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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Monday, November 22, 2021

Trucking

FedEx forecast calls for holiday package shipments to increase 10%

Freight Waves Todd Maiden November 19, 2021

FedEx is expecting package deliveries to increase 10% year-over-year during the holiday shipping season, a spokesperson told FreightWaves on Friday.
The expected increase would easily surpass last year’s peak season record. But this year FedEx (NYSE: FDX) won’t have to contend with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, which were rushed to frontline workers in the early days of December 2020.
Even with numerous supply chain snarls keeping freight stuck at ports and shipper warehouses longer, deliveries are expected to surge higher again during the 2021 holiday period.
It appears the buy-from-home trend necessitated during last year’s lockdowns is here to stay. An internal FedEx email obtained by Bloomberg on Thursday said the parcel carrier will move 100 million more packages this holiday season than it did in the same period of 2019.
“Pre-COVID, FedEx projected that the U.S. domestic market would reach 100 million packages per day by calendar year 2026,” a statement to FreightWaves read. “The market is now expected to hit that by calendar year 2022, with e-commerce contributing to 88% of the total market growth.”

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Industry

Supply-Chain Problems Show Signs of Easing

The Wall Street Journal Stella Yifan Xie et al. November 21, 2021

Subscription-Based

Global supply-chain woes are beginning to recede, but shipping, manufacturing and retail executives say that they don’t expect a return to more-normal operations until next year and that cargo will continue to be delayed if Covid-19 outbreaks disrupt key distribution hubs.
In Asia, Covid-related factory closures, energy shortages and port-capacity limits have eased in recent weeks. In the U.S., major retailers say they have imported most of what they need for the holidays. Ocean freight rates have retreated from record levels.
Still, executives and economists say strong consumer demand for goods in the West, ongoing port congestion in the U.S., shortages of truck drivers and elevated global freight rates continue to hang over any recovery. The risk of more extreme weather and flare-ups of Covid-19 cases can also threaten to clog up supply chains again.

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Self-Driving Stocks Join EVs as Next Trader Obsession

Bloomberg/Transport Topics Esha Day November 19, 2021

Self-driving technology companies are the latest automotive stocks to become an obsession of retail traders, with firms like Aurora Innovation Inc. surging Nov. 19 on high volume.
While Aurora’s advance was the most stark, other stocks also rose sharply. TuSimple Holdings Inc., which makes self-driving technology for heavy-duty and semi trucks, gained as much as 7.9% before closing up 5.9%.
The moves are reminiscent of gains in electric vehicle stocks earlier this week, when Rivian Automotive Inc. and Lucid Group Inc. both posted double-digit jumps and surpassed some of their more established peers in market value.

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Workforce

How to keep women in trucking

Fleet Owner Catharine Conway November 19, 2021

Recruitment and retention strategies have been discussed at length over the years. But with the growing capacity challenges and increasing turnover rates, companies have had to think outside the box to bring talent to their operations—especially when it comes to recruiting women.
Wendy Greenland, CEO of Openforce, was joined by Jackie McManus, founder and CEO of KJ Media, Katie Love, marketing manager at Workhound, Tom Gennarelli, VP of trucking and transportation at Timber Products Company, and Nate Tellis, co-founder and CTO of RocketCDL, in a Women in Trucking Association (WIT) Accelerate! webinar to discuss best practices in retaining women in the workforce.
“The biggest thing we look at when we work with trucking companies is what’s beyond the black and white of the job description,” McManus explained. “What’s the overall culture of the company? It starts with leadership and trickles down to how recruiters talk to drivers. We find the first 60 seconds is when a driver connects or doesn’t connect with the recruiter. Will drivers feel valued at the company? It’s the gray area that makes the overall connection—not the black and white.”

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Driver referrals in the age of social media: A modern twist on recruitment

Transport Dive Katie Pyzyk November 19, 2021

Clarissa Rankin is becoming a TikTok celebrity. But she's not a typical social media influencer who urges followers to buy certain products. Rankin is a truck driver who broadcasts details about her work and life to draw people into the industry.
"I do educational videos," said Rankin, who is an owner-operator for CloudTrucks. "I bring them inside of my home … and show them how I get my truck ready, how I meal-prep my food, how I get my family ready before I hit the road."
As labor constraints continue to top the trucking industry's concerns, firms have had to get creative with recruitment.
Rethinking referrals
Social media crowdsourcing is, essentially, a type of referral — a method that has been around for decades.
"It's nothing new. It's just the tools that people are using are different or maybe more advanced now," Sichterman said.
Some of those tools are apps like RocketCDL that let drivers recruit their peers from their mobile phone, and they can find out just as easily when a referred driver is hired.

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Maverick, Melton, Montgomery Raise Pay, Benefits for Drivers

Transport Topics Connor D. Wolf November 19, 2021

Maverick Transportation, Melton Truck Lines and Montgomery Transport recently continued the trend of carriers increasing driver pay and benefits.
Montgomery unveiled a new pay program and other benefits Nov. 11. The Birmingham, Ala.-based flatbed carrier said over-the-road drivers will receive extra appreciation pay of 5 cents for every loaded mile from Nov. 2 to Jan. 31. Dedicated drivers also will also receive an increase in daily pay over the same time period.
“This recent cycle has been one of the most dynamic, yet difficult times many of us have seen. Our drivers stepped up and kept America moving forward,” Montgomery CEO Rollins Montgomery said in a statement. “We are excited to show them our deep appreciation in many ways.”

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

ATRI Report Offers Insights Into Trucking Industry Settlements

Transport Topics Dan Ronan November 19, 2021

A new report from the American Transportation Research Institute stated that while trucking industry court cases that result in verdicts of less than $1 million may not dominate headlines like those that end in multimillion-dollar judgments, the cumulative effect of these smaller verdicts can still inflict significant financial distress on the industry.
The study also found that trials that end in settlements, as well as those that involve injuries or fatalities, tend to result in larger monetary awards.
“While cases of this size are not individually as devastating to motor carriers and thus do not attract the attention of media outlets, in aggregate they have a significant negative impact on the trucking industry,” ATRI said in the study, titled, “The Impact of Small Verdicts and Settlements on the Trucking Industry.” Released Nov. 18, it aims to provide an overview of the smaller award litigation landscape and offer carriers and defense attorneys strategies to assist in preventing costly litigation outcomes, ATRI said.

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