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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Friday, January 7, 2022


Omicron adding to trucking capacity woes

The Journal of Commerce William B. Cassidy January 6, 2022


“Right now, it’s impossible to parse [the Omicron impact] out,” Adamo told JOC.com Tuesday. Other factors are having a significant impact on truck capacity as 2022 gets underway, he said. Those factors include what may be a large number of truckers taking extra time off over the holidays after an unprecedented year of high spot-market rates brought them more income than anticipated.
“There’s a lot of them taking time off,” said Dean Croke, principal analyst at DAT and a former trucker who still drives a Class 8 tractor. Some drivers may be waiting for Omicron to ebb before returning to the road. A similar trend was seen in January 2019, after a boom year for spot-market truckers in 2018, Adamo said. “Capacity was very tight for that month as many truckers took time off,” he said.

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Truckload volume increased 25.7% last week

Fleet Owner January 6, 2022

• Rates hit highs: Truckload spot van freight hit $3.16 per mile as a weekly average, up 12 cents compared to the previous week and an all-time high. The average spot reefer rate jumped 10 cents to $3.66 per mile last week, also a record high seven-day average, while the average flatbed rate was unchanged at $3.13 per mile. All rates include a fuel surcharge.
• Demand increases: The national average van load-to-truck ratio increased from 6.0 to 10.4 last week, meaning there were 10.4 available van loads for every van posted to the DAT network. The reefer ratio was 34.3, up from 14.9 the previous week, and the flatbed ratio increased to 72.4 from 53.8. These ratios are considerably higher than the same period in 2020, when the van ratio was 7.0, the reefer ratio was 15.8, and the flatbed ratio was 52.1.

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How Companies Are Overhauling Supply Chains to Ease Bottlenecks (Video 5:14)

The Wall Street Journal January 7, 2022


The Covid pandemic has strained global supply chains, causing freight backlogs that have driven up costs. Now, some companies are looking for longer-term solutions to prepare for future supply-chain crises, even if those strategies come at a high cost.

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Supply Chain Woes Prompt a New Push to Revive U.S. Factories

The New York Times Nelson D. Schwartz January 6, 2022


Since the pandemic began, however, efforts to relocate manufacturing have accelerated, said Claudio Knizek, global leader for advanced manufacturing and mobility at EY-Parthenon, a strategy consulting firm. “It may have reached a tipping point,” he added.
Decades of dependence on Asian factories, especially in China, has been upended by delays and surging freight rates — when shipping capacity can be found at all.
Backups at overwhelmed ports and the challenges of obtaining components as well as finished products in a timely way have persuaded companies to think about locating production capacity closer to buyers.
“It’s absolutely about being close to customers,” said Tim Ingle, group vice president for enterprise strategy at Toyota Motor North America. “It’s a big endeavor, but it’s the future.”

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Survey: online consumers are increasingly willing to pay for fast fulfillment

DC Velocity January 6, 2022

Nearly 60% of shoppers surveyed paid for faster delivery, with 69% of those having paid more for next-day delivery, the firm said. According to Vienna, Virginia-based LaserShip, that finding reflects the extent of the pandemic’s impact on shopping behaviors, since 62% of consumers surveyed just seven months ago—in June 2020—had never paid for expedited delivery.
The result was particularly important because the survey also showed that consumers continue to overwhelmingly prefer home delivery over buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and other forms of click and collect. A huge majority of 89% of consumers prefer home delivery over BOPIS, up nearly 10% from 2020, and they are increasingly choosing retailers that can provide that service.
Link: LaserShip How New Consumer Behaviors Are Reshaping Retailers' Supply Chains

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The global supply chain is amazingly efficient. So why did it break down?

NPR Fresh Air Dave Davies January 5, 2022


On there not being enough long-haul truckers willing to do the job
Supply chains are really made out of people. As much automation as there is in there, if you don't have the people to run all of that automation and to work alongside it, you cannot move those goods quickly enough or in sufficient quantities and their price goes up.
We don't have so much a shortage of long-haul truck drivers in the United States as we have a burnout and retention problem. So there are three or four times as many people as are driving trucks [who] currently have the license, which should allow them to drive trucks, which just shows you how many people tried that job and said, "This isn't for me." So long haul trucking is an extremely fragmented industry. Even the biggest carriers, the ones whose names you might recognize from road trips, like Werner or Swift or whatever, even those biggest carriers, if you combine them all, there's still less than a fifth of all the capacity of long-haul truck transportation in the U.S. ...

