Seeking to Close the Gender Equality Gap in Shipping and Logistics

American Shipper — Women still only occupy a paltry percentage of leadership jobs in the shipping and logistics industry, and it’s up to everyone involved to be part of the solution. The shipping and logistics industry is unique in many ways, but it is similar to many in that women are not given the same advancement opportunities as men. Workforce composition and pay inequality statistics make this fact perfectly obvious. But it’s in the stories of industry veterans that some of the details behind those statistics start to emerge. Company cultures that don’t foster career development for women. A lack of women in leadership positions to act as role models. Systemic, albeit often subconscious, prejudices against women. All those factors, and more, lead to situations where ambitious women are characterized as emotional and overbearing, rather than passionate and assertive, as their male colleagues might be seen in similar circumstances.

In recent conversations American Shipper had with a number of female veteran executives either currently or formerly involved in shipping and logistics, a number of patterns emerged. Tania Garcia, Senior Vice President of Marketing at American Global Logistics (AGL) said: “Your career is your responsibility and your responsibility only. The onus is on each of us, male or female, to seek the next step. I think it’s dangerous to blame a lack of movement on anyone else. If woman is in a company that does that, she should do everything in her power to get somewhere else.”

Garcia is somewhat of a newcomer to logistics, though she did spend time at UPS more than a decade ago before joining AGL in 2017. She said logistics isn’t all that different from other industries in terms of leadership equality. “My experience in logistics is that the most common frustration for women is not being taken seriously,” she said. “People underestimating women and their capability and intelligence. That sucks. But my experience is also that if you present yourself properly and do the work, the superficial part recedes and the intelligence takes precedence.”

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Shipping Alliances Add Calls, Services for 2018

Supply Chain Dive — For carrier alliances, expanding ports of call are a sign of progress in capturing greater market share. Expansion can also benefit the shippers, giving them more options and flexibility to manage their supply chains.

When it comes to negotiating rates, shippers have the upper hand, Jon Slangerup, Chairman and CEO of American Global Logistics told Supply Chain Dive. This will be the case “until the carriers effectively address the ongoing imbalance between container capacity and demand,” he said.

Despite the benefits of expanded services, shippers don’t always greet service additions with open arms. Contracts and rates must be readjusted as ports of call, vessels and slot arrangements shift. This is especially the case for smaller shippers, which tend to rely on freight forwarders.

“Larger BCOs negotiate directly with ocean carriers to secure the most favorable rates and services, and generally pay very close attention to the alliances and their competitive offerings,” Slangerup said. “Smaller BCOs generally rely on NVOCCs to provide competitive rates and value-added services based on freight forwarders’ agility and responsiveness to smaller shippers’ needs.”

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Creating a Successful Supply Chain in a Customer Experience-Focused World

Supply & Demand Chain Executive — In the “Age of the Customer,” it’s no surprise that nearly three-quarters of businesses say improving customer experience is their top priority. For organizations with complex shipping operations, the supply chain offers one of the best opportunities to impact customer satisfaction directly.

An effective supply chain can delight customers through timely service and clear communication, while late or inaccurate deliveries erode customer trust fast. As shippers seek to meet growing customer expectations, many are turning to process enhancements across the supply chain. In a recent retailer study, for example, 71 percent said they need to improve access to clear order, consumer and carrier data for shipments to deliver a quality customer experience.

With unpredictability lurking throughout the supply chain, getting goods to the right place at the right time also requires proactive, around-the-clock management. From capacity crunches to an unexpected call from regulators, shippers need deep supply chain expertise and careful attention to detail to find solutions that minimize impact to their own customers.

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AGL Named One of 2017’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in the Nation

12.19.17—Atlanta, GA: American Global Logistics (AGL) announced today that it has been named one of “2017’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in the Nation®” by the National Association of Business Resources. The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® program recognizes companies that deliver “exceptional human resource practices and an impressive commitment to their employees.”

Based in Atlanta, American Global Logistics is one of the fastest-growing and most respected international supply chain and logistics solutions companies in the world. AGL’s technology solutions extend beyond the walls of ocean, air, and domestic transportation services for customers across the globe.

“This great honor validates the culture of teamwork and innovation that we’ve endeavored to build at American Global Logistics,” said Jon Slangerup, Chairman and CEO, American Global Logistics. “We believe in a culture where all employees are empowered to continuously improve their knowledge and skillsets as we work together to provide powerful, purpose-built solutions for our customers.”

About American Global Logistics
Founded in 2007, American Global Logistics is a specialized supply chain software and services company that provides multi-modal transportation solutions, customs brokerage, compliance consultation, carrier allocation management, and advanced purchase order management to select customers. Its proprietary cloud-based technology provides real-time shipment visibility and forecasting, and an accountability-based customer service model allow customers to deliver a consistent experience to their end-users. AGL’s client base represents a broad range of industries including automotive, food, household goods and furniture, and represents some of the US’s largest importers and exporters. Please visit

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Talks Stall as Union, Terminal Operators Hit Roadblock Over Automation

Transport Topics — Contract talks between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance ended on Dec. 6 after a disagreement over automation at terminals, leaving negotiations at a standstill without future talks scheduled.

