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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Friday, July 21, 2023


Truckload spot rates may have hit bottom of cycle, DAT says

DC Velocity July 20, 2023

Spot rates in the truckload freight sector may have hit the bottom of their slump cycle, according to data from online freight marketplace operator DAT Freight & Analytics.
Both truckload freight volumes and spot rates held firm in June while contract rates fell to their lowest points in almost two years, according to DAT Freight & Analytics and DAT’s iQ data analytics service.
“The gap between spot and contract rates was the narrowest since April 2022,” Ken Adamo, DAT Chief of Analytics, said in a release. “Rates for van and refrigerated freight increased for the third straight month, and volumes were almost unchanged from May. These are signs that spot truckload prices have reached the bottom of the current freight cycle.”

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DAT Trendlines Truckload Weekly Van Volumes/Spot Rates

DAT Freight Analytics July 21, 2023

Chart: weekly snapshot by the numbers of truckload van volumes and spot rates

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M&A Trucking Market Weathers 2023 Headwinds

Transport Topics Connor D. Wolf July 20, 2023

The trucking industry is facing merger and acquisition headwinds amid declining freight demand and rising interest rates, but deal buzz remains, experts said.
“There’s no lack of conversations, which is a good thing,” said Jonathan Britva, principal at Republic Partners. “There is a lack of a lot of deals getting done, and there [are] a number of factors that are playing a part in that. You can just see that the deal announcements in the first half of this year sort of pale in comparison to what we’ve seen the last few years.”

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US warehouse vacancies rose in Q2, but market still ‘healthy’

The Journal Of Commerce Teri Errico Griffis July 20, 2023


US industrial real estate vacancies are rising to pre-pandemic 2019 levels, but experts say the market is still “healthy” despite supply outpacing demand and vacancy rates reaching 4.1% in the second quarter for the first time since mid-2021.
Net absorption for the US industrial real estate market totaled 44.9 million square feet in the second quarter, compared with 71.4 million square feet and a 3.5% vacancy rate in the first quarter, according to a report published this week by commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.
Vacancies are expected to climb to about 5.5% through 2024 as new projects expected to meet pent-up e-commerce needs are now being delivered amid waning demand, Brad Harris, senior managing director at Cushman & Wakefield, told the Journal of Commerce Wednesday. But the market is still “healthy,” he said, compared with the 15-year historic average of a 6.6% vacancy rate.

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LM reader survey highlights mixed views for the 2023 Peak Season

Logistics Management Jeff Berman July 20, 2023

As for how the 2023 Peak Season may look compared to a year ago, the survey’s findings could be viewed as equitable, with 35% saying it will be more active, another 35% saying it will be less active, and the remaining 30% indicating things will be the same as last year.
For those survey respondents indicating that Peak Season activity will be down compared to a year ago, a shipper respondent put things clearly, observing that freight volume is down, capacity for freight up, and freight rates are depressed.
Inventory also remains a major factor, as noted by another respondent.
“It feels like less volume is moving overall as companies are still working through excess inventory and watching costs,” he added.

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June Trailer Orders Drop 59% Year-Over-Year

Transport Topics Connor D. Wolf July 20, 2023

Preliminary data show orders decreased 58.8% year-over-year to 6,300 from 15,300, ACT reported. Orders also fell by about 30.8% sequentially compared with the prior month’s preliminary total of 9,100 units. Every month has experienced a year-over-year decline since closing out 2022 at the second-highest level on record.
“Seasonal expectations suggest orders are likely to remain soft the coming few months, particularly given near-record-level order backlogs,” said Jennifer McNealy, director of commercial vehicle market research and publications at ACT Research. “Trailer manufacturers normally spend midyear working down the backlog ahead of the next year’s full order board opening.”

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Washington state law to ensure restroom access takes effect

Land Line Keith Goble July 20, 2023

A first-of-its-kind law in Washington state that is intended to give truck drivers operating in the state assurances for restroom access takes effect Sunday, July 23.
The Washington Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, and the American Trucking Associations worked together in the state to educate legislators about the need for truck drivers to have restroom access.
The Legislature followed suit and sent a bill to Gov. Jay Inslee to require shippers and consignees to make restrooms available for truck drivers.
The new law defines a consignee as a business or person who takes delivery of property from a motor carrier in interstate or intrastate commerce.

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California Bill Would Keep Drivers in Autonomous Cabs

Transport Topics Eric Miller July 20, 2023

California state legislators are moving closer to a final vote on a bill that would for roughly six years require drivers to be in the cab at all times for development of Society of Automotive Engineers Levels 3, 4 and 5 autonomous trucks.
Earlier this month the legislation, AB 316, unanimously passed out of the state Senate Transportation Committee after being approved earlier this year by the state’s Assembly, the lower body of the Legislature.
The bill has created a debate centering on whether the Legislature should require drivers to remain in the cab even after autonomous developers and regulators say their heavy AVs are ready to be deployed without drivers in the cab.

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