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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Monday, November 15, 2021


Darrel Harris and Yellow are Driving Progress

The Carolinian Newspaper Dr. Joy Martinez November 10, 2021

Darrel Harris certainly put in the work. In addition to moving across the country nine times, he shares, “I had to do a lot of things early on that don’t fit the profile of my job today. I had to come in and work the dock in unfavorable weather conditions, starting out in Kansas city where it gets very hot in the summer and it gets very cold in the winter. But you’re going to have to meet people at the 50. You have to do the job, work hard, show up on time and be willing to humble yourself and learn things and do things that maybe don’t seem very appealing initially at the time.”
It’s easy to hear the clear desire Harris has to stimulate the growth and profitability of the company, to open doors to people who have been traditionally excluded from the industry, and to offer life-changing careers to people who typically have not considered trucking. But the newly minted President offered up another critical reason for the Yellow’s Drive for Diversity initiative. He stated, “it is important for our employee base and our strategic initiatives to mirror the communities that we serve. And you can only do that if you reach out and find the talent that is out there in these areas to drive this company to the next level.”

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Yellow Corporation Earns 2022 Military Friendly® Employer Designation and NDTA Pathfinder Society Award

Yellow Press Release November 12, 2021

Yellow has been named a Military Friendly® employer for the Company’s work to create sustainable and meaningful career paths, community outreach, brand enthusiasm and enduring partnerships that meet thresholds for applicant, new hire retention and promotion of veterans and military employees. Institutions earning the Military Friendly® Employer designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. More than 1,000 companies participated in the 19th annual survey.
At the National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA) and the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) meeting in October, NDTA presented the Pathfinder Society Award to Yellow for its support of the NDTA Foundation, whose mission is to support, conduct and assist programs of transportation education, science, research and development among private, industrial, educational and governmental agencies. A key priority of the Foundation is to ease the burden of a college education for the future leaders of our profession, and each year it awards scholarship money to high school or college students pursuing an education in logistics, transportation or passenger travel.
“Yellow is proud to support and honor America’s military veterans,” said CEO Darren Hawkins. “We are humbled to receive any honor bestowed upon the Company in recognition of our work to recruit, develop and support veterans. Members of the United States Armed Forces are heroes, and—with their families—have made great sacrifices to preserve our great country and American freedom.”

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Digital ‘lumper’ payments gaining traction in LTL

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


Relay Payments, a venture-backed financial technology company with a payment platform for trucking accessorial fees, is gaining traction in the less-than-truckload (LTL) sector, recently completing a rollout of its platform at Southeastern Freight Lines (SEFL), the 10th-largest US LTL company by annual revenue.
Speeding the unloading of trailers and payment processing in tandem will benefit shippers by moving trucks through their gates more quickly, cutting into driver detention time and fees and making overall dock operations more efficient, Barkoff said. That could translate to a significant benefit given that LTL rates are rising by high-single- or low-double-digit percentages and trailers are in high demand.
“We want to be an electronic payment solution for the logistics industry,” said Barkoff. “Think of us as a Venmo or PayPal for the trucking industry.” Since its launch in 2019, Relay has raised $43 million in venture capital. Barkoff said the Atlanta-based company is looking for new areas to expand beyond its initial large truckload and LTL carrier base, and eventually beyond lumper payments.

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Should FedEx, UPS care about the LaserShip-OnTrac merger?

