North American Freight Market Insights

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Transportation Market Overview

TOP STORY: Hurricane season impacts supply chains nationally

This year, savvy transportation managers will want to be on the ball when it comes to planning for the possible impact of a hurricane—even if their business is not in a hurricane threatened area. Our research shows that a significant event like—Hurricane Harvey in 2017—impacts everyone.

That’s why this month’s report opens with some transportation market considerations to think about during hurricane season.

Atlantic hurricane season: June 1 through November 30

Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, are predicting above-average hurricane activity this year—which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season.

NOAA’s outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30, predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. NOAA’s outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. Source: NOAA

2022 Atlantic hurricane season


Hurricanes can have national impact

While predicting when hurricane events will disrupt supply chains is not possible, there are some steps you can take to prepare for a disruptive hurricane. Keep in mind, these recommendations are not isolated to coastal areas where hurricanes make landfall. From recent research by C.H. Robinson and MIT's Center for Transportation and Logistics1, it is apparent a hurricane like Harvey in 2017 can impact both regional and national transportation.

Impact of Harvey on supply chains
The research showed lower volume lanes (10 loads per week or fewer) in traditional hierarchical truckload route guides experienced the worst underperformance during Hurricane Harvey’s disruption.

This was expected since previous research showed low volume lanes continually experience lower performance in any environment. Since these loads are less plannable, tender rejections are higher than lanes with consistent, predictable demand that can be built into capacity strategies by carriers and brokers.

When a super-regional event like Hurricane Harvey occurs, economic trade is disrupted. Businesses realize changes in sourcing and delivery locations. Those changes cause carrier capacity to shift and as a result, route guides and spot market experiences are disrupted.

A simple analogy is that the impact of an event like Hurricane Harvey on the economy and transportation is like squeezing a balloon—pressure is placed on some parts of the balloon, forcing the balloon to shift elsewhere to avoid the tension.

Below shows what our research uncovered about the effects of large-scale weather disruptions on both the truckload contract and spot markets.

Contract market in a hurricane: Low volume lanes underperform
This graphic is a summary of U.S. national truckload route guide performance across a large sample set of shippers that includes all origins to all destinations to show the national impact a super-regional event can have.

hurricane harvey effects

Low volume lanes
For the five core days of Hurricane Harvey, lower volume lanes saw 8% higher rejection rates of first tenders (FTA) across truckload route guides nationally. This resulted in route guide depth (RGD) performance worsening by 33%, cost per mile (CPM) increasing by 3% and a 5% increase in loads that failed in the route guide and went to the spot market (RG failure).

High volume lanes
Essentially, FTA was improved. But for those tenders that were rejected, the route guide struggled during the hurricane event by a 16% worsening RGD that resulted in an overall 2% increase in average CPM. The hypothesis is that capacity avoiding the Houston area was available nationally and focused on good route guide freight in other markets, but the back up carriers network was disrupted to a point that accepting non-awarded back up freight was difficult.

Spot market in a hurricane: Increased tension nationally, with regional differences

The spot market outside of the Houston area experienced the balloon squeeze.

The visual below shows DAT load volume (grey bars) and cost per mile (CPM) change(blue line) insights. Day 0 is land fall. Spot market load postings exiting the Houston region declined from the week prior to landfall as CPM increased following a restart in load shipping.

On a national scale (orange color), spot market loads declined more materially on day five after landfall and cost per mile then increased for a week before some settling.

hurricane Harvey impact


How to prepare your supply chain for a hurricane

The contract and spot market insights offered here provide perspective beyond the obvious regional impact of a hurricane. Shippers everywhere should consider the national impact an event like Hurricane Harvey can have on shipping.

