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Freight Forwarding Weekly: Smooth Holidays for Trucking 🎄

Rise and shine! 🐓🌞 It’s that time of the week again: the Freight Forwarding Weekly.

And, you know what? It’s Thanksgiving week!

To our friends and colleagues that celebrate this holiday: Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃

We have a special issue of the Weekly for you with the latest numbers, the most important news stories from across the freight & logistics industry, and more.

This week’s edition is brought to you by our premium member in Spain, Almar Group.

📈 BY THE NUMBERS: Important numbers impacting freight and logistics.

⛽ Diesel ($/gal): $5.233 / gal 

Compared to a year ago, the average per-gallon price of diesel is up by $1.509. Data via the U.S. Energy Information Administration – Week of Nov. 21.

✈️ Air Cargo Index: 213.5 🔽 (October, FRED)

Compared to September on the same data set, Air Cargo Index is down from 236.5. Data vis St. Louis FED.

🚢 Global Container Index: $3,040 (Nov. 18)

💸 TOP LINE STORY: Trucking industry is ready for holidays, says industry experts. 

Via Transport Topics (TT), experts say that holiday shipping this season is expected to be marked by few delays and supply chain disruptions, compared to the previous few years due to the global pandemic. What can we attribute to this new easing? Early freight movements and a flattening volume and increased freight capacity. Greg Hewitt, the chief executive officer of DHL Express U.S., said these trends are encouraging. Mr. Hewitt added: “There’s a little more capacity than there was before. That’s taken the pressure off of the fixed networks like ours…”

TT also points to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) forecast published on Nov. 3 said that the holiday retail sales will grow from 6% to 8% from the records sets during Nov. and Dec. 2021. This is literally between a whopping $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion in sales this holiday.

Read more at Transport Topics and check out the NRF Nov. 3 forecast here for context.

FYI: NRF Expects a crazy record of 166.3 million shoppers during the Thanksgiving weekend.

“While there is much speculation about inflation’s impact on consumer behavior, our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see robust store traffic with a record number of shoppers taking advantage of value pricing,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.

Other stories we’re watching…🔭

😱 Amazon Freight horror story (Twitter thread).

Molson Hart is the founder and chief executive officer of Viahart – an e-commerce educational toy company. He recently posted to a Twitter thread about selling through Amazon and relying on Amazon Freight – the only outfit in town doing inbound and outbound shipping for Viahart.

“My company paid Amazon ~$4 million dollars in the last 12 months and we’ve been selling on Amazon for over a decade. I have no idea what they’re doing right now. And neither do they.”

🐦Read the Twitter thread right here. Let that info sink in.

🎳 Market data firm: Spot rates in the trucking industry are dipping under costs.

ACT Research, a market data firm dealing with commercial transport, published a 56-page report about freight costs at lower points. This is hastened by the soft demand for durable goods. ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst Tim Denoyer said the following, via a press release: “While we lower truckload rate forecasts on supply factors, we believe the bottoming process is beginning as spot rates are now further below costs than ever before.”

Check out Freight Waves for more. Read the report on ACT Research’s website.

⛽California might ban diesel at ports by 2035, because…California.

The California Air Resources Board has proposed a plan to phase out older trucks that operate in the busy corridors that shuttle shipping containers between ports, rail years, warehouses, and forwarders. It is a part of a wider plan to migrate vehicles to be powered by clean fuels by 2024.

From 2025 on, the state board would ban trucks powered by combustion engines with more than 800k miles on them from operating at ports and rail yards, reports WSJ. 30,000 trucks need to run on clean energy by 2035. Trucking industry pros are concerned that this will further exacerbate an already existing big gap between the target years and a lack of charging ability.

“Nobody is saying we don’t want to move to advanced technology,” but there is no ability to meet the 2035 deadline “because there’s no charging,” said CEO Matt Schrap of the Harbor Trucking Association. The association represents harbor trucking firms on the Pacific coast.

Read up at Wall Street Journal.

😱 Ocean carriers are in a panic over China bookings. 

According to trade media, ocean carriers are panicking because bookings from China to Europe and the United State Pacific coast have declined. Or, in the words, ocean bookings tanked.

“The westbound market seems like it’s in panic,” a forwarding executive at a firm based in the United Kingdom told The Loadstar’s very own Mike Wackett. Ocean carriers are said to be preparing a set of reduced rates for further volume and relaxing or even waiving, demurrage, and detention conditions at ports. “There hasn’t been a Christmas rush on westbound and I put that down to the recession,” the unnamed executive told Wackett, adding on slow-down fears.

Read the rest of this story at The Loadstar.

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This edition of our newsletter was written by Michael M., Freight Forwarding Weekly’s chief news analyst.

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