Today, more than 80% of global shipping involves containers. They're packed with everything from personal storage items in dry containers to heavy machinery on flat rack containers. For business owners shipping products, getting a container from point A to point B requires precise planning and high-level tracking. But that's easier said than done when global supply chains become over-congested, leading to loading time issues and delays.
That's bad news for business owners who are already under a massive amount of stress. The truth is that container storage delays can cripple a business, but there's a viable solution: drayage brokers in Philadelphia, PA like RelyEx. Drayage companies provide unique solutions to minimize demurrage and help ensure the successful delivery of your freight.
With more than 30 combined years of experience and a solutions-oriented team, RelyEx has quickly become the first choice for streamlined, efficient drayage services. To understand the true value of RelyEx's offerings in the global logistics industry, it helps to understand first what drayage is and why it's used.
If you're a seasoned business owner who uses port drayage to transport your products, you know exactly how important the service can be. But if you were to poll a group of random people, you may get five different definitions of the term "drayage." That begs the question, how is one of the most crucial steps in the supply chain and most vital components of global trade such a confusing concept? When you break it down, it's not too difficult to grasp.
Drayage, by definition, means the transportation of freight from an ocean port to another destination. Today, drayage is also used to describe the process of transporting products and goods over short distances or over "the first mile."
While drayage often means short-distance movements during the supply chain process, it's primarily used in the container shipping space. Drayage loads usually have arrival and departure points in the same city and don't include long-haul, national transportation.
Because a drayage load can mean a few different things, confusion among carriers is common. Many carriers link drayage with going into a port, but that isn't always true. While all drayage loads typically originate from a port of entry, there are often several legs of a drayage journey before a container turns up at its final stop. Legs of a drayage load may include:
You may be thinking, what's so important about drayage? It's such a small step in the container storage transport process. In reality, it's an integral piece needed in the logistics industry and a crucial part of U.S. supply chain management.
To truly understand the importance of drayage, let's use flowers as an example. Most cut flower shipments enter the market from areas in South America until they end up at Dutch auction houses. Once there, wholesalers purchase flowers in bulk and send those products to retail outlets worldwide. Because flowers are perishable, they typically need to be refrigerated and are often shipped in reefer containers. These refrigerated vessels must maintain a certain temp to prevent loss.
Drayage companies like RelyEx allow flower shippers to send their products from Argentinian ports to airports in the Netherlands with peace of mind because their products are protected. The only way to accomplish this feat is with the help of swift, meticulous port drayage services. Drayage companies allow flower shippers to send their products from Argentinian ports to airports in the Netherlands with peace of mind, because their products are protected. The only way to accomplish this feat is with the help of swift, meticulous port drayage services.
If port drayage is compromised, it can cause delays and even fines. You know the packages you get delivered to your front door from apps like Amazon? Without drayage and drayage brokers, one or two-day shipping times wouldn't even be possible.
As a multi-billion-dollar industry in the U.S. alone, it seems like drayage shipping issues shouldn't exist. But the fact is inefficiencies and congestion are still major problems at ports. Whether it's a lack of carriers, absent chassis, or overburdened terminals, delays lead to missed deadlines, lost revenue, and worse.
But anytime challenges exist, so too do innovative solutions.QUOTE REQUEST
RelyEx was created because our founders saw a need in the logistics space for more reliability and efficiency. The reality of the shipping and logistics industry is that it has become very transactional. It's an odd evolution, because most businesses seek a third-party logistics partner that is accessible, transparent, and committed to providing solutions.
As the logistics space continues to grow, it creates newfound expenses and complexities. Clients like ours know that and need a supply chain partner who is genuinely interested in their business. By understanding the needs of our customers and carriers, we can provide the most reliable, effective drayage services possible.
Unlike some drayage companies in Philadelphia, PA, we begin managing your containers before they ever hit the ports by mapping out the most efficient pathways of delivery. That way, our team can discover the best drayage pathways to expedite delivery time and reduce fees that cut into profits.
Our valued drayage customers choose RelyEx because:
At RelyEx, we like to consider ourselves problem solvers. The nature of the container drayage industry presents new challenges every day, but we're firm believers that there's a solution to every hurdle we encounter. And while some drayage businesses implement a reactive approach, RelyEx customers choose us for our proactive mindset. We take pride in solving your company's drayage challenges to help you avoid frustrating fees, missed expectations, and delayed shipments. We strive to make every transaction successful and streamlined by partnering with shippers who prioritize transparent, prompt, and accurate communication.
