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Truck tonnage in April fell on both an annual and month-to-month basis as freight activity remains slow, American Trucking Associations said May 23.
Tonnage slumped 3.4% last month to 112.7 when measured against the same period a year ago, and dipped 1.7% compared with March results, according to ATA’s seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index. The index was 115.8 in April 2022.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the year-over-year decline is the largest decrease since February 2021. The April annual decline follows a 2.4% year-over-year drop in March.
Last year broke the crystal balls. Some of the largest, most sophisticated companies in the world overbought or overproduced inventory by many millions of dollars last year. The reason, at its simplest, is that consumers did not behave as predicted.
Planners don’t have the luxury of blaming consumers for not acting according to their forecasts — especially when many of those customers were reacting to historic inflation in food, fuel and housing.
“Demand planning went out the door for three years,” said Rick Jordon, senior managing director with FTI Consulting. “Now they’re picking it back up, because they have all this excess inventory everywhere. And they’ve forgotten how to do it, or they didn’t do it well before.”
Big retailers are signaling they are nearly done paring back their excess inventories and are preparing to fill their shelves with new merchandise this fall, potentially brightening prospects for freight carriers looking for revived restocking to drive a shipping rebound.
Target’s inventories at the end of the last quarter were 16% lower than the same period a year ago and Walmart cut inventories in its U.S. store operations by 9% over the past year, slashing hundreds of millions of dollars of goods from their balance sheets and suggesting space is opening up in their jammed supply chains.
South Korea has again widened container shipping links with Russia, the port of Donghae starting a container liner service linking it with far-eastern ports.
Feeder operator Dong Young Shipping will extend its shuttle service between Busan and Vladivostok to include a call at Donghae, on the eastern part of the Korean peninsula.
The revamped service will start at the end of June, and officials at Donghae say they hope it will revitalise the port and regional development through the growing trade in the northern economic bloc.
CHICAGO, May 17 (Reuters) – The U.S. supply chain is healing from early pandemic shocks that sent shipping costs skyrocketing and squeezed supplies of everything from toilet paper to pasta, but more than three years later, material shortages and hiring woes linger.
Rates for trucking, ocean shipping and other transportation tumbled after U.S. consumers shifted spending from big-ticket items like furniture, BBQ grills and big-screen TVs to travel and other entertainment, offering a reprieve to beleaguered shippers.
However, “there’s still a pretty big mess out there,” said Ryan Patel, senior fellow at Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker School of Management.
Rail union representatives are poised to adopt a policy statement that urges Congress to pass a rail safety bill — one that mandates a minimum of two-person crew sizes on all passenger and freight trains, regulates train lengths exceeding 7,500 feet and ensures adequate inspections of rail cars, locomotives and brakes.
The latest policy statement of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO cites at least 18 areas where regulations and guidance via the Federal Railroad Administration can bolster existing rail safety practices. TTD expects to formally adopt the statement at its spring summit on Wednesday, when 37 unions, including all U.S. rail labor unions, are convening at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington.
After a modest bounce during March, global air freight prices resumed their downward trend in April.
According to TAC Index, a leading price reporting agency for the sector, the overall Baltic Air Freight Index (BAI00) dipped a further 0.8% during the week to 1 May, to leave it lower by 42.5% over 12 months.
There were, as usual, regional variations, with Hong Kong (BAI30) up 1.1%, week on week, to leave it down 42.2% year on year, but Shanghai (BAI80) down 2.3% WoW, to leave it down 48.5% YoY – but with upper quintiles in the range of prices paid falling again after an uptick in March.
Amid all the doom and gloom on container shipping and the talk of an impending recession, U.S. imports are rising off their lows. Inventory-to-sales ratios are still much higher than pre-COVID, yet monthly imports are now either at or above 2019 levels, depending on which data source you use.
U.S. ports imported 2,020,197 twenty-foot equivalent units of containerized cargo in April, Descartes said on Monday.
That’s down 18% from a year ago, when American importers were frantically shipping in cargo. But it’s up 9% from March and 5% from April 2019, pre-COVID.
Contract talks between unionized longshore workers and employers at West Coast ports appear to be headed into their final stretch following agreements on several major issues, potentially clearing the uncertainty that has been hanging over U.S. importers heading into their crucial fall selling season.
Some shipping officials familiar with the talks hope a tentative agreement could be reached by June, ending a contentious period in port labor relations that prompted some of the country’s biggest retailers and manufacturers to shift goods away from the region to avoid possible disruptions.