Logistics Industry Review: December 2014
It was a hectic holiday season as usual, so between squeezing in those last-minute orders and stuffing in the festive feasts, you can be forgiven for reducing your logistics reading. As always, we're happy to go the extra mile for our readers and gather the most relevant logistics industry news and view that you may have missed during December. Here's what happened as the year came to a close:
- After a disappointing Black Friday/Cyber Monday start to the seasonal sales period, retailers saw only average increases on the previous year's sales figures despite significant economic growth throughout the intervening twelve months. Investors ended the year unhappy, with share prices in major retailers like Macy's falling and both themselves and JC Penney announcing major store closures for the year to come.
- Congesti0n continued to plague West Coast logistics, as operations at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach were further disrupted by a labor dispute. Despite coinciding with a $50 million commitment to infrastructure by the Port authorities, industrial action continued and delays frustrated retailers trying to get product out to make the most of a key sales period. (As a bi-coastal logistics provider we keep a close eye on these developments and provide options to remedy delays. Sign up for our email alerts here to receive the latest industry announcements.)
- Rail freight ended the year on a high, rising 5.4% in the final week of 2014, compared to its comparable week the previous year. In the meantime, otherwise buoyant intermodal freight also slipped slightly, providing a reverse of the typical pattern of 2014. Summing up the year, an Association of American Railroads (AAR) representative said that "2014 was a challenging year for America's freight railroads, [due] to traffic surges and shifts in traffic patterns."
- The American Trucking Association announced a record-breaking increase in tonnage for November 2014 last month, seeing a whopping 3.5% rise in road freight for the month. That's compared to a more standard 0.5% in October, and a reverse of 4.4% the previous year in November. The figures are the largest since records began in the seventies and are attributed to the rush of final cargo movements by retailers anticipating a busy holiday season.
- Delivery rates increases took effect just before the turn of the year, finally forcing some businesses to shift to pricing based on dimensional weight and leaving the industry closely watching the results of this transition.
- To close out the year we rounded up all of our best and most-read blog articles of 2014, which provide a useful book end to a busy year in logistics. Take a few minutes to read those that interest you and prepare yourself for another hectic (and prosperous!) year ahead.