RelyEx approaches your business from the customer's perspective - a unique approach that helps us provide high-quality, effective drayage services. We've been in the customers' shoes, know their pain points, and because of that, provide first-hand solutions to stressful supply chain issues. With over 30 years of collective knowledge, our team excels in:
Our varied, high-level drayage shipping experience helps us achieve our overarching goal: expertly managing your freight movement needs. That way, you can direct your time and focus on growing the core aspects of your business while we handle the heavy lifting. Throw in proactive planning to avoid bottleneck situations and strong communication for transparent customer relations, and you can see why so many companies trust RelyEx.
When it comes to shipping logistics, it only takes one mistake by a mediocre worker to disrupt your business. That's why, at RelyEx, we pride ourselves on forming and nurturing relationships with carriers who match our standards of care. Our founding partner started his career transporting freight for companies as an on-demand carrier. He uses that knowledge to maximize the resources of our carriers so that our customer's expectations aren't just met - they're exceeded.
Based in the port city of Philadelphia, RelyEx has a keen understanding of the challenges of managing the inbound and outbound flow of containers. Our team of container drayage experts provides your business with unique solutions to nuanced shipping problems, minimizing demurrage and ensuring the successful delivery of your freight.
Customers choose RelyEx because:
Some drayage brokers don't care how customers feel about their service as long as they sign a contract and get paid. As a solutions-oriented team, RelyEx takes the opposite approach. We're motivated by the opportunity to overachieve for our customers and to provide them with the best logistics experience possible. With professional experience as carriers and shippers ourselves, we know the roadblocks and challenges you're facing. We excel at mapping out the best plans of action to solve those problems. But that's just the start.
Our tracking experts monitor and manage every aspect of your drayage shipment from booking to delivery, 24/7. Once booked, we look for the availability of your containers hourly once they're at port. When they arrive, our team acts quickly to access your storage containers when they're available.
Plus, RelyEx ensures your company's requirements are met by the carrier during loading and delivery and provide necessary documentation as fast as possible. With real-time tracking updates and access to our customer service professionals, your team has complete visibility throughout the shipping process.
Over the years, RelyEx has built a strong network of drayage carriers, transloading locations, and container storage spaces to provide you with the best possible options to match your drayage service needs. We know that searching for quality service presents an added layer of complexity and stress to our customers. That's why we work hard to take that off your plate by connecting you with our reliable shipping partners.
With a background moving freight as an on-demand carrier, our founding partner understands how to maximize the resources and equipment of our carriers to match your needs.
Like other industries, the global logistics space is complex. Mistakes will be made, and problems will happen. With those truths in mind, RelyEx has built its reputation as problem solvers. Unlike other drayage companies, we don't shy away from this industry's complexities because we take pride in solving problems. Even better, we aim to do what's needed to avoid those problems altogether.
As your logistics partner, we will provide your company with accurate, transparent, and prompt communication. If there are unexpected issues, we'll notify you immediately and will provide several options to remedy the problem. We even offer custom reporting for large clients who need at-the-moment updates and quick access to shipment documentation.
Why let the unpredictability of your industry dictate your success? With a background working in manufacturing, our founders are familiar with the demands of managing production schedules and sales orders. That experience makes it abundantly clear to us that every business and industry is different. If you struggle with seasonal surges or other factors, our team supports your business with a mapped-out plan and schedule, so you stay ahead of the game.QUOTE REQUEST
Based in the port city of Philadelphia, RelyEx has a keen understanding of the challenges of managing the inbound and outbound flow of containers. Our team of container drayage experts provides your business with unique solutions to nuanced shipping problems, minimizing demurrage and ensuring the successful delivery of your freight.
Demurrage is a charge issued by a port, carrier, or railroad company for storing containers that do not load and unload their cargo promptly. Once the daily limit of free time is exceeded, shippers are charged daily demurrage fees until their cargo is shipped. Though different ports have different policies, charges can range from $75 to $150 per container, per day, for a set number of days. Additional demurrage fees are incurred if a shipper exceeds the port's parameters.
