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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Logistics Intelligence Brief


Trucking has no fear of a bubble in 2021

Transport Dive Jim Stinson April 26, 2021

But experts don't see the resurgence creating a bubble ready to burst anytime soon. One reason is capacity has not been pumped up to meet demand, and doing so would require getting past a lot of hurdles, according to Dean Croke, DAT principal analyst. Fleets are struggling to find enough drivers, Croke said. And even if they hire new trainees, the COVID-19 pandemic has lengthened the time it takes to train them and then get them licensed through government bureaus. The new FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse has also removed 50,000 drivers from the market, Croke said. And then there's constraints on new truck production. A global semiconductor shortage has slowed production of Class 8 trucks. For trucking, it's as if there are guardrails placed upon the highway, preventing a turn into boom or bust. "Capacity is going to be tight for some time," said Croke. "I just don't see how they are going to seat [more] trucks."

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Freight index holds steady at a very high level

FTR Truck Freight Recovery Index April 26, 2021

Dry van load postings fell 4.8% for the largest decline in six weeks. The decrease does not fundamentally change what has been a quite stable demand environment for dry van since early March. Load postings were more than five times the level in the same 2020 week, which had represented the bottom of the collapse in volume due to the pandemic. Dry van volume was 143% above the five-year average. Truck postings rose 2.5%, and the dry van MDI fell to its lowest level since late January.

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Orders for Durable Goods Rebound in March

Associated Press/Transport Topics Martin Crutsinger April 26, 2021

Orders for big-ticket manufactured goods rebounded 0.5% in March as U.S. factories recovered from February weather disruptions. However, the recovery was not as strong as most had expected due to ongoing supply chain disruptions that continue to ensnare U.S. manufacturers. It was the 10th time in the past 11 months that factory orders have increased with February being the exception, when orders declined 0.9% as severe winter storms raked much of the country. Orders in a closely watched category that tracks business investment plans also rebounded, increasing 0.9% after having fallen 0.8% in February, the Commerce Department reported April 26.

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Walmart To Focus On Faster Fulfillment, More Features And Greater Assortment

PYMNTS.com April 23, 2021

Faster Sales Growth In stressing its accelerated investments — as well as a spate of global divestitures — McMillon said all the moves were aimed at supporting faster sales growth and keeping the company’s core businesses “fresh.” Although the company is coming off its best year in its 60-year history, the Walmart chief said the retailer needed to “move even faster” to seize opportunities and outlined three key areas where it will focus investment. First, Walmart plans to add eCommerce fulfillment capacity and automation either through the development of new facilities or within or adjacent to existing stores to increase pickup and delivery capacity and improve productivity.

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Tesla Sticks to Plan to Deliver Semi This Year

Bloomberg/Transport Topics Dana Hull April 26, 2021

The announcement that Tesla Semi deliveries would begin this year as planned suggests that the company has overcome battery constraint issues that led to speculation of a delay.

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Average Price of Diesel Stays at $3.124 a Gallon

Transport Topics April 26, 2021

The national average price of diesel remained unchanged this week at $3.124 a gallon, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration. That left the price of trucking’s primary fuel 68.7 cents per gallon more expensive than a year ago.

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ACT: Heavy-duty market demand outrunning supplies

Fleet Owner April 26, 2021

“Demand for commercial vehicles in North America is about as good as we’ve seen in 35 years of monitoring heavy-duty market conditions,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Times are so good that demand is far outrunning the industry’s ability to supply right now, and that will likely remain the case into the autumn and perhaps even through the winter… This would mark an unusual extension of peak demand for a period not impacted by an emissions-related prebuy.”

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Roehl Transport announces second pay bump of 2021

Freight Waves Todd Maiden April 26, 2021

Roehl Transport announced Monday that pay will increase between $4,000 to $6,000 annually for most of its company drivers. The increase will be effective May 24 throughout its reefer, flatbed, van, curtainside and dedicated segments. This will be the second pay increase for the Marshfield, Wisconsin-based truckload carrier this year. The company bumped annual pay $2,000 to $3,000 for accident-free drivers in February.

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Retention Practices: Create an Open Door Policy

Truckinginfo.com Vesna Brajkovi April 26, 2021

Each week, GIX's senior management discusses all drivre feedback that was brought to their attention. They also discuss feedback submitted anonymously through a suggestion box, which is there if drivers don’t feel comfortable sharing feedback directly. Although, Albert finds that the majority of feedback is given directly. “What I’ve noticed is drivers coming in from the rest of the industry, many times feel hesitant to give feedback to the company for fear of some kind of retribution,” Albert said. “So, I’m very direct about that in orientation. I say, ‘We know we’re not perfect. We know that there are areas that we always need to improve on. And if you see those areas, I don’t want you to hesitate to tell us. We need to fix those issues where they are.”

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US truckers speeding less, but those who do go faster (Subscription Based)

The Journal Of Commerce William B. Cassidy April 26, 2021

The number of truck driver speeding violations dropped 12.1 percent year over year to 124,355 in 2020, the lowest number since 2015, according to a JOC.com analysis of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) data. In 2019, the same violations were effectively flat after rising 7.3 percent in 2018. Assuming the decline in violations correlates with generally safer driving by truckers, that’s good news for shippers and the public. In supply chains, faster doesn’t always mean safer, less expensive, and more efficient. The cause of the decline isn’t clear, however. The most likely reason: fewer trucks on the road during the COVID-19 pandemic and recession, which led to the loss of 85,000 trucking jobs between March and April 2020. For-hire trucking has added 49,600 jobs to its payroll since then. And while overall speeding violations dropped, those issued for driving at excessive speeds jumped 9.6 percent in 2020. Those violations have been climbing since at least 2015 and rose 20.4 percent from 2017 through 2020, the FMCSA’s violations data, available online, show.

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FMCSA focused on work zone crashes in Florida, Georgia and Texas

Freight Waves John Gallagher April 26, 2021

High rates of work zone crashes involving large trucks in Florida, Georgia and Texas have earned those states special attention from federal regulators this week as part of a national safety campaign. Motorists in those states can expect to hear public service announcements and see safety messaging on billboards as they approach work zones Monday through Friday during this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). “Fatal crashes occurring in work zones are both tragic and absolutely preventable,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi. “I am especially concerned that large trucks continue to have a disproportional involvement in fatal crashes occurring in work zones – 33% – when large trucks comprise roughly 5% of vehicular traffic. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted, slow down, obey the signs and the instructions of flaggers and be courteous and safe by giving every vehicle extra space. Highway workers equally depend on you for their safety.” Link: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Large Trucks are Involved in 1/3 of All Fatal Crashes Occurring in Work Zones

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ELD Data Shows Effectiveness, Expert Says

Transport Topics Eric Miller April 26, 2021

New research and inspection data shows that electronic logging devices are largely on target to reach their goals of improving road safety and simplifying tracking hours of service, according to a technology expert. “Research from the Department of Transportation shows that trucks equipped with ELDs have experienced a 53% lower driving-related hours-of-service violation rate in 2020, and a 49% lower nondriving-related hours of service violation rate,” Michael Ahart, vice president of regulatory affairs for software company Omnitracs, told American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council during its virtual spring meeting April 22.

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