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Logistics Industry Review: May 2015

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If, in the blur of pre-summer planning and regular old work routine, you missed May's news in the logistics industry and around the supply chain, we're here to catch you up.


Our monthly round-up from around the supply chain is your one-stop shop to provide a quick review of the logistics industry headlines you might have missed.

There were some intriguing developments in the world of logistics last month, so let's not waste any time in bringing everyone up to speed:

  1. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) delivered some excellent news for road freight - and everyone around the industry - with the announcement that revenues topped $700 billion for the first time ever in 2014. Freight volumes continued to rise last year, approaching the 10 billion tons moved mark and emphasizing the strength of road transportation as the backbone of the country's economic recovery.
  2. Amazon expanded its same-day delivery service to 14 new metropolitan areas, upping the stakes when it comes to lead times and customer expectations. Even with all the promise of these services we had to ask: will it scale? (The same question applies to Taco Bell's delivery test, if it ever extends beyond the college campus!)
  3. Lawmakers punted on the issue of improving the nation's infrastructure, as funding for surface transportation was extended only through the end of July 2015. Despite ongoing concerns about the conditions of key transport routes, and their obvious importance to the economy for commerce and commuters, the gridlock in DC continues to extend across the country's road and rail networks.
  4. Safety measures across America's railroads were under review for much of May, following the tragic derailment of an Amtrak train outside Philadelphia on May 12th. An emerging thread of discussion concerned rocks and other debris being thrown at passing trains, which engineers confirm is a common occurrence around the country. Simultaneously, at the Port of Long Beach, new automated derail controls were being installed.
  5. The Cass Freight Index painted a contrasting picture for shippers, with monthly volume up strongly but year-on-year numbers lacking the strength of 2014. The figures include shipments deferred as a result of labor disputes on the West Coast, which stretched back into last summer but came to an end with an agreement in February.
  6. Fresh off a successful IPO last year, Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba extended its influence in the delivery side of its business with a $249 million investment in Singapore Post Limited.

Hopefully, you feel a little more aligned with the logistics universe for the coming month. If you were just as attentive as us, however, let us know if there's anything you saw that should have made the grade!