Even when shippers maintain a tight schedule for unloading freight, external factors can play an uncontrollable part. Typically, shipping mistakes caused by human error trigger the most demurrage charges. Some of the most common causes of demurrage include:
Typically, shippers need four specific documents to clear shipments through customs: A Bill of Lading (or BOL), a commercial invoice, a packing list, and an arrival notice. Seasoned drayage brokers like RelyEx are used to preparing these documents, but new shippers tend to miss this step due to inexperience.
If a shipper only pays for part of their shipment, a vessel operator may refuse to release their freight until their bill is fully paid. Payment delays lead to cargo detention at the port of entry, which triggers demurrage charges.QUOTE REQUEST
Paperwork is needed when you're shipping goods with a drayage company. When documents like the Certificate of Origin or Bill of Lading arrive at their destination late, you can expect demurrage fees. RelyEx avoids this situation entirely by being proactive when submitting paperwork.
Additional causes for demurrage fees can include:
At RelyEx, we know first-hand how stressful supply chain problems can be for business owners. Though drayage shipping might seem minor on the surface, it affects every stage of your shipping process. And when inevitable hurdles manifest, RelyEx propels you over the proverbial roadblocks with a proactive mindset and a passion for challenging projects. We believe that all problems have a solution, and our unique vantage point allows us to provide first-hand solutions to customers in a wide array of industries.
When it comes to your business, don't settle for anything less than RelyEx. Contact our office today to learn more about how we make your shipping experience streamlined and stress-free.843-885-3082
BALA CYNWYD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "I worked in radio for over 35 years until rare disease had other plans," said Romy Braunstein.Whether on the airwaves or behind the scenes, Braunstein loved her career. Her work took her around the country and introduced her to stars like Ricky Martin and various American Idol judges and contestants.All the while, she was hiding an otherwise invisible disability."I was misdiagnosed with MS in 2001," said Braunstein. "And then I was really diagnosed with Lamber...
BALA CYNWYD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "I worked in radio for over 35 years until rare disease had other plans," said Romy Braunstein.
Whether on the airwaves or behind the scenes, Braunstein loved her career. Her work took her around the country and introduced her to stars like Ricky Martin and various American Idol judges and contestants.
All the while, she was hiding an otherwise invisible disability.
"I was misdiagnosed with MS in 2001," said Braunstein. "And then I was really diagnosed with Lambert Eaton myasthenic syndrome in 2003."
She recalls her symptoms including unexplained falls, chronic fatigue, and difficulty walking. Essentially, the disease interrupted communication between her nerves and muscles.
But after a long journey of seeing various doctors and enrolling in a clinical trial, Braunstein was able to find a medication that ameliorated her lifestyle.
"The medication has saved the quality of my life," she said. "And now I am fueled and passionate by that to tell everybody in every community to identify symptoms."
Braunstein accomplishes that by making social media content. But she has become especially vocal with her latest passion project.
"Over the last 10 years, through my work experience and all my experiences, I wrote a rap song," she said.
Braunstein utilized the custom music creation company, Songlorious, to collaborate with a Detroit-based artist, J Roy. In just a few days, Braunstein's written lyrics came to life.
"It literally talks about: Am I in pain? Do I need a cane? Muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, unexplained falls, things you can't see," she said. "If people started singing that and resonating with it, they're gonna be like, 'That's me!'"
The song, titled, "99," can now be found on streaming services.
Braunstein was invited by WMGK's Andre Gardner, a longtime friend and co-worker, to sing along with the song as it boomed through the in-studio speakers.
"I really want the song, actually, to be like the anthem for rare disease," said Braunstein. "There's some amazing doctors that are there to make you have a better quality of life again. So, it can happen as long as you get the diagnosis."
Rare Disease Day is recognized on February 28. For more information and resources, visit the website for the National Organization for Rare Disorders.
To learn more about Romy Braunstein's advocacy, visit her Facebook page.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Nick Castellanos swore the idea to move closer to the plate and further up in the batter’s box came Sunday morning at BayCare Ballpark, following a conversation with Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long.A few hours later, Castellanos hit an opposite-field two-run home run to right field.The homer happened after Trea ...
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Nick Castellanos swore the idea to move closer to the plate and further up in the batter’s box came Sunday morning at BayCare Ballpark, following a conversation with Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long.
A few hours later, Castellanos hit an opposite-field two-run home run to right field.
