Tony Mulvey

The Future of the TMS

Over the past three decades, TMSes have evolved beyond the management of shipments to encompass many more processes and bring shippers, intermediaries, and carriers closer together. TMSes that began their lives as relatively siloed, on-premise platforms requiring large amounts of manual data entry are now connected via API to shipper

By |July 2nd, 2020|3PLs, Shippers, Special Topic, Technology, Trucking|

Intermodal markets: Volumes on track, service slips

Tight trucking capacity continues to boost intermodal volumes out of Southern California, where volumes have recovered to a much greater extent than in Chicago, New York/New Jersey, or Savannah, Georgia. Most of the blank sailings on the eastbound trans-Pacific lane are behind us; container volumes at West Coast ports should

By |July 1st, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Trucking Markets: Are we peaking?

Contracted and spot volumes in all three major equipment types – dry van, reefer and flatbed – are growing; rates are increasing; capacity is tightening.    At this point, it doesn’t look like the national trucking market completely rolled over. Although tender rejections are positive year-over-year, indicating that capacity on

By |June 30th, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

3PL Q2 Preview

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

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

Intermodal Markets: Volumes getting better and better

Intermodal volumes are bouncing back to the low levels of 2019, and U.S. Class I railroads are recovering faster than their neighbors to the north and south. We believe that intermodal volumes will continue to rise, especially on the West Coast, as the number of blank sailings scheduled diminishes going

By |June 24th, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Warehousing of the future automated, on demand and data conscious

The COVID-19 outbreak has doused global supply chains in cold water, with disruptions of declining supply followed by demand contraction forcing stakeholders to revise their logistics strategies, including sourcing, inventory management and distribution.  Luckily supply chains had gradually been shoring up to change over the last decade, brought about by

By |June 19th, 2020|Technology|

UPS: The e-commerce margin headwind

UPS’s new C-suite led by Carol Tomé has its work cut out for it: Negotiate an increasingly risky relationship with Amazon that has juiced Domestic Package volumes but compressed margins; make real progress on the challenge of B2C delivery density; drive international volume growth; and stabilize earnings. Most of this

By |June 18th, 2020|Most Popular, Special Topic|

Intermodal Markets: Starting to look cheap again

Intermodal volumes and rates are weak compared to 2019, which was weak compared to 2018. That fundamental picture hasn’t changed, but it now appears that activity in trucking markets is providing some lift to intermodal. Intermodal volumes last week were down just 7.3% year-over-year (y/y), substantially better than the four-week

By |June 17th, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Trucking Markets: Spot freight strikes back

Spot freight is coming back and tightening capacity across the country, even as rates out of Los Angeles fade (typical for this time of year). On a national basis, contracted truckload tenders are being rejected at a rate of 6.4%, just below the crucial 7-10% level that ‘flips’ the market

By |June 16th, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

Trucking markets: A fundamental dislocation

Capacity ratcheted slightly tighter across a broad swath of the country again this week, but not yet to levels (7-10%) that would trigger widespread inflation in spot market rates. Spot rates for dry vans increased faster than spot rates for refrigerated equipment, which were flattish and may be peaking. Contracted

By |June 10th, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

Intermodal markets: L.A. turns up again

Intermodal volumes continue to outperform the trailing 4-week average, and there are a few reasons why we believe this trend will continue. First, shippers are running into capacity issues getting freight out of China, reflected in Freightos Baltic Index spot rates for 40’ containers from China to the West Coast.

By |June 10th, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Tracking retail and freight

Perhaps it goes without saying that the relationship between consumer spending, retail spending, and freight volumes seems intuitive, but is actually unclear. After all, consumer spending fell 13.6% in April compared to the month prior, and is expected to be negative on a year-over-year basis in May, but truckload volumes

By |June 4th, 2020|Special Topic|

Intermodal markets: grinding upward

Intermodal volumes continue to improve, down 10.6% year-over-year but beating the trailing four-week average as they have in prior weeks. But keep in mind that 2019 was a weak year for freight markets and a soft year for intermodal volumes: The mode is well into a multiyear volume decline that

By |June 3rd, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Trucking Markets: the bid-ask spread widens

The transportation industry is bifurcated by opposing views of spot rates’ direction during the second half of 2020. Shippers have started asking carriers for longer contract periods, looking to lock in very low rates. They’re putting pressure on carriers by tendering spot loads at prices well below agreed-upon contract rates.

By |June 2nd, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

Asset operators: Turbulent seas

The current business environment for operators of asset-based trucking carriers is extremely challenging.  Apart from safety and insurance, fuel spreads, and used truck prices – the carrier-specific metrics covered in this report – loose capacity, low spot market volumes and low rates are the most important backdrop for carriers, and

By |June 1st, 2020|Special Topic, Trucking|

Intermodal markets: Volatility out of L.A.

Intermodal volumes are improving, but they’re still double-digit percentages below 2019 levels, which was not a great year for the railroads. Because volumes are low and intermodal capacity is easy to secure, tender rejections are insignificant — intermodal marketing companies (IMCs) are taking all of the contracted freight they can

By |June 1st, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Trucking markets: digging out of a hole

Despite noisy holiday volume data, by most measures trucking markets are continuing their recovery. Week-over-week comparisons look dramatic and make that progress look faster than it actually is: remember that rates are relatively low, capacity is relatively loose, and spot volumes—but not contracted volumes—are soft relative to last year. That

By |June 1st, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

Auto cybersecurity practices are woefully inadequate and in desperate need of regulation

As connected vehicles increasingly become mainstream, the importance of cybersecurity within the automotive space grows. Connected vehicles link to the cloud in real time, and this wireless communication exposes the vehicle to cyberattackers who can subvert the vehicles’ operations and gain illegal control. Such possibilities have resulted in the immediate

By |June 1st, 2020|Technology|