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



“Here we go again! While at NEARS the STB dropped the bomb-let: they will hold hearings on 4/26-27 “on recent rail service problems” of primarily the U.S. Big 4 [Class Is]. I expect more coal raking under the big spotlight but no real action. Still — not good!” — April 8 tweet from independent transportation analyst Tony Hatch @ABHatch18 (via @commtrex)


In an April 8 Transportation Market Report segment headlined “Outbound Tender Index Volume begins to slow,” officials from trucking company Schneider National Inc. wrote: “The current OTVI is 13% lower than 2021, 24% higher than 2020, and 34% higher than 2019. There have only been a few brief moments over the last year that current OTVI is lower than the previous year, typically those have been around holidays. This steady decline seems to be related to decreased consumer spending on durable goods and increased spending on travel and services, as well as material shortages.”


On April 1, the Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles instituted the Clean Truck Fund rate, which “will supercharge deployment of zero-emissions trucks and infrastructure at the nation’s largest port complex,” port officials said. Cargo owners will pay up to $20 per loaded container hauled by drayage trucks in and out of the container terminals. Loaded containers hauled by zero emissions trucks, and under limited circumstances, by low-nitrogen oxide trucks, are exempt from the rate. Created to help support the changeover to cleaner trucks, the Clean Truck Fund rate is expected to generate $90 million in the first year, or $45 million per port, port officials said.


In March, the Port of Virginia handled more than 314,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), nearly 47 percent of which was loaded imports, port officials said on April 7. March’s volume was nearly 13 percent ahead of March 2021, they added. “In terms of overall volume, this March ranks as the fourth most productive month in our history,” said Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director Stephen Edwards.


The Logistics Managers’ Index (LMI) March’s overall reading of 76.2 is the highest in the index’s history, up 1.0 from February’s reading of 75.2, LMI announced on April 5. “The first three months of 2022 have been marked by high levels of inventory, and insufficient capacity to deal with it,” LMI officials said. “This trend started at the end of 2021 when inventories increased by 2.4% in December 2021— an all-time month-to-month record.”  Researchers at Arizona State University, Colorado State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rutgers University and the University of Nevada-Reno, in conjunction with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, issued the report.


“I am walking back from the cliff following the two-day [March 15-16] STB Switching/Access hearings — all signs indicate ‘toe in the water’ negotiated response, involving existing reciprocal allowed locations (as NS COO Cindy Sanborn noted that would drop the complexity level a lot, from 750+ locations to ~105).” — Independent Transportation Analyst Tony Hatch in a March 31 message to his clients


FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has teamed up with Elroy Air, which is building an end-to-end autonomous vertical take-off and landing aerial cargo system. FedEx Express will develop plans to test Elroy Air’s Chaparral autonomous air cargo system within the company’s middle-mile logistics operations, moving shipments between sortation locations, FedEx officials said on March 30. Unveiled in January, Elroy Air’s Chaparral autonomous aircraft can autonomously pick up 300-500 pounds of cargo and deliver it by air up to 300 miles, the company says. 


“The rising oil prices are bound to have a limited impact on containerized trade in the short run. But generally high oil prices hit hard when the freight rates are very low. Currently, when the freight rates are astronomically high for the past two years (for instance, $10,000 for a 40-foot-high cube from China to the U.S.) the impact of a fuel prices hike will not have a large impact on the short term. What remains to be seen in future is how the war pans out in the future and how the supply chain builds resilience in the end.” — Container xChange Co-founder & CEO Christian Roeloffs in an April 5 “Supply Chain Outlook” email


Preliminary North American Class 8 net orders for March stayed clocked in at 21,500 units, up 3% month over month but down -47% year over year, FTR officials reported on April 4. “The March order total reflects a market frozen in place,” said FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles Don Ake. “All the OEMs are evaluating the business environment monthly and only entering enough orders to fill in about a month’s worth of production in the schedule. March’s number indicates that production levels stayed flat.”


Walmart truck drivers now can make up to $110,000 in their first year with the company, up from $88,000, Walmart officials announced on April 7. Walmart private fleet drivers who’ve been with the company longer can earn more “based on factors like tenure and location,” officials said.

4.2 billion

Hamilton, Bermuda-based Frontline Ltd. and Antwerp, Belgium-based Euronav NV signed a term sheet regarding a potential stock-for-stock combination between the two companies, and it’s been unanimously approved by their respective boards, the two companies announced April 8. If the combination materializes, the combined entity would continue under the name Frontline and would continue to operate from Belgium, Norway, UK, Singapore, Greece and the United States. The combination would create an oil tanker operator with a market capitalization of more than $4.2 billion based on market values of the respective companies as April 6, the companies said.

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