Supply Chain Now Episode 346


“I think we’ll look at back at this report 12 months from now and look on the data pretty fondly. It looks like [Q1] is probably going to be a peak in terms of demand. From our standpoint, things are collapsing.”

Lee Klaskow, Senior Analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence


U.S. Bank processed $28.8 billion in freight payment transactions in 2019. Those payments and the data that accompanies them are analyzed quarterly by Bobby Holland VP/Director of Freight Data Solutions at U.S. Bank and his team. The FPI report includes quarter over quarter, year over year, and full year data and analysis.

According to the official report released by U.S. Bank, “The U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index indicates that both shipments and spend contracted from Q4 2019. Despite strong movement of consumer goods in March, it was not enough to balance out the market sectors impacted by shutdowns, such as restaurants and auto factories. Shipments were down 1.8% and spending dropped 3.7%, both from the previous quarter. As shippers and carriers approach the second quarter, we anticipate that both indicators could continue to contract.”

In this interview, Bobby is joined by Lee Klaskow, a senior analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, to share the results of the on the Q1 2020 report with Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton, interpreting what they may mean for the economy and the shipping industry in the short and longer term.

  • Why demand didn’t fall off as quickly as people might have expected at the end of the first quarter
  • How changes in consumer behavior – such as a reliance upon eCommerce and stockpiling in both the B2B and B2C sectors – are making it hard to predict what shipping volumes and rates will be going forward
  • Which regions have been hit the hardest, which seem to be more resilient, and what those differences are caused by
Intro – Amanda Luton.

New Speaker (00:05):

It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country, Atlanta, Georgia, heard around the world supply chain. Now spotlights the best in all things, supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.

Scott Luton (00:29):

All right. Good afternoon, Scott Luton here with you on supply chain. Now welcome to today’s live stream. On this episode we are continuing a series where we’re sharing key insights from one of the leading transportation industry resources, the U S bank freight payment index. We’re also going to be gaining key takeaways from the, from the uh, freight payment index from business leaders that know it better, much better than me and mr Greg white, who is my coach here today. Greg, good afternoon. Once again.

Greg White (00:57):

Yeah. Good afternoon. Good to be here.

Scott Luton (00:59):

Hope you’re doing well. A quick programming note for any of those that enjoy our live stream. Of course you can check out our podcast wherever you get your podcasts from. Um, so Greg, we’ve really enjoyed this series in partnership with USBank. We’ve got a great guest analyst, uh, here today, and we’ll introduce our two guests momentarily. But first a couple of thoughts from you. You know, clearly a U S banks, one of the leading financial institutions that makes global supply chain happen. And of course a big part of that is a backbone of global supply chain, the transportation industry. So share a couple of thoughts as we open up here.

Greg White (01:32):

Yeah. Over $28 billion a year in transactions. So, um, even when we, when we told Lee that even leeway, so that’s clearly, uh, an impressive, insignificant amount of the, uh, of the transaction. So using that really valuable data to bring insights around transportation. Um, you know, I think a lot of people suspect what the topic main reasoning will be, but there are a few surprises in this report, which we’re going to talk about here in just a little bit. One other quick note, our very first live stream was with U S bank and we’ve been talking about that for the last a couple of weeks. And I feel like we’ve already started this one much better than we started the last year.

Scott Luton (02:18):

I’ll tell you, we were sweating bullets for a little while there. You don’t want to mess up a live stream, but uh, we have come a long way since then and our audience has Cumberland right along with this. We’ve seen really appreciate the high levels of engagement we’ve seen both in the moment during the lab stream and of course as the, uh, the, the interview gets published and is consumed around the world. So with all that said, let’s welcome in our, our distinguished guests here today. First up, Bobby Holland, vice president group product manager and director of consulting services at U S bank. Bobby, how are you doing? I’m doing well. How are you doing? Fantastic. Great to have you back. Your thought leadership from the first one back in January was very well received and consumed and great to have you back as we, as we dive into the Q1 freight payment index shortly.

