The Weekly Freight Report for March 11th, 2021

The Top 6 Stories in Freight

Here’s what’s happening this week:

  1. “Shipper fit” has carriers rejecting freight at alarming rate
  2. Ripple effect has shippers passing on high freight costs to consumers
  3. Lagging inventory plagues retailers as sales outpace replenishment 
  4. Canada will roll out ELDs on June 12th with ‘phases’ for enforcement 
  5. Despite the capacity pinch trucking jobs fell by 4,000 in February
  6. Reefer shippers face higher rates & capacity issues beyond 2021 

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

1. Carriers awarding capacity to shippers with “best fit” freight

Current market dynamics have shippers struggling with the fact that carriers are saying “no” to their freight.  The procurement strategies that have been relevant over the last few years are not working in the 2021 freight market. Given the tight truck capacity across North America, trucking companies are now being very selective to those loads and lanes that match well with the natural movement of their fleet.  This means having the right shipment… in the right place… at the right price and margin. Shippers that fail to understand this new paradigm will have a tough year. Get the full details here.

2. Shippers pass the bill of high freight costs to consumers 

The ripple effect is in full force. We keep talking about the rising transportation costs for shippers driven by hectic demand, saturated inventories, and demolished capacity. And after a year of eating the gut-wrenching price hikes, shippers are passing the bill to customers. Expect to see price tags increasing on products across industries… get the full details.


3. Sales continue to grow faster than inventories 

A look at North America’s top retailers show that sales continue to outpace inventory.  And with the continued blistering pace of retail sales, this isn’t projected to change anytime soon. Retailers are playing “inventory catch up” and it has analysts thinking it will last multiple quarters in 2021. What the lopsided inventory really means for shippers is further supply chain investment. Get the details here.


4. Canada to roll out ‘phases’ for ELD mandate 

The June 12 ELD mandate is still a go and was reaffirmed by Transport Canada last week… but with a twist. Due to COVID impacts, the government will allow a ‘progressive enforcement period’ of 12-months. What this means is that carriers are urged to equip their trucks with ELDs ASAP, but no legal enforcement will be taken within the first year. The goal is to provide carriers ample time to implement the new technology without adding additional stress driven by unprecedented times. Get the full update here.


5. Trucking jobs fell by 4,000 in February 

It’s bad news for the ongoing capacity crux. Trucking employment took a 4K dip in February. This is the first month-over-month decline since last April when over 87K jobs were lost. Another interesting note is that trucking was an outlier according to February data as the country saw 379K jobs added, a nice little boost from January. As people get back to work and continue fueling already souring volumes… trucking jobs will be a must to fill capacity. Get the details here.


6. Reefer shippers face higher rates & capacity issues beyond 2021 

The disruptions caused by port confessions, chassis shortages, and tight trucking are impacting the supply chain as a whole… but it’s been especially tough for reefer shippers. They’re competing with dry shippers for the use of non-operating reefers at premium rates, and by the time their product gets to the berth, it’s gone bad. And repositioning containers is just too expensive. The good news is, there are other options. Here’s how reefer shippers are switching up their strategy moving forward.


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!