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Trucking News

MFW Musing’s – September 15, 2021

Industry Insights / September 15, 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

  • U.S. Factory Growth Improves Even as Global Supply Woes Linger (source: Bloomberg)
    • U.S. manufacturing expanded at a stronger-than-expected pace in August. The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) gauge of factory activity rose to 59.9 from 59.5 in July. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.
  • August Services PMI trends down but still showing growth, reports ISM (source: Logistics Management)
    • Even though it did not surpass July’s all-time high, services economy growth had another strong month in August. The reading came in at 61.7 (50 or higher indicates growth), growing for the 15th month in a row.
  • LMI: Tight capacity, high prices drive expansion (source: DC Velocity)
    • The Logistics Managers’ Index (LMI), which measures business activity across the logistics industry, registered a 73.8 during August.
    • This figure was slightly lower than July, but was the fifth highest in the 5 year history of the report. All signs point towards the index remaining near record levels throughout the end of the year
  • Inventory levels jump as manufacturers hold onto work-in-progress products (source: Supply Chain Dive)
    • Inventories in August saw their highest level of expansion since November 2018, as supplier delivery rates exceeded production levels, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s latest manufacturing report.
    • Rising inventory levels are thought to be a positive indication that he supply chain is making headway, although inventory management professionals will be wise to keep a close eye in the coming months.
  • Forget Finance. Supply-Chain Management Is the Pandemic Era’s Must-Have MBA Degree (source: Bloomberg)
    • “For years, we had sort of taken logistics for granted”, says Srikant Datar, the dean of Harvard Business School. “The pandemic caused us to rethink it.”
    • In response to the times, business schools are now emphasizing things such as risk mitigation, data analytics, and production reshoring – while also carving out room to explore more intangible topics like ethics, communications, and sustainability.
  • Diesel at $3.372 a Gallon (source: Transport Topics)
    • Diesel fuel now costs 95 cents more per gallon than it did this time in 2020
  • Northeast trucking rates heat up amid cargo shift from LA-LB (source: The Journal of Commerce)
    • Trucking rates have risen out of the Northeast in the last six weeks, the result of a spike in activity at the Port of New York and Port of New Jersey. “It’s already the tightest market with more than 10 loads for every one truck available,” said Justin Maze from Transfix.
  • Early 2022 TL rate predictions pointing higher again (source: Freight Waves)
    • If the current trajectory holds, 2021 full-year per-mile rate metrics for the big carriers will be up by mid-teen percentages. Revenue per mile (excluding fuel) was up 17.6% year-over-year during Q2 2021 for the publicly traded carriers.
  • Cowan Systems’ $15k bonus shows the gravity of driver capacity constraints (source: Transport Dive)
    • Cowan called its Regional Driver Incentive Program offer ‘’astonishing” in its press release. “It shows you the type of capacity problems we have” says Dave Heller, VP of Government Affairs at Truckload Carriers Association.
    • Dollar General just announced a $5k signing bonus in push to recruit truck drivers.
  • US ecommerce sales rise 9.3% in Q2 2021 (source: Digital Commerce 360)
    • Digital sales hit $211.70 billion in Q2 of this year, up ONLY 9.3% from Q2 of 2020.
    • Why is a 9.3% increase considered modest? Q3 and Q4 of 2020, and Q1 of 2021 each had growth in the 30-40% range. This is the first quarterly comparison of two pandemic era quarters, though.
    • Nearly $1 in every $5 spent on retail purchases, with 18.6% coming from digital orders. This is a slight dip from 20.3% during Q2 of 2020.
  • Physical retailers’ e-commerce shifting back to stores (source: The Journal of Commerce)
    • US brick-and-mortar (B&M) retailers are seeing sales shift back toward their physical stores, with most B&M retail sectors showing a decline in e-commerce sales in Q2 2021 relative to Q2 2020.
    • In contrast, retailers who are primarily e-retailers have continued their upward climb. This suggests the overall e-commerce retail sales growth over the coming months will come from the e-retailers
  • DHL eCommerce Solutions to triple peak season hiring surge (source: DC Velocity)
    • In reaction to an ongoing surge in online shopping purchases, DHL eCommerce Solutions plans to hire 2,800 workers to sort parcels during the coming holiday peak season. DHL’s planned 2021 seasonal surge is three times the amount it hired in 2020.
  • Peak parcel demand to exceed capacity by 4.7M daily shipments (source: Freight Waves)
    • Demand for peak-season parcel delivery services in the U.S. will exceed the total capacity by about 4.7 million parcels a day, according to a forecast by ShipMatrix.
    • While that sounds like quite a lot, and a big problem – it is an improvement from the 7.3 million daily gap ShipMatrix identified during the peak season of 2020. The gap is smaller due to added capacity and also the expectation of more in-store shopping.
  • New last-mile entrant to provide capacity ahead of holiday season (source: The Journal of Commerce)
    • A new last-mile service provider aiming to provide shippers with an alternative to Amazon, FedEx, and UPS has entered the market with a franchise model designed to lure local delivery service partners (DSP) and expand capacity available in the market.
    • The company, The FRONTdoor Collective (FDC), allows franchisees to avoid volume caps that other last-mile service providers often place on their outsourced networks. It gives those franchise carriers, some of whom still work with Amazon, more flexibility.
  • UPS buys into same-day delivery with Roadie (Freight Waves)
    • UPS announced the acquisition of Roadie on 9/10
    • “Roadie’s leading technology, combined with UPS’ portfolio, will open doors for new growth opportunities,” UPS said in a statement.
    • Roadie will continue to operate under the same name and will not carry goods from the UPS network.
    • Home Depot is an investor in Roadie and is one of their largest customers. Roadie, by leveraging technology and gig economy drivers, helps them increase same day delivery services for their customers.
  • Port congestion sapping major Asia-US ship capacity injection (source: The Journal of Commerce)
    • Container lines began upping their deployment of trans-Pacific capacity, with approximately 22 percent more capacity available to the West Coast through December than was available in March through July. Carriers are also adding approximately 14.4% more capacity to the East Coast through year-end.
    • However, this increase in capacity is likely to further stress ports that are already contending with vessel bunching in the early days of peak shipping season. For example, there are still 40-plus vessels at anchorage in Los Angeles-Long Beach awaiting space, while terminals are working about 30 container ships per day at berth.