Bobby Holland (03:04):

Excellent. Thank you.

Scott Luton (03:06):

Uh, real quick before we introduce our, our, our co featured guests here, do they want to say hello to Patrick Kelly and Paul Jepson. Thanks for joining us here on the LinkedIn live stream. All right, so joining Bobby and Greg and myself is back. Third time’s a charm is Lee class Cal senior analysts transportation and logistics with Bloomberg intelligence. Lee, how you doing?

Lee Klaskow (03:28):

Well Scott, thanks for having me and thank you. A very proud of me as well.

Bobby Holland (03:32):

Yeah, welcome back. Good to see you. Our audience I think, right?

Scott Luton (03:38):

Well our also our audience demanded it, Lee, by the way. So, uh, we really enjoyed your, your practical, no-nonsense been there, done that analysis and the first two episodes and it’s great to have you joined Bobby as we dive into, uh, uh, an outstanding informational, uh, bit of research that U S bank provides. So with all that said, before we dive into the freight payment index, Greg, we probably should let our current audience get to know Bobby and lead a little better, right? Yeah, maybe so. That’s right. Not at all. So Bobby, starting with yourself, tell us a little bit about, you know, where you’re from and, and just, uh, uh, in a nutshell, your professional background.

Bobby Holland (04:20):

Um, I’m originally from California by way of Colorado. Uh, from a professional standpoint. Um, I have a software engineering and software architecture background, uh, came to the bank a little over three years ago, uh, looking at ways to develop freight or data related free products. And, uh, so what’s our freight audit and payment system? Uh, the free data solutions team was, was born and that’s basically where we are today. Yeah, free opinion index was our first published product and many more to come

Scott Luton (04:58):

and it seems like it’s resonated, uh, and, and, and it’s, it’s really caught on within the industry. Um, want to say real quick hello to Peter and derail has also, uh, both of these folks along with Bosco are all on the LinkedIn live feed. Thanks for joining us, gentlemen. All right, so Lee, same question to you. Tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, and just like Bobby did your, your professional journey in a nutshell. Sure. Uh, I’m

Lee Klaskow (05:24):

from the great state of New Jersey. Um, I’m, uh, working for Bloomberg intelligence, which is Bloomberg research arm. Um, they have, uh, over, uh, 280 analysts globally covering industries and companies from an equity credit, regulatory and economic perspective. I’ve been at Bloomberg for I guess about 10 years, uh, September. So it’s, uh, it’s, it’s been a great journey. Um, I cover freight, transportation, logistics, and so that’s pretty much all modes, uh, here in North America. And I also do air freight, uh, and, uh, Marine shipping

Scott Luton (05:58):

globally, uh, with some of my partners in Asia and Europe. And then before that, before joining Bloomberg intelligence, I was a sell side equity analyst. Uh, most recently I was at, uh, Prudential equity group and Longbow research covering the space. And then prior to that I was six, six years of, uh, of investment banking experience. So in a nutshell, um, so there you go. Well, I’ll tell you between podcasts, live streams, keynotes, webinars, and walking the dog, it is tough to get some time from Lee class gal. So great. Have you back here and looking forward to some of your color commentary on the data that, that Bob and the team have assembled. So with all that said, Greg, let’s, let’s kind of set the, set the table a little bit.

Greg White (06:42):

Yeah. So let’s, uh, kind of connect the dots for the audience and make sure everybody understands how this data is constructed and analyzed. Bobby, and let’s start with, you know, how have you constructed this highest level to, um, create such a good source for freight data for the industry?

Bobby Holland (07:03):

Well, like I said, the, uh, the source data comes from a processing transaction processing and our freight audit payment system. And basically we do a quarter over quarter comparison, uh, same store sales type algorithm to basically determine the change in velocity of our shipments and our spend through our system. And so we measure how fast or how slow, much slower the rate of changes in our, in our, in our shipments and freight expenditure. So you find that these two are the, because they are taken from, uh, trucking and less than truckload, that which comprises about 80% of our data. It’s, uh, with the way that we process the, the, and create the index, we find it’s a good indicator of the trucking market and in general. So what you see reflected here with our shipments, the quarterly percentage change and in bullshit shipments and spin, again, that’s our extrapolation of the market.

