Tallies, totals and other trend data in the freight transportation realm



“Zero COVID lockdowns in China spur supply chain chaos as shippers prepare for produce shipping season” reads the headline of a March 23 missive from Container xChange, a logistics tech company/marketplace for container leasing and trading. “As the global supply chain prepared to recover from the collateral damage caused by COVID in 2022, China lockdowns hit the industry back at a time when the companies prepared to kick off the produce shipping season (April-July). Disruptions, one after the other, are taking the capacity away from the market,” company officials said. And as a result of the Zero COVID strategy in China, some factories are reopening while others go further into shutdown. “Historically, this time of the year is crucial for most companies as they begin to ship fresh production in preparation of the early peak season,” Container xChange officials said. “Lockdowns in China will not just be a production slowdown, but also a slowdown of cargo movement, both being detrimental to the supply chain.” U.S. ports won’t feel the pinch for “3-5 weeks until the backlog improves,” they added. 


Christenson Transportation Inc. has enlisted Locomation to provide autonomous truck capacity, Christensen announced on March 21. Under the eight-year agreement to use Locomation’s proprietary planning and scheduling systems, Christenson will restructure its operating model to run its trucks 20+ hours per day. The company then will deploy 500 trucks equipped with Locomation’s Autonomous Relay ConvoySM systems on five separate Autonomous Relay NetworkSM segments. With Locomation’s freight optimization, Christenson will increase capacity by 52%, reduce empty miles by 50%, and improve fuel efficiency by 18%, company officials said, adding that the combined impact of the increased loaded miles and 30% reduced operating cost is “expected to quadruple Christenson's bottom line net profit.”


The North American office of InnoTrans, the biennial international rail industry event, is offering attendees from North America a 60% discount on regularly priced tickets, event officials announced on March 24. Discounted tickets for all show days are EURO €30 (US$33.05) and include access to free public transportation. To receive the discounted ticket code, attendees from North America must email: InnoTrans will be held Sept 20-23, 2022, in Berlin, Germany. This year’s theme” “The future of mobility in times of climate change.”


American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index was unchanged in February after increasing 0.4% in January. In February, the index equaled 115.3 (2015=100) the same as January. “February was the first month that the index didn’t increase since July,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said on March 22. “Demand for trucking freight services remains strong, but for-hire contract carriers are capacity constrained due to the driver and equipment markets. The spot market has been surging as these carriers can’t haul all of the freight they are asked to move.”


The United States has a new Section 232 tariff agreement with the United Kingdom that allows historically based sustainable volumes of U.K. steel and aluminum products to enter the U.S. market without the application of Section 232 tariffs. In addition to novel smelt and cast requirements on aluminum, the deal also requires any U.K. steel company owned by a Chinese entity must undertake an audit of their financial records to assess influence from the People’s Republic of China government, according to a March 22 U.S. Commerce Department statement. The results of the audits also must be shared with the United States. “Today’s historic deal … will benefit America’s steel and aluminum industries and workers by protecting manufacturing, as well as consumers by easing inflationary pressures in the U.S.,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. “By allowing for a flow of duty-free steel and aluminum from the U.K., we further ease the gap between supply and demand for these products in the United States. And by removing the U.K.’s retaliatory tariffs, we reopen the British market to … American products.”


In 2020, Union Pacific Railroad crews started transforming Englewood Yard in Houston — home to the Class I’s largest single hump yard — from a yard processing 1,700 freight cars a day to one that could process 3,000. “In late March, Union Pacific will begin the final phase of upgrading the hump computer system’s software and hardware,” according to a March 24 InsideTrack post on the Class I’s website. Planning and communication has been key, said Henry Corbert, senior manager-Train Operations, Transportation. “It meant strategically yarding trains around affected areas to remain as fluid as we could during the work curfews,” he said. “The construction crews and forepersons were in constant communication with the Englewood yard controller and other crews in the area.”

710 million

On March 25, XPO Logistics Inc. announced it had divested its North American intermodal business to STG Logistics Inc. for about $710 million. The 700-employee intermodal unit, which generated 2021 revenue of $1.2 billion, provides rail brokerage and drayage services through 48 locations. “This divestiture simplifies our business model and moves our capital structure closer to investment-grade — two priorities in our strategic plan to unlock significantly more value for our stakeholders,” said XPO Logistics Chairman and CEO Brad Jacobs. “We’ve completed a key step in preparing for our planned spin-off, when we’ll separate XPO into two publicly traded leaders in less-than-truckload transportation and tech-enabled brokered transportation services.”

1.5 billion

Bonn, Germany-based Deutsche Post DHL Group closed its EUR1.5 billion acquisition of J.F. Hillebrand Group AG and its subsidiaries, the company announced on March 23. Hillebrand now belongs 100 percent to the DHL division Global Forwarding, Freight. "Hillebrand's expertise in the logistics of beverages, beer, wine and spirits is an excellent addition to our portfolio,” CEO Deutsche Post DHL Group CEO Frank Appel said. “This bolt-on acquisition is a great opportunity for us to add a number of services to our high-quality ocean freight service portfolio, which will strengthen earnings and longstanding client relationships from the start."


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