Welcome to the WHAT IS THE TRUCK?!? bulletin presented by Convoy. In this issue, recap of Black Friday / Cyber Monday; trucking markets; how supply chain shortages are hurting an arcade brand; and more.
Up to a penny … almost – As freight workers cure their post-Thanksgiving hangovers and mend broken diets, the dry trucking spot market includes the bank accounts of fuel-fattened carriers of 9 cents per mile nationally. Entering the final leg of the race around Christmas, rates are back near series highs, hitting $ 3.47 per mile. This reverses a slight downward trend that we observed in October and November.
Turn up the sound – So why didn’t the rates explode in November as they usually do? Look at this graph above: With freight volumes at perpetual peak season levels for a year, the holidays have been the only relief on the calendar. In fact, unlike what usually happens, we even saw a drop from Thanksgiving when volumes were generally exploding. This corresponds to historically low inventory levels. Due to traffic jams, senders can’t wait on freight transport, then on carriers with pull-ups ahead before the holidays. Instead, they try to move all available goods and have done so throughout the year.
Worth the detour – In FreightWaves’ chart of the week, Zach Strickland reports: “The demand for long-haul transport capacity has increased significantly over the past five months, resulting in a 10% increase in the average transport length for long-haul calls. offers by truck. A non-seasonal increase in this index indicates that shippers are seeing declining demand for personal consumption, are still trying to build up inventory, or both. Will Black Friday and Cyber Monday retail results reverse the direction of consumer spending, or will they set the trend in the future? Let’s take a look.
Black Friday / Cyber Monday review
More than a gray friday tbh – Are the days of trample on our fellow buyers Black Friday, a thing of the past? CNBC reports, “Black Friday retail store traffic is down 28.3% from 2019 levels.” I was at a Walmart here in Chattanooga, braving the fray for Christmas lights, and for the record, it looked like any other day in Wally World. Thanksgiving Day traffic looked even worse as it hit land like Ever Given trying to cross the Suez, down more than 90% according to Sensormatic.
Do with – With stores like Walmart, Target and Best Buy shutting down on Turkey Day and “Black Friday sales” losing meaning to shoppers, purchases have been spread out throughout the season. Not only that, but the agreements were nothing to blow up doors. Forbes reports, “The average promotional discount for major retailers heading into Black Friday is 33.4%, compared to an average 37% discount offered in October and early this month. “
A case of Cyber Mondays – Much like Black Friday, Cyber Monday has been a victim of sales and sprawl offers over the past few weeks. Add to this the generalization of logistics news (even Adele was blamed to ruin the vinyl supply chain) who told buyers to prepare for Christmas to be ruined, and you get lukewarm results from yesterday. According to Reuters, “On Black Friday… US shoppers spent an estimated $ 8.9 billion online, up from $ 9 billion a year earlier.” Estimates for Cyber Monday tell a similar story with between $ 10.2 billion and $ 11.3 billion in sales this year compared to $ 10.8 billion last year. Next year, will the supply chain theme of the year be “oversupply” as consumer demand declines and unsuitable freight begins to clog warehouses?
Amazon is still king – So who won online? PYMNTS reports, “71% of Black Friday shoppers shopped online at Amazon, while over 41% made digital purchases through Walmart and 28% through Target.” As for these impacts related to the supply chain, PYMNTS estimates that the stockouts cost retailers $ 4.6 billion on Black Friday.
The New Yorker delivers with this cover
The dream of becoming mainstream – Did you have the opportunity to woo the table this Thanksgiving and impress your loved ones with your deep understanding of America’s newest obsession: supply chains? Otherwise, there is still time this holiday season with a nice new blanket on The New Yorker keep the interest alive. The cover story ends, however, with a sad revelation from the artist who drew the photo, as he recounts how he lost faith in the very man he portrayed to save Christmas. We know the real truth: Sailors, truckers, longshoremen, warehouse workers, brokers and retail workers are the real force behind Operation Save Christmas.
More transport time – Owner-operators and small fleets can spend up to 10 hours per week searching for individual loads to keep their trucks full. Convoy, the country’s leading digital freight network, seeks to help drivers spend less time searching and more time transporting with dedicated freight contracts.
“As a small business we have never been able to access anything from the traditional brokers we have worked with. It gives me the peace of mind that I don’t have to be constantly on the lookout for new shipments. – Kenia Vazquez from KVR Transport
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Supply chain brand killer – A recent thread on Reddit The HobbyDrama forum appeared with this headline: “Arcade 1UP, a company that builds replicas of smaller-scale arcade games, goes from heroes to zero due to a shortage of chips, huge price increases and terrible quality control issues. The company’s arcade machines have garnered a huge following since 2018 with releases of nearly identical (albeit three-quarters the size) classics like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. However, this year shortages of microchips and BOMs are causing gamers to cry foul. In question, inexpensive components associated with price tags that accelerate quickly for the latest models of the brand. Too bad also like that simpsons arcade looks excellent. Oh !
We need your help
A very WTT Christmas – Bring joy. We come to that time of year when the straps are tightening and the shipping windows are tightening even more. This season, we are reaching out to readers of this newsletter as well as the freight community to help us decorate the WTT Christmas tree. This beautiful conifer is 100% real and needs 100% of your company logo ornaments. Be featured on our next shows and of course on our last episode of the year, “A very WHAT THE TRUCK?!? Christmas ”on December 17th. Email me to find out where to send the decorations.
But wait, there is more – We are also looking for office videos wishing the freight community happy holidays. Get out your iPhone, bring some joy, and email it to me to be part of our December 17th special. Songs are also welcome. The deadline for ornaments and encouragement videos is December 13th.
Need some inspiration? – Watch last year’s A Very WTT Christmas to see some of the amazing performances the freight world delivered.
WTT this week
Wednesday – A deep dive this year in ocean freight and what to expect next year; will freight markets return to normal at any time in ’22; how to protect your vacation cargo from theft with special guests Brian Bourke, Director of Growth at SEKO Logistics; Jim Monkmeyer, President, Transportation, DHL Supply Chain North America; and Scott Cornell, National Transportation Practice Leader and Crime and Theft Specialist at Travelers.
Friday – The logistics of online grocery shopping; why truckers shouldn’t chase login bonuses; Tive goes beyond our planet; workout tips and a mind-blowing musical performance with special guests Jordan Dickerson, Supply Chain Manager, Fresh Street; Krenar Komoni, CEO, Tive; Brian Runnels, vice president of security, Reliance Partners; Robert Bain, Logistics’ Strongest Man, CarrierDirect; and Convoy.
Watch new live shows at noon ET on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on FreightWavesTV, FreightWaves LinkedIn and Facebook or on request by searching for WHAT THE TRUCK?!? on your favorite podcast player.
Now on demand
Importance of pets in the office and in the cabin
Death to non-competitors
Heavy metal ketchup – I caught up with Kraft Heinz’s Trent Zuberi to hear him shred his guitar and talk about supply chain planning for a large grocery company. Listen.
Save the world – Speaking of guitars, ICYMI The Dude makes oceanic plastic picks! Looked.
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