ATA Truck Tonnage Index Rose 0.5% in May

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.5% in May after falling 1.4% in April. In May, the index equaled 117.1 (2015=100) versus 116.5 in April. “The transition in the freight market continued in May with the index hitting the second highest level since the pandemic started. Specifically on the market transition, ATA’s tonnage index is dominated by contract freight. The traditional spot market has slowed as freight softens, but these contract carriers are backfilling any losses in freight with loads from shippers that is reducing spot market exposure,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Essentially the market is transitioning back to pre-pandemic shares of contract versus spot market. “Overall, economic indicators that are important to trucking slowed in May, including retail sales, housing starts, and manufacturing output,” he said. Compared with May 2021, the SA index increased 3.7%, which was the ninth straight year-over-year gain and the largest since April 2021. In April, the index was up 2.5% from a year earlier. In 2022, year-to-date and compared with same period in 2021, tonnage was up 2.7%.
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Self-Driving Trucks to Deliver Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products in Dallas area

Georgia-Pacific has agreed to partner with self-driving vehicle startup Gatik and KBX Logistics, the transportation arm for Koch Industries, to deliver its consumer products to more than 30 Sam’s Club locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The collaboration involves moving Georgia-Pacific shipments from point to point on predefined short-haul routes using an autonomous vehicle fleet with 26-foot boxes. The trucks will deliver goods 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are expected to travel up to three hundred miles daily. “We are looking forward to testing this transformational technology to deliver Georgia-Pacific brands like Quilted Northern® bath tissue and Dixie® products to Sam’s Clubs,” said Hayes Shimp, vice president of sales for Georgia-Pacific. “Once proven, we believe autonomous deliveries will enable us to remove cost and complexity from the supply chain to better serve our partner, Sam’s Club, and their members.” The operation involves Class 6 vehicles, which are significantly smaller than the Class 8 trucks that currently manage the deliveries. “Our partnership with Georgia-Pacific and KBX Logistics is poised to transform regional distribution architecture that has traditionally relied on class 8 platforms,” said Gautam Narang, CEO, and co-founder, of Gatik.
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Workers want raises. Shippers want robots. The supply chain hinges on reaching a deal (latimes.com)

The immediate future of the global supply chain rests on a bargaining table in San Francisco, where the union representing all West Coast dockworkers is hashing out a new contract with the assembled bosses of maritime shipping. The current contract, which covers the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s more than 22,000 workers at the 29 ports dotting the Pacific coast of the U.S., is set to expire July 1. At stake is the continuing flow of goods into the country, after two years of disruptions to the supply chain from pandemic lockdowns, material shortages, soaring fuel prices and the occasional giant ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal. Forty percent of all U.S. maritime imports pass through the West Coast ports, with more than 30% of all containerized imports arriving at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together make up the nation’s largest port complex.
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Diesel: It’s in the price of everything.

When the price of diesel goes up, the cost of everything else follows. Peak travel season is upon us and gasoline prices continue to soar. Americans are rightfully concerned as the cost of filling up their tank keeps going up at the pump. And while most may not pay as much thought to the price of diesel, the reality is that number weighs even heavier on their pocketbooks. Virtually every good you can think of travels by truck before it’s in your reach. And today’s trucks, by and large, run on diesel. The price of diesel is baked into the price of everything else, gasoline included. Right now, motor carriers are getting slammed by nightmarish surges in the price of diesel. It’s especially hard on smaller fleets, which don’t operate at a scale to negotiate rates down or lock prices into a contract. These small businesses account for 97% of trucking companies in the U.S., running 20 trucks or fewer.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Fell 2% in April

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 2% in April after rising 1.8% in March. In April, the index equaled 115.8 (2015=100) versus 118.2 in March. “After eight straight gains totaling 6.9%, for-hire tonnage finally slid back in April. Despite being the largest sequential drop since August 2020, the index was still above where it started in 2022 and a year earlier,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “It is important to note that ATA’s for-hire tonnage data is dominated by contract freight with minimal amounts of spot market loads. The spot market has softened more than for-hire contract freight, as the market transitions back to pre-pandemic shares of contract versus spot market," Costello said.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Jumped 2.4% in March

