The Weekly Freight Report for March 4th, 2021

The Top 6 Stories in Freight

Here’s what’s happening this week:

  1. Weather rebound whipsaws freight market for two weeks and counting
  2. Sticker shock coming as port jam leads to increased costs
  3. Freight volume isn’t slowing expected to remain strong for the long haul
  4. Hidden insurance gaps on your cross-border loads could be costly
  5. IBM says digitalization trends will sweep trucking… for real this time
  6. Quebec won’t enforce ELD mandate with the rest of Canada in June 

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

1. Volumes snapback quickly after winter storms 

FREIGHT CHART OF THE WEEK: If you look at one chart this week, make it the outbound tender volume index. It’ll show you exactly what’s going on in North American freight. Volumes plummeted 25% after winter storms Uri and Viola ran havoc across the U.S. Now that the storms have cleared there’s a huge rebound in volume. And its created a huge whipsaw effect that’s lasted longer than most expected. This hasn’t been a two day event, it’s turning into a two week… plus… event. Rejections now rival peak levels. For shippers, this means capacity is tight and rates remain high… Check out what’s driving the rebound.

2. Port jam leads to increased shipper & consumer costs

The shipping logjam on the west coast is causing corporations, shippers and brands serious logistics struggles. What comes next is widespread sticker shock and inventory disruption for consumers.  We’ve covered the clogged-up ports, elevated freight costs, shipping container shortages, and back-to-back ocean accidents for weeks… Now corporations are reporting losses in the millions as they prepare to close out Q1. And many expect the problem to spill over into Q2, as it doesn’t look like there’s any relief in the ports or on in ground transportation relative to capacity.  Get the full details here.


3. Freight volume expected to remain strong for the long haul 

Traveling… beaches… and dining out with groups of friends. What we wouldn’t give to do it again. No doubt, people will be excited to spend money on services again when they can. But does that mean for the retail sales that have been pioneering our economy forward for over a year? According to Overdrive analysts, experiences enable the purchasing of retail items and will only help fuel the fire. And the problem isn’t whether people will be spending money. It’s whether there will be enough drivers to haul the freight. Get the details here.


4. The cross-border insurance conundrum  

A FRIENDLY PSA: Insurance gaps on your cross-border loads could be costly. Cross-border freight in North America continues to explode.  It’s partly due to the great North American trade relationships between US-CAN-MEX… and partly due to recent near-shoring trends in MEX due to trade wars with China.  That said, cross-border freight still remains a complicated process.  It also comes with risks, especially when shipping across the MEX border.  To mitigate risks shippers, 3PLs, and carriers alike need the proper freight insurance. Reliance Partners recently published a helpful overview of what cross-border shippers should know about insurance and insurance gaps.  Take a look here.


5. Trucking to invest in re-skilling employees for a digitized future

The North American freight market has long been technology laggards.  A new survey from IBM says that’s about to change.  Digitization trends are and will sweep the trucking industry by 2030. Innovations such as capacity-as-a-service, crowdsourced delivery, trucking platooning, and smart cargo are among a few services that are expected to be readily available within the next decade. It’s all being driven by cloud computing, AI, IoT, advanced analytics, and machine learning advancements.  And in the march towards digitization, companies are estimated to spend $118 billion on re-skilling employees. Check out the full article and get a glimpse at the future.


6. Quebec won’t enforce ELD mandate in June

Canada’s federal ELD mandate is to go into effect on schedule for June 12th… but it will not be enforced in Quebec. The province announced in the Le Relayeur newsletter that Quebec is working to harmonize its HOS regulations with federal regulations. And the new ELD enforcement will not go into effect until then… which is expected to be sometime in 2022. Get more on the details 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!