10 Great Road Trip Movies

Thelma and Louise

Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in Thelma & Louise (1991).

Summer is officially upon us and for many, that brings the call of the open road and the need for adventure. For those of you who are smitten with wanderlust and born to be wild, we present our list of 10 great road trip movies. It is certainly not an exhaustive list, or even the “10 Best of All Time”.  The variety of movie genres and enormous Hollywood library of buddy pictures and road trip films make that virtually impossible.

What does all of this have to do with shipping and logistics you ask?  Very little, but to quote Jack Nicholson in The Shining, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Join us as we get your motor runnin’ and head out on the highway, looking for adventure…

Easy-RiderEasy Rider (1969)
Director: Dennis Hopper

Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper star in this quintessential 60’s cult classic of the open road, as the three head for Mardi Gras in search of free love and adventure. It has inspired countless motorcycle purchases and sold millions copies of Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild”.

VacationNational Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Director: Harold Ramis

We all remember those family trips of our youth. Odds are, this is how you remember them. Join Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his dysfunctional family in this epic, lunatic adventure to Wally World in The Family Truckster. Are we there yet?

Thelma & LouiseThelma & Louise (1991)
Director: Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott proves that epic road trips aren’t just for guys. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis star as an Arkansas waitress and bored housewife who hit the road in a ’66 Thunderbird.  Includes a great bit by Brad Pitt: “Well now, I’ve always believed that if done properly, armed robbery doesn’t have to be a totally unpleasant experience.”

Director: Alexander Payne

How anybody ever successfully pitched a wine-tasting buddy movie, we’ll never know. Nominated for Best Picture, this movie nearly single-handedly killed the Merlot industry. Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church star as middle aged guys with not much to show for it, when they head out to California’s wine country for adventure. As funny as it painful in its portrayal of middle-age disappointment.

DuelDuel (1971)
Director: Steven Spielberg

Spielberg’s directorial debut. This made-for-TV movie is a cult classic. Dennis Weaver stars in a nightmarish tale of a salesman being relentlessly pursued across California’s desert by a rusty, menacing, smoke-spewing big-rig. Self-preservation instincts drive this mild-mannered salesman to extremes. Sound strange? It is. But it is also very, very good.


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Introducing the Self-Driving Truck


Self Driving Truck
Not to be outdone by Google, German vehicle manufacturer Daimler AG announced the introduction of a self-driving truck yesterday. U.S. based Freightliner, in turn, has been given a license by the State of Nevada to begin testing the vehicles on the road.

From port automation, to Amazon delivery via drones and now this, the times, they are a changing.

For more details, see this recent story from CNN on the latest technology to be introduced into a rapidly changing industry.


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FedEx to Buy TNT for $4.8 Billion

FedEx-TNT logoPurchase of Dutch parcel-delivery firm would
allow U.S. rival to expand in Europe

  • Antitrust Issues Remain in the EU
  • Fewer Choices for Shippers
  • DHL’s EU lobbying power remains a factor
In a widely anticipated move, plans for FedEx to buy TNT were announced last Thursday by the Memphis based delivery giant. The deal has been valued at $4.8 billion. If FedEx is able successfully acquire Netherlands-based TNT-NV, a provider of mail and courier services and the fourth largest global parcel operator, it could have major implications for the global express delivery and parcel sectors.

This is not the first time TNT has been the target of an acquisition by industry players. In 2012, it was close to being acquired by FedEx’ chief rival, UPS for $6.8 billion, but the deal was derailed when the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, prohibited the acquisition. Many of the EC’s concerns over the deal were due to the competitive parcel landscape in Europe.

The deal is expected to be made official during the first half of 2016, with FedEx agreeing to pay TNT $200 million in the form of a breakup fee should the deal not come to fruition. As for any antitrust issues that may arise from this deal, FedEx and TNT said that these concerns can be addressed in an adequate and timely manner.

“We believe that this strategic acquisition will add significant value for FedEx shareowners, team members and customers around the globe,” said Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and CEO of FedEx, in a statement. “This transaction allows us to quickly broaden our portfolio of international transportation solutions to take advantage of market trends – especially the continuing growth of global e-commerce – and positions FedEx for greater long-term profitable growth.”

FedEx and TNT cited various strategic benefits of this deal, including:

  1. The combined companies being a strong global competitor in the transportation and logistics industry, drawing on the considerable and complementary strengths of each other;
  2. The combined companies’ customers would enjoy access to a considerably enhanced, integrated global network, which would benefit from the combined strength of TNT Express strong European road platform and Liege hub and FedEx’s strength in other regions globally, including North America and Asia; and
  3. FedEx will strengthen TNT Express with investment capacity, sector expertise and global scope, among others
As part of the conditions of the deal, TNT Express’ airline operations will be divested in compliance with applicable airline ownership regulations.

A Wall Street Journal report explained that this deal makes sense for multiple reasons, given that the European delivery market is making steady gains due to continued expansion following the rollout of a single currency, and the ongoing proliferation of e-commerce, coupled with Europe being a hard market for foreign entities to get into, as many people live in inaccessible apartment buildings and each nation has its own rules and competitors.

However, from a shipper’s standpoint, the deal will mean fewer parcel delivery choices and potentially higher prices in the Eurozone, as FedEx, UPS and DHL become the last major competitors on the continent.

Dave Bronczek, FedEx Express president and CEO, said in the report that this deal can augment how FedEx operates in Europe, with TNT’s vast footprint there, as well as FedEx hoping to leverage the increasing global reach of e-commerce. Per their joint press release, The European regional headquarters of the combined companies will be in Amsterdam/Hoofddorp, and the TNT Express hub in Liege will be maintained as a significant operation of the group.

TNT has grown into a highly respected $6.680 billion euro company with diverse revenue streams from around the world with operations in more than 200 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America. However, they have long been relegated to “also ran” status in the U.S. domestic market. The company has a substantial group of assets, including aircraft, vehicles, hubs, and depots, which cumulatively account for about 1 million deliveries per day handled by its nearly 80,000 employees.

Jerry Hempstead, the principal of Orlando, Fla.-based Hempstead Consulting, said that most observers have long anticipated the acquisition of TNT by FedEx, ever since UPS failed in its attempt to take over TNT. “TNT has been trying to get itself sold for years ever since it split its mail group from its express group in 2010,” he noted. “Against the ever-expanding market shares of DHL, UPS and FedEx, TNT has struggled. They have done a great job in recovering from the loss of momentum, however, that was the result of the prolonged legal battle waged over the UPS offer. In the end, I don’t believe UPS fully understood the lobbying power DHL has with the EU that put a kibosh on the takeover based on anti-competitive reasons.”As for the prospects of a successful FedEx-TNT deal, he said the Fedex offer is far more likely to pass such scrutiny and will now put FedEx in a greater competitive position in Europe.

“To me it has not been ‘if’ TNT would be sold to UPS but ‘when’ and at what price,” he explained. “FedEx will get TNT at a discount over the UPS offer of 2012 if they are successful. This is a great acquisition for FedEx who has proven in the past that they can make very successful acquisitions and have them work. Flying Tigers, RPS, Parcel Direct all come to mind as acquisitions that were risky but have paid off handsomely over the years. Don’t underestimate the ability to throw obstacles in the way of this acquisition just as FedEx and UPS tried to scuttle the DHL acquisition of Airborne in 2003. Some people have long memories and are students of history. Unlike the Airborne deal this is not a matter of flights nor should it be about market share domination. This is real synergy I think between two like businesses.”

Editors Note: SupplyChain247.com contributed to this post.