Your transportation strategy can influence your shipping experience during a disruptive event. Here are four popular ways you can start preparing your supply chain for hurricane season:

  1. Plan inventory carefully. Consider placing inventory where it will face less disruption should flooding or electricity services suffer
  2. Automate low volume lanes. Consider a digitally enabled spot market strategy to help overcome disruption while reducing work and minimizing cost increases.
  3. Check in regularly. Schedule regular logistics planning meetings and include key/core transportation suppliers.
  4. Plan for vulnerable areas. Be mindful of LTL and intermodal terminal locations in areas vulnerable to an approaching hurricane so you have an alternative if service outages occur.
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Full Truckload Shipping

TOP STORY: Independence Day holiday

The freight marketplace is influenced by key economic corridors, economic conditions, and supply. It is also a participant in the cycles of society. Like hurricanes, major holidays can turn into disruptive events for supply chains. C.H. Robinson continues its research on the spot and contract truckload markets around these disruptive events with insights for both.

July 4, U.S. Independence Day, falls on a Monday this year. It is just one of several key holidays that can cause disruptive ripples in the optimized routes and efforts of truck drivers who want to be home with family. Research tells us what this means for transportation.

Contract market during holidays

The contract market for truckload has a meaningful percent of its volume in hierarchical route guides built on awarded volumes at negotiated pricing.

Research sponsored by C.H. Robinson with MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics (MIT-CTL3) on six years of route guide performance shows Independence Day had the greatest route guide variance of any other holiday.

Researchers conclude that the day of the week Independence Day falls on impacts the experience. Meaning, the load volumes offered to the market prior and post the holiday as well as the active capacity resulting from vacation time around the holiday are at play with each other, but different depending how the weekdays and weekends fall around the holiday.

  • Low volume lanes saw a considerable rise in average route guide depth during the event period across all years, except for 2021.
    • Shipments were rejected at a higher frequency than high volume lanes at levels beyond the first backup provider in the route guide.
    • Low volume lanes often have less predictable demand patterns, making them difficult for transportation providers to plan around and leaving them vulnerable to additional disruption.
    • Last year was a unique market with route guides under performing at such a level, it is plausible that Independence Day did not offer enough disruption to be noticeable.
  • High volume lanes can be broadly characterized as being more resilient to disruption due to tender cadence that is more predictable to awarded transportation providers.
    • While the performance of these lanes was similar to the Memorial Day holiday, the incremental cost for shipments not moved by the awarded provider had significant increases over the Memorial Day results.

Ultimately, what transportation planners and operations personnel need to know about route guide performance during the upcoming Independence Holiday is that the most loads to underperform will occur in the lower volume lanes.

Increases in cost for any shipments not moved by the awarded provider were noticeably higher than Memorial Day for low- and high-volume lanes.

Spot market during holidays

Depicted here is the 11-year average of spot market load to truck ratios from DAT’s dry van dataset. Keep in mind, these are working days (no weekends) around the Independence Day holiday.

4th of july load truck ratio impact

Figure: Average load to truck (LTR) ratio over 11 years. Source: DAT dry van loads posted and trucks posted for the U.S. spot market. “4th” marks the national holiday and the days prior and post the holiday are decremented and incremented. Days shown are weekdays.

The Fourth of July changes days of the week over seven years. This aggregate view does not show the impact of the holiday for this year’s Monday experience. The actual experience for this year is influenced by a couple key factors:

  • The holiday falls on a Monday. Truck drivers get a three-day weekend like many workers in the U.S. Might the automatic three-day weekend bring capacity back to the market starting on Tuesday July 5, 2022?
  • The current freight market is balanced to over supplied. This condition may result in lower risk of capacity shortages on Friday July 1, 2022, and Tuesday July 5, 2022.

With these perspectives in mind for 2022, consider the historical pattern:

  1. In the week leading up to Independence Day, the market has shown increasing load to truck ratio (driven by increased load posting activity).
  2. The two days preceding the Fourth of July show a ‘false-positive’ of “loosening.” This is due to extremely low load posting and truck postings as businesses and carriers slow down as the holiday approaches.
  3. The days bordering the fourth are an average, and react very differently each year—depending on which day of the week the holiday falls.

