Commerce Express Weekly Road Map: April 19th, 2022

Keeping you informed on the latest news/insights in our industry.

Commerce Express Blog

Automation has been a hot topic in the industry and even though it is non-traditional, and not the ‘typical’ way of doing things in the supply chain, there definitely are benefits – including an increase in productivity and effectiveness. Specifically, the freight rail industry has been looking into more options to grow advanced technologies, which would help lower carbon emissions but also to further the market share, Freightwaves reports.

Read More Here 

Trucking Update

  • Shippers are consolidating more loads and limiting the number of partial shipments, which in turn has created truckload spot market capacity, the Journal of Commerce reports. Back in 2021, the emphasis for shippers was to deliver goods on time versus “in-full”, which usually meant paying premium rates. Because of those partial loads, the spot market demand became inflated, which has driven up rates. Now shippers are cutting back on transportation costs and consolidating trailer loads, the JOC reports.
  • Trailer orders have increased in March, which has also increased demand. Data from FTR Transportation Intelligence, show initial trailer orders rising in March to 36,000 units – which is an increase of 41% month-over-month and 29% year-over-year, reports FleetOwner.
  • Regulators continue to work to keep the CDL pilot program (that targets those aged 18-21) on track, after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has rejected certain recommendations from trucking and safety groups, Freightwaves reports. Additionally, FMCSA rejected several joint recommendations by various groups regarding safety concerns.

Industry FAQ's

With the departure of 3G looming, how does that impact trucking?

Most of the mobile wireless carriers plan on phasing out 3G services throughout 2022 – this has the potential for 350,000 Class 8 vehicles to be effected by the discontinuation of 3G services.

I’m on the fence about cargo insurance – why is it important?

Having cargo insurance provides you financial protection in case of a disaster or the unexpected, which ultimately can provide you with a peace of mind as your goods leave your warehouse. 
Rail Update
  • Union Pacific is planning on controlling traffic flows to help improve network congestion. In a letter to customers, UP said they would begin metering traffic after April 18th, if customers don’t voluntarily reduce their inventory before then, Transport Topics reports. In addition, UP says they plan to remove 2-3% of their own railcars and has already added 50 locomotives since January, with plans to bring on 100 more to help move cars along, according to Transport Topics.
  • Even with vessel backlog shrinking, the U.S. DOT is urging Class I railroads to address and clear the backlogs of rail containers at the ports of LA/LB. In the past few months, railroads have seen rail volumes increase, which has created an increase in rail container dwell times. The Journal of Commerce reports that the rail container dwell times have averaged 5.2 days in February, which is up from 3.5 days in January.
  • U.S. rail traffic continues to be down from 2021 levels. For the week ending on April 9th, total U.S. rail traffic was at 508,343 carloads and intermodal units, which is down 1% percent from the same week last year, the Association of American Railroads reports. Coal, motor vehicles and parts, and chemicals continue to increase, while petroleum and petroleum products, metallic ores and metals, and miscellaneous carloads have decreased.
  • The Port of Long Beach received approval from the US Maritime Administration for their on-dock rail project. According to the Journal of Commerce, this project would allow 17 intermodal trains to depart the port daily – full completion is expected by 2032. 
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