The Weekly Freight Report for April 1st, 2021

The Top 6 Stories in Freight

Here’s what’s happening this week:

  1. The blockage ends but shippers problems have only begun 
  2. Gamers could provide solutions for driver shortage 
  3. Loophole for foreign drivers hauling domestic U.S. freight
  4. Shippers stuck paying more for diminishing carrier service
  5. CPG brands extend private fleets to navigate volatility
  6. U.S. stimulus continues to boost volumes

The hottest stories in freight can be found here, in the Weekly Freight Report:

1. The blockage ends but shippers problems have only begun 

The Ever Given was finally freed from the Suez Canal yesterday… but the problems for shippers’ are only beginning. Such a vital container being blocked for that many days will take “some time to clear” according to an associate director of maritime and trade. The backlog of vessels and multiple carrier re-routes will undoubtedly cost shippers- and they’re saying it could take weeks before things stabilize. Get the full update here.

2. Gamers could provide solutions for driver shortage 

“This is the new generation of drivers we so badly need,” says ATS leader John Kearney. It’s an interesting thought… could video games be a way to inspire more drivers to enter the field? 40,000 people play driver simulator videos per day… the same amount of drivers who left the workforce in 2020. And driving schools are using similar technology to train future drivers. And while the games eliminate the parts of the job drivers dislike most- HOS rules, soaring insurance, and detention- it has inspired some to join the field in the past. And experts feel it might be a way to inspire more in the future. Get the full details here.


3. Can foreign trucks haul domestic US freight?

Frieghtwaves answers an interesting question… can foreign-based trucks haul domestic US freight? The answer boils down to cabotage regulations. These regulations set laws around the point-to-point transportation of goods within a country by a foreign operator. And they heavily restrict what trucks from Mexico and Canada can do in the U.S… but there’s a loophole. Under a section of the Code of Federal Regulations, there is an opening for domestic moves of freight that are ‘incidental.’ Get the full answer here.


4. Shippers stuck paying more and getting less service 

It’s been a brutal year for shippers. Plagued by high prices, soaring demand and tight capacity… and now declining service levels. Carrier compliance levels have dropped below 75% while rates have increased 6%. And with rising fuel prices and the rejections hitting 28% this week (near its peak value around Thanksgiving 2020), becoming nimble will be the only way for transportation managers to navigate what lies ahead. Get the details here.


5. CPG brands take freight rates into their own hands

Gross margins were up for many CPG companies last year… but ‘higher shipping rates weighed on the bottom line’ one brand executive says. Rising shipping costs and impossible-to-navigate volatility have forced shippers to assess different means of securing capacity. For some, this has meant diversifying their transportation partners… and for others, it’s meant expanding their private fleets. Could private fleet expansion be the new trend for major CPG brands moving forward? Find out why it’s proving lucrative here.


6. U.S. stimulus continues to boost volumes

If you thought volumes couldn’t go any higher… just wait. Card spending is up 45% in the U.S. after this month’s stimulus checks were distributed, further fueling volume increases. Not to mention the produce season is about to hit us hard and fast. It’s good news for carriers… but not so much for shippers having a hard time securing consistent capacity. With no relief in sight, shippers should seek alternative routes. Check out some options here.


Need help moving freight across North America? FLS can help. Our network of 54,000 carriers and 400,000 trucks is a great asset to any shipper… and our service levels are impeccable. Give us a try… Get a quote today!