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Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Logistics Intelligence Brief
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Trucking

Reddaway Honored as 2020 Regional Freight Carrier of the Year by Johnson Controls

Reddaway Press Release January 4, 2021

“This recognition is an outstanding honor from one of our largest customers. Our company’s work aligns perfectly with Johnson Controls’ values of being customer driven and future focused,” said Jason Bergman, YRCW Chief Commercial Officer and HNRY Logistics President. “I am extremely proud of our YRCW companies’ employees for the level of service they dedicate to our customers, and I appreciate the continued partnerships we share with our amazing customers like Johnson Controls.” “Johnson Controls nominated Reddaway for the 'Regional Freight Carrier of the Year' award due to the incredible customer service their team consistently offers us,” said John Tomcala, Director – Air Systems Logistics and Distribution at Johnson Controls. “We value our partnership with Reddaway and the YRC Worldwide team to help deliver on our mission for our customers.”

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Q&A: Deutsche Bank’s Mehrotra still bullish on trucking in 2021

Freight Waves Todd Maiden January 4, 2021

FreightWaves: Assuming the LTL industry remains disciplined on price, how much year-over-year yield improvement could be seen this year? Mehrotra: “Yield in the LTL industry is not just a function of price, but also a function of length of haul and weight per shipment, among other things. For example, higher weight per shipment translates to lower revenue per hundredweight, but it is positive for margins. So it’s important to think about yields holistically and not just a proxy for price. “But generally, we think the major drivers of LTL margins this year will be positive — that is price and weight per shipment. It’ll be important to deconstruct tonnage between shipments and weight so as to get a perspective on how costs are coming back to the network relative to overall tonnage growth.”

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WSJ Daily Briefing (Trucking)

The Wall Street Journal Jennifer Smith January 5, 2021

Tight trucking capacity has retailers and manufacturers girding for higher shipping costs in 2021, Stephens says. Shippers surveyed by the firm expect truckload contract rates to increase by 6.9% on average this year, while less-than-truckload rates are expected to rise 4.4%. "With structural constraints to industry driver capacity expected to persist well beyond the resolution of the COVID-19 pandemic," Stephens says 58% of shippers expect the market will support additional rate hikes in 2022.

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Trucking operational costs in 6 charts

Transport Dive Shefali Kapadia January 4, 2021

The new year is a time to start planning budgets and setting financial targets. Many fleets responding to a Morgan Stanley survey expect continued tight capacity, high demand and elevated rates this year. Carriers are betting on widespread vaccine distribution to give way to a stronger 2021, particularly for the transport sectors sluggish in 2020, such as food service and industrial.

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Shippers/3PLs

NRF: stimulus checks will arrive at “critical time” to boost Q1 retail spending

DC Velocity January 4, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic will continue to hinder economic conditions in 2021, but the latest round of federal stimulus spending will help maintain and accelerate the nation’s ongoing recovery by inspiring wary consumers to return to their retail shopping habits, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said today. Even though full recovery has yet to come, the economy has made considerable progress, in large part because some of the money normally spent on traveling, dining out, and entertainment shifted from services to goods in 2020, especially big-ticket, home-related items like appliances and furniture, NRF said. In addition, rising wealth from increasing home values and stock prices have supported extra consumer purchases of retail goods. The new stimulus checks should now encourage consumers to “reengage” on non-durable goods and services. Link: National Retail Federation NRF chief economist says latest stimulus will help continue recovery from pandemic

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Industry

Outlook 2021: Shippers face new twists, risky turns in pandemic-altered market

The Journal of Commerce William B. Cassidy January 4, 2021

“Shippers, other than the federal government, need to be prepared to pay a high price for everything for the next six months,” Jindel told JOC.com. “Every carrier will want to handle the vaccine, and there isn’t enough capacity in the entire industry.” That means capacity non-pharmaceutical shippers are counting on might not be there once vaccines begin moving at high volumes, he said. That will affect rates and capacity across the board, but the shortage will be felt most acutely in the air and refrigerated trucking sectors due to the time- and temperature-sensitive nature of the vaccines. Vaccine distribution will add another layer of complexity to a market that already has more layers than an onion. Shippers won’t find shelter in the decisions and strategies of past years.

