To provide customers of inland transportation services — including retailers, manufacturers, consumer product firms and agribusiness companies — with an overall understanding of and potential solutions to the major challenges they and their trucking, intermodal rail, warehousing and
distribution and logistics vendors face when moving freight within North America.
THEME: STRIKING THE RIGHT BALANCE
The risk of economic disruption overseas and another year of slow domestic growth, combined with fierce political debates in the U.S., makes uncertainty the catchphrase for 2016 and 2017. The job of accurately forecasting demand, maintaining the right level of inventory and moving freight hasn’t gotten any easier for shippers. In fact, political, regulatory and economic uncertainty makes finding the right balance increasingly difficult for shippers and magnifies risk throughout supply chains.
The economic slowdown that helped create excess truck capacity and high inventories in 2015 didn’t eliminate systemic problems caused by congestion at ports and rail intermodal yards, an aging truck fleet and driver pool, but it delayed a “capacity crunch” that once seemed imminent. In 2016, shippers wonder if pressures on capacity and truck pricing and U.S. distribution networks will be renewed in 2017 as regulatory constraints tighten and the economy expands.
As 2016 nears the midterm, multiple issues are keeping shippers and their transportation and logistics service providers from finding the right footing and striking a balance as they race toward 2017. Among them are:
• Tighter warehousing capacity
• Ever-larger container ships
• The changing demands of e-commerce customers and major vendors such as Amazon.com
• Chronic labor shortages
• A growing list of federal rules and mandates
The situation requires a fresh appraisal of how and where shippers do business, and deploy rapidly evolving technology that enables more effective decisions. Shippers urgently need alternatives to traditional distribution and warehousing strategies, modal choices and business relationships as unpredictable challenges put pressure on their supply chains. In short, shippers need ingenious solutions to intractable problems. Continuous innovation and cooperation — ideals that will be front-and-center at the Inland Distribution Conference — can deliver them.
|• What does the trucking and intermodal landscape look like in terms of supply-demand, carrier financials and freight rates?|
ELDS: THE NEXT BIG THREAT TO TRUCKING AND ITS CUSTOMERS
|• With a December 2017 deadline looming for all trucks to have onboard electronic logging devices, what threats do shippers face and how should they overcome them?|
TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
|• What opportunities do shippers have to reduce costs through advances in technology related to booking, documentation and cargo visibility?|
THE E-COMMERCE REVOLUTION
|• The explosion in e-commerce and Amazon’s emergence as a transportation juggernaut are transforming supply chains as we know them. How are shippers and transportation providers adjusting to this new reality?|
|• It’s been a five-year test of wills as shippers and transportation providers adjust to a new model around chassis ownership and deployment. But a slew of new solutions are either available or on the way. Will they finally alleviate the chassis pain shippers are feeling on the coast and inland?|
CASE STUDIES AND WORKSHOPS
|• What best practices and solutions are shippers and other transportation interests employing to resolve today’s supply chain challenges?|