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Driving a transport truck is one of the most prevalent jobs in North America and throughout the world. There are about 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States; the comparable number for Canada would be in the range of 350,000 people. Truck drivers are mostly men who like a life on the open road, crisscrossing the freeways and city streets of America. These are folks who are away from home for long stretches of time, as they go from state to state, province to province, sleeping in cheap motels or in their sleeper cabs, eating unhealthy meals in Truck Stops and spending long, lonely hours driving their rigs.

Young people seeking to enter the profession need to take a set of courses so they learn safe driving techniques and how to manage their rigs. For those individuals who wish to run their own businesses, they can become owner-operators. They can work for themselves or for one of the thousands of trucking companies throughout North America. This can include working for a for-hire fleet or for the private fleet of a manufacturer or retailer.

Despite the relative ease of entry into the profession, there is a shortage of truck drivers in North America. Driving a truck is a tough job. Bad weather, traffic, and road conditions create difficulties on a daily basis. A lack of investment in infrastructure throughout North America creates congestion and impedes productivity. Driving a tractor-trailer unit with a 45,000-pound payload requires full concentration throughout the period they are on the road.

For many people, being away from home for blocks of time is not glamorous or fun. For someone with a young family, missing family occasions and their kids’ baseball or soccer games does not help maintain positive personal relationships.  While much has been done to raise the quality of the profession, truck driving does not command the respect it deserves; it remains a relatively poorly paid job.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Truckload-logos.jpgThe truckload sector of the freight industry is different from the LTL and small parcel segments in one important respect. Unlike the other two segments, anyone who can buy or finance the purchase of a tractor-trailer unit and drive the rig, can enter the industry. Freed from the requirement to build cross-dock facilities and/or buy sorting machines, the barriers to entry are low and there are thousands of truckload carriers throughout North America. Nevertheless, the industry has had its challenges over the last couple of years.

Revenues Dropped in 2015 and 2016

Here are links to the top 100 carriers in the United States (http://resources.inboundlogistics.com/digital/trucking_top100_chart_0916.pdf ) and Canada (http://www.todaystrucking.com/top100 ). The top 50 truckload carriers in the United States are listed in the March 20, 2017 issue of the Journal of Commerce. Altogether, the combined revenue of the Top 25 Truckload Carriers dropped 1 percent last year, to $26.9 billion, after falling 2.3 percent, to $27.1 billion, in 2015.

Swift Transportation, Schneider National, J.B. Hunt Transportation Services, Landstar System and Crete are the five largest US based carriers; TFI (formerly TransForce International), Mullen Group, TransX, Trimac Group and Bison Transport are Canada’s largest truckload carriers. It should be noted that TFI now derives roughly 50% of its revenues from the United States.

Revenue declined last year at 15 of the companies on The Journal of Commerce’s Top 25 US Truckload Carriers rankings, according to SJ Consulting Group, which prepared the data. That’s an improvement compared to 2015, when revenue fell at 19 companies. As an indicator of the weakness in pricing last year, the Cass Truckload Linehaul Index, a measure of truckload pricing excluding fuel surcharges, turned negative in March 2016 and declined for 11 straight months.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Estes---Saia_20170407-192111_1.jpgThe big news on the LTL scene in Canada over the past few weeks has been the severing of ties between Estes Express, the number 14 ranked carrier (on the Transport Topics list) in the United States and TST Overland Express, a large Ontario-based LTL carrier that is one of the major divisions of TFI International (formerly known as TransForce), Canada’s giant trucking conglomerate. This is a partnership that has endured for many years.

Estes Express Lines will be teaming up with two regional Canadian less-than-truckload carriers to offer LTL freight services to Canada under an Estes freight bill. Estes will be working with Speedy Transport of Brampton, Ontario, and Pacific Coast Express Ltd. (a division of the Landtran Group) of Surrey, British Columbia, to offer Estes Canada service. The new alliance will start May 22, according to Estes.

The company stated that U.S. shippers will work with only one carrier, Estes, from pickup to delivery, and all freight will be delivered on an Estes delivery receipt. In effect, Speedy Transport and Pacific Coast Express will become agents of Estes. When asked what drove the need for Estes to convert its Canadian service to a direct model, Ed Alderman, Vice President, International and Offshore Sales for Estes, said Estes wants customers to have the same quality Estes customer service experience from shipment to delivery as they have come to depend on domestically.

