Supply Chain Now
Episode 1052

I don't care what anyone else says, transportation is one of the most important industries because without it we would not have medicine. We would not have food, we would not have shelter, we would not have all the stuff that I got behind me, right? And the clothes that I'm wearing.

-Lee Klaskow

Episode Summary

Are we headed for a recession in 2023? Which markets are rebalancing, and where could service levels improve? Bloomberg’s Lee Klaskow may not have a crystal ball, but his expert predictions are the next best thing. Tune in to find out this year’s biggest surprise in industry, along with predictions for rail, trucking and ocean freight in the year to come.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

Welcome to Supply Chain. Now the voice of Global Supply Chain Supply chain now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from Those Making Global Business Happen right here on Supply chain. Now.

Scott Luton (00:31):

Hey, hey. Good morning everybody. Scott Luton and Greg White with you here on Supply Chain. Now welcome to today’s episode, Greg. How you doing?

Greg White (00:39):

I’m doing really good, Scott. It’s good to be here.

Scott Luton (00:41):

Absolutely. Kind of feels like Groundhog Day sometimes around here, right?

Greg White (00:45):

You know, it does. It feels like we just did this seconds ago,

Scott Luton (00:48):

<laugh>, but hey, you know what, what also adds to the dejavu on today’s episode, we’re bringing back one of our faves, right? A rock and roll star in global supply chain, and we’re getting his expert take on what to expect in 2023 when it comes to rail trucking and ocean freight. So, Greg should be great episode, right?

Greg White (01:06):

Yeah. I don’t know what episode this will come out as, but 1 0 8 was his original. Um, and if you want to, you can see him on television.

Scott Luton (01:15):

That’s right. That is right. <laugh>. So, with no further ado, wanna welcome in. Lee Klaskow, senior Analyst for Transportation and Logistics with Bloomberg Intelligence, a k a Logistics. Lee. Lee, how you doing?

Lee Klaskow (01:29):

I’m doing fantastic. Thanks for having me, guys.

Scott Luton (01:32):

You bet. Well, uh,

Greg White (01:33):

Yeah, you’re welcome on board,

Scott Luton (01:35):

Uh, as Greg suggested, and we’re gonna touch on you. You know, I’m gonna go ahead and touch on this now. Uh, so as Greg mentioned, Lee, you first appeared with us on episode 1 0 8. Now, um, today we’re publishing now today is gonna be, you know, two weeks or so before this episode publishes. But today we’re publishing episode 10 47, 1047. So, Lee, on behalf of our team here, you’ve earned OG status through six or seven appearances here at Supply Chain now.

Lee Klaskow (02:03):

Well, thank you very much. I can’t wait to get my badge show or class in the mail. I appreciate that and congratulations to you guys. It’s, uh, always a pleasure to speak with you.

Scott Luton (02:12):

Oh, absolutely, Greg. We get a lot of feedback around Lee’s appearances here and, and what he brings to the table, right?

Greg White (02:18):

Yeah, I mean, uh, I think we should be honored to have him here. I mean, he really does do this thing on television. I’ve seen him, the default channel on my, on my TV at the beach is, is the Bloomberg channel, which, you know, has all the cool stuff off to the side. Turn it on one day. And there’s Lee talking to, I can’t remember who, but it was, I think it was the English guy who does the opening of the Euro, uh, market thing. And, uh, so we are among greatness, no question.

Scott Luton (02:48):

That’s right. Lee’s agent stays busy. But all of that aside, we’re gonna dive into his, uh, industry take here in just a second. But before we do, uh, we want to, for the handful of listeners that may be new to Lee, and really the handful, like three of you out there, um, let’s get to know Lee Klas a little better. And I wanna start, Greg, this has been a popular question as of late, the hard-hitting question. So, Lee, is the holiday seasons upon us, right? Uh, what is your family’s all-time favorite seasonal movie? I’ll call it

Lee Klaskow (03:18):

PR Pro. I mean, I’m not gonna say Die Hard, cuz uh, there’s a lot of controversy about whether Die Hard is a, uh, a Christmas movie. So I

Greg White (03:26):

Did you watch our show the other day? Cuz we had exactly that controversy. <laugh>,

Lee Klaskow (03:31):

Yes. There, there’s a huge controversy. Yeah. Uh, Bruce Willis said it is not a holiday movie, so I’m gonna go with what he says. So because of that, I’ll probably say like Christmas story, you know, that’s just a classic that, uh, you know, I can watch a gazillion times. Um, you know, that maybe Christmas vacation are probably my, my two favorites.

Greg White (03:50):

You’ll put your eye out with that thing Kid.

Lee Klaskow (03:53):

<laugh>. Yeah,

Scott Luton (03:54):

<laugh>. So, so, okay. So, Christmas vacation is certainly, my family’s all time favorite, uh, of course, Greg, the other day, we, the Elf was mentioned. Yeah. Uh, that’s a great one. Just elf, just elf. Sorry. Prop. The, uh, sorry, sorry. Uh, Greg, what’s, what’s your, what’s one of y’all’s all time favorite?

Greg White (04:10):

Yeah, the Elf is, elf is a new favorite for us. Before that, it was, uh, Jim Carey’s version of the Grinch. So I think we love the kind of, um, live animation type shows, but, uh, yeah, and of course, all of the old Rankin Bass stuff, I still, you know, I’m still pulling for those toy, those misfit toys. <laugh>, you know, <laugh>.

Scott Luton (04:35):

Yeah, I like, that’s a great reference. Uh, and we gotta throw this one. Then, uh, also recent favorites. You know, my kids have really enjoyed Home Alone and Home Alone. Two, uh, a lot of good stuff. They’re good family, uh, programming. Okay, so switching gears. So again, we’ve, we’ve already referenced, uh, Lee’s been with us, I think this is his seventh appearance, right? Over the years, uh, from, you know, episode 1 0 8, uh, and whatever this episode number will be. So again, for the handful of listeners beyond your favorite holiday movies, Lee, let’s get to know you a little better. So, uh, for starters, where’d you grow up, Lee?

