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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Tuesday, July 20, 2021


Supply-Chain Executives See Long Road Ahead for Diversity Efforts (Subscription Based)

The Wall Street Journal Jennifer Smith July 20, 2021

Logistics companies and other supply-chain operators are stepping up diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in a sector where leadership ranks still skew largely white and male and minorities are concentrated in lower-level roles. Yellow Corp. President Darrel Harris —the first African-American president of a major trucking company, according to Yellow—began his career at the loading dock and learned the freight business from the ground up. He spent much of his career at FedEx Corp.’s freight trucking division before joining Overland Park, Kan.-based Yellow last year. He said he wants to make sure other workers get the same opportunities and encouragement that he did. “There are a lot of Darrel Harrises out there right now, on the dock or in the office or in sales, and the opportunity is to seek those folks out and continue to nurture their growth,” he said. “I definitely wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for some of the mentors that I had that took a vested interest in me.”

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More LTL carriers may follow AAA Cooper to the altar, consultant says

Freight Waves Mark Solomon July 19, 2021

Five or 10 years ago, a truckload carrier would have looked askance at acquiring an LTL carrier. Truckload carriers were comfortable shipping directly from the shipper to the consignee at a minimal fixed cost, a model that runs counter to the multistop terminal networks of LTL carriers. The truckload-LTL relationship was mostly confined to truckload carriers handling shipments of overflow LTL freight weighing more than 8,000 pounds if LTL capacity was too tight to meet the demand. However, e-commerce has profoundly transformed supply chains and, by extension, the trucking industry. Truckload networks designed to efficiently handle heavier volumes are not well suited to move the lighter-weighted shipments — 1,000 to 1,500 pounds in total — that are the bulwarks of e-commerce. That’s especially true for the middle-mile portion of the delivery chain, where freight moves from a supplier’s warehouse to a retail store or a distribution center before the final delivery to a residence or business. In a changing distribution landscape, truckload executives have come to value the LTL network design, and they are voting with their dollars. According to veteran consultant Satish Jindel, there will be increased interest in LTL carriers from truckload carriers and from carriers not now involved in either segment.

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J.B. Hunt says service recovery hinges on several factors

Freight Waves Todd Maiden July 19, 2021

Management from J.B. Hunt Transport Services said dislocation throughout the supply chain remains in place but that there is now some “momentum” toward improvement. On a call with analysts Monday night, management said “demand for our trucks, containers and trailers far exceeds our capacity to serve.” J.B. Hunt hopes that strict enforcement of accessorial charges as well as equipment restrictions on customers that are holding equipment on the ground longer will help to improve asset turns. The pace of recovery to service will depend on how quickly J.B. Hunt can continue to take delivery of new containers (12,000 in total), the level of service improvement the rails can achieve and the ability of its customers to turn equipment faster at their facilities.

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Diesel Rises .06¢ to $3.344 a Gallon

Transport Topics July 19, 2021

• Starting May 3, trucking’s main fuel has increased in price for 12 consecutive weeks, totaling 22 cents. • Diesel now costs 91.1 cents more than it did at this time a year ago. • The average price rose in seven of the 10 regions in EIA’s weekly survey, with the biggest gain being 4 cents in the Rocky Mountain region. The priced dipped two-tenths of a cent in the Lower Atlantic and was unchanged in the East Coast and Gulf Coast.

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BNSF metering space on LA-Chicago intermodal trains (Subscription Based)

The Journal Of Commerce Ari Ashe July 19, 2021

BNSF Railway on Sunday began rationing space on international intermodal trains for two weeks between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and Chicago in an attempt to slow the deluge of volume that has overwhelmed Chicago-area rail terminals. BNSF’s metering of ocean containers transported between Southern California and Chicago is not as severe as actions taken by competitor Union Pacific Railroad, which has suspended service from the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, and Tacoma into UP’s Global IV terminal in Joliet, Illinois, roughly 45 miles from Chicago, until July 25. BNSF made no changes to service out of Washington state or northern California, and may end rationing of space as early as Aug. 1. “The rate of containers tendered to [BNSF] on the West Coast continues to exceed the rate of out-gates from Logistics Park Chicago,” the railroad said in a July 19 statement to JOC.com. “We are confident in our ability to process and unload volume at the rate that we are seeing demand on the West Coast, provided that there is adequate capacity to receive and out-gate that volume at destination. We are still seeing low rates of out-gate — particularly on weekends.”

