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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Thursday, November 11, 2021

Workforce

Industry Recruiters Express Concern Over Truck Driver Shortage, Lack of Candidates

Transport Topics Dan Ronan November 10, 2021

“In this market, unless you’re a top-tiered paying company and your drivers are going home every day, it’s going to be a challenge,” Tim Norlin, Roehl Transport vice president of driver recruitment, said to recruiters at one of the sessions.
“There is no silver bullet. We’re all short drivers, and there are not enough coming in. All we are doing is chasing each others’ drivers with higher cents per mile, a bigger sign-on bonus, more paid time off.”
Norlin said because of higher demand, wages have increased from $1,150 a week in 2020 to more than $1,400 a week now. On an annual basis, that’s up from $59,800 to more than $72,000 a year.

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Shippers/3PLs

Despite supply chain challenges, shoppers ‘won’t go home empty-handed’

National Retail Federation November 10, 2021

These are certainly the right questions to ask. While supply chain disruptions happen all the time, we have never seen the degree and duration we are witnessing today. Throughout the pandemic, the supply chain has been stressed with demand far outpacing supply. That applies not just to finished retail merchandise but also the inputs and raw materials needed by domestic manufacturers to produce their products.
Supply Chain 360
And there are shortages of labor, equipment, and ship, rail and truck capacity to move merchandise, goods and materials through the supply chain. Many of the operational challenges facing our ports and other parts of the supply chain existed well before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has brought these issues to the forefront and further exacerbated an already complex system.

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The race is on to save Christmas as retailers fight the supply chain crunch

NPR Scott Horsley November 11, 2021

The busy Christmas shopping season is almost here. Unfortunately, a lot of holiday merchandise is tied up in traffic, and Bonnie Ross is starting to sweat.
"We're at the point where if you don't ship now, it's not going," says Ross, sales manager for the California-based clothing company Nothin' But Net. "The buyers are saying, 'If it's not here, I can't take it.'"
For months now, Ross has been anxiously tracking the progress of her company's Christmas clothing orders from factories in Asia to cargo terminals on the West Coast.
"First, I couldn't get the containers to get them out of China," Ross recalls. "Then I couldn't get them on a boat. Now they finally get here, they're sitting at the port for God knows how long, and now I can't have a truck to pick it up because there's no trucks."
A big part of what's driving this traffic jam is booming demand. Americans are buying more stuff than ever before — 26 million import containers this year according to an estimate from the National Retail Federation.

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DoD Awards Potential $20 Billion Military Moving Contract

Transport Topics Eric Miller November 10, 2021

The Department of Defense U.S. Transportation Command has awarded a potential $20 billion contract to a Houston firm that will manage an estimated 325,000 annual moves of military families worldwide.
The lucrative management service provider contract, which has been delayed by formal bid protests for more than a year, is intended to address military families’ long-standing concerns with delays and damaged goods during moves to assignments worldwide, according to TRANSCOM, which oversees the contract for the military.
DOD’s Global Household Goods contract award to HomeSafe Alliance was made earlier this month after formal protests filed with the U.S. Government Accountability Office were sustained.
Katie McMichael, director of American Trucking Associations Moving and Storage Conference, said that “a large percentage” of its conference members will likely participate in the military moving program. “The Moving and Storage Conference looks forward to learning more from the winning bid team about the plans for the new program when available,” McMichael said.

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Industry

LA-LB containers moving, but import deluge mutes gains

The Journal Of Commerce Bill Mongelluzzo November 10, 2021

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are thinning the number of long-dwell laden containers and empty boxes that are congesting their 12 marine terminals, but the gains are barely keeping up with the flood of imports arriving daily from Asia.
Retailers — under threat of being on the hook for LA-LB's new storage fee for long-dwelling containers that begins Nov. 15 — have stepped up the removal of import boxes destined for local delivery. Long Beach said Tuesday that the number of long-dwell local containers has fallen 23 percent since Nov. 1, while Los Angeles reported a 14 percent reduction since Oct. 24.
But that comes as a record 111 container ships were in the port complex on Tuesday, including an all-time high 81 vessels at anchor, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. An additional 30 container ships were at berth being worked.

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Clock ticks closer to midnight for overwhelmed California ports

Freight Waves Greg Miller November 10, 2021

The flood of import containers into Southern California continues unabated — an all-time high 81 container ships were stuck offshore of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Tuesday. Waiting time at anchorage for Los Angeles is surging and is now more than double wait times in early September.
The ports are scheduled to start charging a highly controversial excess dwell-time fee on Monday, a plan that some members of the National Shippers Advisory Council called “catastrophic,” “crazy” and “out of left field.”
With just five days left until the fee is set to begin, there are still over 51,000 containers on the terminals that are past the plan’s dwell-time limits.

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Supply chain crisis is limiting economic growth and stymying CV production

Fleet Owner Josh Fisher November 10, 2021

Along with OEMs not getting enough deliveries, factories continue to face a labor shortage. On top of all this, backlogs at U.S. ports continue to slow the supply chain, forcing truck and trailer manufacturers to balance new orders against backlogged orders. “There is all this pent-up demand for commercial equipment—the problem is that it’s growing every month,” Ake said. “That pent-up demand is building and it is going to make it tough when things finally break loose to try to catch up.”
The sluggish supply chain forced FTR to “significantly” cut its Class 8 truck and trailer forecasts for 2022 from its previous outlooks: Down to 300,000 (from 335,000) new Class 8 truck builds next year and 315,000 new trailer builds (from 341,000) in 2022. Both of those new forecasts would still outpace OEM production in 2021. “They’re still good numbers, which means there’s going to have to be significant improvement a year from now—not a month from now, but a year from now,” Ake said. “They’re slightly optimistic forecasts, and they are subject to change if the supply chain issue just doesn’t get any better into the third quarter of next year.”

