Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Oct. 8, 2015 -

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for Week of Oct. 8, 2015

Nicaraguan Contractor will Need Massive Cash to Build a Canal; ATA Quantifies Truck Driver Shortage; What Reshoring? US Trade Deficit with China Jumps Yet Again; What Shippers Think of 3PL IT


$70 Billion

That's about how much it will take to build the supposed Nicaraguan Canal that would compete with the soon to be expanded Panama Canal. That from an executive from the Panama Canal Authority, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. That is well above the announced estimate of more like $50 billion the Nicaraguan government has said will be required. A Chinese company called HKND Group has been given a 50-year commission to build and then manage the canal, which if built would run some 276 kilometers from the country's Pacific coast to its Atlantic side. The full passage way would include the use of existing Lake Nicaragua for more than 100 km of that distance. Does HNBC have any hope of raising that kind of money? Right now, no one has any idea. It has said it has "identified" $200 million in potential finding - a long, long way from $70 billion or even $50 billion.




That's how many truck driving jobs will go unfilled in 2015, according to a new study from the American Trucking Associations this week. Last year, the industry was short 38,000 drivers, according to the ATA, meaning that in just one year, the number is projected to increase by nearly 10,000 drivers. Industry growth and a retiring workforce threaten to increase the driver shortage to as high as 175,000 by 2024 if the current trend holds, the ATA says. That would have a huge impact on capacity versus demand, though SCDigest has seen estimates of even higher driver shortage predictions in the past. The ATA projects that over the next decade, the trucking industry will need to hire 890,000 new drivers or 89,000 drivers per year to meet demand, much of which will result from retirements of current drivers. Maybe driverless trucks will solve the problem in the end.


That is the percent of shippers that said they were satisfied with the IT capabilities of 3PLs, according to the annual 3PL Study, released as usual last week at the CSCMP conference in San Diego. The study, led for all 20 years of its existence by Dr. John Langley of Penn State University, has long tracked what it calls the "IT Gap," which it defines as the difference between the percent of shippers who believe 3PL IT capabilities are highly important (93% this year) versus the rating of those capabilities (again, 59% in this report). While that means a sizable 41% of shippers are unsatisfied with 3PL IT, the bright side of the data is that this number continues to fall over time. In 2002, just 27% of shippers were satisfied with 3PL IT, so much progress has actually been made, though the number is relatively flat over the past few years.


$34.9 Billion

That was the US trade deficit in goods with China in August, according to data released this week by the Census Bureau. That is the highest monthly total so far in 2015, up by more than $3 billion dollars from the previous monthly high in July, and brings the total for the year to an incredible $237 billion. For the month, the US exported a little over $9 billion in goods to China, and imported more than $44 billion worth. It looks that once again the trade deficit with China will set a new record, easily shattering the record set in 2014 of $343 billion. If there really is a reshoring wave, it is somehow hiding in the data.