Freight Waves Mark Solomon November 13, 2021

Depending on how the holiday season pans out, FedEx Corp. and UPS Inc. will get close to $200 billion in combined annual revenue by the time they finish their reporting years: UPS’ on Dec. 31 and FedEx’s the following May 31. It stands to reason, then, that a merger of regional parcel delivery carriers LaserShip and OnTrac, with $1.7 billion in combined annual revenue between them, wouldn’t appear on the giants’ radar.
Vienna, Virginia-based LaserShip’s mid-October $1.3 billion purchase of Chandler, Arizona-based OnTrac will forge the first nationwide provider built from regional networks. The deal has generated much excitement in the last-mile delivery world. It is also welcome news to big parcel shippers that have spent 18 months coping with persistent demand spikes, ultratight capacity and demands by FedEx (NYSE: FDX) and UPS (NYSE: UPS) to accept higher rates and surcharges, or be volume-restricted if not cut loose altogether.
However, some perspective is needed before the coronation begins. The LaserShip-OnTrac entity equals just 3% of FedEx’s and UPS’ combined volumes and only 1.5% of combined revenue, according to consultancy Shipware LLC. Regional carriers, including LaserShip and OnTrac, are already at or near full capacity, and it’s uncertain at best how much of FedEx’s and UPS’ share they could take and still adequately service the accounts, Shipware said. “If [LaserShip/OnTrac] doubled in volume capacity — which they can’t for a very long time — they’re still insignificant” compared to the behemoths, said Rob Martinez, Shipware’s founder and co-CEO.

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Walmart picks Dallas area for 2 high-tech logistics facilities

Freight Waves Noi Mahoney November 12, 2021

Walmart Inc. recently announced plans to build two massive, automated warehouses in the Dallas area to support the retailer’s growing supply chain network.
A 1.5 million-square-foot fulfillment center is set to open in 2023, and a 730,000-square-foot grocery distribution center is expected to open in 2024. Both facilities will be in Lancaster, Texas, around 15.5 miles south of Dallas.
The two facilities will create up to 1,000 full-time jobs and will be among the largest high-tech distribution and fulfillment centers in the company’s supply chain, Walmart officials said.
“These high-tech facilities will include game-changing innovations that are radically disrupting the supply chain, getting products onto store shelves and items shipped to our customers even faster, while saving time for our associates,” said Joe Metzger executive vice president, supply chain operations at Walmart U.S., in a statement.
The facilities will use automation technology to move more than two times the volume of traditional fulfillment and grocery distribution centers, Walmart said.

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Just-in-time and safety stock require a careful balance

Supply Chain Dive Matt Leonard November 10, 2021

A Gartner survey published this year showed some interest among supply chain professionals in increasing safety stock. Still, others say the benefits of just-in-time are just too good for companies to give up on the practice.
And a look at some large companies' inventory levels shows that while they are higher in many cases, the companies have actually managed to return to a normal level when it comes to inventory as a percentage of sales. This simply means inventory has gone up, but so have sales, and companies are trying to keep up rather than build safety stock.
Take Walmart as an example. The value of inventory the retailer reported in July was 6% higher than it was during the same quarter in 2019, but its sales had increased more than 8%. Its inventory as a percentage of sales was back to where it was in 2019 — with less than 1% difference — after falling more than 4 percentage points from 2019 to 2020.
In this context, Walmart's inventory buildup seems less like a buildup and more like an attempt to keep up. Still, executives at the retailer have also said they would like inventory levels to be higher than they currently are.

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UPS, FedEx Swap Places Atop Global Freight Carriers Ranking (Yellow Reference)

Transport Topics Seth Celevenger November 12, 2021

The global supply chain, so often taken for granted by the public at large, has become a cause for worldwide concern this year as consumer products go out of stock and manufacturers run low on key components.
Companies are ranked according to asset-based freight revenue in 2020. As such, the updated rankings do not reflect business conditions or structural changes in 2021.
A key example is UPS Inc. The parcel giant edges past rival FedEx Corp. to become the world’s largest carrier based on 2020 freight revenue, but the company’s hold on that position may be tenuous moving forward because it sold its trucking division, UPS Freight, to TFI International in April 2021.
Likewise, TFI is poised to climb the rankings next year on the strength of that acquisition, which greatly ex­panded the Canada-based company’s already extensive trucking operations.
As in years past, several of the largest trucking companies in North America also rank among the largest freight transportation providers in the world.
Less-than-truckload carrier XPO Logistics appears at No. 24 on the Top 50 list, followed by intermodal and trucking company J.B. Hunt Transport Services at No. 25.
Further down the list, LTL carriers Yellow Corp., Old Dominion Freight Line and Estes Express check in at Nos. 34, 36 and 46, respectively.

