Tim Stallkamp is a managing director in the Chicago
office of Conway MacKenzie Inc. He specializes in
providing turnaround and crisis management services
to distressed and underperforming businesses. With
experience in providing financial analysis, financial
modeling, and cash flow management, he has advised
both debtors and creditor institutions and has worked
in a variety of industries, including automotive, retail,
consumer products, business services, and health care.
In addition, he has acted as interim management,
including as chief restructuring officer for companies
experiencing distress. Stallkamp holds a bachelor’s
degree from Georgetown University and an MBA
from the University of Michigan. He can be reached at
email@example.com or 312-220-0100.
previously noted, there are numerous
other innovations, both subtle and bold.
For instance, marine freight companies
are experimenting with cargo containers
that use high concentrations of ozone
to keep flowers fresh while they are
transported by ship. If these new
containers are deemed reliable, importers
could realize significant cost savings by
shifting a large percentage of the fresh
flowers they currently ship into the U.S.
annually via air freight to cargo ships.
Behind the scenes, software advances
are becoming more critical in the push to
get product from the producer to the end
customer. Software programs have been
in place for years to help truckers identify
optimal routes to save time and money,
but recent improvements incorporate
live weather updates and route guidance
to steer clear of hazardous weather and
its associated delays. While sophisticated
route guidance and global positioning
systems were once available only to the
largest freight carriers, systems tailored
to specific fleet sizes and geographies
are now available to smaller and more
remote carriers. Other advances in
software for the trucking industry
include programs that analyze business
intelligence data to identify active
markets for potential immediate growth.
And while Amazon made headlines
late last year when it announced that
drones might one day fly through
neighborhoods near the company’s
distribution centers to deliver milk,
bread, or other purchases within hours
of ordering, the retailer is currently in
the process of incorporating automated
warehouse robots to reduce order
picking, packing, and sorting costs
by as much as 40 percent before a
product is even placed on a truck—or
perhaps on a drone in the future. 6
On the Rebound
The U.S. economy and global commerce
rely heavily on the various industries that
comprise the commercial transportation
sector. Each transportation provider
has its own dynamics and market
forces with which to cope. Collectively,
the sector continues to rebound
from the global recession.
In addition to topics addressed in this
article, numerous other factors, some of
which are becoming more critical each
day, affect the sector. For instance, the
shortage of qualified commercial truck
drivers and pilots is expected to intensify
in the near future, and the continued
deterioration of U.S. infrastructure will
pose long-term challenges for the sector.
Investors, managers, and turnaround
practitioners involved with companies
in commercial transportation must
be familiar with each of these issues
to successfully manage through
the dynamics that will continue to
shape the sector as it evolves. J
1 U. S. Energy Information Agency.
Annual Energy Outlook, 2013.
2 ACT Research. Press release, February 19, 2014.
3 Tita, Bob. “First Steam, Then Diesel. Will
LNG Be Next to Power the Railroads?” Wall
Street Journal, November 27, 2013.
4 Stevens, Laura. “A New Threat to UPS and Fed
Ex,” Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2013.
5 Gold, Russell. “U.S. Issues Emergency
Testing Order to Crude Oil Rail Shippers,”
Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2014.
6 Milne, Shawn. “Forget the Octocopter, Let’s Talk
About Kiva,” Janney Capital, December 5, 2013.