Optimizing Shipments for Infrastructure Preservation and Emission Reduction

Go out for a drive on the interstate and it’s clear that roads in the USA are in desperate need of repair. Our national infrastructure continues to deteriorate and while the Infrastructure and Jobs Act has pledged funds to repair our highways, only a fraction of the funds are earmarked specifically for roads. In addition, those funds are to be disbursed over a five year period, which puts the United States behind on the global stage in terms of infrastructure investment. Our infrastructure needs to be updated in order for companies to further their reshoring initiatives and create their regional supply chains. If these initiatives prove successful, trucking will be even more crucial in transporting goods to the customer and our roads will need to sustain this new reality.

Crumbling infrastructure doesn’t just affect urban areas but also rural regions where remote roads are nearly unusable, making it challenging to deliver shipments. Local roads, bridges and tunnels are in dire need of restoration in order to ensure that transportation companies can traverse these roads in order to make deliveries. While investing in infrastructure is a complex issue and beyond the scope of this article, it can be assured that it is a topic with widespread support and will help us become economically stronger in the long run.

There is one area where individual carriers can make a difference in their impact on roads. The solution here lies in the optimization of shipments, which consolidates truckloads in the hopes of reducing the number of trailers filled with air and in turn reducing the number of trucks on the road. Dedicating an entire truckload to a single shipment that doesn’t fill the entire trailer wastes fuel, contributes to increased emissions, and increases the wear and tear on highways. By optimizing every shipment, companies can reduce emissions and ‘recycle air’ which can preserve infrastructure until true reform comes.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of infrastructure preservation and are committed to doing everything we can to optimize shipments. Our headload solution helps shippers by optimizing shipments, while they only pay for the space they use within the trailer. This is just one of the many solutions we use to help companies build more sustainable supply chains, reduce emissions and reduce the wear and tear on our infrastructure. We will also provide you with a monthly carbon emissions report which shows you the impact you’re having by developing a more sustainable supply chain. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Staying Sustainable

While sustainability was not likely at the top of everyone’s mind over the past few years, it is still a vitally important focus for many businesses. As companies work to retool their supply chains, sustainability is more important than ever since keeping control of costs is vital, along with reducing and reusing materials used to create finished products. Our goal remains to be one of the most sustainable carriers in the nation and we accomplish this through two primary strategies: reduction in the amount of packaging each customer uses and reduction in fuel consumption & emissions through shipment optimization.

Reduced Packaging

While many inroads have been made in developing sustainable packaging and recycled cardboard technologies show a lot of promise, we believe that the most sustainable packaging is: none. While it may seem counterintuitive, we’re one of the only carriers that actually discourages their customers from using packaging when shipping their products. While on the surface it may also seem as though it would be too difficult to ship without packaging, we’re willing and able to show customers how they can ship without unnecessary packaging. This minimal approach reduces waste in ways many wouldn’t believe, and while it may seem like not everything can be shipped without packaging, we’re always willing to try.

Reduced Fuel Consumption

When shipments are optimized, there is a reduction in the number of trucks hauling empty trailers on the road. As a result, there is less fuel consumption as well as a reduction in the needed repairs on our nation’s highways from extra wear and tear. At a time when diesel prices are reaching all-time highs, reduced fuel consumption is a great relief and we’ll likely see a rise in optimized shipments in the near future. As of this writing, too many shipments marked ‘full trailer’ don’t occupy a full trailer and our process in reducing the amount of wasted space in a trailer is one of the most sustainable practices in the logistics industry.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of staying sustainable. Sustainability has always been and will continue to be one of our core values as a company. We advise and assist all of our customers in how they can make their supply chain more sustainable, while also leading by example. We provide proof to every one of our customers of these sustainability efforts with a carbon summary report which shows the reduction in CO2 emissions by selecting Zip Xpress as their carrier for their shipments. Not many other carriers can say the same. To see how you can become more sustainable, start today with Zip Xpress!