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Big business bosses are warning that supply chain issues and inflation are here to stay

CNBC Elliot Smith November 10, 2021

However, concerns over the persistence of these problems were echoed by Siemens Energy CEO Christian Bruch, who told CNBC Wednesday that the industrial world is going to be dealing with this “for quite some time.”
Unilever CEO: This is ‘once in two-decade inflationary pressure’
“It is going to be way into 2022 and honestly, my belief is managing the supply chain will be something which will be with us for [a long time],” he said.
“It will be a really core competence of companies like us, making sure that you can manage these scarcities and issues on the supply chain, not only on the material but also on the logistics side.”

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Trucking

Shipper demand fueling reorganization at CFI

The Journal of Commerce William B. Cassidy November 10, 2021

Rising US trucking profile
For TFI, the consolidation raises the profile of its truckload business in the US, where it has been buying transportation and logistics companies for years. Its biggest purchase to date was the $800-million purchase of UPS Freight, now TForce Freight. Between TForce Freight and CFI, the Canadian company now generates about $4 billion in annual revenue in the US.
The CFI Mexico division houses the company’s intra-Mexico and cross-border business. CFI has long operated a Guadalajara-based Mexican LTL network, using primarily leased facilities and a consortium of nearly 200 Mexican carrier partners.
The LTL network in Mexico allows CFI to collect LTL freight in the US and move it as a full truckload across the US border, breaking up loads for distribution within Mexico. “We’re doing that from the Midwest now and we’re looking to expand from the Northeast,” Orr said.

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

Many Logistics Firms Are Avoiding Covid-19 Vaccine Requirements Amid U.S. Mandate Debate

The Wall Street Journal Lydia O’Neal November 10, 2021

Subscription-Based

Freight transportation companies are cautiously stepping around a Covid-19 vaccination requirement while trade groups fight the federal mandate in court.
Companies including United Parcel Service Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and others that manage warehouse staffers, truck drivers and other employees across logistics networks in general aren’t requiring employees outside of some office workers to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Many firms say they are encouraging staffers to get vaccinated while mandating protection measures in workplaces.
The federal mandate, which is slated to go into effect Jan. 4, exempts workers who are exclusively outdoors and don’t report to a workplace where they interact with others. So it may leave out many truck drivers but not the office and warehouse workers who help move goods from factories to stores and residences.
That exemption for truckers is “still not total relief, because we have a lot of mechanics, we have a lot of warehouse folks,” J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. Chief Operating Officer Nick Hobbs said during a conference hosted by financial services firm Robert W. Baird & Co. on Tuesday. “It’s still going to cause a lot of disruption if that vaccine mandate stands.”

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White House Continues Efforts to Unsnarl Supply Chain

Truckinginfo.com Deborah Lockridge November 10, 2021

More Efforts at Southern California Ports
Last month, President Biden announced a deal for the Port of Los Angeles to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This followed a similar move by the Port of Long Beach. However, critics say, more hours won’t help if truckers don’t take advantage of these off-hour appointments.
In a Nov. 10 progress report, the White House said there’s an effort to waive port fees for truckers on nights and weekends to incentivize off-peak use.
Currently, it said, truck drivers pay a fee to enter the ports to pick up cargo. This system, known as Pier Pass, was originally designed to incentivize off peak hours and reduce emissions. However, in recent years the terminal operators who run Pier Pass had converted it to a flat fee.
The terminal operators have been considering changing the system to create a financial incentive for trucks to use night and weekend hours. If they move forward, their proposal would waive the current fee during nights and weekends for the remainder of the shipping high season.
Related: The White House Recent Progress and Actions on Port Congestion

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President Biden to Sign Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Monday

The White House Briefing Room November 10, 2021

On Monday, the President will host a bipartisan bill signing ceremony for his Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The President will be joined by Members of Congress who helped write this landmark economic growth bill and by a diverse group of leaders who fought for its passage across the country, ranging from Governors and Mayors of both parties to labor union and business leaders.

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Technology/Innovation

Google, Kroger invest in Nuro as AV delivery gains momentum

Supply Chain Dive Sam Silverstein November 10, 2021

• Autonomous delivery vehicle maker Nuro has raised $600 million in Series D financing from a group of investors that includes Kroger and Google, the company announced in a press release Tuesday.
• Nuro has also entered a five-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud under which it will use computing and storage capacity provided by the internet company to help develop Nuro's self-driving vehicles.
• The latest funding comes as Nuro accelerates its efforts to provide grocers and other retailers with ways to transport e-commerce orders to customers without relying on human workers.

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America Isn’t Ready for the Electric-Vehicle Revolution

The New York Times Opinion Steve LeVine November 10, 2021

Subscription-Based

China’s decision a decade ago to knit all the pieces of its battery supply chain together into a comprehensively controlled, globe-spanning industry has yielded it genuine strategic power. Turning ore into electrodes is far trickier than extracting minerals. It has taken China much of the decade to stand up an industry that, according to Wood Mackenzie, an energy research and consulting firm, now possesses about 90 percent of global capacity to process raw lithium, about 70 percent of cobalt and 40 percent of nickel. China also has almost all the manganese- and graphite-refining capacity.
Related: The Verge 2020 was the worst year yet for power outages in the US

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