Transfix Take Podcast | Ep. 21 – Week of Sept 20
It’s Here! Peak Season Already Causing Supply Chain Adjustments
There are 66 container ships parked off the coast of California. All these ships are waiting for space at the port, so they can unload goods that will continue their path through a very congested supply chain in the U.S. With retail sales predicted to grow this year by 7%, retailers are still not confident with their inventory levels and are rushing to position these record imports. This is causing freight volume to increase in OTR (over-the-road) movements, while rail volume is declining. It’s just faster to go OTR, even as rates rise.
Additionally, the unprecedented congestion at the Port of Los Angeles and other West Coast ports is driving shippers to reroute ships to other ports nationwide. This is changing the composition of OTR freight, as shippers scramble to reposition their arriving goods. In 2020, more long-haul freight was being moved, which resulted in decreased capacity (due to long hauls occupying drivers for longer periods of time). In 2021, city and short hauls are increasing at the expense of long hauls — in the past few months, we’ve seen as much as 20% more freight being moved in the shortest haul categories. It remains to be seen whether this will help loosen some capacity.
Peak season is already here, and it is making a statement in the market. Where OTR is concerned, last week saw some key shifts in different regional markets — many of which will last well into 2022.
- Hurricane Nicholas made a surprise trip through the U.S. and up the Texas coastline, but overall rates in the South have come off their inflation from the weather that affected them a few weeks ago; they are headed toward 5-month lows.
- On the flip side, rates and volumes are rising on the West Coast, where imports are finally translating to volume on trucks. Shippers need to push freight out now, which is easier said than done when most facilities are already running at more than 100%.
The final weeks of September will see the market move upward in all regions through October. The West Coast and other major port markets are where everyone’s eyes need to be in order to catch any shifting capacity early. If carriers haven’t taken a break yet, now’s the time, because rates are only going up. And for any shippers that are caught unprepared, make sure you have the right partners to help you operate through peak season. Be open to new ideas, and take advantage of softer markets in the South and Southeast while you still can.
TransFIX My Rig Celebrates Truck Driver Appreciation Week
Last week was officially National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Here at Transfix, that’s every week! As part of the celebration, we are excited to recognize Virginia-based truck driver Debbie Desiderato, winner of the TransFIX My Rig sweepstakes. Debbie’s cab was renovated by Jason Cameron, star of CBS’ Secret Celebrity Renovation.
“I feel so lucky to be the winner of the TransFIX My Rig sweepstakes,” Debbie said. “I fell in love with trucking after seeing my big brother on the road and have been in the industry for the last 22 years. Having my cab renovated to truly fit my needs and wants is going to change my day-to-day life. I’m so excited to have my cab feel like a real, on-the-road home.”
“We’re thrilled to celebrate Debbie and the millions of hardworking truck drivers who we rely on every day to undertake one of our economy’s most demanding and important jobs,” said Sophie Dabbs, chief commercial officer of Transfix. “It is an honor and a privilege to work alongside these true heroes.”
The movement of freight is changing in every mode, as shippers do their best to keep up with record demand while fighting congestion at multiple points throughout the supply chain. Shippers who think forward, use data and think outside the proverbial box on solutions, while partnering with companies such as Transfix, will come out of this ongoing freight rally in a better position and well ahead of competitors. The one huge win through this pandemic has been speeding up the digital transformation of the transportation industry.
With the uncertainty and volatility surrounding the U.S. economic recovery, shippers need a partner that can help them adapt and excel — no matter the circumstance. Shippers turn to Transfix for our leading technology and reliable carrier network. As volumes drive higher, we are here to help: Learn more about our Core Carrier program and Dynamic Lane Rates. As part of our ongoing market coverage, we’ll continue to provide breaking news, resources and insight into emerging trends and the pandemic’s impact on the transportation industry.