North American Freight Market Insights

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Transportation Market Overview and Freight Trends

TOP STORY: What "bottom of the truckload" market means and the opportunities it brings

The phrase, "bottom of the market" is used by many industry participants and analysts as study and conversation of the truckload market cycle is exchanged. But what does it mean and how should shippers think about it?

And if today's truckload market is at the bottom, but the less than truckload (LTL) market is considered in a more "balanced" state, how might we look to the balance of 2023 and onto 2024 for both modes?

Defining “bottom of the market”

As the market cycles between the tight and loose markets with transition periods, often the transition to and time in the tight market is considered the upcycle. The progress to the soft market and time spent there is often viewed as the downcycle.

The “bottom of the market” is often described as the point when the truckload market is oversupplied and the spot market rate for dry van is sustained at about the cost per mile to operate a truck.

Current state of the transportation market

Arguably, today's market is at the bottom. Refer to the dry van spot market forecast later in this report to see the current cost per mile and its forecast in relation to the estimated cost per mile to operate a truck.

For a shipper’s truckload strategy, it is important to understand that the spot market referenced here is commonly cited as about 15% of the truckload market in a soft market (like the current period). When in the undersupplied or tight periods, an estimated 25% of truckload freight is in the spot market. As the market evolves, both freight and capacity move between the spot and contract markets.

Take advantage of every opportunity

Based on today’s conditions, there are strategy opportunities for both the spot and contract truckload plans for your business. The market’s current state is an excellent time to review your transportation strategy and prepare for the next upcycle.

Appy the following strategies—based on topics C.H. Robinson has researched with universities—to make the most of the current, and next, market cycle. They have been shown to create value in both the soft and tight markets. 

Truckload strategies for contract and spot markets
The broader truckload market trade flows influence strategy. Truck strategies and end experiences are influenced by the broader market trade balances and imbalances. Improve your outcomes by segmenting lanes using these broader market capabilities.

  • Use demand patterns of truckload lanes to place freight in a route guide of contracted commitments or into the transactional spot market.
  • Develop a digitally enabled spot market strategy that automates and improves results.
    • Set the spot market backup strategy somewhere between the second and fourth backup of a route guide.
    • For freight that is planned to go directly to spot market, employ tools and processes to automate the process.
  • Rationalize your truckload supplier community with top performing suppliers.
  • Maintain your truckload route guide regularly—attend to underperforming lanes and make changes on a regular cadence.

LTL insights and strategies
The LTL industry continues to be relatively balanced due to crossdock/terminal rationalization over the past 12 years amidst material growth in LTL tonnage. Of late, carriers have started investing to expand docks to help support continued growth. These expansion plans result in about 1–2% capacity gain per year.

With 2022 and 2023 tonnage declines, the LTL market is working its way from undersupplied to balanced. Currently, LTL carriers are displaying pricing discipline and continue taking single digit pricing increases with some select declines where volume is needed.

Use the following research-driven insights on the LTL industry to set your expectations of the LTL market and better understand how to get the best experience. Source: MIT-CTL and C.H. Robinson research

  • Weight (large volume shipments) is correlated to on-time pickup.
  • Low volume market lanes experience lower on-time pick.
  • Origin distance from the LTL terminal impacts on-time pick.
  • Historical experience on transit time is often a better on-time performance reference than published transit times.

As there are many things about the LTL experience that can't be influenced, planning expectations to follow likely or historical experiences will lessen surprises. Additionally, utilizing a portfolio of carriers is key to the best experience possible. Not all freight is equally attractive to all carriers. Develop a multi-carrier strategy aligned with carrier preferences to help ensure the best price and service results.

These and other topics can be explored in greater detail in our C.H. Robinson white papers or by scheduling a solution design experience with our experts.

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Full Truckload Shipping

TOP STORY: Capacity realignment

Signs of shifting capacity in the truckload market have been evident for about a year. The market has shown strong revocation of operating authority and trucking labor growth at the same time.

As a market moves into and through the downcycle, the smallest carriers—those that spend the majority of their time in the spot market—experience stressed financials due to the lower spot market prices and higher operating expenses.

