prevented consumers from congregating in brick and mortar stores, so many of them turned to e-commerce shopping that the online retail sector experienced five years’ worth of growth in the past three months alone, Shopify’s chief technology officer, Jean-Michel Lemieux, said today. From less than 1% in 2000, the share of e-commerce retail sales as a percent of total retail sales rose to 5% in 2011 and 10% in 2018 before leaping above 16% during the second quarter of 2020, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. That curve may soon begin to flatten a bit, but the post-Covid “new normal” will feature e-commerce levels in the range of 20%, 30%, or even 40% of all retail, Lemieux said in remarks at Flow 2020, the annual user conference held by autonomous mobile robot (AMR) vendor 6 River Systems. Ottawa, Ontario-based Shopify acquired Waltham, Massachusetts-based 6 River in 2019 for $450 million in a bid to use its collaborative "Chuck" robots to boost fulfillment efficiency for warehouse staffers managing inventory for distribution. That deal looked at first like amazon.com's move to buy Kiva Systems Inc. in 2012 for $775 million, and then take the product off the market, keeping its robots for the sole use of Amazon’s own DCs. But Shopify was quick to say that it will continue selling 6 River’s Chuck bots to the entire logistics market, and Lemieux reiterated that stance today.

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TRANSPORTATION

ButcherJoseph Advised Smith Transport, Inc. on Its Sale to Heartland Express Inc.

ButcherJoseph & Co. | June 09, 2022

ButcherJoseph & Co. (“ButcherJoseph”) advised Smith Transport, Inc. (“Smith” or the “Company”), an asset-based truckload carrier headquartered in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania, on its sale to Heartland Express, Inc. (NASDAQ: HTLD) (“Heartland”). The transaction closed in June of 2022. Heartland acquired 100% of the equity of Smith and related companies for a cash-free, debt-free enterprise value of approximately $170 million. Smith was an S corporation for tax purposes, and the transaction included an election under Section 338(h)(10) of the Internal Revenue Code, resulting in tax deduction benefits over periods of one to fifteen years. The purchase agreement contains customary terms and conditions. The Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania property was acquired from its owners in a separate transaction for $14 million in cash and includes both the trucking terminal and 375,000 square feet of warehouse space that is leased to tenants. Barry Smith, Smith’s Founder and Chairman Emeritus, added, Building Smith Transport has been my life’s work, and I could not have found a better home than Heartland for the Smith family. They offer us long-term stability and the opportunity to grow as part of an industry leader, while retaining our own culture and identity. I look forward to being part of the team to ensure a smooth transition. “As an employee-owned company, our goal was to find the best value and the best home for our people for years to come. We had long thought Heartland was a great fit because of their regional presence, respect for professional drivers, and unsurpassed customer service that mirrors our own philosophies. With the ability to pay cash and invest in our headquarters, and the desire for Smith to remain an independent brand operated by the same people, the choice was clear. I’m excited to work with Mike Gerdin and the Heartland team to make this a success for everyone.” -Todd Smith, Smith’s President ButcherJoseph Managing Partner Joe Strycharz commented, “We’re delighted to have been able to advise Smith Transport in a transaction that met the Company’s strategic objective to remain an independent brand operated by the same people who helped build the company and its culture. The team conducted a thorough process to identify the right buyer and negotiate terms that met the needs of the employee stakeholders involved. Like Heartland, Smith is a dynamic company driven by a commitment to excellence. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome and look forward to the continued growth and future success of both Smith and Heartland.” About Smith Transport Founded in 1982, Smith Transport, Inc. is an asset-based truckload carrier headquartered in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania, with terminal locations in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Indiana. Smith primarily provides dry van transportation and other specialized services in the eastern United States. Smith’s customer base includes many Fortune 500 companies including expedited transportation integrators, retailers, beverage manufacturers, and home supply companies, several of whom have been customers for over 20 years. Smith operates a fleet of approximately 850 company tractors, with an average age of less than three years, and approximately 2,000 dry van trailers. The modern fleet is not expected to require any out of cycle investment. About Heartland Express Heartland Express, Inc. is an irregular route truckload carrier based in North Liberty, Iowa, serving customers with shipping lanes throughout the United States. Heartland focuses on medium to short haul regional freight, offering shippers industry-leading on-time service so they can achieve their strategic goals for their customers. Since its initial public offering in 1986, Heartland has grown from approximately $20 million in revenue to one of North America’s largest, most profitable, and best capitalized truckload carriers. Heartland has been recognized 18 times by Forbes Magazine as one of the Top 200 Best Small Companies in America, 17 times as one of the Best Truckload Carriers in America by Logistics Management Magazine, and as one of America’s Most Trusted Companies by Newsweek Magazine in 2022. About ButcherJoseph & Co. ButcherJoseph & Co. is a boutique investment banking firm specializing in ESOPs, mergers and acquisitions, private debt & capital sourcing and valuation advisory services for middle market companies. Its industry recognized team of professionals has executed 200+ transactions exceeding $15 billion in total value. ButcherJoseph is headquartered in St. Louis with a presence in Washington, DC and offices in Chicago, Charlotte, Scottsdale, and Nashville. Advisors Scudder Law Firm, P.C., L.L.O. served as merger and acquisition transaction and legal advisor to Heartland, while Utz & Lattan, LLC served as Heartland’s special ESOP counsel. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP served as transaction counsel and McGuireWoods served as special counsel to Smith. Moore & Van Allen PLLC served as counsel to the ESOP trustee.