The homer happened after Trea Turner singled, stole second base and scored in his first plate appearance in his first Grapefruit League game with the Phillies in a 10-8 victory over the Twins. Turner also singled to plate a run in the second. It was a soon-to-be-forgotten Spring Training game, but Turner’s likely impact atop the lineup and Castellanos’ possible resurgence were on display Sunday.
“Our potential is really, really high,” Castellanos said. “But [potential] only matters if you reach it. If we click on all cylinders, we can be really good.”
“I think we’re going to be dangerous when we get everybody going,” Turner said.
There might not have been a more impactful offseason acquisition in baseball than Turner, who signed an 11-year, $300 million contract in December. He batted .301 with a .486 slugging percentage in 651 games from 2018-22.
The Phillies have not had a player with a .301 or better batting average and a .486 or better slugging percentage over a 650-game span since Chase Utley (.301 batting average, .530 slugging percentage) from 2006-10.
Phillies fans are excited about it. They are buying Turner jerseys and T-shirts at the team’s store at Citizens Bank Park at a Bryce Harper-like clip.
Turner jerseys are the team's No. 2 seller, behind Harper. Turner T-shirts are No. 1, accounting for 70 percent of T-shirt sales.
He received a nice ovation Sunday from Phillies fans. Before they could get comfortable in their seats, he singled, donned sliding mitts and started to run. The speedy Turner led baseball with 149 stolen bases over the past five seasons. He could potentially swipe even more bags this year because of MLB's bigger bases and the new rule that limits pickoff attempts.
Perhaps with that in mind, but certainly because Turner has jammed and broken fingers in the past, the Phillies athletic training staff recommended that Turner wear sliding mitts on both hands.
“I despise them,” Turner said. “It’s stupid. You’re biting your hands and your first-base coach has to help you put on the gloves. I don’t like it. I’m not too happy about it, but I think it’s something I need to do and conceded with the training staff [to do]. Last year, in my second-to-last playoff game in San Diego, I dove back and jammed my finger. The fingers are fine. Nothing is bothering me. It’s just more so going forward."
Castellanos slashed .263/.305/.389 with 13 home runs, 62 RBIs and a career-low .694 OPS last season. He wasn’t happy for a lot of reasons. He certainly wasn’t comfortable. But he entered camp with a refreshed mindset. Maybe the swagger is back.
“I feel like I’m in a more relaxed spot at the plate,” Castellanos said.
He certainly is closer to it.
“[Long] asked me, ‘How many times do you feel a fastball in the zone has been blown by you?’” Castellanos said. “I said ‘Not very many.’ Then he said, ‘How many times do you feel like you’ve expanded off the plate because you feel like you need to attack away?’ I said a lot. … I don’t feel like I have to attack the outside corner as much.”
And moving up in the box?
“Just to get that slider a little bit higher,” he said, smiling. “Obviously it’s Day 1. There’s no one secret thing. Simple things, but sometimes the game makes you complicate things.”
It will be a long time before everybody gets to see what this lineup could do together. Harper might not return from Tommy John surgery until June or July. The rest of the projected Opening Day lineup is not expected to be together for a while, too. Rhys Hoskins has not played this spring as he works his way back from a meniscectomy on his right knee in December, though he could play as early as Friday. Turner, Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto leave early next week to play for Team USA at the World Baseball Classic.
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But Sunday offered a glimpse of what might be. Spring is a time to be optimistic, right?
“It’s a long lineup, and there’s a lot of damage out there,” manager Rob Thomson said.
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Nick Castellanos was the only regular to take the trip Saturday to Lakeland, Fla., for the Phillies’ split-squad game against the Tigers. It’s where his career began; he had not been there since 2019. He wanted to see ...
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Nick Castellanos was the only regular to take the trip Saturday to Lakeland, Fla., for the Phillies’ split-squad game against the Tigers. It’s where his career began; he had not been there since 2019. He wanted to see Miguel Cabrera, who is like a big brother to him. There were some clubhouse attendants and grounds crew people he missed. It was fun.
He arrived at BayCare Ballpark early Sunday morning. Kevin Long, the Phillies hitting coach, asked Castellanos how his Saturday went. He struck out twice and grounded out to second. Castellanos told Long the things he liked and what he felt. They had been working on two adjustments — moving up in the batter’s box and closer to the plate. Simple things.
“No doubt,” Castellanos said. “Simple things, but sometimes the game makes you complicate things.”
