State of Freight Insights Commentary

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2019 freight markets: Expect more volatility but not a pullback

The equities markets have been on a rather wild ride recently. During the three weeks between December 3, 2018, and Christmas Eve, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 15%. However, after that recent low, the Dow jumped roughly 10%. This is a degree of volatility in the markets we have not seen

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Energy sector may not be able to power 2019 carload growth

The railroads’ carload business benefited from a booming energy sector in 2018, but it may not be able to count on that continuing in the new year. The problem for carriers is that alternatives to replace energy in the carload or intermodal sectors appears limited. The carriers have struggled to provide

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GOING WITH THE FLOW TOWARD INTERMODAL, E-COMMERCE

Preliminary data in from the Commodity Flow Survey highlights known shifts in transportation. Every 5 years the government gives us a comprehensive view of transportation. Preliminary data from the Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) covering 2017 became public on December 6, and some of it tells us what we already know. For example, truck

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Midterm Election’s Impact on Transportation is subtle but important

With the final major contest settled following the November 27 runoff in the Mississippi Senate race, the makeup of the 116th Congress is essentially settled. In the Senate, Republicans flipped seats in four states —  Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota — but lost seats in Arizona and Nevada for a net pickup

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Mildly Capacity-Reducing Regulations on Tap for Trucking

The federal government is in deregulatory mode, but two trucking regulations adopted late in the Obama administration will take effect early in 2020. One regulation will establish a national clearinghouse to maintain records on drivers who have either tested positive for drugs or alcohol or refused to submit to required tests

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RAIL REGULATIONS UNLIKELY TO CHANGE IN NEAR FUTURE, BUT ACTIVITY CAN STILL OCCUR

The fall was expected to usher in a reawakening of the railroad industry’s major economic regulator, but with D.C. focused on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to join the Supreme Court, the Surface Transportation Board has shuffled down the list of priorities. The five-member board’s three pending

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Rail regulations unlikely to change in near future, but activity can still occur.

  The fall was expected to usher in a reawakening of the railroad industry’s major economic regulator, but with D.C. focused on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to join the Supreme Court, the Surface Transportation Board has shuffled down the list of priorities.   The five-member board’s

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Orders Spike As Fleets Need More Equipment

The trucking industry is in the midst of a “capacity crisis.” There are not nearly enough trucks and trailers to handle an ever-increasing amount of freight. Many long-time industry veterans say they have never seen industry capacity pushed this hard. This view is supported by the FTR Total Truck capacity

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How Many Younger Drivers Might We Get?

The minimum age restriction on interstate truck drivers has long been recognized as an impediment to driver availability. Trucking naturally draws mostly from the labor pool that does not attend college, but the only jobs available in the sector before age 21 are in intrastate operations. While this is an obvious

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Service & Resources Will Determine Shipper Modal Choice

A combination of solutions to the service and resource questions facing the transportation sector will determine whether truck or rail is able to capitalize on the capacity crunch.   Rail service has declined every week for the last year and is well below 2017 and 2016 levels in addition to the 10-year

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