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.4% in March after rising 0.7% in February. In March, the index equaled 118.8 (2015=100) versus 116.1 in February. “It is important to note that ATA’s for-hire tonnage data is dominated by contract freight with minimal amounts of spot market loads,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “And clearly contract freight was solid in March, witnessing the largest sequential gain since May 2020. March was also the eighth straight month-to-month improvement, with a total increase of 7.4% over that period. “During the first quarter, the index rose 2.4% from the final quarter of 2021 and increased 2.6% from a year earlier. While there might be some recent softness in the spot market, for-hire contract freight tonnage remains solid and is only limited by lack of capacity—both drivers and equipment—at contract fleets.”
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ATA Touts Trucking Apprenticeships at White House

American Trucking Associations joined an event at the White House highlighting new public-private initiatives designed to grow the trucking industry’s workforce and bolster the U.S. supply chain. Nine professional truck drivers and nearly two dozen CEOs from ATA-member companies were in attendance. ATA President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement prior to the event: “Investing in our workforce never stops. It’s a constant. Our industry needs an additional 80,000 commercial truck drivers if we’re to meet consumer demand. We welcome the support of all elected officials as we recruit and train more talent into this critical industry. Recognizing our dedication to training and safety, the Departments of Labor and Transportation have worked quickly and efficiently in approving ATA as a registered apprenticeship sponsor. This long-sought designation provides our member companies valuable new tools and resources to help recruit and train the next generation of trucking talent."
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Washington Sets its Sights on Ocean Shipping

A silver lining in the global economy's post-pandemic supply-chain challenges has been policymakers' heightened attention to long-term issues hampering our domestic freight transportation networks. While shuttered Asian factories, chip shortages and other emerging chokepoints are newer problems particular to COVID-19 shutdowns, they’ve shed light on broader, systemic issues that have long impacted American trucking companies and their ability to keep the supply chain turning. Many of those issues emanate from our maritime ports, where abusive business practices by a cartel of foreign-owned ocean shipping companies have fleeced American trucking companies and U.S. consumers to the tune of billions of dollars. Fortunately, both Congress and the Biden Administration are aligned on the goal of increasing marketplace fairness in our ports and eliminating anti-competitive behavior that's enabled ocean carriers to reap record profits at the expense of truckers and consumers.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Unchanged in February

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index was unchanged in February after increasing 0.4% in January. In February, the index equaled 115.3 (2015=100) the same as January. “February was the first month that the index didn’t increase since July,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Despite a string of gains, the index is still off 1.8% from March 2020. The index is also off 4.2% from the all-time high in August 2019. It is important to note that ATA’s data is dominated by contract freight, not spot market. “Demand for trucking freight services remains strong, but for-hire contract carriers are capacity constrained due to the driver and equipment markets. The spot market has been surging as these carriers can’t haul all of the freight they are asked to move,” he said. “So the fact that the tonnage index hasn’t fully recovered is a supply problem, not a lack of demand. Other ATA data shows that for-hire carriers are operating around 7% fewer trucks, both company and independent contractor equipment, than prior to the pandemic.”
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Canadian Pacific and TCRC-T&E reach agreement to enter into binding arbitration and return to work Tuesday

Canadian Pacific Railway Limited announced that it has reached agreement with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) – Train and Engine Negotiating Committee to enter into binding arbitration. “CP is pleased to have reached agreement with the TCRC Negotiating Committee to enter into binding arbitration and end this work stoppage,” said CP President and CEO Keith Creel. “This agreement enables us to return to work effective noon Tuesday local time to resume our essential services for our customers and the North American supply chain.”
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 0.6% in January

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.6% in January after increasing 0.9% in December. In January, the index equaled 115.5 (2015=100) compared with 114.9 in December. ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision. “January’s gain was the sixth straight totaling 4.4%,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The index, which is dominated by contract freight with only small amounts of spot market truck freight, is off 3.9% from the all-time high in August 2019 and only 1.5% below March 2020 when the pandemic hit. In January, truck tonnage was helped by rising retail sales and factory output. While housing starts fell last month, which is another important driver of truck tonnage, it remained at high levels.”
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 1% in December