Key insights for Fourth of July disruptions

Historically, there is much less capacity in the spot market on the two days leading up to the holiday. This year’s holiday being a Monday holiday with a weekend between the two previous days (Days -1 and -2 on the above visual), means that capacity may be more readily available on Thursday and Friday.

The last time the Fourth of July was on a Monday was in 2016. That year was a loose to balanced year for the truck market, somewhat similar to today’s market where load to truck ratios followed the same pattern through the time frame of Days “-6” though “+6” as shown in the above 11-year average.

  • Peak ratio on days “-3” and “-2” were at 3.8
  • Peak ratio on day “+2” was 4.1

Lower volume contracted lanes are likely the primary exposure for route guide under performance this year. And spot market tension may be less than historical averages due to the Monday holiday and current market tension.

The cost of diesel

The price of gasoline and diesel are moving so fast—reaching record heights. This is impacting truckload, LTL, intermodal, and parcel transportation. Despite this, it is important to remember that 100% of diesel expenses for a carrier are not covered by fuel surcharges.

Fuel surcharges cover the loaded miles. The miles associated with repositioning a truck between loads, finding parking at night, and beginning and ending the week are broader operational costs solely on the carrier. These costs are rising faster than pricing, especially contract pricing, which isn’t renewed every week.

The smallest carrier community will likely feel the impact of rising diesel costs most heavily. These are the companies that tend to have higher empty miles per week. Should diesel pricing face a prolonged period of exceptionally high levels, carriers will need to build in the new baseline into their operations cost per mile.

The good news is there are more ways you can help carriers than by paying rate increases. Work to get carriers turned fast at facilities and help them minimize idle time so they can get to another revenue-generating load as fast as possible. For refrigerated loads, minimize the pre-cooling period to only what is necessary on dropped trailer refrigerated pre-loads.

Spot market, committed market, and capacity insights

Spot market settled into more balanced position, near 5-year average

The three primary truckload segments have seen greater balance return to the spot market load to truck ratio (LTR) with some stability in their weekly variance.

The charts below show six years of DAT's LTRs. The red line represents 2022. A 3:1 LTR for dry van can be considered a reasonably balanced market, while balanced for refrigerated is closer to 6:1 and flatbed considers 20:1 balanced. The spot market is a leading indicator of the broader contract market, providing insights to market tension and direction of evolving price.

It appears inflation, continued global supply chain disruptions, and consumer shifts from goods to services is starting to slow freight demand. In fact, some areas show month over month (M/M) declines in the growth of freight as inventories grow and 'just in case' inventory strategies are evaluated.

Spot market pricing may have largely settled at the bottom for the year pending a more dramatic economic situation than currently forecasted. The C.H. Robinson dry van spot market forecast is presented below, which represents higher pricing in the past four weeks than anticipated, but is in line with the increased LTR shown in recent weeks. Context for the recent cost per mile increases is supported by comparing the first two weeks of May to the first two weeks of June:

  • 9% more dry van loads posted nationally for the daily average
  • 2% more trucks posted for the daily average
  • LTR increased 8% as a result

Dry van LTR

The dry van LTR is in the range of a balanced market. It is currently bouncing around 4:1 nationally. A range of markets exists—from well oversupplied to as tight as 19:1 LTR. The five-year average for week 24 is about 3.5:1

dry van ltr

 

Refrigerated van LTR

Temperature controlled truckload has stabilized in the early produce season at a balanced market level of roughly 6:1. Key growing regions across the southern United States show ranges between about 20:1 to 80:1 LTR. The fresh produce harvest season appears to be less robust than most seasons because of inflation. More details are provided in the temperature controlled shipping section of the report.

reefer van ltr

 

Flatbed LTR

Flatbed, like van and refrigerated capacity, has seen some market correction, but has not yet settled into the range of a more balanced market. With LTR still over 40:1, the demand for flatbed is strong. Some markets require extended lead time for capacity. The Southeast is notably tighter than other parts of the country and influences the national LTR. See the flatbed section of this report for additional insights.

