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Logistics Industry Review: February 2015

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As the month changed last week we still found ourselves battling the frozen wrath of winter storms. Now that we've sprung forward and the official seasonal change is in sight, companies and commuters will be hoping that the rising temperatures are more than just a temporary reprieve from ice and snow.

Container ship APL Poland
Container ship APL Poland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before we move on too soon, though, there's still time for our monthly wrap-up of important news and views from around the world of logistics and the supply chain sector.

If you missed a lot in February as you were digging out every morning, here's your chance to catch up!

  1. The labor dispute affecting west coast ports finally reached a tentative agreement, allowing operations to begin the catch up unloading the line of vessels that had built up throughout January. The dispute itself stretched back some nine months and although business owners will be relieved to see a resolution, for many the damage has already been done in terms of revenue lost from delays, especially during the holiday period.
  2. On the subject of those extended west coast delays, here's a great photo set showing just how bad things were at times. This is also what prompted our article last month on why we recommend a bicoastal fulfillment solution.
  3. U.S. truck tonnage reached an all-time high at the start of this year, according to figures reported by the American Trucking Association in February. The year-on-year increase was 6.6% compared to January 2014, which in itself was impressive but also took the overall tonnage index to the highest level ever recorded.
  4. Citing again the west coast issues, however, rail freight volumes were down for several weeks during February. After a positive period earlier this year weekly traffic was regularly down between 6-7% throughout last month, as difficult weather conditions and delayed shipments took their toll.
  5. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) set out its strategy for commercial drone use. Although the early measures are still somewhat restrictive, requiring pilots to be within site of an "unmanned vehicle" and setting a weight restriction of 55 pounds, the proposal has entered a period permitting comments and is seen as a sound first step by those hoping to see use of the technology progress in the U.S.
  6. And in ad hoc delivery news, ride sharing services like Uber and Sidecar appear to be branching out to carry more than just people. Both companies have started to trial , such as Sidecar announcing plans to deliver food and groceries across all cities in which they operate. So now you can rate not only the restaurant that made your food, but the driver who delivered it as well.

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