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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Logistics Intelligence Brief

Trucking

Yellow revs up recruitment, training as drivers become more scarce (Subscription Based)

The Journal Of Commerce William B Cassidy February 22, 2021

Yellow isn’t waiting for experienced truck drivers to knock on its doors — it’s training its own to more quickly increase its less-than-truckload (LTL) capacity amid a growing shortfall of drivers that is constraining capacity across the US trucking sector. The LTL carrier said Monday it has opened a network of 12 internal truck-driving academies as it attempts to put an additional 1,500 drivers in truck cabs to meet growing demand. The first academies are in Charlotte, North Carolina; Cleveland, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Fort Worth, Texas; Hagerstown, Maryland; Indianapolis, Indiana; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; Maybrook, New York; Portland, Oregon; and Pico Rivera and Tracy, California. Yellow said it plans to open additional driving schools in additional states this spring. In a recent interview, Yellow CEO Darren Hawkins stressed how unusual it is for the carrier to have 1,500 job openings in the first quarter, usually the slowest period of the year for trucking. “It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “With the expansion of LTL that I believe is coming, the pie [of available revenue] is going to get larger over time,” translating into a need for more jobs. When it comes to hiring drivers, “our best success is in growing our own,” Hawkins told JOC.com. “We have permanent academies and also pop-up schools that will be an even bigger part of what we do going forward.”

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Yellow hiring 1,500 drivers, opening 12 schools

Freight Waves Todd Maiden February 22, 2021

As the trucking industry continues to grapple with a lack of qualified drivers to meet elevated demand, less-than-truckload provider Yellow Corp., formerly YRC Worldwide (NASDAQ: YRCW), announced Monday it would add 1,500 drivers and open 12 new driver academies. The press release from the Overland Park, Kansas-based carrier pointed to the American Trucking Associations’ estimate that the industry is short 60,000 drivers as evidence of the need for a hiring blitz. The pandemic has reduced the number of CDL graduates by roughly 40%, and the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse sidelined roughly 56,000 drivers last year. Transportation employment remains below pre-COVID levels while sectors competing in the same labor pool, like construction, have seen demand surge as well. “At a time when many Americans are looking to start a new career, Yellow is in hire mode. These are good jobs with competitive benefits in a community near you,” Yellow CEO Darren Hawkins said in a recent interview on the Fox Business Network. “Our number one asset is our 30,000 professionals.” The Yellow network currently has approximately 16,000 drivers.

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LTL Carrier Yellow to Hire 1,500 New Drivers

Transport Topics Dan Ronan February 22, 2021

Hawkins noted that the pandemic has also provided a boost to the industry’s image. “Our men and women are heroes,” he said. “At the beginning of the pandemic as well as today, they’re getting American families and businesses the goods they need. Our freight professionals serve as the economic lifeline to nearly every community in America. We take this very seriously.” Yellow is in the midst of upgrading its fleet. It announced during its fourth-quarter earnings call on Feb. 4 that it purchased 300 new tractors and 1,200 trailers last year. In the first quarter of 2021, it plans to buy 1,110 tractors, 1,900 trailers and 250 containers. The company is funding these acquisitions with $700 million in loans it received in 2020 from the federal CARES Act, a stimulus program to shore up what the government considered essential businesses. Yellow provides freight services for the military. As part of the agreement with the U.S. Treasury, the government gained a nearly 30% equity stake in the company.

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Winter weather sends extraordinary spot volume to extreme levels.

FTR Transportation Intelligence February 22, 2021

Dry Van: The Dry Van segment rose more than 29% from the prior week’s post-pandemic high. The index shows seasonally adjusted volume at more than three times the pre-pandemic baseline..

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Industry

Diesel Spike of 9.7¢ Is Most in More Than Three Years

Transport Topics February 22, 2021

The national average price of a gallon of diesel increased 9.7 cents to $2.973 cents a gallon, according to Energy Information Administration data released Feb. 22. • The price of a gallon of diesel has increased 17.2 cents in the past two weeks. • Diesel now costs 9.1 cents more than it did at this time last year.

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Technology/Innovation

Amazon hands over delivery data to researchers for MIT route planning contest

Supply Chain Dive Matt Leonard February 22, 2021

Amazon is teaming up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a competition in which participants are tasked with creating a route-planning algorithm that can take into account the learned knowledge of delivery drivers, the retailer and school announced last week. The idea is that drivers gain an understanding of their delivery route over time and begin to understand where they can park, where the traffic will be bad and other considerations that aren't necessarily caught with traditional optimization models used for route planning. Participants in the competition will be provided historical delivery data from Amazon that includes locations, package dimensions, travel times and distances between locations. There will also be "more than 4,000 traces of driver-determined routes, which encode the drivers' know-how," according to MIT's announcement.

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Government/Safety

25 states introduce 61 measures to fund transportation

Transport Dive Zachary Phillips February 22, 20201

As of Jan. 31, 25 state legislatures had introduced 61 transportation funding measures this year, one of which had been approved and signed into law, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. Nearly 30% of the proposed bills are for one-time funding. Bond issues for state department of transportation funding have become an increasing source of revenue for highway projects, as toll fees accounted for less of the funding pie since 2000, according to the Build America Transportation Investment Center Institute. The one approved bill was in Massachusetts, where a $16.5 billion bond will inject funding into infrastructure projects. Minnesota has proposed the highest number of bills so far this year at 19.

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Workforce

Walmart associates offered MIT supply chain management course

Freight Waves Alyssa Sporrer February 22, 2021

MIT CTL recently started a new session of an online supply chain management program for 80 Walmart associates after a successful pilot program in 2020 with 70 Walmart associates. The Walmart course session is being funded by two supply chain organization associate groups at Walmart, Women of Supply Chain and People of Color, according to a release. “The SCM field has been growing in the last decade. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for supply chain skills, and companies are aware of that need,” Eva Ponce, executive director of the program, told FreightWaves. The program customizes SCM courses, modules and content to meet the specific needs of each company. The custom course for Walmart associates includes content from the MicroMasters program and covers inventory and transportation management, demand planning and supply chain processes with no more than two to three hours of weekly effort required from associates, Ponce said.

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Economy

Consumer Demand Snaps Back. Factories Can’t Keep Up. (Subscription Based)

The Wall Street Journal Bob Tita and Austen Hufford February 22, 2021

Consumer spending on long-lasting goods in the U.S. rose 6.4% last year but domestic production of those goods fell 8.4%, according to federal data, leading to shortages and higher prices. Supply chains typically get beaten up during recessions. As sales decline, companies draw down inventories to conserve cash instead of purchasing more parts and materials. Entire pipelines of supplies get cleaned out. When demand improves, even modestly, suppliers respond with an outsize increase in production to restock empty warehouses and assembly plants. The so-called bullwhip effect ripples all along supply chains, generating unusually large orders for suppliers that are far from end customers.

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