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Transportation News Bulletins - Logistics

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3PLs Optimistic About Business
Friday, 26 June 2009 00:00

Survey at 3PL Summit shows 60 percent of attendees see business getting better

More than 60 percent of shippers, carriers and vendors in the third-party logistics provider business said they believed that the overall health of their businesses would be “better or much better” from now until the end of 2009, according to a survey taken at the 7th Eye for Transport third-party logistics provider summit in Atlanta this week.

The survey, conducted by Transite Technology, was a random sample of the more than 300 attendees of the conference representing 3PLs, shippers, carriers, and vendors.

Other highlights of the survey include:

  • 32 percent of respondents said they believed the health of today’s U.S. economy was “better” than at the end of last year. 29 percent said that they felt it was the “same.”
     
  • 42 percent of respondents said that their overall business was currently performing “better or much better” than at the end of last year with 45 percent indicating that their current performance was the “same.”
     
  • Of the 3PLs surveyed, 70 percent said that attracting new customers has been their top challenge over the last 12 months, followed by retaining existing customers and managing overall profitability.

The 3PL Summit drew CEOs and senior management from leading 3PLs, logistics executives and multinational shippers, to discuss best practices and promote greater collaboration throughout the transportation and logistics industry.

The Journal of Commerce Online, 6/26/2009

 
Green Logistics: House signs off on Markey-Waxman energy legislation
Friday, 26 June 2009 00:00

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives signed off on legislation earlier today that has the potential to have a profound impact on shipper supply chain operations and planning for years to come.

The legislation—introduced by Representatives Edward Markey (D. Mass) and Howard Waxman (DCalif.)— is entitled the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. It calls for reducing emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, as well as:

  • a new low-carbon transportation fuel standard to promote advanced biofuels and other clean transportation fuels;
     
  • a focus on transportation efficiency, which would order the EPA to set emissions standards for locomotives and marine vessels and a requirement for states to establish goals for reducing global warming pollution from the transportation sector; and
  • authorizing the EPA to carry out the SmartWay Transportation Efficiency Program to increase highway trucking output and efficiency.

A report in the Wall Street Journal indicated the bill would impose the nation’s first limits on greenhouse gases linked to global warming and shift the country away from reliance on fossil fuels.

A component of the bill that has been met with some opposition due to the potential increased costs for businesses and consumers has to do with “cap and trade,” a form of emissions trading, which is used to control pollution by offering economic incentives in order to achieve reductions in emissions pollutants. Cap and trade would put limits on emissions from motor vehicles, coal-fired plants, and factories.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce came out against the bill, saying that it fails to ensure that an adequate amount of renewable or alternative energy sources are developed and deployed to compensate for the bill’s declining cap on fossil fuel emissions.

And the American Trucking Associations said earlier this month that the bill threatens to significantly increase fuel costs and jeopardizes the economic viability of trucking companies. ATA First Vice Chairman Tommy Hodges recently told a Congressional Committee that provisions in the bill’s cap and trade program grant oil refiners two percent of the carbon allowances between 2014 and 2016 to help
mitigate refinery greenhouse gas emissions. Hodges said this amount is inadequate and will result in
major price increases for refined products.

If this bill becomes law, shippers will have to re-think their supply chains, which will require supply chain modeling to devise supply chains that are “lean as possible” to reduce transportation usage, noted Brittain Ladd, director of logistics and manufacturing at Cognizant Technology Solutions.

"A supply chain is a network of facilities and distribution options that performs the functions of procurement of materials; transformation of these materials into intermediate and finished products; and distribution of these finished products to customers,” explained Ladd. “Therefore, every new regulation restricting the production of GHG will have a direct impact on supply chains, as supply chains are major contributors of GHG.

As more and more environmental regulations are implemented, [shippers] will be challenged to shorten their supply chains and introduce new technologies and business models in order to adhere to the new
regulations.”

Logistics Management, 6/26/2009

 
Federal infrastructure policy may face shipper resistance
Friday, 26 June 2009 00:00

SAN FRANCISCO—A leading industry analyst says shippers have yet to ask two key questions about a new proposed transportation law: When will the bill be enacted, and who pays for it?

When Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee, unveiled his blueprint for the next surface transportation authorization bill last week, it was to “generally positive reviews,” said Kenneth Orski, a transportation analyst and publisher of Innovation NewsBriefs.

“Can the bill be enacted this year?” asked Orski, “and where will the money to fund the ambitious $500 billion program come from?

According to Orski, the first question has been pushed to the forefront by the Obama Administration. As reported in LM, Transportation Secretary LaHood told the shipping community and members of Congress that the Administration will seek an 18-month extension of the current surface transportation authorization. An estimated $13-$17 billion will be needed to fund the program extension.

Orski said that Secretary LaHood has joined a growing body of doubters that the crowded legislative calendar would permit the House and the Senate to reach agreement on a new bill before the current law expires at the end of September. This, he said, would leave the next year’s program funding in a precarious state.

“Other motivation may also lie behind Sec. LaHood’s proposal,” said Orski. “The White House may reason that by mid-2011 the economic climate will have recovered sufficiently to allow the Administration to propose a gas tax increase without suffering serious political repercussions.”

Orski observed that Congress also might be less reluctant to vote for a tax hike now that mid-term elections are over. Furthermore, by pushing enactment of the new legislation closer to the next presidential election, the Obama White House could take credit for a major piece of legislation.

“Rep. Oberstar’s bill leaves few other options on the table,” concluded Orski. “It explicitly forecloses tolling of the Interstate Highway System —a potentially large source of revenue — even though consumer surveys show that tolls are generally viewed more favorably than higher gas taxes.”

Logistics Management, 6/26/2009

 
Manufacturers Want Early Transport Bill
Thursday, 25 June 2009 00:00

Factory sector lobbying giant ties high-wage jobs to health of freight sector

Getting a new multi-year, federal transportation spending program approved by Congress quickly is a key to the health of the factory sector, says the head of the National Association of Manufacturers.

“Transportation is more than just mobility for people and goods—it’s also about high wage manufacturing jobs,” said NAM President John Engler, as he urged lawmakers to speedily pass new legislation to replace the program that expires Sept. 30.

He issued the remarks following approval June 24 by a House subcommittee of the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009.

Engler said those factory jobs depend on a healthy freight shipment system to bring in raw materials and distribute goods or equipment through the supply chain.

“Transportation is the circulatory system of the nation’s economy,” Engler said. “We must keep it in excellent health.”

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn., has said he will push for congressional approval of the big new spending bill by the time it expires, and will oppose extending the current spending program to give lawmakers more time to craft its replacement.

Engler said that “while the timeline may be ambitious to accomplish before the end of the federal government’s fiscal year, this undertaking… should not face needless delays.”

He also stressed that “the legislation recognizes the need for a robust surface transportation program that is focused on critical national objectives and attempts to prevent further deteriorating conditions on our nation’s aging highways, bridges, roads, and transit systems.”

The pending bill, Engler said, “deals effectively” both with reauthorizing the various surface transportation programs and shoring up the faltering Highway Trust Fund.

The Journal of Commerce Online, 6/25/2009

 
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