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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Logistics Intelligence Brief

Trucking

April sets more records for freight costs

Cass Information Systems May 12, 2021

Cass Freight Index - Expenditures The Cass Expenditures Index set another new record in April, its fourth in five months, and was 45.1% above the year-ago level, surging from 27.5% y/y growth in March. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Cass Expenditures Index rose 1.1% from March, and with volumes a bit softer m/m, the increase was more than explained by higher embedded rates, which rose 3.4% m/m. On normal seasonal patterns, the easier comparisons would suggest y/y growth at or above 50% in May and June, then slowing to more like 30% y/y growth rates in Q3.

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April freight trends jump, 2021 to be ‘extraordinarily strong year’

Freight Waves Todd Maiden May 12, 2021

The sequential improvement in the expenditures index, even as shipments declined, indicates higher transportation rates were the catalyst. The implied rate increase for the month was 3.4% sequentially, up 13.7% year-over-year. Cass’ truckload linehaul index reached a new record, climbing 13% year-over-year and 2.4% above March on a seasonally adjusted basis. The tightness in the TL market continues. Carriers are currently rejecting one in every four loads tendered under contract terms. A 25% tender rejection rate was first reached in August with little letup since as capacity concerns, both drivers and equipment, linger.

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Industry

Colonial Pipeline announces restart; operations coming back Wednesday

Freight Waves John Kingston May 12, 2021

The Colonial Pipeline said Wednesday it is resuming full operations but may take several days to get back to normal. The restart began at 5 p.m. Wednesday, it said, a little more than five full days after the company first announced it was the target of a cyberattack and was shutting down. The line carries more than 2 million barrels per day of petroleum products, including gasoline and diesel, from the Gulf Coast area to the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. “Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period,” Colonial said in its statement. “Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal.” The announcement Wednesday marks the beginning of the end of the Colonial saga that saw gasoline lines pop up, stations close and the federal government taking steps to alleviate problems caused by the shutdown, including granting an hours-of-service waiver to drivers involved in moving emergency fuel supplies. Link: Colonial Media Statement Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

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Truckers Seek to Keep Diesel Supplies Flowing in Pipeline Shutdown

The Wall Street Journal Jennifer Smith May 12, 2021

Prices are rising for diesel fuel used to transport freight as fallout from the Colonial Pipeline shutdown strains capacity for truckers that deliver fuel to gas stations. Average national diesel prices that were already on the upswing rose by 4.4 cents a gallon over the past week to $3.136 a gallon on Wednesday, according to AAA data, and some trucking companies said they were bracing for supply disruptions and trying to secure fuel to keep operations running. Colonial Pipeline Co. said Wednesday it has begun to restart operations after shutting off the conduit following a cyberattack last week. Truckers that haul fuel said earlier that it would take time to restock tanks. “Product moves through the pipeline very slowly, like a few miles an hour…It’s not a gush,” said David Price, chief operating officer of United Petroleum Transports Inc., based in Oklahoma City.

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Colonial Pipeline Restarts Operations After Cyberattack

The Wall Street Journal Collin Eaton and Miguel Bustillo May 12, 2021

The owner of the Colonial Pipeline said Wednesday that it has begun restarting operations following a cyberattack that shut down the main fuel conduit serving the East Coast. Colonial Pipeline Co., operator of the vast 5,500-mile network of pipes taking 100 million gallons of fuel a day from Texas to New Jersey, said it initiated a restart at around 5 p.m. ET, but cautioned that the process of fully restoring the flow of fuel could take days. The company, which estimates that it provides 45% of the East Coast’s fuel, shut down the pipeline last Friday after being hit by a ransomware attack. U.S. officials have linked the attack to a criminal gang known as DarkSide. “Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal,” the company said in a statement. It previously said that it had restarted some smaller segments of the pipeline system by operating them manually, while its main line remained shut down. The company said that as of Tuesday afternoon it had delivered 41 million gallons of fuel to various delivery points.

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April Class 8 Sales Jump 52.8%, Clear 19,000 in Year-Over-Year Gain

Transport Topics Roger Gilroy May 12, 2021

U.S. Class 8 retail sales jumped 52.8% compared with a year earlier to 19,312, WardsAuto.com reported. In the 2020 period, sales were 12,637, according to Wards. That month saw a severe drop-off in freight, the accelerating spread of the novel coronavirus and temporary shutdowns at truck plants across various weeks. Meanwhile, year-to-date sales rose 22.1% to 73,534 compared with 60,219 a year earlier.

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Vigillo Founder Steve Bryan’s New Tech Company Measures Carrier Reputations

Transport Topics Eric Miller May 12, 2021

A new data service aims to help motor carriers improve and maintain their reputations as safe operators before they ever have to face a plaintiff attorney’s wrath in a courtroom. With multimillion-dollar “nuclear” jury verdicts in trucking accidents on the rise, Bryan said his company will combine advanced and complex technology systems to measure and manage reputation to help motor carriers before an accident ever happens. “The reputation of the trucking industry is under assault,” Bryan said at a news conference May 11 to publicly launch Bluewire. “Aggressive and sophisticated plaintiff firms who solicit injured clients, at times funding the action with private equity, seek enormous, emotion-driven jury verdicts in truck-involved crashes, and serve largely to enrich themselves and their investors.”

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Intermodal Continues Comeback in First Quarter

Truckinginfo.com May 12, 2021

Total intermodal volumes rose 10.5% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2021, according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s Intermodal Quarterly report. International containers gained 14.8% from 2020; domestic shipments, 4.4%; and trailers, 20%. “Intermodal volumes were up for the third consecutive quarter through Q1. This growth is projected to continue through the remainder of the year,” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA, in a press release. “Even considering weak comparisons that supported the other segments, domestic intermodal posted solid 4.4% gains.”

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Workforce

US warehouses, couriers struggling to hire workers (Subscription Based)

The Journal Of Commerce William B Cassidy May 12, 2021

Trucking adds jobs Some transportation sectors are adding jobs, though not as quickly as expected. The for-hire trucking firms surveyed by the BLS hired 4,100 employees in April, but the agency had expected those companies to hire 5,600 workers, leading to a seasonally adjusted employment loss of 1,500 jobs. However, trucking has added 11,500 jobs, in real, unadjusted terms, in the past two months. Trucking companies are paying more to bring those drivers on board. Flatbed carrier Maverick Transportation on Tuesday announced its second driver pay raise this year. Starting pay for student drivers will rise by several cents to $0.55 to $0.60 per mile, up to $80,000 in their first year, while experienced drivers will earn $0.59 to $0.66 per mile, or up to $84,000 on average, the company said in a statement. The courier and warehousing sectors represent the brunt of transportation job losses, with courier and messenger employment in April dropping by 96,700 jobs and warehousing and storage businesses losing 13,900 jobs. Courier and messenger employment in April was 365,300 jobs short of its December level. Warehousing employment peaked in November 2020 and is now 71,200 jobs lower than that month.

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