AAR reports increase in freight traffic week ending 23rd May
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported an increase in traffic for the week ending May 18, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads of 285,679 carloads, up 1.9 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 250,156 units, up 3.5 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. traffic for the week was 535,835 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.6 percent compared with the same week last year.
Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, led by petroleum and petroleum products, up 38 percent. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included grain, down 28.3 percent, and metallic ores and metals, down 7.1 percent.
For the first 20 weeks of 2013, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 5,530,177 carloads, down 1.7 percent from the same point last year, and 4,791,035 intermodal units, up 4.3 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 20 weeks of 2013 was 10,321,212 carloads and intermodal units, up 1 percent from last year.
Canadian railroads reported 79,397 carloads for the week, down 1.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 55,454 intermodal units, up 4.6 percent compared with 2012. For the first 20 weeks of 2013, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,574,792 carloads, up 1.8 percent from the same point last year, and 1,040,089 intermodal units, up 3.6 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported 16,087 carloads for the week, up 14.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 9,789 intermodal units, down 6 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 20 weeks of 2013 is 298,600 carloads, up 8.7 percent from the same point last year, and 182,213 intermodal units, down 0.1 percent from last year.
Combined North American rail volume for the 20 weeks of 2013 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 7,403,569 carloads, down 0.6 percent compared with the same point last year, and 6,013,337 trailers and containers, up 4 percent compared with last year.
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.