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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Aug. 31 , 2023


Supply Chain by the Numbers for Aug. 31, 2023


LTL Carriers Scramble for Yellow's Freight; Amazon Raises Non-Prime Minimum; Delays at Panama Canal; Apple Embracing 3D Printing



That is the share of the US LTL freight market that was carried by now bankrupt trucker Yellow. That could mean good times for other carriers as they move to capture Yellow’s volumes. And with Yellow clearly falling apart in July, the numbers appear to say the moves have already started. ArcBest experienced a 10% year-over-year increase in its core LTL shipments per day in late July. Old Dominion Freight Line reported that shipments incrementally increased by 3,000 to a total of 50,000 in late July. Saia reported shipments in July were up about 5% year-over-year, while tonnage had risen 2.5%. XPO reported that tonnage growth intensified throughout the month of July. All this would seem to indicate the market can easily absorb the loss of Yellow’s capacity.



That is how many cargo ships were waiting in queues on both sides of the Panama Canal this week, versus the less than 90 the canal has set as a target. What’s more, the wait time for vessels lacking a booking appointment to pass through the canal has increased from an average of 2.5 days to approximately 9.5 days. What’s happening? A historic drought continues to reduce the number and size of freight ships passing through the Panama Canal, according to freight visibility provider project44 this week. Without enough fresh water to operate its locks at standard pace, capacity has been reduced from 36 vessels per day transiting the canal to 32, while the underwater draft maximum has been lowered from the usual allowance of 50 feet to 44 feet. The canal notes that it typically gives priority to container ships over bulk carriers, and serves ships with appointments before those without.




That is the new minimum purchase price for some non-Prime member’s to receive free shipping, though apparently the roll out of the higher pricing (from $25) is being slowly implemented or perhaps tested. Prime members of course always get free two-day shipping and often faster, including same day, for their $139 annual Prime membership. The Amazon minimum for non-Prime has been $25 since 2017. The price actually started at $25 before Amazon raised it to $35 in 2013, then raised it again to $49 in 2016, when it began gradually reducing it to $35 and, finally $25 for the last six years.




That’s how many years Apple has apparently been researching use of 3D printing for some of its frames on the new Apple watch. That technique would replace the frames made using stainless steel and using what is called forging, which starts by forming bricks of material into smaller blocks of metal close to the size of the device. A computer numerical control (CNC) machine is then used to cut into the metal and create the exact design and button holes. That process wastes lot of metal. The printing of the frames using a metallic powder is more material efficient. The new frames will go in some of the Apple Watch Series 9 units, which are set to be unveiled on Sept. 12. The cost per watch case with the new process is close to that of the forging approach, Apple says.

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