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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Logistics Intelligence Brief

Trucking

After first-quarter freeze, US trucking market heats up (Subscription Based)

The Journal Of Commerce William B. Cassidy April 21, 2021

Double-digit rate increases trending in “the mid-teens" helped Knight-Swift, the largest US truckload operator, increase trucking revenue 6.3 percent in Q1 year over year to $872.8 million, excluding fuel surcharges. That gain came despite fielding fewer trucks and driving those trucks fewer miles. The broad impact of the 2021 polar vortex is just being measured. The US Bank Shipment Index, which measures freight volumes, declined 8.3 percent in the first quarter after rising a combined 11.3 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2020. US Bank blamed severe weather and supply chains shortages. “February saw a 5 percent shock to the entire US surface freight transportation system,” said Miller, who produces the index with associate professor of supply chain management Yemisi Bolumole. “This may be the strongest evidence yet of just how much weather can impact freight activity,” he said.

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DAT Truckload Volume Index hits new records in March

Logistics Management Jeff Berman April 21, 2021

“The strength of truckload freight relative to the amount of capacity available in the market, combined with the willingness of shippers to pay high rates, indicates an urgency from businesses to fill orders and meet delivery schedules after a difficult February,” said Ken Adamo, Chief of Analytics at DAT, in a statement. “All three equipment types that make up our Truckload Volume Index showed extraordinary growth at a time when capacity is tight and truckload prices are up.”

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Headline beat for Knight-Swift; 2021 to see mid-teen jump in contract rates

Freight Waves Todd Maiden April 21, 2021

The company’s guidance assumes a mid-teen percentage increase in over-the-road contract rates as “over-the-road truckload demand is at unprecedented levels and expected to continue into 2022.”

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JOC Rankings: E-commerce drives lopsided US trucking revenue expansion (Subscription Based)

The Journal Of Commerce William B. Cassidy April 21, 2021

Strong consumer spending in the second half of 2020 lifted freight revenue and prevented the type of cataclysmic event seen in 2009, when the largest trucking companies saw their combined top line plummet 17.7 percent. The JOC Top 50 Trucking Companies had a combined revenue growth rate of 7.4 percent in 2020, raising their total revenue to $169.6 billion from a revised $157.9 billion in 2019. That underscores the difference between the Great Recession, caused by an economic crisis that severely curtailed consumer spending, and the 2020 recession, caused by a public health crisis that ultimately spurred consumer spending on physical goods, especially goods purchased online. US consumers spent $844 billion online from March 2020 through February this year, according to Adobe Analytics. That’s $183 billion more than expected, the equivalent of a second online holiday shopping season. US consumers spent $188.2 billion online last November and December, Adobe Analytics said in its Digital Economy Index, released in February. As a result, parcel carriers and the US Postal Service delivered a record 3-billion-plus parcels in November and December, according to ShipMatrix, an SJ Consulting company.

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Heartland Express to raise driver pay again; slight miss in Q1

Freight Waves Todd Maiden April 21, 2021

“The first two months of the quarter delivered strong freight demand but were restricted by significant weather shutdowns in the month of February,” stated CEO Mike Gerdin in the press release. “Extreme winter weather events affected the company’s revenues during the month of February while at the same time we continued to pay our drivers during extended weather shutdowns to protect their pay while we had them shut down for safety.” Salaries, wages and benefits (+30 basis points) and purchased transportation (-30 bps) expenses as a percentage of revenue were largely in line with prior-year levels. The company reported an 86.5% adjusted operating ratio, 170 bps better than the first quarter of 2020. “We also continue to navigate the challenge to recruit, hire and retain qualified and safe operating drivers,”

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Industry

Sky’s the limit’ for already lofty container-ship charter rates

Freight Waves Greg Miller April 21, 2021

Highest rate since 2005 Alphaliner reported that ZIM (NYSE: ZIM) chartered the 9,034-twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) Seamax Niantic for five years at a rate that is believed (but not confirmed) to be around $50,000 per day. ZIM also reportedly chartered the 8,586-TEU Gulf Bridge for six years, as well as the sister ship Mediterranean Bridge, at an unknown rate, said Alphaliner. Matson (NYSE: MATX) has reportedly chartered the 4,308-TEU Kassiakos for 28-30 months at $41,000 per day for service in the China-U.S. trade. That’s a new high for the current era for that ship type, said Alphaliner, noting that rates like this for classic Panamax-size tonnage have not been seen since 2005.

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Parts Shortage Hobbles New Truck Deliveries, Worsens Downtime

Truckinginfo.com Jim Park April 21, 2021

Parts shortages are beginning to affect fleet maintenance and repair activities, while a large portion of fleets are reporting delays in new truck deliveries due to shortages of parts and raw materials. From semiconductors to tires and even lumber for trailer floors, parts production is under pressure from stockpiling, rising prices and delayed deliveries. Three-quarters of the fleets attending the Fleet Talk session at the opening of the ATA's Technology and Maintenance Council's virtual Annual Meeting indicated they are experiencing delays in new truck deliveries due to the parts shortage. Reporting on the results of an online poll of attendees, TMC Executive Director Robert Braswell said, 75% of their respondents indicated they were having problems taking delivery of new vehicles because of parts shortage. "It's not anecdotal evidence, there's some empirical evidence right here," he said.

