At a time when the U.S. ports are struggling to overcome surging volumes, the grounding of the Ever Given could result in a ripple effect throughout the intermodal and truckload sectors through the summer.
At the start of the pandemic last year, supply chain expert Daniel Stanton – aka Mr. Supply Chain – spoke about the “bullwhip effect” on supply chains. Almost a year later, the bullwhip effect is rattling supply chains again, as manufacturers struggle to keep up with demand for consumer goods.
Truckload capacity is tight and expected to get tighter, but judging where truckload demand is headed remains challenging as COVID-19 headwinds ease and increasing tailwinds from the vaccine distribution and economic stimulus converge.
This week is the peak shipping week for flowers ahead of Valentine's Day, and most of the activity is centered on Miami, just 3.5 hours flying time from where the majority of Valentine’s Day roses are grown.
Something we’ve seen over the years is that extended periods of high freight rates tend to lead to higher numbers of new truck orders. We saw it in 2018, and new equipment orders again hit record levels in 2020. This time, the industry is faced with a lot more uncertainty.
We expect 2021 to be very different to 2020. The pandemic resulted in a crash in demand, followed by a capacity crunch, which will make year-over-year comparisons difficult. We don’t have any non-pandemic years in recent enough history to make meaningful comparisons.