Lee Klaskow (05:07):

I grew up in, uh, Northern New Jersey, and I didn’t, uh, you know, I didn’t, didn’t really move too far off from there, but we stayed in New Jersey for the most part. Had a short stint, uh, overseas in London, but, uh, mostly New Jersey. You know, I’m a, I’m a finance person, so, you know, being around Manhattan is, is, uh, extremely important, uh, for that kind of a profession. So I’ve always been close to, to Manhattan. Um, you know, I’m about, uh, 20 miles outside of Manhattan, not right now, but it can take, uh, up to two hours to get there. So it’s,

Greg White (05:40):

Yeah,

Lee Klaskow (05:41):

Fantastic.

Greg White (05:41):

Uh, depends on the bridges and tunnels, doesn’t it?

Lee Klaskow (05:43):

Exactly, exactly.

Scott Luton (05:45):

Well, so, uh, I’m not sure, I’m trying to think about questions we haven’t asked you in your previous appearances. And I’m not sure if we’ve ever talked about food from your upbringing. So, is there one dish? This is, is this, you’re gonna have the audible here to call whichever you’d like. Okay. So, is there one dish from your upbringing there in New Jersey that you just loved that was inseparable, that you, you reminisce back and, and wish you could eat it today? Or the opposite of that question, is there a dish that, uh, maybe you, you ate with your folks that you wi you hope you’ll never have to eat again?

Lee Klaskow (06:18):

Well, I guess as a kid, I’d probably, you know, the stuff that ate as a kid, I’d probably be most reminiscent about my mother’s brisket. You know, it’s just, uh, that just has like, you know, uh, those flavors and taste just, you know, brings back a lot of fond memories in terms of things that I would never eat again. Um, it’s funny, uh, tuna casserole, um, yeah, good show, but I did actually make it for my kids about it two years ago, and I’m embarrassed. Were they

Greg White (06:45):

Grounded or had they angered you in

Lee Klaskow (06:47):

Some way of it? And it was delicious <laugh>. Um, so I, I don’t know, maybe it was nostalgic and, but, uh, yeah, as a kid I hated it. Um, but, uh, it, yeah, it, it, it was reborn in my household. My kids hated it. They, they, they thought it was disgusting. My wife thought it was disgusting. <laugh> not a fan of hot tuna fish. Um, so yeah, there you go.

Scott Luton (07:10):

Well, you know, uh, so I had a dear old roommate, uh, I love you, Philip, but he made tuna grits regularly and talk about a stench that would leave you leaving the house in, in a hurry. Uh, Greg, you wait. Weigh in. I, I’m not, I’m not sure if I’ve ever asked you and your, and given your upbringing, is there a dish that you, uh, recall fondly?

Greg White (07:32):

Yeah. Um, I, fried chicken is my all-time favorite meal and just made in a skillet. I really enjoyed that. Absolutely. Will never again in my life eat what we call in Kansas cowboy beans, which is beans and ham hawks. Hate it, despise it. We’ll never eat it ever again. <laugh>, I, because I don’t have to

Scott Luton (07:54):

<laugh>

Lee Klaskow (07:55):

Fried chicken’s. My go-to cheat meal. That’s, uh, oh my

Greg White (07:58):

Gosh. So worth it too.

Scott Luton (08:00):

Well, Anne, I, I was reading just the other day, a chicken breast is, is, uh, down 70% since the beginning of the year. So it’ll be, uh, a go-to cheaper meal and hopefully in the weeks ahead, uh, Lee.

Greg White (08:13):

Wow, that’s really impressive. Yeah, down 70%. How

Scott Luton (08:17):

About that? Um, now of course the Super Bowl is around the corner and we all know chicken wings will spike ridiculously during that, that timeframe. But, uh, anyway, um, alright, so now that we’ve really rekindled, uh, it’s great to reconnect with Lee Klasko here. We’re gonna move into his expertise and insights and, uh, get Greg’s comment on it as well. So, I wanna start with, you know, Lee, I didn’t realize this, I should have given all of your appearances, but you’ve been an analyst in the transportation and logistics space since 2004. So you could undoubtedly write a book, a New York Times bestseller perhaps on what you’ve seen. So, um, I wanna start with, you know, know, what is one of your biggest surprises in industry in, uh, 2022

Lee Klaskow (09:03):

Pro? You know, honestly, it’s probably the impact and duration of the Chinese lockdowns that they’ve had. Um, you know, I think that’s had a huge ripple effect, uh, not only on supply chains, but also transportation companies and the global economy. Um, you know, there’s kind of some early indications that they might start, you know, um, lifting some of those really stringent, uh, lockdown policies that they have, which would be, you know, good for, for the global economy. Um, but, you know, they just had a spike of Covid cases, so who knows what they’re gonna do. Um, you know, going forward, um, you know, Bloomberg economics, they, they think that, uh, China’s not gonna be fully open until, uh, you know, mid next year. Um, you know, fingers crossed that that’ll happen a little earlier than that. If these, um, you know, measures that they’ve been taking recently kind of stick, even if as, um, you know, infection rates rise.

Scott Luton (10:02):

So that certainly, uh, Greg, I’m looking forward to your comments there. Um, when it comes to China and, and their covid policies and impact on industry, your thoughts, Greg?

Greg White (10:11):

Yeah, I’m, I’d say the, uh, prolonged nature of it is really surprising. The impact, of course, I, I mean, um, I think we all could have probably guessed that, but man, just how long they have kept or continued to re shut down, uh, the economy there. And it’s really hurt their economy as well. Um, you know, the thing, you know, the X factor we have to consider is they can completely control their, you know, the Chinese Communist Party can completely control the economy, and most importantly, the constituency, right? They don’t really get elected. And Xi Jinping mm-hmm. Did just get reelected for effectively life, I think just recently. So, uh, but yeah, it is hugely impactful and, and though, and I think we’ve talked about this before with Lee, and that is, you know, even if we want to get outta China, which of course a lot of companies do for a lot of reasons, um, but, you know, you couldn’t accumulate all of the production capacity in Southeast Asia, maybe including hundreds of other companies or countries around the world and equal the, the production capacity that China can have when they’re running at full capacity mm-hmm. <affirmative>.