Outlining the NSFP

The US Department of Transportation recently unveiled the National Freight Strategic Plan to help make the movement of freight safer and more efficient for manufacturers, shippers, carriers, and all other stakeholders. The plan provides a blueprint for improvements in infrastructure and growth of the overall workforce. The main goal is to improve the country’s competitiveness in the international market, but that can’t be done without first addressing domestic issues.

The plan to improve infrastructure is exciting news for anyone involved in the freight industry. Modernized roads, stronger bridges, and more efficient railroads will go a long way in providing more reliable service across the logistics industry. This goes hand in hand with their goal of improving the national freight network, which should allow for faster, more streamlined routes between major transportation hubs.

It isn’t all about infrastructure, though. The NFSP intends to invest in research, technology, and analytics at both the federal and state levels. These analytics are designed to provide municipalities with the understanding where their inefficiencies lie and give them ideas for a stronger future freight network. While such investments may not show immediate results, the long-term implications are positive in building an optimized logistics network.

The NFSP will also work to eliminate restrictive regulations that put strain on the supply chain with no real benefits. There is still a deep concern for safety, so it’s unlikely there will be a change to Hours of Service rules, but it could open up opportunities for interstate and international commerce. Essentially, it wants to get rid of or re-evaluate transportation regulations that inhibit innovation or decrease efficiency.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the need for an optimized supply chain on all levels. The National Freight Strategic Plan is a great start at addressing these issues on the national level, however many other steps need to be taken in order to create a fully sustainable and optimized supply chain. We help shippers navigate these challenges by providing the custom carrier solutions they need to ensure that every shipment is optimized and that they’re aware of their contribution towards a sustainable supply chain. To see for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Future of Sustainable Packaging

Packaging is an often-overlooked part of the supply chain. We often think of production, manufacturing, transportation, and distribution, but packaging is right up there in terms of importance. It’s assumed that every product must be placed in some sort of box, bag, bin, or container before it can be loaded onto a truck and moved around the country.

Innovations in packaging are also overlooked by many. While technological advances in robotics can create flashy headlines for trucking and manufacturing, changes in packaging are usually more subtle. However, the development of new materials and production methods requires years of research and hard work and are no less important.

Today, packaging is being made out of broken down plant fibers, which can lead to longer shelf life while being easier on the environment. Smart packaging has become more popular, helping with a wide range of packing issues from theft to supply chain replenishment. Smart packaging can also contribute to sustainability efforts as it allows manufacturers to track where packaging is being disposed of or recycled.

Yet for all of these innovations, the best packaging of all is: none. The most sustainable companies are able to utilize zero packaging when shipping their products, especially when they manufacture larger products that don’t fit neatly inside a box. It is imperative that we also seek new, innovative ways to ship without packaging for all of the companies that don’t absolutely need it.

At Zip Xpress, we encourage and assist companies in their goal towards shipping without packaging. We can advise on how companies can ship their products without packaging to ensure their contribution to a more sustainable environment. Every case will be different, which is why we advise companies through our custom carrier solutions which help companies understand how they can achieve a more sustainable supply chain. To see this for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Sustaining Sustainability

Trucking and other supply chain operations were not always leaders when it came to sustainability, however many sectors of the American economy are seeing the benefits of sustainability initiatives. This is a trend that will only continue since the benefits include: cutting costs, reducing waste, and a net positive impact on the environment. By staying focused on sustainability initiatives, logistics companies can help maintain our nation’s infrastructure, reduce carbon emissions and be viewed as a shining example for the rest of the economy.

Sustainability isn’t a branding campaign that supply chains must commit to in order to improve their image. Instead, it is a cohesive strategy to lower costs, waste and increase efficiencies for the long run. While certain green efforts may require an upfront investment in resources, they will inevitably lead to reduced costs over time. In order for such efforts to be effective they require the buy-in from executives and must be put front and center for a company’s goals.

Some sustainability recommendations for logistics companies would include: creating routine maintenance schedules for all vehicles to maximize fuel efficiency. Suggest and advise ways manufacturers can reduce or better yet, eliminate packaging from all shipments. Eliminate all empty space within trailers by optimizing shipments and reducing the number of ‘empty’ trucks on the road. These are only a handful of steps companies can take in creating sustainability initiatives. By creating your own, the logistics sector can make an incredible impact towards sustainability and set an example for the American economy to follow.

