Logistics Update 

TLI State of Transportation - December 21

December 22, 2020

Written By: Peter Rio


 Transportation Markets Remain Strong Heading Into Christmas Week


LTL Weekly Summary:

After slight improvement over the past month, LTL service levels are beginning to decline once again amid the resurgent Covid-19 pandemic. Carriers are faced with ongoing challenges when their employees test positive and cannot come to work, causing disruptions and delays within their terminal networks.  Many LTL carriers are reporting 300-500 employees being out of work on any given day due to the Covid-19 virus, which cripples their ability to pick up and deliver freight as planned.

Extended transit times are the most common issue facing LTL supply chains, but missed pickups are also on the rise again. During a recent Journal of Commerce survey (chart below), longer transit times were an issue for 87.9% of survey respondents, with 70.2% reporting LTL transit times which were extended by one or two days.

Guaranteed deliveries continue to be a challenge for LTL carriers, with several more carriers announcing that they will temporarily suspend guaranteed delivery service to certain areas of the country where freight is just too backed up to deliver on time.


Truckload Weekly Summary:

In the truckload segment, Atlanta GA is currently the largest dry van market by volume in the entire country. This is closely followed by the Ontario CA, Harrisburg PA, Los Angeles CA, Elizabeth NJ, Dallas TX, Joliet IL and Houston TX markets. Based on historical data, dry van freight volumes should remain steady until Christmas day, but shippers should expect another peak in spot rates as we head into 2021.

The Midwestern United States currently has the tightest truckload market in the country, with Cleveland, Toledo, and Cincinnati continuing to be challenge for many carriers.


International Ocean/Air Weekly Summary:

The ongoing surge in US imports and the worsening pandemic are combining to create shortages in all types of freight capacity, including International Ocean and Air. Shippers continue to feel the impact of ocean carriers pushing out bookings for shipments coming from the Asian ports, causing severe transit delays. Schedule reliability in the eastbound trans-Pacific was the fastest to decline, deteriorating to the lowest levels ever recorded at only 28.5% on the West Coast of North America and only 26.3% on the East Coast, as mounting congestion issues further delay the handling of vessels that were already behind schedule when arriving at the ports.


Other Key Weekly Updates:


Estes Express Lines announced that as a result of the severe increase of Covid-19 cases throughout the state of California and in Portland OR, they have suspended the financial guarantee for their Time Critical services for both inbound and outbound LTL shipments to these geographic areas. The suspension is expected to end effective January 4, 2021, depending on the situation at that time.


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


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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For the latest insights, tips and commentary surrounding the logistics industry, look no further.  Shippers will find thoughts from the award-winning team at Translogistics covering everything related to your transportation processes and plans.  If you have a question we are readily available at insidesales@tli.email