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SoCal excessive dwell fees could discourage intermodal rail moves: BNSF, UP

The Journal Of Commerce Ari Ashe November 12, 2021


BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad are concerned that port officials in Los Angeles and Long Beach are providing less time to railroads than to trucks to remove containers before assessing an emergency dwelling fee, which may cause importers to transload rather than use trains to haul containers inland, the railroads told JOC.com.
The excessive container dwell fee will apply after six days on rail containers and nine days on truck containers, but BNSF and UP argue the disparity cause shippers to transload rather than use inland point intermodal (IPI), when an ocean container is taken inland on a train.
BNSF and UP are ready to handle more IPI volume in Southern California now that the inland congestion has eased significantly in the last 45 days.
“We are carefully watching the impact of the new port fees and are concerned they may be discouraging the use of rail because the free time allotted to truck shipments is longer than the free time for rail shipments,” UP said in a Nov. 10 statement to JOC.com.

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Packed Ports And Empty Shelves: Inside The Issues Behind The U.S. Supply Chain Crisis

CBS 60 Minutes Bill Whitaker November 14, 2021

We flew over the sprawling Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – 40% of all U.S. imports come through here. We saw stacks of marooned containers, dormant cranes, loaded rail cars sitting idle. The country's busiest ports packed to the gills. And out at sea? More than 80 ships stretched to the distance—a new record. They used to pull right in. Now, they can wait weeks. Petersen told us this backlog has been building since the start of the pandemic.

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Ocean Shipping Rates Fall but Ports Are Still Jammed

The Wall Street Journal Costas Paris November 15, 2021


The cost to move a container across the Pacific fell by more than one-quarter last week, the biggest decline in two years. The decline signals that the huge demand for Asian exports is easing, though shipping executives say it will be months before the logjam of ships outside of U.S. ports clears up.
The decline in ocean-freight rates coincides with the winding down of the traditional peak shipping season, which starts in August when Western importers start to load up on cargo ahead of the year-end holidays. With most products at least on their way, space is gradually opening up on the front end of the trip, leading to lower prices.
That easing hasn’t made its way to U.S. ports, where dozens of ships packed with everything from Christmas trees to electronics and heavy machinery are still waiting for weeks to unload at big gateways like Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif. Shipping executives say they don’t expect the traffic to ease until February at the earliest.

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AAR reports mixed U.S. carload and intermodal volumes, for the week ending November 6

Logistics Management November 12, 2021

Rail carloads—at 235,585—saw a 3.1% annual increase, trailing the week ending October 30, at 238,267, and also trailing the week ending October 23, at 239,195.
Intermodal containers and trailers—at 268,526—were down 9.6% annually, trailing the weeks ending October 30 and October 23, at 271,874 and 271,567, respectively.

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TuSimple Set for Driverless Test Runs; Proceeds Toward Autonomous-Truck Commercialization

Truckinginfo.com Deborah Lockridge November 12, 2021

TuSimple plans to start running “driver-out” autonomous-truck pilots by the end of the year, removing the driver for runs over an 80-mile route between Phoenix and Tucson.
Company officials expect to perform the initial driver-out runs before year-end and to complete the pilot program over the coming months. The driver-out pilot will consist of multiple runs performed over multiple weeks.
“I recently participated in one of our tests, and I can tell you that it was amazing to see our next-generation trucks embark on the terminal-to-terminal run,” said Cheng Lu, TuSimple’s president and CEO, during the earnings call. “My trip, like the vast majority of our test runs, including zero disengagements and demonstrated just how far our technology development has come.” (A disengagement happens when an autonomous vehicle gets confused and has to hand over control of the car to a safety driver.)