As reported in Transport Topics, Estes said it is forming dedicated account teams in Canada to provide the same service level that U.S. customers receive. Freight will move across the border in Estes pup trailers equipped with captive beams and Estes’ proprietary Webb walls. This direct method of cross-border shipping is meant to reduce handling of freight and decrease risk of damage, the company said.

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There are approximately 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States, according to the American Trucking Association; there are an estimated 250,000 professional truck drivers in Canada (source: Toronto Globe & Mail). This places the position of truck driver among the most common professions, at least for men, in North America. The cost of these drivers represents one of the largest expense items for most trucking firms.

There are a host of initiatives taking place in North America and Europe to partially or fully replace truck drivers with a set of technologies that have come to be known as autonomous vehicles. In addition to cost, this new set of technologies offers a range of benefits.

“Automated vehicles have the potential to save thousands of lives, driving the single biggest leap in road safety that our country has ever taken,” stated former U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Approximately 35,000 people died in roadway collisions in 2015 and 94 percent of the crashes “can be tied to a human choice or error,” according to the Department of Transportation.

The projected shortage of truck drivers, that is expected to reach hundreds of thousands of positions in 2025, provides further incentives to get robots in the driver’s seat. There’s a huge advantage in getting automated drivers, who can work 24 hours a day, involved in those deliveries, and improving logistics for companies.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Scan_20170318-185343_1.jpgThe following is my annual report on the state of the LTL Freight Industry in the United States and Canada.

Revenues Stagnated Again in 2017

Here are links to the top 100 carriers in Canada (http://www.todaystrucking.com/top100) and the top 25 LTL carriers in the United States (http://www.joc.com/sites/default/files/u48801/truck-tables_1_0.jpg).

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This will likely be an eventful year in Freight Transportation. As I look ahead to the coming year, there will be two sets of forces at play. The President-Elect of the United States, Donald Trump, has made some bold promises. This blog will look at the potential impacts of his presidency. The next blog will examine some of the other major forces at play.

Infrastructure

Donald Trump has spoken repeatedly about improving America’s highways, bridges, and airports. The Transportation industry has bemoaned the lack of investment in infrastructure for several years. It is likely that at least some elements of whatever plan President Trump’s team puts forth will receive bi-partisan support from the other branches of government. 

It typically takes time to plan significant infrastructure projects so they reach “shovel ready” status. In addition to improving the nation’s infrastructure, these projects also create jobs, albeit over a specific timeline. Watch for some infrastructure projects to be launched in 2017 with the balance moving forward in the coming years. These projects should be a net positive for the transportation industry. However, keep in mind that some of these projects, such as toll roads, may receive some funding from private industry (if permitted by congress) and may result in higher costs for shippers and transport companies.

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Canada Needs to Prepare for Negotiations on NAFTA

Posted by on in NAFTA

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The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), came into effect on January 1, 1994, creating the largest free trade region in the world. It was designed to generate economic growth and help raise the standard of living for the people of all three member countries.

“By any measure the NAFTA has been a success by serving as a basis to grow both trilateral and bilateral North American relationships and the results speak for themselves. This integration helps maximize our capabilities and make our economies more innovative and competitive. In 1993, trilateral trade within the North American region was over US$288 billion. In 2015, our total trilateral merchandise trade amounted to over US$ 1.0 trillion.” (Source: Government of Canada Global Affairs Canada website). This is a more than threefold increase since 1993.

During the recent US election, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump frequently spoke about the need to renegotiate NAFTA. They commonly highlighted the impact that “bad trade deals” as they were framed, had on American industry. As the election campaign unfolded, Hillary Clinton fell into line with her opponents on this issue. While the subject of renegotiating NAFTA has come up before, this time will likely be different. Here’s why.

Donald Trump has already stated that one of his major priorities is to create jobs in America. He campaigned with the slogan “Make America Great Again.” A big part of making America great again is bringing back jobs that were lost to other countries. This message resonated strongly with working class people living in “rust belt” states. In fact, the race for the Presidency was decided in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. These states turned their backs on the Democrats and voted for Donald Trump. To maintain the support of working class Americans in these states, Mr. Trump will have to demonstrate that he is trying to bring back jobs to these states. To better understand the challenges of people living in cities in this area, who have lost their jobs, I encourage everyone to read Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (see my blog on the book http://www.dantranscon.com/index.php/blog?view=entry&id=253 ).