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TRANSPORTATION

Semtech and WITRAC Transform Asset Tracking For Maritime Transport Utilizing LoRaWAN®

Semtech | May 27, 2022

Semtech Corporation (Nasdaq: SMTC), a leading global supplier of high performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductors and advanced algorithms, announced that Boluda Corporación Marítima, a leading global maritime services provider, will leverage an asset tracking solution from WITRAC, a Valencia-based company offering innovative technology solutions that connect and provide visibility to the value chain. Integrated with Semtech’s LoRa® devices and the LoRaWAN® standard, WITRAC’s Total Track & Trace Intelligent Platform transports cold chain assets in Boluda’s supply chain, providing citizens of the Canary Islands with the first daily transportation of cargo from the peninsula with over 350 successful voyages. “Semtech’s LoRa devices offered a cost-effective solution for WITRAC’s Total Track & Trace Intelligent Platform. With ships transporting thousands of containers, installing a satellite modem in each container would make this type of solution economically non-viable, Employing a network using LoRaWAN as well as leveraging the LoRa 2.4GHz band allowed us to place a WITRAC device in every single container to share real-time offshore and onshore visibility to thousands of containers — an unmatched value for our customers.” -Jose Pons Ballester, co-founder and CTO of WITRAC Using a combination of LoRaWAN, Wi-Fi, BLE, and cellular connectivity options in the same hardware device, WITRAC’s Total Track & Trace Intelligent Platform provides real-time visibility and control of offshore operations. In addition to temperature monitoring, the platform’s “Perfect Route System” is able to geolocate a fleet’s vessels, allowing alerts to be set for deviations in fuel consumption, speed, routes, or miles traveled, which also permits shippers to take corrective measures en route. The success of the platform led Boluda to implement WITRAC’s platform to monitor the location and temperature status of the fresh food and medicine on its seven container vessels traveling 700 miles from the Spanish mainland on the maritime corridor linking the Port of Cádiz to the island ports of Las Palmas and Tenerife. “Remotely monitoring the location and temperature of assets during an entire cold chain was once viewed as a challenge. Through implementing LoRa devices and LoRaWAN, asset tracking has never been more simple and cost effective, WITRAC’s tracking solution is a valuable example of how LoRa and LoRaWAN networks can transform smart logistics to prevent loss or damage of assets no matter the distance.” -Marc Pégulu, vice president of IoT product marketing and strategy for Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group WITRAC Co-Founder and CTO José Pons Ballester will be discussing the benefits of the Boluda “Daily Canarias” solution at the LoRaWAN World Expo taking place July 6-7, 2022, in Paris, France. Register for the conference here. To learn more about WITRAC’s Total Track & Trace Intelligent Platform, please visit here. About Semtech’s LoRa® Platform Semtech’s LoRa device-to-Cloud platform is a globally adopted long range, low power solution for IoT applications, enabling the rapid development and deployment of ultra-low power, cost efficient and long range IoT networks, gateways, sensors, module products, and IoT services worldwide. Semtech’s LoRa technology provides the communication layer for the LoRaWAN® standard, which is maintained by the LoRa Alliance®, an open IoT alliance for Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) applications that has been used to deploy IoT networks in over 170 countries. With the proliferation of LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN standard, the LoRa Developer Portal is a place to learn, connect, collaborate, and find resources to help accelerate your LoRa development process. Semtech is a founding member of the LoRa Alliance. To learn more about how LoRa enables IoT, visit Semtech’s LoRa site. About WITRAC WITRAC helps companies be more efficient and competitive thanks to innovative technological solutions that connect and give visibility to the value chain of its clients. Able to identify, locate, measure, and control wirelessly and in real time, any asset, anywhere, WITRAC fabricates its own hardware and software based on the IoT and AI technology, in order to satisfy the industry's tracing needs. Its digitalization and automatization solutions combine multiple connectivity devices and protocols with a management platform, in order to generate data and transform it into useful information and valuable insights. Please visit www.witrac.es. About Boluda Corporación Marítima Boluda Corporación Marítima is the leading Spanish maritime group with more than 185 years of experience. It has a global presence, operating in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Cabo Verde, the Indian Ocean and Europe. This love of hard work and affinity with the sea has been passed down between generations in the Boluda family and developed over time into a sector leading corporation. The company is organized into two strategic divisions: Boluda Towage and Boluda Shipping. And two smaller divisions: Boluda Port Services and VB Comisarios de Averías. Boluda Towage’s main focus is tugboat services, the core business and essential for facilitating traffic flow in the port area and provides port, coastal and offshore towing and sea salvage. This division has a fleet of 400 vessels present in the main ports of Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean and Latin America. Boluda Shipping is the division providing maritime services in comprehensive transportation, logistics and international freight management. Its wide network of company offices in the main Spanish ports as well as a variety of international ports provide a single point of contact for all stopovers and port operations, with customer service and information provided 24/7 365 days a year. Find more information at www.boluda.com.es. About Semtech Semtech Corporation is a leading global supplier of high performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductors and advanced algorithms for infrastructure, high-end consumer and industrial equipment. Products are designed to benefit the engineering community as well as the global community. The Company is dedicated to reducing the impact it, and its products, have on the environment. Internal green programs seek to reduce waste through material and manufacturing control, use of green technology and designing for resource reduction. Publicly traded since 1967, Semtech is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol SMTC. For more information, visit www.semtech.com.

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Spotlight

Four months after the Hostess Brand was rescued, approximately 100 million snack cakes hit store shelves. Products sold out within two days, creating significant challenges for the supply chain. In this CSCMP Global Conference presentation by Kevin Hall, Sr. Vice President Supply Chain/Continuous Improvement at Hostess Brands and Eric Meister, COO of LeanLogistics, hear how Hostess returned to the marketplace and used the supply chain as the competitive advantage that made it a household brand once more.

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