Posts Tagged ‘shippers’

YouTube Video Discusses Advantages of ISO Tanks to Transport Chemicals

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Check out our first in a series of videos on important logistics topics of interest to chemical shippers.

Stephen Hamilton, Managing Director of ChemLogix Global, discusses how BulkTainer ISO tanks offer enhanced safety and security for shipping chemicals by taking chemicals off roadways and reducing the incidence of accidents. Click Here.

Did you know the Fuel Surcharge you pay on every load doesn’t cover the out-of -pocket costs of higher fuel cost to your carriers?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Why? Fuel surcharge formulas are based on a loaded mile formula. All empty miles run between the terminal and your loading site, such as miles from the carrier’s last delivery to you or miles to the terminal for equipment repairs or tank cleaning, are not included in the fuel surcharge calculation.  As a result, the carrier has added fuel costs for those empty miles. Sure, when you contracted with the carriers, they built in some fuel recovery number for empty miles.  However, recent fuel cost increases (the time from when you negotiated your contracts until now) are not included in those calculations.

What does this mean to you? Let’s review a few examples. Say, during the time of your last contract negotiation, fuel costs increased by $1.50/gallon.  What added cost does that represent?   The average truckload carrier – either dry van or bulk – wants a minimum per-truck revenue of $200K to $225K.   Assuming a modest 10% empty mile to loaded mile ratio for TL van freight and 20% for bulk freight, unrecovered fuel costs is $2,769 for dry van carriers and $5,538 for bulk truck carriers. (Click View Graph below for more)

How do you effectively negotiate during any price increase discussion? Know your carriers empty mile ratio and average truck miles per gallon before you meet. Also, look back at your current contract effective date. Knowing what the fuel price was during your last contract renewal, along with your carrier’s empty mile ratio and average MPG/truck, will enable you to calculate your fuel cost impact on your carriers. You can also be a good partner to your carriers by putting actions in place to minimize empty miles and fuel waste.   As example, initiate a no idle rule at your plant during wait time to load.


Higher Ocean Carrier Rates/Unreliable Service Will Challenge

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Last year, ocean freight rates increased dramatically as ocean carriers tried to recover from devastating profit loss.   As carriers reduced capacity by taking vessels out of service, space on existing vessels became very limited.  As a result, shippers had to pay rates higher than contracted to move cargo.  Ocean freight contracts signed in 2009 essentially became worthless.

Market indicators predict that ocean freight rates will continue to rise in 2010.  While capacity is expected to increase slightly, carriers will add capacity only if they see sustained market growth.  Equipment shortages will also challenge shippers, especially those located in Midland America.  That’s because carriers continue to find it more economical to return empty containers to Asia and pick up new cargo rather than allowing those containers to move inland.

In addition to higher rates, carrier on-time performance created problems for shippers in 2009 with on-time delivery reported at a dismal 55%!  Most delays can be explained by service changes and slow steaming as carriers looked to conserve fuel. Continued poor on-time carrier performance may lead to increased inventory or stock outs as variability in delivery increases over the year.

So, for 2010, how will shippers react?  Will they sign long-term contracts or just extend current contracts until the market stabilizes?  Will carriers, again, continue to increase rates or will competitive forces stabilize rates?  My bet is rates will rise and 2010 will again be a year of challenge.

Five Key Benefits That 3PLs Offer Chemical Shippers

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Chemical shippers contract 3PLs to gain additional resources, technology and assets unavailable in their own logistic departments to optimize and automate supply chain operations.  More than vendors who merely provide certain contract services, 3PLs should serve as long-term partners in helping customers effectively manage their supply chain processes.  Here are five key benefits that chemical shippers should derive from their business relationship with a 3PL:

1. Ongoing cost reduction/containment strategies

Going beyond the terms of a contract to manage specific freight activities on a monthly or cost-per-transaction basis, 3PLs should proactively present cost management ideas as part of their services.  After becoming familiar with customer operations, 3PLs should be able to identify areas in the supply chain where costs can be contained.  Ideas can range from optimizing weight per shipment through load consolidation, spot bidding on more cost effective carrier lanes or even initiating a freight reduction project to reduce inbound transportation costs.

2.Access to best-in-class transportation management technology

Incorporating the latest transportation management technology to optimize supply chain operations was typically not an option for small- to mid-size shippers who could not afford the upfront investment or ongoing maintenance.  3PLs now offer best-in-class transportation management technology that does not require large investments in hardware, software or even additional personnel.  On demand transportation management systems can be connected to customers’ existing ERP systems in as little as 6 months.  Customers should seek additional capabilities such as online RFQ tools and global order tracking.  Most recently, ChemLogix began offering its customers an iPhone® application as part of its TMS capabilities that gives users mobile access to shipment data on iPhones.

3. Ensure Orderly Review Process

Rather than wait for problems to arise, a 3PL should lead a periodic review of supply chain processes with appropriate personnel to discuss new transportation solutions, specific cost reduction ideas, service levels, and any issues that the client may have with current operations. By reviewing data pertinent to different supply chain elements such as on-time deliveries, costs, customer service issues, etc., the 3PL can discuss which objectives have been met, if there are any problem areas and set new goals for the next operating period.

4. On-line Visibility to Freight Activity

In addition to automating many processes, a 3PL should give customers online, real-time visibility to supply chain operations including freight, invoices, routing guides, carrier service records and more. With visibility to in-transit data, shippers can determine at any point during the supply chain process if shipments will be delivered on time and when to notify plants and customers of impending deliveries and shipments.  Should shipments be late, automatic email alerts can sent to customer service reps so that they can proactively make arrangements with their own customers.

5. Support in Boardroom Discusses

Getting the funds from executives to implement and/or expand transportation services and systems sometimes takes the assistance of 3PLs who can provide detailed explanations of the long-term benefits of specific supply chain strategies.  Experienced in providing transportation solutions to customers in the same industry but with varying scenarios, 3PLs can readily provide informed answers to the questions posed by executives and give examples of the successes and pitfalls associated with certain actions.  3PLs, essentially, become a part of the logistics team when presenting ideas and updates to the board room.