These higher expenses are seen with inflated tractor and trailer pricing, higher diesel pricing (improving but still above pre-pandemic levels), and higher insurance and maintenance costs. As such, the smallest carriers either need to leave the industry or seek the shelter of fleets that have contracted volumes. The markers of this are increased voluntary revocation of operating authority and increased trucking jobs reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS is largely measuring payroll jobs and not capturing the self-employed owner-operators. Thus, both the indicators of voluntary revocation of operating authority (indicating some loss of carrier companies) and the BLS trucking employment showing drivers are still in the industry, are helpful to understanding the general direction of capacity.

The graph below, from the March 1, 2023, FTR Transport Intelligence report, analyzes net revocations. They report that January saw the largest number ever of trucking companies losing authority (excluding those that had their authority reinstated during the month). (Note: May 2022 net revocations may be inflated by special enforcement of a paperwork rule.)

dry van to truck 5 year comparison

January showed the largest net decline (net revocations minus new carrier creation/authorization) by far in the carrier population at roughly 4,000 lost. Of note is that this can't be seen as net loss of capacity due to job creation in fleet truck lines.

The BLS reported originally 4,100 new jobs in trucking from January month over month (M/M). but was amended with the March 10th release to only 1,300 new trucking jobs created. Also, the preliminary February trucking jobs figure shows a loss of ~8,500 jobs. The January downward adjustment and February preliminary figures don’t confirm a trend, but if the market continues this pattern, it suggests likely contraction of capacity occurring in both the smallest carriers and fleet-based carriers.

National LTR averages

The first quarter continues to offer easily available capacity and very low pricing. Spot market load to truck ratios (LTR) have settled to levels not seen through the pandemic. Freight volumes against available capacity present carriers with strategic questions about investment.

The first set of figures below shows the current national average truckload spot market LTR with the five previous years shown for context. Of late, today’s market is trending below the five-year average, which is one indicator that suggests the market is oversupplied. The next section of this report will show the regional visibility that rolls up to the national average.

Dry van LTR

Dry van is the largest segment of the truck market. It is performing the strongest against the five-year average in most markets across the country. For context, the dry van spot market is a bit tighter than the loose year of 2019, and a bit looser than the weeks leading up to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic of late March 2020.

The year opened as expected with LTR dropping as truck drivers returned from vacation and normal January freight volumes were soft. With an oversupplied market, carriers are discerning how to navigate the current environment with some owner-operators seeking opportunities by driving for larger fleets, parking trucks, or exiting the market altogether.

Shown here is the nationwide U.S. DAT LTR for dry van spot market for the years 2018 through 2022 and the first 10 weeks of 2023 plotted in red. Week 10 LTR was 2.3:1 and the 5-year average was ~5:1. It seems likely this market will moderate a bit in this range for the near term.

dry van to truck 5 year comparison

Refrigerated van LTR

Refrigerated truckload is following a similar pattern to dry van, matching the patterns of 2019 and 2020. Seasonal and regional tension impact this mode of trucking earlier in the year with the floral season kicking off in week five to serve the Valentine’s Day holiday and preparing for Mother’s Day in May.

Additionally, with the very cold seasonal weather, protect from freezing service requires additional refrigerated trucks. Products like beverages are being hauled in these trailers without the refrigeration units being turned on, taking advantage of the insulated trailer.

Fresh produce season will introduce additional regional pressures that follow growing regions in the South and their northward migration into the fall.

refrigerated load to truck 5 year comparison

Flatbed LTR

Today’s flatbed spot market continues to offer plentiful capacity in most markets with LTRs well below historical averages and spot and contract pricing closely aligned.

flatbed load to truck ratio 5 year comparison

Regional LTR averages

When developing truckload strategies and evaluating performance, consider the broader market capability. Some markets are in balance while others may be over or undersupplied against meaningful volumes, where other markets may have little trade and freight. The freight experience in these markets should influence strategy and they will vary as the annual cycles are experienced.

Note how the colors indicate different ranges of LTR by each of the three truckload services. Some lanes from an origin may perform better or worse than the LTR might indicate. Research and experience confirm that an origin-destination pair can have more or less attractive features to the capacity market than the regional average tension might indicate.