Greg White (08:13):

Okay, great. I think that helps people get a baseline for how the data is, is collected, analyzed and constructed. Give us a bit of a of insight, Bobby, on how your clients and other people in the industry use the freight payment index.

Bobby Holland (08:32):

Well, we find that providing, uh, a national overview as well as our regional overview, uh, we start at the top level and our customers are able to look at the data and measure it and measure themselves in comparison to that. See how the market’s going. Again, it’s not supposed to be the end all and be all of the viewpoint, if you will, but it’s an important viewpoint and customers can add that to the body of data they’re already working with. They’re looking at their own data. First of all, they’re looking at other indexes and they’re looking at our index and that enables them to build a comprehensive or more complete picture of the trending in the marketplace. And we want to make sure that it’s well represented. And I think the regional aspect kind of puts, gives more detail just below the national as to the unique challenges that each region faces. And, and you’ll see and reflect in the numbers that there are some differences.

Greg White (09:32):

It really gave us some good perspectives last quarter when we analyze this where we saw some co, some, um, regions of the country where substantially, um, more increased than others in a quarter that was already down year over year from the previous year. Right? So I think that regional breakout becomes really valuable and I think as we talk through this, we’re going to see some significant differences region by region yet again. So I’m interested to get to that. Lee, I know you, you look at a lot of indices, a lot of indicators, a lot of analytics tools around transportation. So tools like this or maybe even the U S bank tool itself. Tell us what you see people using it for.

Lee Klaskow (10:21):

Yeah. So, you know, I think it gives people a good idea about, you know, you know, what happened in the previous quarter, uh, where people can benchmark that against where they think things are going. Um, cause you know, in my line of business it’s more about trying to look forward at and using the information that we have, which is information that’s happened already to try to predict the future as best as we can. Um, you know, it’s interesting to, to see some of the numbers, uh, that were positive. Uh, I would guess that, you know, on a monthly basis that, you know, late March, a lot of that, that demand probably fell off a cliff, uh, from some of the information that we see, uh, through channel checks or from companies that have recently reported earnings.

Greg White (11:09):

Yeah. Yeah. And I think we’re going to see, you know, we’re already seeing reports of what’s happening in April as well. But, um, there were actually actually some surprises in this for me in terms of, of where the uplifts were, where they continue to be even into March. Uh, and I think it, well we’re going to talk about it but it has a lot to do with the industry that you’re in. So, Oh, we don’t have any auto audio from Scott.

Scott Luton (11:35):

Oh, here we go. Let me button was on. I feel like it was a typical conference call bingo moment. So Hey, uh, the folks from LinkedIn, we’ve got a couple of quick shout outs, uh, first off our friends Nick from EFT by Reuters events as asking Greg what the white board messages. So Greg, maybe we will have to put something back there. I’m also want to thank is a really, really official organization frankly a little bit afraid to put something too witty up there. I’m with you. I’m with you. Also, we’re funny, only one letter from twit. Um, Theresa with the topper Institute joined us for our previous live stream live stream. She’s back. So hello Teresa. And she also has a lot of bright students that are looking for projects. And internships. So check that out. The Tomber Institute, T, a, U, B, E, R, M.

Scott Luton (12:28):

And then of course Claudia freed. What would a livestream be without Claudia? So Claudia, thanks for joining us once again and we’re looking forward to your insights today as well. Okay, so moving from there to Bobby, we’re going to dive right in and let’s start at the, um, you know, the national point of view. We’re going to throw up the, um, the kind of the, the, the main graph here that shows, you know, recent history, uh, from a national standpoint. Give us, give us some initial observations nationally of what, uh, the Q1 freight payment index showed you.

