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Flatbed – seasonal slid
Reefer – Candy is done, apple season ended well. Potatoes still strong in ID, WI, MI. Fresh food moving for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Van – Backhaul lanes moving up. Pressure outbound from Columbus, heading into Atlanta, ditto Philly to Charlotte and Buffalo to Charlotte. Philly to Buffalo is also up. Charlotte outbound is the headhaul direction, but the southbound lanes are gaining strength. Denver to Albuquerque, Minneapolis to Chicago, NOLA to Dallas are all “orphan lanes” with no corresponding, strong lane in the reverse direction. ISM reported surge in manufacturing in August, some finished goods moved in August to regional DCs but more moves will follow in Sept-Oct. so that he manufacturing strength in August generates freight for Sept.-Oct.
Fuel – Diesel is still low, despite unrest in Middle East. U.S. prices are down even though OPEC is up. That means OPEC is not dictating U.S. fuel prices.
Costs – Tight capacity leads to rate increases, but fleets are putting the money into driver compensation. Trying to reduce turnover.
Shippers can make their freight more attractive by improving dock practices, reducing load/unload times, make it safe and convenient for drivers to take a 30-minute break while they are at your location. Personal observation: the well-run grocery chains with good supply chain practices 15 years ago are the ones that are still successful today. The others have gone out of business