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Class 8 Orders in December Weak at 22,800

Transport Topics Roger Gilroy January 6, 2022

Class 8 orders in December were the second-weakest of the year. Production remained constrained by a bedeviling supply chain, which continued to make truck makers very careful about adding new orders to the pipeline, ACT Research reported.
Preliminary net orders were 22,800, according to ACT, which will revise the net total when truck makers release the final adjusted figures. December trailed all but November’s total of 9,902.
“That number, at almost 23,000, it’s not particularly strong; neutral is the way I would think about it,” said ACT Vice President Steve Tam.

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Outlook 2022: Terminal fluidity, rising contract rates top intermodal issues

The Journal Of Commerce Ari Ashe January 6, 2022


There is room for contract intermodal rates to rise and still remain a bargain compared with truckload contract rates. In October, the JOC Intermodal Savings Index (ISI) showed national average contract intermodal rates rose 6.1 percent compared with October 2020, while contract truckload rates on a sample of 116 US lanes surged 26 percent.
IMCs say they expect double-digit percentage contract rate increases out of California, where the gap between truckload and intermodal rates is the widest. Rates are expected to rise 6 to 8 percent out of the Pacific Northwest, while increases on backhaul routes to the West Coast could match inflation levels — about 6 percent year over year, based on the Consumer Pricing Index.

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T-5 reopening gives NWSA much-needed capacity boost

The Journal Of Commerce Bill Mongelluzzo January 6, 2022


The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) on Friday will welcome the first vessel to call at Terminal 5 in Seattle since the facility was closed in 2019 for renovations, the first of several terminal and infrastructure projects that will give the NWSA much-needed additional capacity in the coming year.
“One of the unique opportunities we have in the [Pacific Northwest] is that we have the ability to add capacity,” John Wolfe, executive director of the NWSA, said in an interview Thursday.
The Seattle-Tacoma gateway handled 11.4 percent more imports from Asia in the first 11 months of 2021 than the same period the previous year, according to PIERS, a JOC.com sister company within IHS Markit. Those gains came as trans-Pacific carriers sought out alternative gateways to avoid unprecedented congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The NWSA in 2022 projects total growth of 7.3 percent in laden and empty containers.

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Efforts to Recruit New Truck Drivers Moves Into High Schools

Transport Topics Dan Ronan January 6, 2022

An all-volunteer effort is working with educators to help raise awareness of truck driving careers among students.
A key goal of the Louisville, Ky.-based initiative, called the Next Generation in Trucking Association, is to break through common stereotypes that many in education and parents maintain; specifically, that the best and most time-tested path for success for high school students is to work hard in their studies, attend college and enter the workforce at age 22 or 23 — often with a large amount of student debt to pay off, said association president Lindsey Trent.
“What we’re trying to do, as a nonprofit trade association, is raise awareness of the trucking industry,” Trent told Transport Topics. “We’re doing that in several ways. Recently, I gave a presentation to the American School Counselor Association, so all of the school counselors across the United States got to hear a general presentation about the trucking industry and the different jobs that are in trucking.”

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How Six States Could Transform the U.S. Trucking Industry

Bloomberg Laura Bliss January 6, 2022


Oregon, Washington, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts followed California in approving the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule late last year, requiring a growing percentage of all medium- and heavy-duty trucks sold to be zero-emission starting in 2025. Manufacturers must increase their zero-emission truck sales in those states to between 30 and 50 percent by 2030, and 40 and 75 percent by 2035.

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Feds fast-tracking controversial trucker pilot program

Freight Waves John Gallagher January 6, 2022

A long-awaited but controversial initiative that will allow young truck drivers to haul freight across state lines is seeking fast-track status from the White House.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has asked the Office of Management and Budget for review and emergency approval of a three-year apprenticeship program to allow carriers to employ drivers between the ages of 18 and 21 for hauling freight across state lines, according to a request filed Thursday.
Current regulations require drivers to be 21 or older to operate a truck in interstate commerce. Drivers under 21 can haul within a state subject to state laws.
FMCSA expects the pilot, the authority for which was approved under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and previewed under the Biden administration’s Trucking Action Plan unveiled in December, to receive 44,945 applications from 4,500 motor carriers and 40,445 drivers.

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Services economy finishes 2021 on the right side of growth, reports ISM

Logistics Management Jeff Berman January 6, 2022

While coming off of an all-time high in November, the December edition of the Services ISM Report on Business, which was issued today by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), finished 2021 on a strong growth path.
The reading for the report’s key indicator—the Services PMI (formerly the Non-Manufacturing PMI)—at 62.0 (a reading of 50 Or Higher Signals Growth)—fell 7.1% compared to November’s all-time high reading of 69.1. The Services PMI grew for the 18th consecutive month, with services sector growth intact for 141 of the last 143 months through December.
The December Services PMI is 0.5% below the 12-month average of 62.5, with November’s 69.1 and February’s 55.3 representing the high and low points over the last 12 months, respectively.

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