Long had already watched the video of Saturday’s at-bats. “Hey,” Long said Sunday morning, “I think we can get even closer.” Castellanos was listening.
“How many times do you feel like a fastball in the zone has been blown by you?” Long asked.
“Not very many,” Castellanos said.
“How many times do you feel like you’ve expanded off the plate because you feel like you need to attack away?” Long asked.
“A lot,” Castellanos said.
So, in the fifth inning Sunday against the Twins when Castellanos drove a 94 mph sinker that was on the inner half of the plate to the opposite field for a two-run homer, it was enlightening. He was closer to the plate, but still able to handle an inside fastball with two strikes. Now, it was thrown by a 27-year-old former 19th-round pick who has not been above Triple A, but it was something.
Castellanos, afterward, reveled in the idea of making a morning adjustment that showed immediate results that afternoon. Maybe he was exaggerating.
“Yeah, I didn’t hear that,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “That could have happened. But he does look a lot better. So far, he’s letting the ball travel. He’s staying back. He’s not going out and trying to catch it out front. He looks like he did two years ago.”
You know what we love to see? Casty homers pic.twitter.com/ttcrjZX21B
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) February 26, 2023
Castellanos, who turns 31 next week, was careful not to make grand conclusions. “There’s no like, one secret thing right now,” he said. The adjustments are logical.
Teams attacked Castellanos with breaking balls down and away. He could not resist chasing them. What does being closer to the plate do? “Not feel like I have to attack the outside corner as much,” Castellanos said. And what does moving up in the box, closer to the mound, do?
“Just to get that slider a little bit higher,” Castellanos said.
Maybe it’ll work. Maybe not. But he is more relaxed. That, for Castellanos, is most important.
Trea Turner drew a walk to begin his first spring with the Phillies. And, when he reached first base, there were two oven mitts waiting for him.
“I despise it,” Turner said.
“Because it’s stupid,” Turner said.
Turner has always worn a sliding mitt on his left hand. But, last postseason, he jammed a finger on his right hand into first base diving back on a pickoff attempt. He fractured his right index finger in 2019. He suffered another fracture on his left knuckle when sliding in 2021.
So, the Phillies have asked him to wear the double oven mitts.
“I’m not too happy about it,” Turner said. “But I think it’s something I kind of need to do and conceded with the training staff.”
His fingers are fine now. It’s just to prevent future injuries. After he scored a run in the first inning, he immediately removed one of the mitts. “I hate it,” he said. He was able to put both of the mitts on without assistance from first-base coach Paco Figueroa.
“But,” Turner said, “I mean, if he wants to be a nice guy, then yeah, he can help out.”
The oven mitts will help, but so will Major League Baseball’s rules that limit pickoff attempts. Turner said he dove back into second base more in 2022 than in his entire career. The PitchCom device — worn by infielders, along with the pitcher and catcher — made coordinating pickoffs to second easier. That meant more wear and tear on Turner’s body.
He’s also wearing the expanded C-flap on his helmet this spring for the first time.
“I’ll stick with another thing to stay on the field,” Turner said. “If it’s there, use it.”
Turner had 708 plate appearances last season with the Dodgers. The Phillies would be cool with that number repeating in 2023.
Last week, during some routine infield drills, Garrett Stubbs ditched his catcher’s gear and stood at third base. He likes to joke around, but this was serious. Sort of. He took groundballs. He made some good throws. He made some bad ones. He missed a grounder and pretended to chuck his glove.
Well, sometime in March, Stubbs is going to be a third baseman.
He is playing for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic. Israel has another catcher, Ryan Lavarnway, and they aren’t exactly a team with an abundance of big-league players. So, Israel manager Ian Kinsler reached out to Thomson with the idea before spring training. Thomson said he was fine with it.
Stubbs shrugged. Whatever they want.
“I was doing pretty good over there in practice,” Stubbs said. “I have played second before. Just never third base. But I watch all these super athletes play out there in the field. I’m just trying to look like half of what they do. I think I’d be all right.”
He was half-serious. Maybe.
Thirteen days into his time in Florida, Bryson Stott tried to estimate how many times he had played golf with Turner, his new double-play partner.
“I don’t want to say eight,” Stott said. “But probably around eight.”