At Zip Xpress, we understand the necessity of sustainability initiatives and strive to do our best in this area. All of our services are directed towards eliminating packaging, reducing space within our trailers and providing customers with Carbon Summary Reports which show the amount of carbon emissions a customer has eliminated. These are only a few examples of the ways we sustain sustainability, and to see the rest for yourself, start today with Zip Xpress!

Infrastructure Reform

It’s no secret that truck drivers have been on the front lines through the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the country beginning to open up more drivers will be returning to their offices which means more cars on the road. This will have adverse impacts in an area most Americans already know we need to fix: our nation’s infrastructure. Without an updated and modernized infrastructure, the country will be in serious trouble. Fortunately, infrastructure reform is quickly becoming the forefront issue for the nation and while we must wait for Washington to determine next steps, many issues exist in the private sector.

Infrastructure is the backbone of the nation, and with truck drivers serving as the backbone of the nation’s supply chain, it’s imperative to reform the methods companies have used to ship their products. Dedicating an entire truckload to a single shipment that doesn’t fill the entire trailer is a waste of fuel, space in the trailer and damages infrastructure by keeping more trucks than necessary on the road. With businesses being forced to evaluate their operations due to the pandemic, now would be a great time to consider optimizing their shipments through a trusted carrier and ensuring they’re not paying for unused air space.

At Zip Xpress, our headload solution is a prime example of how we help companies optimize their shipments. By optimizing every shipment, we prevent wasted space and allow fewer trucks to be on the road, which reduces wear and tear on our national infrastructure. We can also show how a company contributes to this mission through our carbon footprint report, providing companies with concrete evidence of their efforts toward sustainability. Infrastructure reform will take time, but we all have a part to play and there’s a lot to do in the meantime. To see how you can build your own sustainable custom carrier solution, start today with Zip Xpress!

Recycling the Supply Chain

Manufacturing and commerce are vital parts of worldwide progress, but now companies are paying more attention to the environments they do business in. Excessive waste and pollution which caused many environmental catastrophes forced companies to reevaluate how they were treating the environment. Now people are holding companies to higher standards and manufacturers led the way in many sustainability efforts, from reducing energy usage to recycling and reusing material during production. While this wasn’t necessarily convenient at first, it has become extremely important and has led to an entirely new approach in the supply chain.

Any company that makes products uses energy in a variety of forms. These companies also create waste. Today, there is a much larger focus on recycling and renewing materials rather than simply disposing of the excess. Manufacturers need to perform sound analysis to ensure that they are maximizing their output and reusing materials that aren’t part of their final products. They are also taking further steps to use sustainable packaging or – in some cases – eliminate packaging altogether. Going green has become a philosophy that affects the supply chain from the time a new product is mentioned to the time it ends up in the end consumer’s hands.

There is no “right way” to become sustainable, as new technologies and ideas are constantly being floated throughout a wide range of industries. But emphasizing clean, efficient energy usage and committing to recycling are two major steps for manufacturers when it comes to being environmentally friendly. These types of initiatives affect the entire supply chain, and it is encouraging that so many companies – both large and small – are dedicated to reducing their waste and altering their processes in such drastic ways. As the world becomes more and more interconnected, we are seeing corporations become more responsible and aware of their effects not only on the economy, but on the natural world in which they operate.

At Zip Xpress, we recognize the great contributions manufacturers are making towards sustainability. In fact, manufacturers are quite possibly the most sustainable sector in the American economy, and this will only improve as time goes forward. Yet at the same time we have a long ways to go. We start by helping companies with our Carbon Footprint Report and then devise a custom carrier solution that works for their business. To see how we can help you build a more sustainable (and profitable) supply chain, start today with Zip Xpress!

Are Electric Trucks the Future?

There is much speculation about autonomous trucks and their role in the future of supply chains, but perhaps those conversations are skipping ahead a bit too far. There is likely a long way to go before self-driving trucks become a widespread reality. However, there is a technological advance that may be just a few years away: rechargeable electric trucks. Electric vehicles seem to make perfect sense not only from an environmental standpoint but also from an economic view. But are they the future of the trucking industry?

