The Top 6 Stories in Freight
Here’s what’s happening this week:
- Strike looms as Port of Montreal labor truce expires
- Major intermodal merger is huge win for North American shippers
- Importers brace for doubled freight rates
- Trickle-down effect impacts all areas of the supply chain
- February weather disruptions increased shipper stress
- U.S. lawmakers introduce supply chain readiness bill
The hottest stories in freight can be found here, in the Weekly Freight Report:
1. Strike looms as Port of Montreal labor truce expires
They’re calling it an ‘ugly, ugly mess’ in the making as labor truce expires and Montreal longshoremen reject contract offer. Just seven months ago these same longshore workers were striking over labor disputes- that time lasting 12 days. It was ugly then… and if history repeats itself, it will be even uglier now. With volumes surging to all-time highs and the Port of Montreal being the countries second-busiest port, Transportation directors say ‘if a strike happens again, it’s a black eye for Canada, Quebec, and the port.’ While a strike hasn’t been called, it’s clear there is a wide gap between the union and management. It will be important for shippers to keep this developing story on their radars. Read up here.
2. Major intermodal merger is huge win for North American shippers
It’s great news for North American shippers utilizing intermodal. Canadian Pacific’s acquisition of Kansa City Southern will connect six of the seven largest metropolitan regions across the continent and create the first US-Canada-Mexico railroad. This is expected to reduce transit times and provide new product offerings- such as service between Dallas and Chicago. Get all the details on the merger here.
3. Importers brace for doubled freight rates
It’s contract season… and it’s clear that vessel carriers have all the power. For importers, it’s all about finding space this year. And they’re paying a premium for it. “There is no room.” says a home improvement store retailer. Import volume is expected to be unusually strong this summer and fall… and very little new capacity is expected to be added to the trade. And to no surprise, carriers are favoring shippers who have higher MQCs. Get the full story here.
4. Trickle-down effect impacts all areas of the supply chain
Oversea orders that used to be placed and delivered within 30 days are now taking up to two months… and even that’s ‘iffy’ says some shippers. Those feeling the most pressure are smaller businesses with less budget and businesses with timely products. Freight hold-ups are trickling down the entire supply chain… and now shippers are spending more time easing customer expectations. Read about the leading bottlenecks here.
5. February weather disruptions increased shipper stress
The February truckload market was a nightmare in February due to severe weather… and DAT has the numbers to prove it. The Truckload Volume Index showed that 10 million loads were posted the week of Feb 21 alone… an increase of 42% from the previous high in June 2018. And a 174% jump year over year. Capacity was shot… and prices jumped 63 cents m/m for dry vans. We knew the severe weather would come at a price for shippers… but what actually happened was beyond expectations. Get the full report here.
6. U.S. lawmakers introduce supply chain readiness bill
A strong supply chain is key to navigating a crisis… we learned that the hard way last year. And just a year later, U.S. lawmakers are suggesting legislation to support strengthening the nation’s supply chain machine. The bill would establish an Office of Supply Chain Preparedness within the Department of Commerce, create a National Manufacturing Guard, a public-private Supply Chain Data Exchange, and an apprenticeship program to develop the U.S. manufacturing workforce. Read up on the proposed bill here.
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