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Logistics Intelligence Brief
Friday, September 24, 2021

Shippers/3PLs

Nike’s Revenue Pinched by Supply-Chain Disruptions

The Wall Street Journal Inti Pacheo September 23, 2021

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The Covid-19 pandemic has caught up with Nike Inc. sneaker giant’s revenue growth is being limited by supply-chain disruptions that have slowed the production and delivery of shoes and other goods around the world.
Nike executives said the company’s inventories heading into the holidays are low and it will take several months to get back to full production. The company is shifting some production out of Vietnam and using air freight to avoid bottlenecks at ocean ports.

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Semiconductor shortage that has hobbled manufacturing worldwide is getting worse

The Washington Post Jeanne Whalen September 23, 2021

The global semiconductor shortage that has paralyzed automakers for nearly a year shows signs of worsening, as new coronavirus infections halt chip assembly lines in Southeast Asia, forcing more car companies and electronics manufacturers to suspend production.
A wave of delta-variant cases in Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines is causing production delays at factories that cut and package semiconductors, creating new bottlenecks on top of those caused by soaring demand for chips.
Underscoring that the problem has defied easy solutions, the White House on Thursday held its second summit in five months with semiconductor manufacturers and buyers, in part to gain more clarity on the scope of the crisis, senior administration officials said.
Attendees included senior executives from Intel, General Motors, Ford, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and two dozen other companies, as well as Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese.

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Industry

Containers Piling Up at Rail Yards Add to Port Strains

Bloomberg/Transport Topics Brendan Murray September 23, 2021

To understand why more than 100 containerships are waiting to enter U.S. ports from Southern California to Savannah, Ga., it helps to keep tabs on the congestion that’s building at another key junction of freight transportation: rail yards.
The so-called dwell time for containers at 11 major railroad depots reached an average of 9.8 days this month, according to a tally of its own boxes maintained by Hapag-Lloyd AG, the world’s fifth-largest container carrier. That’s up from 6.7 days in May and 5.9 in February.
Leading the pack is Los Angeles, where containers wait an average of almost 16 days before being picked up. The delays are also surging in Charleston, S.C., and in Detroit. The numbers show some improvements in Long Beach, Calif., and the Kansas City area.

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Investor infusion boosts digital truckload bidding platform

The Journal of Commerce William B. Cassidy September 23, 2021

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Digital freight procurement platform Emerge is accelerating development of its dynamic bidding system, supported by a fresh $130 million in funding from a group of private equity investors. The series B funding will enable Emerge to triple its research and development spending this year and greatly expand its enterprise sales efforts, Michael Leto, founder and co-CEO, told JOC.com in an interview.
“We’ll be 10 times larger in our enterprise sales efforts,” Leto said Tuesday. “We’ve graduated from just running mini-bids and seasonal bids to now having large Fortune 500 companies saying we’ll utilize you for our annual RFP (request for proposal),” the opening gambit in contract negotiations. Shippers will procure transportation for about $4 billion worth of freight through Emerge this year, said Leto.
The $130 million investment gives Emerge a boost as more of those large shippers rethink the RFP and how they procure trucks to haul their freight. The rapid increase in transportation costs has revealed cracks in procurement processes across modes. Shippers buying trucking services increasingly use mini-bids to try to control their costs and ensure they have the capacity they need when it is needed.

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Workforce

Prologis expands training program for logistics workers

Freight Waves Todd Maiden September 23 , 2021

Logistics real estate investment trust Prologis Inc. announced Thursday it was expanding its training program aimed at tackling the growing need for logistics workers.
Through its Community Workforce Initiative (CWI), the San Francisco-based industrial warehouse operator is adding six locations to the training program – Dallas, Chicago, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Tracy and Long Beach, California.
Through a partnership with JFF, a workforce and educational systems nonprofit, the expansion will allow Prologis to train another 10,000 people for careers in transportation, distribution and logistics over the next two years.
The CWI provides workers with training and job placement. The online training platform teaches basic workforce skills as well as best practices used throughout the industry. The initiative also offers a certification program in supply chain warehousing.