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J.B. Hunt Highlights Questions With Vaccine Mandate

Transport Topics Connor D. Wolf November 12, 2021

“We have a lot of mechanics, we have a lot of warehouse folks, so it’s still going to cause a lot of disruption if that vaccine mandate stands,” said Nick Hobbs, chief operating officer and president of dedicated contract services at J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., during a Nov. 9 panel discussion with other company executives at the 51st annual Baird Global Industrial Conference. “We’ve been prepared in case the mandate came out and was going to stay effective.”
In a Nov. 4 interview with a Philadelphia television station, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh indicated truck drivers who travel alone may not be subject to the mandate, in accordance with stipulations in the rule that individuals who work alone or remotely are exempt.
“We’re going to hold him to his word on that,” Hobbs said. “He said that publicly. And so that is a big relief for a lot of us.” He noted it wasn’t “total relief” due to the concerns about other workers, but expressed optimism about the legal challenges underway.
“There [are] a lot of people involved in litigation, including American Trucking Associations,” Hobbs said. “We feel very good that there’s a strong case against OSHA and their ability to implement that. So we feel very strongly that stay will be permanent. It’s what we think is going to happen. But we’re prepared in case we’re wrong on that.”

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Appeals court keeps hold on vaccine mandate in place

Fleet Owner November 13, 2021

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday kept its earlier order in place that put a stop to the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees.
Later this week, other parties—including American Trucking Associations (ATA), three state trucking associations from Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and other groups with supply chain interests such as the National Retail Federation, the National Association of Convenience Stores, and the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors—joined the battle with a lawsuit of their own in the 5th U.S. Circuit. ATA had learned earlier from the U.S. Department of Labor that the OSHA rules didn't apply to truck drivers who mostly work alone in their cabs. But the trucking industry includes many others, in fleet offices and maintenance shops, for example, who have close contact with their co-workers.
The OSHA ETS “arbitrarily picks winners and losers and puts employers in an untenable position of forcing workers to choose between working and their private medical decisions, which is something that cannot be allowed,” ATA’s president and CEO, Chris Spear, said in a statement Nov. 10 after ATA added to the pile of litigation following threats to do so for weeks.

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OOIDA to labor secretary: All truck drivers should be exempt from vaccine rule

Land Line Mark Schremmer November 12, 2021

“While the emergency temporary standard does not apply to small motor carriers with fewer than 100 employees and is not intended to cover ‘most truckers,’ our interpretation is that the mandate will needlessly force thousands of team drivers to choose between their livelihoods and their personal medical preferences,” OOIDA wrote in a letter signed by President and CEO Todd Spencer.
“As currently proposed, the emergency temporary standard will require team drivers to be vaccinated or submit weekly testing results, perhaps at their own personal cost. Additionally, team drivers would have to wear face coverings when they’re in the truck. In light of these circumstances, we are requesting that OSHA grant an exemption for any team drivers from the emergency temporary standard.”

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FMCSA: Fatal large truck crashes increased in 2019

CCJ November 12, 2021

The number of fatal accidents involving large trucks, defined as vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds, increased slightly from 2018 to 2019, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s recently updated Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts.
While the actual number of fatal crashes rose, the number of fatalities in crashes involving large trucks dropped by one from 2018 to 2019.
Of the approximately 510,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2019, there were 4,479 (1%) fatal crashes and 114,000 (29%) injury crashes. That’s compared to 4,461 fatal crashes and 107,000 injury crashes in 2018. The total number of fatalities in crashes involving large trucks fell by one from 5,006 in 2018 to 5,005 in 2019. Additionally, there were an estimated 158,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks, according to FMCSA’s data.
The total number of fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2019 was the highest since 2005, which saw 4,551 fatal crashes involving large trucks.

Related:  Landline Latest truck-involved fatal crash data questions safety regulations

Link: FMCSA Large Truck And Bus Crash Facts

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Appellate Court Strikes Down Rule Requiring Fuel-Saving Trailer Technologies

Transport Topics Eric Miller November 12 , 2021

A divided federal appeals court has thrown out portions of the 2016 Phase 2 greenhouse gas emissions rule that would have required heavy- and medium-duty trailers for the first time ever to adopt some combination of fuel-saving technologies.
“In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a rule for trailers pulled by tractors based on a statute enabling the EPA to regulate motor vehicles,” said the Nov. 12 decision of the three-judge panel in a written opinion by Circuit Judge Justin Walker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “In that same rule, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued fuel-efficiency standards for trailers based on a statute enabling NHTSA to regulate ‘commercial medium-duty or heavy-duty on-highway vehicles.’ ”

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