Special Topic

The SPAC boom

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

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

Asset operators: Revenues recover, but what about costs?

The business environment for asset-based trucking carriers continues to improve: Empty mile percentages are lower and revenue per driver per week is up. There are headwinds blowing against asset operators, though: The rack-to-retail diesel fuel spread is no longer doing much work on the carriers’ income statements, and operating expenses

By |August 27th, 2020|Carrier Outlook, Special Topic, Trucking|

Please Mr. Postman

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

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

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|

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|

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|

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|