The Weekly Freight Report for August 19th, 2021

The Top 5 Stories in Freight

Here’s what’s happening this week:

  1. Shippers rethinking operational efficiency to help with capacity 
  2. Drivers press that overtime pay won’t fix industry turnover
  3. ‘Gridlock Plus’ commences as port congestion nears new highs
  4. Rail interests press officials not to over-regulate
  5. Port clogs could lead to holiday troubles for shippers and consumers alike

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

1. Shippers rethinking operational efficiency to help with capacity 

Logistics is by nature a transactional business. Shippers need predictable logistics budgets and trucking companies need sustainable profits. But the capacity tension can easily change a collaborative relationship to a combative one. And JOC says many shippers are unaware of the role they are actively playing in the capacity pinch. Take a peek.


2. Overtime pay won’t retain drivers

Drivers continue to speak out about trucking conditions. And desperate to put people behind the wheel, the industry as a whole is desperately listening. One owner-operator wrote an insightful letter stating pay and overtime aren’t the issues- it’s the immense stress levels the job requires. When describing the role of a truck driver he states, “We are men and women who are misunderstood, beaten down, abused and expected to work under any condition and do it perfectly. Overtime pay won’t fix it.” Read the full letter here.


3. US Port congestion nears new highs

Q1 port congestion is starting to look like a cakewalk compared to what’s happening at Southern California ports as peak kicks off. Only in the early days of peak season, the record number for container ships anchored off California is already on the verge of being broken. And it’s not looking any better on the East Coast which is facing high volume and weather closures from tropical storms. They’re calling it ‘gridlock plus’ and it’s threatening to extend transportation delays, bite further into margins and boost prices for consumers. Get the details.


4. Rail interests press officials not to over-regulate

As major mergers and the infrastructure bill loom, freight rail interests are calling upon federal regulators not to burden their industry with additional mandates that they say could stymie investments for innovation. This of course happened after the Surface Transportation Board asked Class 1 Railroads to explain what they are doing to address intermodal congestion in July. Regulators feel they must step in to help unjam the supply chain, but intermodal executives say their propositions will only make matters worse. Hear out both sides here.


5. Class 1 railroads defend how they’ve handled congestion

“Every aspect of the supply chain is under scrutiny,” says a Port of LA executive. Dwell times at terminals, warehouses and rail yards are near record highs. And America’s largest container gateway is destined to max out which puts retail Christmas sales at risk. What it means going into the holiday season is consumers are going to need to shop early if they want gifts under their tree. Get the details here.


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