Greg White (11:30):

So it’s a real challenge and the impact is enormous. Yeah,

Scott Luton (11:34):

Well said. Uh, we’ve been way too dependent upon that market for way too long. Uh, so we’ll see how, how it progresses moving forward. Um, okay. I wanna shift gears, Lee. Um, moving from biggest surprises, uh, let’s, let’s gain your insights into what we might can expect in 2023. And I appreciate, uh, as Greg mentioned, maybe on the front end of the show, I appreciate how, uh, bold and willing you are, uh, to give expectations next year, but especially given the last few years where, man, what hasn’t happened, right? So let’s start with the railroad industry, and we all know what’s going on there with the, um, the labor issues, potential strike and, and the like. Um, what do you expect in 2023 when it comes to railroads?

Lee Klaskow (12:19):

Yeah, so, um, you know, the labor issues seem to be more or less in the rear view mirror. Um, you know, but the rails are dealing with, uh, a lot of service issues that they’re trying to fix. Um, you know, today as we’re recording this, uh, the c e o of Union Pacific is, uh, gonna testify to the S T b, uh, the s TB wants to know, you know, why Union Pacific, uh, has had so many service issues this year relative, uh, to its peers. I mean, they’ve all had service issues and a lot of that stems from labor, some weather, uh, and some, um, but you know, the reality is, is that, uh, the rails in general just are, have been operating, uh, from a, I would say a subpar performance in, in on time, uh, performance dwell times, you know, or high train, uh, speeds are in where they should be.

Lee Klaskow (13:11):

Uh, and that’s, you know, not only her, uh, service, but it also hurts the rail’s ability to take on more freight. Cuz people, shippers might say, well, you know, for this load I’m gonna use a truck, or I’m gonna try to find an alternative when you can. Obviously you can’t find an alternative all the time cuz Right, you know, some, he heavy freight just doesn’t make sense if you’re, um, to put on a truck or if you’re not by a river. Um, so I think, you know, it’s, there’s a huge opportunity cause for the railroads because of the subpar service. So I do believe that they’re motivated to get back, not only see where they were before the pandemic, but to also improve upon that. Uh, cuz you know, if they provide a better service and better on-time performance, that actually creates capacity without adding much in the terms of assets and then just allows them to take on more business and more profitable business at that.

Lee Klaskow (14:02):

Uh, so, you know, that’s, that’s something that, you know, we’re looking at, uh, week to week in terms of trying to see if service is improving by looking at the fluidity metrics that we get. Um, and then looking into next year, you know, listen, it’s probably gonna be a G D P economy year, year, uh, you know, the rails are, are are trending negative this year. Uh, they were negative. Uh, you know, um, so, so, so when we look at where we expect volumes to be next year, you know, it’s gonna be probably flat. Um, you know, there’s gonna be areas of strength, you know, ag is gonna be good. Uh, just cuz a has easier comparisons to Canadians have a really robust, uh, Canadian, uh, you know, grain crop this year. Autos are gonna be a positive because easier comps, right? Right. The production cycles are getting better as, uh, chip availabilities has totally, uh, been, been improving.

Lee Klaskow (14:50):

And, you know, inventories at dealerships are pretty low. So those are two areas that are gonna be good coal, you know, really depends on the global, global markets on where prices are if whether or not, you know, US coal is competitive on the global markets right now, it is, but it’s got certainly some tough comparisons going into next year. Uh, and, you know, intermodal is really gonna be dependent, um, on, you know, where the economy’s heading. And like I mentioned earlier, service levels, you know, so that’s, so that’s on the volume side and on the pricing side, the rails have been pretty good at, at getting pricing above, above inflation, which, you know, should help, uh, you know, generate, uh, you know, decent, uh, you know, low, low single digit maybe earnings growth next year.

Scott Luton (15:35):

Okay, man, we asked for an outlook and he brings it by the real card li uh, Greg. Oh boy. <laugh>, you went there. Seriously, that is, uh, like few and industry can do. So we’ve got two more segments, uh, that we’re gonna look at in a second. But Greg, weigh in on what, uh, you heard him share Lee share about the railroad industry.

Greg White (15:53):

Yeah, well, what I heard him share was a lot that, I don’t know, I mean, it’s a very complex industry, <laugh>, I’m thankful for people like Lee who keep their finger on the pulse of that because, uh, it’s complex is everyone just heard there. And, um, you know, intermodal for what, for anyone who doesn’t know means it, it arrives on a, usually arrives on a ship, winds up on a train, and then winds up on a chassis behind a semi. So, um, that is, you know, every so much, not everything so much hits the ground on rail, um, that the impact has been huge. And, and particularly with the impact of, you know, things like the Mississippi drought and things like that, that has really caused issues in all kinds of transportation, not just, um, barge transportation as well. But, um, you know, it’s, it’s gonna be interesting because the, the, uh, unions were essentially forced into an agreement, which at best a third of the unions didn’t agree with.

Greg White (16:59):

Um, and you know, we’ve heard rumblings, you know, off the record that even the ones who agreed, agreed, many of them agreed, uh, under duress, say the least. So, uh, it’s gonna be an, it’s gonna be a really interesting ride. Demand’s gonna shift big time this year as the country goes into deeper recession. And, and as you know, as, as people continue to, um, shift their lifestyles based on, I mean, if you think about it this time last year, we were still subs under some pretty substantial covid restrictions, though, um, people were, were getting out. Um, I’m thinking about, and we’ve been talking about what, you know, the island looked like last year, uh, versus this year and what labor looked like last year versus this year. And to, you know, Lee’s point, it’s, there’s much greater availability, but there are still people, um, counting on their side hustle for, or whatever you want to call it, for, um, income.

