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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Tuesday, March 21, 2023


FedEx Freight cuts costs but improves profit as US LTL volumes shrink

The Journal Of Commerce William B. Cassidy March 20, 2023


Although the cuts are certain to capture headlines, they’re not a signal that FedEx Freight, or any other LTL carrier, is headed down a runaway truck ramp. Instead, cost reductions appear to be driving financial improvements that are expected to better position FedEx Freight for the next economic rebound.
At this point, “FedEx Freight is the biggest story of all three operating companies” within FedEx, said Satish Jindel, president of research firm SJ Consulting Group. “They’re bringing pricing discipline and cost accuracy to the market, and the LTL industry shouldn’t miss this opportunity to follow this lead.”
Pricing holds
The increase in yield and revenue per shipment indicate FedEx Freight is resisting calls for deep price cuts from shippers. “Pricing discipline across the LTL industry is strong, and we expect the market to remain rational,” said Brie Carere, FedEx’s chief marketing and communications officer.

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Diesel Sheds 6.2¢ to $4.185

Transport Topics March 20, 2023

• Diesel’s price has shed 43.7 cents on average since a gallon cost $4.622 on Jan. 30.
• The average price of diesel has fallen in eight of EIA’s 11 reporting periods this year.
• A gallon of trucking’s main fuel now costs 94.9 cents less on average than it did at this time in 2022.
• The average cost of diesel dropped in all 10 regions in EIA’s weekly survey, from a high of 8.1 cents in the Rocky Mountain area to a low of 2.3 cents in the West Coast less California.
Link: Energy Information Administration Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update

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Pie From the Sky? Walmart Drone Deliveries Take Off

Transport Topics/The Virginia Pilot Trevor Metcalfe March 20, 2023

Drone delivery is no longer a thing of the future. It’s happening in Hampton Roads, Va., and soon, at Walmart stores across the country.
Customers at a Walmart there can be among the first in the country to receive a drone delivery, courtesy of DroneUp, a Virginia Beach company. For $3.99, customers within a 0.8-mile radius of the store can request a delivery.
“I tell these guys it’s like, ‘Man, we just invented the tire,’ ” said Patrick Sanford, DroneUp shift lead at the Hampton Roads store. “We’re going to be the first truck drivers.”

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Convoy releases scope 3 emissions reporting to support SEC-proposed rule

Freight Waves Grace Sharkey March 20, 2023

“To get ahead of the curve on stringent climate disclosure requirements proposed by the SEC and [the International Sustainability Standards Board], shippers need to transition from manual data gathering and estimations of their scope 3 carbon footprint to tools that efficiently and accurately provide emissions reports in real time,” said Convoy Corporate Sustainability Analyst Kiana van Waes. “The emission insights dashboard provides this through [Global Logistics Emissions Council]-accredited reports that help shippers spend less time reporting, allowing them more time to focus on tactical ways to decarbonize their footprint.”

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Report: California will be allowed to set its own emissions limits

CCJ March 20, 2023

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to The Post – citing three anonymous sources briefed on the administration's plans – intends to grant “waivers” enabling California to enforce environmental regulations tougher than federal requirements and regulations already approved by the state.
American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear released a statement Monday evening expressing disappointment, citing that the trucking industry "worked tirelessly with EPA on aggressive, achievable timelines for emissions reductions over decades," he said. “Our industry hopes these reports aren’t true."
Link; American Trucking Associations ATA Expresses Concerns About Potential Granting of Waiver for California Truck Rules

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Labor Tensions Rise in Stalled West Coast Port Contract Talks

The Wall Street Journal Paul Berger March 20, 2023


The sharp rhetoric marks a shift from a longstanding agreement to maintain public silence on issues around the negotiations, which began last spring. The two sides appear to be no closer to bridging the gap on their disagreements, pointing to the possibility of deeper disruptions to U.S. trade flows.
The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents ocean carriers and port employers, said Monday that dockworkers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach had stopped staggering work shifts during mealtimes starting last Wednesday. The PMA said that has forced terminals to shut down every day for an hour in the afternoon and another hour at night, interruptions that have triggered “significant delays” in cargo operations and long backups of trucks at terminal gates.

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ILWU job action causing terminal gate delays in Los Angeles-Long Beach: PMA

The Journal Of Commerce Bill Mongelluzzo March 20, 2023


PMA, which represents terminal employers in the talks that have dragged on for more than 10 months, said longshoremen represented by Local 13 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have since last Wednesday refused to stagger their meal breaks as required, resulting in periods when no work is being done on the docks.
“As a result, longshore workers at the Ports of LA and Long Beach are not working the terminals between 12 pm-1 pm and 10 pm-11 pm, creating significant delays,” PMA said in a statement. “Because the contract is not in place, there is no option for PMA to arbitrate the matter and require the union to man the terminals continuously without interruption.”

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Drivers Become Social Media Influencers

Transport Topics Hilary Daninhirsch March 20, 2023

From encouraging women to enter the trucking industry to sharing a glimpse of her life on the road, Clarissa Rankin has leveraged the power of social media to promote the truck driving profession.
The upbeat driver is all about positivity and has accumulated 1.8 million followers on TikTok (@clarissarankin). She even caught the attention of Kelly Clarkson, who invited Rankin on her daytime talk show.
Rankin — who has been driving for six years and is now an owner-operator and a part-time instructor — uses her influencer status to promote positivity as well as to motivate and uplift others, especially women in trucking.

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Report emphasizes empathetic engagement for happier drivers

Fleet Owner Scott Keith March 20, 2023

Drivers were quick to praise employers in 2022, but economic headwinds such as low freight volumes led to concerns about pay and lower employee satisfaction, underscoring the importance of clear communication from carriers to drivers, according to data collected by driver feedback platform Workhound.
For the first time in the company's history since 2015, Workhound measured in its annual report that drivers' praise for their carriers was the most common comment category, with positive support for fellow workers also being a common theme. However, overall driver satisfaction was lower than in 2021, due largely to pay concerns.
Link: Workhound Annual Trends Report

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Amazon Contractors Confront Customer Bias in Driver Reviews

Transport Topics/Bloomberg Spencer Soper And Matt Day March 20, 2023

When an Amazon.com Inc. delivery driver drops a package at someone’s home, the customer can give them a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down — feedback the company uses to help determine how much to pay the driver’s employer and whether they keep their job.
In doing so, Amazon is trusting the customer to provide an honest rating. But what if the person is biased against the driver?
That possibility is a matter of growing concern for Amazon delivery contractors who employ Black, Latino and Asian drivers. Time and again, they say, their employees of color get worse customer feedback than their white counterparts. Because the phenomenon affects some of their most productive employees, the delivery firm owners suspect racial bias is to blame.

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