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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Monday, October 17, 2022

Trucking

US truck demand rises, but so does capacity

The Journal Of Commerce William B. Cassidy October 14, 2022

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US trucking activity continues to defy forecasts calling for a contraction in demand, with a monthly measure of trucking ton-miles rebounding in August and remaining above year-ago levels.
The for-hire trucking ton-mile index (TTMI), released Thursday by Jason Miller of Michigan State University and Yemisi Bolumole of the University of Tennessee, rose 1.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in August after falling 1.4 percent in July. Year over year, the index rose 3 percent.
“It’s hard to say we’re in a recession or freight recession when freight activity is up year over year,” said Miller, who is an associate professor of logistics and interim chairperson of the department of supply chain management at Michigan State. Miller is also a JOC analyst.

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Industry

America’s Red-Hot Warehouse Market Shows Signs of Cooling

The Wall Street Journal Liz Young October 14, 2022

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The average warehouse vacancy rate across the U.S. inched up to 3.2% in the third quarter from 3% in the previous quarter, according to commercial real-estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield. It was the first increase in two years and is still far below the 5% average national vacancy rate during 2020.
“Maybe the froth comes off the top, but you still have a very stable and strong leasing market for industrial. It goes from great to good,” Mr. Mele said.

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Drying Mississippi River Threatens U.S. Supply Chain

The Wall Street Journal Cameron McWhirter October 14, 2022

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VICKSBURG, Miss.—Sections of the Mississippi River are approaching low water levels not seen in more than three decades, disrupting a vital supply lane for agriculture, oil and building materials and threatening businesses including barge and towboat operators, farmers and factories.
The low water, caused by a lack of rain in the Ohio River Valley and the Upper Mississippi, has halted commercial traffic and river boat cruises at numerous spots below Illinois. Prices to ship goods have more than doubled in a matter of weeks. Barges are grounding on sandbars in unprecedented numbers and many ports and docks no longer have water deep enough for commercial boats to safely reach them.

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Shippers/3PLs

September retail sales hold steady, report Commerce and NRF

Logistics Management Jeff Berman October 14, 2022

Retail sales, for the month of September, were in line with August sequentially while posting annual gains, according to data respectively issued today by the United States Department of Commerce and the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Commerce reported that September retail sales—at $684 billion—were flat compared to August while posting an 8.2% annual gain, amid ongoing 40-year highs for inflation. Total retail sales, from July through September, were up 9.2% compared to the same period a year ago.
Related: National Retail Federation Year-Over-Year Retail Sales Growth Continues
Link: Department of Commerce Advance Monthly Sales For Retail And Food Services

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

CVSA Announces Results of Hazardous Materials, Dangerous Goods Blitz

Transport Topics Eric Miller October 14, 2022

During the 2022 HM/DG Road Blitz, inspectors discovered the following HM/DG violations:
• 408 shipping papers violations.
• 269 non-bulk/small means of containment packaging violations.
According to FMCSA’s data for last calendar year, as of Aug. 26, the top five hazmat violations in the U.S. were:
• Package not secure in vehicle.
• No copy of Department of Transportation HM registration number.
• No or improper shipping papers (carrier).
• Shipping paper accessibility.
• Vehicle not placarded as required.
Link: CVSA More Than 6,000 Vehicles Transporting Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods Were Inspected During CVSA’s Unannounced Five-Day Inspection Initiative

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10 safety tips from TCA Fleet Safety Award winners

Fleet Owner Scott Keith October 14, 2022

9. Incentives foster a competitive spirit
Many fleets have safety incentives—so many extra cents per mile for a clean driving record—but what stuck out about fleets that won the TCA’s Fleet Safety Awards, Davis said, is that their incentive programs brought out a competitive spirit in employees.
Because safety is such a core value to the carrier, drivers, safety managers, and even operations people within the organization compete to get safety numbers down. Additionally, safety incentives are changed periodically, so employees still see them as achievements and not simply cents on the mile that are an expected part of their salary. Simms said he has seen some carriers break drivers into teams and compete to see who can most improve their key performance indicators.

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