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1% in December after rising 0.5% in November. In December, the index equaled 114.7 (2015=100) compared with 113.5 in November. “December’s gain was the fifth straight totaling 4.4%,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “In December, tonnage reached the highest level since March, but it was still 2.7% below the pre-pandemic high. This is likely due to the fact ATA’s data is dominated by contract freight. Contractor truckload carriers operated fewer trucks in 2021 compared with 2020 and it is difficult to haul significantly more tonnage with fewer trucks. But overall, we have seen a nice trend up that is reflective of a still growing goods-economy.” November’s reading was revised down from our December 21 press release.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 1.3% in November

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.3% in November after rising 0.4% in October. In November, the index equaled 114.5 (2015=100) compared with 113 in October. “November’s gain was the fourth straight, totaling 4.3%, and the tonnage level was the highest since April,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The recent streak is very good, but it should be noted that from April through July the index fell a total of 4.6%, so we are not quite back to where we were last spring. "With that said, the index saw the largest gain from a year earlier since May. In November, strong factory output and housing starts helped push the index higher," he said.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 0.4% in October

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.4% in October after rising 2.2% in September. In October, the index equaled 113 (2015=100) compared with 112.6 in September. “October’s gain was the third straight totaling 2.9%,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The combination of solid retail sales, inventory rebuilding, and generally higher factory output offset some areas of softer freight growth, like home construction, in October. “Economic growth remains on solid footing, which is good for truck freight volumes going forward. The largest problem for the industry isn’t the amount of demand, but making sure we have adequate supply. It is good to see that fleets were able to haul more tonnage in recent months in the face of constrained supply,” he said. September’s reading was revised down slightly to 2.2% from our October 19 press release.
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Truck driver shortage hits all-time high — could double by 2030 (chainstoreage.com)

A shortage of truck drivers is a big part of the country’s supply chain problems. The trucking industry is short 80,000 drivers, an all-time high for the industry, according to the American Trucking Associations. The shortage, which existed pre-pandemic but has grown worse since then, comes at a critical time in the retail supply chain cycle, with U.S. ports backlogged just before the start of the holiday shopping season. Truck drivers move 71% of the US economy's goods,. “Since we last released an estimate of the shortage, there has been tremendous pressure on the driver pool,” said Bob Costello, chief economist, ATA. “Increased demand for freight, pandemic-related challenges from early retirements, closed driving schools and DMVs, and other pressures are really pushing up demand for drives and subsequently the shortage." The outlook for the next few years doesn’t offer much hope. Based on driver demographic trends, including gender and age, as well as expected freight growth the shortage could surpass 160,000 in 2030.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 2.4% in September

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.4% in September after rising 0.3% in August. In September, the index equaled 112.9 (2015=100) compared with 110.2 in August. “September’s sequential gain was the largest in 2021,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “It is good that tonnage rose in September, but it is important to note that this is happening because each truck is hauling more, not from an increase in the amount of equipment operated as contract carriers in the for-hire truckload market continue to shrink from the lack of new trucks and drivers. “The drivers of truck freight, including retail, construction, and manufacturing, plus a surge in imports, are helping keep demand high for trucking services,” he said.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Rose 0.5% in August

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.5% in August after falling 1.1% in July. In August, the index equaled 110.3 (2015=100) compared with 109.8 in July. “August’s monthly gain, while small, was the first since March,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “It is important to remember that ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by for-hire contract freight, with a very limited amount of spot market freight. I continue to believe that tonnage has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels for two main reasons - broader supply chain issues, like semiconductor shortages, as well as industry specific difficulties, including the driver shortage and lack of equipment. “Despite some supply chain issues, demand remains strong for trucking services generally. Truckload carriers are operating fewer trucks than a year earlier, which makes it difficult to increase freight volumes significantly,” he said.
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ATA, Trucking Industry Kick Off 2021 National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

