Key Notes – Volume 04 Number 41

Significant Freight Rate Increases – Trucking industry reports indicate capacity continues to tighten, and significant freight rate increases are expected in the coming months.  Recent hurricanes, the pending electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, and an uptick in overall freight demand has “unquestionably” given trucking fleets the upper hand in 2018 negotiations, according to a report from analyst Jason Seidl of Cowen and Co.  The report said private fleets and third-party logistics (3PL) firms are “as bullish as we’ve ever heard,” with rate increases possibly reaching 15%.  On the less-than-truckload side, volumes have been “up significantly” with some truckload overflow freight, industrial sector strength, and continued growth in the e-commerce sector.  Source:  Fleet Owner

Why Paper Catalogs Still Matter – One of the catalog’s main advantages is also one of its most elemental qualities: It lands directly in a customer’s hands.  Even if it’s walked directly from mailbox to trash can, it still offers more time than marketers and creative staff spend with customers through direct emails, which can be deleted sight unseen.  The catalog can be touched, skimmed with minimal effort or eye strain and, perhaps most importantly, can be attractive in a way digital images aren’t.  Even younger consumers notice.  Millennials, for example, are only 15% likely to ignore direct mail, compared to 50% who say they ignore digital ads, according to a report from the U.S. Postal Service, which noted results from an experiment showing that physical marketing “triggered activity in a part of the brain that corresponds with value and desirability.”  Source:  Retail Dive

Continuing Problems for USPS – The financial outlook of the USPS continues to remain in dire straits, with mail volume continuing to see steady declines due to the ongoing diversion to electronic alternatives like e-mail, coupled with defaulting on around $40 billion in the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund (PSRHBF) and mandated certain obligations for paying the normal costs and prefunding of retiree health benefits, as per the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which was signed into law in 2006.  This situation has significantly hindered its financial position, which has led the USPS to call for “legislative and regulatory change.” USPS has repeatedly said that its long-term financial stability depends on the PRC establishing a new pricing system that enables the organization to generate sufficient revenues to cover its costs.  Source:  Logistics Management

Veritiv Logistic Solutions Named a Top 100 3PL – Veritiv Corporation (NYSE: VRTV) – a North American leader in business-to-business distribution solutions – has been named a Top 100 Third Party Logistics (3PL) Provider by Inbound Logistics, the leading trade publication targeted toward business logistics and supply chain managers.  “Inbound Logistics is proud to honor Veritiv Logistics Solutions for innovative solutions empowering logistics and supply chain excellence in 2017,” said Felecia Stratton, Editor, Inbound Logistics.  “Veritiv Logistics Solutions was selected because its solutions solve specific logistics challenges and improve processes, and create a ripple effect of efficiencies across the entire value chain.”  Source:  Veritiv

Self-Driving Mail Trucks – The U.S. Postal Service plans to put semiautonomous mail trucks into service in just seven years, and it seems to think it can pull off a shift away from human driving without shedding mail carrier jobs.  That’s all according to the postal service’s Office of the Inspector General, which oversees the agency and last week released a report on its plans to work autonomy into its 228,000-vehicle fleet.  Those plans are already in motion:  The post office has partnered with the University of Michigan to build what it’s calling an Autonomous Rural Delivery Vehicle, which it wants to launch on 28,000 rural routes nationwide as early as 2025.  Source:  Wired

‘Readers Digest’ Publishes First Digital-To-Print Issue – Reader’s Digest is publishing a unique issue this week, curating its most successful digital health content to create a special “Ultimate Health Guide” print issue.  “Based on research with these audiences, we believe there is a strong appetite for this information in a highly curated print-only edition,” stated Bruce Kelley, Chief Content Officer of Reader’s Digest, a Trusted Media Brands title.   Source:  MediaPost