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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Wednesday, March 22, 2023


ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 1.2% in February

American Trucking Associations March 21, 2023

“Tonnage has increased sequentially for the last three months totaling 2.9 percent,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “As a result, the index is just 0.3 percent below the recent high in September. The fact that our index is growing sequentially and on a year-over-year basis demonstrates that contract freight continues to hold up at high levels. “Looking ahead, we continue to see evidence the inventory cycle is improving, which means bloated stocks will stop being a headwind and eventually help truck freight volumes,” Costello said. “Increased infrastructure spending will also boost volumes heading into the summer months. However, we expect to see continued freight softness related to lower home construction and slowing factory output.

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Knight-Swift to buy truckload carrier U.S. Xpress for $808 million

The Journal Of Commerce William B. Cassidy March 21, 2023


In a move that will increase its revenue by as much as 30 percent, Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings will acquire U.S. Xpress Enterprises, a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based truckload provider, for approximately $808 million, excluding transaction costs, Knight-Swift said Tuesday.
The deal is the largest acquisition of one publicly owned trucking company by another since TFI International acquired UPS Freight for $800 million in 2021 and is likely to echo across a trucking landscape where many smaller carriers are squeezed for cash and ready to sell.
Related: The Wall Street Journal Trucking Giant Knight-Swift Transportation to Buy U.S. Xpress

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Knight-Swift to buy U.S. Xpress in $800M+ deal

Fleet Owner Geert De Lombaerde and Josh Fisher March 21, 2023

Knight-Swift was borne out of a 2017 merger of Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation, which combined the truckload carriers into what is now the third-largest for-hire fleet in the U.S. At the time, nearly six years ago, Swift was operating about 18,500 units, driven by company and owner-operator drivers. Knight had about 4,500 vehicles then.
Since combining to form a fleet of some 23,000 tractors and 77,000 trailers in late 2017, Knight-Swift Transportation has grown to a fleet of 24,900 vehicles. Its 24,724 registered trailers are the third-most of any for-hire fleet, according to the FleetOwner 500 rankings.

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UPS, Teamsters expected to ink deal no later than June 30

Freight Waves Mark Solomon March 21, 2023

A leading parcel industry consultant said Tuesday that he expects a contract agreement between UPS Inc. and the Teamsters union to be reached no later than June 30.
The comments from Satish Jindel, president of Ship Matrix Inc., are the first from any consultant to go as far as forecasting a time frame for averting what could be a potentially devastating walkout by 350,000 UPS-employed Teamsters. Jindel has also gone on record as saying there is no chance there will be a strike.
In a follow-up email, Jindel said he does not have inside information on the status of the negotiations. Instead, his views are based on having lived through many contract cycles and knowing the “current market dynamics to connect the dots and make a very credible forecast.” UPS-Teamsters contracts typically have five-year durations.

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Nike Sales Jump as It Works Through Inventory Glut

The Wall Street Journal Inti Pacheco March 21, 2023


Nike Inc. made progress working through the inventory glut that squeezed the sneaker maker last year, reporting a 14% jump in quarterly sales.
The sportswear company said its inventory increased 16% in the quarter ended Feb. 28 compared with the same period a year ago. Inventories had swelled by more than 40% in each of the prior two quarters.

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Bipartisan Bill Would Repeal Federal Excise Tax on Trucks

Heavy Duty Trucking Deborah Lockridge March 21, 2023

The FET is currently the highest percentage excise tax levied on any product and could add $15,000 to $30,000 to the cost of new heavy trucks, trailers, semitrailer chassis, and tractors for highway use, explains a news release from Rep. Pappas. The FET applies to vehicles with a gross weight of 33,000 pounds.
“Nearly half of America’s trucking fleet is over 10 years old,” said Scott McCandless, chairman of American Truck Dealers and President of McCandless Truck Center of Aurora, Colorado. “Repealing the FET will be a giant step toward achieving our national goal of turning over America’s aging truck fleet.”

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Using tech to recruit the next generation

Fleet Owner Seth Skydel March 21, 2023

The value of digital technology
In her role as transportation adviser at Tenstreet, a software company that connects carriers and drivers throughout the driver life cycle, Marilyn Surber has firsthand experience with the value of digital technology. “Mobile-first technology is what a younger generation is looking for,” she said. “Using an app like Tenstreet’s Driver Pulse lets them complete tasks easily and streamlines the hiring process for both carriers and drivers.”
“If you expect a 23-year-old to fill out paperwork manually or spend a lot of time navigating your website, you will lose them,” added Surber, transportation adviser at Tenstreet. “In addition, you can customize your processes to meet the needs of different groups of drivers. A streamlined, modern, digital process sets the right tone from the beginning.”

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