ITS Logistics today released the August forecast for the ITS Logistics US Port/Rail Ramp Freight Index. This month the index reveals that—because of the recently resolved British Columbia labor issues—congestion and delays are manifesting at Chicago and other Midwest rail ramps. In addition, there is an increased likelihood that trucking capacity will start exiting the market at an alarmingly high rate.
“There are side effects still being felt from the labor disruption in Western Canada, specifically at the Eastern Region rail ramps in Chicago and the Midwest,” said Paul Brashier, Vice President of Drayage and Intermodal for ITS Logistics. “As weeks of affected IPI container volume finally begin to make its way via rail from Vancouver and Prince Rupert to Chicago and other Midwest ramps, congestion and delays are occurring at those locations. For most of August, these ramps will experience a lack of ocean container chassis availability and significant congestion causing an increased likelihood of storage and detention charges.”
As the industry attempts to adjust to the aftermath of the latest events in supply chain disruption, ITS is also monitoring trucking capacity. Current trends show an increased likelihood that capacity will start exiting the market at an alarmingly high rate. According to the current analysis of trucking rates versus carrier operating costs and profitability with the recent increases in fuel, it appears that many small to medium size trucking companies will be operating at a loss unless rates increase.
“Current forecasts show rates for trucking to start increasing around Lunar New Year 2024, as regular container volumes should return for that period. This will occur for the first time in almost two years, as shipper and BCO inventory levels should normalize for the first time since the pandemic,” continued Brashier.
Brashier suggests that during the congestion, companies should avoid booking low-inventory or high-demand SKUs to the ramps of the Midwest via IPI. Instead that inventory should be transloaded and then moved inland by way of truckload or intermodal. Furthermore, as the freight sector of the industry experiences a slower season as of now, shippers should take time to properly vet the overall fiscal health of trucking providers. As shippers start to review current RFPs and issue awards, select a trucking partner that provides more value than the least expensive rate. Honoring RFP rates for the duration of the contract, fiscal health, solid visibility software, and operational excellence should also be considered during this process.
ITS Logistics offers a full suite of network transportation solutions across North America and omnichannel distribution and fulfillment services to 95% of the U.S. population within two days. These services include drayage and intermodal in 22 coastal ports and 30 rail ramps, a full suite of asset and asset-lite transportation solutions, omnichannel distribution and fulfillment, and outbound small parcel.
The ITS Logistics US Port/Rail Ramp Freight Index forecasts port container and dray operations for the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf regions. Ocean and domestic container rail ramp operations are also highlighted in the index for both the West Inland and East Inland regions. Visit here for a full comprehensive copy of the index with expected forecasts for the US port and rail ramps.
Source: ITS Logistics