This was by design. Well, for one, Stott likes to golf. But he wanted to spend time away from the ballpark with Turner.
“We’ve been golfing and stuff like that because, obviously, you’re going to have the relationship on the field,” Stott said. “But it’s the one off the field that takes stuff to the next level. He’s great.”
Turner has logged parts of eight seasons in the majors. Stott was a rookie last season. “I’m not really that much older,” said Turner, 29. He’s right. Only four years. They have enough in common.
“It’s been good getting to know him,” Turner said. “He’s a smart kid. He knows what he’s doing. He knows where he’s going. He knows why he’s doing things. And it’s nice to talk to him and to hear that.
“For a guy that only had one full season under his belt, he seems like he’s got a real grasp on it. So I like it.”
Scott Kingery bats against the Tigers on Saturday. (Mike Watters / USA Today)
Rhys Hoskins: Phillies officials were asked numerous times before camp opened and once it started about whether there were any offseason surgeries or injury limitations. So, it’s a little odd that Hoskins underwent surgery in mid-December to repair his right meniscus, and that revelation came Sunday only when reporters asked why Hoskins was not slated to play Monday after sitting the first two days. “Just wear and tear from last year,” Thomson said. The team said Hoskins was cleared for full activity at the beginning of camp, but he will miss the first week of games. Something to monitor.
Scott Kingery: It’s spring training, so it is dangerous to be fooled by Kingery because that is what’s happened before in spring training. So, the initial returns this spring are just that. Pieces to consider. He sounds more confident. He has a clearer idea at the plate. He is not guaranteed money to play baseball beyond 2023, and that can be motivating. It would not be surprising to see him fill a bench role at some point this season.
Andrew Baker: It looks legit. A 99 mph fastball with a slick slider and, now, a 93 mph cutter to slide between those pitches. And it’s not even March. Baker, who turns 23 next month, could be a bullpen factor in the summer.
(Top photo of Nick Castellanos: Nathan Ray Seebeck / USA Today)
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Trea Turner leads Major League Baseball in stolen bases the last six seasons.And the last five seasons.And the last four seasons.And the last three seasons.Turner has averaged 42 steals per 162 games since 2017. He's done so with a high success rate of 85 percent for his career.There are several big rule changes in the majors for 2023 and one...
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Trea Turner leads Major League Baseball in stolen bases the last six seasons.
And the last five seasons.
And the last four seasons.
And the last three seasons.
Turner has averaged 42 steals per 162 games since 2017. He's done so with a high success rate of 85 percent for his career.
There are several big rule changes in the majors for 2023 and one of them is a limit on pick-off attempts a pitcher can make. A pitcher can disengage from the rubber twice per plate appearance. If he does so a third time, the pick-off must be successful or it will be ruled a balk.
Turner led off for the Phillies in his spring training debut Sunday afternoon in Clearwater against the Twins. He singled to center in his first at-bat and stole second as Kyle Schwarber struck out. He was on the run before Twins pitcher Joe Ryan had even released the ball and nobody was covering second base.
Turner could run wild in 2023.
"I love it," he said of the pick-off rule Sunday afternoon. "I'm looking forward to that a lot. Still not going to be super easy to steal bases, the game is hard in that aspect. From wear and tear on your body, I think it's going to be nice."
Given how frequently he runs, Turner is used to being kept on his toes by a pitcher constantly throwing over. MLB added the PitchCom system last season which allows pitchers and catchers to communicate without using hand signs. Turner said it hurt him on the basepaths, specifically at second base where he was picked off more than ever before. But with pitchers having to choose their pick-off attempts more strategically, it could be less of a concern.
"Last year, the PitchCom was really bad from a pick-off standpoint," Turner said. "I think I got more pick-offs last year at second base than I had in my entire career because, usually, we as middle infielders put the signs on and pitchers miss them. But when the PitchCom's in their ear yelling, 'Inside move!' it happens a lot."
To better avoid finger and hand injuries, Turner is wearing oven-mitt-like gloves on both hands while on the basepaths. It's not ideal from his perspective, but the Phillies don't want his aggressive baserunning leading to missed games. The double oven mitts were a recommendation from the training staff.
"I despise it," Turner said. "Quite the look, right? It's like, biting your hands, your first-base coach has to help you put on the gloves, I don't like it. I'm not too happy about it but it's something that I kind of need to do and have conceded that.