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Mastery Logistics hires Hartford, prominent analyst, as CFO

Freight Waves Mark Solomon January 4, 2021

Logistics software provider Mastery Logistics said Monday that it has hired Benjamin J. Hartford, a longtime securities analyst, as its first-ever chief financial officer, thus rounding out the leadership ranks at the 21-month-old company. Hartford, who spent 15 years at Milwaukee-based investment firm Baird covering transportation and logistics, will also help develop and execute Mastery’s strategic initiatives, a common role for CFOs at a startup firm. Hartford started at Mastery on Monday. The announcement comes on the heels of Lake Forest, Illinois-based Mastery’s November hiring of Marie Colbert as its chief commercial officer. Colbert had served as president and CEO of logistics software provider REZ-1 for 17 years and became president when REZ-1 was rebranded as Blume Global in 2018.

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West and East Coast Ports Report Strong November Volume

Transport Topics Dan Ronan January 4, 2021

The nation’s ports continued their breakneck pace in November as imported products arrived and unloaded at a record or near-record rate at facilities on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The Port of Los Angeles had a strong month as the nation’s busiest facility processed 889,746 20-foot equivalent units, a 22% increase compared with November 2019, when the facility moved 728,917 TEUs. “Since August, monthly cargo volume has averaged almost 930,000 TEUs,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a statement. “It’s unusual to see this kind of import activity this late in the year. But 2020 has been anything but normal. With consumers continuing to stay at home and purchase goods rather than services, we expect robust activity on our docks to continue for at least several months.”

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Diesel Continues Upward Trend, Rises 0.5¢ to $2.640

Transport Topics Dan Ronan January 4, 2021

The last days of 2020 and the first few of 2021 continued the same trend, with diesel prices rising nationwide. According to the Energy Information Administration’s weekly survey released Jan. 4, the price of trucking’s main fuel increased by five-tenths of a cent to $2.640 a gallon.

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2021 presents a blank logistics canvas with many colors to tell new stories

Logistics Management Jeff Berman January 4, 2020

On the surface transportation front, continued inroads for truckload, less-than-truckload, and rail carload look to see decent volume gains—on paper—given how dismal market conditions were from mid-March through the better part of the third quarter a year ago, due to the pandemic. Intermodal volumes, on the other hand, improved as the year went on, with 2020 looking like it could be a record setter, when the final tallies are issued by the AAR and IANA. And on the water U.S.-bound import levels saw major growth over the second half of 2020, too, with so many people shopping online, and inventories needing to be rapidly restocked. Seasonal norms suggest that will taper off closer to the end of January, but that will require a watchful eye.

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Government/Safety

FMCSA Proposes Revised Guidance on Yard Moves

Transport Topics Eleanor Lamb January 4, 2021

According to a notice published in the Federal Register on Jan. 4, FMCSA proposes to clarify when a driver may record time completing yard moves as “on-duty, not driving” time by offering examples of properties that qualify as yards. Movements of commercial motor vehicles that occur on these properties would be considered yard moves and recorded as on-duty, not driving status, rather than driving time. FMCSA’s guidance pertains to all truck operators who are required to record HOS. “This guidance, if finalized, lacks the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way,” the Federal Register document states. “This guidance document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding the agency’s interpretation of its existing regulations.”

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Pete Buttigieg Eyes ‘Big, Bold’ Infrastructure Plan, Chuck Schumer Says

Transport Topics Eugene Mulero January 4, 2021

The top Democrat in the Senate, who met with Pete Buttigieg, formerly the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said he shared the nominee’s strong interest in helping to produce a massive, transformative transportation package in the coming months. The infrastructure legislation would look to ameliorate heavy congestion along freight corridors, facilitate access to public transportation systems and expand programs linked to electric and autonomous vehicles. Schumer also said he promoted the need for ensuring employment opportunities across the transportation sector, as well as paving the way for a new tunnel network between New York and New Jersey. “We discussed the need to finally deliver on a big, bold infrastructure agenda that centers on jobs, equity and climate,” the senator from New York said Dec. 30 after meeting with Buttigieg. “We discussed several crucial New York-specific projects, including one of the most important infrastructure projects in the country, the Gateway Program and DOT’s role in helping secure the future for the entire Northeast Corridor.”

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Drug Clearinghouse deadline nears for fleets and drivers

Fleet Owner Josh Fisher January 4, 2021

“If you have failed to obtain a full query on a driver that you hired this year, do it now,” Sean Garney, VP of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, said during a December webinar about the Clearinghouse hosted by Optym. “Noncompliance is not an option because enforcement is now very, very easy. They can catch you on roadside (inspections); they can catch you in the back office. It’s going to be easy for them (in 2021).”

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