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This is the sixth and final blog in this series on surface freight transportation within Canada and between Canada and the United States. In this blog I will focus on tips for carriers to help achieve success in the Canadian freight market.

Is the Canadian Freight Market Worth the Investment?

As outlined in the first blog in this series, Canada is a large country, from a geographic perspective, with a population about the size of the state of California. The first question that any American carrier should ask is whether or not Canada is worth the investment in time and resources. As outlined through this series of blogs, when dealing with Canada, there is much to learn about Canadian laws, customs clearance, exchange rates and a host of other issues. Is serving the Canadian market of strategic importance to your company or would another US market (or foreign market) be more profitable? If there is value in the Canadian market, there are a series of steps that need to be undertaken.

Educate yourself on your Canadian freight activity and Canadian carriers

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Finding your “Lane” in Life

Posted by on in Career Advice

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This is a follow up to the blog on “Passion” (http://www.dantranscon.com/index.php/blog/entry/passion ) that was posted here a few weeks ago and is published in the current issue of Canadian Shipper. While the blog on Passion was inspired by Bernie Sanders, this blog was inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the author and star of the hit Broadway play “Hamilton.”

On Sunday night, during an interview on Sixty Minutes, Lin-Manuel and his parents were asked by Charlie Rose about their son’s early school experience. Mr. Miranda mentioned that he was sent to a school for gifted children. At first he felt intimidated by the school and the intelligence of his fellow class mates. Mr. Miranda then mentioned that once he found “his lane,” or calling at the school, Music, he felt totally comfortable with the institution and his career path.

Hamilton, based on the life of former U.S. treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, is the hottest play on Broadway. On Sunday night it earned 11 Tony awards, the second best performance ever for a new play. Mr. Miranda created a brilliant hip-hop musical to tell this story. Some critics are calling Hamilton a trans-formative play that will have lasting effects on the future of Broadway.

Lin-Manuel Miranda was very fortunate to find his “lane” as he described it. Not everyone does. It is interesting that by finding his lane, Mr. Miranda was able to reach extraordinary heights in his career. Here are some thoughts on the key steps in finding a successful career lane.

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Every few years I like to take a look at the segment of the freight industry where I got my start, the LTL sector. As I reviewed the landscape for this year’s blog, I am struck by the significant changes taking place in both the United States and Canada.

Revenue Growth Stagnated

Here are links to the top 100 carriers in Canada (http://www.todaystrucking.com/top100 ) and the top 25 LTL carriers in the United States (http://www.joc.com/sites/default/files/u48801/truck-tables_1_0.jpg ). The strong surge in revenue that less-than-truckload carriers enjoyed in 2014 stalled last year, as weaker demand and lower fuel surcharges dragged down LTL trucking’s top line. The combined revenue of the 25 largest U.S. LTL trucking companies declined 0.5 percent in 2015 to $32.1 billion, after shooting up 9.1 percent to $32.3 billion in 2014, according to The Journal of Commerce’s 2016 ranking of the Top 25 LTL Carriers, prepared by SJ Consulting Group. The report concludes that the decline in revenue may have as much to do with falling fuel prices as lower industrial demand.

The LTL Industry has become a “Big Boys” Game

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As we approach 2016, there are a number of forces that are shaping the economics of Freight Transportation. Here are a few to consider.

The US Economy and the US Dollar

The US economy is providing a number of mixed signals in December of 2015. Unemployment is at only five percent. Economic growth, while sluggish, has been able to generate a consistent 200,000 new jobs a month. But some other indices don’t look so good.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) PMI Index of economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in November for the first time in 36 months, since November 2012, while the overall economy grew for the 78th consecutive month. The November PMI® registered 48.6 percent, a decrease of 1.5 percentage points from the October reading of 50.1 percent and below the 50 percent mark that signals growth. The New Orders Index registered 48.9 percent, a decrease of 4 percentage points from the reading of 52.9 percent in October. The Production Index registered 49.2 percent, 3.7 percentage points below the October reading of 52.9 percent. Ten out of 18 manufacturing industries reported contraction in November, with lower new orders, production and raw materials inventories accounting for the overall softness in November.

