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Logistics trends and challenges discussed at industry summit


Toronto, ON – It’s a triple threat, but not in a good way. The Canadian transportation market is in a state of chaos, uncertainty and unpredictability due to a myriad of factors, making it almost impossible to plan ahead.

“There are a lot of weak links in the supply chain right now,” said industry veteran Mike McCarron, president of Left Lane Associates, and keynote speaker at Transplace’s Canadian Customer Appreciation Summit, held in Toronto July 24.

“Win-lose carrier-shipper relationships are over. Everyone has to win,” he told the audience, adding that transparency on both sides will be key in helping firms “predict the chaos.”

The event brought together Canadian shippers and Transplace executives to examine current logistics industry trends and challenges. Transplace is North America’s largest transportation management provider and has over $9 billion of freight under management.

“With recent discussions surrounding the North America trade agreement, the implementation of the Canadian ELD rule slated to take effect in 2021, and advanced technologies impacting operations, it is important that shippers in Canada and those who cross Canadian borders have reliable supply chains solutions that equip them for the ever-changing market,” said Frank McGuigan, CEO of Transplace.

Jeff Thomas, Transplace’s senior vice president of capacity services, highlighted visibility as one of the most important areas the company is currently invested in, including a new partnership with Canadian company Descartes.

Transplace announced it will provide real-time visibility as a standard feature, without any extra transaction or integration fee, for all of its managed transportation services and Transportation Management System (TMS) customers, by leveraging Descartes MacroPoint as its real-time visibility partner. Transplace said it will first roll out the solution for truckload (TL) shipments in the U.S. and Canada by January 2020, and will expand the offering to Mexico and other geographies, as well as other modes in the future.

Offering clients solutions is being enhanced by that visibility said Thomas. “Our Global Control Tower, allows visibility across all modes for our shippers, allowing them to consolidate everything that’s going on with transportation in their world into a dashboard view and along with our investments in AI and machine learning to better harness the power of our network.

“We have a large network of shipments and spend flowing through our TMS, looking at each client supply chain individually and in aggregate, and exposing the trends and offering solutions that span across multiple clients.

For instance, from a carrier side, Thomas said that Transplace has over 200 active transportation management companies that they do business with. “The ability to contract with Transplace and work across multiple clients … lowers administrative costs for the carrier while providing greater opportunities.”

Relationships are still core to the industry, Thomas said, echoing McCarron’s advice.

Technology is definitely making the world smaller and more accessible for everyone, but we believe relationships are behind connectivity and ease of access. The core principals of treating the shipper, the carrier and the third party as equal partners in a transaction is still key, and driving mutual benefit for all is still key, so we play an important role in matching shipper [freight] to carrier capacity. Technology definitely makes that easier, but it still requires relationship management and trust.”


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