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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Friday, November 19, 2021

Trucking

40% of America’s trucking capacity is left on the table every day, MIT expert tells Congress

Market Watch Victor Reklatis November 18, 20201

“This chronic underutilization problem does not seem to be a function of what the drivers themselves do or don’t do, but rather an unfortunate consequence of our conventions for scheduling and processing the pickup and delivery appointments,” said David Correll, a research scientist at MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, as he testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Long-haul, full-truckload drivers spend an average of 6.5 hours every workday driving ,even though federal safety regulations let them drive for 11 hours a day, Correll said.
“This, of course, implies that 40% of America’s trucking capacity is left on the table every day. This is, of course, especially troubling during times of perceived shortage and crisis, like we find ourselves now,” he told the House panel. Adding just 18 minutes of driving time to every existing truck driver’s day “could be enough to overcome what many of us feel is a driver shortage,” the MIT expert said.

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Shippers/3PLs

To avoid price hikes, businesses are finding other ways to protect their margins (LTL Reference)

Market Place Justin Ho November 17, 2021

At Vinaigrette in Minneapolis, Sarah Piepenburg has been trying to solve some of her supply chain challenges on her own. She always ships less than a truckload of merchandise, but she said it’s hard to even get the attention of the less-than-truckload carrier companies that provide the service.
“And even if the LTL carrier can actually pick it up, do they have a driver to get it from point A to point B?” Piepenburg said.
Twice now, she said, she and her husband have driven to Chicago to pick up orders themselves.

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Industry

LA-LB port fees starting to chip away at gridlock

The Journal Of Commerce Mark Szakonyi November 18, 2021

Subscription-Based

The plan for a stiff fee on long-dwelling containers at Southern California ports is becoming a so-called “nuclear option” in that it is so unpleasing to all sides that it is starting to break through a gridlock of competing interests.
Container lines don’t want the burden of trying to pass the port tariffs onto customers via surcharges, and shippers and consignees want to avoid surcharges levied by carriers as they attempt to recoup tariff costs. Terminal operators are under pressure from carriers to adjust operations to help get long-dwelling containers out of the truck gates.
Citing progress, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Monday postponed the implementation of the fee for the third time, pushing the date to Nov. 22. But there’s skepticism among carrier executives, marine terminals, and importers that the ports will actually follow through with the tariff on carriers. Container lines have said they would try to pass the fee onto shippers, some of which are asking maritime regulators to weigh in on whether they would fall under new Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) rules regarding when detention and demurrage is considered reasonable.

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Southern California Port Officials Say Crisis Easing

Transport Topics Dan Ronan November 18, 2021

The backlog of empty containers at the Port of Los Angeles and nearby Port of Long Beach — which also adopted a fine program — has fallen 25% to 71,000 as of Nov. 16 from 95,000 in late October, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said during a Nov. 16 news conference with Buttigieg. Because of that reduction, the ports temporarily suspended a plan to charge shippers storage fee surcharges that would increase based on the number of days a container remained at a facility.

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Diesel prices expected to climb this winter before 2022 drop-off

CCJ Matt Cole November 18, 2021

Another factor that could keep diesel prices elevated, according to the Department of Energy, is that OPEC+ said it is committed to maintaining its scheduled production increase of 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day in December rather than increase production in response to already high crude prices and increasing demand.
Kloza said he expects more fluctuation in diesel prices over the next five months than gasoline prices, and foresees an increase to around $4 a gallon nationwide for a little while before starting to decline. As for California, which he said “marches to the tune of its own drum,” prices are likely to be around $5 a gallon.

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Workforce

Training truck drivers amid nationwide shortage (Video 2:41m)

CBS Evening News Norah O'Donnell November 18, 2021

A nationwide shortage of truck drivers is at an all-time high as supply chain bottlenecks lead to soaring prices.
We got behind the wheel to learn why women drivers could be part of the answer to the shortage!

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

ATRI Report on Smaller Verdicts and Settlements Suggests How to Battle Litigation

Truckinginfo.com Deborah Lockridge November 18, 2021

We hear a lot about nuclear verdicts. But what about smaller verdicts as well as settlements? The types of awards trucking attorney Doug Marcello likes to call “death by paper cuts” can add up and be damaging to a trucking company, as well.
The American Transportation Research Institute explores this question in its new follow-up analysis to its 2020 report on The Impact of Nuclear Verdicts on the Trucking Industry. The new report investigates the impact of verdicts and settlements under $1 million on the trucking industry.
During its research on nuclear verdicts, ATRI determined that a different plaintiff litigation model is impacting the industry: small cases. The research used a new ATRI dataset of more than 600 cases resulting in either a settlement or verdict award of less than $1 million. The report provides rich insight into key crash characteristics and litigation factors that contribute to substantial payments to plaintiffs.

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