Greg White (17:59):

And I have a feeling that along with the other issues, tech and other layoff issues that have been substantial this year, I think we could see some of these smaller manifest businesses, um, struggle, which is gonna shift demand as well. So it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be really interesting for the next couple years. You know, what’s really interesting, and Lee I don’t know, I mean, you, you have to have seen some of this and, but what’s really interesting is that with all of this disruption, all of which occurs when economic shifts and and other geopolitical, um, impacts occur, but of all of this, I think one of the things that has changed the most is the awareness among the gen general public, right? Consumers know how supply chain works now, and it matters to them both from an e s G standpoint and just from a deliverability and cost standpoint. They are starting to understand the impact that things like rail and trucking and inflation, right, and economic shifts and geopolitical shifts have on their ability to get goods at the price that they want ’em.

Scott Luton (19:08):

So Lee, let’s get you to respond to that and then we’re gonna move into the trucking, uh, industry. Get your thoughts here, your, uh, your response to that Lee.

Lee Klaskow (19:15):

Yeah, so, um, you know, that, that, that was a lot and there’s a lot of things I can comment on, you know, on, on the recession, uh, standpoint, you know? Yeah, it does look like, uh, we’re going to recession. You know, I think the probability on Bloomberg’s around the 65% chance now that we’re gonna go into recession, recession usually happens when like the yield curve is inverted, which it is when there’s commodities shocks, and, you know, we talk about inflation, obviously a lot of that had to do with commodities. So, you know, the big spike up in commodities, um, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s something, that’s something else. Um, and then, you know, also when the Fed begins to tighten, and as everyone, you know, if you just read the paper or look at your credit card statement or, you know,

Greg White (19:55):

You feel total

Lee Klaskow (19:56):

Mortgage, uh, you know, they’ve, they’ve been increasing, you know, uh, rates considerably. I guess the good news is that CPIs kind of tapered off in November. That was reported earlier today. Um, you know, I think the increase, uh, have written down here for total was 0.1 month to month and, uh, plus 7.1% year over year. Uh, that’s, uh, so that, that is, you know, good news cuz it, it, it increased at its, uh, at, at a lower, lower rate and lower than what people expected, right? And so, you know, when that happens, the market’s like, oh, the fed’s not gonna tighten as much as maybe we thought they might. So maybe instead of 75 basis points, it’s 50 basis points or 25 basis points. Um, so, you know, we might be coming not at the end, but, you know, getting closer to the end of the fed tightening cycle, which, uh, would, would be good for, uh, the economy.

Lee Klaskow (20:46):

And, and I’m still, you, you know, optimistic and I, and I, I’m, I’m always a, a glass half, uh, full of, uh, of a nice wine, a glass of wine <laugh>, uh, kinda guy, um, or moonshine, right? Um, that’s right. <laugh>, I, I’m not that particular. Um, but like, you know, so, so, you know, I think it’s going, I think we still can manage, I’m not gonna say a super soft landing, right? But I don’t think the, the, the any recession’s gonna be, you know, long and deep. You know, I, I joke around, I think it’s gonna be, you know, a recession that might be named after me, you know, short and shallow <laugh>. Uh, so I, I think that that would be optimal, uh, for, for not only the economy, but you know, consumers as well, you know, and, and, and, and we, you know, you also talked about the labor issues.

Lee Klaskow (21:34):

Um, you know, I I think that rails are going to have to address sick, sick, sick, sick days, which was a real sticking point, right? Um, you know, not only, you know, there’s some activist investors that have been, you know, voicing their concerns from an E S G standard, uh, which is, you know, becoming extremely important. I mean, they were small investors, uh, in these companies that, you know, they, they owned like less than 1%. Um, but, you know, they’re E s G investors are starting to make noise about how it’s important. And I also think that the rails, you know, Norfolk Southern kind of highlighted this at their analyst day, I think it was last year, last week in Atlanta, uh, which we, which we went to, uh, you know, about the fact that they’re not, you know, myopically focused on their margins. You know, they’re really looking for profitable growth, uh, and they really believe that, you know, they’re probably gonna have to operate a little fatter, if you will, during the cycle.

Lee Klaskow (22:30):

You know, in other words, don’t furlough as much as they did in previous cycles. Because what they’re realizing is the costs not only, you know, to, to, to, to, to get the network back to where it, it should be from a service standpoint, but also to hire and to train people. It doesn’t really pay to start furloughing. You’re really not saving that much money. You might save a little bit that first quarter, right? But when you look at, you know, years out, it’s actually, you know, costing you not only an additional cost, but like I was mentioning earlier, the opportunity cost of, of lost volumes to trucking or right. Um, you know, to, to, to o to other, to other modes. Um, so, you know, I, I think, I think they’re really going to be taking a hard look at sick days. Um, and, and, you know, the worker’s ability to take off, and for them to do that, they have to have people, you know, waiting in the wings to come in and, and sub, because, you know, the rails operate, uh, under precision scheduling railroading, which is kind of like six Sigma for the rails.

Lee Klaskow (23:31):

And the real goal of that is, is a lean operating, uh, system. And, and I think that people, um, you know, are not going to be operating under PSR from an orthodox standpoint, and it’s gonna need to be more or less, less, you know, using what works and, you know, kind of bending to what they need to, to meet not only their, their labor needs, but also, you know, some concerns that some investors have about those, uh, labor practices.

