Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Is sureshoring the next big thing in cross-border trade?; Growers Express adds border facility; MasAir expands with two A330 cargo planes; and ReturnQueen expands into the Austin market.
Is ‘sureshoring’ the next big thing in cross-border trade?
After the supply chain disruption last year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chain.io founder and CEO Brian Glick said global transportation companies need real-time, trustworthy data that helps them react to change effectively.
Glick called this approach “sureshoring,” a new buzzword that loosely revolves around the idea that supply chain decisions should be based on more than just geography and cost.
“Sureshoring is the ability to know that change is going to happen, and that we are going to be able to react to that change by having a diverse strategy, as opposed to a single strategy,” Glick said.
Sureshoring was also a concept discussed at FreightWaves Global Supply Chain Week in March by Rich Mason, executive adviser to Portland, Oregon-based Parsons Corp., Amy Broglin-Peterson, a Michigan State University adjunct faculty member, and Jonathan Kempe, CEO and founder of Verifai.
“Sureshoring started out as a pun but quickly turned into something a lot more serious,” Mason said. “When we think of the traditional models of nearshoring, offshoring, onshoring in the COVID era, there’s just so much going on that we thought there needed to be a different model and so the concept of sureshoring is about what do we do differently?”
Mason, a veteran of technology companies such as AT&T, Lucent Technologies’ Bell Labs and Honeywell International, said sureshoring is about data trustworthiness.
Parsons Corp. is a disruptive technology provider in the global defense, intelligence and critical infrastructure markets.
“Trust in data becomes one of those key tenets — granular data — not just of vessels but the contents of the goods, and of the identities of people touching them, of the environment around them,” Mason said. “Its data trustworthiness that blends into digital transformation, giving us the agility to automate, to orchestrate, to pivot like we could have done with PPE from maritime to air, to pivot from a supply chain just-in-time model to a supply chain just-in-case model.”
The days of companies creating three-year initiatives or long-range plans are becoming obsolete, according to Glick.
“I think what everyone has realized and accepted is that the concepts of — ‘I have an onshoring strategy and offshoring strategy and nearshoring strategy’ — the answer is, you don’t know what your strategy is going to be in 24 months, because the world is moving too fast,” Glick said. “There’s too much business model disruption, environmental disruption, capacity issues.”
Chain.io is a cloud-based platform that helps companies integrate data from various providers — including suppliers, freight forwarders and warehouses — to create logistics solutions across the supply chain.
Glick said what companies should focus on isn’t dictating any particular offshoring strategy, but having the data to react quickly.
“When the entire game board moves underneath me, I can rebuild my supply chain over it in real time, as opposed to as part of a two-year engineering initiative, where I start with a big consulting firm, spend the first year doing flowcharts, the second year doing implementation, and the third year starting the next initiative over again, because it’s already wrong by the time it’s right,” Glick said.
Glick founded the Philadelphia-based company in 2017. Chain.io’s integration network processes over 100 million data transformations a month, including data from 10 of the 15 largest freight forwarders in the world.
“I just talked to a pretty big raw materials exporter here in the U.S., and they were still making phone calls to their freight forwarders. When things change, it isn’t like they just hit a button and their European freight goes where they need it,” Glick said. “They have to be able to flip that overnight. But with paperwork and phone calls, that could be six months.”
Glick said an exporter using the sureshoring concept — using data and software that enable systems to communicate with each other in real time — can save time and money.
“If I can have a good strategy to be able to say, I know that change is gonna happen, I don’t know what it’s going to be, it could be that I suddenly have to buy everything in Canada. But I have to be able to move fast. I have to know that the world is unpredictable,” Glick said.
Growers Express adds border cold storage/logistics facility
Monterey, California-based Growers Express has opened a new 24,000-square-foot frozen storage and distribution facility in San Luis, Arizona.
Known as the Growers Express Distribution Depot — the facility consolidates storage of “pick pack” and finished goods, creating a central location for shipping to industrial, food service and retail customers, the company said in a release.
“We designed the Growers Express Distribution Depot to meet our customers’ expanding needs and increase efficiency to ship more than 250,000 packages each day,” Tom Byrne, president of Growers Express, said in a statement. “Out of San Luis, we are now operating as a pick and pack, consolidation, storage and vendor-managed inventory facility.”
Growers Express took possession of the newly built San Luis Trading and Logistics LLC facility in December, with the first outbound shipments in January.
Growers Express, which was founded in 1987, owns and manages the rights to the Green Giant Fresh brand licensing program.
MasAir expands with two A330 cargo planes
Mexican air cargo operator MasAir will lease two Airbus A330 aircraft from Altavair, the company recently announced.
The two converted cargo planes will be delivered in early 2022, according to the agreement between MasAir and Altavair. The A330 has a payload of up to 61 tons and a range of up to 4,200 nautical miles.
“MasAir is on track to become a very important player in the global air cargo industry, with this first step in the second phase of our important fleet expansion program,” Andrés Fabre, a member of MasAir’s board of directors, said in a statement.
MasAir is based in Mexico City and operates scheduled cargo services in the country to the United States, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia.
ReturnQueen shopping app expands into Texas
ReturnQueen, the shopping return service app, recently expanded its services to Austin, Texas.
According to a release, ReturnQueen is an “an on-demand service that picks up, processes, and sends back all your shopping returns.” The service includes printing labels, packing up items, waiting in line, driving to the post office and handling receipts.
New York-based ReturnQueen also recently launched its services in Charlotte, North Carolina, Tampa, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee. ReturnQueen mentioned companies such as Oracle, Apple and Tesla’s expansion plans in Austin as a reason for choosing the city.
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