DAT flatbed ltr


The first half of 2022 continues to offer a shifting experience as the forces of supply and demand are unfolding. It may take until July to gain a sense of what the second half of the year might look like.

Dry van DAT LTR by region
The 6-year aggregated view of the U.S. spot market above is broken down below for the dry van spot market by 3-digit ZIP code regions for the week of June 5–11, 2022. This view helps demonstrate the meaningful variance of markets—some have plentiful capacity while others struggle materially to keep up with demand.

The current national average of 3.5:1 has a range between 1:1 to over 18:1 across 3-digit ZIP code areas. Most notable is the southern United States, which is experiencing LTRs in the 5:1 to 16:1 range.

 

The refrigerated market is displaying a similar pattern as the van market. Again, the southern United States shows the most tension as a result of produce season. Though a muted produce season, LTRs in yellow to red zones range from 7:1 to 60:1.

Contract truckload environment

Most (75%–85%) of the U.S. for-hire truck market is moved through commitments most often managed via hierarchical route guides. What follows are some perspectives and notes on today’s contract truckload environment.

Route guide performance

Companies commonly use waterfall (or hierarchical) route guides to manage awarded freight on lanes with some level of demand pattern predictability. The following insights are derived from TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson, which offers a large portfolio of customers across diverse industries throughout the United States.

Two key metrics of route guide performance are first tender acceptance (FTA) and route guide depth (RGD). RGD refers to how far into a route guide a shipper must tender shipments before carriers accept loads, or the average number of tenders per load. FTA is a percentage of how often the awarded primary transportation provider accepts their shipment tenders.

Routing guide depth

The chart above from TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson, reflects weekly RGD regionally across the United States through the week of June 11, 2022.

During the week of June 5-11, 2022, the overall RGD remained at 1.4 from the same week May. Of note is the Northeast tension shown in red with the rest of the country in a rather stable performance pattern.

The week of June 5th saw broadly week over week tension slightly increase in much of the country with enough regional improvement to net out consistent nationwide performance outside of the Northeast. PA was the leading performance issue with RGD worsening by 16% week over week.

May FTA showed 86%
This improvement is compared to the patterned ~80% since the pandemic started, with March at 82% and April at 85%. These numbers have greatly improved from the lowest pandemic point of January 2022 at 79%.

For some pre-pandemic context:

  • Week of Feb 23, 2020, FTA was 90% and RGD was 1.17
  • Week of June 7, 2021, FTA was 81% and RGD was 1.73

It is helpful to watch both FTA and RGD metrics. There is a clear trend of continued improvement of both FTA and RGD, signaling that demand and supply are more aligned than in the past couple years. As such, less freight is being sent to the spot market because of failing route guides.

RGD across distance bands
For May, all three distance bands have RGD below 1.5 for the first time since August 2020. This improvement demonstrates how secondary providers increasingly accepted primary provider rejections. Between the much improved FTA and RGD indicators, it is evident the contract trucking market is performing much better and is getting closer to 2019 performance. For additional perspective we offer the first two weeks of May and pre-pandemic comparison:

  • Short haul (less than 400 miles) posted ~1.3 in May, which is the best performance since roughly August 2020 and still elevated from 2019 and the first half of 2020 levels, which were in the 1.1 to 1.2 range.
  • Middle distance (400–600 miles) dropped to ~1.4, best performance since roughly August 2020 and still elevated from 2019 and the first half of 2020 levels, which were in the 1.3 to 1.4 range.
  • Long distance (over 600 miles) lost ground only slightly to ~1.45 from 1.4 in April. Like the other distance bands, a much improved pattern since the latter half of 2020 and still above 2019 and the first half of 2020 levels of ~1.3 range.