Scott Luton (23:59):

All right. So I wanna move us head into trucking for the sake of time, but, but, uh, quick comment. Uh, we we’re talking, um, uh, getting back to fight and weight, uh, and fight and shape in the new year. Well, you know, you also mentioned the consumer price index early and, uh, uh, um,

Scott Luton (24:15):

Salad and all the ingredients that go in the salad. That’s been one of the things that has been insulated from, from inflation pricing coming back down. I was reading the other day that, um, Arizona, which grows, you know, Greg, I know you from your time there, lots of agriculture, right? That they grow a ton of, of vegetables there. Well, not only is pricing high right now there and in farms in California, but as in January, uh, farmers in Arizona are gonna get less water from the Colorado River as, as more regulation comes into play based on those, those water levels. So it may be tougher, but we may have, we may have new excuses in January to keep eating chicken wings and burgers and other things because it’s, it’s it’s price, it’s economically driven. Is that right, Lee? I see you smiling. Can we, can we go with those excuses in January?

Lee Klaskow (25:05):

Uh, I hope not. I, you know, I’ll, I’ll let your viewers judge me. I need my kale

Scott Luton (25:10):

<laugh>. I love kale. You need kale. That’s right.

Lee Klaskow (25:14):

Keeps you regular, you know, building up <laugh>.

Scott Luton (25:18):

All right, so I’m gonna have to share, speaking of kale, uh, I’m gonna have to share Amanda’s, uh, my dear wife’s incredible kale salad dressing. I’m gonna have to add that to, uh, and, and share that with our supply chain now, global family. Okay. Uh, so much fun. So little time, uh, let’s move into trucking. So, uh, Leah, I’d love to get your outlook for trucking in 2023, and then Gregory, we can get your commentary as well. So Lee, start us off.

Lee Klaskow (25:43):

Yeah, so when we look at trucking, there’s obviously two sub-segments that we look at. We look at the truckload market and the less than truckload market to focus on the truckload market, you know, um, the spot market there has been, you know, extremely volatile, right? We saw, you know, parts of the market about a year ago, or even less than a year ago, where, where conditions were so tight, you saw a flood of capacity coming into the market. And when those people were coming into the market, they were buying equipment at, at higher costs. So, you know, so they had a higher cost base. Now, fast forward to today, you know, uh, the need for the spot market has diminished because demand is diminished, and supply chains are slowly getting back to normal. So that that pressure that people put, you know, for, uh, or relief valve, if you will, within the spot market is, is, is totally changed.

Lee Klaskow (26:38):

So what we’re seeing is, is a rebalancing of the market. Um, and a lot of that, um, high cost capacity is going to be, you know, forced outta the market cuz they just can’t make enough money. Um, that, that should be good for rates. You know, rates have gone down considerably. They’re now like 26 or 27% year over year excluding fuel surcharges. Um, you know, um, but you know, they still remain slightly above some pre pandemic levels. So it’s not like all doom and gloom, but the higher cost people are, you know, getting pushed out. You know, we think that, you know, mark, the market probably should turn around the second quarter, uh, in terms of, of spot rates. You know, we think there’s some more room to go lower, uh, especially since this peak season has pretty, you know, been meh at best, uh, is very muted. What

Scott Luton (27:27):

Was that? What was that Lee? What was that? Man? Man, it’s an economic term. <laugh>. Yes, <laugh>. I love it. Okay. Um,

Lee Klaskow (27:35):

And, and then, and then, so, you know, when you, so when we look at the contractual rate, cuz the, the publicly traded trucking companies, which we follow in, in what we care about, you know, like the JB Hunts, the Knight Swifts, and the Warners of the world, you know, they, they’re, they’re a small part of their businesses spot, you know, five to 10% depending on the cycle, you know, so that’s gonna translate into pressure on contractual rates. Now, from an apple to Apple standpoint, you know, we don’t think a lot of lanes are gonna see significantly declines, but what you’re gonna see is that, you know, there was a lot of contracts priced last year cuz shippers were desperate for capacity, but that capacity was really kind of like spot, but they still priced it. Those lanes are gonna be down, you know, 15 to 20%.

Lee Klaskow (28:21):

But like, you know, most lanes are gonna be down flat to slight, slightly, slightly negative. So net net you know, we’re expecting low to mid single digit lower contractual rates. When you take that mix of everything together, uh, for next year. That coupled with, you know, obviously some volume pressures we’re really gonna weigh on, um, on earnings. And not only are the, the pricing and the volumes gonna impact it, but you know, they were making good money selling used equipment. Uh, those prices have calmed down because the demand in spot market is not as what it once was. Um, and so you could see rates, you know, or I’m sorry, earnings per share, uh, down 15 to 18%, kind of that, that that area. Uh, that’s I think what, what the market is expecting today. Um, you know, and then, and then on the less than truckload market, uh, that’s, that’s geared more towards the industrial economy.

Lee Klaskow (29:16):

Um, and if we go into recession, you know, that’s probably gonna be hit more. And the LTL industry has had a great couple years. Um, they’re gonna continue to have strong pricing, probably mid single digits of price increases. It’s a much more consolidated rational business where, I don’t know the stat, I’m probably gonna not say it correctly, but something like the top 10 carriers have like 70 to 80% of the market. Um, and so it’s a much more, more rational pricing environment, but they’re gonna face, you know, lower tonnage a cuz the difficult comparisons and b cuz of the weaker economy that, you know, we alluded to. Um, but you know, earnings are not gonna go down as nearly as much as you’re gonna see on the truckload side. You know, maybe, you know, low to mid single digit, uh, in terms of earnings per share, uh, next year, uh, at least, at least that’s what the consensus is kind of modeling for.

Scott Luton (30:05):

Okay. Very holistic outlook there, Gregory.

Greg White (30:10):

What a mess. Um, I mean, when you look at, I mean, when you look at all this together, you know, you know, I tend to look at this from the demand side, from the shippers side. And um, what I see frankly a lot from the shipper’s side is a lot of relief that, you know, we’re not in these insane, um, days of rates. Um, though I have heard many people reflect on the ironies of the continued fuel surcharges, which are, which are left over from 2008, 2009 when fuel got to $5 four $45 a gallon, right? And continued even as fuel dipped well below that and now continue even though fuel has has dipped yet again. Um, so, you know, there’s a lot, there’s a lot of, uh, obfuscation of what the actual rates are. I mean, when you say except fuel surcharges, you know, it’s arguable whether, I mean, not, not in this precise environment because diesel is still so expensive, but there are, the rate environment has become more and more difficult for shippers to discern with things like fuel surcharges and these, you know, um, shifting, uh, and cartage charges as well.

