The Weekly Freight Report for September 17, 2020

The Top 8 Stories in Freight

Truck Driver Appreciation Week kicks off… the TSI is up… consumer spending shifts cause freight imbalance… western CAN ports offer a new option for US shippers… the drivers shortage talk track is back… shippers are frantically re-negotiating contracted rates… and never hear “stuck at the border” again.

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

1. It’s Driver Appreciation Week

It’s Truck Driver Appreciation Week! Here at FLS, we want to say thank you to the 3.5 million men and women who have risked their own safety this year to ensure that hospitals had supplies, grocery stores were stocked, and highways were safe. Transportation has always been an essential business… but this year, people around the globe truly saw the role this critical job plays in each and every one of our individual lives. Cheers for being our heroes… every day. Read more about Truck Driver Appreciation Week here.


2. Final July TSI Confirms Growth

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) – which measures the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry – is up 2.5% from April lows. It was the third month of consecutive increases after three months of consecutive decreases. Inside the news sectors such as manufacturing, utilities and mining are seeing accelerated growth… It’s another data point that verifies the economy is coming back to life.  For carriers, it means steady freight is out there. For shippers, it means that there will be even more competition for a thinning truck market. Get the details here.


3. Consumers Shift Spending Habits from Experiences to Goods

Goodbye memories… hello stuff! As consumers have stopped spending money on experiences, reports show a 10.5% increase in spending for durable goods. The result? Increased truckload demand, high volumes and a capacity pinch for shippers across North America. A new report from ACT Research breaks down the findings… and even offers a prediction on the “surprisingly strong” transportation market… check it out.


4. Western Canada Ports to Attract More U.S. Cargo

Canada’s Vancouver and Prince Rupert ports are saving shippers hundreds of dollars per container when compared to U.S. West Coast ports on Asian imports. This, combined with their lower intermodal rates compared to U.S. hubs, is making these ports a much more attractive option for U.S. shippers. Get the details (and call us when you’re ready!)


5. Shippers Are Negotiating Their Contract Rates

Shippers who locked in low rates in January are finding themselves back at the negotiating table… The sharp turnaround in volume, rates, and capacity has shippers scrambling to cover their peak season freight. They understand the current rates won’t guarantee them trucks as we move through the high volume season. More evidence form JOC that it’s shaping up to be a brutal peak (seems we’ve heard that before.) Get the full details here.


6. Cue “The Discussion” We’ve Got Capacity Issues

Right on cue, the driver shortage discussion recirculates… Driver retirements, driver exits, and a clogged training pipeline…These are a few of the current suggestions on why there’s no capacity. (I mean it couldn’t be wage and working conditions?!! Could it?!!) In any event, while the FMCSA and carriers work to provide incentives to recruit quality drivers, capacity isn’t expected to return until well into 2021.  Shippers should expect trucks to remain in high demand until then. Get the details.


7. Never Hear “Stuck at the Border” Again

The last thing you can afford to hear is “stuck at the border”… when it comes to cross-border freight one mistake could cost you thousands… and that’s exactly why we put together this guide. The Complete Guide to Cross-border Freight has everything you need to know about shipping between U.S. and Canada. It’s the step-by-step handbook for flawless, stress-free freight. Grab a copy here.


8. Consumer Patters Have Dramatically Altered What’s Moving

DAT’s weekly update takes a look at how consumer purchasing patterns have altered what’s moving in the freight world.  Depending on what commodity you produce or haul, determines how hard you’ve been hit this year.  The one thing that has been consistent is the draining capacity and skyrocketing rates.  If a picture says a thousand words, we’re pretty sure this week’s Dry Van Rate Trends Chart tells the story of 2020.  Jeez!  Get the full update 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!