Regional dry van LTR

Dry van displays a green level (2.2 to 3.4 LTR) broadly across the United States with some balance displayed east of the Mississippi River up to the East Coast states. The national average is 2.1:1 against a 5-year average around 5:1.

Dry van spot market heatmap DAT - C.H. Robinson freight market insights 11.17.22

Regional refrigerated LTR

The market is still showing some warmer colors in the Midwest and to the South, influenced by colder weather at this time of year for products that need protection from freezing benefit from the insulated trailers. National LTR average in the 3.2:1 range against a 5-year average around 7:1.

Reefer spot market heatmap DAT - C.H. Robinson freight market insights 11.17.22

Regional flatbed LTR

Today’s flatbed spot market LTR shows some regional tension in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Broadly, the flatbed market offers plentiful capacity for spot and contract services nationwide.

Flatbed heatmap DAT - C.H. Robinson freight market insights 11.17.22

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 and dedicated truckloads. Most analysts are now offering that a material shift from 75% (some analysts suggested an even smaller share) of freight in the contract market in 2021 and early 2022 back to roughly 85% (some suggest a bit more) of freight in the contract market currently.

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 first awarded transportation provider accepts their shipment tenders.

These insights are from the week of March 5–11, and also reflect on RGD from the month of February 2023.

RGD by U.S. region

The regional view continued to show the Northeast displaying the most challenging RGD, while also offering the greatest improvement. The February national average RGD improved by 3% M/M and resulted in a 31% reduction in RGD compared to February 2022.

The week of March 5–11 offers a virtually unchanged RGD report compared to four weeks prior. The Northeast pattern continues with the highest RGD of 1.28 against the national average of 1.15.

Broadly speaking, route guides are performing well, with primary service providers accepting loads at pre-pandemic levels and the first backup provider accepting rejected tenders most of the time.

Routing guide line graph - TMC + C.H. Robinson freight insights 11.17.22

The chart above from TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson, reflects weekly RGD regionally across the United States through the week of Feb 5–11.

February FTA for North America improved a point to 90%

This FTA is much improved from February 2022 at 81%. January 2023 was 89%.

February RGD across distance bands

Broadly speaking, today’s market is flush with capacity. Load tenders from hierarchical route guides are typically accepted by the primary awarded supplier. When rejected, they tend to be those that are unattractive to carriers for one reason or another.

Aside from load attribute issues, such as unpredictable load tenders or short lead time, route guides continue to show the Northeast region is underperforming in comparison to the balance of the country.

Loads with length of haul under 400 miles continue to show higher FTA and lower RGD than other distance bands. Carriers are accepting all distance bands much more readily with a recent correction as shown in the image above.

For February, all three distance bands saw improved route guide performance over December.

  • Short haul (less than 400 miles) posted an improvement in RGD of 2% from December and 21% improvement Y/Y—about 1.1.
  • Middle distance (400–600 miles) improved 1% from December at ~1.23. This is a 35% improvement from February 2022 and the best route guide depth performance for February in the past six years.
  • Long distance (over 600 miles) RGD improved 3% from December to 1.18. At 33% better than February 2022, this also is the second lowest route guide depth performance for February in past six years.

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

The latest dry van spot market cost per mile forecast is updated with the results of the typical January softness due to drivers being back from vacation, which effectively increases active capacity from the holiday season. This, combined with rather normal pattern of reduced freight volumes in January and early February, result in a familiar truckload market softness.

The result during this period in most years is lowered market tension. This year’s freight experience is similar to 2019 and early 2020, which was the market’s last oversupply year before the shutdown of economies in March and the introduction of the pandemic period.

Dry van is showing just slightly more tension than 2019 and refrigerated and flatbed are below 2019 levels.

FTR Transportation Intelligence offers freight volume forecasts at the truckload sub mode level with dry van forecasted at 0.0% increase in loadings for 2023 and refrigerated at 1.7% increase Y/Y. Other sectors are forecasted down in their February 2023 trucking update with the exception of “specialized,” which is forecasted at a 0.7% increase in loadings.

Other analysts offer an aggregate of blended volume modal forecasts that are low to mid-single digit lower Y/Y. Forecasting the trucking market in any year is a study of supply and demand. Supply is seemingly still very strong and freight volumes muted. As the year evolves, forecasts will be adjusted based on the carrier community response to the market in terms of adding or removing assets from active use and the accuracy of the freight volume forecasts.