Greg White (31:26):

It’s become a really, really complex environment for shippers. And I think that will continue, demand, as we just talked about, will continue to decline into and probably through next year again, uh, not just for Lee’s benefit, but also for our audience. Not, I am not an economist, but I’m right as often as they are, which is also almost never. Um, so <laugh>, I mean, I think, you know, I think what whatever happens, I think there are a few things that we can, we can recognize is that, you know, to Lee’s point, uh, truckload and l t LTL will do what he’s talking about. But I think demand will continue to flutter and, and, um, maybe even reduce over what time span. Who knows? I mean, we don’t get paid to guess that Lee and his team get paid to guess that and good on ’em and Hmm. And I, you know, and I’m, I’m sure they are right as much as anyone else. So

Scott Luton (32:27):

Bet on it.

Greg White (32:29):

Well, it’s a little bit, you know, Lee even said it, it’s a little bit like being a, a meteorologist, right? You just hope nobody remembers that really, really bold prediction or maybe a sports commentator,

Scott Luton (32:39):

Right? For all

Lee Klaskow (32:40):

Those people without the green screen

Greg White (32:42):

Bound for the Super Bowl.

Scott Luton (32:43):

That’s right. What was that Lee? Sorry, you go.

Lee Klaskow (32:45):

No, I’d say I’m yeah, a meteorologist without the green screen, so I don’t

Greg White (32:48):

Yeah, I know you don’t get, you don’t even get the Yeah. <laugh>, you got nothing to point at,

Scott Luton (32:52):

Right? We can, we can fix that. We can fix that, Lee. We can fix that. Um, all right, lotus, lot of things to track. Uh, we, we’ve, we’ve tackled the railroad industry and trucking. There’s so much going on. It’s tough to get it in the, even in an hour long show. Um, Lee, for the second time, let’s move into ocean freight. It’s really interesting, you know, this time of year ago, um, we were just talking yesterday, Greg, I wanna say containers come, come outta China for the west coast was about 20 grand and now they’re less than two, at least what we were, uh, uh, tracking yesterday. So a lot of changes. Uh, give us your outlook for 2023 for Ocean Freight Lee.

Lee Klaskow (33:28):

Yeah, so it rates that, like, you know, when you talk about the 20 grand, like that’s, that’s the spot market and that’s like with all the fees, like if you just, if you need it to get it like immediately, I mean, those levels were obviously extremely unsustainable and rates are down around 70% from there. They still remain above pre pandemic levels, but you know, they can continue to, to track lower. Cuz volumes are expected to be lower next year cuz of the global economy. Um, so that’s first and foremost. Then if you look at the supply side and the second half of next year supply is supposed to, is gonna be a significant amount of supply hitting the water. Uh, and so that’s gonna create capa excess capa more excess capacity than what the market already has. So, you know, when I look at 2022, you know, I, I don’t, I don’t anyone, anyone with like half a brain can easily say with a lot of confidence that 2022 was the peak for the con global container liner industry 2023 is still gonna be a decent year.

Lee Klaskow (34:28):

Um, because shipping is a, is a cycle of booms and busts, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and the cycles have gotten shorter and, um, you know, more extreme, um, for the industry, uh, the most of the players, um, not all of them are not rational when it comes to pricing. They have, uh, shipping companies cuz you know, it’s in their, uh, you know, sovereign companies, uh, countries interest to have those and to support those industries. So they’re somewhat subsidized. Um, and then there’s others that are, you know, more operate, uh, like a capitalist uh, uh, kind of, um, organization. And, and so, you know, my point being is that there’s gonna be booms and busts. Um, next year is probably gonna be a, a better than it was from an earning standpoint, um, from a, from a pre pandemic standpoint, uh, versus I’m sorry, versus a pre pandemic, um, timing.

Lee Klaskow (35:26):

Uh, but rates are just gonna slowly continue to, to, to go lower, uh, until, um, you know, they kind of bottom out. But where that is, I have no, I, no idea. Uh, it’s really, that’s gonna be dependent on, on on global demand and it’s gonna be dependent on what we talked about in the beginning of show, of the show, you know, what China is doing. Cause you know, China influences, um, you know, the world’s exports and imports, um, cuz they’re huge, the biggest importers of iron ore coal. Um, you know, so we also look at the dry bulk industry, um, you know, and that’s been impacted along with the, the crew tanker industry. Um, because of the, the impact of, uh, Russia’s war in Ukraine. Um, you know, that’s creating, you know, people have to find new sources for commodities, uh, because of the sanctions that are in place. It happens to be a good thing for the tanker market. Um, so, you know, people that might have imported, uh, Russian oil via a tanker are now looking at, you know, importing that order oil from either the US or the Middle East. And those have longer ton miles, uh, which, you know, soaks up capacity. So, you know, we’re, we’re probably most bullish about the, the crew tanker market next year, uh, relative to the dry bulk and, and container letter markets.

Scott Luton (36:44):

Okay. Uh, Greg weigh in on more seeing Ocean freight and into next year.

