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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Trucking

Freight activity moves higher In the latest week

FTR Freight Intel August 2, 2021

Dry van load postings increased 2.9% after the prior week’s 29.1% gain. Dry van volume was about 51% above the same 2020 week and 171% above the five-year average for the week. Dry van truck postings rose 25.4% after the 27.1% gain the week before, and the dry van MDI fell to roughly the same level as week 23 of the year.

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Schneider’s containers struggle to flow through clogged intermodal networks

Transport Dive S.L. Fuller August 2, 2021

The average unload dwell time for Schneider's intermodal customers has increased 70% from the 2019 comparable period, Schneider President and CEO Mark Rourke said on the company's Q2 earnings call last week. Schneider aims to add 1,500-3,000 containers by the end of year, but that's dependent on manufacturers' delivery, Rourke said. The containers are built, but the difficulty is getting them to the U.S., he added. Freight volumes paired with labor shortages have resulted in ramp congestion in "certain critical parts of the network, at times resulting in volume-limiting rail allocations," Rourke said. And Schneider's drayage fleet is not fully staffed at some high-volume hubs, he said.

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Shippers/3PLs

5 charts show Amazon’s growing logistics network as it puts inventory closer to consumers

Supply Chain Dive Matt Leonard August 2, 2021

And as Amazon adds sort centers and delivery stations, it gets closer to more of the U.S. population. In 2018, 51% of the U.S. population was within a 60-minute drive of an Amazon delivery station, which grew to 77% of the U.S. population by 2021, according to the analysis by UBS.

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Walmart holds on to top spot of Fortune 500, Amazon leaps to No. 3

Retail Dive Ben Unglesbee August 2, 2021

Walmart thrived in those conditions, after refocusing its online strategy around omnichannel and its stores, and with heavy online sales of groceries. The retailer's sales rose 6.7% to $559.2 billion in 2020, with U.S. comps up 8.6%, as the retailer leaned on its stores to support sales and after massive investments in digital operations. Amazon, meanwhile, faced such feverish ordering on its platform that it temporarily paused fulfillment on nonessential items during the early weeks of the pandemic so it could focus on essential goods that were in high demand during those days of stockpiling and panic-buying. In 2020, the company's North American sales ballooned by 38.4% to $236.3 billion.

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Industry

Diesel Rises 2.5¢ to $3.367 a Gallon

Transport Topics August 2, 2021

• The cost increase was the 13th in the past 14 weeks, interrupted only by a 0.2-cent dip July 26. • This week marked the biggest gain since a 3.1-cent rise to $3.331 a gallon July 5. • The price of trucking’s main fuel rose in all 10 regions of EIA’s survey, with the largest gain being 6.7 cents in California. The West Coast and West Coast less California were the only other regions with increases of more than 5 cents.

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

$92M Werner verdict from 2018 becomes a hot potato on appeal

Freight Waves John Kingston August 2, 2021

It was in the lengthy dissent of the decision to hear the case en banc that Judge Randy Wilson suggested there were numerous reasons why the three-judge panel might have a basis to overturn some of the nuclear verdict against Werner. One attorney close to the case suggested that Wilson’s comments seemed to suggest that the three-judge panel had ruled in favor of Werner on at least some of the questions before it. “Are we just going to skip the panel decision and go directly to en banc every time a justice thinks he or she might be able to cobble together enough votes to overrule a panel sometime in the future?” Wilson wrote. “Why is the en banc majority so afraid of issuing a panel decision and letting the parties know how at least some of the justices view this case?” Wilson said the two judges who had agreed on the majority position had an opinion “ready to issue” and the dissent also was ready for publication.

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Workforce

Driver Shortage Has Trucking Companies Looking Abroad

Bloomberg/Transport Topics Ari Hawkins August 3, 2021

“We’re living through the worst driver shortage that we’ve seen in recent history, by far,” said Jose Gomez-Urquiza, CEO of Visa Solutions, an immigration agency with a focus on the transportation industry. As a result, demand for Visa Solutions’ services from the trucking industry has more than doubled since before the pandemic, and “this is 100% because of the driver shortage,” he said. Bringing in more foreign workers faces a number of hurdles, including visa limits and complicated immigration rules, but trucking advocates see an opening now to overcome some of those obstacles after the Biden Administration created a task force to address the supply chain problems impeding the economic recovery.

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Pay tactics are distributors’ main choices for recruiting, retaining drivers

Transport Dive S.L. Fuller August 2, 2021

Incentive compensation is the top strategy used by distribution companies to attract/retain drivers, according to a survey by the International Foodservice Distributors Association. The survey was taken by 272 firms representing 818 locations, 384 of which were foodservice distribution locations. Median base compensation for Class A CDL delivery drivers with no helpers in the West region of the U.S. was highest of the four regions (Northeast, South, Midwest and West) last year at $57,122. But the West had the lowest median gross compensation at $62,063. The South had the lowest median base at $48,667, while the the Northeast had the highest median gross compensation at $63,813. Finding qualified employees, including drivers and warehouse workers, was the top concern across industries, the survey showed. Retaining employees was No. 2.

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Economy

July ISM manufacturing output trends down but remains at a high level

Logistics Management Jeff Berman August 2, 2021

In its monthly Manufacturing Report on Business, ISM said that the report’s key metric, the PMI, came in at 59.5 (a reading of 50 or higher indicates growth), falling 1.1% from June to July. This represented the 14th consecutive month of growth, at a slower rate, coupled with July also representing the 14th consecutive month of growth for the overall economy. The July PMI matched the 12-month average, for the PMI, at 59.5, with March’s 64.7 being the highest and August 2020’s 55.6 being the lowest for that period. “Supply chains are slowly, very slowly filling up. Like a water hose, starting upstream and slowly flowing downstream,” said a chemical products respondent. “Rumor is a full return to ‘normal’ may be nearer to year’s end, but the situation is progressing. Transportation (equipment and drivers) is the current pinch point, more so than material shortages.”

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