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Trucking News

MFW Musing’s – May 6, 2021

Industry Insights / May 6, 2021
MFW makes the wheels of transportation FAR less squeaky
We do this by having an extremely high give a dang level, proactive communication, and shooting straight – even if the news isn’t great

Noteworthy news bullets we thought you’d enjoy

  •  Manufacturing output remains strong in April, reports ISM (source: Logistics Management)
    • April manufacturing output remained elevated, coming off it’s best monthly performance since 1983 in March.
    • The report’s key metric, the PMI, was at 60.7 (50 or higher indicates growth), down 4% from March’s 64.7 reading.


  • Full Truckload Spot market volume, rates set another record (source: FTR Transportation Intelligence)
    • Spot volume in the system increased during the week ended April 30 to surpass the record set two weeks earlier.
    • Although extraordinary, the spot market’s strength is not surprising given the robust economic indicators and huge stimulus that hit consumers in March.


  • Diesel Price Resumes Rise, Increases to $3.142 a Gallon (source: Transport Topics, 5/3/21)
    • A gallon of Diesel costs 74.4 cents more than it did at this time last year


  • Support mounts to allow drivers under-21 to cross state lines (source: CCJ)
    • Individuals under 21 are allowed to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and operate commercial vehicles in intrastate commerce, but federal law prohibits them from drawing a truck across state lines.
    • The proposed ‘apprenticeship’ programs requires drivers under 21 to complete at least 400 hours of training, be accompanied by an experienced driver in the cab, drive trucks outfitted with the latest safety technology, and with speed limiters set at 65 miles per hour or less.
    • This would only help the driver shortage affecting the entire trucking industry


  • Autonomous truck maker TuSimple launches IPO on 4/7, raising ($1.35B) (The Journal of Commerce). The funding would give TuSimple a solid boost in the race to develop and deploy autonomous commercial heavy trucks and diversify its ownership.
    • It is thought by experts that TuSimple, Aurora and Waymo are the leading three candidates to lead the autonomous trucking market.
    • TuSimple currently sits at a market cap of $7.9B


  • LTL carriers, 3PLs see more price hikes ahead (source: The Journal of Commerce)
    • LTL Carriers are raising their base rates and contract prices and intensifying their focus on assessorial charges. Many trucking operators and third-party brokers expect LTL rates to continue their climb through at least the end of the year, thanks to increasingly tight capacity.
    • Operating costs are rising across the board for LTL carriers as well, particularly in the areas of driver wages/recruitment, equipment, and real estate.


  • North American intermodal volumes boom in Q1 for greatest jump since 2013 (source: DC Velocity)
    • Intermodal freight volumes rose 10.5% in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020.
    • This is the largest year over year increase since 2013 as the economy continues to rebound from pandemic restrictions.
    • Demand for intermodal freight is expected to remain high for the remainder of the year as trucking capacity remains extremely tight.


  • Rail savings reach record high, but service lags (Source: The Journal of Commerce)
    • The cost differential between intermodal rail and truckload shipping is the greatest its been since 2014, but shippers have largely been unable to capitalize on any potential savings due to inconsistent rail capacity.
    • Shortages of containers, chassis, terminal appointments, and draymen limited freight rail capacity in major intermodal markets like Chicago, Dallas, Memphis, Jacksonville, and Kansas City in Q1 2021.


  • US Imports from Asia accelerated even further in March (source: The Journal Commerce)
    • Jumped 22% from February to 1.66M TEU (standard 20-foot container), up 90.5% from March 2020. Interestingly, February and March are typically the slowest two months of the year because of Asian factories closing for a week or two for the Lunar New Year.