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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Trucking

ATA Truck Tonnage Index October

https://www.ttnews.com/articles/ata-truck-tonnage-index-28-october

“For-hire truck tonnage saw the largest single monthly decrease in October since the start of the pandemic,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a Nov. 22 news release. “The decrease fits with the anecdotal reports of a muted fall freight season. It also coincides with a slowing economy. Housing is a weak spot in freight, in addition to a slowing in personal consumption of goods. While factory related freight is holding up better than other areas, it is also decelerating.”

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JB Hunt, Schneider expect little equipment market relief in 2023

Transport Dive Larry Avila November 22, 2022

• Schneider National and J.B. Hunt’s expect difficulty replacing aging vehicles to continue into 2023, executives said during last week’s Stephens Annual Investment Conference.
• Mark Rourke, president and CEO at Schneider, said while his company may get some of the new equipment it needs next year, OEMs also must fulfill orders from other trucking companies.
• Nick Hobbs, COO and president of contract services at J.B. Hunt, expects OEMs will ramp up production in 2023, despite ongoing supply chain issues.

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Industry

How a Softer Economy is Affecting Transportation Earnings

Truckinginfo.com Jeff Kauffman November 22, 2022

Operating costs rose by about 18%, resulting in lower overall operating margins for truckers.
• Labor costs rose by about 21% on average.
• Fuel costs were about 77% higher for truckload carriers and 46% higher for LTL companies.
• Purchased transportation costs slowed to an average 7% increase on lower spot rates.

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Southern California’s Container Ship Backup Ends

The Wall Street Journal Paul Berger November 22, 2022

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Officials declared an end to the backup of ships at Southern California’s ports more than two years after vessels began lining up in weekslong queues that became one of the most visible signs in the U.S. of the pandemic-driven turmoil in supply chains.
The Marine Exchange of Southern California said Tuesday the backup at the neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that climbed to a high of 109 vessels in January had fallen to zero.

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Building resilience for the next supply chain disruption

MIT News Eric Brown November 21, 2022

“We are seeing a recency bias in which people say we need to prepare for the next pandemic,” says Rice, deputy director for the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics. “But the next big disruption is probably going to be something else. My guess would be a cyberattack, but nobody knows. It does not matter if you lost your factory because of a labor strike or a hurricane. You still need a plan to recreate your core capabilities. Resilience is not mitigation — it is creating the capability to recreate lost capacity.”

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East Coast Ports Continue to Gain Business Amid Concerns Over West Coast Labor Talks

Transport Topics Dan Ronan November 22, 2022

Ongoing concern about labor and management talks regarding two separate contract negotiations and a slowing U.S. economy resulted in a big drop in container volume at two of the nation’s biggest ports on the Pacific Coast.
Year-over-year cargo numbers were down 25% at the Port of Los Angeles. In October, the port processed 678,429 20-foot-equivalent units compared with 902,643 a year ago. Through the first 10 months of 2022, Los Angeles officials say volume is down 6% from 2021’s record pace.

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Shippers/3PLs

Target adds larger store format with focus on fulfillment and e-commerce

Supply Chain Dive Ben Unglesbee November 22, 2022

• Target is introducing a new large-format store that will stand at around 150,000 square feet, which would make it roughly 20,000 square feet larger than its average, according to a company release.
• Target said that the new larger format concept will be its primary development focus in the coming years, while it will still continue to open stores of other sizes as well.
• With the new format, Target is playing around with other design elements, including what it described as a more open layout and localized elements, which the retailer said it would add to future remodels as well.

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Deere Grows Sales 37% as Shipments Rise

The Wall Street Journal Will Feuer November 23, 2022

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For fiscal 2023, Deere forecast continued growth. In its large farm equipment segment, sales are expected to grow by 15% to 20% while sales of its construction and timber harvesting equipment are expected to rise by about 10%. Sales of its small farm machinery and landscaping equipment are slated to be up to 5% higher.

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Best Buy, Dick’s Ease Fears About Holiday Spending

The Wall Street Journal Sarah Nassauer And Dean Seal November 22, 2022

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Best Buy Co. increase; green up pointing triangle and Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. increase; green up pointing triangle reported mixed quarterly results but said sales wouldn’t fall as much as previously expected, signs that consumers are feeling the pinch of high inflation but still buying some electronics and sporting goods.
Executives said the health of the consumer is uncertain, but that many, especially lower-income consumers, are trading down to less expensive products, looking for deals or pulling back some spending.

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

Buttigieg Touts Safety Progress After IIJA Enactment

Transport Topics Eugene Mulero November 22, 2022

“We know roadway deaths are preventable because some places are doing a much better job at preventing them — both abroad and within certain U.S. communities,” the secretary added. “The U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to making real progress toward ending traffic fatalities, and we call on everyone to join us in this national effort that can only succeed when we work together.”
Specifically, the secretary noted the department’s issuance of a national roadway safety strategy.
“Americans deserve to travel safely in their communities. Humans make mistakes, and as good stewards of the transportation system, we should have in place the safeguards to prevent those mistakes from being fatal. Zero is the only acceptable number of deaths and serious injuries on our roadways,” the secretary indicated in a statement included in the safety document.

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Industry reacts to proposed ELD revisions

Fleet Owner Scott Keith November 22, 2022

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering tweaking ELD regulations, and trucking stakeholders are split as to whether changes would clarify points of confusion or further complicate already contentious rules. In a notice published in the Federal Register, the FMCSA sought comments concerning the ELD certification process, the pre-2000 engine exception, and whether certain issued guidances should be codified into regulation.

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Workforce

A railroad strike remains a possibility in the days leading up to the end of ‘cooling off’ periods

Logistics Management Jeff Berman November 22, 2022

What’s more, it added that should deals not be reached by the deadline, Congress will need to step in and act to prevent a service interruption that will harm and impact every rail-served economic sector. Examples of this highlighted in the report include: idling more than 7,000 trains per day; triggering retail product shortages and widespread manufacturing shutdowns; job losses; and disruptions to hundreds of thousands of passenger rail customers.
AAR officials have said that for freight rail employees, the PEB's guidelnes "could significantly improve scheduling predictability. Among other things, the agreement requires the parties to work on a railroad-by-railroad basis to address critical issues relating to work schedules and job assignments, with an interest arbitration backstop to ensure mutually beneficial agreements can be achieved."
Related: DC Velocity Shippers plead with Congress to keep trains rolling

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