Tony Mulvey

Intermodal markets: A test on the horizon

U.S. Class I intermodal volumes were down just 1.8% compared to 2019 last week as the industry benefits from growing imports and tight trucking capacity.   In general, intermodal service has held up fairly well, deteriorating only slightly as volumes have slowly ground upward toward par: Train velocities are still

By |August 5th, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Reinventing maritime transport: The rise of autonomous vessels

The maritime industry has witnessed seismic technological disruption in the past decade, with process digitalization and automation of select operations helping improve transparency and logistics efficiency. Aside from disrupting back-end operations, automation is now increasingly relevant at the port terminals and on container vessels.     The growth of trade across

By |July 31st, 2020|Global Trade, Technology|

Multimodal COVID analysis

In our view, COVID-related demand and capacity dislocations have touched off an upcycle in trucking markets supported by fundamentally constrained capacity. This week, a new batch of corporate earnings (UPS, WERN, USX, CHRW) helped us understand how transports experienced that volatility.   In 2020, COVID-related volatility hit parcel carriers first

By |July 30th, 2020|3PLs, Financials, Special Topic, Trucking|

Intermodal Markets: Another round of network redesigns

Intermodal volumes continued their slow recovery and moved closer to par. The Eastern railroads – CSX and Norfolk Southern (NSC) – were especially upbeat on their earnings calls regarding intermodal growth prospects against a backdrop of tightening trucking capacity and fewer ocean blank sailings.   One notable change to CSX’s

By |July 29th, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

ECHO earnings: looking for spot volumes

Echo Global Logistics’ (NASDAQ: ECHO) second-quarter results and management commentary confirmed our basic view of the trucking market, which is that tighter capacity has made markets more sensitive, and strong volume growth is pushing spot rates up. Positive revenue guidance for Q3 was another strong signal of a fundamentals-driven recovery

By |July 23rd, 2020|3PLs, Financials, Special Topic|

Intermodal markets: Building steam

There’s a reductive and naive story about intermodal in which it grew faster in the 1990s and 2000s and eventually reached a level of equilibrium. Shippers were moving as much freight by intermodal, which was slower and less responsive, as they wanted, and anyway the railroads didn’t want to let

By |July 22nd, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Asset operators: Finding the way home

Bit by bit, trucking carriers are finding their way home out of a disastrous April during which volumes and rates fell precipitously and empty miles increased. Volumes have returned and asset utilization has begun to normalize. Revenue per driver per week has started ticking back up but hasn’t yet established

By |July 16th, 2020|Special Topic, Trucking|

Intermodal markets: Can contract rates go higher?

By removing power and capacity from the tracks and restricting services over the past few years, railroads have positioned themselves to benefit from rapidly strengthening trucking markets and take price on contract freight, in our view.   In some cases — outbound Los Angeles — intermodal spot rates are higher

By |July 15th, 2020|Intermodal, Rail|

Trucking Markets: Texas stays hot after the holiday

Contracted truckload volumes have recovered, tender rejections are still elevated, and while some rates came in after the holiday, others didn’t.   Freight brokers we spoke to were surprised that trucking markets did not meaningfully cool off after July Fourth and are increasingly convinced that freight patterns this year will

By |July 14th, 2020|3PLs, Trucking|

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|