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Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Logistics Intelligence Brief
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2020 CCJ Top 250: Country’s largest fleets holding steady

CCJ Jeff Crissey September 8, 2020

Compared to 2018, a year that provided many for-hire carriers with once-in-a-generation market conditions, 2019 may have felt like a ho-hum year to many fleet executives. Although the North American trucking industry saw little growth in 2019, many carriers were able to eke out modest gains. After posting a whopping 9.9% revenue gain in 2018, fleets in this year’s CCJ Top 250 still managed to turn in an increase of 3.7% last year. (Note: these figures include revenue data from carriers that self-reported or publicly provided information for consecutive years.) Take out the combined revenues and $6.7 billion gain posted by package giants UPS and FedEx, however, and the overall CCJ Top 250 revenue growth in 2019 comes in at just 1.3%.

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Q&A: Jerry Hempstead, president of Hempstead Consulting

Logistics Management Jeff Berman September 9, 2020

LM: Amazon clearly remains a major presence in the market. Where does it fit into everything, as it relates to the UPS-FedEx duopoly and last-mile logistics and everything else, too, as it relates to parcel? Hempstead: There are two big pieces of the Amazon story that affect the USPS as one of the players and UPS. As you reported, Amazon has been building out its own fleet of delivery vehicles and hiring drivers, buying vehicles, and leasing the vehicles to the drivers and trying to deliver as much of the traffic themselves on their own network. But they have not been able to handle every zip code with the 50,000 trucks they acquired, some of it has to be spun off and given to other carriers. The two big choices for Amazon—since FedEx did not want to play anymore—were the USPS and UPS. Granted, Amazon has been making every effort, of late, to move business off the USPS and on to its own delivery vehicles because it is cheaper, and they have far more control if an Amazon driver is delivering the packages rather than the USPS.

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5 charts show CPG inventory challenges

Supply Chain Dive Matt Leonard September 8, 2020

Panic-shopping-induced inventory challenges and supplier disruptions resulted in stockouts and procurement issues for retailers in the early days of the pandemic. But the recovery from the early days in March has not been the same across product categories. Toilet paper, flour and other staples have started to return to the aisles, as shoppers adopt more normal behavior and as the grocery supply chain adapts to the new normal. "Our operational and commercial teams have positively responded to the extraordinary demand caused by the pandemic, driven by a major shift in consumer behavior toward eating at home with a resurgence of cooking simple meals and increased snacking occasions," Campbell Soup CEO Mark Clouse said earlier this month

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Summer surge shows in US August imports from Asia

The Journal of Commerce Bill Mongelluzzo September 8, 2020

US imports from Asia in August jumped 34 percent from June, driven by ongoing strong demand for e-commerce fulfillment and personal protective equipment (PPE). Imports from China alone last month were up 32 percent from June. The significant two-month gain shows the full force of the import surge that began in late June with the reopening of the US economy following lockdowns in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Volvo, Mack Trucks announce deal with Samsara

Freight Waves Linda Baker September 8, 2020

Volvo Trucks North America  and sister brand Mack Trucks have signed an agreement with Internet of Things (IoT) provider Samsara to explore a range of telematics solutions aimed at improving fleet safety and efficiency. The partnership will consider compliance services, cameras, trailer sensors, safety and maintenance offerings. Samsara’s portfolio combines hardware, software and cloud to bring real-time visibility, analytics and AI to operations. The company serves more than 15,000 customers across a range of industries, including transportation and logistics, field services, energy, construction, and more.

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National Diesel Average Slips by 0.6¢ to $2.435

Transport Topics Dan Ronan September 8, 2020

The most expensive diesel continues to be in California, where the price remained flat week-to-week, coming in at $3.276 a gallon for the second week in a row. The price of diesel in California is 60.2 cents less expensive than in 2019. The least expensive diesel remains in the Gulf Coast region, where diesel fell four-tenths of a cent to $2.184 a gallon. Diesel is 56.1 cents less expensive than a year ago.

