For the Freight Industry, Halloween 2023 Offers More Tricks than Treats

For digital freight network Convoy Inc., Halloween 2024 is offering more tricks than treats. After months of struggle against a relentless freight recession, Convoy recently announced that they would be ceasing operations. Furthermore, as CEO Dan Lewis made clear in a widely-circulated letter to employees, a difficult inflationary environment ensured that no ‘white-knight’ investor would be coming to the ailing company’s rescue. 

But it’s not all closures and capital this spooky season: FedEx is investing in its relationship with Mojix to improve aircraft maintenance strategies, and UPS has announced its 2024 rate increases. In an industry that’s always moving, here are the seven headlines you need to know. 

Convoy Collapses, Leaving the Industry with Questions

Digital freight network Convoy Inc. recently announced plans to shutter operations. The closure is due to the combined pressures of the ongoing freight recession, as well as significant contraction within capital markets. Furthermore, these same pressures ensured that there would be no acquisition of Covoy Inc. by another company. 

“We moved all business levers possible,” wrote CEO Dan Lewis in a company letter obtained by FreightWaves. “But we were running up the down escalator … and it kept speeding up. So despite your excellent work on our product and service innovation, extensive revenue driving efforts, and the painful and sweeping cost cuts you have had to endure, it was still not enough to get us into the financial position necessary to withstand the increasing pressures of the industry, without the need for outside funding.”

FedEx Scaling Mojix Partnership to Improve AOG Efficiency

In an attempt to mitigate the supply chain consequences of aircraft-on-ground, or AOG, crises, FedEx is planning to expand its use of inventory tracking platform Mojix to reduce maintenance-related aircraft downtimes. Using Mojix, FedEx can instantly access the current location of vital aircraft components within its warehouse network, allowing for faster delivery to an aircraft’s location. 

“There are often times that we have 15 minutes to pull that part and get it to the mechanic on the ramp,” said Bob Minford, FedEx’s VP of airline technology in a quote obtained by Supply Chain Dive. ” ... We need all the efficiencies and reliability to deliver the right part to the right mechanic at the right time.”

FedEx Announces 2023 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

FedEx recently announced their Holiday shipping deadlines for domestic packages. The deadlines indicate the last day a package can be shipped for delivery by Christmas Eve, which falls on a Sunday. 

  • FedEx Ground Economy: December 13
  • FedEx Ground Three Day Shipping: December 19
  • FedEx Ground Two Day Shipping: December 20
  • FedEx Home Delivery Two Day Shipping: December 21
  • FedEx Ground One Day Shipping: December 21
  • FedEx Home Delivery One Day Shipping: December 22

For the United States Postal Service, a key competitor to FedEx, Ground Advantage shipments must be mailed by Dec 16 to ensure arrival by Christmas, and shipments sent as USPS Priority Mail need to be sent by Dec. 18 to guarantee delivery. 

UPS Announces 2024 Rate Increases

Parcel carrier UPS has announced its 2024 rate hikes, following competitor FedEx, who announced rate hikes in August for the coming year. Notable cost increases include rates for UPS Ground, UPS Air, and International Services, which will increase by an average of 5.9%. North American Air Cargo rates, however, will increase by 6.3%, a change which will go into effect on Dec. 3. 

“This helps to support ongoing expansion and capability enhancements as we strive to maintain the high service levels you expect from UPS,” wrote UPS

DHL Teamsters Rally for Fair Contract, Safe Working Conditions

In response to what the Teamsters have described as unsafe working conditions, Teamsters employed by DHL have rallied outside of the German shipper’s operations center at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG). In 2022, DHL’s CVG operations saw 22 workplace injuries requiring emergency care. 

“With a huge operation like DHL-CVG — where things can get chaotic in an instant —people can and do get hurt without smooth communication, proper equipment, and adequate staffing,” said Brandi Dale, a Teamsters ramp agent at CVG in an Oct 28 press release. “It’s not a safe workplace. Our families deserve to know we’ll come back home the same way as we went in. As it stands now, we can’t promise that.”

LTL Carrier XPO Launches New Team Driver Program

Conneticut-based LTL Carrier XPO has launched an over-the-road operation using team drivers, allowing the company to improve transportation times while reducing vehicle downtime. Under the new Road Flex system, drivers will work in pairs, taking turns behind the wheel of fully outfitted sleeper trucks. 

“The launch of the Road Flex operation is a key step in accelerating our plan to insource third-party linehaul miles and create greater efficiency in our network,” wrote XPO East Division President Tim Staroba in an Oct 24 press release. “It’ll enable us both to reduce costs and improve service for our customers by minimizing freight re-handling and expediting deliveries. We look forward to the growth of this new program and the great team drivers who will be joining XPO to support it.”

In Sustainability Push, Amazon Aims to Eliminate Packaging

As consumer pressure for sustainable e-commerce continues to increase, Amazon is attempting to reduce the waste associated with its deliveries. The e-commerce giant is now aiming to eliminate packaging, according to reporting from FreightWaves. In 2022, 11% if Amazon packages required no additional packaging, up from 8% the previous year. 

“Our catalog is vast, it’s ever-changing, and so we need to identify what’s the proper packaging from anything from a T-shirt to a Crock-Pot to a canoe,” said Justine Mahler, Amazon’s Director of Packaging Innovation, in an interview with FreightWaves. “To do that at scale, we utilize machine learning to be able to manage the broad category and make those packaging assignments.”

Facing a Scary Market, Shippers Turn to Intelligent Audit to Maximize Efficiency 

As Halloween approaches, shippers and carriers have more to be scared of than ghosts and ghouls. Facing an ongoing freight recession, volatile carrier landscape, and difficult inflationary environment, supply chain professionals are turning to technology to ensure maximum efficiency throughout transportation operations. With Intelligent Audit, shippers can leverage a vital suite of transportation software tools to ensure maximum performance. 

Get started with Intelligent Audit today, and see how 25 years of transportation innovation can help you optimize your supply chain today.  

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