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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Logistics Intelligence Brief


Spot truckload rates are soaring after last year’s rock bottom

Fleet Owner May 11, 2021

Dry van volume increased 5%: The number of van loads on the DAT network increased 5% last week as shippers cleared their docks of month-end freight. Truck posts dropped by the same amount, leaving the van load-to-truck ratio largely unchanged at 4.9. The average line-haul rate for dry van freight was $2.27 per mile last week, up 3 cents compared to the previous week.

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Colonial Faces Deadline to Decide on Hacked Pipeline Restart

Bloomberg Joe Carroll And Jennifer Kay May 11, 2021

Colonial Pipeline Co. told federal officials it will know by late Wednesday whether it’s safe to restart gasoline and diesel flows that have been on hold since criminal hackers targeted the company last week. The promise comes as frustration grows among political leaders over scant details about when the biggest North American fuel pipeline will recover, while fuel shortages spread rapidly across the South and East. U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that even if Colonial can restart on Wednesday, it’ll take days longer to “ramp up operations.” With a full restoration of the pipeline system potentially taking weeks, U.S. retail gasoline jumped to the politically sensitive level of $3 a gallon for the first time in six years.

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Colonial Pipeline update: Gasoline shortages developing; diesel issues less clear

Freight Waves John Gallagher May 11, 2021

In an email, Dale Bennett, the president of the Virginia Trucking Association, said he has not received reports of “drivers having difficulty finding fuel on the road.” Separately, in a phone call made to the giant White’s Truck Stop on Interstate 81 in western Virginia, a staff member told FreightWaves when asked about diesel supplies: “So far, so good.” But Bennett did say that some of his members who buy diesel in bulk, which is stored at their terminals, are seeing delivery delays. “They are having to wait three days for delivery of fuel rather than the usual same-day delivery for bulk storage to fuel their trucks.” In an email to FreightWaves, Caitlin Campbell, a media relations specialist with Love’s, said the company’s locations in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia “are experiencing low levels of diesel and gasoline intermittently.” But it also said it was benefiting from its ownership of Musket, a company specializing in the trading of petroleum products like gasoline and diesel, as well as Gemini, its product-hauling division.

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Trucker Tools turns to MercuryGate TMS to expand instant booking reach (Subscription Based)

The Journal of Commerce Eric Johnson May 11, 2021

Brokerage software provider Trucker Tools has integrated its instant truckload booking feature into MercuryGate’s transportation management system (TMS), yet another example of brokers and TMSs combining to connect supply and demand digitally. The integration will enable MercuryGate customers, which include brokers and shippers, to automatically locate and book truckload carriers available in Trucker Tools’ network of 1.3 million drivers through the TMS. Reston, Virginia-based Trucker Tools uses an app it provides free to independent truckers and small fleets to get predictive visibility of carrier location and potential capacity, enabling load matching between brokers and carriers. The “Book It Now” feature, which it initially rolled out in October 2019, added an execution element to those services. The Book It Now partnership with MercuryGate is significant in that it extends the value of Trucker Tools' network and associated data more directly to shippers. The company has until now largely focused on serving the freight broker community with visibility data to underpin load-matching capability, enabling brokers to find capacity for their shipper customers’ loads.

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Bluewire to Deploy Data in Defense of Trucking Industry

Truckinginfo.com Deborah Lockridge May 11, 2021

Reputational Vulnerabilities and Attack Vectors The trucking industry, Bryan said, is “exposed to attacking plaintiffs who have discovered clever ways to… come at this industry of soft targets that are not well-prepared to defend themselves.” Doug Marcello, Bluewire chief legal officer, explained it this way: “Reputational vulnerabilities… are the basis for claims of punitive damages whose purpose is to punish past conduct and deter it in the future,” said Marcello, who has been defending trucking clients exclusively for 16 years. “In short, reputational vulnerabilities are what create the jury anger that poses a trucking company’s greatest risk of punitive damages. Nuclear verdicts, Marcello explained, are “driven by jury anger… they’re looking to find the flaws in the company’s processes and execution. We’re looking to develop an analysis and repair it before the accident happens. We’re developing the story the company wants to tell if they’re on the stand, and doing that ahead of time.”

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Manufacturing, competing with distribution, struggles to attract labor

Supply Chain Dive Matt Leonard May 11, 2021

One of the positions that manufacturers are having the hardest time filling are what the report referred to as "miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators," which are entry-level positions that actually don't require much training. The issue is increasing competition, according to Paul Wellener, one of the report authors and the leader of the U.S. industrial products and construction practice at Deloitte. "That's partially, we believe, because of the increase in demand for warehousing and distribution jobs," Wellener said. The entry-level jobs in manufacturing often pay well above minimum wage, according to the report, which noted the average salary for team assemblers in the U.S. is about $15.55. But salary might not be enough to help overcome what Wellener said could be holding back hiring in manufacturing: an image issue.