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LM reader survey indicates 2021 Peak Season is expected to be more active than 2020

Logistics Management Jeff Berman July 19, 2021

A Logistics Management readership survey of more than 100 freight transportation, logistics, and supply chain stakeholders found that there is strong sentiment that the 2021 Peak Season will be more active than it was a year ago, with 79% of respondents indicating that will be the case, with 16% contending it will be similar to 2020, and 5% expecting it to be less active.

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Tracking the speed, dwell and cars of Class I railroads

Supply Chain Dive Matt Leonard And Naomi Sumida July 9, 2021

Understanding how a rail shipment moves through the tracks and hump yards across the country relies on a few key metrics. Three of the main key performance indicators that railroads use to communicate their performance are speed, dwell time and cars online, all of which can impact efficiency and service for a rail shipper. Railroads report all of these numbers, along with a few others, to the Surface Transportation Board. The agency then releases the figures every week. But the public dataset is big and requires a bit of time to get to the numbers in which a shipper might be interested. This dashboard is meant to simplify the process for a few of the key measures in that dataset.

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Schneider plans innovation lab to study logistics tech

DC Velocity July 14, 2021

Trucking, intermodal, and logistics service provider Schneider plans to build an innovation center in Wisconsin to study collaboration and visualization technologies for the freight sector, the company said today. Schneider will build the 20,000 square-foot building on its main campus in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, a neighborhood of Green Bay. Known as “The Grove,” the facility will let Schneider employees leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, and user experience technologies to drive forward new business processes, the company said. Set to open in late 2022, the building’s proximity to the main campus will also make it easy for customers, vendors, and fellow innovators to move between buildings and nurture a “spirit of innovation,” Scheider said.

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Hyzon Motors goes public to scale hydrogen trucks

Fleet Owner John Hitch July 19, 2021

According to the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility, the fuel-cell electric vehicle market is currently worth $1 billion and will grow 34% annually over the next decade to a value of $20 billion. Fuel cell truckshave a range and fill-up time at the pump closer to diesel trucks, while like battery-electric options, don’t produce tailpipe emissions, are quieter, and have instant torque. Hyzon trucks, for instance, are eyeing a 400-mile range This has led to a race among manufacturers to find a long term solution for fleets looking to cut emissions. Once promising newcomer Nikola looked to have an early lead, though it has had several highs and lows since going public, while leading heavy-duty truck OEMs Daimler Trucks and Volvo Trucks have partnered on a new fuel cell company called cellcentric.

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FMC to audit container lines’ detention, demurrage billing (Subscription Based)

The Journal Of Commerce Mark Szakonyi July 20, 2021

The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on Tuesday told the top nine container lines operating on US trades that the agency will immediately begin auditing how they bill customers detention and demurrage charges amid increased pressure from shippers, Congress, and the White House to crack down on unreasonable storage fees tied to ongoing port congestion. In a letter to the container carriers seen by JOC.com, Lucille Marvin, managing director at the FMC, said the newly formed Vessel-Operating Common Carrier Audit program will gauge whether additional storage fees that stem from an inability to pick up or return containers heed the agency’s interpretive ruling. Marvin wrote that each carrier must tap a managing director to respond to the audit and provide monthly updates to regulators.

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Safety panel: Government conflict on pay rules hurts driver retention

Freight Waves John Gallagher July 19, 2021

Speaking at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Council (MCSAC) meeting on Monday, Michael Belzer, an economics professor at Wayne State University, told attendees that wage requirements under the DOL-enforced Fair Labor Standards Act conflict with FMCSA hours-of-service regulations that allow drivers to be unpaid while they wait to load and unload at a shipper or receiver facility. “The Wage and Hour Division at the Department of Labor requires that employers pay for all work time, and covers the entire labor market,” said Belzer, a former Teamsters driver. “But FMCSA allows employers to declare drivers off duty while keeping them on the job. That’s a very different definition. Drivers’ time does not belong to them.” Belzer contends that DOT and DOL have to “bridge the gap together” to fix the problem. “DOL and DOT can rebuild the truck driver labor market and solve this problem. Through interagency cooperation they can fix the driver shortage and create a workforce development solution that is stable.” MCSAC took up the discussion because driver pay and retention can have a direct effect on driver safety. At a low pay rate, drivers work as many hours as necessary to reach target earnings that allow them to pay their bills, Belzer said. Drivers earning higher pay will rest rather than work extra hours that damage their health, risk their safety or keep them away from their families, he pointed out.

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