Special Topic

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|

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|

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|

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|

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|

Reefer markets: enjoying a positive setup

Outbound refrigerated freight from California is surging, driving up rates and tender rejections. Reefer capacity tightened in the middle of the country, too, but loosened slightly in Florida. In our discussion of spot rates below, brokers told us that in some important lanes, spot rates are actually higher year-over-year. We

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

Global trade update

West Coast ports have taken their medicine; now it’s time for the East Coast to suffer. China’s economy is working to make up for lost time (air pollution now exceeds 2019 levels), and West Coast volumes have already started reaping the benefits, gaining momentum out of their March trough. Economic

By |June 1st, 2020|3PLs, Intermodal, Rail, Special Topic, Trucking|

PSR’s past and future

The modern operating strategies known collectively as precision scheduled railroading (PSR) have driven profound changes in the way railroads think about their workforces, revenue growth, assets, facilities, networks and customer service. In this piece, we explore the past, present and future of PSR through two decades of railroad industry financial

By |May 7th, 2020|Intermodal, Most Popular, Rail, Special Topic|

Transportation Liquidity and Credit Analysis in a COVID19 Driven Recession

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

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

The state of warehouse automation

Warehouses and the humans on which they depend are under numerous pressures, from tight labor markets to viral outbreaks. It’s the perfect time to perform a quick check on the state of the warehousing industry, including capacity, rents, employment, automation and use cases for fully automated facilities. Warehousing markets continue

By |April 30th, 2020|Special Topic|

Mapping Amazon’s logistics platform

Stay at home and work from home have accelerated demand for e-commerce giant Amazon’s services and products, sending its stock price up 27% year-to-date, to all-time highs, at a moment when the S&P 500 is down 14% year-to-date. Crises may cloud economic forecasts, but there is another sense in which

By |April 23rd, 2020|Most Popular, Special Topic|