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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Borderlands: Laredo remains nation’s No. 1 gateway for international trade

Freight Waves Noi Mahoney May 28, 2023

For the second straight month, Laredo, Texas, retained the No. 1 spot among the nation’s 450 international gateways for trade.
During March, Laredo recorded a 12% year-over-year (y/y) increase in total commerce to $28.6 billion, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by WorldCity.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport ranked No. 2 and reported $26.4 billion in trade, while John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York was No. 3 with $23.4 billion.
The Port of Los Angeles, which held the No. 1 spot for most of 2022, fell to No. 4 in March, accounting for $22.1 billion in trade.
Mexico also ranked as the United States’ top trading partner for the fourth consecutive month in March, with total trade increasing 4.5% y/y to $72 billion.
Auto parts ($2.3 billion), passenger vehicles ($1.1 billion) and heavy-duty trucks ($1.1 billion) were the top three imports from Mexico to the U.S. through Laredo.
Link: Port Laredo Dashboard Port Laredo’s trade up 12.22 percent in March from last March

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Project44 cuts workforce, warns of changing FreightTech investor sentiment

Freight Waves Grace Sharkey May 26, 2023

Global supply chain visibility provider project44 has confirmed the company went through an organizational restructuring, eliminating approximately 130 jobs, about 10% of its total global workforce.
Leadership at project44 told FreightWaves Thursday night that the restructuring move comes as the industry and economy face various headwinds, vastly challenging FreightTech startups with venture capital backing to showcase profit over growth.
“In the height of the technology boom, startups could secure millions in funding in mere days. With increased market volatility, we’ve seen a broader shift in the [venture capital] landscape as investors become more cautious,” said project44 founder and CEO Jett McCandless. “Investors have shifted from a growth-at-all-costs mindset to focus on the path to profitability and scalable growth. No startup, not even the rocket ships of logistics technology, will be immune to these trends.”

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Logistics Providers Work to Set Freight Scheduling Standards

Transport Topics Stephen Bennett May 26, 2023

API Standardization
Vendors of TMS platforms and other technology systems said an API freight scheduling standard would be a boon.
Mark Cubine, vice president of marketing and enterprise systems for McLeod Software, said that having an API standard for dock door scheduling “would be a really good thing.”
He added that success will hinge on whether shippers can be convinced to adopt the standard.
“Not all of them,” Cubine said. “Just some preponderance of them, [to] make it worthwhile.”
There are API standards now that enable programs and applications to talk to each other, but accommodating the specifics of trucking is a challenge because of “the wide variance in the type of freight hauled and the wide variety of shippers and receivers that are served,” Cubine said.
Motor carriers’ fleet sizes run the gamut and their technological capabilities vary, affecting their ability to do “what shippers and receivers want them to do,” said Dan Cicerchi, general manager of transportation management for TMS provider Descartes. “We’re eagerly awaiting the truckload spec that comes out.”

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Gartner: Top supply chains of ’23 balance risk control, new growth channels

DC Velocity May 26, 2023

• Identifying and Capturing New Opportunities. Supply chain leaders may feel caught between the CEO’s imperative to drive growth while their CFO seeks stability and a heightened focus on risk management amid a volatile economic environment. The best supply chain organizations are positioning themselves as a partner for growth, while also seeking to master supply chain risks.
• Driving Individual and Collective Progress. CSCOs are achieving high priority objectives by shifting from one-to-many networks to many-to-many ecosystems. These leaders are developing partnering and data sharing capabilities while shaping mindsets, and governance to build enterprise-, platform- and purpose-centric ecosystems founded on trust.
• Transforming the Way Their Organizations Work. Supply chain leaders are altering the ways employees approach their jobs by leveraging various technology solutions. These allow workers to maintain awareness of their environments through alerts and performance management, to boost productivity through physical and logical automation, and drive innovation and collaboration with others through connected platforms. Many of them consider the machines working alongside and in support of human workers to be an extension of their workforce.
Link: Gartner Press Release Gartner Announces Rankings of the 2023 Global Supply Chain Top 25

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Can EPA’s electric truck proposal survive political scrutiny?

Freight Waves John Gallagher May 29, 2023

Cost has been emphasized as a big impediment. A new all-electric costs over $400,000 today, versus a new diesel truck in the $150,000 range.
In addition, charging times are too long, which eats into federal hours of service rules. The batteries weigh a lot — which puts early adopters at a disadvantage with other carriers in the amount of cargo they can haul and still be in compliance with highway weight limits.
“We operate in a market economy, so if we were to buy 200 new electric trucks it would not only cost us a lot of money, chances are we also would not be able to pass that on to our customers because most of the rest of the industry is still running older equipment,” Laurence Cox, vice president of sustainability for Aliquippa, Pennsylvania-based PGT Trucking, told FreightWaves.
“Somewhere down the road, yes, the rates we charge customers will creep up, but not initially.”
Owner-operators are even more wary of the regulation. “The Phase 3 rule is … a blatant attempt to force consumers into purchasing electric vehicles while a national charging infrastructure network remains absent for heavy-duty commercial trucks,” Lewie Pugh, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association executive vice president, told lawmakers at a supply chain hearing on Capitol Hill on May 10.
“Professional drivers are skeptical of EV costs, mileage range, battery weight and safety, charging time, and availability. It’s baffling that the EPA is pushing forward with more impractical emissions timelines without first addressing these overwhelming concerns.”

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California’s Electric-Truck Drive Draws Startups Building Charging Networks

The Wall Street Journal Paul Berger May 29, 2023


First the state must solve the chicken-and-egg problems that plague emerging technologies. Charging providers won’t install infrastructure if they don’t have a large enough pool of potential customers. Truckers, meanwhile, say they won’t buy electric vehicles if there is nowhere to charge.
“It is a huge amount of infrastructure required,” said Neha Palmer, co-founder and chief executive of startup TeraWatt Infrastructure. Palmer compared the build-out of charging networks to the expansion in past centuries of the railroads and the federal highway system.

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Electric truck incentives plentiful today but won’t last forever

Freight Waves Alan Adler May 30, 2023

HVIP attracts most of the attention
On the equipment side, the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) is best known and most publicized. Truck makers issue news releases when their products become eligible. Some, like startup electric truck maker Nikola, even announced how many units customers purchased with the vouchers.
OEMs offer grant-writing assistance and consultative services to fleets. They also talk up a $40,000 federal incentive included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
“When the market started, it was very much driven by an OEM perspective,” Annotti said. “Now the fleets are the ones applying for the funds.”
The HVIP doled out $1.7 billion in grants for 2022-23. Of that, trucks qualified for about $417 million. Vouchers range from $7,500 for Class 2b trucks to $288,000 for a Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell model. Most of the rest of the money is earmarked for school and transit buses, which face earlier zero-emission compliance deadlines.

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