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Assorted Links Friday

The Goal, big box retail and trucking, Mexico vs Denmark, car brand price increases and not, the situation at the ports of Long Beach and LA, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
3 min read
Assorted Links Friday
Photo by Dan Gold / Unsplash

Today's reading: The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement .  This is one of the best business books I’ve ever read. Definitely in my top 5 along with Good to Great, The Leadership Challenge, Visioneering, and Crossing the Chasm. If you do anything in manufacturing, distribution, production, supply chain management or are trying to improve operations, READ THIS BOOK! You won’t regret it. It’s applicable the minute you finish it. And because of the way it’s written, you won’t forget the primary points of he book.


How a little-known 1980 law slashed pay for millions of truck drivers and created big-box retail as we know it: Today's network of big-box retailers and online shopping likely wouldn't exist without the deregulation of the trucking industry 40 years ago this month.


Could Mexico be the next Denmark?: Mexico is poised for a long period of unspectacular but steady economic growth.


Which car brands prices have increased the most & least in 2021?

Brand Year-over-Year Percent Change
Chevrolet 39.10%
Jeep 35.30%
Dodge 33.30%
Nissan 29.90%
Buick 26.20%
Cadilac 24.70%
GMC 24.30%
Chrysler 24.00%
Kia 23.70%
Mitsubishi 23.50%
...
Subaru 6.00%
Acura 5.50%
FIAT 5.00%
BMW 4.70%
RAM 4.10%
Audi 3.10%
Lincoln 2.40%
Lexus 0.50%
Mercedes-Benz 0.20%
MINI 0.00%

Ryan Peterson, founder of Flexport:

Yesterday I rented a boat and took the leader of one of Flexport's partners in Long Beach on a 3 hour of the port complex. Here's a thread about what I learned.
First off, the boat captain said we were the first company to ever rent his boat to tour the port to see how everything was working up close. His usual business is doing memorial services at sea. He said we were a lot more fun than his regular customers.
The ports of LA/Long Beach are at a standstill. In a full 3 hour loop through the port complex, passing every single terminal, we saw less than a dozen containers get unloaded.
It seems that everyone now agrees that the bottleneck is yard space at the container terminals. The terminals are simply overflowing with containers, which means they no longer have space to take in new containers either from ships or land. It’s a true traffic jam.
Right now if you have a chassis with no empty container on it, you can go pick up containers at any port terminal. However, if you have an empty container on that chassis, they’re not allowing you to return it except on highly restricted basis.
Right now if you have a chassis with no empty container on it, you can go pick up containers at any port terminal. However, if you have an empty container on that chassis, they’re not allowing you to return it except on highly restricted basis.
With the yards so full, carriers / terminals are being highly restrictive in where and when they will accept empties.
Also containers are not fungible between carriers, so the truckers have to drop their empty off at the right terminal. This is causing empty containers to pile up. This one trucking partner alone has 450 containers sitting on chassis right now (as of 10/21) at his yards.
This is a trucking company with 6 yards that represents 153 owner operator drivers, so he has almost 3 containers sitting on chassis at his yard for every driver on the team.
He can’t take the containers off the chassis because he’s not allowed by the city of Long Beach zoning code to store empty containers more than 2 high in his truck yard. If he violates this code they’ll shut down his yard altogether.
With the chassis all tied up storing empties that can't be returned to the port, there are no chassis available to pick up containers at the port.
And with all the containers piling up in the terminal yard, the longshoremen can’t unload the ships. And so the queue grows longer, with now over 70 ships containing 500,000 containers are waiting off shore. This line is going to get longer not shorter.
This is a negative feedback loop that is rapidly cycling out of control that if it continues unabated will destroy the global economy.

What America's supply-chain backlog looks like up close: The WSJ rented a helicopter and sees exactly the same thing as the thread above.


Arnold Schwarzenegger is a marketing genius:

Assorted

Dane Carlson

Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. By day: Director of Economic Development for Galveston County, Texas. Previously: World's first business blogger.