‘Uber of Trucking’, Trucker Path, Plans to Expand Its Reach

As more and more truck drivers leave the industry, ways to attract and retain drivers are on the rise – better hours, better pay, career advancement – the list grows. Could an app help? Well, it may not solve the growing crisis but it could indeed make many truck drivers’ life on the road much easier and then some.

Founded in 2013, Trucker Path is a free, downloadable app that allows drivers to map out routes that show truck stops, rest areas, weigh stations and more. Easily customizable it also lets users know such things as how many parking spaces are available, availability of showers, fuel prices, Wi-Fi and ratings of facilities – all crowd-sourced according to Charlie Myers, Vice President of Business Development for Trucker Path.

Logistics Trends & Insights was invited to chat with Mr. Myers to find out what’s ahead for Trucker Path. Having raised $20 million in Series A funding only a few months ago, the company is expanding on its community of 500,000 users to create a full transportation marketplace.

One aspect of this marketplace, Truckload Board, is currently in beta with about 30,000 truckers and will likely prove quite beneficial. Expected to launch in early 2016, the service will not only be web-based but mobile as well allowing truck drivers to create a profile which in turn will be used to show loads in proximity to his location.

Further into 2016, the company is looking to expand even further by creating what Mr. Myers describes as a closed-loop marketplace product which will allow for a neutral platform for brokers to invite trusted carriers into their networks. This is a big plus because it so important to vett who one is dealing with when sourcing loads, initiating a contract and obtaining necessary insurance certificates.

In addition it will allow for such tasks as tracking shipments, check calls via phone or SMS, provide an ETA of delivery and more.

Pricing for these two additions will likely be subscription-based for the Truckload board and a transactional pricing model for the marketplace.

Described as an “Uber of Trucking” soon after it first launched, Trucker Path is looking to expand its reach in the trucking industry. Can it succeed? With a community of 500,000 truck drivers, it apparently can do so and set itself apart from a growing, crowded field.

DSV and UTi Worldwide Combination Provides a Balanced Global Presence

The industry had just barely digested the XPO Logistics acquisition of Con-way when DSV announced its intentions to acquire UTi Worldwide. Perhaps not as surprising as XPO Logistics’ recent acquisitions but it is one that can be a game changer within the global logistics market. In fact, the acquisition will catapult DSV among the top 5 global logistics providers.

With the acquisition, DSV’s reach will expand further into Asia, Africa and the Americas. Not only will it expand geographically but it will also gain industry-specific expertise. Of particular interest are UTi’s automotive and pharma industry-specific solutions. Earlier this year, UTi formed a partnership with Changjiu Logistics, one of the largest independent automotive logistics company in China. As part of this relationship, UTi runs Europe-to-China rail shipments using the Changjiu Logistics network. This rail network should benefit DSV’s well-connected European road network.

DSV’s European road network will also benefit from UTi’s pharmaceutical specialty. This year, UTi has expanded its Good Distribution Practices (GDP)-certified facility in Rome as well as achieving several certifications at its facility at Brussels Airport.

Here in the US, the combined entity will offer stronger freight forwarding, contract logistics and road solutions. For the first half of 2015, DSV handled an almost 9.0% year-over-year increase in air tonnes attributing the gain to strong Europe and US exports. Sea freight TEUs were up 2.9% but it appears this was mostly attributed to the weak Asia-European lane. UTi’s freight forwarding division has struggled but once it is right-sized and combined with DSV, synergies will be noticed particularly on the trans-pacific lane and could become a competitive threat to such freight forwarders as Expeditors International of Washington.

Both companies offer a road network service throughout North America. DSV’s service involves multicarrier relationships with the likes of YRC, Pitt Ohio, ABF, FedEx and Roadrunner. UTi’s network is more extensive and helps link its distribution centers across the region. Even though this has become a crowded competitive field, it will be a plus for specialized offerings as well as for international customers looking to expand into the North American market. Perhaps a competitive advantage for DSV/UTi is potentially extending its North American road network through Central America to the Panama Canal Zone and into South America. In April 2015, DSV opened an office in Costa Rica primarily for freight forwarding but also offers road services via its agents in the region.

Why UTi Worldwide? The company’s financial problems have been well-documented in the press but according to DSV CEO Jens Andersen, “One of the reasons we like UTi is that its business model is very similar to ours; it has been built up the same way and it is stronger than us in the Americas and some merging markets.”

Mr. Andersen further noted the economies of scale that will be achieved with the combined entity. However, the process DSV will need to take to achieve these economies of scale may prove difficult and painful but it is achievable.

This acquisition is similar to other recent acquisitions such as Geodis/OHL and XPO Logistics/Norbert Dentressangle, all expanding geographically but also to grow revenue in a slowing growth market and one that is still heavily fragmented.

Who’s next? Well, if you followed our Twitter Chat (Summary available here) a few weeks ago, we identified Uti as a primary acquisition target. That has now come to fruition. We still expect C. H. Robinson to make an acquisition perhaps in either the North American or European market. Will Expeditors International of Washington make a move or will it become an acquisition target? There is lots of speculation floating about but it is clear to all that the pace of logistics mergers & acquisition remains strong and will continue into 2016.