American Trucking Associations and the entire trucking industry began a weeklong celebration of the 3.6 million professional truck drivers who deliver America’s freight safely and securely every day. ”This week is a time to remind the public of the debt of gratitude owed to these unsung heroes,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “At a time when confidence in our national institutions sits at a low, and crises of leadership have seemingly become the norm, I’m pressed to find a group of Americans more deserving of our appreciation and respect.” National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, September 12-18, provides the trucking industry an opportunity to formally recognize the efforts of professional truck drivers. State trucking associations, industry suppliers, law enforcement, and motor carriers of all sizes from coast to coast are set to host appreciation events for the men and women who safely deliver 72.5% of the country's total freight tonnage.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 1.2% in July

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.2% in July after falling 2% in June. In July, the index equaled 109.8 (2015=100) compared with 111.1 in June. “Softness in tonnage over the last few months is due more to supply constraints, rather than a big drop in freight volumes,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Not only are there broader supply chain issues, like semiconductors, holding tonnage back, but there are also industry specific difficulties, including the driver shortage and lack of equipment. For-hire truckload carriers are operating fewer trucks than a year earlier. It is difficult to haul significantly more freight with fewer trucks and drivers. “In addition to these supply issues, retail sales and housing starts, both large drivers of truck freight, retreated in July, although both rose on a year-over-year basis,” he said. June’s reading was revised down to -2% from our July 20 press release. Compared with July 2020, the SA index fell 2.9%, which was the first year-over-year drop since March. In June, the index was flat from a year earlier. Year-to-date, compared with the same seven months in 2020, tonnage is down 0.2%.
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UPS Rate Change Information

Effective August 16, 2021, the Fuel Surcharge table for U.S. UPS Ground services will change. Details on these changes can be found here. The UPS Ground Fuel Surcharge will continue to be based on based on the National U.S. Average on Highway Diesel Fuel Price and adjusted weekly. Changes to U.S. UPS Ground Fuel Surcharge tables will also be reflected on our Fuel Surcharge webpage beginning August 12, 2021. details at: https://www.ups.com/us/en/shipping/surcharges/fuel-surcharges.page?
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Bipartisan bill would help modernize nation’s truck fleet by repealing 12% excise tax on new tractor-trailers (trucking.org)

The American Trucking Associations praised the introduction of the Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act of 2021 by Senators Todd Young (R-Indiana) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland). The bipartisan legislation would repeal the 12% federal excise tax on heavy-duty trucks, which currently adds approximately $22,000 to the cost of a new tractor-trailer. “The federal excise tax on heavy trucks is a relic from the First World War that’s now serving to keep cleaner, safer trucks off of our nation’s roads today,” said Chris Spear, president and CEO of American Trucking Associations. “By repealing this antiquated tax, Congress can deliver a win for the environment, highway safety, manufacturing jobs and supply-chain efficiency. We thank Senators Young and Cardin for their bipartisan leadership in advancing a common-sense solution to the benefit of American truckers and the motoring public.” Although technological advances have made the latest tractor-trailers cleaner and safer than ever before, the FET creates a disincentive for motor carriers to modernize their fleets by placing a punitive surcharge on investments in new equipment. As a result, the average age of a truck on the road today is nearly ten years old.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 1.5% in June

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.5% in June after falling 1% in May. In June, the index equaled 111.6 (2015=100) compared with 113.3 in May. “Tonnage has definitely flattened out, on average, over the last six to nine months,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The good news is that it remains slightly above 2020 levels. “Supply chain issues are likely putting some downward pressure on tonnage,” he said. “But it is also likely that tonnage isn’t growing as much as it could because of industry-specific supply constraints. This index is dominated by contract freight, and the for-hire truckload carriers have seen their tractor counts fall because they are having difficulty finding qualified drivers. It is difficult to move more tonnage with less equipment, which is why we are seeing strong volumes in the spot market as shippers scramble to get loads moved.”
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 0.7% in May

