Each week we recap the hot topics in freight and compile them into one place so you can easily stay up to date on the industry. Check back each Monday and start your week off in the know. TRANSFLO & GO!

A BOPIS Bonanza

Cyber Monday shopping is expected to hit a record $9.4 billion in sales this year, a 19% jump compared to 2018, according to Adobe Analytics’ Holiday Forecast 2019, which analyzed data on trillions of visits, products, and transactions from U.S. retail websites.

With just 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, shoppers face a compressed calendar for ordering and receiving goods.

One way to relieve the pressure? BOPIS.

“Buy Online – Pick Up In Store” will be more popular this year than ever before, reports Adobe.

– 37% of consumers say they plan to use BOPIS this season

– Retailers expect 39% more BOPIS orders this year compared to 2018​

– 82% of BOPIS patrons say they will likely shop for other items when they pick up their online order

– Retailers expect BOPIS revenue to double in the week before Christmas as shoppers rush to complete their gift lists

– Consumers see BOPIS as a way to combat “porch pirates,” a term used to describe the theft of packages from people’s porches and apartment buildings

However, BOPIS only works if retailers can give customers a seamless pick-up experience, writes Georgianna Oliver, founder of Package Concierge.

“Many retailers are meeting the expectation of availability within two hours for items in stock,” she says. “Retailers must make their BOPIS process convenient and quick. Standing in line to retrieve an order is a satisfaction killer.”


Parcel Pickup

One of the great holiday traditions in the freight industry is the flurry of shipping-season forecasts from FedEx, UPS, and other package carriers not named Santa:

– FedEx expects to move more than 33 million packages through its global network on Cyber Monday alone. The company will also more than double its average daily package volume on the two Mondays that follow, Dec. 9 and Dec. 16, as shoppers place online orders during those weekends.

– UPS is forecasting a 5% bump in the number of items it delivers this holiday season compared to 2018. The company is prepared for the rush: UPS increased its automated sortation capacity by nearly 400,000 packages per hour this year and opened six new super-hubs across the country.

– 56% of consumers asked during the first week of November had already begun their holiday shopping, according to the National Retail Federation. On average, consumers had completed 24% of their shopping at that time, the highest level in the history of the survey.

– It’s shaping up to be an unfulfilling holiday freight season for trucking companies and rail carriers, with intermodal volumes down and spot truckload rates underwhelming, writes Ari Ashe at JOC.com (subscription required). Contract rates are softening as well: “My company is running a network-wide [request for proposal] for implementation Jan. 1, 2020, and we are seeing rate reductions from almost every carrier,” one shipper told Morgan Stanley in its biweekly Truckload Sentiment Survey.


U.S. DOT Wants Input on Emerging Technologies

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation is looking for public comments on the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation (NETT) Council, which was established earlier this year to help the DOT resolve regulatory gaps that may impede the deployment of new technology in transportation.

Specifically, DOT wants comments on laws, regulations, unnecessary costs, or performance requirements. Any submissions should refer to Docket No. DOT-OST-2019-0165. Comments are requested by Jan. 10, 2020.


Rolling the Dice on Truck Parking

Truck parking is a gamble in most cities, but that’s literally the case in Illinois.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Food N Fuel is proposing a new location in Tinley Park, Ill., near I-80, with up to 10 video gambling machines. However, facilities that don’t meet the state’s legal definition of a truck stop are capped at six terminals.

The Illinois Gaming Board defines a truck stop as a business within three miles of a highway interchange, be on a site of at least three acres, and sell more than 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel, or a diesel equivalent, each month.

The Food N Fuel would have 18 vehicle-fueling stations and four truck fueling stations along with a 9,100-square-foot convenience store, according to the proposal. Four video gambling machines in exchange for three acres with fuel and truck parking in Chicago? All in.

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