Bobby Holland (13:04):

Well, as you can see from, uh, with shipments were down 1.8%, quarter over Q4 20, 19, but we’re actually up 3.8% over a similar period last year to Q1 20, 19. A lot of freight movement, uh, it’s just, you know, it’s a mixed bag. As we’ll go through and we start talking about the commentary and from a spin perspective, uh, both of them are down 3.7%, quarter over quarter. And two and a half percent year over year, which is reflective of the fact that, you know, that we’re in the state that we’re in right now with the virus and all of the resultant impacts.

Scott Luton (13:47):

Mm Hmm. Yeah, certainly no shortage of factors that are impacting transportation rates and a lot of other things within supply chain. Um, let’s go to you next, just from this, this national point of view. You were talking a second ago about, you know, the March dips. What was an early observation for you from the national scope?

Lee Klaskow (14:08):

Yeah, so, so we, uh, you know, we, we track weekly, uh, spot market supply and demand through, uh, data from which is a load board, uh, and the kind of, you know, the service that we sell on demand, uh, to, you know, stay at home, kind of, uh, mandates for people. Um, you know, the big rush and obviously delivering essential medical equipment, uh, medical supplies, um, paper, beer, essentially, uh, to be staying, you know, we still have that kind of like fall off a cliff. Uh, probably like the week of March 20th. Um, so there was pretty good demand, uh, and, and the mid to late February for a couple of weeks and then it just kind of went away. And you know, what we’re seeing now in, uh, in April is that continue to decline. The trucking market getting softer again, rates going down, rates are down around, um, uh, 6% a year to date on the, on the spot side, excluding fuel surcharges. So that’s kind of what we’re seeing as of right now. Uh, and you know, most economists that you speak to, they’re expecting a lot of doom and gloom and the second border, you know, from, from, you know, I’ve seen estimates, you know, GDP down 30, 35%, uh, in the second quarter. Um, so, you know, that’s, that’s a lot of demand destruction, uh, that we’re heading into

Scott Luton (15:36):

real quick, uh, about fuel. Sorry. Surcharged we’re getting a comment from Patrick Kelly who’s also a podcast or focused on that space, the food industry space. He says, I’ve noticed that there are no fuel surcharges anymore in California and now getting fuel credits, that is always a plus good stuff from Patrick. Also want to give a shout out, mr. Supply chain himself. Daniel Stanton’s part of the LinkedIn audience. Daniel, hope you’re doing really well, sir. Great to have you here. Um, and I had one other, uh, comment, Oh, uh, J, uh, DRL is a business leader in a leading food retailer. So clearly that we’ve got a strong presence in the food industry space here on today’s livestream. Greg, uh, a date, um, Lee mentioned the date March 20th. Um, as you and I have talked about on a variety of shows, you know, that right after codex wrapped up, it seems like here in the States, everything changed that those, those middle two weeks in March, speak to that a little bit.

Greg White (16:36):

Well, I mean, I think that’s when the realization sort of hit that, um, things were going to change. And I think many people, even though a lot of the quarantines and the mandatory state homes and shelter and place orders had not gone into place, people saw it start to happening. Uh, and, and that’s when we started to see some of the panic buying, which Bobby alludes to in, in the narrative of the, of the report here that spiked a lot of demand on his centrals and, uh, a lot of, uh, um, you know,

Scott Luton (17:13):


Greg White (17:14):

Uh, heavy volume, sorry, heavy volume, uh, grocery type products. Right. Um, that’s really what we saw. What was interesting to me was, and I guess I’ll pose a question back, uh, Bobby to you is it didn’t fall off as much as I expected. And I wonder if that is, and Lee may have this same questioner or may, maybe you even have a thought on this and that is, is that because we didn’t really see demand start to collapse until the second half of March, is that why we don’t see, um, greater downturn in these numbers? Guess I was expecting

