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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Tuesday, January 17, 2023


High-frequency truckload data suggests the freight market is stabilizing

Freight Waves Craig Fuller January 16, 2023

Did the first quarter lull come early, in November and December of 2022?
Over the past week, we’ve spoken with numerous freight executives who have mentioned that the first two weeks of the first quarter are shaping up better than expected, granted, expectations were incredibly low after such a weak peak.
Going into the quarter, executives we spoke with predicted a significant collapse in freight for the first quarter, with a seasoned veteran executive of a large trucking technology firm predicting that the first quarter would be the worst in his four-decade career. It was a fair bet considering how challenging the second half of the 2022 was for most in the freight market.

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Rates end 2022 on a high note, signaling ‘bottoming process’ underway

CCJ Jason Cannon January 17, 2023

Truckload spot rates saw their first significant upswing in the past year from late November into early January, tightening the gap between spot and contract rates.
While market conditions remain broadly loose, there are increasing signs of slowing supply – "key to the bottoming process," said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research vice president and senior analyst.
Slowing supply is key for the U.S. truckload market to transition from the late-cycle stage experienced in 2022 to the cycle-bottom phase, which Denoyer said features a thinning of marginal capacity amid lower rates, preceding an early-cycle market tightening. “Because rates are now far below costs in some cases, the market may experience both the cycle-bottom and early-cycle phases in 2023," he added.
FTR Vice President of Trucking Avery Vise expects truck utilization rates to drop in lock-step with the economy. The 10-year average for truck use is around 91%, but the market is already below that mark, FTR says, and it’s expected to keep falling to around 86% by late third quarter of this year.

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Trucking Dominates Freight Market

Heavy Duty Trucking Vesna Brajkovic January 13, 2023

The 28th edition of the Transportation Statistics Annual Report, which is prepared and submitted each year to Congress and the President, highlights the dominance of trucking in the freight markets, including the top 10 commodity markets.
Trucks transported 12 billion tons in 2019, or 67% of total domestic freight volume —about 10 times more than that of rail, the United States’ third-ranked mode by freight volume. In 2020, the U.S. freight transportation system moved more than 19 billion tons of freight worth about $18.0 trillion through capital assets valued at about $7 trillion consisting of ports, highways, rail systems, airports, and pipelines.
Link: U.S. DOT Transportation Statistics Annual Report

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Report: Flexibility determines last-mile success

DC Velocity January 16, 2023

For retailers and e-commerce companies, the road to success in 2023 will depend on how well they can deliver cost-effective and flexible delivery options to customers. That’s according to the 2023 Bringg Barometer: State of Last Mile Delivery report, published by delivery management platform company Bringg this month.
The company surveyed 500 managers in retail and e-commerce and found that most agree that to stay competitive this year, they will need to offer multiple flexible delivery options to meet consumer demands. The issues came to light following a tumultuous 2022 that forced companies to focus heavily on cost efficiency, according to the report.

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Collaboration must be key for railroads to thrive, experts say

Freight Waves Joanna Marsh January 16, 2023

The near-term future of freight rail might be one marked by collaboration, whether that’s through private or public partnerships among other supply chain stakeholders or between the railroads themselves as they compete against the trucking industry, according to panelists at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting this week.
One idea that continues to be discussed is that infrastructure investors are interested in developing giant rail industrial parks in North America, said James Miller, a partner with Deloitte Canada, during a Wednesday session. The industrial parks would serve as a way to consolidate activity between transportation modes, with distribution occurring through each individual mode to markets farther inland.

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Can Heavy Electric Trucks Be Deployed Industrywide by 2045?

Transport Topics Eric Miller January 13, 2023

“Drivers say that truck parking needs are a crisis,” said Jeffrey Short, a researcher for the American Transportation Research Institute. “A total of 315,000 parking spots available means that in some places a truck driver will not be able to find a place to park. We think every parking place in the U.S. is going to need a charger, and that’s not going to be enough if all trucks were shifted over to electric.”

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Companies’ Capital Spending Forecast to Slow in 2023 Amid Recession Fears

The Wall Street Journal Kristin Broughton January 16, 2023


After two years of spending heavily, some companies want to take a pause to digest the investments they’ve made, advisers said. “Let’s take stock of what we’ve done, based on what we’ve spent,” said Hardik Sheth, a partner and associate director at advisory firm Boston Consulting Group, describing the thinking of many CFOs.
FedEx Corp. last month lowered its capital spending forecast for the current fiscal year by $400 million, to $5.9 billion. The delivery company is facing weaker demand for packages after benefiting from a surge in e-commerce early on during the pandemic. During the quarter ended Nov. 30, revenue declined 3%, to $22.8 billion. Profit fell 32% over the same period, to $788 million.

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