U.S. spot market dry van truckload rate per mile insights

Shown below is the C.H. Robinson 2022 truckload dry van spot market cost per mile index without fuel. Like others, this forecast has been and will continue to be amended as the economic forces shape freight volumes and the capacity community responds.

The dark blue solid line is DAT's cost per mile to carrier without fuel. Three C.H. Robinson forecasts follow. The base case is where our confidence is.

A lot has happened from last month’s prediction. The graphic clearly shows the DAT cost per mile (CPM) has moved upward since the $1.86 position last month. The national increase in dry van CPM seems aligned with the elevated DAT LTR seen after week 20 (shown earlier in the report). Despite this shift, the C.H. Robinson forecast is unchanged and is considered directionally correct.

For perspective, shown here is the spot market forecast. Analysts have offered contract pricing forecasts of 9% year over year (Y/Y) without fuel as carriers work to recover increasing operating expenses.

C.H. Robinson will continue to apply its broad market costs and market experience to the forecast and continue to present updates on a regular cadence.

Routing guide depth

Voice of the carrier from C.H. Robinson

C.H. Robinson has two customer communities, shipper customers and carrier customers. What follows are insights from conversations with carriers of all sizes to offer perspective into their top concerns for June 2022. Below is a summary of the reoccurring themes.

Drivers

  • Driver recruiting seems to have improved some as displayed through increased applications.
  • Key insight to the market tension and rising costs of fuel is that carriers are reporting increased applications from former owner operators seeking the shelter of independent contractor or employee status.
  • Driver turnover has decreased in the first 5 months of 2022 for some carriers.

Equipment

  • Equipment continues to experience backlogged orders. Carriers are not seeing any relief in delivery times of new orders.
  • Costs of parts are at all-time highs and slower to arrive than ever. Some carriers have resorted to scouring EBAY for parts due to OEM’s backlog.
  • Tractor prices continue to rise, with carriers not receiving their orders from 2021.
  • Repairs that would take days, are now taking weeks to complete due to lack of parts and labor.

Imports and inland transportation

Ocean imports from Shanghai, China
Volumes are expected to increase with the reopening schedule. This could result in notable volume increases in July, August, and September. Unfortunately, it is still too early to predict the volume spikes this reopening could cause.

West Coast longshoreman labor negotiations
Conversations continue and there seems to be some confidence that labor slowdowns will be avoided. The deadline of July 1, 2022, is likely not to be met and an extension of the contract is expected to keep the ports operating and conversations continuing.

Interior point intermodal (IPI) moves
Long Beach terminals are experiencing a 30% increase in container dwell over nine days due to access to chassis and rail cars and overall rail capacity. We would expect this delay to persist into Q3 2022.

Ocean congestion insights

  • While import volumes are declining sequentially because of evolving economic conditions, backups of anchored and slow steaming vessels across North America ports continue. Accordingly, this impacts inland move planning and operations. Some examples include Savannah with 20 vessels anchored last week, and Los Angeles/Long Beach experiencing six-day berths and yard space is nearly at capacity.
  • Inland points such as Cleveland and Columbus are experiencing bottleneck of containers due to arrival bunching and lack of chassis, with Chicago average dwell currently at about five days.

Import air freight demand globally is low
North America airports maintain good “turn times,” though still longer turn times than experienced in 2019. The market should see increased demand starting in July, maybe late June as Shanghai reopens from its lockdown. If there is a surge of demand (which remains to be seen) that could certainly impact terminal performance especially at Los Angeles’s LAX and Chicago’s O'Hare.

For an entire portfolio of insights, visit our Global Freight Market Insights or contact your C.H. Robinson account manager.

Temperature controlled shipping

Refrigerated spot market

Following the trend of the dry van market, refrigerated spot market tension has settled into what is often considered a healthy market of supply and demand. With an average balance of 5.6:1 during the week of June 5-11, 2022.

