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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Thursday, September 22, 2022

Trucking

Truck tonnage surge shows crack in freight gridlock

The Journal Of Commerce William B. Cassidy September 21, 2022

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Increased consumer spending and manufacturing boosted for-hire truck tonnage in August, compensating for weakness attributed to a drop in new home construction, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) said Tuesday. The ATA’s for-hire truck tonnage index rose 7.4 percent year over year in August, compared with a 4.7 percent annualized increase in July, ATA said.
That points to a crack in the congestion that has gridlocked freight at intermodal rail yards, distribution centers, and warehouses for months thanks to shortages of chassis and storage space.

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Shippers/3PLs

Rising retail inventory levels ‘being managed pretty well,’ carriers, analysts say

Logistics Management John Schulz September 21, 2022

“It’s hard to generalize about that (inventory to sales ratio) because it’s so customer and shipper specific,” Mark Rourke, CEO and president of Schneider, the nation’s second-largest truckload carrier, told LM in an interview.
Rourke said some Schneider shippers had “a great deal” of capability to acquire their products this year, although they might not have arrived in the usual seasonal cycles.
“Other folks in different sectors of the retail environment had no problems with inventory and so they’re not out of whack,” Rourke said. “But in general, there has been a correction in inventory.”

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Factories’ Supply Pressures Linger as US Economy Downshifts

Bloomberg Brendan Murray September 21, 2022

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According to research from Bloomberg Intelligence, supply constraints persist in the US as factory activity softened toward the end of August at Caterpillar, Paccar and other heavy-equipment manufacturers.
Here are a few key points from BI industrials analyst Christopher Ciolino according to a note Tuesday that cited Camgian data:
• Supply shortages continue to limit producers’ ability to boost production
• Despite most manufacturers recording higher output, with several citing some loosening in the supply chain, the recovery remains slower than anticipated
• Semiconductor availability has improved for truck producers, though widespread component shortages persist
• Bottom line: BI expects supply challenges to extend well into 2023

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

Federal Judge Strikes Down Rhode Island Truck Tolling Plan as Unconstitutional

Transport Topics Eric Miller September 21, 2022

A federal judge has struck down as unconstitutional a truck tolling plan by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation that was challenged in a lawsuit by American Trucking Associations as specifically aimed at motor carriers traveling through the state.
“Because RhodeWorks fails to fairly apportion its tolls among bridge users based on a fair approximation of their use of the bridges, [it] was enacted with a discriminatory purpose, and is discriminatory in effect, the statute’s tolling regime is unconstitutional under the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution,” wrote District Judge William Smith in a Sept. 21 ruling.
ATA President Chris Spear said in response to the ruling: “We told Rhode Island’s leaders from the start that their crazy scheme was not only discriminatory, but illegal.”
He added: “We’re pleased the court agreed. To any state looking to target our industry, you better bring your A-game … because we’re not rolling over.”

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How Truckers Ranked the 18 Busiest Interstate Highways

Transport Topics Connor D. Wolf September 22, 2022

The I-80 corridor achieved the best score at an average rating of 3.06.
The I-45 corridor received the lowest rating at 2.38.
“When we first came up with the idea, I thought, there will probably be a little bit of variance, but because the sample size is so big, it’ll probably smooth out and be about the same across the board,” Chris Oliver, chief marketing officer at Trucker Path, said when the data was released Sept. 15. “But when we looked at it a little bit closer that wasn’t the case, it’s a pretty significant spread.”
Trucker Path looked at amenities such as truck stops, weigh stations, truck washes, scales, hotels, repair shops, dealer centers and retailers. It marked 300,000 locations that were within a quarter mile of select corridors as points of interest.

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The Road to Zero Emissions is Paved with More Than Batteries

Truckinginfo.com Deborah Lockridge September 21, 2022

Keith Wilson, CEO of regional less-than-truckload carrier Titan Freight Systems, is excited about electric trucks and is making long-term investments into charging infrastructure. But he’s also a big fan of renewable diesel. He believes more states should adopt low-carbon-fuel programs like California’s and Oregon’s in order to speed the fuel’s availability to the rest of the country.
As Stanton pointed out in his piece, “In spite of the hype, legislative impetus, and even the seemingly explosive growth of euphoric EV consumers, many alternatives are under furious development using either current or developing technologies; many of which include today’s venerable [internal combustion engines] as their preferred platform.”

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U.S. EPA to consider tougher emissions rules for heavy trucks

Reuters David Shepardson September 21, 2022

The EPA will be issuing a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to consider more stringent GHG standards for model years 2027 through 2029 in December.
EPA Office of Air and Radiation official Joseph Goffman told Reuters "the big change here is the Inflation Reduction Act. Congress definitely sent a very strong message backed by significant resources."
EPA believes much greater zero-emission vehicle adoption rates are possible for 2027 through 2029.
The EPA still plans to finalize the proposed smog-forming truck rules by December.

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