This summer, Americans are logging more highway miles as people return to work and opt for RVs and road trips instead of more elaborate vacations. The American Transportation Research Institute reports that traffic is as bad as ever and ranked the impact on truckers at 300 highway interchanges across the country.
The Top 10 bottlenecks for freight:
For the fourth year in a row, Interstate 95 and State Route 4 in Fort Lee, N.J., tops the list. Located west of the George Washington Bridge across the Hudson River, the average speed here is 30 mph and drops to almost 15 mph during the morning rush hours. What’s more, the toll for an 18-wheeler to cross the George Washington Bridge is $110.
See how truck-specific routing is helping truck drivers avoid congested roads, saving time and gasoline.
ATRI conducts its research using location data from telematics devices (ELDs etc.) from over 1 million trucks and other back-office data. Learn more.
Transport Topics published its annual list of the 100 largest trucking companies by revenue. Most carriers on this year’s list reported substantial year-over-year revenue increases in 2021.
While mergers and acquisitions continued to alter the transportation industry’s competitive landscape, there was no change at the top of the rankings: UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp. easily retained the top two positions this year, followed by XPO Logistics, J.B. Hunt, and TFI International. Landstar System climbed three spots to land at No. 6 after reporting 58% revenue growth in 2021.
Coverage of the Top 100 includes a story about how the pandemic accelerated change among carriers, including higher driver wages, a shortening of some routes to match shopping patterns and increased digitization and automation across the supply chain.
We’re approaching the final stretch of the traditional produce-shipping season, which begins in Florida with fruits and winter vegetables in April and shifts north over resulting in spot rates for both dry vans and reefers peaking around July 4 each year.
This year, extreme weather has put a damper on produce shipments.
Truckloads of California produce are the lowest in seven years. In Fresno, the state’s largest produce-shipping market, number of loads moved to Chicago in the 10-week period beginning April 1 is 25% lower compared to the previous year, according to an analysis from load-board operator DAT. Reefer rates on that lane are $1 a mile less year over year.
Farther north, a cold and wet spring has led to what is expected to be the smallest crop of Northwest sweet cherries in nearly a decade. Growers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana expect to harvest about a quarter of the amount produced in 2021, which would mean the smallest crop since 2013.
In Mexico, extreme weather has cooled down yields of chili peppers, the second-most-cultivated vegetable in Mexico behind tomatoes. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture reports that import volumes of “peppers, other” with crossings in California and Arizona are down 17% this year.
The chili market is so tight that Huy Fong Foods, maker of Sriracha hot sauce, told customers that it will not accept or fill orders until after Labor Day.
The National Retail Federation Supply Chain 360 conference takes place in Cleveland this week. Inflation and imports are top-of-mind for retail shippers, and NRF emphasized that eliminating tariffs on everyday products would combat rising prices.
In a letter to President Biden, NRF said relief from Section 301 tariffs on goods from China “would reduce the Consumer Price Index by 1.3 percentage points, immediately helping alleviate inflation. These tariffs, many of them in effect since 2018, have not achieved their desired goal of pressuring China to change its trade policies.”
NRF said tariffs imposed during the Trump administration have cost U.S. importers $136.5 billion since 2018 and cost the average American household more than $1,200 a year. A May 2019 analysis conducted by CNBC found Trump’s tariffs are equivalent to one of the largest tax increases in the U.S. in decades.