Since sustainability continues to be a priority for many logistics companies, electric trucks could provide great value. By eliminating the need for diesel fuel and switching to battery electric, emissions would be reduced, if not eliminated, providing a great service to the environment. They also wouldn’t have to deal with the volatility of oil prices or the wear-and-tear that diesel combustion engines must endure. The main drawback right now is whether or not innovators will be able to expand the range of the current electric truck models. As it stands, most models can only get about 200-300 miles out of a single charge. Even with the low fuel economy of a diesel truck, electric trucks have a ways to go before they can match the range of a diesel engine.

While we are still waiting for advances to be made, it seems reasonable that trucking companies might slowly switch their fleets over to electric trucks as they expand their ranges. They may begin with local and regional trucks that won’t need to travel as far to make their deliveries and hold out on the rest until the technology works in their favor. There is no definitive timeline to expecting a purely electric fleet, but it is encouraging that there is a real possibility of a cleaner, more efficient option that could provide years of benefits for logistics companies.

At Zip Xpress, it’s no secret we believe in creating a more sustainable supply chain. We can show you your impact with a Carbon Footprint Report and help you find more sustainable solutions for your supply chain. To see how, start today with Zip Xpress!

The Absent-Packaging Revolution

Going green may just seem like a new trend that companies are embracing to appear hip and in-touch with younger potential employees and customers, but there’s far more to it than that. There are real environmental concerns all around the world, and sustainable practices are required to ensure the health of our surroundings. Yet even for the executives who are more concerned with profit over sustainability, going green can provide a myriad of benefits. This is especially true in logistics, where reusable packaging has been making waves for several years thanks to its ingenuity, utility, and cost-efficiency.

Yet for all of these wondrous innovations being made in packaging, we don’t believe they go far enough. We on the other hand actively discourage our customers from packing their product(s) beyond the bare necessities. Customers have at times taken it upon themselves to do so, but we’ll happily work with and advise our customers on what those bare necessities would be for their packaging. This saves companies the cost of purchasing the packaging as well as disposal and it allows our freight handlers to optimize every shipment appropriately.

At Zip Xpress, we encourage all of our customers to commit to sustainability by foregoing packaging altogether whenever possible. We’ve developed refined processes and can advise all of our customers on the best approach for their shipping needs. Our approach is to take the long view – to the environment, to our nation’s highways and to your bottom line in an effort to create the most sustainable outcome for all of our stakeholders. To see how we can devise your custom carrier solution, start today with Zip Xpress!

Staying Green in Winter

The winter months can be brutal not only on our bodies but also on our energy bills. When the frigid cold starts to hit, we pretty much need to use electricity to survive. Unfortunately, that means consuming energy and sometimes not being as environmentally friendly as we would like. In the world of logistics, this can be even more of an issue, as factories, warehouses, and trucks already have an uphill battle when it comes to sustainability. Still, there are some actions that those in transportation can take to stay green while staying warm.

On an individual level, layering up is one of the simplest things we can do. Truck drivers and freight handlers should be sure to have some heavy duty outer layers as well as snug inner layers to stay warm in tough conditions. This will prevent them from needing to blast the heat in their respective workspaces. Wool socks and heavy duty boots can go a long way in keeping body temperature up.

Planning is also very important during the winter. Shippers should allot for longer delivery times and communicate this with their vendors, customers, and carriers. A supply chain can recover from a delay if all parties are prepared from the beginning. This will eliminate the need to make more product, ship another batch, or put additional miles on the truck, all of which will help cut emissions.

At Zip Xpress, we provide another solution that will help during the long winter months. Consolidating freight to be moved on an optimized schedule and crafting the most efficient route can ensure that fewer trucks will need to be on the road. By utilizing our Headload Solution, we can help your business optimize the space you use when shipping your freight. Staying green during the winter months is a challenge, but it is doable as long as we’re looking for solutions when it comes to escaping the cold. To see how we can help with your sustainability efforts, start today with Zip Xpress!