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The past year started with some solid tailwinds as the economies of the United States and Canada appeared to be in a growth mode. Then a number of unexpected events took place that changed the trajectory of the year. Here is our synopsis of the major freight transportation stories of 2015.

The Collapse in Energy Prices

The rout in oil prices began in late 2014 as Saudi Arabia stood firm in its insistence not to cut production quotas. The downturn in China’s economy produced less demand as oil supply remained at pre-downturn levels, a recipe for low oil prices and other challenges throughout the year. This had a huge impact on Canada’s oil sands companies, producing significant layoffs. There were also spillover effects in other energy sectors such as coal mining. The latter experienced very large price drops and decreased shipping volumes.

The steep decline in fuel and oil prices has, in turn, been a boon to freight transportation and logistics services providers primarily in the form of lower operating costs, while at the same time tremendously aiding carriers and providers serving retail-based customers, as lower fuel prices have dramatically impacted the amount of discretionary income consumers have.

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In my last blog, I outlined a set of tips to help carriers achieve greater success with Freight Bids. Here are a few more.

Put your best foot forward early in the process

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Dan's Transportation Newspaper

Posted by on in Social Media

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Many of us receive information from multiple news sources on a daily basis. You may start your day with the morning newspaper in hard copy or on your iPad or Surface. If you are in the transportation industry, you are likely receiving trade magazines in hard copy and/or digital form, news feeds and white papers from various sources, updates from your LinkedIn groups, Twitter feeds, Facebook updates and of course dozens or even hundreds of e mails and text messages throughout the day.

Of course many of us have interests beyond freight transportation that may include Business, Investing, Sports, Technology and/or a range of other topics. Trying to stay abreast of the news in these areas can often result in another set of publications and news feeds. The management of information can be quite a challenge.

Using software developed by paper.li, Dan’s Transportation Newspaper tries to make life easier for transportation professionals. Published daily, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, the primary focus of the paper is Freight Transportation. Stories on truck, rail, air and ocean shipping are included as are stories on supply chain, trucking, warehousing, technology, data and energy management. Since many of us are keen students of Business, Economics, Social Media and Sports, the scope of the newspaper includes important stories in these areas.

The freight sections include articles from the Journal of Commerce, Transport Topics, American Shipper, Inbound Logistics, Truck News, Today’s Trucking, Logistics Management and other American and Canadian sources. The Business section contains features from the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, The Economist and other leading publications. There are 25 major news feeds that supply articles to the newspaper on a daily basis.

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During the Great Recession, the LTL freight industry experienced a “near death” experience as declining freight volumes, excess capacity and falling rates conspired to dramatically reduce revenues and profits. The LTL market shrank from more than $33 billion U.S. at the peak in 2006 to $25.2 billion at the recession's trough in 2009. As we approach the mid-point of 2015, the fortunes of this industry look much brighter. Here’s why.

The industry has consolidated

Looking back over the past 25 years, only 4 of the top 50 carriers are still in operation. Over the past 10 years, there has certainly been a changing of the guard at the top. As noted in a recent Stifel transportation report, “Old Dominion has replaced FedEx Freight/Con-way Freight as the most profitable carrier in the industry. USF was bought by Yellow Roadway to become YRC Worldwide before it nearly went the way of Consolidated Freightways, Overnite became UPS Freight, Central Freight Lines went public then private, Vitran was sold in pieces, Saia sold Jevic (which then went bust), and Roadrunner acquired Dawes and Bullet to become the only national asset-light general commodity LTL carrier. The industry is more concentrated than ever . . . “

The report goes on to report that “the top-5 (U.S.) carriers have roughly 55% of the market. And those top-5 - FedEx Freight, YRC Worldwide, Con-way Freight, UPS Freight, and Old Dominion Freight Line - are all either historical disciplined pricers or have been burned in the past by their undisciplined ways or have no choice but to push price to improve margins.” The Canadian market is quite similar with TransForce, Day & Ross and Manitoulin dominating the LTL sector. Unlike the truckload sector, consolidation means more leverage and pricing power for the top LTL players.

