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Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Logistics Intelligence Brief
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Trucking

December LTL volumes ‘remain healthy’

Freight Waves Todd maiden January 11, 2021

Industrial activity advancing The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) jumped to 60.7% in December, up 3.2 percentage points from November and the seventh straight month of expansion. A reading above 50% indicates expansion in the U.S. manufacturing sector. Manufacturing activity can account for up to 85% of LTL tonnage for some carriers. LTL demand has a high correlation to PMI data, with volumes lagging the index by roughly three months. The new orders subindex climbed 2.8 percentage points to 67.9%, and the production component moved 4 points higher to 64.8%. Additionally, customers’ inventories remained “too low” at 37.9%, which is considered a positive sign for future production. “The bottom line is the LTL industry [and the railroads] sit at the very top of our preference list as it relates to our 2021 outlook … which reflects our strong positive stance on the outlook for U.S. industrial activity in 2021,” Mehrotra added. He went on to say XPO and Saia are the stocks with the most upside, and that Old Dominion is “well positioned.”

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Trucking bucks economy’s trend as employment, rates continue rallying

CCJ James Jaillet January 11, 2021

On rates, dry van and flatbed hit multi-year highs, while reefer remains elevated, historically speaking. Dry van loads averaged $2.64 a mile in December in Truckstop.com’s system — a 2-cent increase from November and an 80-cent jump from May, just seven months earlier. It was van’s strongest showing in two and a half years, since July 2018.

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Freight recovery index jumps to a new pandemic high following the holiday lull.

FTR Transportation Intelligence January 11, 2021

Dry Van • The Dry Van segment rose about 26% in the latest week to a new post-pandemic high. The latest index reading is more than 3% higher than the previous high set during the week ending November 6. • Current Level: 230.0 // Bottomed at 45.3 week ending 4/24/2020. Current high is 230.0 for week ending 1/8/2021.

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Trucking forecasts optimistic for 2021, but risks remain

Fleet Owner Cristina Commendatore January 11, 2021

“We are heading into a 2021 where we have a reduced number of incoming drivers and increase in the number of drivers who have exited,” Vise explained. “Then, layered on top of that, we have the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, which is something we would have had anyway, but we never had it before. So, it’s a stress to the market.” Looking further into 2021, Vise surmised that even as fleets increase driver pay, it’s going to be impossible to restore the driver force to the level it would have been without the pandemic. Vise added that the driver force will likely be restored, but not until the pandemic is under control. “At the end of the day, the industry has to find drivers,” Osiecki said. “That’s the biggest strain on capacity, and I don’t see that fundamentally changing in 2021.”

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Top 10 freight markets of 2020

DAT.com Matt Sullivan January 11. 2021

The coronavirus pandemic upended notions of normality in most facets of life in 2020, and the trucking industry was no different. The complications COVID-19 created for supply chains could be felt across all aspects of life in 2020, whether you were in the freight industry or shopping for groceries in a store with bare shelves. The public at large became much more aware of the types of problems that trucking and logistics professionals have been solving for decades The pandemic led to an explosion of spot market activity in 2020. In a normal year, roughly 12-15 percent of all truckload shipments were spot loads ┈ transactional shipments arranged outside of a shipper’s normal long-term contracts. When disruptions interrupt the normal freight flows within supply chains, shippers and brokers turn to the spot market for flexibility. In 2020, up to 23 percent of all truckloads were spot shipments

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Industry

Chassis shortages in Chicago worsen amid record volumes

The Journal of Commerce Ari Ashe January 11, 2021

The lack of chassis reflects rising pressure on inland hubs as western railroads grapple with what the Intermodal Association of North America describes as unprecedented volume pressure. The surge in intermodal volumes between the Southwest and Midwest — up 25 percent year over year in the October–November period — is challenging inland operations, as reflected by an overall rise in truck turn times at Chicago in the second half and reports of tighter chassis supply in other Midwest markets such as Minneapolis.

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Diesel Rises 3¢ to $2.67 a Gallon

Transport Topics Dan Ronan January 11, 2021

The first full week of 2021 saw the nationwide price of diesel continue as it had for the last weeks of 2020, with trucking’s main fuel notching a 3-cent increase, according to the Energy Information Administration’s weekly data released Jan. 11. Diesel now costs $2.67 nationwide.

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Government/Safety

DOT lays out strategy for automated trucking

Freight Waves John Gallagher January 11, 2021

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released on Monday a strategy for integrating automated driving systems (ADS) into the commercial trucking and passenger vehicle sectors. The 38-page Automated Vehicles Comprehensive Plan (AVCP), which will be published in the Federal Register for public review and comment, “lays out a vision for the safe integration of automated vehicles into America’s transportation system while ensuring that legitimate concerns about safety, security, and privacy are addressed,” said Secretary Elaine Chao. It was one of Chao’s last public announcements before resigning from DOT on Monday. Link: U.S. Department of Transportation Automated Vehicles Comprehensive Plan

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Rhode Island, New York Top Advocates Group Highway Safety Ranking

Transport Topics Eleanor Lamb January 11, 2021

Rhode Island and New York have tied for the top spot on Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety’s list evaluating states’ road safety enforcement efforts. Advocates, as the group is known, released its 2021 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws on Jan. 11. Advocates is a consortium of consumer, public health, safety and insurance firms that supports policies and programs designed to promote highway safety. Advocates’ report identifies the states that perform best and worst in terms of enforcing highway laws. It ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia on adoption of 16 traffic safety laws that the group has identified as essential to road safety, including those addressing distracted and impaired driving, motorcycle helmets and seat belts.

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ELDs Have Improved HOS Compliance in First Year Since Full Implementation

Transport Topics Mindy Long January 11, 2021

“One of the largest decreases came from a reduction in form and manner violations. ELDs are pretty much logging it as you do it,” he said. According to FMCSA data, overall driver violations at roadside inspections decreased to 784,188 in fiscal 2020, down from 1,023,654 in fiscal 2018.

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