Greg White (36:50):

Wow. You wanna talk about an industry that I know nothing about <laugh>. I mean, it is, I mean, sh shipping, uh, I only know it from having been a consumer of it in the past, but it’s very complex. I can tell you that we have seen what it, you know, both, um, discussions and results very consistent with what Leah said, which is it is a series of booms and busts. I mean, it was just last year that everyone was railing against all these shipping companies for making record profits. Now, now two years before. Um, and in the next two years when they are struggling to remain solvent, nobody will be saying anything. But it is very much that, right? Nobody’s gonna be rushing to their aid with cash, all those complaining, uh, shippers and consumers Lee, right? Um, yep. But they’ll gladly take

Lee Klaskow (37:45):

Advantage. They didn’t complain when, you know, um, you know, uh, transpacific rates were under a thousand dollars and, you know, the, the liners were losing, you know, money on, on, on each shipment that they took. Um, right. So, you know, it’s, it’s, you know, booms and busts last year was a total enno anomaly. Yep. Um, you know, it was like a perfect storm in terms of, you know, what, what was going on the global supply chain, um, you know, the backups and in LA Long Beach or, you know, back to where they used to be. Um, you know, and you’re just, you’re just seeing, uh, a more normalized environment coupled with demand that’s, you know, not where, where it should be. I mean, you know, peak season, like I said earlier, was me. Uh, and, you know, we’re not expecting a huge increase in, in, in exports until China fully reopens. Um, and, you know, the European economy is on better footing and, you know, hopefully the US economy doesn’t slip too deep into a recession.

Greg White (38:46):

Yep. And we’ve talked about situation after situation where companies have bulked up on inventory, right? We talked about Lululemon, who increased their inventory by 85%. Guess where that inventory comes from and guess on what motive transport. So, you know, the, the, um, troubles. It, it, it is truly a whiplash effect. Um, although in, in this case, it’s a very long lasting whiplash, right? So, Hmm. Um, what’s gonna, what is really gonna depend or, or drive this is gonna depend on how companies offload this mass of old inventory. I don’t know what else to call it, um, over the course of the next six to 12 months, because Roomba is just selling the, the I or iRobot is just selling the Roombas they got last year this year. Mm. Right? They held them over pack and hold, right? We talked about that with Gap and all of their, uh, companies and various and sundry other organizations who’ve done that.

Greg White (39:48):

Even some of the best retailers, Costco, Walmart, target, are incredibly overstocked. And we saw it hit their, hit their, uh, valuations early in the year and continue to do so as the goods that you have to order six to 12 months in advance continue to come over. So they, a lot of companies have, they’ve tried to euthanize it so that it doesn’t shock their stock. Right? Uh, good luck with that. But they’ve all said, basically, we’ve stopped buying, right? We have reduced our, our inventory consumption or our in, uh, inventory purchases into next year to see how fast this stuff sells down.

Scott Luton (40:27):

Yep. Discount bonanza. Discount bonanza. Well,

Greg White (40:30):

I mean, it’s true that, you know, tjx, right? TJ Max is now competing with traditional retailers who are preferring to hold that inventory and discount it themselves rather than sell it off at liquidation prices to TJ Max. So it’s created a substantially different dynamic in retail as well.

Scott Luton (40:48):

Yep. So let’s, um, let’s move into, uh, leave for the ha a handful of folks that may not know what you, uh, do over at Bloomberg Intelligence. Let’s talk about that, and then as we start to wrap, we wanna make sure we, uh, can connect our listeners to you and, and I know you do a lot of keynotes out there in marketplace. So tell us about Bloomberg Intelligence.

Lee Klaskow (41:09):

Yeah, so Bloomberg Intelligence is Bloomberg’s research arm. I mean, I’m sure most of your, uh, uh, viewers know Bloomberg, uh, bloomberg.com, um, you know, great, uh, financial, uh, news organization that’s, uh, you know, widely recognized around the globe. Um, their investment, I’m sorry, their, their research arm has around 350, uh, analysts globally. Uh, I cover from an, I cover transports from an equity standpoint, but we have analysts that cover, uh, things from our credit, uh, and E S G litigation, uh, strategy. Uh, so, so we pretty much do the whole gamut. We cover over 2000 companies globally. Uh, and I, I think the number is over 150, uh, industries globally. So we pretty much cover any business aspect that you’re looking, uh, for and any asset that you’re looking for. So whether it’s fixed income, equity, commodity, uh, we we’re, we’re kind of, or we’re kind of looking at it.

Lee Klaskow (42:05):

Um, you know, I’ve been with, uh, I think Bloomberg for about 12 years now. Uh, prior to that I was an Excel side analyst on Wall Street covering transports for about six years, five or six years. Um, if you wanna get in touch with me, I’m on LinkedIn, um, K L A S K O w is my last name. Uh, and I’m also on, uh, Twitter. Uh, my handle’s, uh, at Logistics Lee. Um, and, you know, feel free to reach out, follow me, you know, always, uh, love talking to people that are interested in transports. Uh, it’s a fascinated industry, you know, I fell into it, right? Or stepped into it depending on, you know, <laugh>, how you wanna say it. Um, most

Greg White (42:43):

Of us came into it the same way,

Scott Luton (42:45):

Right?

Lee Klaskow (42:46):

<laugh>? Yes, yes. Um, and, um, you know, uh, it’s just, uh, it’s just a fascinating industry, uh, with fascinating people. Uh, and it’s really, you know, I don’t care what anyone else says, you know, one of the most, uh, important industries. Uh, cuz without it we would not, you know, have medicine. We would not have food, we would not have shelter, we would not have, you know, all the stuff that I got behind me, right? Um, uh, in the, you know, in the, and the clothes that I’m wearing. Uh, and it’s, uh, you know, there’s a lot of unsung heroes that, that are, that, that are participating. It, you know, from, from the guy or gal in the, the, you know, the, the, the loading dock to the trucker, uh, to, you know, the, uh, the engineer conductor on the rail to the seamen, um, all the way up to, you know, the C-Suite.

