Freight Brokerage
May 29, 2024

GenAI’s Role in Supply Chain Growing

Axle Team

Warren Barkley, the product head for Vertex AI, GenAI, and machine learning at Google Cloud, spoke at Manhattan Associates’ conference in Texas in mid-May and said the use of GenAI in supply chain operations is rapidly increasing and advised companies to work closely with technology providers when implementing AI solutions.

At Axle Technologies, we’re at the forefront of the GenAI revolution, building the transportation infrastructure of tomorrow with the most innovative AI technology available today. We’ve got a pulse on what’s happening throughout the industry and think comments made by the Google Cloud exec at the recent conference are worth sharing.

We’re also keeping an eye on what’s happening in the truckload market. Cass Information Systems still isn’t seeing signs of a freight market recovery, and Schneider National has cut its full-year earnings outlook by nearly 25% because it’s “not calling an inflection in the market” either.      

Importers are apparently more optimistic, and healthy volumes are forecast at U.S. ports through October. But keep in mind retailers may be importing products earlier than usual because of fears workers at ports on the East and Gulf coasts could go on strike if the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance contract expires Sept. 30 without a new agreement in place.

ᯓ★AI Developers Working at ‘Blazingly Fast Speed’

FreightWaves reported that Barkley said at the Manhattan conference that the capabilities of GenAI are rising at exponential rates, and real-life implications for supply chain management are imminent or already in place.

“Last year was a year of proof of concepts,” he said. “Lots of people were experimenting, and this year we’re seeing people actually spending money.”

However, Barkley advised that when spending that money, supply chain stakeholders should entrust experts with their AI solutions.

“Finding a partner who can work with you and to address challenges and align to your goals is critical,” Barkley said. “You have to have those partners. We are all learning and are all working at blazingly fast speed.”

🚀High Import Volumes Forecast for U.S. Ports

The National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates forecast loaded import volumes at the top 12 U.S. container ports will remain above 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) through October, “marking the highest sustained volumes in years,” according to Supply Chain Dive.

“We haven’t seen numbers this high for this many months in almost two years,” Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy, was quoted as saying. “Regardless of what headlines about the economy might say, consumers are shopping and retailers are making sure they have merchandise on hand to meet demand.”

📦Truckload Freight Demand Shows No Improvement

FreightWaves reported that the shipments component of the Cass Freight Index fell again in April, down 1.6% seasonally adjusted from March and 4% year over year. Cass said it was “still waiting” for signs of recovery in the freight market.

⛟ Schneider National Cuts Earnings Outlook by Almost 25%

“We still believe the cycle is closer to its end than its beginning and anticipate improving conditions as the year progresses; however, we have tempered our outlook on the timing of the recovery,” Schneider National CFO Darrell Campbell said, according to FreightWaves.

🏭Shippers Monitoring East, Gulf Coast Port Labor Talks

“It may seem early, but retailers are making decisions right now about how to mitigate or avoid the delays and costs of possible East and Gulf Coast port disruptions in the fall,” Jess Dankert, vice president for supply chain at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said, according to Supply Chain Dive. “After all, no one needs a shipping container full of Halloween costumes in November.”

Contract negotiations are expected to begin soon to replace the six-year International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) contract covering port workers on the East and Gulf coasts that expires Sept. 30.

Supply Chain Dive reported that ILA President Harold J. Daggett warned union locals late last year to prepare for a strike if an agreement isn’t reached by the end of September, saying the union will not extend the current contract.

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We know the important role artificial intelligence can play in the supply chain. Our Beacon software automates workflows with AI to help freight brokers increase capacity by 30-40%, reduce errors, and bolster customer relationships. Beacon plugs directly into your email inbox and TMS to automate data entry, scheduling, track and trace, and more.

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Written by
Axle Team

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