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New USMCA trade deal could increase demand for nearshoring in Mexico

Freight Waves Noi Mahoney September 8, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt international trade, Mexico stands to benefit from more companies moving manufacturing to North America, said Patrick Ottensmeyer, president and CEO of Kansas City Southern. “If you look at the interest to our company and our customers, Mexico, as a percentage of the products that are sold to the rest of North America, related to low-cost Asian countries, Mexico’s market share has increased fairly significantly from 2018 to 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ottensmeyer said. Ottensmeyer’s remarks came during the opening day of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Virtual Trade Week symposium, which kicked off Tuesday with a panel discussion on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Ottensmeyer said the US-China trade war and subsequent tariffs have made Mexico an attractive option for nearshoring manufacturing operations. To take advantage of increased trade, Class 1 railroad Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU) recently received a presidential permit to build a second international rail bridge in Laredo, Texas, which could handle up to 30 cross-border crossings daily.

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How Walmart solved carrier payment woes in Canada with blockchain

Freight Waves Nate Tabak September 8, 2020

Before Walmart Canada deployed blockchain technology to pay trucking companies, the company and its carriers were often bogged down by invoice disputes. Up to 70% of invoices had some sort of issue where numbers didn’t align with company expectations. The results were not good. Walmart personnel would lose time sorting out the long list of charges that go into each load. Meanwhile, payments to carriers were delayed. “Life was a bit rough in terms of processing payments,” recalled Francis Lalonde, Walmart Canada’s vice president for transportation. “You want to process them on time. The carriers want to get paid on time.” So Walmart turned to DLT Labs, a Toronto-based startup, and deployed a customized version of its freight invoice and payments system. By the end of August, the system had processed over 150,000 invoices, with fewer than 2% resulting in disputes.

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Uber Freight moves into SaaS territory

The Journal of Commerce Eric Johnson September 8, 2020

Truckload broker Uber Freight on Tuesday released two transportation management products aimed at large shippers that moves the company into the realm of software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider. The first product, Uber Freight Enterprise, is “an extension of our self-serve shipper platform for [small and medium-sized businesses],” the company said in a statement. The tool allows large-volume shippers to source capacity through Uber Freight’s freight rate marketplace, while also getting visibility into truck estimated times of arrival (ETAs) and digital access to load documentation. The second product, Uber Freight Link, allows large-volume shippers to use the Enterprise product to manage and execute loads outside the Uber Freight capacity network. This would represent a true move into SaaS in that it would allow shippers to essentially use Uber Freight’s software as their platform to manage all truckload freight. Related:  Freight Waves Uber Freight opens up platform for large enterprise shippers

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HHS Issues Proposed Hair Testing Guidelines

Transport Topics Eric Miller September 8, 2020

The Department of Health and Human Services on Sept. 8 announced its long-delayed proposed mandatory guidelines to allow employers to drug test truck drivers and other federal workers for pre-employment and random testing using hair specimens. The proposal, however, also could require a second sample using either urine or an oral swab test in certain circumstances. “A federal agency choosing to test hair specimens must authorize collection and testing of at least one other specimen type (e.g., urine or oral fluid) that is authorized under the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs, and provide procedures whereby the alternate specimen is used in the event that a donor is unable to provide a sufficient amount of hair for faith-based or medical reasons, or due to an insufficient amount or length of hair,” the announcement said. Related:  Truckinginfo.com HHS Hair-Testing Proposal Falls Short, Critics Say

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Emissions Are Already Back at Pre-Pandemic Levels

Bloomberg Laura Millan Lombrana and Akshat Rathi September 9, 2020

Emissions from burning fossil fuel dropped by an unprecedented 17% from the previous year during the peak of the lockdown in April, but by early June they had mainly returned to about 5% below 2019 levels, according to United in Science 2020, a report published on Wednesday coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization.

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