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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Trucking

Top 500 Largest For-Hire Carriers (Yellow #5)

Freight Waves January 10, 2022

FreightWaves has compiled a list of the Top 500 U.S.-based for-hire carriers. Fleets are ranked on the basis of tractor count.
The inaugural Top 500 list of the largest U.S.-based for-hire trucking fleets — hosted on the FreightWaves Ratings site — is ranked on the basis of tractor count. We wanted to show who the biggest players are and where they’re located.

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RoadOne expands dedicated trucking network

The Journal Of Commerce William B. Cassidy January 10, 2022

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The acquisition is a significant expansion of RoadOne’s dedicated logistics network, RoadOne CEO Ken Kellaway said in an interview. EHS Trucking operates in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio, and contracts with automotive manufacturers such as Ford and GM.
“We’re building a national, single-source solution for our clients,” Kellaway said Monday. “Our customers include large multifaceted importers. They need drayage, warehousing, transloading, and regional truckload all tied together.” They also need dedicated contracts with all those services, he said.

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Workforce

Fleets Find That Raising Pay Doesn’t Solve Driver Shortage

Transport Topics Katie Pyzyk January 10, 2022

U.S. Department of Labor data indicates the average weekly earnings in the longhaul trucking market — primarily for drivers — have been increasing four to five times faster than the historical average, according to Bob Costello, chief economist at American Trucking Associations. Despite some localized recruitment success stories, an industrywide hiring boom is not yet apparent.
“Early evidence is that the rapidly rising pay has stopped the drop in the number of drivers in the longhaul sector, but it hasn’t increased the number of drivers,” Costello said.
More Than Money?
Local trucking jobs are being filled more than longhaul jobs, ATA’s Costello said, suggesting other factors at play besides money. Truckers are becoming less focused on raw earnings and instead want to be home more and improve their quality of life.

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Shippers/3PLs

Workers Sick With Omicron Add to Manufacturing Woes. ‘The Hope Was That 2022 Would Get Better.’

The Wall Street Journal Bob Tita And Austen Hufford January 10, 2022

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The speed at which the highly contagious variant is spreading has stunned some executives, who said they had grown increasingly confident over recent months that their companies had navigated the worst of the pandemic. The apparent decreasing severity of the variant is providing some hope that the number of cases will lighten and the effect on companies will abate in coming weeks. Some sidelined workers are quarantining at home as a precaution.
Meanwhile, with demand booming for manufactured goods from automobiles to medical equipment, executives said that idling production now isn’t an option. Manufacturers mostly have maintained operations since the start of the pandemic, in part because many operate in what are deemed essential industries.
The surge in Covid-19 absenteeism threatens to deepen problems of supply-chain and transportation bottlenecks and delayed deliveries.

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Industry

FedEx air shipments delayed as omicron variant sickens pilots

Freight Waves Eric Kulisch January 10, 2022

The parcel and freight carrier warned Friday that staffing problems due to rising infection rates among pilots and ground personnel in its air network, combined with severe winter weather events, are slowing deliveries.
“We are implementing contingency plans and adjusting operations to minimize delays while continuing to provide the best possible service to our customers during these difficult times. Volume currently moving through the network will be prioritized for processing,” it said in a notice to customers.

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Despite ongoing production woes, truck orders hit 365,000 units last year

CCJ Jason Cannon January 11, 2022

Production backlogs already stretch through this year and ACT President and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth said last month's order totals "reflect OEMs taking a more cautious approach to effectively manage the cycle of customer expectations."
"After hitting a [Class 8] cancellation speed-bump in November, orders rebounded to a level just above the second half of 2021 production trend in December. However, while improved, December’s orders were the second weakest of the year, reflecting ongoing supply-side shortages that continue to constrain production," Vieth said. "Importantly, we reiterate, with critical economic and industry demand drivers at, or near, record levels, industry strength is exhibited in long backlog lead-times, rather than in seasonally weak orders.”

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Port Tracker report targets a return to normal for U.S.-bound import volumes

Logistics Management Jeff Berman January 10, 2022

A return to normalcy, as it relates to import levels, is expected in 2022, following a 2021, which ostensibly saw new United States-bound import numbers on a near monthly basis, according to the most recent edition of the Port Tracker Report, which was issued today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates.
The ports surveyed in the report include: Los Angeles/Long Beach; Oakland; Tacoma; Seattle; Houston; New York/New Jersey; Hampton Roads; Charleston, and Savannah; Miami; Jacksonville; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Port Everglades.
Authors of the report explained that cargo import numbers do not correlate directly with retail sales or employment because they count only the number of cargo containers brought into the country, not the value of the merchandise inside them, adding that the amount of merchandise imported provides a rough barometer of retailers’ expectations.

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Trucking Snarls Near Key Chinese Port May Cost Economy $4 Billion a Week

Bloomberg Ann Koh January 10, 2022

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Ports around the world have been struggling to ease congestion as the pandemic heads into a third year. Ningbo is one of the world’s top container gateways and a crucial part of supply chains that connect factories in East China to consumers of automobiles, machines, electronics and toys in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.
A week’s delay of trade at Ningbo’s port could cost $4 billion including exports of circuit boards and clothes, according to consultant Russell Group. Some polyester factories in Ningbo have stopped work because they can’t receive raw materials via truck or ship out goods, according to analysts at Wood Mackenzie. Road deliveries of liquefied natural gas, an important fuel for industries unconnected to pipelines, has also slowed.

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

FMCSA Takes Steps to Expedite Apprentice Driver Pilot Program

Transport Topics Eric Miller January 10, 2022

Federal trucking regulators are seeking emergency White House approval to take a first step toward a driver apprenticeship program included in last year’s sweeping $1 trillion infrastructure bill as a near-term measure to help alleviate the trucking industry’s ongoing driver shortage.
The DRIVE-Safe Act, included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden in November, creates an apprenticeship program under which drivers younger than 21 can drive commercial vehicles interstate. Previously, under-21 drivers were limited to intrastate operations.
In a Jan. 7 Federal Register announcement, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it is seeking emergency authorization from the Office of Management and Budget to initiate data collection from motor carriers for the pilot apprenticeship program. FMCSA is asking OMB to act by Jan. 13.

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New driver training rule almost here

Land Line Mark Schremmer January 10, 2022

The regulations set the baseline for training requirements for entry-level drivers. This includes those applying to:
Obtain a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time.
Upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL.
Obtain a school bus, passenger, or hazardous materials endorsement for the first time.
The regulations are not retroactive.
“Beginning Feb. 7, 2022, the new entry-level driver training regulations will require certain CDL applicants to complete training before being permitted to take the required skills or knowledge test,” FMCSA wrote. “Training is not required if your (commercial learner’s permit) is issued prior to Feb. 7, so long as you obtain your CDL before your CLP or renewed CLP expires.”

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Technology/Innovation

Robotic Arms Are Using Machine Learning to Reach Deeper Into Distribution

The Wall Street Journal Jennifer Smith January 10, 2022

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More robots that can pick up separate objects are moving from laboratories to warehouses as the technology improves and labor-strapped logistics operators look to automation to meet surging demand.
Businesses are using software-powered robotic arms to sort clothing and e-commerce parcels, pack bread and industrial supplies and, in some cases, pick electronics and consumer products from larger bins to prepare orders for delivery.

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