Trouble on the Border?

Does the latest NAFTA data indicate trouble on the US borders? Judging by the latest data, it may appear concerning. For the month of July, year-over-year value of NAFTA freight declined 8% with US-Canada declining 14% and US-Mexico declining 0.8%. However, it appears the culprit is the declining price of oil – a problem for many in the supply chain as well as revenue derived from fuel surcharges are also in decline.

In terms of mode of transport of tonnage, pipeline and vessel represent small percentages in terms of overall NAFTA tonnage at 6% and 7.3% but these two modes noted the biggest declines for the month of July at 26.3% and 34.8% respectively. Meanwhile, airfreight value was up 3.4%, truck value declined 0.6% and rail was down 14.5%.

Even though the value of goods is down, trade along the borders appears to be brisk. Logistics and transportation providers are optimistic of its promise as they continue to add services. The Journal of Commerce notes in its recent article, “UP expands Texas intermodal terminal to handle rising cross-border traffic” that Union Pacific Rail plans to invest $90 million in its Laredo, Texas intermodal facility while Kansas City Southern Railway has just recently opened its Wylie, Texas intermodal terminal.

In addition, Schneider announced its Intermodal unit has “streamlined cross-border clearance and inspection service for select commodities that previously required additional handling at the U.S. border.” According to its press release, the group is working with Mexico’s Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad, y Calidad Agroalimentaria, (SENASICA) to inspect and clear goods in Mexico versus the border.

Not only has the focus been on the US-Mexican border, Schneider also recently added a new intermodal lane connecting Montreal, Canada to the Southeastern US via a partnership with CSX Rail. Schneider is targeting markets in Florida and Georgia in particular by eliminating the Great Lakes route. In its press release, Schneider also noted it had opened service lanes from Montreal to Ohio and St. Louis as well.

Furthermore, earlier this year, Canadian National Rail extended its reach further into the US towards the Gulf Coast to the ports of New Orleans and Mobile.

As for the value of goods, monthly declines will likely continue as oil prices remain depressed. However, as the health of the US economy continues to hold steady, cross-border trade will hold strong.

Perhaps the borders will eventually blur and even better, congestion will ease as more trade crisscrosses between the three countries. Collaboration such as that of Schneider and SENASICA is a great move and one we’ll hopefully see more of as the shift towards regional trade continues to gain traction.

Trouble on the Border? – NAFTA Data for July 2015

The value of US.-NAFTA freight totaled $93.0 billion in July 2015, an 8.0% decline from July 2014.  In July,  the value of commodities moving by air increased by 3.4%, truck decreased by 0.6% and rail by 14.5%, Vessel decreased by 26.3% and pipeline freight decreased  34.8%.

The value of US-Canada freight totaled $47.5 billion in July 2015, down 14.0% from July 2014 while the value of US-Mexico freight declined 0.8% for the same period.

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NAFTA July 2015Source: BTS

How Do We know if Goods are Still Good? – A Chat with CargoSense

As the need for temperature-controlled transportation rises, problems persist. According to The Loadstar article, “Unreliable Air Cargo Industry Loses Pharma Traffic While IATA Sleeps”, Kuehne + Nagel’s senior vice president for global air logistics products and services, Marcel Fujike, is quoted, “There was a lack of skills, training and standards throughout cool-chain logistics, with “no SOPs or working instructions in place overall”.

Furthermore, Mr. Fujike noted that vulnerable spots in the air transport chain included handling, loading, the tarmac phase, “which is considered the weakest link in the chain”, and customs clearance.

Indeed, improving conditions for shippers and logistics providers are underway thanks to start-up analytics company, CargoSense. Logistics Trends & Insights had the opportunity to chat with CEO Rich Kilmer and Head of Marketing of CargoSense to learn more.

Based in the US, CargoSense provides Black Box insight for individual shipments. Not only is temperature monitored but also humidity, light and over 20 other sensor points. Temperature is indeed very important to monitor, according to Mr. Kilmer, but through CargoSense’ supply chain intelligence, the complete story of a shipment is now able to be told.

Working with Toshiba Semiconductor, CargoSense utilizes rechargeable sensors that can also be rolled on top and be used with other sensors that shippers may require. It notes that it is “sensor-agnostic”. The sensors in turn allows the company to collect and analyze all the shipment data from origin to destination, pull out events and share the analysis with all players involved in a particular shipment. And yes, Mr. Fujike, CargoSense has verified that 90% of the problems happen on the tarmac. Furthermore, just a fyi, CargoSense and Toshiba Semiconductor sensors are used not only on airplanes but also ocean vessels and other modes of transportation.

In addition, by serving as the business intelligence analyst, collector of both good and bad data as well as storing it, CargoSense is able to provide manufacturers, transportation and logistics providers and other supply chain partners the basis to benchmark partnerships as well.

