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Transportation Highlights

Industry Insights / March 12, 2024

March 2024

Supply Chain Updates:

With carriers leaving the market place daily, industry experts are advising shippers to consider securing contract rates due to a future outlook of increased transportation demand. Along with obtaining contract rates, Shippers can proactively adjust their strategies in anticipation of a more carrier-friendly market by implementing tactics such as freight segmentation, maintaining a carrier performance evaluation system, and strengthening relationships with carriers to ensure future capacity needs are met.

Top 9 Warehouse Management Trends in 2024

This article from StartUs provides insights on the evolution of warehouse management driven by technology. Key trends include the adoption of warehouse automation through robotics, advanced Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) for improved operation control, and Inventory Tracking technologies for accuracy. It also emphasizes the integration of wearables for workforce efficiency, IoT for enhanced process control, and the adoption of sustainable practices for eco-friendly warehousing. These trends reflect the industry’s shift towards digital transformation, prioritizing efficiency, safety, and sustainability.

Rail and Intermodal Insights:

The Association of American Railroads reported annual increases in U.S. rail carloads and intermodal volumes for the week ending February 24. Carloads rose by 2.6%, with gains in chemicals, grain, and motor vehicles, despite drops in coal, nonmetallic minerals, and forest products. Intermodal units increased by 12.6%. For the first eight weeks of 2024, carloads fell by 4.6%, while intermodal units saw a 7.4% rise. Overall, North American rail traffic increased, showing a 7.1% gain for the week and a 0.7% increase through eight weeks compared to 2023.

Ocean Freight Insights:

Image of a gardo container ship moving freight through to the West Coast Ports

The February 2024 Global Shipping Report by Descartes shows a 6% month-over-month decrease in U.S. container import volume, while year-over-year growth reported at an uptick of 23.3%. When adjusted for factors like the Chinese Lunar New Year, real growth is estimated at 13%. In the immediate future, Short-term measures should include reviewing trade routes impacted by port selections and potential canal diversions. Long-term strategies should focus on diversifying supplier locations to mitigate risks associated with over-reliance on certain trade lanes and regions prone to conflict.


The shipping and logistics industry is continuing advancement towards optimized solutions. Technology plays a crucial role in warehouse operations, with the integration of robots and smart systems enhancing efficiency. Rail transportation is on the rise, with an increasing number of goods being shipped out, highlighting the rise in popularity for this reliable mode of transportation. The increase in container imports on the West Coast reflects a successful resurgence and a sign of escalating demand and recovery.