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Source: FedEx / / January 12th, 2018

FedEx Express experienced substantial flight and sort disruptions at the Memphis and Indianapolis hubs last night due to severe winter storm. Potential delays are possible for package deliveries across the U.S. with a delivery commitment of January 12, 2018. FedEx is committed to provide service to the best of our ability. Please continue to check for updates. - 24/7 Support including Chat
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Source: FedEx / / January 11th, 2018

The mudslides are causing hazardous conditions in California. Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our team members, as well as providing the highest level of service to our customers. Although contingency plans are in place, some service delays and disruptions can be anticipated for inbound and outbound shipments in the impacted areas. FedEx is committed to providing service to the best of our ability in areas that can be safely accessed. 

Note that some isolated areas remain inaccessible and there may be on-going service delays due to local conditions.

Shipping to affected areas?
To help avoid delays, we encourage you to contact your recipients to verify whether their location is open or able to receive deliveries.

Note that potential service disruptions may not affect FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, FedEx Office, etc. the same.  This may result in different levels of impact as well as cities, states and ZIP Codes serviced.

Continue to check for service updates. For specific shipment status information, please track your shipment at You can also contact FedEx Customer Service at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339 or stay up to date by subscribing to FedEx Service Alert email notifications at the FedEx Email Subscription Center. Consistent with the provisions of the FedEx Service Guide, shipments delayed due to the disruption(s) are not eligible for a refund or credit under the money-back guarantee policy. - 24/7 Support including Chat
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By Jeff Berman / / January 8th, 2018

With winter weather conditions harsh and another big storm hitting yesterday in various pockets of the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States, myriad motor carriers are gearing up for the most recent batch of bad weather.

While the year may be new, it stands to reason that approaches to handling freight and keeping operations on schedule and efficient is really an age-old practice in many ways.

Pittsburgh-based Pitt Ohio, a provider of less-than-truckload, truckload, supply chain, and ground services, can be viewed as an innovator of sorts, when it comes to handling heavy snowfalls and deep freezes through its more than 1,250 heated trailers spread out among its Pitt Ohio, Dohrn Transfer, and the U.S. Special Delivery groups, which it has invested in over the last three years.

Having done a fair share of business in the chemical and coating sectors, one thing that has been apparent at the company is seeing customers shift to more sustainable processes, through the replacement of things like oil-based products to water-based products, according to Pitt Ohio Chief Marketing Officer and EVP Geoffrey Muessig.

“The byproduct of that is these products are more temperature-sensitive than they used to be,” he said. “With specialty products and formulations, there is a need to keep them from freezing. In the past, we have experimented with heated pads and blankets. While they were operationally successful, the challenges were more from a distribution standpoint, as it adds a lot of extra costs and time at the warehouse. You have to back strip the pallets to take the pads down and then load the boxes on top of the pallet and then wrap the blanket around it. That’s time-consuming.”

After listening to customers, Muessig said Pitt Ohio made a significant investment in heated trailers, which he said its driving business its way. While many of its customers are embargoing shipments, he said Pitt Ohio has picked them up and is seeking to move as many as it can overnight.

“When the roads are impassable, we will keep shipments on the heated trailers or move them into warm rooms at our terminals, but we will protect the freight and move as much as we can, as per our normal service standards,” he said.

“From a customer’s perspective, they want us to minimize disruptions to their supply chain. Their customers don’t want to hear about the bad weather and not being able to get shipments this week; that does not really work. They want to do it in a cost-effective way and don’t want to be shipping four pallets on a heated trailer with a truckload provider, which is hard to justify from a cost standpoint. This is what some shippers have been forced to do in dire situations when it has been cold in the past.”

Muessig said that Pitt Ohio is particularly focused on various areas for its heated trailers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, the entire Pitt Ohio core area, and into New England and Canada through its business partners.

Visit: PITT OHIO’s Protect From Freezing Service, Heat Track

For national LTL carrier Old Dominion Freight Line (ODFL), the company’s VP of Transportation Hugh Morris called the company’s approach to winter weather complicated but simplistic in nature.

“We do use blankets to wrap around a pallet. As long as the blankets are above freezing, it will keep the temperature of the pallet at that time intact for close to 48 hours,” he said.

“We also have the standard old fashioned propane heaters that were made for trucking companies years ago that we can also utilize. The only problem we have typically is that if it gets below 18 degrees there is not much we can do to protect it.”

But he noted that ODFL has a 30-hour temperature forecasting model, which helps to determine what is the window of opportunity on freezable shipments in terms of being able to get them from point A to point B, where shipments can be protected in the event the temperature falls below 18 degrees.

