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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
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Trucking

LTL and truckload rates to continue growth spurt in fourth quarter, index says

DC Velocity October 12, 2021

Less than truckload (LTL) carriers have increased their rates in recent months despite a trend toward lower average weight per shipment that was likely caused by a broad shift from brick and mortar retail to e-commerce, according to a freight sector analysis from the investment bank Cowen Inc. and logistics provider AFS Logistics LLC.
Although they’re moving less weight in each parcel, the carriers have hiked their rates to cope with other factors such as labor shortages and capacity restraints, the companies said in their Cowen/AFS Freight Index. The quarterly index, launched today, was designed to provide Cowen’s institutional clients with predictive pricing tools for the freight industry, including performance snapshots of LTL shipping, full truckload (TL) shipping, and parcel shipping (both express and ground, separately).
Other trends tracked in the latest edition of the index include a forecast for LTL rate per pound to continue growing in the fourth quarter, truckload rates per mile to continue growing through the end of 2021, and ground parcel rates per package to increase 16.9% in the fourth quarter.

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Shippers/3PLs

Cortes named to run Walmart’s US transportation business

Freight Waves Mark Solomon October 12, 2021

Walmart Inc. has named Fernando Cortes, the chief supply chain officer at Keurig Dr. Pepper Inc., to head its U.S. transportation business, its chief supply chain officer, Joe Metzger, said late Tuesday.
Cortes, who spent 18 years at the Plano, Texas-based consumer packaged goods company (NASDAQ:KDP), will report to Metzger, according to Metzger’s LinkedIn post announcing the decision. Cortes’ official title at Walmart is senior vice president-transportation.
In May, Walmart selected Metzger to fill the new role of executive vice president of supply chain operations. Since the appointment, Metzger has been responsible for leading the company’s U.S. transport business, as well as its more than 150 distribution centers and its fulfillment centers.
Cortes will oversee a network of 6,100 tractors, 61,000 trailers and more than 7,800 drivers. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has one of the nation’s largest private fleets.

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Transplace CEO predicts ‘rapid’ logistics consolidation

The Journal of Commerce William B. Cassidy October 12, 2021

Subscription-Based

Evolving shipper needs, supply chain disruption, and the expanding use of technology will transform the third-party logistics industry not only over this decade but in the near future, Transplace CEO Frank McGuigan said Tuesday during an interview on the JOC Inland Distribution webcast.
“I don’t believe in the long-run third-party intermediaries can exist in the way they currently do,” McGuigan said. “What’s needed is a lot more transparency to the benefit of all parties, not just the intermediary, but all stakeholders. If that evolution is not happening, you’re going to be left behind.”
The future will belong to large digital platforms that will connect shippers to services and capacity across modes and markets, and probably to a few very big platforms, he said.
“I think it will be a few big platforms that do everything for everyone because the platforms are not just aggregators of capacity, they're also aggregators of capability,” McGuigan said.

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L.O.L. Dolls Are Stuck in the Supply Chain. John Baker Must Free Them Before Christmas.

The Wall Street Journal Paul Ziobro October 12, 2021

Subscription-Based

He still had hundreds of thousands of toys stuck in Chinese warehouses. They had been sold to customers including Walmart, Amazon.com Inc. and others on a Free on Board basis, known as FOB. Under that arrangement, retailers take possession of the toys in Asia, transport them on ships and then move them to their own warehouses. From there, they go to stores or online buyers. Because buyers assume the cost and liabilities of overseas transport, the FOB contract carries a discount.
Truck transport shortages slowed the movement of toys from MGA’s warehouse in Hesperia to retailers. The company’s three-story facility, the size of 10 football fields, wasn’t big enough to hold all of the arriving toys. MGA was itself importing and distributing about 65% of its goods this year, up from around half in a normal year. More than 200 trailers full of toys sat in a parking lot. Other containers were put on an access road. A few of them got parking tickets.

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Industry

Diesel Surges 10.9¢ to $3.586 a Gallon

Transport Topics October 12, 2021

Trucking’s main fuel, which posted a 7.1-cent rise the previous week, costs $1.191 more for a gallon than it did at this time in 2020.
Diesel’s current average price per gallon is the highest since it cost $3.605 on Dec. 1, 2014.
Diesel rose in all 10 regions in EIA’s weekly survey, ranging from a high of 13.3 cents (Gulf Coast) to a low of 3.3 cents (Rocky Mountain).

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ATRI sets industry research agenda

Fleet Owner Cristina Commendatore October 12, 2021

“As ATRI, we really have the industry’s input on what research we should be doing to answer the industry’s most pressing questions,” Brewster told FleetOwner. “There are several bodies of work that are really impactful, and I am proud of everything that we’ve done.”
ATRI has researched topics like professional driver issues, environmental impacts, nuclear verdicts, safety, traffic bottlenecks, operational issues, and much more. Although Brewster is proud of all ATRI’s accomplishments over the years, she is particularly proud of the work the organization has done regarding hours of service.
“The rules were changing constantly, so we felt like we had to continuously update our research to understand the impacts of those changes on the industry,” she said. “In particular, I think about the time when we had the rules that required the two overnight periods for the 34-hour restart. Through our analysis and data collection, we showed that it was not necessarily delivering on its promise to provide drivers rest because it was creating additional stressful situations for drivers.”

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Workforce

A record number of workers are quitting their jobs, empowered by new leverage

The Washington Post Eli Rosenberg et al. October 12, 2021

In almost every sector tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers are quitting at or near the highest levels on record, going back to when tracking began in 2001. But even in a time of records, the speed of quitting among low-wage service workers stands out. Almost 2 in 5 workers (38 percent) who quit in August worked in retail or in restaurants and hotels. Quitting in manufacturing is not as high as in the low-pay service sectors, at 2.5 percent, but it has accelerated every bit as quickly as factories race to poach one another’s workers and increase production as supply-chain issues reshuffle the global manufacturing landscape.

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

Trucking’s green movement isn’t void of diesel

Transport Dive S.L. Fuller October 11, 2021

Renewable diesel is another form of the fuel that's greener, and it's a drop-in replacement. Penske had been analyzing it for years before deciding to use it, Cullen said. At first, the feedstock wasn't accessible enough for the cost to be economical, at least for Penske. But last year, conditions changed and Penske started testing it.
The company started testing in California because of the state's Low Carbon Fuel Standard credit program, Cullen said. It has lower carbon intensity than regular diesel, he said, and because of the way it's made, it has lower associated costs. Penske got to the point where the costs of renewable diesel and regular diesel were on par.
When the test finished, Penske's maintenance team didn't see any issues with the fuel, Cullen said. The team wasn't able to quantify any specific benefits, such as maintenance cost per mile. But the company did work out the security of supply and costs, and now Penske is dispensing renewable diesel at its California locations.

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Biden Seeks to Spearhead New Attack on Supply-Chain Delays

Bloomberg Jennifer Epstein October 13, 2021

Though the Biden administration is feeling the economic blowback from supply-chain congestion, its power to manage it is limited since all the links in the chain are in private hands. In recent efforts to improve distribution, it has tried to play an honest-broker role in coordinating commitments made across the private sector and in working with labor unions, the official said. It is urging entities along the supply chain to engage in a 90-day dash to the end of the year to eliminate supply jams that can be speedily addressed, the official added.
The chief executives of the companies making new pledges on Wednesday are set to attend a virtual meeting with Biden, as are the executive directors of the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach. Leaders from key unions -- the Teamsters, the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union -- and trade associations -- the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation and the American Association of Railroads, among others -- are also expected to attend.

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