Transport Topics published its list of Top 100 Logistics Companies, doubling the size of the top 50 ranking it has published each year since 2002. The list features the industry’s largest 3PLs, freight brokers, forwarders and other logistics firms based on annual gross revenue. This year’s ranking shows the effects of deal-making on the competitive landscape: for instance, GXO Logistics, spun off from No. 6 XPO Logistics in August 2021, debuts this year at No. 8. C.H. Robinson was the No. 1 logistics company by revenue.
Retailers are placing orders well ahead of schedule to give products ample time to make their way from factories in China. Italic, an online retailer that sells unbranded luxury goods, would normally place its holiday orders in August or September. This year, it’s moving that timeframe up by two to three months. “We’re buying earlier and also reconsidering the amounts,” Nicola Azevedo, Italic’s vice president of operations, tells Forbes. “If you have space in your warehouse, you should purchase sooner. If your financials allow you to, you should buy a little more.”
COVID remains a huge concern. Manufacturers are struggling to keep some of their China operations going. Lockdowns in Shanghai are keeping many factory workers at home. Port of Shanghai volumes have plummeted as shippers and logistics companies divert cargo to other ports and try to keep supply chains moving.
Making the pay grade
Walmart made headlines last week for raising starting pay for company truck drivers to as much as $110,000 a year, up from an average of $87,000. The “Harvard of trucking” has Ivy League-level entrance requirements, though, including a minimum of 30 months full-time experience and no preventable accidents while operating a commercial motor vehicle in the last three years. Walmart has hired 7,000 drivers for its company fleet during the past two years. It employs around 12,000 truck drivers total.
Sweet (onion) season
One of the more notable dates on the freight calendar is the Vidalia onion “pack date,” signaling the traditional start of produce shipping season in the Southeast. This year’s pack date, which is based on soil and weather conditions in South Georgia, is April 12. Vidalia onion season usually runs through to the end of August and is short compared to sweet onions grown in other regions.
Georgia onion growers and South Carolina peach growers compete for trucks each summer. The simultaneous harvest of the two crops sets up a situation where capacity begins to tighten at the start of April each year and then extends right through to the July 4 holiday break. Except for 2020, spot rates for outbound loads from South Carolina and Georgia increased by 70 cents a mile on average during these 13 weeks.
Fuel tax holidays
New York joined Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut as states approving fuel-tax holidays for motorists. The state will suspend excise tax and state sales tax collection from June 1 through the end of the year, a reduction of 16 cents per gallon.
New Mexico, Virginia and Florida are advancing similar legislation. In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a bill to suspend the state’s 27-cent tax on gas and diesel for six months and instead is calling for legislation to suspend the state’s 6% sales tax on gas and diesel. Whitmer said her plan is better than the fuel tax holiday because it would keep intact road and bridge funding.
The national average price of on-highway diesel fuel is up 42.4% since the first week of the year.