The collective bargaining agreement — known as the master contract — expires on Sept. 30, 2018. It covers 14,500 port workers on the East and Gulf coasts.

Automation on the East Coast doesn’t match the sophistication at Middle Harbor in Long Beach, Calif., or the technology employed in Europe and Asia. Under the current master contract, any workers displaced due to technology are supposed to be retrained for a new job or paid a guaranteed wage.

Jon Slangerup, chairman and CEO at American Global Logistics, told Transport Topics that the unions are understandably concerned about what automation means for the stevedores, but also points out that Orient Overseas Container Line and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union were able to reach a deal to cover Middle Harbor.

Slangerup was the Port of Long Beach’s executive director from 2014 to 2016. “You have to make it a win-win situation. In the case of Middle Harbor, the way that it evolved was quite brilliant. First, OOCL invited the union to Hong Kong to talk about automation. From the very beginning, the union had a chance to address its concerns and had input throughout the process,” he said.

Although the union worries that automation will slash the workforce, Slangerup said that at Middle Harbor, union labor still sit in the cabs of the ship-to-shore cranes and operate the backroom controls on the container yard equipment. He said the result was a net addition in jobs, not a loss.

“In my estimation, longshoremen love working at an automated facility because it’s safer, cleaner and more efficient. Some of the new jobs also pay better,” Slangerup said.

In a short statement, the USMX stated that the discussions with the union were “open and frank” and that it expects the talks to continue in the future, although no official dates were scheduled.

Slangerup said he remains hopeful that the two sides will negotiate a new contract, possibly looking to the West Coast to create a framework on the automation issue.

“It certainly would be very, very bad for our industry if these talks were to break down or cause slowdowns on either side,” Slangerup said.

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Survive the Holiday Air Capacity Crunch with Lead Time Planning

JOC — With the holiday shipping season in full swing, affordable air cargo space is at the top of many retailers’ wish lists.

Strong holiday sales and the rise of e-commerce mean shippers are moving more inventory to meet demand from digital and brick-and-mortar channels. The National Retail Federation forecasts a 3.6 to 4 percent uptick in year-over-year holiday spending for 2017, driven in part by Black Friday’s evolution from a one-day sale to a four-day event online and in stores.

To avoid the dreaded stockouts while meeting customer expectations for fast delivery and product variety, shippers are steadily consuming more air freight capacity. Not only do retailers use air services to ship time-sensitive inventory, such as small amounts of on-trend products for one-day sales, but air freight is increasingly being used to deliver e-commerce orders to customers. Air cargo demand rose 11.4 percent year over year in July 2017, nearly quadruple the 10-year average of 3.1 percent, according to the International Air Transport Association. Capacity is struggling to keep up with demand, growing only 3.7 percent in the same time frame. Air freight prices are responding accordingly, doubling from September to November alone, as the holidays continue to put pressure on prices and retailer budgets.

In the evolving omnichannel environment, getting products to the right place at the right time is a balancing act. Waiting too long to ship can force businesses to rely on expensive and scarce spot air capacity, and building up inventory reserves comes with its own costs and risks. E-commerce is prompting many supply chain managers to reexamine traditional just-in-time practices, where inventory arrives at the warehouse, is cross-docked, and sent on to the customer. Shipments now take multiple paths from production to final destination, sometimes bypassing the warehouse entirely, and companies such as Amazon are building massive logistics networks that are ingraining an “everything takes two days” mentality in customers.

Although many retailers believe minimizing lead time is the key to remaining competitive, lead time accuracy, not speed, is ultimately more important. Shaving days off transport often means shelling out for more expensive modes, such as air cargo. To plan effective supply chains, businesses need precise data on inventory needs, a solid understanding of the time it takes to move goods from production to retail, and standardized processes to do so efficiently.

By forecasting consumer demand dynamically throughout the year, retailers can determine required product types and quantities well before the first shoppers line up on Black Friday. Armed with that information, businesses are better equipped to build supply chains that can deliver. Here are two key areas that can help retailers improve lead time accuracy.

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Is Grocery E-commerce Just Hype, or a Supply Chain Disruptor?

Supply Chain Dive — Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods earlier this year was hailed as transformational for grocery supply chains. At last, the retail sector would transition to the digital age, and consumer habits would finally shift.

See, a number of companies have been trying to break into the grocery space with e-commerce for over a decade — with mixed success — as people seem to prefer in-store shopping in the U.S. But when the e-commerce giant bought Whole Foods, analyses revealed it also acquired a new strength in its supply chain and data analytics, which could lead to better service and success. At least, it should — but the problem with mixed-success initiatives is that it is hard to figure out why they are not catching on as easily. Perhaps, e-commerce and groceries are just a pipe dream. Or is that just wishful thinking for brick-and-mortar grocers?

Jon Slangerup, President and CEO, American Global Logistics, weighs in: “Although I really don’t like others picking my bananas, I realize that from all the delivery trucks in my neighborhood constantly delivering everything from food, prescriptions, restaurant meals and all other manner of consumer goods, I am probably in the minority.

