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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Friday, January 20, 2023

Trucking

Yellow Corporation Driving Academies Graduate 1,000 CDL Drivers

Yellow Corporation Press Release January 19, 2023

“This is an enormous accomplishment for our company that involved hard work and tremendous dedication from our students, instructors and safety trainers across the country,” said Darren Hawkins, CEO of Yellow. “Operating our own academies not only ensures that we have the most qualified and skilled drivers on the road, it also helps address a shortage of professional drivers across the nation.”
To help increase the number of professional truck drivers amid a nationwide driver shortage, Yellow has partnered with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to sponsor paid apprenticeship programs, such as the Driving Academies, where students are trained and mentored in the classroom and on the road by seasoned industry professionals and certified instructors. Yellow’s Driving Academies are tuition-free for all participants, and student apprentices are paid an hourly wage for their work throughout the program.

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J.B. Hunt execs anticipate spring market turn

Fleet Owner Geert De Lombaerde January 19, 2023

The leaders of J.B. Hunt Transportation said Jan. 18 they are hearing from customers that the inventory correction at the heart of the current freight downturn will have come to an end by the middle of this year, setting the stage for a new leg of growth.
Speaking to analysts on a conference call discussing Arkansas-based J.B. Hunt’s fourth-quarter earnings, President Shelley Simpson said today’s freight recession is largely being driven by those inventory issues, which have their roots in the supply-chain problems from early in the COVID pandemic as well as consumers’ changing spending patterns as the economy emerged in earnest from lockdowns and other restrictions. More broadly, she said, customers aren’t reporting widespread problems with demand. Instead, they are confident that their freight needs will return to more normal levels this spring.

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Fleets Grapple With Freight Rate Pressures

Transport Topics Connor D. Wolf January 19, 2023

KSM Transport Advisors President David Roush estimates cost inflation for carriers is up about 30% over the past two years, and said many of the increases are tied to things difficult for carriers to control, such as insurance, maintenance, equipment and driver wages. These increases, he noted, may compel them to take business they might otherwise reject.
“Some carriers are losing what we call franchise freight, which is their best freight, and they’re retaining toxic freight, which is their worst rate. And some are a different mix of that franchise and toxic,” he said.

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Industry

J.B. Hunt focusing on faster container turns to move more loads

The Journal Of Commerce Ari Ashe January 19, 2023

Subscription-Based

J.B. Hunt Transport Services said it will focus this year on getting shippers to empty containers faster, rather than purchasing tens of thousands of new boxes. Turning containers around in a more expedited manner would allow the company to move more loads and help offset declines in freight rates.
The company announced on its fourth-quarter earnings call Wednesday that it plans to purchase fewer new containers in 2023 than last year, although it did not disclose by how much.
“What I would say is it’s more than zero, but certainly, we're going to meter back a little bit,” Darren Field, president of J.B. Hunt’s intermodal division, said on the call.

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Logistics real estate rents to surge again in 2023

Freight Waves Todd Maiden January 18, 2023

Prologis expects rents to grow 10% in the U.S. this year and 9% globally. That number is more than 500 basis points higher along the U.S. coasts. Further, Arndt noted the company’s previous forecasts proved to have some conservatism embedded.
Arndt did say that 565 million square feet of space in the development pipeline will push vacancies from a low-3% range currently to roughly 4% by year-end as these sites come online. But an increase in decision times regarding incremental lease plans, given an unstable macro outlook, could weigh on development starts, pushing vacancy rates back down in 2024 and beyond.
True months of supply, which compares current vacancies plus the development pipeline to trailing net absorption, increased to 25 months from 22 months in the third quarter and 18 months at the end of the second quarter. However, the metric for space availability remains well below the 36-month average over the past decade.

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December Trailer Orders Hit All-Time Second-Highest Level

Transport Topics Roger Gilroy January 19, 2023

“From this standpoint, 2022 went out like a lion,” said ACT’s Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research.
The all-time high is 57,790 set in September 2018.
McNealy said there were 361,500 net orders placed in 2022, exceeding the previous year’s level of 249,400. About 306,000 trailers were built in 2022, and ACT’s projections point to “a continuation of that upward trend into 2023.”
As for the December surge?
“I cannot speak for others, but I can tell you we wrote a number of committed orders to get into our backlog and get visibility for the supply chain. This will also happen into January,” David Giesen, vice president of sales at Stoughton Trailers, told Transport Topics.

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U.S. rail carload and intermodal volumes are mixed, for week ending January 14, reports AAR

Logistics Management January 20, 2023

Rail carloads—at 244,171—saw a 4.2% annual gain, topping the weeks ending December 31 and January 7, at 179,992 and 212,962, respectively.
Intermodal containers and trailers—at 241,829 units—fell 7% annually, coming in ahead of the weeks ending December 31 and January 7, at 185,561 and 203,257, respectively.

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

Federal Officials Plan to Add Fentanyl to Drug Tests

Transport Topics Eric Miller January 19, 2023

Federal drug regulators could soon announce plans to add fentanyl to a drug testing panel that would detect use of the dangerous drug among safety-sensitive federal employees — ultimately including truck drivers — after adoption by the Department of Transportation.
The intent to test for the deadly drug has been in the planning stages since 2018, but is awaiting approval of a final rule by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services authorizing oral fluid testing and proposed revisions to allow timely changes to drug testing panels.

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Workforce

Walmart offers driver training to workers in 400-plus stores, distribution centers

Transport Dive Colin Campbell January 19, 2023

• Walmart is expanding its Associate-to-Driver training program, offering employees at more than 400 stores, distribution centers and other locations a chance to earn six figures driving trucks for its private fleet, it announced Wednesday.
• Through the program, the company fully covers the cost of obtaining a CDL and pays workers during the 12-week training to become a driver. Walmart offers long-haul drivers starting salaries as high as $110,000.
• A pilot of the program — offered last year to supply chain associates in Dover, Delaware, and Sacramento, California — trained 56 new truck drivers, according to Walmart. Another 252 employees plan to become drivers through the program this year.
Link: Walmart With Walmart’s New Associate-to-Driver Program, the Wheel Is Within Reach

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