Major U.S. trucking firms this week announced expansions and additions to their service offerings, the latest in a string of merger and acquisition activity this summer as a transportation market in motion continues adapting to the demands of the modern economy and as fleets have faced setbacks in growing capacity to meet freight demand.
Werner, one of the largest fleets in North America, beefed up its final mile capabilities with the acquisition of 400-truck final-mile carrier and warehouser NEHDS, while TFI International, also one of the continent’s largest trucking companies, acquired 150-driver reefer fleet D&D Sexton.
In other capacity news, California announced it would ease weight restrictions on drayage truckers trying to sort out the cargo backlogs at West Coast ports. But the new 88,000-pound limit might be limited in its ability to actually ease the congestion, analysts contend.
Also, regarding those port jams, regulators at the Federal Trade Commission are pressing major retailers and importers for information about their supply chain activity, focusing on how ongoing supply chain snarls have impacted consumers and the price of goods. Smaller businesses have reported gambling on hoarding inventory as a way to manage any supply chain kinks, hoping that demand persists enough so they aren’t stuck with that inventory.
Lastly, amid all of the tumult, truckers at the port of Vancouver have threatened to strike after collective bargaining negotiations hit a roadblock.
The Trucker last week profiled the story of Robert Palm, who’s been behind the wheel of a truck for nearly 40 years. Palm’s also the founder and director of Truckers Final Mile, a charity fund that helps drivers and their families reunite after a medical event on the road, or in the event of a loss of life, helps transport drivers’ bodies to their place of rest.
Despite trying to eat right and stay active over the years, Palm was hit with a shocking diagnosis in 2019 — that his glucose levels indicated he developed Type 2 diabetes, and he couldn’t renew his DOT medical certificate until he “had no idea,” he told The Trucker. “I have absolutely no symptoms whatsoever. I’m cooking in the truck and walking, and I think I’m doing the right thing.”
However, Palm took control of the situation by teaming up with Fit to Pass, which helps drivers improve their health and pass their U.S. DOT medical exams. Palm was assigned a coach, and she helped him improve his diet and start exercising frequently. His glucose levels plummeted, and he was able to receive a one-year medical certificate and maintain his livelihood. Read Palm’s full story at The Trucker.
While much of the attention around the supply chain this year has focused on getting goods to consumers, there’s also an undercurrent moving the other direction. So-called reverse logistics, that is, consumers returning or exchanging goods they purchased online, is compounding the logistics challenges retailers face.
Not only does it complicate the supply chain and logistics puzzle of re-absorbing inventory that’s already been distributed, it’s also costly and inefficient. However, it’s also somewhat of a necessity in e-commerce operations, since upwards of 50% of shoppers say they won’t even consider a brand that doesn’t offer returns or exchanges.