"Last year, my second-to-last game of the playoffs, I dove back and jammed a finger. Fingers are fine now, but it's more so moving forward, avoiding that stuff because it's just unnecessary."
The first four hitters in the Phillies' batting order Sunday were Turner, Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto and Nick Castellanos. Realmuto drove Turner in with a first-inning single and Castellanos hit a two-run homer to the opposite field in the sixth.
Turner, Schwarber and Realmuto will all leave Phillies camp around March 6-7 to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. As a result, they may play more the first few weeks of camp than they would during a normal spring training.
With Bryce Harper missing most of the first half recovering from Tommy John surgery, going Turner-Schwarber-Realmuto makes a lot of sense. It splits up the lefties, puts Turner in his most ideal lineup spot and moves to Schwarber to the two-hole, where he's had more career success than at leadoff.
"He showed what he can do -- get on base, steal bases, walks, made a nice play in the hole," manager Rob Thomson said. "That's who he is and why he fits in this lineup as perfectly as he does."
Paul Kermizian thought it would take six months to open a downtown location for his popular video-game-and-bar concept, Barcade, after he inked a lease in May 2022.But because of Philadelphia’s sluggish zoning review board, he’ll be lucky to open by autumn 2023.“We didn’t anticipate such a long lead time for zoning,” Kermizian said. “Our lease has started, and we will be paying rent all through construction. … It’s lost revenue. It’s also lost taxes for the city, too.&rdqu...
Paul Kermizian thought it would take six months to open a downtown location for his popular video-game-and-bar concept, Barcade, after he inked a lease in May 2022.
But because of Philadelphia’s sluggish zoning review board, he’ll be lucky to open by autumn 2023.
“We didn’t anticipate such a long lead time for zoning,” Kermizian said. “Our lease has started, and we will be paying rent all through construction. … It’s lost revenue. It’s also lost taxes for the city, too.” Kermizian’s rent is $27,000 a month.
Business owners large and small have been stymied by wait times that averaged six months in 2022 before a case could be heard by the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA), which considers exceptions to the zoning rules that dictate what can be built in the city.
In Philadelphia, the regulatory body considers an average of 1,330 cases a year — an unusually large amount compared with other cities — which can range from an addition of a rowhouse roof deck to the opening of a takeout eatery to a big developer trying to tack an extra floor onto an apartment building.
Since the pandemic, case delays have worsened even as the city has added staff and funding to the board.
The situation is especially acute for small-business owners. In many parts of the city, zoning rules make it difficult to open any commercial enterprises. To make matters worse, City Council continues to place additional restrictions called overlays on specific neighborhoods or commercial corridors. Originally designed to discourage what neighborhood groups saw as a nuisance, they often force businesses as anodyne as ice cream parlors to receive a zoning variance to open.
Before any negotiation begins with the zoning board, businesses owners must first sign a lease or show some other proof that they are going to operate out of the property. That means they either have to find a landlord willing to give them a half-year break on rent, or suffer the cost with no income as they wait months for a hearing that, if they are lucky, can be over in 10 minutes.
For big developers, delayed appeals are an inconvenience that adds to costs in a city already known for high expenses and low rents.
But for small-time operators — such as owners of coffee shops, ice cream parlors or other takeout spots — the delays can be prohibitive. Rachael Pritzker, CEO of the Pritzker Law Group, said she has heard from many small businesses that can’t afford to wait six months, with no revenue, to have basic cases heard.
“Larger developers are more sophisticated, they’re aware of the nuances of zoning law, and their projects take years to build so six more months isn’t as big of an issue,” she said. “But it penalizes smaller groups, more inexperienced entrepreneurs — who are more often women and Black and brown individuals.”
Before the pandemic, the average wait time for a hearing at the zoning board was under three months. But those delays began to increase in late 2019, peaking in February 2020, and have remained elevated ever since.
Although the process showed signs of easing at the beginning of 2023, the average wait time in 2022 was half a year.
If a community group is contesting a case and a business owner faces multiple hearings, delays can drag on for well longer than a year before the board renders a decision.
The situation has grown bad enough that a long established system for expedited permitting, allowing applicants to speed up their cases by paying more than $1,000, has bogged down since the pandemic because so many are using it.
In the Barcade owner’s case, he signed a lease in May, filed for a variance as soon as possible, and learned that the case wouldn’t be heard until late December — even after paying for expedited permitting. When he finally came before the ZBA, the proceeding took only 10 minutes.
