Logistics Update 

TLI State of Transportation - November 16

November 17, 2020

Written By: Peter Rio



The current unprecedented capacity crunch across all modes of domestic and international transportation has continued into November, with no end in sight as we begin the holiday shipping season and prepare for a challenging end of month due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.


LTL Weekly Summary:

For the first time in months, several LTL carriers began notifying TLI last week about their networks beginning to loosen, although ever so slightly. A few select carriers even began improving blanket pricing levels and removing previous shipment embargoes, which are leading indicators that they are beginning to seek handling more freight again. Although preliminary, these slight indications are hopefully the start of the LTL market beginning to get back to a somewhat normal state. 2021 rate increase forecasts have been softened by most transportation analysts as of the past few weeks, who now suggest an estimated 5% LTL rate increase in 2021; previously forecasted as upwards of 8%.

The LA Basin in Southern CA has remained the most challenging area of the country for LTL service, with higher than normal missed pickups and late deliveries in and out of these terminals. More and more carriers are issuing embargoes within their networks so that certain terminals can get caught up on backlogged freight, especially as we have begun protect from freeze season.


Truckload Weekly Summary:

As shippers continue to turn to the spot market to move their truckload freight, van and reefer rates kept rising as flatbed demand began to slip last week. The national dry van spot rate per mile hit $2.92 per mile as key shipping lane rates spiked, such as Los Angeles to Dallas increasing 11.5% week-over-week. Although the rate of change has begun to slow, rates are still at near record levels and forecasts suggest they will stay there throughout the majority of 2021. 

It is critical that you provide your TLI team with as much notice and flexibility as possible on any truckload or intermodal freight you may need to move in order to allow us to book the best carrier option at the best rate.


Some of the most recent notable events in the freight industry were as follows:

Continued Freight Hotspots: Los Angeles CA Basin (by far the tightest market in the country for LTL), Colorado, Eastern PA, Columbus OH, Oregon, Washington

The fight against COVID 19 continues as Pfizer announced a vaccine with a 90% success rate in clinical trials and Eli Lilly’s antibody therapy got emergency FDA clearance. However, the hope of a vaccine coming soon begins the discussion of the logistical challenges this creates and the potential further disruption to an already fragile US freight market. Pfizer’s medications would have to be transported at -94 degrees Fahrenheit which Moderna’s can move at -4 degrees Fahrenheit. These urgent refrigerated loads could quickly impact the truckload market, as rates spike even further and truck ravailability becomes even more sparse due to these life saving priority shipments tacking precendence and paying above market rates.

With the Thanksgiving Holiday quickly approaching in less than two weeks and yet another tight end of the month looming, it is important to start planning to get your shipments moving as soon as possible. With most all carriers closed on 11/26 and 11/27, end of month in November is expected to be extremely challenging and expensive for shippers especially on any last minute orders.

Pitt Ohio removed their temporary high cost delivery surcharge last week from 4 of their 10 terminals which were severely backlogged with freight after they have successfully gotten caught up. However, the surcharge remains on inbound freight to their Hazleton PA, Toledo OH, Battle Creek MI, Cincinnati OH, Harrisburg PA, and Cumberland MD terminals, which like many other carriers remain very busy areas for inbound deliveries.

Estes Express Lines announced re-expanding their blanket/transactional pricing program to handle any shipment up to 1,000 miles, which was previously restricted to only 600 miles as a result of their extremely tight network capacity. Not surprisingly, their exclusions out of the Southern California area for transactional freight will remain in effect until capacity begins to loosen in that area, which is not expected to happen until early to mid-2021.


Your team at Translogistics will continue providing you with weekly updates throughout the current unprecedented capacity crunch. Please be assured, poor carrier services levels are not specific to your account rather an industry-wide problem we are all facing together right now. This tough market environment is expected to continue well into 2021.

We encourage you to continue to check our Translogistics Blog regularly, as we will be posting industry or carrier updates as we receive them.



Your Team at Translogistics



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