C.H. Robinson 2023 dry van spot market cost per mile forecast

Shown below is the C.H. Robinson 2023 truckload dry van spot market cost per mile forecast without fuel. Like others, this forecast has been and will continue to be amended as economic forces shape freight volumes and the capacity community responds.

  • The dark blue solid line is DAT’s broker cost per mile paid to carriers without fuel.
  • The light blue dotted line is the C.H. Robinson forecast for 2023.
  • The forecast is bounded on the bottom by the estimated cost per mile to operate a truck.

When looking at previous market cycles, the cost per mile to operate a truck has been the bottom of the market. Then supply tends to contract, creating tension and pricing inflection. The length of time a market is at the bottom varies by the economic conditions and the level of oversupply.

The C.H. Robinson forecast shows normal seasonal downward movement of cost per mile in January and bottoms out at the estimated cost per mile to operate a truck. This monthly update includes the March forecast, which anticipates more price movement in the van spot market later in the year than was forecasted in early January.

There have been subtle tweaks to this month's forecast, but it is largely similar to February's.

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.

Spot market forecast - C.H. Robinson freight market insights Nov. 2022

DAT National dry van linehaul cost per mile is the broker price paid to carriers per mile, which excluded fuel surcharge. The C.H. Robinson forecast is an extension of that cost. Estimated cost per mile to operate a truck is a C.H. Robinson forecast based on the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) historical costs to operate a truck through 2021

When reflecting on the average cost per mile to operate a truck, note that this is a national average across the carrier community. Accordingly, it aggregates carriers of all sizes—from owner-operators to the largest fleets.

Each carrier will have a different cost to operate per mile based on a host of variables with a key variable being the amount of empty (non-revenue generating) miles the carrier experiences.

The large portfolio of shipments C.H. Robinson handles is just one of the reasons carriers choose to haul for us. With so many load options, carriers can more easily find loads that decrease operating expenses. This in turn creates more capacity options for shippers that work with C.H. Robinson.

Diesel fuel retail pricing

In their March 7, 2023 Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA estimates March 2023 real retail diesel pricing at $4.34/gallon, down from $4.42 in February. For perspective, March 2021 was at $5.37. Finally, in March 2020, the beginning of the pandemic period, diesel was $3.19/gallon . The report also forecasted December 2023 at $3.98. Shown is the EIA's forecast for 2023 and into 2024.

Routing guide line graph - TMC + C.H. Robinson freight insights 11.17.22

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 over the past month. Below is a summary of the reoccurring themes.

Carrier insights on the market
  • Freight volumes continue below plan, increasing empty miles and the need to direct some awarded capacity to the spot market.
  • There is some cautious optimism for market balance in Q3 while others look to Q4.
  • Some carriers are parking trucks and reducing driver employees to align active supply with demand.
  • Some carriers are working at break-even pricing to garner volume for their active trucks.
  • In and out of California, load volume and pricing have dropped to the point carriers are reporting parking trucks that serve this region.
  • Both tractors and trailers are readily available, but still at high costs.
  • Fleet carriers continue to report that owner-operators are applying for fleet driver positions.
  • Team drivers continue to be difficult to seat/employ.
Imports and inland transportation

Places where the global supply chain meets North American supply chains—like ports and airports—are also affected by the cyclical market and other disruptors. Here is a look at top influencers impacting imports.

While import volumes have slowed, the shift to increased East Coast port use continues to show some pressure for trucking off the ports. Here are some insights that are helpful to planning and scheduling.:

Southeast United States:

  • Port Everglades Terminal: Florida's number one container port will begin to charge a Terminal Escort Fee on May 1, 2023, for any driver needing terminal access without having a TWIC card. C.H. Robinson is able to meet this expectation due to our carrier community relationships, but the change may impact shippers that do not use C.H. Robinson for this service.

Northeast United States:

  • New York and New Jersey ports: There has been a recent uptick in March with inbound volume. Expect USEC volumes to build into the end of Q1. Wait time in NY/NJ at the gates is a rare occurrence and a welcome change in the Northeast for drivers.
  • Returning empty containers brings only slight issues, however the empty return role is still in effect for the steamship lines and some additional charges may be added while these empties are held outside the yard.
  • Warehouse transloading options are plentiful.