Produce season continues

So far, 2022’s produce season has been somewhat muted compared to previous years. Consumer demand is presumably muted by inflation. Some more traditional produce origin markets such as California and Texas are down 19% and 42% respectively.

At these levels, the market can be considered balanced and refrigerated truckload pricing and capacity continue benefit from strategy, but are not in a situation of being unable to source capacity to meet demand.

Consumer insight
Inflation is shifting consumer demand. According to grocery retailers, shoppers are turning away from fresh produce and spending more on frozen and canned produce to spend less, gain a longer shelf life at home, and lower waste.

Diesel prices impacting refrigerated truckload community

Refrigerated carriers’ cost of operations is not fully covered as diesel is at record highs. As such, carriers are looking for ways to reduce fuel and occasionally choose to set their refrigerated units on cycle. This lowers the fuel need, but can bring increased temperature variation to the trailer and goods. C.H. Robinson works closely with contract carriers on temperature expectations to help ensure quality of the goods in transit.

Work with temperature controlled experts

Connect with our experts to learn more about how seasonal and supply imbalances affect your business and how our unique transportation procurement and capacity solutions can help your shipping strategy in the short and long term.

Flatbed

Flatbed demand remains steady with increasing capacity
The flatbed market as a whole continues to see capacity increase across all regions, albeit at different paces. The industries that contribute to flatbed demand are continuing their year-to-date positive growth across the market regions. While inflation and labor continue to have a negative influence on demand in the automotive and building materials sector, other sectors like manufacturing and energy products are maintaining the overall market demand.

Spot market to contract
Many fleets report repositioning their flatbed equipment to take advantage of planned project freight in the manufacturing and building materials sectors in an effort to improve fleet performance from the efficiencies that come with planned freight. C.H. Robinson is working closely with clients who have project freight to secure capacity and increase performance for time sensitive projects.

Cross-border shipping: Canada

Canadian freight volumes taper off

Manufacturing, which accounts for roughly 10% of Canada's gross domestic product, has been forecasted at 3.5% for 2022 and 3.2% in 2023, down from 4.5% in 2021. Source: Inside Logistics.

Lower volume is cited as a contributing factor in the softer market experience on intra-Canadian and cross-border freight.

Correspondingly, reports spot market loads are off in April and May to a greater extent than truck postings. Source: Loadlink. This sequential drop in postings is broadly seen in North and South cross-border and intra-Canada shipments. While off sequentially, the Y/Y load postings are still well above historical patterns, offering some perspective on the health of the freight market. Shown below is the Loadlink index for loads and trucks posted through April.

Driver looking out the window of his semi cab


Market tension spot market insights

Volumes continue strong Y/Y with sequential declines. Source: Loadlink

Southbound cross-border

  • Truckload tension continues but is improving, with truckload still well above historical volumes of 161% Y/Y.
  • Recent M/M reduction is at 35%.
  • Equipment postings to support this volume were down 36% Y/Y but up 14% sequentially.

Northbound cross-border

  • Truckload volumes declined 37% M/M.
  • Volumes are still up 56% Y/Y.
  • Equipment postings are down 2% Y/Y and down 15% M/M.

Intra-Canada

  • Truck volume is 52% higher Y/Y with a M/M decline of 30%.


Anticipate lower volumes during fresh produce season in Canada

Produce season is in its early stages for Canada, but already reflecting some the same realities seen in the United States, namely the impact of inflation and consumer spending changes away from fresh. This is especially true when pressed to purchase gasoline and other goods and services at higher prices.

Mainstreet research found that more people are eating less due to the increased cost of their grocery bills. Source: CBC News . The refrigerated demand for cross-border produce has been notably slow since the beginning of the season. As more states begin to harvest and a broader array of produce is available, it will be easier to see how the consumer responds and the net demand on refrigerated trucking.

Trucking employment struggling more in Canada than the U.S.

