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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Logistics Intelligence Brief

Trucking

US truckers hike fees on excessive dwells for trailers, containers (Subscription Based)

The Journal Of Commerce Ari Ashe June 7, 2021

Two of the top US trucking and intermodal providers are raising the penalties on shippers who hold onto trailers and containers beyond their allotted free time, a problem trucking executives say has worsened over the past year and is partially responsible for the slowdown in service and congestion at rail ramps. J.B. Hunt Transportation Services and Schneider National said average dwell times on trailers and containers have jumped 50 percent and 30 percent, respectively, year over year as of mid-May, disrupting their ability to provide timely capacity to other shippers and receivers. To combat the problem, J.B. Hunt from June 14 is raising so-called accessorial fees from $50 to $100 per day for the first three days that equipment is held after the three free days end, according to a letter the company sent to shippers that was obtained by JOC.com. J.B. Hunt has also added escalating levels of charges — $150 per day after four days past the free window and $200 per day for nine days or more. The prior equipment dwell fees of $50 per day came without any escalation. Schneider is raising accessorial fees from $50 to $125 per day once its 48-hour free clock expires, effective June 15. Schneider also increased the second- and third-tier of detention fees to $150 per day four days beyond the free time expiration and $200 per day after nine days, to match J.B. Hunt.

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Industry

Diesel Bumps Up 1.9¢ to $3.274 a Gallon

Transport Topics June 7, 2021

• This week’s increase is more than triple the previous two weeks combined (0.4 cent on May 24, 0.2 cent on May 31). • Trucking’s main fuel now costs 87.8 cents more a gallon on average than at this time in 2020. • The price climbed in all 10 regions included in EIA’s weekly survey, with the largest being 3.6 cents in the West Coast less California. The smallest gain was seven-tenths of a cent in the Gulf Coast.

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UAW Workers on Strike at Volvo Trucks North America Plant

Truckinginfo.com June 7, 2021

In its Monday, June 7, letter to VTNA advising workers would go on strike at noon, Ray Curry of the UAW Heavy Truck Department, said “many topics remain at issue, including wage increases, job security, wage progression, skilled trades, shift premium, holiday schedules, work schedules, health and safety, seniority, pension, 401(k), healthcare and prescription drug coverage, and overtime.” The letter said the union is available to reconvene negotiations starting Wednesday, June 9. “It is difficult to understand this action,” said NRV Vice President and General Manager Franky Marchand in a statement. “UAW international, regional, and local leadership endorsed the tentative agreement, which provided significant economic improvements for all UAW-represented workers, and a package of benefits that is very competitive for our industry and region. We remain committed to the collective bargaining process, and we are confident that we will ultimately arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement.”

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U.S.-bound imports may be on course for new records, reports Port Tracker

Logistics Management Jeff Berman June 7, 2021

Tandem themes of economic improvement and record-breaking United States-bound imports were apparent, according to the most recent edition of the Port Tracker report, which was released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates. The ports surveyed in the report include: Los Angeles/Long Beach; Oakland; Tacoma; Seattle; Houston; New York/New Jersey; Hampton Roads; Charleston, and Savannah; Miami; Jacksonville; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Port Everglades. Authors of the report explained that cargo import numbers do not correlate directly with retail sales or employment because they count only the number of cargo containers brought into the country, not the value of the merchandise inside them, adding that the amount of merchandise imported provides a rough barometer of retailers’ expectations.

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Workforce

Southwest Airlines Automates Some Job Recruiting Tasks as Air Travel Takes Off (Subscription Based)

The Wall Street Journal Jared Council June 7, 2021

Southwest Airlines Co. is leaning more on digital job placement tools, including chatbots, to speed up the hiring process amid resurging demand and a competitive labor market, a senior recruiting official said. “The labor market is probably as tough as I’ve ever seen it, and so we’ve got to be able to move with speed, and that’s where all these tools come into play,” said Greg Muccio, the airline’s director of talent acquisition. Southwest has about 2,000 open positions, ranging from flight attendants to gate agents, Mr. Muccio said. It historically has taken between 35 and 45 days for the company to make a contingent offer after posting a job, he said, but he wants to cut that in half with the help of tools that can automate routine recruiting tasks.

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Logistics Labor: Solving the talent gap

Logistics Management Bridget McCrea June 7, 2021

The fast food restaurant across the street from your distribution center (DC) is giving away free iPhones to all new hires. The restaurant downtown just upped its weekly server pay to $5,000 to ensure adequate staffing for a busy holiday week. And, 40 hospitality companies held a one-day hiring fair where—along with entering a raffle for gas, hotel and restaurant gift cards—the first 100 people hired onsite received a $500 bonus. These are just some of the creative incentives that businesses are using to draw new employees into the fold and also keep them there for as long as possible. Also competing for these workers are the world’s warehouses and DCs, both of which have gotten pretty busy over the last 12 months to 16 months. A 44% uptick in e-commerce orders for 2020 is driving some of the feeding frenzy in an environment that was already dealing with a labor shortage pre-COVID. “There was a talent gap before the pandemic; so it wasn’t like this [labor market] occurred because of COVID-19,” says Abe Eshkenazi, CEO for the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM). Even pre-COVID, for example, a U.S. labor report indicated that there was one qualified candidate for every six supply chain job openings, primarily in the senior-level/career-oriented ranks.