Central/Ohio Valley:

  • Most inland terminals in this region are performing reasonably well.
  • Columbus is again experiencing chassis shortages, connect with your C.H. Robinson representative for details as this is dependent on origin, ocean carrier alignment, and final delivery location.
  • Minneapolis is experiencing delays due to winter weather. Container and chassis capacity is available.
  • Kansas City continues to experience 40' chassis shortages.

    West Coast and Gulf:
  • Los Angeles and Long Beach continue experiencing congestion and wait times exceeding two hours.
  • Sporadic issues with terminals not allowing empty returns in SoCal continue, which can result in added detention charges or disputes.
  • Oakland is running well with both shifts open and operational.

For a full market report on global forwarding, visit the C.H. Robinson Global Freight Market Insights.

Temperature controlled shipping

The temperature controlled marketplace is continuing its national trend of slowing demand in Q1, resulting in a competitive capacity marketplace that leads to attractive pricing and readily accessible capacity ahead of produce season. The following are early produce season insights.

Impact of the economy

Inflation has influenced consumer buying behaviors this year as produce season starts in the Southeast and parts of Southern California.

In a typical produce season when the economy is in balance, the harvest is what dictates demand. However, when the markets are in flux and inflation is ever present, consumer buying patterns and retail expectations drive demand.

Stable weather patternss

Harvests are healthy this year due to stable weather patterns and all signs point to retailers, especially the big box/discount retailers, having normal/anticipated demand and a strong produce season.

Demand for fresh

In past cycles where consumer spending is stressed due to economic factors, produce buying tends to shift to canned goods as an alternative. So far, the market does not show this shift materializing and demand remains for fresh commodities and produce.

Grower insights and market conditions

The C.H. Robinson voice of grower insights suggest a good early produce season in the south with strong volumes.

With the loose to balanced market seen in the early days of the 2023 produce season, expect the market to experience the influence of produce season, but it is unlikely there will be a material spike in market tension.


Of the three primary truckload services (van, refrigerated, and flatbed), flatbed demonstrates the greatest capacity opportunity with the spot market LTR level patterning below five-year averages. Service levels are much improved in the current market due to plentiful capacity.

Building materials

These types of products are experiencing a slowdown in freight volume:

  • Shippers in this industry report inventory levels are high, influencing spring freight volumes
Building materials
  • Freight volumes appear similar year over year (Y/Y)
  • Supply signals suggest continued growth from current levels
  • Demand remains steady
  • Carriers look to hold pricing or take small increases to retain awarded volumes
  • There is a great opportunity for optimization, consolidation, and sustainability initiatives with collaborative providers in core lanes
Pricing and capacity insights
  • Contract market pricing has largely bottomed out
  • Spot market still offers a bit more relief as the bottom of the market approaches
  • Weather disruptions are becoming less prevalent than earlier in the winter months
  • Trailer capacity is stressed in the Gulf region due to many projects, impacting trailer pools in other regions

Cross-border shipping: Canada

The Canadian spot market kicked off with a strong start in 2023 as volume increased 22% M/M, but is still down 26% compared to 2022 volume. Source: Loadlink Technologies.

The truck to load ratio in January was 17 percent lower at 1.76 than that of December at 2.13. Year over year, January’s truck to load ratio was 89% higher than the extremely low ratio of 0.93 seen in January 2022. Most of the growth was attributed to a significant increase in northbound freight from the United States.

  • Outbound Loads: Down 1% M/M and down 51% Y/Y
  • Inbound Loads: Down 22% M/M and down 53% Y/Y
  • Intra Canada: Up 4% M/M and down 19% Y/Y

The Canada market is evolving toward the looser market tension seen in the United States, resulting in more capacity availability and lower pricing. Typical spring freight activity is expected to be lessened and 2023 will likely remain in a loose to balanced market for cross-border and intra-Canada trucking. Of note, the refrigerated segment of truckload shows market tension closer to an average year, a bit more constrained than dry van as a result of colder temperatures and this equipment being used to protect products from freezing. Eastern Canada cross-border freight currently offers the greatest capacity and pricing opportunities.

