Bullwhip Logistics News s3e1

(To read this the way it was meant to be read, click here to view it on the site. If you\’re already on the site: enjoy!)

2018 was a year that happened. This is a review of some of that year. For Bullwhip, there were connections made, partnerships explored, events attended, new business brought on, lessons learned, and fun had! First, Bullwhip\’s year in review. The chunk in the middle is trucking, logistics, and commerce review (feel free to skip past if you\’re not into that!). Last is a sum up of where Bullwhip is going for 2019, and well-wishes. Links to content and cute buttons are throughout to help inform, share content, and sign up for more. Enjoy!

Bullwhip\’s Year in Review

  • Evaluated Logistics and Brokering Agencies, became Business Owner/Agent with SPI Logistics
  • Affiliated and subsequently partnered with eShipper; expanded value proposition for small business
  • Tripled existing customer base
  • Received excellent recommendations and referrals
  • Proposals for several ongoing and term freight projects
  • Reworked website and social media
  • Participated in several business events, seminars, freight certification and training
  • Met local & int\’l entrepreneurs/leaders (ie: GoOil.ca, The Joint, Mexico\’s Canadian Ambassador, etc..)
  • Joined the CITT\’s Manitoba Council
  • Appeared as guest on Evotalks podcast (as yet unreleased), wrote several industry-relevant articles
  • Evolved and crystallized Bullwhip\’s mission, added an autobiography to the site

Transportation and Logistics Overview

The industry is a little short on drivers


There is more credit and satisfaction in being a first-rate truck driver than a tenth-rate executive.

B.C. Forbes

2018 was a record year in truck transportation. Numbers from DAT show spot market rates (cost), and load-to-truck ratios (trucking capacity) both at all time highs. Contributing to the higher rates (up to 28% YoY), and low availability: new regulations (ELDs), a robust economy (USA especially), truck driver shortage, and high diesel costs. As of January 2019, the market has cooled a little (as it does, after the winter holidays), but remains strong. US trade policies caused a pre-tariff surge of overseas imports in 2018, followed by a post-tariff slump, affecting the flow of goods and traffic. Intermodal freight took a bite out of the truckload market, but is also expected to revert to near normal levels as fuel prices continue to fall, and capacity evens.

Stuff! Lots and lots of stuff.

Logsitics, 3PL, Warehousing and Such

As the pace of change accelerates, so do the challenges we face. However, the chances to solve them increase too.


The pace of change accelerates. New markets open; old ones close. Business chases sales and savings up and down value chains. Consumer preferences and taste change at the speed of social media. So, the logistics of supply chain, inventory, and distribution are constantly and rapidly changing. Some continuing trends through 2018:

  • A consumer driven, short cycle, increasingly global economy demands expert, responsive, and cost effective logistics operation.
  • Data instantatly available, in massive amounts. Converting data into accurate, timely, and actionable information is crucial. 3PLs\’ roles in handling information management has increasingly expanded (17% to 27% YoY), and is trending more to partnerships than simple vendor-client models.
  • Outsourcing: Shippers are increasingly engaging 3PLs to handle non-core business. Warehousing/packaging/ distribution/returns, transportation (scheduling/management), visibility/information management/ processing (EDI/data, internal/external web portals, customer orders).
  • Blockchain: It\’s so hot right now! While many challenges with large-scale blockchain implementation exist, it has game-changing potential and continues to evolve. Check out IBM-Maersk\’s TradeLens and IBM-Walmart (et al) food-safety related blockchain initiatives here.
  • Last mile/omnichanel/home deliveries are offered because they are desired. Or is it the other way around? Either way, consumer buying trends are radically changing logistics. For a more in-depth look, check out TORRENT of STUFF: The Last-Mile Transportation Future ©.
  • Visibility. Another hot word that needs mention, and fits into all the above topics.

Big Deals, Huge Deals, and Trade Deals

Globalization is a fact, because of technology, because of an integrated global supply chain, because of changes in transportation. And we\’re not going to be able to build a wall around that.

Barack Obama



Though it\’s still to be ratified and won\’t be in effect until later this year, the deal was done and most North Americans can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Here are some key points for Canadian business:

  • De minimis: Canada\’s raised from $20 to $150 (duties) & $40 (taxes). USA\’s is $800. This encourages cross border sales (particularly e-commerce) to both countries.
    This EDC article by Imtiaz Kermalli explains de minimis for Canadian import/export best.
  • Gradually increased access to Canadian market for US dairy industry.
  • NAFTA Certificate of Origin requirement rescinded. Importers can now provide this.
  • Canadian steel and aluminum threaten US national security; still subject to 25 and 10% tariffs, respectively.
  • 2018 trade between US and Mexico: $385B.
  • 2018 trade between US and Canada: $335B.



The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • CPTPP is currently in effect in 7 of the 11 countries: remaining 4 expected this year. 99% of exports to member countries are exempt from duties.
  • 13.5% of world GDP (3rd largest free trade agreement by GDP), and access to 495 million people
  • 99% of goods exported to signatory countries will be duty and tariff free
  • Currently in force: Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam
  • Pending ratification: Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, Peru

The best summary article I’ve read on trade and legal issues for 2018: Osler’s year in review 2018

Bullwhip\’s Year Ahead

As for Bullwhip, 2019 will be a busy year. The focus will be as the mission: partner with growing small and medium sized businesses to streamline their logistics- reducing cost and distraction, so they can focus on their core strengths and achieving their targets.

Initial evaluation of logistics/purchasing costs, warehousing/packaging/distribution, importing/exporting, and e-commerce are free of charge, as well as anytime Q&A/professional referrals. Building these relationships beyond single transactions is the goal, where both parties are a good fit and find value.

There are networking events (Mexico, you say?), consulting, and a couple of logistics projects and startups in the early stages. To help with this, Bullwhip will be partnering with service providers and doing some outsourcing in a few key areas as upgrades are planned for the website, sales/marketing, and projects.


Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I liked summing up this exciting year! If you\’d like to see more specific content covered in articles, the blog, or have other suggestions, please feel free to contact me. And as always, if you feel someone could benefit from Bullwhip\’s content or services, please pay the highest compliment and share on social media (buttons at the top of the sidebar), or forward it on!

Wishing you all the best in 2019,
Philip Redekopp, CCLP