Lee Klaskow (43:33):

It’s all, you know, it’s, it’s a really, um, fascinating industry that is, um, just so important to most people’s every day. You know, I think Greg, you know, you were talking about earlier, you know, it’s just like, you know, the pandemic, the, one of the good things is if there could be a good thing from a pandemic, you know, it brought, you know, supply chain and supply chain professionals, um, to the forefront and to C-suite, you know, because it became such an important aspect, you know, and it, and it kind of brought supply chain, you know, it brought, brought, brought sexy back for supply chain, uh, if you will. So,

Scott Luton (44:09):

So the,

Lee Klaskow (44:10):

If you wanna play that music as we, that’s

Scott Luton (44:12):

Good. The backbone of society, undoubtedly. Um, alright Lee, I really appreciate that. I’m gonna get Greg’s final word in just a minute, but folks, make sure you connect with Lee, uh, classical, connect with follow him, invite him every time I turn around. Lee, you’re doing another keynote, another conference or, uh, event somewhere. So also check out Bloomberg Intelligence and we’re gonna make it it easy. You’re gonna be one click away in the episode notes of connecting and with Lee and, and his whole team. So Greg, uh, before we wrap here, what is one of your favorite, we’ve covered a lot of ground here in the last hour. What’s one thing that folks gotta keep front and center based on something that we’ve talked about here today?

Greg White (44:47):

Well, I think to Lee’s earlier point, optimism <laugh> is one of the things you have to keep in mind. Look, much of this is outside of our control. And, um, I, I want to assure folks, those folks who had walked away from us, Lee and Scott, at, at, uh, cocktail parties until after the pandemic, as soon as we said the word supply chain or logistics, right? They didn’t know or care or want to know, and you literally watch their eyes gl glass over, but now they’re interested. I want you to understand that the people in logistics, the people in supply chain, people in manufacturing, they have seen all of these disruptions before, not necessarily on the scale that they have, not necessarily for the same reasons, but disruption is a natural element of supply chain. And, and the professionals in this organiza or in this industry are equipped to deal with that, right?

Greg White (45:41):

So, uh, you know, the optimism is, it’s gonna be rough going, obviously, right? But this, these kind of, of disruptions have happened before ships have gotten stuck in the Suez Canal. We’ve had freezes that have shut down, um, petroleum product production. You know, we’ve had weather, we’ve had wars, we’ve had all sorts of, of, uh, things happen that have, that have impacted the, the reliability or the speed or the cost or the sustainability of the supply chain. Understand that the organiza that the industry is equipped to attack this, the one thing we could use is less government intervention. Fewer wars would be nice. Fewer, um, ebbs and flows in terms of, of, um, expeditious regulation or, or restrictive regulation in that, those sorts of things. I mean, obviously the global shutdown did not help, but we’re recovering from that. Um, so look, look, look forward to the fact that this has been done before. It’s, it happened also in 2008, the great recession and in and in between for an, a multitude of other reasons. So we got this.

Scott Luton (46:53):

That’s right. Uh, what a nice optimistic note to wrap up today’s show on, uh, big thanks, uh, Lee Klasko, Lee Klasko with Bloomberg Intelligence. Thanks, uh, for joining us, Lee.

Lee Klaskow (47:05):

Thanks for having me. Like I, like I said in the beginning of the show, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you guys and talk to your audience and, you know, can’t wait to do it again.

Greg White (47:12):

Yeah, great having you, Lee.

Scott Luton (47:14):

Absolutely. Greg, always a pleasure, uh, to knock out these conversations with you. Enjoyed, uh, you and Lee’s uh, observations here today.

Greg White (47:22):

My pleasure. I enjoyed Lee’s

Scott Luton (47:24):

<laugh>. So folks, uh, hopefully our listeners most importantly enjoyed, I’ll tell you, it’s a treat to get together with Lee on a regular basis, which is why he’s been moving up the charts in terms of our repeat guests here at Supply Chain. Now, since the very beginning, the og one of the OGs here, um, need to put on your Casey Casem voice <laugh>, right? That’s, he’s moving up the chart, moving up the charts. That’s right. Um, hey, uh, folks, hopeful you enjoy this episode. Be sure to find Supply channel wherever you get your podcasts from. Hey, including YouTube, uh, which is a, it’s free and easy. It’s probably perhaps one of the easiest platforms to lean into all the content that we produce here. But most importantly, uh, on behalf of our entire team here, uh, Scott Luton wishing you all the best, uh, but do good give Ford be the change. And with that said, we see next time right back here at Supply Chain now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (48:14):

Thanks for being a part of our supply chain now, community. Check out all of our programming@supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain now, anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain. Now.

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Featured Guests

Lee Klaskow is a senior analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, a unique platform for in-depth analysis, ideas, and data sets on industries and companies, as well as credit, government, ESG, and litigation factors that impact decision-making available on the Bloomberg Professional services at BI . He specializes in freight transportation and logistics, including global marine shipping, air freight and logistics sectors as well as the North American trucking and railroad industries.  Klaskow provides primary company coverage on CSX, CP, CNI, CHRW, DPW GY, EURN, FDX, JBHT, KSU, KNX, LSTR, MAERSKB DC, NSC, ODFL, UNP, UPS, WERN and XPO, for Bloomberg Intelligence. Engaged in extensive contact with management teams, investors, sell-side analysts, bankers, industry contacts and Bloomberg customers to develop and refine research and analysis. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Klaskow was a senior analyst at Longbow Research and Prudential Equity Group, where he covered freight transportation and logistics companies. He has also worked at Prudential Equity Group as an industrial associate prior to being promoted to senior analyst. Klaskow helped originate and execute global equity transactions for both ABN Amro Rothschild and J.P. Morgan. Klaskow began his career at McCarthy, Crisanti & Maffei analyzing and reporting on the primary equity markets. Klaskow earned his bachelor of science degree in finance and management from Ithaca College, and his master’s in business from Fordham University.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Greg White

Principal & Host

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

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Vicki White

Controller

Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

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Greg White

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.

With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.  He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community.  Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include CiscoMicrosoft, Citrix and IBM.  Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.

He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Jeff Miller

Host

Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business.  Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM.  When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.

Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.

Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Ben Harris

Host

Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics.  He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.

He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.

A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.

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