According to Trucking HR Canada, the trucking industry has nearly 23,000 vacant truck driving jobs and could be short more than 55,000 drivers as early as 2024. Source: Inside Logistics.

While the United States have a very realistic long-term forecast for shortage of drivers due to the tail end of the baby boomer generation retiring, 2021's growth of capacity raised trucking employment levels back to pre-pandemic counts.

Washroom access for drivers

The recent elections in Ontario included a commitment to require businesses in Ontario to provide washroom access to truck drivers. This will be the first legislated requirement in North America for businesses to provide washrooms versus portable services or no offering at all.

Cross-border shipping: Mexico

Northbound market tension continues

Truckload tension, as expressed in the LTR for northbound loads, continues its pattern of tension despite the nationwide lessening of tension in the United States. The trade imbalance of roughly three northbound loads for every southbound is key to the sustained LTR northbound from Laredo.

Continued improvement of DAT's spot market dry van LTR has recently settled into 7:1 range. This level of spot market imbalance continues to require flexibility in schedules, lead and transit times, and pricing for northbound freight, but is a noticeable improvement from last month’s average LTR of 11:1. Source: DAT

Total volumes of loads appear strong. Lower freight volume from the automotive industry creates a capacity opportunity for other industries.

Spring produce demand for refrigerated capacity in/near Mexico
The Texas Rio Grande Valley and Arizona borders with Mexico continue to experience increased freight volumes and higher costs as spring produce season hit full swing.

Here’s a look at DAT LTR for refrigerated trucks in the past 30 days at two different border-crossing locations:

  • Nogales: 16.2
  • Pharr: 13.8

Shipment detail requests add pressure
Carriers continue to set expectations for confirmed shipment details prior to pick up for intra-Mexico and cross-border truckloads.

Increasingly, carriers are requiring the Complemento Carta Porte (CCP) by the time of a scheduled pickup to ensure smooth events and minimize dwell events. Some carriers are declining tenders if the shipment information is not available at the time of tender to minimize the risk of long dwell times.

Carriers are limiting the volume of preloaded drop trailers at locations with a history of loads not moving right away. Due to the trade imbalance and continued issue of trailers used as storage, trailer pools and in effect, active capacity, are challenged. As such, carriers prioritize shipments that have pre-set delivery appointments and have a history of quick unloading at U.S. border city destinations. Other shipments are being declined or prioritized lower.

Updates on PITA, CFDI, and Carta Porte

The National Customs Agency of Mexico (ANAM) published Bulletin #6 on May 12, 2022, announcing the implementation of the Aviso de Cruce (AVC), or Crossing Notice. Testing began on June 1, 2022, at all Mexico ports of entry, and will become obligatory July 1, 2022.

  • AVC will replace the PITA/DODA process
  • With the AVC, RFID tags are installed in each truck, replacing the single badge system worn by each driver
  • Fewer data fields will be required to generate the AVC document
  • The Crossing Notice must be generated and submitted to customs directly by the Mexican customs broker.
  • The user will not be able to generate multiple Crossing Notices with the same truck. Each Crossing Notice must be released from customs until a new Crossing Notice can be generated utilizing the same truck.

Connect with your C.H. Robinson team about the new data field requirements and the current grace period for CCP that was extended until September 30, 2022, after which, fines will be levied for errors and omissions to the CCP requirements. Our experts are ready to actively work with you on processes, questions (finance, legal, operations, capacity, technology etc.), and strategies for success.

female produce manager stocking fruit on shelf

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Intermodal Shipping

TOP STORY: Intermodal capacity is readily available

Inland moves of international containers are now at a manageable volume and large retailers report sitting on inventory stockpiles. Accordingly, intermodal capacity is more readily available than any time in the past 12 months.

The historically high cost of fuel is driving intermodal conversions from other over-the-road services. Combined with rising inventories, supply chain managers are revisiting the mode as a way to abate costs in the absence of immediate demand on their goods since intermodal traditionally adds an additional day of transit.

