The Weekly Freight Report for February 25th, 2021

The Top 7 Stories in Freight

Here’s what’s happening this week:

  1. Reailers struggle to re-stock as replenishment adds to freight volume
  2. Success snippets show visibility tech is making a difference with shippers
  3. Cass Index shows momentum and few signs of relief for shippers
  4. Port backlog will cause a ripple effect across the entire supply chain
  5. Winter storms will bullwhip flows in an already tight capacity market
  6. HOS lawsuit could be the first step towards revoking new break rules
  7. Cross-border drivers advised to use app for freight passage into Canada

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

1. Inventory restock surges U.S. imports

They’re calling it ‘the peak season that never ends’ and it’s a nightmare for shippers, retailers, and manufacturers alike. The sale of goods is outstripping inventory, ports are clogged, capacity is constrained, and transportation costs are through the roof. The great re-stock for 2021 is on and high-level stats show that progress is slow – considering first-half imports are up 22% and despite the replenishment efforts inventories are still down 12%. For the next six months, shippers will likely need to expand budgets to get their inventories full. Get the full update.

2. Technology delivers real-time visibility and consistency

Better scheduling, precise time management, streamlined product orders, and end-user predictability. These were the promises that visbility solutions pitched to freight companies. And some success snippets from Tyson and Walmart Canada now back up the claims… showing exactly how supply chain teams are gaining efficiencies from visibility tech. Take a look at the other side of real-time visibility deployment… Check out how visibility is helping Tyson and Walmart.


3. Latest reports show increasing freight momentum 

The latest Cass Freight Index is out… and everything is up… way up. January shipments were up by 8.6%, expenditures by 19.5%, and rates by 10.1% year over year. The only headwinds are drivers, parts, and microchips as shortages pose continued threats to the ongoing capacity crisis. On the marco level, the report predicts GDP growth, more stimulus and you guessed it… more freight volume in the coming weeks. Shippers should take note of the inflationary market and acknowledge that normal market conditions are not likely to follow historic pattrens this year. Get the full report.


4. Port backlog will thwart freight flow through Spring 

The immense backlog of inventory flowing from the West Coast ports to distribution centers across the country is causing massive headaches for shippers, retailers, and manufacturers. Typically, we see a drop-off in transpacific trade in March. But that won’t be the case this year. All indicators point to steady freight flows directly into produce season. Get the details.


5. Flows will take weeks to find normal

Ice… snow… freezing temps… The recent nation-wide double snowstorms paused the freight world. No question that tender volumes took a nosedive last week. Now all that freight needs to find a truck. But in this market, it will likely take weeks to work through the backlog of freight. And what that means is… more backlogs… more pent-up demand… and yes, even tighter capacity… here’s what to expect in the recovery cycle…


6. FMCSA seeks suspension of HOS lawsuit

The FMCSA has been served a lawsuit that could be the first step toward removing the recently revised HOS rules. The administration has requested an appeals court to suspend the lawsuit but with the new administration, further review is inevitable. Read more on the developing story here.


7. ArriveCAN app required for Canada-U.S. border crossings

Shipping truckload freight between U.S. and Canada? Make sure your truck drivers have the ArriveCAN app if they plan to enter Canada. The declaration is an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19 and is only temporary, though that timeline is TBD. Get the details.


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!