Today’s LTL Carriers are leaner and meaner

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In President Obama’s State of the Union message that he delivered to a joint session of congress on Tuesday, January 20, he stated that the “shadow of the (economic) crisis has passed” in the United States. The very next day, the Governor of the Bank of Canada dropped interest rates by 0.25 percent “to stave off emerging risks such as weak inflation and a real-estate downturn.” The rate cut, the first by a Group of Seven country in the face of oil prices that have tumbled to about $46 (U.S.) a barrel from $110 last June, caught financial markets off guard. The Canadian dollar plummeted about 1.5 cents to close at 81.07 cents.

This raises a number of questions. First, are the economies of Canada and the United States that different? As two large trading partners that share the largest unprotected border in the world, why has the U.S. signaled that the recession has passed while Canada has highlighted its fears of falling backward into a downturn?

It is interesting that this announcement comes as the manufacturing sector in eastern Canada revs up. Anecdotal evidence from truckers (in eastern Canada) suggests that freight volumes are strong for the month of January, stronger than in prior years. Why make this move and why make it now?

There are two ways to frame the move by Steve Poloz, the Governor of the Bank of Canada. One could look at yesterday’s announcement as an act of desperation, as the sign of a country that blinked first in the face of the challenges facing the energy industry. While we have been receiving hints of increases in interest rates for some time, this action runs contrary to expectations. It may signal a worry, possibly based on early reports of layoffs and cancelled capital expenditures in the energy sector, that the Bank of Canada had to do an “about face” and take dramatic action to counter this potential threat to the economy. Of course, this also signals Canada’s overdependence on energy, that we have two many “eggs in one basket” and that our economy is nowhere near as diversified as the American economy.

Clearly the quick drop in the value of Canadian dollar is unsettling and may not instill confidence in the Canadian government, the BOC, our currency or the Canadian economy. The central bank warned that lower oil prices would take a sizable bite out of economic growth in 2015, delay a return to full capacity and hurt business investment – a trend that has already triggered layoffs and spending cuts in Alberta’s oil-and-gas industry. Canada’s two-speed economy is undergoing a major reversal of fortunes, with the once-booming energy sector fading while the manufacturing sector is rebounding, Mr. Poloz said. Economist David Madani of Capital Economics said that “clearly, [the BoC] is far more worried about a severe housing market correction.”

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This past year was a tumultuous and transformative year in Freight Transportation. What is in store for us in 2015? Here are some trends to watch.

1. Dimensional LTL Pricing

The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) system, developed during the Great Depression by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, classifies goods based on four elements—density, stowability, handling, and liability—that reflect a shipment's "transportability." However, the ratings from the system are not derived from the dimensions of the actual shipment but from average shipment characteristics. The classification methodology was not designed to accommodate the changes in modern-day production methods, where goods tend to be lighter and generally cube out in a trailer before they weigh out. For nearly eight decades, less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers have been using this system to allocate their trailer space.

Change will come to the LTL freight industry in 2015, driven by so-called dimensionializing, or dimensioning, machines that precisely calculate the amount of space a shipment will occupy in a trailer. The machines measure a shipment's dimensions—arrived at by multiplying length, width, and height—and provide proof of their calculations. A high-end "static" machine designed to measure stationary objects sells in the low to mid-$80,000s. The payoff can be rapid—30 to 60 days, depending on how a carrier uses the machine and how it calculates return on investment (ROI). Carriers like UPS Freight and FedEx Freight, LTL units of highly visible companies that have used dimensioners in their parcel operations for decades, are going that way. Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., that has used dimensioning equipment since 2009, YRC Worldwide Inc., and many of the other leading players in the LTL sector will likely follow the leaders.

2. Low Energy Prices will continue for much of 2015

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As the year draws to a close, it is time to reflect on the major news stories in the world of freight transportation. These are the ones that struck me as being the most impactful.

1. The Economy – Two Steps Forward/One Step Back

US GDP grew by over 3 percent in 2014, its best showing in several years. A rise in employment levels, coupled with an increase in consumer spending, helped lift the American freight market. The long, slow post Great Recession recovery finally kicked into a higher gear, driving an upswing in freight activity.

However, November data highlighted a slowdown in the pace of recovery across the U.S. manufacturing sector. At 54.7, down from 55.9 in October, the seasonally adjusted Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) indicated the weakest overall improvement in business conditions since the snow-related setback in January. Although the latest reading remained well above the neutral 50.0 threshold, the index has now dropped for three months in a row. Weaker rates of output and new business growth were the main negative influences on the headline PMI figure in November.

