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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Friday, September 16, 2022

Trucking

Producer Price Index Trucking Market Analysis

LinkedIn Dr. Jason Miller September 15, 2022

The producer price index data for August for both the over-the-road dry van truckload (TL) and specialized TL sectors provides some good news for shippers, but we also need to be realistic about the magnitude of deflationary pressures shippers should expect.
Implication: while we are starting to see the PPIs for trucking picking up some deflationary signs, transportation professionals need to be realistic with their finance departments about how much prices are likely to decline in 2022 and into 2023’s bid season. Don’t overpromise large reductions, as I’m guessing those won’t materialize.

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Industry

Intermodal Industry Continues to Adapt as It Meets Shifting Demands

Transport Topics Mindy Long September 15, 2022

Larry Gross, president of Gross Transportation Consulting, said intermodal is in recovery mode, but still running behind last year. He noted that container moves inland are down about 10% year-to-date.
“Earlier in the year and late last year, ocean carriers were short of containers in Asia, so there was a huge push to get the equipment back as fast as possible and rates were astronomical,” Gross said. “When we got to March, that situation eased up, and they turned the switch back on, but we’re working through it.”
He added, “On the domestic side, we have the first indication of an overall softening of demand, and intermodal isn’t immune to that.”
Gross has moderate expectations for the remainder of the year since so much freight moved early. “Peak won’t be very peak. It will be more like a plateau than a peak,” he said.

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Trucking executives share autonomous vehicle timeline projections

Transport Dive David Taube September 15, 2022

Trucking leaders recently offered their perspectives across several events at FTR’s annual conference in Indianapolis on when autonomous vehicles could become a reality.
They expressed both interest and caution on how it could affect the industry as AV tech companies have raced ahead, often in partnership with other companies, such as Waymo with C.H. Robinson and Locomation wth Stevens Trucking.
While several executives suggested the technology will become a reality in some form, they also expressed hesitancy over how quickly their own businesses might adopt it. Prime Inc. purchasing representative Paul Higgins said Tuesday that the company wants to be on the cutting edge of technology but added that Prime might be behind the curve on AVs.

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Rail Shippers Applaud Labor Deal, Seek Rapid Ratification

The Wall Street Journal Paul Page September 15, 2022

Subscription-Based

The country’s biggest apparel trade group, the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said it was watching for final ratification by union members and it would press Congress to intervene if the pact is rejected.
“If a deal is not completed in full, the 25% of apparel and footwear that typically touches the rail lines would immediately get stuck and threaten the busy fall shopping season,” said Steve Lamar, the association’s president and chief executive.
The terms of the agreement, which runs through 2024, largely reflect those proposed by a presidential panel. They include wage increases of about 24% over five years.

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Shippers/3PLs

Commerce and NRF data points to retail sales growth in August

Logistics Management 15, 2022

NRF said that in its calculation of retail sales, which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants, to focus on core retail, pointed to August retail sales increasing 0.1% over July and up 8% on an unadjusted basis annually. NRF also noted that its numbers rose 7.3% on an unadjusted basis on a three-month moving average through August, with retail sales up 7.5% annually through the eight months of 2022, leaving its 2022 estimate of 6%-to-8% annual growth intact.
“Household spending remains steady even as costs continue to rise,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “Consumers continuing to spend more each month points to the benefits of strong job and wage growth and their use of pandemic savings to help handle persistent elevated prices. Consumers are showing their toughness, but they have limited options and cannot continue if prices do not begin to soften. This retail sales report comes amid mixed signals from the broader economy that show the headwinds against the consumer are strengthening.”
Link: National Retail Federation August Retail Sales Supported by Job and Wage Gains Amid Continued Inflation

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