An update from GlobalTranz regarding COVID-19

March 13, 2020 Nathan Hall

An update from GlobalTranz regarding COVID-19

UPDATED: MARCH 19, 2020 

GlobalTranz remains committed to the health and safety of our team members, customers, carriers, business partners, and their loved ones. Our team has been working diligently to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus and as a result, GlobalTranz is open for business and remains committed to fulfilling our contractual obligations to our customers and doing our part to keep America’s freight moving.

Here is the latest information from the GlobalTranz team, our customer and carrier networks, and industry sources:

Market Conditions:

LTL:

  • Currently, most carriers are fully operational both for pickup and delivery as well as back-office support.
  • We have received several updates from carriers that are taking the following steps to limit exposure to the virus:
    • Stopping all Inside Deliveries
    • No signature on delivery receipt required
    • Shipments that are sent to closed businesses will be held at the terminals
  • We are receiving initial reports of some embargoed locations and will provide updates as we learn more.
  • Currently, we have received no word on capacity being an issue or any potential closures of terminals or call centers that would disrupt any business.

Truckload:

  • The TL market is becoming more volatile due to continued increased demand, some loss of capacity, etc.
  • Spot load postings are up 18% from last week.
  • Load to truck ratios for vans have increased 31% from last week. Nationwide, load-to-truck ratios rose higher last week in nearly every region except the Pacific Northwest.
  • Contractual lanes and rates are continuing to see increases. This is due to capacity leaving the market as carriers choose to take higher-paying spot freight, or simply opt to park their trucks. Through this crisis, it is important to remember that drivers are people too, and this virus is understandably making them nervous as well. We have not seen or heard reports of large numbers of drivers being pulled off the road, but this bears watching and GlobalTranz will continue to monitor the situation closely.
  • The shutdown of restaurants and bars will place a greater strain on local food, beverage and home goods retailers. As this occurs, we expect increased demand for capacity to re-stock shelves to continue.
  • Some food and beverage manufacturers are running out of product and keeping up with demand has proven to be difficult. This has resulted in TONU’s or short-shipping product.
  • Some shippers are choosing to push/roll loads vs. paying to get them moved. While effective in the short-term, at some point these shipments must move, and may create a buildup of TL volume that will further tighten capacity and drive rates higher.
  • We are hearing reports of long wait times for drivers to unload. In some cases, this is due to a shortage of warehouse/dock staff.
  • Overall, shippers have shown understanding and flexibility as all parties work together to come up with practical solutions. For example, some shippers have waived fines associated with OTD and have indicated their priority is to support the needs of the consumers rather than penalizing their logistics partners.

Cross-Border:

  • Exports from Mexico into the U.S. have increased, particularly CPG products.
  • The U.S./Canadian border has been closed to non-essential travel but remains open for cargo shipments.

IMDL:

  • Currently, intermodal capacity is plentiful. There have been no significant changes to rates.
  • Westbound volumes have increased. Intra-western volumes have also increased due to tightness in OTR capacity.
  • Containers are still in short supply.

Closures:

  • The state of Pennsylvania initially announced the closure of all 35 of its highway rest stops, including access to truck parking. This is already resulting in an increase in tender rejections in PA. As of this writing, PA has announced that it will reopen 13 rest stops for parking only.

Ports:

  • Officials announced today that Port of Houston’s Barbours Cut and Bayport Container terminals are closed until further notice due to a reported case of COVID-19 in an employee.
  • All vessel, yard, and gate operations have been stopped until further notice.
  • All Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles terminals are open and operational.

 

Government/Regulatory Bodies:

  • The FMCSA issued an expanded emergency declaration and has waived the HOS requirements for essential shipments including:
    • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
    • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants;
    • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores;
    • Immediate precursor raw materials- such as paper, plastic or alcohol- that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items in categories (1), (2) or (3);
    • Fuel;
    • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19;
    • Persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes; and
    • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response.

Operational Continuity:

The GlobalTranz cross-functional coronavirus Task Force is meeting daily and in continuous contact with all office locations to ensure seamless continuity in our business operations.

In order to slow the spread of illness, safeguard our team members, and ensure operational continuity, we continue to implement the following measures:

Preventative Measures:

  • We continue to emphasize proper procedures when coughing or sneezing (i.e., use a tissue and dispose of it properly or cough/sneeze into your elbow if tissues are not available).
  • Employees are required to immediately report illness, either their own or that of a family member, to our People Operations team.
  • In order to mitigate the risk in our office locations, we continue to clean and sanitize all common areas on a regular basis. We encourage employees to sanitize their workstations and phones on a daily basis as well.
  • We continue to monitor best practices per the CDC.

Work from Home:

  • We have implemented work from home on a voluntary basis. We have the processes, technology and security in place to support remote work and are prepared to expand that to a larger segment of our staff if needed. Approximately 85% of our staff is currently working from home.
  • GlobalTranz is ready to implement plans to ensure business continuity in the event that branch location(s) may be temporarily closed due to the coronavirus. These plans include “work from home” guidelines.
  • We are not currently closing offices at this time, however we are ready to do so should the need arise.

Travel:

  • All non-essential business travel has been postponed until further notice.

 Outlook:

  • We anticipate that TL capacity shortage will continue as consumer demand for food, beverages and home goods remains high.
  • We expect that when Western U.S. ports resume activity, this will result in additional capacity tightening.
  • We are monitoring spring season shipping activity to gauge its impact on the market.
  • Our team is working diligently with our customers to prioritize shipments per their needs and objectives. Whenever possible, shippers should provide notifications showing delays ahead of scheduled loads. This allows GlobalTranz to notify the carrier/driver and work with the consignee to plan accordingly.
  • We continue to communicate with our carrier network to identify the best solutions for our customers’ needs.
  • The outlook for rates continues to be volatile for the foreseeable future.

This continues to be a rapidly evolving situation. For updates and more information, please visit our blog or follow us on social media.

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