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.7% in May after falling 0.6% in April. In May, the index equaled 113.7 (2015=100) compared with 114.5 in April. “Tonnage, despite falling slightly over the last two months, remains well above the lows of last year,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “This is no small deal considering that truck tonnage fell significantly less than many other indicators during the depths of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. “One freight segment that is helping tonnage is gasoline as demand for travel, both commuting and vacation related, picks up,” he said. “I’m also expecting retail freight to remain robust as inventories are at historic lows. As retail stocks are rebuilt, it will boost freight. As has been the case for some time, trucking’s biggest challenges are not on the demand side, but on the supply side, including difficulty finding qualified drivers.”
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FedEx Announces New Surcharge Increases Starting in June (mytotalretail.com)

FedEx will increase three peak surcharges on Express and Ground shipments beginning June 21, the carrier announced in an update Friday. Increased surcharges include Peak - Residential Delivery Charge for FedEx Express and FedEx Ground domestic; Peak Surcharges on U.S. Express Package Services, U.S. Ground Services and International Ground Services; and a Peak Surcharge on FedEx Ground Economy Package Service, all with effective dates of June 21, 2021, until further notice. Total Retail's Take: Shipping carriers continue to increase rates under the strain of large shipment volumes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement from FedEx states that the impact of the virus continues to generate elevated volumes, high demand for capacity, and increased operating costs across its carrier network. The surcharge on residential shipping will have the biggest effect on e-commerce, which will see online retailers hit with a 100 percent increase from $0.30 to $0.60 per package. Trevor Outman, co-CEO at Shipware, noted that "this will have a direct impact on all direct-to-consumer e-commerce businesses; doubling their current residential surcharge costs."
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UPM Energy Beyond Spot energy optimisation service answers to the growing need for power flexibility

UPM Energy answers to the urgent need for power flexibility with a revolutionary energy optimisation and trading service, Beyond Spot, helping industrial businesses thrive in the energy market disruption. The service helps industrial companies solve the most common pain points of energy management: energy cost optimisation and risk management. At the same time, it answers the growing need for flexible power to balance the power grid due to the fast increase in the supply of renewable energy. The energy market is in the middle of disruption. Tightening climate goals push countries to shift towards renewable energy, which pushes the power prices down and shakes up the market dynamics. The increase in renewable energy creates dramatic fluctuations in energy supply, posing significant financial risks for large energy consumers and causing new challenges for electricity grids. In order to cope with the volatile renewable energy supply, investments in electricity grids are required, but part of the solution lies in more efficient use of flexible consumption assets through energy optimisation. Regulators and transmission system operators also aim for better balancing of supply and demand with the help of new regulation such as the fifteen-minute imbalance settlement coming in 2023 in the Nordics.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 0.3% in April

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.3% in April after increasing 2.3% in March. In April, the index equaled 114.7 (2015=100) compared with 115.1 in March. “After a revised increase in March of 2.3%, the April index declined just slightly,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The outlook is solid for tonnage going forward as the country approaches pre-pandemic levels of activity, with strong economic growth in key areas for trucking – including retail, home construction and even manufacturing. “Additionally, the index increased on a year-over-year basis for the first time since March 2020. Part of the reason for the gain was due to an easy comparison with when the index fell significantly in April 2020,” he said. “But I’m expecting increases, albeit smaller than April’s, on a year-over-year basis going forward. Trucking’s biggest challenges are not on the demand side, but on the supply side, including difficulty finding qualified drivers.”
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UPS Peak Surcharge Update 4-9-2021

UPS continues to provide essential service amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak to support the needs of our customers. Our goal is to ensure businesses and customers are able to meet their shipping needs while demand has increased for shipping services. One or more Peak Surcharges will apply to packages shipped during the specified Peak Periods for the origins, destinations, and service levels and in the amounts set forth below. Peak Surcharges apply in addition to all other applicable Charges. Peak Surcharges are subject to change and Peak Periods may be extended or otherwise changed. Shippers should continue to check ups.com/peaksurcharge for updates prior to tendering shipments. details at: https://www.ups.com/assets/resources/media/en_US/2021_UPS_Peak_Surcharges.pdf
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World’s first wooden satellite slated for launch – UPM partners with Finnish space companies Arctic Astronautics and Huld