In my view, anything that can be ordered online and quickly fulfilled, will be. At the same time, those like me who still prefer the store experience will continue to happily do so, while many others will continue to evolve into a hybrid model where they shop in stores to touch and feel before finding the best deal online for same-day or next-day delivery.

This hybrid approach to consumer buying is already in high gear, and it’s clearly disruptive to everyone in retail, including grocers, which may be the slowest to adapt. But clearly, those big, branded chain stores that are determined to survive are rapidly morphing into online retail experts, successfully selling the benefits of in-store customer experiences with the choice and efficiencies of online shopping.

For example, stores like RH (aka Restoration Hardware) have done an extraordinary job of making this transition, as has Home Depot, Lowe’s and many other big box retailers, all of which have both strong foot traffic and growing online sales. Likewise, traditional department stores are making big strides in appealing to their hybrid shoppers, like Saks, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus, the later just announcing its first profitable quarter in two years on the strength of its online turnaround. And of course, many of the mega shopping malls have effectively evolved into expansive commercial and entertainment complexes, which continue to thrive through their high-touch, customer experience focus.

It’s quite clear that the threat of Amazon’s online juggernaut is driving a disruptive and rapid, but an ultimately healthy, transition to the new consumer economy, albeit with a share of notable retail store failures. But this is Darwinian theory doing its thing, continually driving change.

Hopefully, the smaller boutique shops with strong back-room e-commerce engines will thrive, so shoppers like me still have someplace to go and smell the flowers.”

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Shell to Add Electric Vehicle Charging Option at European Gas Stations

Supply Chain Dive — Europe is sprinting ahead in the race for electric vehicle dominance.

Industry expert Jon Slangerup of American Global Logistics noted that “Germany and the Netherlands are leading the way with ongoing investments in green transportation.” BMW implements this with its plan to mass produce electric cars by 2020. Even hybrid engines could become available again for those unwilling to embrace technology just yet.

Therefore, Shell’s move to offer fast charging outlets at 100 stations across Europe is an exercise in early adoption. Preparing for what is clearly inevitable with industry-leading technology will boost the company’s visibility, earn driver loyalty, and require late bloomers to play catch-up in time to coincide with the wave of adoption soon to overtake the continent. Further, with the IONITY partnership, potential proprietary technology may be put in place that further delays other operators. With this action, Shell is gaining a big lead on future competition.

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Supply Chain Indicators to Watch This Black Friday

Supply Chain Dive — Black Friday is make-or-break for many retailers, but once the orders are placed and shelves are stocked, the attention tends to turn away from the supply chain.

But this season is a little different. Retailers are trying out new strategies to bring consumers in-store or onto their websites. Companies are partnering to ease delivery, fulfillment and in-store initiatives. Meanwhile, store managers are on the front-lines balancing inventory needs with customer experience.

“Traditionally, Black Friday was a one day thing. Over recent years however, retail has expanded Black Friday into a multi-day event beginning on Thanksgiving night and extending over the weekend into ‘Cyber Monday.’ This continued metamorphosis of Cyber Monday adds additional constraints to deliver product through two different channels, which requires consideration to diversify the planning around stocking models for both Brick and Mortar and e-Commerce outlets,” said Jon Slangerup, President and CEO, American Global Logistics.

“More inventory to fill the two channels means supply chain managers need better planning around the lead time to move products from production to retail. For example, getting minimal quantities of the current trends for a one-day sale has now expanded the size of the cargo to ensure timely transport. And when it comes to cargo, splitting inventory across two channels is steadily consuming the available air cargo capacity in the holiday shipping months. This is both increasing the air cargo rates and playing more to the advantage of organizations with an established channel for e-Commerce fulfillment.”

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What Is the Future of Sustainability in the Supply Chain?

Supply Chain Dive — Supply chain sustainability has been building up steam in recent years, as consumers become more environmentally conscious and look to corporations to do the same. Look at most multinational corporation’s web pages today, and you will find dozens of pages on how the company is also looking to make the world a better place. The initiatives stretch throughout the value chain, from packaging to transportation and waste management.

“There is significant evidence that points to the ongoing greening of the supply chain, primarily driven by technology. Cleaner ships, trains, planes and trucks combined with automation and cleantech introduced into cargo handling and warehousing operations are accelerating. And environmental policies at national and regional levels are driving investment and green compliance on a global scale,” said Jon Slangerup, Chairman and CEO at American Global Logistics.

“As examples, the recent announcement by the Long Beach/Los Angeles port complex adoption of their last joint Clean Air Action Plan commits a billion dollars to increased on-dock rail infrastructure that will dramatically cut local truck trips and road congestion. Meanwhile, the Chinese central government is mandating the cleanup or shutdown of industrial infrastructure, including the country’s major ports and manufacturing centers.

In Europe, Germany and the Netherlands are leading the way with ongoing investments in green transportation and automated ports, matched only by the progress at the LB/LA port complex. And not least, the headlong push into supply chain software solutions is eliminating efficiencies and congestion that directly reduces energy and fossil fuel consumption.

There are no signs that the push for environmental sustainability is slowing down.”

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