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Digital Supply Chain Acceleration

Logistics Management Bridget McCrea May 10, 2021

Banker says that he’s also seen heightened interest in supply chain planning that’s based on concurrent planning capabilities, the latter of which factor in both upstream and downstream activities. “Through our research, we can see that vendors in the supply chain planning (SCP) space that are best known for concurrent planning grew right through COVID,” he points out. “Concurrent planning is an end-to-end model that links to the longer-term sales and operations planning (S&OP) model,” Banker explains. The wholesale distributor that blends accurate lead times from its suppliers with its own distribution center (DC) constraints, for example, can more accurately predict how long it will take to ship a finished product to its own customers. “Where S&OP looks at how to match supply to demand next month and the month after that,” Banker adds, “the concurrent plan senses disruptions and runs simulations to determine the cheapest way to meet customer obligations, like adding a second shift in a busy DC.” Another digital supply chain technology that took off last year, and that continues to gain steam, is the supply chain control tower. These applications gather data from all points across the supply chain and then translate those points into actionable information. With this intelligence in hand, shippers can improve supply chain visibility and make better decisions that are rooted in real-time analytics. In response to the COVID crisis, McKinsey says 39% of industry leaders implemented a control tower approach in order to increase end-to-end supply-chain transparency. “Control towers have been around for a while, but we’re now seeing a new generation that are much more robust than older control towers,” Banker observes. “Right now, there appears to be a rush among big companies to put in good supply chain control towers.”

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Trucking, labor haggle over driver work rules

Freight Waves John Gallagher May 11, 2021

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Teamsters union agree that truck driver fatigue is an issue, but the two organizations disagree on how to solve the problem. Testifying on Tuesday at a Senate Commerce committee hearing on freight transportation issues, Lamont Byrd, director of the union’s safety and health department, told lawmakers that a big part of the problem are the changes made to the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations last year, which he says is resulting in drivers working more than 60 hours a week and often more than 14 hours per day. The Teamsters are appealing the HOS changes in federal court but in the meantime would like to see a suspension of the changes included in the next surface transportation reauthorization. “I think we need to revisit the hours-of-service regulation, and we need to look at this from the perspective of the impact that it makes on driver health and the ability to get restorative rest,” Byrd said. “They allow too many hours for drivers to work each week.” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear acknowledged that while driver fatigue is a problem, “we’re not out there pounding the pavement for an hours-of-service suspension. We have a driver shortage, and to have a suspension of hours of service and work our drivers even harder is going to exacerbate the problem.”

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ATA’s Chris Spear Calls on Congress to Advance Surface Transportation Bill This Year

Transport Topics Eugene Mulero May 11, 2021

“America’s supply chain yields tremendous potential. It’s a catalyst for economic growth, beyond that of any other nation,” Spear said during a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing. “For that to happen, however, I ask this committee to consider four key elements that both feed and benefit our nation’s supply chain: Infrastructure, safety, workforce development and environmental stewardship. Together, these elements shape and define the resiliency of our supply chain.” Link: ATA Press Release Trucking Association CEO Says U.S. Supply Chain is Nearing Crisis

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Volvo Sees Three Paths to Decarbonize Trucking

Transport Topics Roger Gilroy May 11, 2012

When it comes to how best to decarbonize truck transportation, Volvo Group Chief Technology Officer Lars Stenqvist said, “Sometimes I have a feeling this debate gets too polarized.” Volvo Group expects a near-term convergence of biofuel, battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric-powered trucks as the industry, in the U.S. and in Europe, begins to adopt transformative and disruptive technologies aimed at eliminating harmful emissions and “leapfrogging” current practices. “So no silver bullet. Three technologies in parallel. They each will have competitive advantages in different applications,” Stenqvist said in an interview May 10. “They each have to live on their own merits. I am convinced we will be helped by some kind of [added] cost on fossil-based fuels going forward, some kind of tax or some kind of penalty because that will speed up this transition.”

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FMCSA preps for 2022 launch of entry-level driver training rule

Land Line May 11, 2021

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is launching a Training Provider Registry as part of the agency’s entry-level driver training rule, which goes into effect on Feb. 7. According to the FMCSA website, the Training Provider Register “will help commercial driver’s license applicants connect with training providers who are self-certified to provide entry-level driver training.”

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