UPM Plywood, Arctic Astronautics and Huld announce today a joint mission to launch the first ever wooden satellite, WISA WOODSATTM, into Earth’s orbit by the end of 2021. WISA Woodsat will go where no wood has gone before. With a mission to gather data on the behavior and durability of plywood over an extended period in the harsh temperatures, vacuum and radiation of space in order to assess the use of wood materials in space structures. WISA Woodsat is a nanosatellite designed and built by Arctic Astronautics, and it is based on the Kitsat educational satellite. The satellite measures roughly 10 x 10 x 10 cm and weighs one kilogram. A suite of on-board sensors, including two cameras will be used to monitor the specially coated WISA®-Birch plywood.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 4.5% in February

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 4.5% in February after rising 1.8% in January. In February, the index equaled 110 (2015=100) compared with 115.2 in January. “February’s drop was exacerbated, perhaps completely caused, by the severe winter weather that impacted much of the country during the month,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Many other economic indicators were also soft in February due to the bad storms, but I continue to expect a nice climb up for the economy and truck freight as economic stimulus checks are spent and more people are vaccinated.” January’s gain was revised up slightly to 1.8% from our February 23 press release. Compared with February 2020, the SA index fell 5.9%, which was preceded by a 1.6% year-over-year decline in January. In 2020, the index was 4% below the 2019 average.
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Trucking Industry Applauds Introduction of DRIVE Safe Act

American Trucking Associations applauded the introduction of the DRIVE Safe Act in both the U.S. House and Senate by a group of bipartisan legislators. The legislation addresses the economy’s growing shortage of professional truck drivers by expanding job opportunities for younger members of the trucking workforce, while also strengthening safety training and technology safeguards for select candidates looking to participate in interstate commerce early in their careers. While 49 states permit individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license and operate large commercial vehicles before they turn 21, federal regulations prohibit those same drivers from crossing state lines until they turn 21. These restrictions bar a vital population of job seekers from interstate trucking, exacerbating the driver shortage as qualified candidates are lost to other industries. The DRIVE Safe Act would allow certified CDL holders already permitted to drive intrastate the opportunity to participate in a rigorous apprenticeship program designed to help them master interstate driving, while also promoting enhanced safety training for emerging members of the workforce.
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Sun Chemical Forms New Food and Nutrition Group

Sun Chemical has formed a Food and Nutrition Group. The recently formed group will extend existing Sun Chemical and DIC Corporation expertise in color and algae cultivation to provide coloring solutions and nutraceutical ingredients to the dietary supplement, food and beverage industries. The Food and Nutrition Group was developed as part of DIC Corporation’s vision of transforming portfolios to achieve continued future growth. The group will leverage Sun Chemical’s advanced research and development coloring expertise to support new product development initiatives for both natural and synthetic food color. The research and development team at DIC Corporation headquarters is actively working with venture capital groups in developing bio-based nutraceutical ingredients, and Sun Chemical is committed to grow the new business group and will make additional investments to accelerate its growth.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 1.4% in January

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.4% in January after rising 1.2% in December. In January, the index equaled 114.6 (2015=100) compared with 113.1 in December. “Over the last four months, the tonnage index has increased a total of 3.3%, which is obviously good news,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “However, the index is still off 2.8% from the high in March as tonnage plunged 9% in April alone. I continue to expect a nice climb up for the economy and truck freight as we get more economic stimulus and increased vaccination numbers.” Compared with January 2020, the SA index fell 2.1%, which was preceded by a 2.6% year-over-year decline in December. In 2020, the index was 4% below the 2019 average.
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UPS Peak Surcharge Update

UPS continues to provide essential service amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak to support the needs of our customers. Our goal is to ensure businesses and customers are able to meet their shipping needs while demand has increased for shipping services. One or more Peak Surcharges will apply to packages shipped during the specified Peak Periods for the origins, destinations, and service levels and in the amounts set forth below. Peak Surcharges apply in addition to all other applicable Charges. Peak Surcharges are subject to change and Peak Periods may be extended or otherwise changed. Shippers should continue to check ups.com/peaksurcharge for updates prior to tendering shipments.
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UPS Announces Agreement to Sell UPS Freight to TFI International Inc.

