Logistics Industry Update: November 2014 in Review
As we bounce back from a long weekend of food, family and frantic shopping activity - not so much of the latter, as we'll explain - it's time to refocus on what's happening in and around your supply chain. Before we hit another holiday break, take some time to catch up on what happened in November and how it will affect your competitive landscape for the coming year.
Last Month in LogisticsFrom industry trends and reports to policy news and political views, here's what happened in November that you need to know about:
- Black Friday? Bleak Friday, really, as retailers report an 11% drop in sales revenue on this important post-Thanksgiving celebration of deep discount sales. Cyber Monday, meanwhile, rose only 8% on last year's figures, which also fell short of expectations. (except for Wal-Mart, who came up smelling of roses.) The reality failed to live up to the hype of the holiday, following widespread predictions of a record-breaking start to the season.
- Following final negotiations during November, Minnesota-based logistics provider C.H. Robinson announced on Monday that it will acquire the site freightquote.com for $365 million. The acquisition is big news for a company not typically associated with such activity, and marks further consolidation in the logistics industry as a whole.
- Labor talks continued in Los Angeles, as longshore workers tried to thrash out a replacement for their previous contract that expired in July. In the absence of a satisfactory outcome to date, work slowdowns and the threat of strikes have hampered the ability of L.A. and Long Beach to move cargo from the busiest port area in North America.
- U.S. rail freight traffic finally decreased during the closing weeks of November, but only by a minuscule 0.2%. The dip is noticeable as it ends a prolonged period of consistent weekly growth. Reflecting that consistent growth, total North American volume for the year is up 5.4% compared to the same year-to-date figure from 2013.
- U.S. trucking made some ground in reversing a September decline in tonnage, rising 0.5% for October according to the American Trucking Association. As with rail freight, the overall year-on-year growth is proving a positive upswing for road transportation analysts.
- Despite lower-than-expected Cyber Monday numbers mentioned above, shippers are still anticipating a testing delivery season. In line with original plans to beef up their workforce, FedEx announced that it expects December 16th to be its busiest ever day in some parts of the world.