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Monday, October 19, 2020
Logistics Intelligence Brief
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Holiday Crunch Starts Early With More Packages Than Means to Deliver Them

The Wall Street Journal Paul Ziobro October 18, 2020

One holiday item is already sold out: shipping capacity. Both FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. have told some of their largest shippers that most of their capacity is already spoken for, and that any extra trailers with holiday orders will have to wait to be picked up, according to shipping consultants and retailers. “There will be days within the holiday season where the industry will be over capacity,” FedEx Chief Marketing Officer Brie Carere said in an interview. The outlook has sent retailers on the hunt for alternatives with little luck. Smaller carriers in the U.S. like LaserShip Inc. and DHL eCommerce Solutions said they booked up their capacity for the holidays months earlier than usual and aren’t taking new customers until next year.

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North American Freight Volumes Back Near 2019 Levels

Cass Transportation Index Report October 16, 2020

The Cass Freight Index shows the “V” shape of the recovery. Earlier in the year, as the economy was starting to reopen, there was a lot of speculation surrounding the “shape” it would take – everything from an “L” to a “V” to a “W” to a Nike swoosh to a square root sign. Well, in looking at the Cass freight data (Chart 1), it was a “V.” We should see positive y/y comps for the first time all year in October, if the absolute level just holds at September levels.

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Freight volumes and expenditures advance further during September

Freight Waves Todd Maiden October 16, 2020

Expenditures and rates moving higher The expenditures index improved 1.2% compared to September 2019 and was 29% higher than the low recorded in May. This was the highest level seen since June 2019. The increase is even more impactful when considering it includes fuel revenue, which remains under pressure as diesel prices have been off more than 20% during the pandemic.  

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DAT Truckload Volume Index posts strong September gains

Logistics Management Jeff Berman October 16, 2020

The September edition of the DAT Truckload Volume Index, which was issued this week by DAT Freight & analytics, an online marketplace for spot market truckload freight, picked up where August left off, posting all-time highs for spot market rates for van and refrigerated, or reefer, truckload freight. The DAT Truckload Volume Index reflects the change in the number of loads with a pickup date during that month, with the actual index number normalized each month to accommodate any new data sources without distortion, with a baseline of 100 equal to the number of loads moved in January 2015. It measures dry van, refrigerated (reefer), and flatbed trucks moved by truckload carriers. Over all, the index increased up 6.1% from August to September and was up 13% annually. DAT’s data found the following takeaways for September:

  • the load-to-truck ratio for vans rose for the fifth straight month, to 5.5, up 3.8% compared to August and more than doubling the reading on an annual basis;
  • the national spot van rate average—at $2.37—was up 15 cents over August and up 53 cents compared to September 2019;
  • the average spot line-haul rate for vans (the total minus fuel surcharges), at $2.18, marked the highest monthly national average on record, for the second straight month and surpassed the national monthly average contract rate for the second straight month, too
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Q3 intermodal results hurt by congestion, poor velocity: J.B. Hunt

The Journal of Commerce Ari Ashe October 16, 2020

Field called the current intermodal environment the most difficult from a network balance and supply chain fluidity perspective in his entire career, which spans more than 26 years with J.B. Hunt. He explained it’s not an issue of intermodal train speeds, which were up 8.1 percent year over year for partner BNSF Railway. “Rail terminal congestion and a slower pace of unloading at customer destinations have contributed to a meaningful slowdown in the velocity of the supply chain,” Field said. “When the trains get out of the terminals, they're moving, but terminal congestion is not a part of that velocity measure that you see and that has been a significant impact on our ability to drive volume growth.” Related:  Freight Waves   J.B. Hunt stock sags on 3Q miss, management doubles down on long approach                                                 JB Hunt grapples with driver shortage and unloading delays

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Amazon’s Prime Day Accelerates Shift to Online Shopping

The Wall Street Journal Sebastian Herrera October 16, 2020

Overall spending on Amazon’s site increased by 36% in the U.S. during the two-day event compared with Prime Day last year, according to research firm Edison Trends, though that was lower than the 42% increase the company saw in 2019. Before the event, research firm eMarketer projected that Amazon’s total U.S. Prime Day sales would reach $6.17 billion. Away from Amazon, online sales also grew significantly, rising 76% in the U.S. on Tuesday compared with the first day of Prime Day in 2019, according to Digital Commerce 360 and Salesforce.com Inc. Retailers this year have seen a huge uptick in consumer spending online as millions of Americans stayed home for work and school and avoided in-person shopping due to the coronavirus pandemic. Related:  Retail Dive On Prime Day, Amazon keeps the focus on its marketplace  

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Reinke joins TIA as new president and CEO

Freight Waves John Kingston October 16, 2020

In a prepared statement released to announce Reinke’s hiring, Brian Evans, the CEO of L&L Freight Services and the board chair of TIA, said of Reinke: “Anne’s experience in the transportation industry, coupled with her extensive government affairs background and leadership skills, will help guide TIA as we seek to enhance strategic alliances, strengthen industry and stakeholder partnerships and increase our standing on Capitol Hill – all in support of providing increased tools, resources and representation to our members.”

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America’s most dangerous roads for truckers

Freight Waves Nick Austin October 16, 2020

Truck driving is one of the riskiest jobs in the U.S., but the majority of professional drivers get through their careers without being involved in major accidents. The more skilled and safety conscious drivers are, the less likely they are to cause wrecks. But some things, like road designs, are out of a driver’s control. Based on driver experiences, U.S. Department of Transportation data and harsh weather, these are the top five U.S. roads that truckers should avoid whenever possible.  

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Retail sales see solid increases in September, reports Commerce and NRF

Logistics Management October 16, 2020

“Retail sales are continuing to build on the momentum we’ve seen through the summer and have been boosted by an improving labor market, a rebound in consumer confidence and elevated savings,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “A significant number of people remain unemployed, but more are going back to work and that makes them confident about spending. September retail sales reflect the support of government measures and elevated savings that is being spent now that consumers are shopping again. With less spending on personal services such as travel and entertainment outside the home, some of that money is shifting to retail cash registers. All in all, these numbers and other economic data show the nation’s economy remains on its recovery path.”

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