Retail imports to increase 3.5% in May as port labor negotiations begin
Washington, D.C. — Import volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 3.5% in May as negotiators prepare to begin talks on a new contract for West Coast dockworkers, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“We’re expecting a lot of cargo to move through the ports this summer and we want to make sure there aren’t any supply chain disruptions that would impact the cargo flow,” said NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold. “We hope there won’t be any issues, but the sooner labor and management can agree on a new contract, the better it will be for everyone who relies on the West Coast ports.”
Representatives of the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union are scheduled to begin negotiations next week on a new contract to replace the current agreement that expires June 30. NRF has urged both sides to avoid any disruptions that could affect the flow of back-to-school or holiday season merchandise.
West Coast ports handle more than two-thirds of U.S. retail container cargo each year, including the bulk of cargo from Asia. The last major shutdown there occurred in the fall of 2002, closing ports for 10 days and creating a weeks-long backlog to be cleared.
U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in March, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. The number was up 5.1% from February, traditionally the slowest month of the year, and up 14.5% from March 2013. One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent.
The total for 2013 was 16.2 million TEU, up 2.3% from 2012’s 15.8 million TEU.
“Most economic fundamentals are pointing in the direction of continued, sustained recovery in consumer demand and import volumes,” Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. “This is turning out to be the longest period of growth for some time now.”
Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.
Voltage Security expands availability of end-to-end data encryption
Cupertino, Calif. — Voltage Security announced a new product integration with device manufacturer Uniform Industrial Corp. (UIC) that provides end-to-end data encryption for the retail payments industry, a key technology in light of the recent data breaches. (Chain Store Age will host a Webinar on data security sponsored by Voltage Security, “Lessons Learned: What to Do NOW to Protect Stores Against Data Breaches,” on May 13. Register here.)
The new integration expands upon a previous partnership with Heartland Payment Systems in which UIC and Voltage provided end-to-end encryption for Heartland’s E3 security solutions, delivering reliable, secure terminal-based communications with billions of transactions on hundreds of thousands of merchant locations across global deployments, Voltage said. Now that type of solution is available for a broader range of payment processors.
“Malware in the retail IT systems, especially the traditional POS, has resulted in major costly breaches world-wide,” explained Mark Bower, VP product management, Voltage Security. “We take our role as a technology partner very seriously and we are dedicated to developing solutions that provide the highest level of protection against data loss or breach, as well as enabling PCI compliance cost scope reduction, all at significantly lower implementation and management costs.”
Voltage said that (UIC) now supports Voltage Format-Preserving Encryption (FPE), part of Voltage SecureData Payments with Voltage Identity-Based Encryption (IBE), providing merchants with P2PE (point-to-point encryption), otherwise known as end-to-end encryption, from a payment reading device to a trusted processing host.
UIC is now offering Voltage SecureData Payments with Voltage Format-Preserving Encryption to users of its devices of the MSR215E and MSR215T secure MSR readers, and PP790SE and PP795SE All-in-one PIN Pads, as well as the TS890 and TS900 payment terminals.
From authorization and settlement, through business processes such as charge-backs, loyalty or repeat payments, merchants and processors must be able to reliably protect credit card data at rest and in transit, and, at the same time, reduce PCI scope as much as possible, without impacting business workflows or customer facing business processes.
“Our partnership with UIC is another example of how widely available Voltage end-to-end encryption is across the payments industry. Businesses have the option to implement Voltage SecureData Payments on a wide variety of payments devices and perform decryption within their own data environments or with a Voltage platform partner, and Voltage works with six of the top eight U.S. payment processors,” said Bower.
By strongly encrypting cardholder data at the read head, using tamper-resistant and tamper-evident payment devices, any malware installed on the intermediate POS systems would only have access to the ciphertext, while the keys necessary to decrypt it stay safely inside the most secure PCI environments at the decryption endpoint. The cipher text, using Voltage Format-Preserving Encryption (FPE), can be used by those POS systems, just as the original plaintext was; but, it is useless to any attackers.
Manhattan Associates releases new mobile, transportation solutions for retailers
Atlanta – Manhattan Associates is releasing new mobile and transportation management solutions. The supply chain technology vendor announced the new applications at its Momentum 2014 conference in Hollywood, Florida, May 5-8.
Among the new mobile technologies showcased is a tablet-based application released as part of Manhattan’s 2014 Labor Management (LM) software. The new application delivers a mobile experience to new and existing functionality within LM, including Dynamic Employee Management, an interactive employee scorecard displaying current and historical metrics; Employee Interactions, which performs on-the-spot employee observations and document interactions and coaching directly on the supervisor’s mobile device; and Standards Validation, which captures, validate and analyze labor activity standards in real-time through any mobile device.
Manhattan Associates also showcased the mobile capabilities of its Store Inventory & Fulfillment product suite, which is now available on iOS devices, and a new mobile proof of delivery application, which is integrated within its Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Transportation Management System (TMS). This automates a manual, paper-based process and helps to improve customer service and delivery accuracy.
All three mobile applications were developed using Manhattan’s TouchTop Mobile Framework and application development infrastructure.
Furthermore, Manhattan Associates introduced the 2014 release of TMS. New capabilities include the addition of probabilistic modeling, where shippers can perform a variety of “what-if” scenarios, such as determining optimal freight term assignment, as well as improved parcel management and shared transportation forecasts with carriers.