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Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Logistics Intelligence Brief
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Trucking

Truck tonnage makes strides in November, reports ATA

Logistics Management October 20, 2020

The ATA’s advanced Seasonally Adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index for September—115.1 (2015=100)—headed up 6.7% over August, following a 5.3% decline (revised from an original reading of 5.6%), from July to August and a 1.4% decrease, from June to July. On an annual basis, September SA tonnage was off 2.7%, marking the sixth consecutive month of annual declines, with SA tonnage down 3.3% on a year-to-date basis through September. Related:  Transport Topics September Tonnage Down Year-Over-Year, but Rebounds After August Decline  

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New report projects V-shaped recovery

Fleet Owner Catharine Conway October 20, 2020

Shipments Related specifically to how much freight is moving, Cass Freight Index shipment volumes were only 1.8% below year-ago levels, as seen in the chart below, significantly better than last month’s (7.6%) y/y change, and the best comp reported since November 2019. The raw index number rose 7% from August’s level to the highest reading, also since November 2019, according to the report. "The shipment index is now 27.5% higher than the April lows, and we see it staying strong through year-end, as inventories remain relatively lean, and we expect freight to keep moving," said the report.  

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Shippers/3PLs

Retailers face operational, logistical hurdles in pandemic-driven switch to ship from store

Supply Chain Dive Matt Leonard October 20, 2020

"When companies are assessing how to make that transition into a more dynamic omnichannel type of distribution model, they've first got to make sure that they have a really robust visibility to their internal inventory," she said. The survey also found that 74% of respondents are now more likely to work with a managed transportation provider. Tyndall said it can be hard for retailers, who are used to handling in-bound logistics, to find capacity for out-bound orders. "You're talking about a greater number of orders going out from a higher number of locations," she said, "and for the parcel carriers that are arranging those types of pickups, that can be a challenge in and of itself." As more volume flows into the parcel network, more larger items are getting rejected, she said. This has resulted in carriers having to figure out a way to handle these orders either through LTL or full truckload shipments.  

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Alibaba to offer B2B e-commerce training for manufacturing suppliers

Supply Chain Dive Matt Leonard October 20, 2020

The announcement of the sprint came at the same time that Alibaba released the findings of its B2B small business survey, which found substantial growth in the adoption of B2B e-commerce in the first nine months of 2020. When Alibaba asked small businesses how they process or placed orders with another business in December 2019, 21% said through an e-commerce marketplace and 21% said through a supplier website. These options grew to 35% and 34%, respectively, by September. The survey found that legacy processes are still more common, but losing ground to e-commerce methods. Email and phone were used by 65% of respondents in December 2019, but the survey showed them dropping to 47% for email and 48% for phone by September.

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Industry

September intermodal volumes see solid annual gains, reports IANA

Logistics Management Jeff Berman October 20, 2020

On a year-to-date basis through September, IANA reported the following:

  • domestic containers rose 1.7%, to 5,708,828;
  • trailers were down 9.8%, to 843,359;
  • all domestic equipment was up 0.1% to 6,552,187;
  • ISO containers declined 11.0%, to 6,362,163; and
  • total units were down 5.7%, to 12,914,350
 
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Technology/Innovation

The forklift truck drivers who never leave their desks

BBC News Chris Baraniuk October 19, 2020

"We have customers today where we are fully remotely operating those forklifts from remote locations," says Mr Katz, whose firm has equipped a string of new clients with these systems in recent months. Phantom Auto's technology is now installed in around a dozen warehouses in the US and Europe, he adds. Some see this concept, teleoperation, as a stepping stone between traditionally driven vehicles and the truly autonomous ones of the future. But is it safe to drive a large truck or forklift device from miles away? And is it more economical than having a trained driver or operator on site?  

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Government/Safety

Transportation lawyer: $411M nuclear verdict shows jurors had ‘free rein’

Freight Waves Jack Glenn October 20, 2020

The largest nuclear verdict ever against a single trucking defendant was handed to a Pembroke Pines, Florida-based trucking company this month. Top Auto Express Trucking Co. was slapped with a $411 million verdict for a 2018 accident involving a motorcycle driver. Transportation attorney Kristen Johnson of Central Florida-based transportation law practice Taylor & Associates joined FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller on this episode of “Fuller Speed Ahead” to discuss the facts surrounding the historic case and the steps trucking companies should take if they find themselves in a similar situation. As reported earlier by FreightWaves, 18 crashes and eight hospitalizations resulted when a Top Auto Express semi-truck jackknifed after trying to avoid a collision. A prepared statement from the plaintiff’s attorney asserts that motorcycle rider Duane Washington attempted to drive his motorcycle onto a median to avoid the traffic pileup and the risk of being struck by other vehicles. In doing so, Washington collided with a stopped truck that had no lights on in the emergency lane, causing him severe, life-threatening injuries after being thrown from the motorcycle.

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US Senate Committee Examines Freight Rail Operations

Transport Topics Eugene Mulero October 20, 2020

Freight and passenger rail executives are scheduled to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee on Oct. 21. Commercial transportation policy authorizers in the Senate intend to examine supply chain operations across the freight rail network during the COVID-19 era. Transportation stakeholders, such as freight railroads, highway users, port operators, and public transit entities have warned of potential disruptions in service absent additional federal emergency aid.  

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