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Today’s pickup: Standing out as a shipper of choice; underestimate Walmart at your own risk

Good day,

The “shipper of choice” designation is gaining cache. That’s a good thing because it means shippers are grasping the importance of working fairly and intelligently with their providers. But as Chris Jones, executive vice president at logistics provider Descartes Systems Group writes in Logistics Viewpoints, it presents a new challenge: How do you differentiate yourself in securing quality transportation capacity when everyone else is doing the same thing?

Did you know?:

California Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed $24 billion in across-the-board transport spending for the state’s 2019-20 fiscal year, a 6 percent increase.


“If any retailer will win any logistics race it will be Walmart. They have been doing this since day 1.”

Gene Detroyer, professor, international business, Guizhou University of Finance & Economics, quoted on RetailWire.

In other news:

B2B Logistics Platform 2.0

Platform-based business models will transform B2B supply chains in ways more profound than the emergence of third-party logistics providers a generation ago. (Harvard Business Review)

Freight brokerage made (somewhat) easy

Want to be a successful freight broker? Avoid these 10 missteps (Entrepreneur)

European logistics investor Delin enters Spain

Looking to ride the global e-commerce wave, Delin Capital Asset Management has made its first foray into the Spanish market with the acquisition of a development site. (IPE Real Assets)

Stellar growth in India

Warburg Pincus-backed third party logistics company Stellar Value Chain Solutions will set up 35 built-to-suit logistics parks in 21 Indian cities in the next four years. (Business Standard)

The drone on the track

Can a small fleet of drones assure the safety and reliability of railways and, at the same time, help railway operators save billions each year? (Thales Group)

Final thoughts

The perception is that Walmart is a retail fuddy-duddy with miles to go before it competes with for e-commerce fulfillment supremacy. What the perceptologists miss is that Walmart invented the modern supply chain, has spent decades honing it, and, while not perfect, is damn good at it. The contrast is most keenly seen in intermodal, a segment that will take on increased importance in the e-commerce delivery system. Walmart oversees an efficient intermodal operation because it has been doing it for years. Amazon, a relative newbie, wants to do more intermodal but its operation, according to several people familiar with it, needs an enormous amount of work. In fact, if it wasn’t for the efforts of Hub Group and J.B. Hunt, two of Amazon’s intermodal partners, Amazon’s intermodal business would do a face plant in 15 minutes.

Hammer down, everyone!

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes J.B. Hunt (No. 4) and Hub Group (No. 29).

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.