Table of Contents: April 2010

Truckers chafe at alternative fuel mandates
Alternative fuels may someday go mainstream, but truckers want to make the shift on their terms, not the government's.
Avoiding pitfalls when setting up packing stations Avoiding pitfalls when setting up packing stations
Setting up a packing station may sound straightforward. But there are actually a number of places to go wrong. Here's what to watch for.
Sound in a hurry: Owens & Minor's high-speed voice rollout
With just one year to convert 40 DC operations from RF to voice, medical supplier Owens & Minor decided its only chance lay in developing a completely bulletproof plan.
Detours of duty: interview with Dr. Stephen Rutner Detours of duty: interview with Dr. Stephen Rutner
In 2009, Dr. Stephen Rutner put his teaching career on hold for his second tour at the Port of Ash Shuaibah in Kuwait. Today, he's back in the classroom with tales from the war zone—in the most literal sense.
WERC/DC Velocity study: DC performance improved in 2009 despite downturn WERC/DC Velocity study: DC performance improved in 2009 despite downturn
Latest edition of "metrics" survey shows that even in the trough of a recession, distribution center and warehousing professionals continued to raise the bar on operating performance.

Big Picture: New data could reshape infrastructure debate
Forthcoming research could finally provide numbers to show how investment in roads and bridges would pay off for entire nation.
Fastlane: Top 10 logistics challenges for 2010 (and beyond)
Economists tell us the economy is improving, but the logistics/supply chain community will likely face challenges throughout the year. Here's what to watch for.
Basic Training: Basic Training: Oil prices change the calculus of offshoring
Sourcing decisions once were made largely on the basis of labor costs. Oil price volatility has changed all that.
Techwatch: Should you let your equipment do the walking?
"Goods to person" picking systems that deliver items to workers can boost pick rates as high as 1,000 lines per hour, say suppliers.
Outbound: It's time to kick the texting-while-driving habit
Those all-important text messages will still be on your phone when you get to your destination. So why put your life—and the lives of others—at risk?
Parcel carriers take top honors for service
Some of the biggest names in express shipping earn 2010 Stevie Awards for excellence in sales, customer service.
State DOTs turn to social media to get the word out
State transportation departments are increasingly using Twitter and Facebook to notify travelers of road closures and delays.
Engineers test skills in DC fire-protection design challenge
Foundation challenges specialists to devise system for extinguishing fire in "tough case" warehouse with no outside assistance.
Trio drives forklift across Great Britain for charity
Friends of cancer victim make 915-mile trip on Jungheinrich lift truck to raise money for research.
Trade policy expert gives uncensored take on what's going on in Washington
In address to global trade group, attorney provides lowdown on gridlock in Congress, Mexican trucker dispute, and long-overdue ACE system.
Hoffa seeks level "playing field" between FedEx, UPS
Teamsters leader calls on Congress to align labor rules governing the two transportation giants; vows to organize "100,000 FedEx workers" once that happens.
YRC shareholders OK issuance of 900 million new shares
Approvals clear way for company to proceed with sale of $70 million in bonds, but fears of value dilution send shares plunging.
Report: Heavy-duty truck orders down in January
Pre-ordering ahead of new 2010 EPA standards contributed to slow start, research firm says.
Freight does fine in latest round of "TIGER" infrastructure disbursements
Twenty-two of 51 transport projects chosen for DOT TIGER funding include a "strong freight component."
U.S. Chamber launches first-ever project to measure transport performance
Study by nation's biggest business trade group to quantify performance of nation's infrastructure and analyze impact on U.S. economy.
RedPrairie to be acquired by private equity firm; Descartes launches all-cash bid for Porthus
RedPrairie announces planned sale to New Mountain Capital. Meanwhile, Canada's Descartes makes offer for Belgium-based global trade management software specialist.
Commerce enlists UPS, Postal Service in bid to stimulate exports
Delivery companies to help Commerce Department with campaign to boost exporting by small and mid-sized businesses.
Intermodal rates seen firming in wake of new UP–CSX service offering
Analysts say new venture is part of intermodal re-pricing trend that will likely keep rates firm for several years.
ATA reports pickup in freight
Truck tonnage index rises in January to highest level since September 2008.
Dr. John Mentzer dies; was renowned supply chain educator, author
Dr. John T. (Tom) Mentzer, one of the nation's most prominent supply chain educators and authors, died Feb. 26 after a long illness.
CargoNet program promises to curb cargo theft
Initiative seeks to bring uniformity to historically chaotic process of sharing theft data among cargo owners, insurers, and law enforcement.
YRC's next challenge: pensions
After brush with bankruptcy, troubled trucker now faces $500 million in pension obligations to unionized employees.
Parcel sector lone bright spot in USPS's dismal 10-year outlook
Gains in package traffic won't be enough to offset decline in overall mail volumes, study says.
Ranking member of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee rules out highway re-authorization in 2010
John Mica tells industry conference that it will be 2011 before lawmakers act on highway program.
Chair of House Railroads Committee says she will not support Senate rail reform bill
Brown says Congress should not tamper with freight rail system.
LaHood seems ready to push for text ban on all motorists
U.S. Transportation Secretary wants to go on a "rampage" against distracted driving.
Oberstar proposes federal loan to fill highway funding gaps
Chairman of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee floats plan for $130 billion loan from general treasury to cover highway trust fund budget shortfall.
Teamsters ready to talk with ABF about wage, benefit concessions
Union says "contractual relief" may be warranted in light of trucker's worsening financial condition.
Weak LTL results mar otherwise solid quarter for FedEx
Package delivery giant shows gains in every segment but freight.
Highway programs extended until end of FY '11 with Obama's signing of jobs bill
Bill signed into law on March 18 maintains current highway spending through the end of the next fiscal year.
Bill to reform nation's multi-employer pension program introduced in Senate
Proposed legislation would provide relief for unionized truckers by easing pension obligations.