Since we live and breath freight, we constantly come across information that’s critical for our customers – logistic providers, shippers and carriers. And as freight innovators ourselves, we love seeing more innovation.

So we’ve decided to share. Here’s our pick of last month’s news, especially where they plug into broader trends.

This is our personal take on logistics news trends. Looking for broader news or supply chain social media influencers? Check out our Top Logistics Providers.

Freight Rates News that rates for freight and logistics trends – October 2015

(Reader alert: This column features doom and gloom, zombies and the robot invasion.)

1. Freight index jitters

THE STORY

The Stifel Index is down. The Cass Index is down. And spot container rates sunk for third straight week. Seemingly all international freight indices are down.

THE BACKGROUND

Most articles on this are doom and gloom but some are more circumspect. Yes, the fall-offs are more than seasonality, and yes they are going downward. But you need to go to the source and assess trend analyses since each index began, especially comparing now with 2008.

OUR TAKE

How serious is this? Depends on your medium term view of China. We think that China has plenty of economic tools to keep it (and international trade) out of serious trouble.

2. Chinese economic structural reform

THE STORY

China to restructure/shut down some “zombie” industries.

THE BACKGROUND

Incoming President Xi Jinping showed his hand at the Third Plenum (Nov 2013) –  structural reform to reduce the state sector and boost the household sector. Rationale – the Chinese economy can’t keep forever expanding on developed world demand; the Chinese consumer is the next ‘best bet’. This announcement to reform long term loss-making enterprises shows that he means business.

OUR TAKE

This is good news for international freight forwarders.  Signals like this will help current market corrections from slipping into a tailspin (i.e. this is one of those economic tools we mentioned in our take on the Freight Index jitters story). And in the medium term, a more prosperous Chinese middle class will boost demand for imports.

3. Logistics providers consolidate

THE STORY

XPO buys Con-way, while Transplace buys M33 Integrated.

THE BACKGROUND

Recent mergers and acquisitions are big news for more than just the companies involved (and their competitors) as three recent articles explain. WSJ lays out the two companies contrasting strategies, (pros and cons of picking up assets). Transport Intelligence surmises XPO are looking for increased geographic reach, to tap into the lucrative freight brokerage, and to pick up fleet to hedge against truck driver shortages. TalkingLogistics picks up the theme of convergence, urging business model innovation.

4. Soaring container super-ships orders

THE STORY

Global box ship fleet tops 20 million TEUs.

THE BACKGROUND

Many angles to this. Increasing capacity seems a good sign for the growth of international trade. Those larger ships are also lower emitters. Is this a tactic in a carrier price war? Will this lead to port wars? But behind it all,  are carriers bringing orders forward to evade new UN regulations.

OUR TAKE

So next year’s super-ship orders will be down? If so, will the carrier price war argument still hold?

5. The robots are coming

THE STORY

Target plans to test robot workers at its upcoming concept store. Also, Logistics provider introduces robot butlers.

THE BACKGROUND

Last century’s science fiction – robots, drones, artificial intelligence –  is tomorrow’s workplace. Take a look at our list of top tech trends in logistics – more and more are becoming a reality.

6. A logistics startup changing global freight

THE STORY

Not to toot our own horn…but Freightos released a  beta version of an online spot quote freight marketplace  and raised another $14 million dollars in funding.

THE BACKGROUND

Freightos has been helping logistics providers automate sales internally for over three years. This announcement is all about making freight better for shippers. You can see more about this in Techcruch, Dow Jones and the WSJ.

But Freight Rates News loved this story the most!

THE STORY

A RUFF day when commercial airline pilot diverts a flight to save a dog.

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