The Top 5 Stories in Freight
Here’s what’s happening this week:
- Thank a trucker: It’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
- How to prepare for the “revenge spending” consumers are engaging in
- Outbound tender lead times up 5.25% compared to summer 2020
- Port of Long Beach offers text alerts about traffic conditions
- Port congestion increasingly blamed on fleet size
The hottest stories in freight can be found here, in the Weekly Freight Report:
1. Thank a trucker: It’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
Take a look at the items inside of the room you are in. Just about every one of them was on a truck at one point in time. And thankfully, there was a truck driver behind the wheel so those items could get to you. Truckers have always been on the front line as essential workers. Whether there’s a natural disaster or a global pandemic. Truckers always deliver when demand calls. This week, we’re celebrating these undercover heroes. Join FLS and the rest of the freight community as we thank our North American truck drivers.
2. How to prepare for consumers’ “revenge spending”
Americans have an estimated $1.7 billion in savings from not living their usual lives these past 18 months. It’s burning a hole in their pockets… and fueling what economists call “revenge spending”— when consumers go a little wild after a period of economic despair. Although this emotions-based trend is unpredictable, manufacturers should pay attention to more unstructured data and guard against being unable to fulfill orders by relying upon more than one materials supplier. Carriers should make contingency plans to work around natural disasters and continuing COVID-related barriers to delivering products on time. Overall, plan to get rid of any method that works in “normal” times of demand. Read more.
3. Outbound tender lead times up 5.25%
Compared to last summer, shipper lead times have increased 5.25%. Meanwhile, tender rejection rates have increased from 17% to 22%. Longer lead times make it somewhat easier for carriers to fulfill orders. But capacity has been so tight during the past year—due to labor shortages, other supply chain disruptions, and increased consumer demand—that fulfilling loads has been extra challenging. Giant increases in spot rates that rendered many contract rates moot and a lag in shippers adjusting their lead time behavior to match carriers’ capacities has made forecasting an appropriate lead time more difficult.
4. Port of Long Beach offers text alerts about traffic conditions
As imports surge and ships languish in port, the Port of Long Beach is offering free opt-in text updates about port traffic conditions. The hope is to help fleets schedule around peak congestion times and decrease detention and demurrage. Some fleets are unable to move containers on time because of port congestion. Equipment detention by intermodal customers is costing them margin they don’t want to give up. Real-time visibility into port condition is necessary for improving drayage efficiencies and getting more pay into drivers’ pockets. Get the details about subscribing to Truck Alert.
5. Port congestion increasingly blamed on fleet size
Chassis manufacturers in the U.S. and China are ramping up production… but not at a pace fast enough to move containers and other cargo out of ports efficiently. Railroad companies like Union Pacific and BSNF are working to increase their intermodal capacity. But relieving ports’ backlog of rail containers (and forecasted 20 million TEUs this year) has proved challenging in the face of record import levels from Asia. Another possible solution for backlog relief is increasing port gates from 10 to 12. But terminal operators say the real problem is shippers and carriers not being able to pull import loads fast enough. Here’s why future incremental container growth remains a problem.
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!