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Monday, February 22, 2021

Logistics Intelligence Brief

Trucking

Trucking, Freight Industry Seek Faster Route to Covid-19 Vaccinations (Subscription Based)

The Wall Street Journal Jennifer Smith February 19, 2021

As the U.S. vaccine rollout accelerates, freight operators and transportation groups are pushing to get their workforce better access to vaccinations, arguing their operations are crucial to keep the economy running. That is thrusting truck drivers, parcel carriers and dockworkers into a heated national debate over who should get priority for the shots, as teachers, public-transit workers and other essential workers jockey for a place in vaccination lines defined by national and regional priorities. Transport groups say logistics workers are keeping hospitals and stores stocked with critical goods and deserve priority.

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Shippers/3PLs

Walmart says its automated supply chain is ‘ready to scale’

Suuply Chain Dive Matt leonard February 19, 2021

Walmart plans to invest heavily over the next year in a more automated e-commerce fulfillment environment, according to executive comments at the company's Investment Community Meeting Thursday and capital expenditures guidance in its earnings release. "Our automation plan is now ready to scale," CEO Doug McMillon said at the meeting. "We'll be investing in our distribution centers, our e-commerce fulfillment centers and in market fulfillment centers, which will, in many cases, be inside of or built beside our stores." Walmart envisions automation helping to expand fulfillment capacity at a time when the retailer is trying to bring more customers to Walmart+, a competitor to Amazon Prime. "We've got a limit on how much we can pick and deliver from stores," McMillon said. "The automation that we're investing in will help change that."

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Industry

$250 million SPAC eyes e-commerce, transportation

Freight Waves Todd Maiden February 20, 2021

E-commerce- and transportation-focused special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Ocelot Acquisition Corp. I filed its registration statement Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The blank check company is seeking to raise $250 million through an initial public offering. The company’s sponsor is listed as an affiliate of Ocelot Capital Management LLC, an Austin, Texas-based family office investment firm. Ocelot has prior experience in the transportation industry. In 2020, Ocelot invested in Lone Star Overnight, a parcel delivery company with service in the Southwest and in 2019 it made an investment in last-mile provider Scoobeez (OTC: SCBZ). Lone Star Overnight was sold to another Ocelot-owned company, WeDo Logistics, in November. WeDo is also listed as the holding company for Scoobeez, which filed for bankruptcy in 2019. Scoobeez is still operating today.

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January cargo volume up in L.A.

DC Velocity February 19, 2021

Cargo volume through the Port of Los Angeles rose 3.6% in January, marking the sixth straight month of year-over-year increases, port officials said this week. The port processed 835,516 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) during the month, driven by strong imports and consumer spending. Port officials said they expect the flow of imports to continue in the months ahead, but they also noted that exports are lagging. “All indications point toward a strong flow of imports over the next few months as consumers continue an unprecedented buying surge, which began last summer,” Port of Los Angeles Director Gene Seroka said in a statement Wednesday. “However, U.S. exports continue to lag, down 25 of the last 27 months. What we’re experiencing is one-way trade, which has created challenges for the entire supply chain."

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U.S. rail carload and intermodal volumes are mixed, for the week ending February 13, reports AAR

Logistics Management Jeff Berman February 19, 2021

Intermodal containers and trailers—at 269,063—saw a 6.9% annual increase, which trailed the weeks ending February 6 and January 30, at 269,422 and 289,323, respectively.

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Technology/Innovation

How Consolidation Is Reshaping Trucking’s Technology Sector

Transport Topics Seth Clevenger February 19, 2021

Consolidation has dramat­ically reshaped trucking’s technology market over the past decade, with dozens of software and telematics companies joining forces to create larger organizations with expanded capabilities and broader reach. This realignment has been driven in large part by advances in technology, regulatory changes and venture capital, all of which have fueled an influx of startup firms in the transportation technology sector. Established vendors, eager to keep pace with emerging technologies and gain a competitive advantage, have been purchasing some of these newer entrants to the industry with the goal of expanding and enhancing their products and services.

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Government/Safety

Biden’s DOL withdraws Trump administration’s sleeper berth guidance

Freight Waves John Kingston February 19, 2021

Previous Department of Labor opinions regarding issues of pay and classification have been withdrawn by the Biden administration, the latest in a series of steps that suggest the federal government’s approach to such issues will differ significantly from that of the Trump administration. The Wages and Hour Division of the Department of Labor said this week that it was withdrawing two previous letters of opinion that it had published in 2019. The letters do not have the force of law and are not arrived at through a rulemaking process. But they are factors going forward in regulation and litigation. The most significant withdrawal for the trucking industry was a letter published in 2019 regarding compensation for time spent in the sleeper berth.

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Pennsylvania Trucking Industry Opposes State DOT’s Bridge Tolling Plan

Transport Topics Eleanor Lamb February 19 ,2021

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has released a list of bridges that are being considered for tolling, a practice the state’s trucking community has bristled against. The agency on Feb. 18 released the list, which contains nine interstate bridge projects. The bridges are being considered as part of PennDOT’s Pathways Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership program. PennDOT’s Pathways initiative is meant to help the agency explore sustainable transportation financing options in response to an infrastructure-related funding gap. The Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association expressed opposition to the tolls, which truckers (and other drivers) already encounter on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. PMTA President Rebecca Oyler, who began her role with the association Feb. 15, said the trucking industry already pays almost 40% of all taxes owed by Pennsylvania motorists despite covering only 9% of the total miles traveled.

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