Shown below is a chart from Gross Transportation Consulting, which demonstrates the recent pattern of intermodal volume recovery.

Driver looking out the window of her semi cab

Less Than Truckload (LTL) Shipping

TOP STORY: LTL industry remains in strong position—driven by industrials and ecommerce middle mile

Tonnage versus volume

Less than truckload (LTL) freight mix has been shifting to show the impact middle mile ecommerce is having on the industry. Carriers report tonnage is down, but shipment volume is up. Tonnage has been the historical metric for LTL. With the growing ecommerce segment, understanding shipment count, cube, and tonnage are all critically important..

LTL contract pricing forecast

The June FTR Associates report is forecasting a 9.8% Y/Y increase in pricing. This is up from 6.2% in May. Factors influencing operational expenses include increased fuel surcharges and increased maintenance of aging tractors and trailers.

Additionally, pricing is being presented to signal preferred freight as carriers select the freight that contributes to highest yield.

Establish a diversified carrier strategy

With carriers continuing to be selective—choosing freight that creates value to their networks—a diversified strategy can help distribute your freight portfolio across carriers. In this way, you can secure the best pricing and service the market can offer.

Reach out to your C.H. Robinson representative to see what diversification options exist for your freight portfolio. Developing a diverse carrier strategy could help lessen the impact of market price and service challenges—so you can prepare for today and possible Q3 and Q4 pressured markets

Small Parcel

Parcel carrier ecosystem continues to evolve

With the continuing expansion of ecommerce and direct to consumer shipping, strategies to navigate the parcel carrier community can be highly beneficial. Additionally, there are non-traditional solutions increasingly coming to the market.

Diversifying carrier mix by adding additional nationwide carriers
Many shippers find success is diversifying beyond one national parcel carrier. Instead, a strategy that blends services from UPS, FedEx, USPS, and even DHL can often better meet a variety of needs. Contract complexities around revenue thresholds and volume commitments must be attended to in an effort to ensure pricing isn’t affected.

Non-traditional investments and entrants

Large investments in the last 18 to 24 months have brought increased capacity into the market. These providers typically operate in the fulfillment, non-asset, and gig type services to execute middle and final mile deliveries. Some examples include:

  • Target Stores Shipt division acquired Deliv
  • American Eagle acquired Quite Logistics and AirTerra
  • UPS acquired Roadie

The market can expect to see more investments, acquisitions, and mergers in the near term to expand market services and add capacity as online purchasing becomes a larger part of how business is done.

Connect with your C.H. Robinson account manager to initiate a conversation with our parcel experts.

Government and Regulations

TOP STORY: New FMCSA administrator hearings

As Congress focuses on the mid-term federal elections, policymaking has slowed to a crawl. There are a few items to note:

  • On Wednesday June 8, 2022, Robyn Hutcheson’s confirmation hearing to be the FMCSA administrator occurred before the Senate Commerce Committee. She outlined priorities around studies focused on detention time and driver pay as well as clarifying the differences between brokers and dispatch services. She also committed to improving the drug testing program.
  • A bill to address economic competition with China continues to be negotiated between the U.S. House and Senate. These are referred to as the USICA bill in the Senate and the COMPETES Act in the House. These bills will seek to invest in things like STEM education and U.S.-based chip manufacturing.
  • FMCSA extended the comment period regarding the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for the potential speed limiter rule to July 18, 2022. This is the first step in the rulemaking process to gather information regarding the impact to safety and other factors, like productivity, to speed limiters set at various levels. Please note this is still at least 12–18 months or more from implementation if a final rule is eventually issued.

 

 

Footnotes
1 Grace Caza, Varun Shehar, “Managing Disruptions: Understanding Shipper Routing Guide Performance,” MIT-CTL capstone project May 2022. Data from TMC, A division of C.H. Robinson.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

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