2. America - the Super Energy Power

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At the 2013 Summit, Jacquie Meyers, President of Meyers Transportation Services, made shipper-carrier collaboration a “hot topic” with an impassioned plea to both sides to take a more enlightened approach to working together. Her argument was that this is the best way to reduce freight costs. Since this plea resonated so well with the attendees, Jackie was invited to come back and participate in a panel discussion on this topic with another carrier and two prominent shippers.

This year Jacquie was joined by Elias Demangos, President & CEO, Fortigo Transportation Management Group, Anna Petrova, Associate Director, Supply Chain, Ferrero Canada Ltd., and Susan Promane, Director, Supply Chain, Whirlpool Canada. To lead off the track, Jacquie was asked to provide a definition of a successful shipper-carrier partnership. She expressed the view that true shipper-carrier collaboration is the opposite of a poorly-run freight RFQ that goes to 105 transport companies with the lowest price carriers being awarded the freight. Jacquie stated that a true shipper-carrier partnership is based on honest communication, trust, commitment and investment. A 2, 3 or 5 year commitment allows her company to invest in equipment and develop special customer service solutions. While there is room for “good” RFQ’s, working together will achieve greater efficiencies and cost savings.

The two shippers on the panel presented their views on what it takes to make this happen. Anna Petrova suggested that they key is “alignment on strategy. The carriers we hire are an extension of our brand.” Since retail customers can “fire us” or “punish us” for poor performance (e.g. poor case fill rate, poor on-time service), the shipper and carrier must perform in these areas. On-time service is a carrier KPI and it is up to her carriers to provide the service.

Susan Promane reinforced this point by highlighting the importance of “execution.” She stated that very few carriers operate as true partners. Susan mentioned that she shares her annual goals with her carriers and monitors their performance on a monthly and annual basis. While she agrees with the concept of a multi-year commitment, to her that means 2 years since the world changes too much in that time frame to lock in for a longer period.

Anna suggested that there is value in “formalizing SLAs” (service level agreements) so as to clarify expectations with respect to trailer drops, dedicated CSRs, service reports etc. Providing a carrier partner, particularly a new partner, with this information helps build trust and creates accountability. When a carrier meets their service expectations, they aren’t just talking the talk; they are “walking the talk.” Susan also emphasized the importance of tracking safety, EDI compliance and billing accuracy.

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Freight costs have historically been calculated on the basis of gross weight in kilograms or pounds. By charging only by weight, lightweight, low density packages become unprofitable for freight carriers due to the amount of space they take up in a trailer or container in proportion to their actual weight.

Dimensional weight is also known as DIM weight, volumetric weight, cubed weight or density-based pricing. The concept of Dimensional or Cube Weight is gaining popularity in the LTL freight industry as a uniform means of establishing a minimum charge for the cubic space occupied by a carton or pallet. Three of the largest LTL freight carriers, UPS Freight, FedEx Freight and YRC introduced dimensional LTL freight pricing this year. Currently FedEx Ground only applies dimensional pricing to packages measuring three cubic feet or greater.  Effective January 1, FedEx and UPS will apply dimensional pricing to all packages.  

The implication of this change in pricing methodology has caught the attention of the media (see article in Wall Street Journal). Experts say the impact could result in increased shipping costs of 5 to as much as 25% - - - if shippers don't take action. This blog will provide shippers with a guide to prepare for the introduction of this LTL pricing methodology.

A Definition of Dimensional or Cube-Based Pricing

Dimensional weight is a calculation of a theoretical weight of a shipment. This theoretical weight is the weight of the package at a minimum density chosen by the freight carrier. If the shipment is below this minimum density, then the actual weight is irrelevant as the freight carrier will charge for the volume of the package as if it were of the chosen density (what the package would weigh at the minimum density). Furthermore, the volume used to calculate the Dimensional Weight may not be absolutely representative of the true volume of the shipment. The freight carrier will measure the longest dimension in each of the three axes (X, Y and Z) and use these measurements to determine the shipment volume. If the carton or pallet is a right-angled box, then this will be equal to the true volume of the package. However, if the package is of any other shape, then the calculation of volume will be more than the true volume of the package.

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