Western Canada cross-border freight has some tension for Northbound loads due to imbalance of trade, resulting in a bit more pricing pressure to cover empty miles, but there is plenty of capacity.

Canada ELD mandate update

More than two months into electronic logging device (ELD) enforcement there are few to no material issues being experienced.

Cross-border shipping: Mexico

Nearshoring insights

Industrial park occupation in Mexico continues to increase as companies pursue a more diversified global supply chain. Source: Mexico News Daily

This growth of manufacturing in Mexico impacts cross-border trucking. Carriers are demonstrating increased willingness to position their U.S.-based equipment in Mexico for Northbound loads to the United States. As a result, Southbound truckload rates are improving

Direct load service (those carried on the same trailer through Mexico and across the United States) is being sought by shippers at an increasing rate and carriers are responding with expanded capacity.

Recent increases in spot market LTRs in Laredo, TX, are evident, but not problematic for capacity. Now is an exceptional time to reevaluate a cross-border truckload plan to prepare for the next upcycle.

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Intermodal Shipping

TOP STORY: Long-range commitment strategies continue to offer benefits

Intermodal freight volumes continue to lag capacity availability

Volumes continue to be below capacity, resulting in faster train speeds and sustainable capacity solutions. Pricing has been trending with trucking and tends to lag trucking four to six weeks.

Pricing opportunities continue surfacing

Pricing is falling and is now near 30% lower Y/Y. Due to the longer transit time for intermodal versus truckload, intermodal pricing tends to move to levels below trucking in recognition of the slower service. The most advantageous pricing being offered by the railroads is for long-term volume commitments due to the value for capacity planning and yield models.

Less Than Truckload (LTL) Shipping

TOP STORY: Pricing discipline for LTL continues

Pricing discipline continues for LTL carriers

LTL carriers report Q1 2023 freight volume is as expected, if not better. That said, volumes are softer by single digit percentages Y/Y with some lanes offering no increases.

Pricing discipline continues through Q1. With lessening volumes, networks are running at balanced levels versus the oversupplied environment of truckload.

Carriers are focused on:

  • Easy to manage freight
  • Efficient digital process relationships
  • Accessorial charges for over-dimensional freight
  • Embargos for select locations with long dwell events
  • Pricing less desirable freight higher according to its attributes

When engaging the LTL market for new pricing, be mindful of your freight portfolio and consider how both attractive and undesirable shipments are presented to the carrier community to ensure the best outcomes.

Small Parcel

UPS Labor negotiations

One of the biggest events currently looming in the parcel world is the possibility of a UPS Teamsters strike occurring this summer. In April, the United Parcel Service plans to negotiate a new national union contract. The Teamsters, a union group that represents hundreds of thousands of UPS workers, is likely to put pressure on the company to ensure satisfactory worker conditions and demands are met.

What to do amid this uncertainty

  • Potentially secure a carrier agreement with FedEx or a regional carrier to avoid possible disruptions. Shippers that transition from UPS to FedEx prior to March 31, 2023 will be included in 2023 capacity planning, those transitioning after will be on a first come first serve basis.
  • If renewing a UPS agreement soon, discuss how the strike could potentially impact what is listed in the agreement.
  • Utilize a multi-carrier shipping platform that helps monitor shipment performance and in-transit visibility.
  • Review helpful resources on the FedEx strategy and the labor situation.

Government and Regulations

TOP STORY: FMCSA proposes changes to its motor carrier Safety Measurement System

On February 14, 2023, FMCSA announced significant proposed changes in the way they would analyze roadside inspection and violation data in their Safety Measurement System (SMS). These changes prioritize carriers for further enforcement action.

This revision has been a long-running discussion on the best way for FMCSA to identify high-risk carriers—a discussion that the National Academy of Science researched in 2017 per Congressional request in the MAPT-21 transportation bill.

A revision of the SMS methodology is the first step before FMCSA can revise the Safety Fitness Determination process that assigns safety ratings to motor carriers. Realistically, this means that a new Safety Fitness Determination is at least two years or more from finalization. For shippers and those that select motor carriers, this adds to the urgency that HR 915 should be passed by Congress.

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