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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- April 13 2023


Supply Chain by the Numbers for April 13, 2023


Amazon Charging Small Fee for some Returns; Port Delays Way Down from 2022; IMF with Dour 2023 Growth Forecast; Growing Levels of Double-Brokering Freight Fraud



That is the new cost to return an Amazon purchase to a UPS store in some circumstances, modestly up from no charge previously, as was reported this week. But the new fee is only assessed when a customer does an Amazon returns at UPS locations that are equally far or farther than a no-charge option available to them, such as a Kohl’s store. Companies including Amazon are looking to reduce the punishing costs of returns, which are at rate of about 16.5% for on-line purchases. Most interesting to us: once some cost for returns is put in place, will it lead to higher fees and in more circumstances over time? The answer to that question would seem to answer itself.



That is the latest average time in days or dwell time for ships to unload at the Port of Los Angeles, which consistently has one of the highest waits, according to fresh analysis from supply chain visibility software and analytics company project44. This marks a 2.5-day improvement over the recent peak in March 2022 of 5.9 days and a 20% decrease from February 2023. Dwell time also decreased notably at the Port of Long Beach, which peaked in July 2022 at 6.2 days and has seen a 60% decrease since then, at 2.5 days for March 2023. All this of course being good news for importers. But part of that improvement comes from many shippers opting to use the Port of New York and New Jersey instead of West Coast ports due to huge delays seen in 2022. For example, the Port of Houston has seen a steady decrease in import dwell since January , with March 2023 being its lowest month at 2.5 days. This is a 54% decrease from the 5.4 days seen in January 2022.




That is the expected level of global GDP growth for 2023, according to a revised forecast this week from the International Monetary Fund, down a bit from the previous estimate. The IMF expectations for growth for 2024 was also reduced to 3.0%. The report cited the tight policy stances needed to bring down inflation, the fallout from the recent deterioration in financial conditions, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and growing geoeconomic fragmentation as factors in the slow growth. In not good news, the IMF sees the United States economy expanding by just 1.6% this year.




That was the increase in Q4 2022 and Q1 2023 in complaints about so-called “double brokering” seen by Truckstop, a freight load board provider. Don’t know what double-brokering is? Neither did we. It involves a carrier accepting a load and then illegally re-brokering it to another carrier. There are two main types: In one, legitimate carriers accept loads but don’t have capacity, so they double-broker it even though they don’t have authority. With fraudulent double-brokering, someone contracts with what they think is a legitimate motor carrier that then re-brokers the load. When another carrier accepts the load expecting payment, it later finds the check nowhere to be found. The industry’s Transport Topics web site reported this week that the process is “costing brokers and carriers millions of dollars, and hurting legitimate businesses.”

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