The Weekly Freight Report for December 17, 2020

The Top 7 Stories in Freight

Here’s what’s happening this week:

  1. Carriers throw money at driver shortage but its a short-term fix
  2. 90% of a company’s disruption is in the supply chain
  3. Trucks to play a major role in COVID-19 vaccine distribution 
  4. Market cools before final push as tender rejections fall 11% 
  5. Lock down continues as U.S.- Canada border stays closed till Jan 21
  6. Carriers own the rate power and will drive prices into new year 
  7. Holy smokes: 46K drivers flagged for drug violations 

The hottest stories in freight can be found here, in the Weekly Freight Report:

1. Short-term fix to curing driver shortage

Drivers are getting a wage increase. This is the 4th carrier to make a major announcement on increased incentives for drivers in the last few weeks. And while it’s certainly a good short-term, will it be enough to fix the driver shortage? Our guess is no. Drivers left not only because of pay… but because of poor working conditions. The real question lies in what major carriers are doing to improve the quality of work. 


2. Reducing risk across the supply chain

STAT OF THE WEEK: 90% of a company’s potential disruption hot spots are hidden somewhere in its supply chain. This was evident throughout 2020. And for most logistics teams, major problems stemmed from a lack of communications and data from their suppliers. Moving forward, businesses are transforming supplier sustainability to better project and address disruptions, while also providing beneficial data to their suppliers. Check out what smart shippers are cooking up.


3. Trucks to play a major role in distribution

It’s the #1 story dominating supply chain news: The FDA has authorized the emergency use of Pfizer’s vaccine… and trucks will be at the center of distributing it. The vaccine must be kept at -70 degrees Celsius or colder, and is being packed in dry ice for distribution. This eliminates the need for conventional refrigerated trailers, but delivery will press an already thin truck and trailer supply. Catch up on all the details right here.


4. Tender rejections fall 11% since Thanksgiving 

The freight market took a breath last week from the November frenzy. Tender rejections “normalized”, falling nearly 11% since Thanksgiving. But it’s not expected to last. The outlook remains the same: tight capacity, strong volumes, and positive cyclicality. And next week is when drivers implement widespread bracketing in hopes of taking loads that keep them closer to home for the holidays. Get the full details here.


5. U.S.- Canada border stays closed till Jan 21

Officials say the U.S.-Canada border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least late January. Freight will remain unaffected, however. Trucks will continue to be able to move freight freely across the borders under the terms of the original restrictions that have been in place since March. Get the full update here.


6. Carriers will drive prices into new year 

Outbound tender rejections have decreased. Trucking capacity has become easier to secure. And yet, spot rates continue to rise. What’s the cause? Freightwaves believes volume driven by slower, more prolonged holiday sales is the culprit. And as drivers get picky about lanes next week for the holidays, rejections will surely go up. Shippers expect high rates and lack of capacity to continue into the new year.  Read the article here.

7. 46K drivers flagged under Clearinghouse 

The Drug Clearinghouse was a major talking point coming into 2020… 10 months later, we get the first peek at the number and they’re pretty ugly… 46,000 drivers have had drug-related violations recorded in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse database. What’s worse, only 4,400 drivers have completed their return-to-duty requirements. This means over 41K drivers have not completed their treatment or been hired back to operate in a safety-sensitive job. This will continue to be a major talking point as we go into 2021 with an already thin diver pool. Get the details.


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