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Shippers/3PLs

Retailers warn of ongoing supply chain woes amid import projection boost (Subscription Based)

The Journal of Commerce Bill Mongelluzzo June 7, 2021

Peak season beginning early this year Global Port Tracker forecasts that June will see imports totaling 2.13 million TEU, up 32.8 percent from June 2020. Imports in July are forecasted at 2.19 million TEU, up 14.2 percent year over year; August at 2.26 million TEU, up 7.5 percent; and September at 2.14 million TEU, an increase of 1.7 percent year over year. The projections for continued year-over-year increases in imports are significant because US imports began to surge in late June 2020, so every month going forward will continue to stress the international supply chains, from Asian ports to US inland destinations. Global Port Tracker forecasts October will experience the first monthly year-over-year decline in imports in 2021 at 2.07 million TEU, down 6.5 percent from last October, which was the strongest month in 2020 for imports. Nevertheless, the projection of continued record and near-record import volumes sends a chilling message to supply chain participants. “Supply chains are finding it difficult to keep up with demand as shipping capacity struggles,” Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates, said in the statement. Vessel delays in Asian and US ports, and tight labor conditions and equipment shortages throughout the port and inland supply chains could continue through the remainder of 2021, Hackett said.

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Supply chain managers shift reshoring focus to total cost of ownership

Supply Chain Dive Edwin Lopez June 7, 2021

Total cost of ownership is the top factor manufacturers consider when making reshoring decisions, according to the State of North American Manufacturing 2021 Annual Report. Of the 337 qualified respondents surveyed by Thomas for the report, 23% said total cost of ownership outweighed proximity to market, demand for U.S.-made products and exposure to shipping disruptions, as the most important metric to consider when deciding to reshore an element of their supply chain. Inventory availability, lead times and price per unit or service are the most important factors manufacturers consider when vetting new suppliers, as 100% of the 343 respondents who were asked to rank the importance of the factors said these were at least "moderately important" to their decisions.

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

House Transportation Panel to Consider Highway Bill June 9

Transport Topics Eugene Mulero June 7, 2021

The Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives plans to make good on its pledge to pass some type of an infrastructure bill by July 4. And the path toward that goal runs through the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. On June 9, the transportation panel is scheduled to consider its Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation, or INVEST, in America Act, a five-year, $547 billion meant to update much of the country’s mobility networks. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) insists the legislation departs from the Eisenhower-era viewpoint of highway policy to facilitate access to new and existing technologies. “The benefits of transformative investments in our infrastructure are far-ranging: We can create and sustain good-paying jobs, many of which don’t require a college degree, restore our global competitiveness, tackle climate change head-on, and improve the lives of all Americans through modern infrastructure that emphasizes mobility and access, and spurs our country’s long-term economic growth,” the chairman said June 4.

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Drivers, Fleets Become More Comfortable With Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Transport Topics Gary Frantz June 7, 2021

During the past decade, professional truck drivers have been introduced to more and more onboard safety systems designed to alert them to immediate risks and in many cases automatically intervene on their behalf to prevent crashes. This proliferation of technology in the driver’s operating environment initially encountered resistance, but over time has become a more widely accepted and even embraced trend as drivers realize the benefits and discover how these systems can actually relieve stress, complement their skills and even reduce the physical demands of operating an 80,000-pound vehicle for hours at a time. They’re called advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS — technologies generally deployed to help drivers avoid crashes, whether the result of driver error or from circumstances outside of their control, such as inattentive or unsafe motorists. ADAS includes everything from active braking and variable-power-assisted steering to video- and radar-enabled lane-keeping assist, blind-spot detection and warning, rollover prevention, active radar-enabled forward collision mitigation and video-generated side-of-truck displays that replace side mirrors. All are either actively deployed in thousands of trucks today or are in advanced pilot stages. It’s almost as if today’s professional drivers need a scorecard to keep up, quipped Greg Orr, president of truckload carrier CFI and executive vice president for the North American truckload unit at its parent company, TFI International.

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Business

A Commodities Crunch Caused by Stingy Capital Spending Has No Quick Fix

The Wall Street Journal Chuin-Wei Yap June 8, 2021

The consequences of underdeveloped global resources now stoke worries among regulators and companies that producer price inflation—buoyed by demand projections that in key materials stretch decades ahead—is becoming sufficiently broad and prolonged that it spills onto consumer prices. Raw-material shortages sometimes morph into broader market dysfunction that force companies to cut or shut production, as some car makers have done in recent months because of limited semiconductor supply. “It’s not how much it will cost, it’s whether or not you can get it,” said Tai Wong, analyst at BMO Capital Markets. “It’s like chips—without it, you can’t sell cars.”

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