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Government/Safety/Sustainability

Short-Term Extensions Possible for Highway Law, Government Funding

Transport Topics Eugene Mulero September 23, 2021

With less than a week before the nation’s premier highway law expires and funding for most of the federal government comes to a halt, Congress is likely to adopt short-term legislative extensions.
Uncertainty surrounding a U.S. House vote on a $1 trillion infrastructure package scheduled for Sept. 27 raises questions about the future of the reauthorization of federal highway programs. Included in the infrastructure bill is an update of the 2015 FAST Act highway law. The FAST Act’s authority is up for renewal at the end of this month.
Transportation leaders say they are considering pivoting to alternative measures meant to avoid interruptions to highway and transit aid for state agencies. When asked about the likelihood of approving a short-term extension of the FAST Act, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), told Transport Topics: “Well, today is the 21st [of September]. That’d probably be a good bet.” Cantwell is the chairwoman of the Commerce Committee with jurisdiction over trucking policy. Her sentiment has been echoed by several members on the transportation panels.

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Retail groups ask for 3 months to get ready for vaccine mandate

Retail Dive Ben Unglesbee September 23, 2021

Retailers are asking for 90 days before the Biden administration implements new rules requiring workers at large employers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Policy officials with the industry's two leading trade groups, the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, sent a joint letter asking for the 90-day timeline "to allow retailers and other employers to create the systems necessary" to meet the new requirement.
The letter, addressed to the Department of Labor and its Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also raised a long list of questions, including around how vaccinations will be verified, how to respond to employee refusals, the definition of "vaccinated," religious and health exemptions, and several other topics.

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Biden administration struggles to fix ailing supply chain as holiday season looms

The Washington Post David J. Lynch September 24, 2021

The Biden administration is struggling to ease congestion in the nation’s freight system, as mounting backlogs threaten to dash the president’s hopes for a smooth economic recovery with higher prices and spot product shortages.
The worst choke point is in Southern California at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where 62 container ships carrying toys, electronics, furniture and other goods lie at anchor waiting for an unloading berth. The floating queue, virtually unknown before the coronavirus pandemic upended global supply chains, has doubled since mid-August.
Onshore, docks and railroad terminals are jammed with shipping containers amid an epic buying spree by companies racing to keep pace with consumer demand. Trucking companies and warehouses complain they can’t find enough workers to keep freight moving, leaving Americans waiting for products such as Honda auto parts, Lands' End clothing, Fancy Feast cat food and Peloton exercise gear.
To unscramble the cargo mess, the White House last month named as its “ports envoy,” John Porcari, a former Obama administration transportation official. Last week, he helped push the Southern California port complex, the nation’s top import gateway, to add night and weekend hours for trucks to collect shipping containers.

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FMCSA Nominee Meera Joshi Promotes Autonomous Tech’s Safety Potential

Transport Topics Eugene Mulero September 23, 2021

Autonomous technology meant to enhance freight connectivity could transform the country’s commercial landscape and improve safety, President Joe Biden’s nominee to oversee trucking regulations told a U.S. Senate panel Sept. 22.
Appearing before the Senate Commerce Committee, Meera Joshi, nominated to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, said technologies related to self-driving vehicles and vehicle-to-vehicle communication aim to modernize freight and passenger sectors while promoting overall safety.
“We are indeed in a time of incredible transition within the industry,” Joshi told senators. “The transition from mechanical to [artificial intelligence] occurs but for FMCSA, the mission of safety is the No. 1 priority, stays the same. So our challenge is to ensure that our regulations to uphold roadway safety translate into an [artificial intelligence] world.”
Related: Fleet Owner FMCSA nominee focuses on safety and technology in Senate hearing

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