UPS has entered into a definitive agreement to sell UPS Freight (UPSF) to TFI International Inc. for $800 million, subject to working capital and other adjustments. “We’re excited about the future and the opportunities this creates for both UPS and UPS Freight as part of TFI International Inc.,” said UPS Chief Executive Officer Carol Tomé. “The agreement allows UPS to be even more laser-focused on the core parts of our business that drive the greatest value for our customers.” The decision to sell UPS Freight was reached following a thorough evaluation of the UPS portfolio, and aligns with the company’s “better not bigger” strategic positioning. UPS and TFI International will also enter into an agreement for UPS Freight to continue to utilize UPS’ domestic package network to fulfill shipments, for a period of five years.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Jumped 7.4% in December

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 7.4% in December after rising 3.2% in November. In December, the index equaled 120 (2015=100) compared with 111.7 in November. “Tonnage ended last year on a high note,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The index not only registered the largest monthly gain since June, but it also had the first year-over-year increase since March. Freight continues to be helped by strong consumption, a retail inventory restocking, and robust single-family home construction. With the stimulus checks recently issued and with a strong possibility of more in the near future, I would expect truck freight to continue rising.” November’s gain was revised down slightly to 3.2% from our December 22 press release. Compared with December 2019, the SA index rose 2.3%. For all of 2020, compared with the same 12-month period in 2019, tonnage was down 3.3%. 2019 had an annual increase of 3.3%.
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The new era of biochemicals

Wood-based biochemicals are renewable, recyclable, can shorten supply chains and boost local production. And they can be used to make almost anything. The future of wood is here. Soon all kinds of products – from bottles to de-icer to tyres – will be made from wood-based biochemicals, ushering in a new era of sustainability. It’s not a new idea. For years, if not decades, there has been discussion about how wood-based products could replace things made from fossil materials. Until now, this idea was mostly hypothetical. Now it is really happening.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Rose 3.7% in November

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 3.7% in November after falling 5% in October. In November, the index equaled 112.2 (2015=100) compared with 108.3 in October. “The 2020 seesaw pattern continued in November as typical seasonality is not holding this year,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “It was a nice gain, but the rebound was not enough to make up for October’s drop. Robust retail freight, helped by consumer spending, especially e-commerce, and very lean inventories helped truck tonnage last month. Strong single-family housing starts are also aiding freight tonnage, but lackluster restaurant, manufacturing and energy sectors remain a drag. I expect these softer industries to benefit from widespread COVID-19 vaccinations in 2021.” October’s decrease was revised up to 5% from our November 24 press release.
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Truckload Turnover Rises in Third Quarter

The annualized turnover rate at both large and small truckload carriers rose by double digit percentage points in the third quarter as the industry began bouncing back from a COVID-19 induced slump. “After a calamitous second quarter, trucking – along with the rest of the economy – began recovering in the third quarter, leading to a tightening of the driver market,” said American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello. “With a more robust freight market, we saw an increase in carriers seeking drivers, which led to increased turnover. Additionally, the driver pool has decreased this year for a host of reasons, including fewer new drivers coming into the industry as truck driver training schools train less drivers due to social distancing requirements.” In the third quarter, the turnover rate at truckload carriers with more than $30 million in annual revenue rose 10 percentage points to 92% on an annualized basis. The rate at smaller truckload carriers rose 14 points to 74%. Despite the increases, the 2020 average turnover rate is still running behind 2019.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Fell 6.3% in October

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 6.3% in October after gaining 5.7% in September. In October, the index equaled 106.8 (2015=100) compared with 114 in September. “While there are indications that the economy is losing momentum, I believe October’s tonnage softness was more of a seasonal issue during a pandemic than anything else,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Typical seasonality is off this year and it was a reason why October was down so much. Not seasonally adjusted tonnage was down a fraction as much as normal over the last five years during September, leading to a big seasonally adjusted gain. However, that means October’s not seasonally adjusted tonnage grew less than half as much as it typically does, leading to a big drop in the seasonally adjusted figure. There are plenty of carriers still saying that tonnage, retail tonnage in particular, is good.”
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Jumped 6.7% in September

