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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Thursday, March 16, 2023


US truckload rates drop sharply in February, but not LTL pricing: PPIs

The Journal Of Commerce William B. Cassidy March 15, 2023


LTL’s separate route
Less-than-truckload (LTL) shippers haven’t seen a comparable drop in pricing, according to BLS data.
The LTL PPI was down 7.7 percent last month from its peak last June, after climbing 39.5 percent from September 2020. From February 2021 through February 2022, the LTL PPI rose 12.1 percent.
The tenacity of LTL rates has surprised some shippers, as LTL volumes are falling.

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Regulators approve Canadian Pacific’s $31B acquisition of Kansas City Southern

Supply Chain Dive Sarah Zimmerman March 15, 2023

Federal regulators on Wednesday approved Canadian Pacific’s $31 billion deal to buy Kansas City Southern, paving the way for the first single-line railroad linking the United States, Mexico and Canada.
In its decision, the STB said the acquisition would grow the nation’s freight rail system, add new efficiencies and reduce travel time. The deal is expected to shift approximately 64,000 truckloads annually from North America’s roads to rail.

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‘Shipping air’: 75% of containers arriving in the U.S. return home empty

DAT Freight And Analytics Dean Croke March 14, 2023

When you look at where and what comes into the U.S. in loaded import containers and what goes out as exports, there’s a common thread that may surprise you. While the freight mix and volume vary from port to port, trees, the biggest plants on the planet, are the common thread for imports and exports. Furniture is the top product imported to the U.S.; paper products are the number one export.
In the nation’s top three ports, which account for just under half of all loaded imported containers, three out of every four load containers that arrive from overseas typically go back empty, such is the trade imbalance for imports and exports. In 2022, the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and New York/New Jersey handled 13.8 million containers, or what’s known in the industry as TEUs or twenty-foot equivalent units. International containers are typically 20’, 40’, or 45’ long.

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Commerce, NRF data shows mixed sequential readings and annual gains, for February retail sales

Logistics Management March 15, 2023

Commerce reported that February retail sales—at $697.9 billion—were off 0.4% compared to January and up 5.4% annually. And it added that total retail sales, from December through February, saw a 6.4% annual gain compared to the same period a year ago.
Looking at specific retail sectors, Commerce stated that retail trade sales were down 0.1%, from January to February, and up 4.0% annually, and general merchandise stores posted a 10.5% annual gain, with food services and drinking places up 15.3%.
NRF reported that its calculation of retail sales, which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants, pointed to a 0.5% increase over January and a 6.5% on an unadjusted annual basis.
Link: National Retail Federation NRF Says Core Retail Sales Grew in February Amid Strong Labor Market

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Volvo’s planned AV network recruits its first carrier

Transport Dive David Taube March 15, 2023

• Volvo Autonomous Solutions, which seeks to provide driverless tech services, has recruited its first carrier, dry van TL provider Ascend, to its reservation program, Volvo announced last month.
• Volvo is building an autonomous freight network that will initially run in Texas from Houston to Dallas and Dallas-Fort Worth to El Paso. Its reservation program is for shippers, carriers, logistics providers and brokers.
• “By signing up, Ascend will have secured position to purchase autonomous freight capacity once it becomes available,” Volvo said. The collaboration also includes a technical and operational pre-study work to onboard the carrier to the network.

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Budget Request Includes $951 Million for FMCSA

Transport Topics Eugene Mulero March 15, 2023

Specific to the operations division, the funding would back programs related to information technology upgrades, research and technology initiatives and outreach projects central to promoting highway safety.
“FMCSA’s primary goal is to improve roadway safety to reduce large-truck and bus fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. In carrying out its safety mandate, FMCSA embraces and plays a vital role in DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy. The NRSS sets a vision of zero fatalities on our nation’s roadways, outlines steps DOT will take to advance toward this goal and lays out a number of priority actions for FMCSA,” per USDOT background accompanying the budget proposal.

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Driver Recruitment Swings Toward Social Media

Transport Topics March 15, 2023

The 2022 Recruiting & Retention Annual Report released by Conversion and the Professional Driver Agency found video content on social media platforms drove the shift. Driver leads from Instagram soared 324% year-over-year, while leads from Facebook stories grew by 165% from the prior year. The report noted vertical video ad formats were the fastest growing driver lead generator in 2022.

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U.S. Producer Prices Dropped in February

The Wall Street Journal Gwynn Guilford March 15, 2023

U.S. supplier prices fell in February from a month earlier, a possible sign of a recent easing in inflationary pressures.
The producer-price index, which generally reflects supply conditions across the economy, fell 0.1% in February from the prior month, compared with a downwardly revised 0.3% increase in January, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That compared with a 0.2% average monthly rise in the two years before the pandemic.
Link: Bureau Of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index News Release Summary

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