Research2020-09-22T10:31:26-04:00

Passport Research

Passport provides proprietary insights into the transportation and logistics sectors, using surveys, fundamental research, financial modeling and simulation modeling. Passport takes that data and information to offer subscribers unparalleled deep research, analysis and insight on trends and conditions in the freight market.

Passport’s analysts go deep into major topics, providing information about the latest news and trends in surface and air transportation. Subscribers will also receive the latest on freight tech, warehouse automation, precision scheduled railroading, the economy, global trade and other topics that impact the world of freight. The Passport research team uses methods most commonly offered by Wall Street banks and market research firms.

Subscribers receive timely updates on current events in freight, webinars that provide an in-depth focus on key issues, as well as tailored weekly discussion with the experts on topics or issues that Passport members want to know more about.

  • Reefer markets: Spot rates at YTD highs

    Reefer capacity remains tight, volumes are strong and spot rates are very high. In fact, at $3.29/mile including fuel, national average reefer spot rates on Truckstop.com’s load boards have not yet retreated from their YTD high.   Midwest to the East Coast lanes have the most momentum and may continue getting more expensive through Q4, but in general we expect next month to be positive for rates. In 2019, reefer spot rates peaked for the year during the week of Nov. 17.   In our view, absolute reefer capacity — the total number of trucks available for dispatch — is

Recent

Asset operators: Roll on highway, roll on along

By |October 9th, 2020|Featured, Special Topic, Trucking|

All signals are flashing green for truckload carriers. Growing revenue per driver per week and falling empty-mile percentages pushed operating ratios down, giving carriers more confidence to purchase new and used equipment.    In most lanes in the country, carriers hold pricing power and will be able to increase contract

Intermodal markets: Escape from LA

By |October 9th, 2020|Intermodal, News, Rail|

Another wave of rate and service volatility, the product of high volumes and tight capacity, will work its way through the country from its source in Southern California. Rates out of Los Angeles spiked as intermodal tender rejection rates, which only come into play during periods of serious disruption, are

3PLs

Carrier Outlook

Q3 Carrier Outlook: Over-capacity and the freight recession of 2019

By |August 13th, 2019|Carrier Outlook|

In this white paper, the Freight Intel Group establishes a definition for a freight recession: some combination of multi-quarter consecutive drops in tender load volumes, tender rejections, spot rates and market sentiment. WIth this definition established, we determine we are in fact in the midst of a freight recession. Read

Q2 Carrier Outlook: Still seeing the positives

By |April 25th, 2019|Carrier Outlook|

The initial project form the Freight Intel Group surveyed hundreds of carriers to gauge their sentiment for 2019. Forty percent of small fleets still believe 2019 line-haul rates will surpass those seen in the second half of 2018, while another 20% expect rates to be comparable to those in 2018.

Financials

Gaming out an Uber Freight deal

By |July 17th, 2020|3PLs, Financials, Special Topic, Technology, Trucking|

First, reports came out that Uber Freight (UF) was being “re-evaluated,” although its demise was not imminent. The more recent news about a potential deal to sell an equity stake in Uber Freight has renewed the industry conversation around Freight’s business model, sustainability and future.   In what follows, we

3PL Q2 Preview

By |June 25th, 2020|3PLs, Financials, Special Topic|

April market conditions that were favorable to freight brokerages — loosening truck capacity and declining spot rates — reversed themselves in May, and in June, gross margins progressively narrowed on higher volumes and lower revenues.   Contrary to the guidance offered by 3PL management teams on Q1 earnings calls, we

Transportation Liquidity and Credit Analysis in a COVID19 Driven Recession

By |May 6th, 2020|3PLs, Financials, Intermodal, Rail, Special Topic, Trucking|

When the financial markets come under stress and the U.S. enters a recession, creditanalysis always comes back to the forefront and is the most important considerationof investors. This is where we find ourselves now in the aftermath of COVID-19becoming a global pandemic that has effectively shut down much of the

Freight Market Outlook

Global Trade

US-China tariffs: Dancing on a ledge

By |June 13th, 2019|Global Trade, Special Topic|

In the following white paper, the Freight Intel Group examines how 25% tariffs on virtually all $540 billion of Chinese imports will affect freight volumes and rates over the coming months. Will there be a repeat of a rush of ocean imports into the West Coast like the buzzer-beaters in