After the brief Dec. 22 hearing, Kermizian waited 30 days to submit permits to allow the monthlong appeals window to expire. Construction began in February, more than eight months since the lease began.
“We’ve incurred costs in rent and legal fees, but this is our ninth location,” Kermizian said. “We’re not a guy trying to open his first restaurant, who this would probably be crippling for.”
The city can’t say exactly why the delays are occurring.
The number of cases filed today hasn’t risen dramatically compared with pre-pandemic. The zoning board is meeting as often as it did in 2019, city spokespeople say, while the number of staff committed to the process has actually doubled in the last four years from five to 10.
City spokespeople cited possible delays ranging from the availability of witnesses to the degree of City Council involvement, community opposition, and notice requirements.
But all of those were factors before 2020.
Some veteran zoning lawyers argue that it is remote hearings themselves that are causing delays.
“Virtual hearings are good for talking; they’re not good for dialogue,” said Matt McClure, team leader of Ballard Spahr’s zoning and land use team. “The failure to have good dialogue means longer hearings.”
When meetings were held in person, disputes and misunderstandings between project applicants and opponents could often be cleared up in the hallway outside the hearing room. Lawyers could give abridged version of their cases if they knew no one was arguing against them.
In a virtual setting, McClure and other zoning lawyers say, it is more difficult to know whether projects have opponents and it’s harder to reach accord with them in advance. As a result, zoning lawyers have to give a full presentation of their case no matter how minor the relief requested.
“Online you have to go through and show every thing every time, so it takes longer than it would in person,” McClure said. “That’s clearly added to the delay.”
As a result, fewer cases can be heard at each hearing. Starting in early 2020, the number of cases heard at each meeting fell by about half. Although there have been recent improvements, the new status quo seems to be fewer projects reviewed per meeting than there were before the pandemic.
City spokespeople agree that virtual hearings take longer, but they do not plan to bring back the pre-pandemic norm.
Remote hearings are more accessible, they argue, giving people a chance to participate whose schedule, employment or mobility restricted attendance before.
“We are seeing increased and more equitable public participation,” said Bruce Bohri, city spokesperson. “This is a positive development, but a consequence is longer hearings.”
A hybrid option — returning to in-person meetings while continuing to provide remote access to the general public — would require “significant technology upgrades,” which would require more funding.
Even if there were an in-person option, the inability to address concerns from possible online opponents before a hearing would continue. So would the necessity of laying out the entire case, with lengthy testimony, no matter how minor the variance requested.
“During virtual hearings, the required quasi-judicial procedures must take place sequentially and within the view and hearing of all hearing participants,” Bohri said. “In person, the tendency is for there to be more cross-talk and nonverbal communication, which, while quicker, can be more confusing and less transparent.”
The need for the zoning board to review variance requests is only likely to increase as City Council members continue to pass laws that add special zoning rules, known as overlays, that often require special permissions such as any business selling takeout food — including coffeeshops and ice cream stores — to go before the ZBA.
If virtual hearings and councilmanic prerogative are sacrosanct, what can be done to fix the process?
The city could change how the zoning board members are compensated for their time. Members receive $100 per session, no matter its length, and salary is capped at $22,000 annually per board member. After a certain point, there is a financial disincentive for members to consider more cases. Raising the salary cap, which hasn’t been tweaked since 1988, would be one way to schedule more sessions.
Philadelphia could also consider best practices from other cities, where there are different processes for considering breaks from the zoning code depending on how dramatic a change the owner is seeking. In that case, minor variances — which apply to most small business owners’ cases — would be placed on a different track than major cases where property owners are seeking to add significant density or height to a project.
Another solution is rethinking accelerated appeals.
“The accelerated process will lag if too many people use it, like trying to beat Schuylkill traffic by using the same shortcut as everyone else,” Bohri said. “We are looking for ways to improve the process overall without sacrificing the transparency and accessibility gains we have seen.”
For most applicants who go before the board, its inner workings are a mystery. All they know is that the process is crushingly burdensome at a time when Philadelphia is trying to recover its pre-pandemic buoyancy.
“It makes no sense,” said Kermizian of Barcade. “They really want to keep momentum going in Center City and in every neighborhood. But this is working against all that.”