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Shipper Symposium 2015 – Day 3 Recap

Posted - May 7, 2015

Shipper Symposium 2015 – Day 3 Recap

The final day of the 13th annual Shipper Symposium certainly didn’t disappoint! Attendees got off to a bright and early start (with the help of some strong coffee!) as Frank McGuigan took the stage first to welcome everyone. He took a few minutes to recognize the Transplace Customer Advisory Board (CAB) members, thanking them for all of their years of great service and support, and presented an award to AutoZone recognizing and thanking this customer for 20 years of service. Frank then introduced CEO Tom Sanderson, who also brought Thomas Albrecht, CFA and Managing Director of BB&T Capital Markets, to the stage. Dubbing themselves “Tom and Thom in the Morning,” the duo discussed all things capacity related, including winning and losing transportation modes. A few key takeaways from their conversation included:

  • Capacity tightness is certainly coming. It’s important to take advantage of shifting truckload to intermodal as a way to deal with this. For example, east of the Rockies, there’s a huge amount of long-haul freight that could still be converted.
  • The driver shortage is still a problem. The driver population is getting older, and the job has become unappealing to younger workers, in part due to wages, which have gone down significantly in the last 40 years, and due to the difficult lifestyle.
  • Changes to the hours of service (HOS) have had a significant impact to many different segments of the industry (upwards of 8%), which is much greater than the “conventional wisdom” of only 3%.
  • The rate and growth of ecommerce is undeniable. Online retails sales are up 21%, and brick and mortar stores just aren’t what they used to be.

Closing keynote speaker, David Malpass, then took the main stage to discuss the current economy and the upcoming economic outlook. He noted that the economy is experiencing slow growth and thinks that this growth can be sustainable for a majority of the US economy. What could help the US economy? David suggested that if the Fed would raise rates, borrow more from the non-bank sector and pay back some of the banks owed from borrowing during the Great Recession, we could see a “kickstart” to the economy.

A very healthy Q&A session followed David’s talk, and attendees were ready to ask some hard economic questions. Questions for the economist spanned healthcare reform, the minimum wage, taxes and the federal debt. A big thanks to David for taking on all those tough questions with such eloquence!

And that’s a wrap on our 13th Shipper Symposium! A HUGE thank you to all of the attendees and speakers who have and continue to keep the transportation and logistics industry moving in the right direction. It was truly incredible to hear all of your great insights and see you engaging, sharing and learning throughout the entire event. We look forward to seeing you all next year at our 14th Annual Shipper Symposium taking place May 9th – 11th in beautiful San Antonio!

What was your favorite moment from this year’s Shipper Symposium?  What would you like to see more of next year?