The Weekly Freight Report for January 28, 2021

The Top 6 Stories in Freight

Here’s what’s happening this week:

  1. LA is now the top freight market with 5.4% of all outbound volume
  2. Freight volume decreases but remains 46% above 2019 and 2020 values
  3. The DOT is accepting comments on first autonomous vehicle plan
  4. Virus outbreak could cripple West Coast ports and freight flows   
  5. Carriers prioritize shippers with short dwell times and regular tenders
  6. 6 key points every supply chain manager needs to evaluate

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

1. West Coast claims top freight market title

LA has officially beat out Chicago for the nation’s leading point of origin. Primarily driven from the trade war and pandemic, West Coast ports are handling 40% of all maritime container volume and that translates to 5.4% of all outbound tenders. In addition to volume, LA also has the longest average length of haul at 900 miles. What’s this mean for the average shipper? Thin capacity and inflated rates for freight moving out and around CA. Get the full story here.


2. Tender volumes decrease but remain elevated

Don’t let the headlines fool you… While volumes continue to decrease from early January highs, they are still 46% above 2019 and 2020 values. The North American freight market is normalizing a bit, but tender rejections and volumes are still elevated for the season and in comparison to the last 3 years. While the headlines provide some hope for shippers, the market is still incredibly tight, rates are high and it will likely stay that way until more drivers come into the picture. Get the details here.


3. DOT opens commenting on plan for self-driving trucks

The tech for self-driving trucks is here (supposedly) and they’re even being tested across the nation. The next step? Government regulation… The US DOT is accepting comments on its Automated Vehicles Comprehensive Plan (AVCP) until March 22nd. This is the first plan to integrate partial and fully autonomous vehicles onto the nation’s highways. Get the details here.


4. Virus spread could cripple West Coast ports 

Everyone knows how busy the west coast ports are. Now what happens if they shut down? COVID cases are catapulting among dockworkers at West Coast ports. And while that’s never good news, it’s especially concerning at the peak of an import boom. They’re saying it could lead to a ‘doomsday’ scenario. It’s unlikely, but not off the table. This would not only be disastrous for shippers waiting on imports but on the nation as a whole. Get the details on this emerging story here.


5. What it means to be a shipper of choice in 2021 

Sure… money can always secure your freight in a tight market. But new surveys show that relationships consisting of short dwell times and regular tendering take priority for carriers. And as shippers blew their 2020 budgets trying to secure freight, they’re seeking refuge in dynamic contracts moving forward. But contract or not- when the market is tight, carriers get selective. Here’s how to ensure they prioritize your freight.


6. Profitable supply chains today won’t be in long-term

So, your supply chain is profitable and therefore, you feel it’s resilient? (Yeah… Blockbuster thought the same thing once too.) If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that supply chains can be disrupted in a matter of hours. And if your business isn’t willing to invest in the technology and take the risks that come after disruption… you’re as good as gone. Here are 6 key points every supply chain manager needs to evaluate to ensure long term success.


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!