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November 12 2018

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40 The Journal of Commerce | November 12 2018 www.joc.com Fast Freight: Managing Time Critical Shipments Special Report Shippers increasingly pushed to get goods to market fast, but price does come into play By Alan M. Field MORE AND MORE, shippers in both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer sectors are coming under pressure to make sure that their consumer goods — or in- dustrial components — arrive where they need to be when their buyers expect them to be there. Mission-critical transportation and logistics have been around for decades, long before the advent of e-commerce. There's always been a need to move high-value things quickly for projects such as clinical trials, fashion shows, private char- ters, or even just hopping onto a plane and hand-carrying something. noted Evan Armstrong, president of Armstrong & Associates, a logistics industry consultancy. But in a world where standard Amazon service is two-day, and more and more low-value shipments are moving "next day," "that's just tightening up the need for speed," Armstrong said. The pressures are felt not only in the air cargo sector, but also on the surface side, with limited US truck and intermodal capacity adding a premium on ex- pedited services, particularly during peak season. Despite all the headlines devoted to faster freight services, speed is not the only important variable for buyers in both the B-to-B and B-to-C segments. Although the word "fast" gets all the headlines, "consumers overwhelmingly prefer free rather than fast," noted Ryan Kelly, vice president of e-commerce at FedEx. Nevertheless, every year, the expectation about "free" is that "free" gets faster and faster. Thus, two-to-three-day click-to-delivery expectations are now the norm. A pick of products Nick Basford, vice president of global retail and e-commerce strat- egy at UPS, said the major impact It's (not all) about time

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