Copyright 2001, Traffic World Magazine
Quote of the Week: "We don't have all the answers. In fact, there is a long list of unanswered questions." -- Department of Transportation official speaking about transportation security.
Computrex Inc., a freight auditing and payment service in Nicholasville, Ky., is in bankruptcy and terminating its operations. Some 120 shippers say they've paid the company about $25 million for freight charges that were not forwarded to the carriers who supplied transportation services, according to Computrex's attorney. The company claims it has just $4.6 million in assets.
11Air cargo interests are bracing for higher costs associated with increased aviation security. While most of the attention is given to air passenger safety, the all-cargo industry is discussing which of the new federal directives will affect their side of the industry. Washington officials are discussing devising a "system of systems" based in part on the U.S. Secret Service operations as a better way to ensure air safety.
Having gone through a year or so of intensive cost cutting and reorganization, Ryder System's New Year's resolution is to make "process and model improvement changes," said President and Chief Executive Officer Gregory T. Swienton. The overarching goal is to strengthen Ryder as a major lead logistics provider, and in this cause it will launch a Web-enabled reporting and analysis tool and is developing what it sees as a revolutionary solution for managing customers' supply chains.
16Supply-chain software company G-Log continues to beat the odds. The company has been steadily growing since its inception and expects to be operationally cash-flow positive by the end of the next quarter, said Michael Nixon, vice president of strategic marketing. Why is G-Log doing well when other companies are not? Its customers like what the company has to offer, Nixon said. Several companies have recently implemented G-Log software, including third-party logistics provider Exel, fourth-party logistics provider KWLogistics and United Kingdom-based grocer Tesco Stores Ltd.
Overnite Transportation Co., Richmond, Va., the nation's fifth-largest stand-alone LTL carrier and biggest nonunion LTL carrier, stands to be the largest trucking company in the country to post higher earnings in 2001 than it did in 2000. Tight focus on costs, a well-planned geographic expansion, attention to detail and winning shipper loyalty are cited by Overnite as reasons for its profitability. It comes at a time when most trucking companies are retrenching, but Overnite expects to continue its profitability surge even in a down economy.
FedEx Corp. stock is within striking distance of United Parcel Service for the first time since Big Brown went public in November 1999. FedEx's stock has shot up in the last few weeks, not because the company has made any dramatic changes to its business model, but because the Memphis-based company seemed to surprise industry watchers at how adept it is at steering through an economic recession. FedEx managed to post great numbers in a quarter that rocked the transportation industry like no other.
As far as the Surface Transportation Board is concerned, it's time to finally close the books on the Union Pacific Railroad-Southern Pacific merger. Its five-year oversight of the merger that it approved in 1996 concluded with its Dec. 20 decision closing the case. In addition, the Board addressed various disputes concerning trackage rights given to Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway in connection with the merger.
After years of anticipation and a monumental logistics effort, the new European currency, the euro, has reached consumers' pockets. It became legal tender on New Year's Day in 12 of the 15 member states of the European Union. ATMs in Paris were suddenly distributing euro bank notes, which one Parisian waiter described as "monopoly money" compared to his familiar French francs. Even more confusing, most shoppers were paying for goods in francs and receiving change in euros, part of a planned, gradual changeover. According to the experts, if all goes well, this process will lead to nearly 70 percent of all transactions being conducted in euros by mid-January.