Intermodal

Intermodal markets: The trouble with service

By |September 23rd, 2020|Intermodal, News, Rail|

Average intermodal train velocities improved by 1.2 mph compared to last week while dwell times were flat, but those numbers don’t capture the full reality of the service as experienced by shippers.   Railroads adjust equipment fleets, power and crew starts to maintain operating leverage in response to rising and

Intermodal markets: Holiday noise doesn’t reverse uptrend

By |September 16th, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Year-over-year intermodal volume comps were soft last week due to noise from Labor Day, which fell in Week 36, not Week 37, last year. Industry observers shouldn’t miss the forest for the trees, though: Container imports into the West Coast were exceptionally strong in July and August, trucking capacity remains

Intermodal markets: Casey Jones, you’d better watch your speed

By |September 9th, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Last week the railroads were able to smooth out some operational inefficiencies in their intermodal networks and by and large held average intermodal train velocities steady or improved them at the same time that volumes grew. That’s an important turning point for the rails, and following up on that performance

Rail

Intermodal markets: The trouble with service

By |September 23rd, 2020|Intermodal, News, Rail|

Average intermodal train velocities improved by 1.2 mph compared to last week while dwell times were flat, but those numbers don’t capture the full reality of the service as experienced by shippers.   Railroads adjust equipment fleets, power and crew starts to maintain operating leverage in response to rising and

Intermodal markets: Holiday noise doesn’t reverse uptrend

By |September 16th, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Year-over-year intermodal volume comps were soft last week due to noise from Labor Day, which fell in Week 36, not Week 37, last year. Industry observers shouldn’t miss the forest for the trees, though: Container imports into the West Coast were exceptionally strong in July and August, trucking capacity remains

Intermodal markets: Casey Jones, you’d better watch your speed

By |September 9th, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Last week the railroads were able to smooth out some operational inefficiencies in their intermodal networks and by and large held average intermodal train velocities steady or improved them at the same time that volumes grew. That’s an important turning point for the rails, and following up on that performance

Shippers

Please Mr. Postman

By |August 21st, 2020|Featured, Most Popular, News, Shippers, Special Topic|

Two things can be true at the same time: The United States Postal Service is an invaluable public service crucial to the transportation of pharmaceuticals, official documents and much else, and it’s also in an unsustainable position and in need of a turnaround.   Many people are aware of the

Reefer markets: Dallas heralds COVID part II

By |July 9th, 2020|3PLs, Shippers, Special Topic, Trucking|

The question on our minds now is whether Dallas is the first stage of another March-like surge in refrigerated volumes driven by the coronavirus. In response to a spike in new infections, Texas officials closed bars and limited restaurants, causing outbound and inbound Dallas reefer volumes to turn upward to

Special Topic

The SPAC boom

By |August 28th, 2020|Featured, Financials, Special Topic|

For the past six or seven years, an important growth driver of large private equity funds was the fact that private company valuations were higher than public market valuations, so investors and employees of companies had incentives to stay private longer.   But in the past two years, technology company

Route optimization in the context of last-mile delivery

By |August 28th, 2020|Special Topic, Technology|

The idea of expedited delivery within the trucking industry has its roots in the constantly disrupted last-mile delivery segment. The “Amazon effect,” an e-commerce trend characterized by rapidly evolving delivery expectations of end customers, has overflowed to now envelop the trucking industry.    This has led fleets to scurry for

Technology

Asset operators: Roll on highway, roll on along

By |October 9th, 2020|Featured, Special Topic, Trucking|

All signals are flashing green for truckload carriers. Growing revenue per driver per week and falling empty-mile percentages pushed operating ratios down, giving carriers more confidence to purchase new and used equipment.    In most lanes in the country, carriers hold pricing power and will be able to increase contract

Intermodal markets: Escape from LA

By |October 9th, 2020|Intermodal, News, Rail|

Another wave of rate and service volatility, the product of high volumes and tight capacity, will work its way through the country from its source in Southern California. Rates out of Los Angeles spiked as intermodal tender rejection rates, which only come into play during periods of serious disruption, are

Trucking

Reshoring on the rise

By |October 1st, 2020|Featured, Global Trade, News, Shippers, Special Topic, Trucking|

Global trade as a percentage of global GDP peaked in 2006 for a variety of reasons.   Geopolitical tensions are creating more friction in global trade, while automation is smoothing out the labor cost arbitrages that shifted manufacturing from the U.S. to Asia in the 1980s and ’90s. Meanwhile, more

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