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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Logistics Intelligence Brief

Trucking

CVSA inspection event leads to sharp rise in freight index.

FTR Truck Freight Recovery Index May 10, 2021

Dry Van • The Dry Van segment soared more than 25% as freight moved to the spot market in response to capacity shortfalls due to the CVSA event. The index was still about 26% below the February peak but about 189% above the pre-pandemic base. • Current Level: 289.3 // Bottomed at 45.3 week ending 4/24/2020. Current high is 392.4 for week ending 2/26/2021.

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Shippers/3PLs

Top US Shippers: Semiconductor shortage a fork in the road for auto trade (Subscription Based)

The Journal Of Commerce Dustin Braden May 10, 2021

How long the chip shortage — and the resulting effects on new vehicle production — will last is still highly uncertain, but IHS Markit said in a late April report that supply may not start to stabilize until the fourth quarter, while recovery may start only in early 2022. Peter Nagle, senior research analyst, IHS Markit Automotive, noted that OEMs are also dealing with delays in delivery of other parts due to the congestion, blank sailings, and container shortages that have plagued the entire containerized supply chain.

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LM Podcast Series: NRF’s Gold Examines the State of the Retail Supply Chain

Logistics Management Jeff Berman May 10, 2021

Jonathan Gold provided LM's Berman with an update on how retail supply chains have adapted and evolved, going back to the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Gold provided a deep dive on key takeaways of the most recent edition of the monthly Port Tracker report issued by the NRF and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates, with a sharp focus at the impact of COVID-19 on United States imports. Other subjects addressed over the course of the podcast included the biggest challenges retail supply chains are currently facing, the biggest lessons learned over the course of the pandemic, the current state of the port congestion and its impact on freight flows and inventory optimization, and a look ahead to what may be in store for the 2021 Peak Season, among other topics.

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Industry

Diesel Rises 4.4¢ to $3.186 a Gallon

Transport Topics May 10, 2021

Diesel has increased 6.2 cents the post two weeks after no change at $3.124 on April 26. A gallon of trucking’s main fuel costs on average 79.2 cents more than at this time in 2020.

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Plus’s SPAC Merger Marks Autonomous Trucking Shift to Public Markets (Subscription Based)

The Wall Street Journal Jennifer Smith May 10, 2021

The planned listing and TuSimple’s recent IPO follow a shakeout period in the autonomous trucking sector, where companies need large amounts of capital to develop technology that is several years out from mass commercial deployment. Some startups sold to other companies last year, and analysts say investors are increasingly concentrating money behind a few prominent ventures. Plus has received around $600 million in total funding, Mr. Liu said. The company raised $420 million this year, accounting for more than 70% of the $584.9 million that research firm PitchBook Data Inc. said venture-capital investors have poured into self-driving trucking companies so far in 2021. Plus declined to comment on its most recent valuation.

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Technology/Innovation

Colonial Pipeline shutdown shows power of cybercrimes

Fleet Owner Josh Fisher May 10, 2021

Cybercrimes have been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic changed the office work landscape in the U.S. Just last spring, the FBI reported a 300% increase in cybercrimes between March and May 2020. The transportation industry has seen similar surges in attacks this year, according to Ben Barnes, McLeod Software’s vice president of IT services and chief information security officer. “We didn’t see a lot of attacks in January, February — but in March and April, the ransomware attacks have escalated in our industry and we don’t know why exactly,” Barnes, whose company provides transportation and trucking software solutions, told FleetOwner recently. “But if we can map these patterns and know the same thing happened last year in March and April when we saw attacks go up, we’re starting to see a pattern.”

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The Real Infrastructure Problem

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board May 10, 2021

The economic damage from the cyber attack that shut down the 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline—the country’s largest fuel pipeline—should be limited. But it’s a glaring reminder that cyber vulnerabilities in U.S. energy and other systems are the real infrastructure problem that President Biden should be addressing. Colonial transports about 100 million gallons of refined products each day from the Gulf Coast to New York Harbor, supplying nearly half of the East Coast’s fuel. The pipeline’s private operator says it learned Friday that it was hit by a ransomware attack and took “certain systems offline to contain the threat.”

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

Senate Commerce Committee to Review Supply Chains

Transport Topics Eugene Mulero May 10, 2021

Disruptions across a major refined petroleum pipeline, a growing crisis in semiconductor production affecting the automobile sector, and concerns with the distribution of vaccines and other critical supplies exposed vulnerabilities to the country’s supply chains. As a result, the federal apparatus has been in response mode. Due to the cyberattack against Colonial Pipeline, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently signed off on an emergency declaration on hour-of-service regulations for truckers assisting operations linked to refined petroleum supply chains in the East Coast.

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Does the deregulation of cannabis matter to your fleet?

CCJ Jeffrey L. Oyster May 10, 2021

With regard to the trucking industry, the Department of Transportation (DOT) currently prohibits drivers from using any sort of Schedule I substance, which includes all forms of marijuana, and subjects drivers to drug testing for all substances listed under Schedule I. While it remains uncertain as to whether recategorizing marijuana as a Schedule II substance would allow for certain marijuana use to be deemed acceptable in the eyes of the DOT (such as medicinal use), it is doubtful that decriminalization will change its stance on marijuana use among truck drivers because they hold a “safety sensitive” position (like pilots, bus drivers, train engineers, and others).

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Truck brokers want Congress to call out illegal dispatching

Freight Waves John Gallagher May 10, 2021

Dispatchers balk Dispatchers contacted by FreightWaves generally agree with the intention of TIA’s petition, which is to eliminate bad actors from the market. But they disagree with the method by which TIA proposes to accomplish that – by allowing dispatchers to be an agent for just one motor carrier. “Anything further,” according to TIA’s request, “requires a brokerage license and compliance with the financial responsibility requirements applicable to brokers.” Nora Spriggs, who runs 3D Transportation and Dispatch Services out of San Antonio, pointed out that legitimate dispatchers work as agents on behalf of one or more small business truckers, while brokers generally work for shippers. For her, getting a broker’s license is a nonstarter. “I have no desire to work with shippers and multimillion dollar companies; it’s more fulfilling to me to help blue-collar truckers who are struggling to put their kids through college and to help them navigate through this freight market,” Spriggs told FreightWaves. She added that becoming a broker would mean another $1,500 to $2,000 a month in overhead costs that she would have to pass down to her trucker clients.

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Secretary Pete Buttigieg On The Future Of Transportation

The Verge Andrew J. Hawkins May 10, 2021

Let’s remember that this represents the largest investment in American jobs since World War II. And this is not a minor proposal. This is designed to sit on top of what already happened in terms of surface transportation reauthorization. Not all of America’s spending on infrastructure for the future is going to be federal spending, right? This is part of a bigger picture where we continue to see work happening at the local and state level. And to the extent that we can support the mobilization of private capital to where we know it’s not going to happen without good federal leadership. This is a major, major investment in setting America on the right path for the years ahead.

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