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Shippers/3PLs

Industrial businesses gearing up for post-pandemic rebound, sourcing stats show

DC Velocity April 21, 2021

"While the pandemic is still ongoing, the last year has highlighted the incredible resilience of the manufacturing sector. As Thomas' 2021 Q1 Industrial Sourcing Activity Snapshot illustrates, industrial businesses are not only rebounding from Covid-19 but are actually in a position to excel and grow substantially in the coming year," Thomas President and CEO Tony Uphoff said in a release. "We're finally seeing Covid-19-related, PPE-centric sourcing start to cautiously decline amid a resurgence of key industrial categories like steel and lumber, signaling a positive future for industry." In addition to analyzing those first quarter figures, Thomas also forecast second quarter economic moves, predicting big jumps in orders for printed circuit boards (PCBs), aerospace engineering services, manufacturing services, and foodservice equipment.

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Workforce

Trucking urges Congress to pass DRIVE-Safe Act

American Trucker Catharine Conway April 22, 2021

Currently, 49 states and Washington D.C. allow individuals under the age of 21 to obtain a commercial driver’s license (must be 21 in New York) and operate commercial vehicles in intrastate commerce. However, these same individuals are prohibited by federal law from driving a truck across state lines until they turn 21. The DRIVE-Safe Act would launch a two-step apprenticeship program to allow drivers to participate in interstate commerce. In order to qualify, candidates must complete at least 400 hours of additional training—far beyond what is required of any other CDL holder in the nation. Secondly, all qualified drivers participating in the apprenticeship program would be accompanied by an experienced driver in the cab and would only be allowed to drive trucks outfitted with the latest safety technology, including active braking collision mitigation systems, forward-facing dash cams, speed limiters set at 65 mph or lower, and automatic or automatic-manual transmissions. In February, Yellow Corporation revealed that it will be filling 1,500 commercial driver positions to its roster while reminding those of the 12 Yellow Driving Academies that are available across the U.S. for those who want to obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL). According to Yellow, classroom instruction combined with in-cab skills training is provided by Yellow’s longest serving, most experienced driving professionals.

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Government/Safety

Strategies Exist to Protect Internal Safety Data From Plaintiffs’ Attorneys, Experts Say

Transport Topics Eric Miller April 21, 2021

“Carriers will often, as part of their safety programs, have their own accident preventability process, where they go in and evaluate if there was anything that my driver did that contributed to the accident, and if there is any kind of action needed to take against him or her to prevent it from happening again in the future,” said Brandon Wiseman, president of Greenfield, Ind.-based Trucksafe Consulting and partner with Childress Law Firm. Many trucking defense attorneys support the value of post-incident analysis and remediation. Such analysis should be promoted, not punished, in the trucking industry, they argue. Insurance Stories “There’s a legal privilege that’s called ‘the privilege of self-critical analysis,’ ” said Rob Moseley, a veteran trucking defense attorney with Moseley Marcinak Law Group in Travelers Rest, S.C.

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Oregon Considers Making VMT Fee Mandatory

Oregon Live/Transport Topics Andrew Theen April 21, 2021

If passed, Oregon’s vehicle-miles-traveled fee wouldn’t be effective until July 2026. That’s just the beginning of the caveats. The House Bill 2342 fee would apply only to owners of new 2027 vehicles that don’t use gas or get 30 miles or more per gallon of gasoline. Drivers also would be be able to opt out of tracking their mileage and pay a flat annual fee of $400, a provision that would expire in 2030.

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Business

Author Talks: Karin M. Reed on virtual meetings

McKinsey And Company April 20, 2021

What are some practical tips for video-meeting participants? One of the mistakes that I see people make is they ignore how they show up whenever they are speaking on webcam. And there are a couple of things that you should definitely be attending to. It’s not a matter of vanity. It’s a matter of being respectful of your conversation partner. If your face is in shadow or your audio is really crackly, it’s the equivalent of forcing somebody to have a phone call with you when the connection is bad. You want to make sure that you can communicate effectively in full. First of all, ensure that your background is uncluttered and nondistracting. Make sure that you don’t have anything behind you that would reveal something about you that you wouldn’t want revealed, but also that could potentially pull focus. Anything that distracts will detract from your message. The second thing I would focus on is lighting your face. Facial expressions are so critical in conveying your message, so make sure that people can easily read them. The third thing I would consider is your audio. Record yourself on a video call so you can hear how your audio sounds, or hop on a call with a trusted colleague or friend who will tell you how you sound. Don’t just rely on the built-in microphone on your laptop. Oftentimes, they don’t have clear audio fidelity.

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