Today’s pickup: We need more guidance, not less; Walmart exec on driver productivity (or lack of it)

Good day,

Guidance is good, especially when it comes to navigating complex federal transportation policy. Memorandums, circulars, bulletins and letters that offer direction will often serve as the basis for enforcement, although they aren’t legally binding. The Trump administration is reviewing existing guidance documents to see what it could cut. However, it is getting pushback from airline, trucking and rail industries that want to keep and revise the guidance they’ve already received. The vast majority of 51 commenters asked for updates, modifications, revisions or even additional guidance, not to do away with what currently exists.

Did you know?:

That 42 percent of respondents to a JDA Software-Gartner survey said that “resistance to change” was the main impediment to logistics innovation.


“I have the best boss. His name is iPhone and he doesn’t get angry,” a rider for U.K. food delivery company Deliveroo commenting on the benefits of the “gig” economy.

In other news:

Drivers are shortchanged by inefficient routing, former Walmart logistics executive says

Chris Sultemier says that non-Walmart drivers operate only 60 percent of their legally allowed capacity because routing technology hasn’t advanced to where it needs to be. The typical non-Walmart driver is on the road just 6 out of the legally mandated 11 hours, he said. The typical Walmart driver puts in a bit more than 9 hours, he said. (MIT Sloan News)

Georgia forms freight and logistics commission

The chairs of the state’s two transportation committees will lead a new task force formed to look at ways to move freight more efficiently. They are Sen. Brandon Beach and Rep. Kevin Tanner, both Republicans. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

JD.Com expands logistics footprint

JD.Com, the Chinese online marketplace, has invested $55 million for a 10 percent stake in Jiangsu Xinning Modern Logistics. Xinning offers supply chain services for consumer electronics. Xinning said it also has a strategic partnership with JD Logistics to create a big data system to boost efficiency and cut costs. (TechCrunch)

Would naval logistics be up to the task in big-time combat?

A study finds the U.S. Navy’s current plans to recapitalize that logistics fleet are insufficient to support distributed operations in a high-end fight against China or Russia. The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments said the Navy needs to spend $47.8 billion over the next 30 years beyond what it has currently laid into its plans in order to build a logistics fleet that could refuel and resupply the Navy and Marine Corps in a fight. (USNI News)

Connecticut GOP lawmakers offer funding alternative to tolls

State Republicans announced late last week a five-step transportation plan that offers an alternative to the toll proposal supported by the governor and top Democrats. The plan includes dedicating $375 million annually in general obligation funds to transportation, and exploring the feasibility of public-private partnerships. (Connecticut NBC4)

Final thoughts:

President Trump pursues an absurdly false narrative that the Chinese are paying the cost of higher import tariffs and that the elevated levies are fattening the U.S. Treasury’s coffers. Either President Trump refuses to acknowledge his startling lack of depth, or it’s a cynical ploy based on a belief that his base would do the not-so-hard work of uncovering the facts. U.S. importers pay the higher levies, which they (or their brokers) then turn over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. China isn’t paying the freight, and any plumping of public finances is coming at the expense of U.S. companies, shareholders and, ultimately, consumers. Most Americans can get behind the administration’s efforts to punish Beijing for nearly two decades of bad acting on the global trade stage. Again, however, Trump’s verbal follies dilute the relevance of his actions.

Hammer down everyone!

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.