Geoffrey Muessig, CMO and Executive Vice President at Pitt Ohio
“Pitt Ohio has made a significant investment in heated trailers, which is driving business its way.”Geoffrey Muessig, Chief Marketing Officer & Executive Vice President, Pitt Ohio

“If there was a shipment going from Portland, Maine to Seattle, your natural connection is going to be over Chicago, and if you look from Chicago over across to, say, Minneapolis, Fargo, Billings, Spokane, or into Seattle, the temperature is going to be below 18 degrees and for how long, and we can make the call on when a shipment moves to those connecting points and if we have to hold it in a worst case scenario if there is no window of opportunity, we will hold it in what we call a warm room, which is a refrigerated unit with a ‘warm’ option,” he explained.

“When push comes to shove, our last line of defense for, say, a shipment from Portland, Maine to Seattle, could be run down to Dallas and into southern California and then up the I-5 corridor, because there was no window of opportunity basically anywhere north of I-40 that was going to be above 18 degrees long enough to get the shipment there safely.”

While ODFL would not typically issue a full-blown embargo, Morris said it would communicate to the customer that there are options to either hold a shipment and move it in a couple of days or, alternatively, to take it and keep it moving as best as it can, with a few extra days above the normal surface transit time.

From an operational perspective in times of harsh weather, Morris said that ODFL’s service center managers at its facilities are essentially the boots on the ground.

“The technology today makes it a lot easier, as we can basically pull up any DOT (Department of Transportation) camera across the domestic U.S. and see live traffic and what is going on where our are trucks are going,” he said. “We did not have that option a few years ago, and we relied on the National Weather Service or drivers calling in and providing updates. Most of our drivers run at night between 8-9 and are usually back in the next morning between 7-9.”

As for what ODFL’s plans were for running in weather-impacted areas in storm hit parts of the U.S. today, Morris said the company would look at is forecasting model to determine which trucks are safe to leave and run and what time they would need to leave and get them back before the storm hits.

And he added that exercise is a little easier in the Northeast, because the harsh weather is more commonplace, as compared to down south, where people are not used to driving in the elements.

“A quarter-inch of ice in Atlanta can leave 6 million people stranded,” he said. “Ultimately, it is the drivers’ call when it comes to this kind of weather. If they want to run, we will try to adjust where they can get out and when they can get back. If it does not look like they would not get back in time and they may choose not to run, then they won’t run. It is strictly their call when it comes to weather.” - 24/7 Support including Chat
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By 24/7 Staff / / January 3rd, 2018

In December, more than 1 million returns occurred each day before Christmas,
and today's National Returns Day, 1.4 million returns are expected,
a fifth consecutive annual record, up 8% from prior year.

“While the day after Christmas used to be reserved for long return lines at department stores, the growth of e-commerce has changed when and how consumers return gifts,” said Alan Gershenhorn, Chief Commercial Officer.

“A customer-friendly returns program is now an essential part of any successful e-commerce program, and UPS continues to expand its suite of innovative solutions to help shippers. This season, UPS added Returns Manager, a free platform that allows e-commerce merchants to customize return shipments according to their e-tailer policy.”

In December 2017, consumers shipped more than 1 million returns packages to retailers daily, a pace expected to last into early January 2018.

On UPS National Returns Day, predicted to be Jan. 3, the count is expected to peak at 1.4 million packages, up 8% from a year ago and marking a fifth-consecutive yearly record.

The returns delivered in 2017 are part of the 750 million packages UPS is projected to deliver between Thanksgiving and New Year Eve, a nearly 40 million increase from last year.

According to the 2017 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper™ study, 75% of consumers have shipped returns back to the retailer, an increase of seven points from 2016. Also:

  • 79% of those surveyed said free shipping on returns is important when selecting an online retailer;
  • 44% said the top issue encountered when returning an item online is paying for return shipping;
  • Top elements also include an easy-to-return online experience and a no-questions-asked policy.

As a result, many businesses have added or expanded returns offerings.

“A simple and speedy experience should be part of the retailer’s toolkit to help increase customer loyalty while managing the cost of processing these returns,” added Gershenhorn.

UPS offers a portfolio of technology-driven returns services that help retailers deliver a premium experience.”
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FedEx Service Alert - Eastern US Storm
03 January 2018 03:48 PM
Source: FedEx / / January 3rd, 2017

FedEx is closely monitoring the winter storm in the Eastern U.S. Our contingency plans are in place and, as always, our priorities are the safety and well-being of our team members and minimizing the effects of potential storms on service. These storms often cause pickup and delivery delays and disruptions for FedEx customers. FedEx will be prepared to provide service to the best of our ability in areas affected by the storm and as local conditions allow. - 24/7 Support including Chat
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Happy New Year from Ship Watchers
29 December 2017 03:14 PM

We would like to wish everyone a "Happy New Year!" and to send our best during your travels and time spent with loved ones!  Ship Watchers' main offices will be closed on Friday, December 29th at 4:00pm EST through January 1st 2018, in order to give our staff time to enjoy their Holiday.

Please note that 24/7 Support including Chat will continue to be available and there will not be an interruption in our normal weekly auditing process.

We are "Thankful" for another great year of savings and new developments with our clients and look forward to connecting with everyone in the New Year! - 24/7 Support including Chat
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