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 6.7% in September after declining 5.3% in August. In September, the index equaled 115.1 (2015=100) compared with 107.9 in August. “September had a nice recovery after a significant decline in August,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The truck freight market continues to be bifurcated, with strength in retail and home construction, but some continued weakness in industrial freight. During the third quarter, truck tonnage increased 2.4% over the second quarter, but fell 5.3% from a year earlier.” August’s decrease was revised up to -5.3% from our September 22 press release.
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Numbers Driving the Optimism in Trucking, Then and Now

Growth in the U.S. economy boomed in 2018, slowed in 2019, and turned south in 2020 when COVID-19 started to spread widely in March. In 2019, trucks shipped 72.5% of all domestic tonnage, including an increase of 366 million tons over 2018. Also, across the northern and southern borders, trucks moved three-quarters of the value of trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Compared with previous recessions, trucking fared far better than the overall economy as the recession in the first half of 2020 was concentrated in the much less freight intensive, services sector. At the start of 2020, the U.S. remained in the longest economic expansion on record with the unemployment rate at 50-year lows. In the three primary categories of freight—retail, manufacturing, and housing construction—only manufacturing was struggling from an industry-specific recession in 2019. In January, retail sales notched a record high, and construction on new homes surged to its highest level in over a decade, according to the Census Bureau. Even manufacturing showed signs that it bottomed out in 2019, as the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers Index reported an expanding manufacturing sector in January and February after 5 months of contraction.
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ATA Freight Forecast Projects Continued Long-Term Growth in Volumes

Today, the American Trucking Associations released its latest ATA Freight Transportation Forecast: 2020 to 2031, which is conducted annually by IHS Markit, showing that despite contraction in 2020, the long-term trend for both trucking and overall freight shipments is still positive. Among the findings in this year’s Forecast: *Total freight volumes in 2020 are likely to collapse by 10.6% to 14.6 billion tons, although truck freight volumes falls a smaller 8.8%. *Trucking volumes are expected to rebound in 2021, rising 4.9% next year and then growing 3.2% per year on average through 2026. *Overall freight revenues in 2020 will total $879 billion, rising to $1.435 trillion in 2031.
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Shipping Rates to Increase for FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight Services

FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight will increase shipping rates beginning January 4, 2021. These rate changes enable FedEx to continue investing in service enhancement, fleet maintenance, technology innovations and other areas to serve customers more effectively and efficiently. FedEx Express shipping rates will increase by an average of 4.9% for U.S. domestic, U.S. export and U.S. import services. FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery shipping rates will increase by an average of 4.9%. FedEx SmartPost shipping rates will also increase. FedEx Freight shipping rates will increase by an average of 4.9% for customers who use FXF PZONE and FXF EZONE, and by 5.9% for customers who use FXF 1000 and FXF 501 for shipments within the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and between the contiguous U.S. and Canada. FedEx Freight shipping rates will also increase for shipments within Canada, within Mexico, and between the contiguous U.S. and Mexico. Details of all changes to rates, surcharges and fees are available on the FedEx website at: http://fedex.com/rates2021.
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The Postal Regulatory Commission Approves USPS’ Temporary Price Increase for Commercial Parcels

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has approved the temporary price increases for commercial domestic parcel products that USPS proposed last month. Retail prices for parcel products are unaffected. The planned commercial price increases for Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service (FCPS) and Commercial Parcel Select will take effect Oct. 18, 2020 at 12 a.m. Central time and continue until Dec. 27, 2020 at 12 a.m. Central time. After that, prices will revert to 2020 prices. The temporary price adjustments are in response to heightened package volume due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as expected increases in online shopping during the holidays. Details at: https://www.prc.gov/docs/114/114473/Order5673.pdf
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