The first focus of CargoSense has been high-valued goods such as pharmaceuticals. Currently it works in partnership with leading pharma manufacturers as well as transportation and logistics providers such as Expeditors. However, the focus is spreading into other verticals such as foods and perishables.

In addition, the technology is shifting to other uses and is being utilized and distributed in the form of beacons. This will aid in the calculation of transportation routes, asset management and other services. As a result, those involved in a particular shipment will be able to determine where the shipment was when something happened and then take necessary steps to correct. For more information on this, check out www.logisticsbeacon.com.

What’s next for this upcoming technology company? Having just recently received an additional round of funding, Mr. Kilmer noted, “The industry is demanding more robust and relevant information within specific contexts in order to truly control and optimize critical functions to cut loss, reduce risk and enhance both product and service delivery. We are focused on expanding our solutions to encompass the complete supply chain system in order to monitor environmentally sensitive cargo in both mobile and fixed environments.”

Cross-border – Opportunity for Logistics Providers and Post Offices?

Judging from the number of services being introduced, cross-border commerce is on the rise. In fact, earlier this year, Accenture and Aliresearch, Alibaba’s research arm, estimated that global B2C cross-border will be valued at $1 trillion by 2020 from $230 billion in 2014. From $230 billion to $1 trillion in just 6 years is a big jump and like all growth rate estimates may be questioned, still, logistics providers and post offices are introducing solutions as well as acquiring niche providers to take advantage of this anticipated growth.

FedEx, UPS and Pitney Bowes each have made acquisitions in such niche players while others are establishing partnerships. For example, just this past week, Alibaba logistics affiliate, Cainiao and the USPS announced an agreement to speed delivery of merchandise ordered by U.S. consumers on Alibaba’s international online shopping platforms. In addition, the USPS will also work with Cainiao to expand its worldwide shipping capabilities, especially in South America.

This is not Alibaba’s first partnership with a post office. It also has agreements with those in the UK, France, Australia, Brazil, Singapore and more. For Alibaba, much of its revenue is derived from its home turf and it is looking to international growth to further grow its revenue.

Not only is Alibaba hoping to benefit from cross-border growth but the post offices are as well. Facing a multitude of issues such as sagging mail revenue, post offices are scurrying to reinvent themselves by upgrading parcel facilities, improving technology and expanding into new services. The biggest benefit for post offices are its last mile delivery advantage, but even that is coming under threat in many countries so, as a result, partnering with the likes of Alibaba, Ebay and others, cross-border is viewed as an opportunity for these postal entities.

While the Alibaba and USPS news received a lot of attention, a couple of other newsworthy events also were announced. According to Post & Parcel, the Asia Pacific Post Cooperative (APP) and the region’s national postal service providers announced its APP ePacket service. The service is designed to meet e-commerce shipping needs for the region. According to the APP, “With the launch of the APP e-Packet, customers, especially e-merchants, industrial and corporate customers will be offered an economical shipping solution with full regional coverage for sending items of up to 2kg.” How this service will compare and compete with other solutions is yet to be revealed. Most of the post offices are expected to role APP ePacket out in fourth quarter with the rest doing so in early 2016.

Lastly, what could possibly end up an eventual acquisition, US-based Lynden International and Hermes Transport Logistics announced a partnership. According to the press release, this is an “exclusive” agreement to strengthen services between North America and Germany and according to Lynden International’s President, “The agreement strengthens Lynden’s capabilities in retail supply chain services, fulfillment and home delivery in new markets.”

Indeed, the partnership should benefit both companies as Hermes battles fierce competition in its home country, Germany. Hermes is looking towards cross-border to grow its business like other providers. Earlier this year it established an office in Hong Kong and Shanghai to expand its reach in not only retail logistics but small parcel delivery as well. Furthermore, the company noted its cross-border solution, BorderGuru, is successfully facilitating shipments from the US to global destinations and it plans to test shipping from Europe to the US and China this year.

Cross-border solutions are indeed expanding thanks mostly to e-commerce. Logistics providers, post offices and retailers have high expectation for this but will need to be able to demonstrate true value that can then be passed on to the final customer – the consumer.


Fall is definitely in the air around here…the leaves are turning and its football and apple season. It’s also time to move the blog to its new home. In October, the blog will be included on the Logistics Trends & Insights website. If you currently receive blog updates, you’ll have to redo please, this unfortunately does not move automatically. A suggestion, if you do not subscribe to the newsletter, you may want to consider signing up so you can continue to receive  posts, news, updates and more with no disruption.

Along with the launch of the new website (www.logisticstrendsandinsights.com or if you dislike typing all of that, http://www.logisticsti.com should work as well), the first report will be available for download. Since it will be the first report from a new research company, it will available for free who request it from the website. Further details including topic, timing etc. will be available in a few weeks. Right now, I’m working hard to finish both projects and I want both to be super good before I share additional details.

Thanks as always for your patience and for sticking with me these almost 3 years on the blog! It’s an exciting time and I’m so happy to share it with you!!