Bobby Holland (17:50):

that and I think a lot of us probably were, well, there’s two possible or two likely they’ll say two likely reasons. One is the fact that because of the stockpiling, as you, as you stated, that began ahead of the stay at home orders. Um, and, and not only the stockpiling of household goods, essential households, but also the medical equipment, um, and personal protection equipment. Uh, those things drove, um, like research drove a lot of the marketplace, the, the, the theme running through this quarters indexes. Even though those things were at record highs, it wasn’t enough to balance out, you know, for lack of a, put the downside, you know, the idols. Um, all of that is what dragged it down. So to your point, it didn’t, you know, one kept the other from going completely to the floor. But as we also stay to quarter, you know, [inaudible] expected to be a very challenging because those impacts are gonna ripple through that quarter and be more realized than, uh, what started on the tail end of Q1. Now there’s so much product back on the shelves that those shipments are, are gonna slow down. Um, and I’ve heard, I’ve heard, I think the word plummet was used in this, in this analysis. And I’ve also heard the word plummet from other people and I think that’s kind of what we can expect from demand. Lee, you have any thoughts on that?

Lee Klaskow (19:22):

Yeah, I mean, you know, most of the economy is shut down. So outside of you and I go into the grocery store and loading up on on supplies for a week. Um, there’s really not much economic activity. Um, you know, old dominion, uh, you know, a really large LTL carrier. They had their earnings, uh, earlier this morning they announced and you know, they were talking about, um, you know, their shipments, uh, being down round that it’s 20%, um, in April. Um, that’s a lot, you know, nights, just a triplet provider. You know, they mentioned that their um, uh, their, their April numbers are down in terms of loads down mid to high single digits. Um, you know, you look at, you look at uh, the rail of lines, you know, that, that especially the intermodal, which I guess is a little more competitive, a little more consumer driven.

Lee Klaskow (20:12):

You know, that’s down 17% for the quarter. So there’s a lot of things, you know, bad things going on in the freight world that is, you know, going to have a ripple effect on, you know, how these companies do in the second quarter and the third and fourth quarter for that matter. Know not everyone is going to, uh, you know, emerge from this, uh, alive of, from a company standpoint. Uh, you know, not to be flippant, but you know, a lot of companies, smaller companies that don’t have the liquidity are not going to be able to survive. Um, you know, the, the de-leveraging of,

Greg White (20:48):

uh, the reduced amount of demand that’s out there. Well, and they came off a tough year to begin with. Right. 19 was a crusher.

Scott Luton (20:55):

That’s right. Historical. Um, alright, so before we dive deeper into the regional side of it, we had a couple of questions from the audience and, and uh, um, one, the first question comes from Patrick. Patrick asks and Bobby will direct it to you first. Um, do you think the new farm bill will help truckers deliver produce to food bank centers throughout the USA? A lot of this produce is donated food from the grower that can’t pay freight and the OBS, any, any insights around that.

Greg White (21:27):

Uh, it’s expected to help, but I can’t quantify any percentages by how much, but anything that, um, gets the, you know, gets it off of the farm and out into the marketplace has got a benefit in some fashion.

Scott Luton (21:43):

Yep. Um, and before we pose that same question, Lee, quick observation from Claudia because we heard this directly from Kathy Fulton yesterday, who’s with, uh, executive director of the American logistics aid network, which is, is, uh, does a great job leveraging corporate supply chains to address, uh, disaster response. And she talked about how we’re getting uneven, um, policy implementation. So the truck drivers are driving through one state or even one County and they’ve got different restrictions, different expectations and, and that’s going to factor into, um, how we, how we move forward from here. So Lee, same question, the farm bill. What is your quick take on how that can help us out and help certainly help out the truck drivers in the food industry? So, I mean, I’d probably ask him about, Bobby said on the margin,

Greg White (22:31):

it’s a positive, but it’s probably not move the needle in terms of absorbing all the Slack acidy that’s currently in the than the truckload market. Um, so it’s just, you know, incremental positive that, you know, unfortunately it’s not gonna move the needle. Yep. Tears in a bucket, unfortunately. Um, it’s a sad metaphor. So I do have a thought on the numbers here and we saw some inversions, um, where, um, shipments move more than pricing and in some cases down. And I’m curious, Bobby, if you feel like or found that that was, uh, an effect of, of pro of rates already having been compressed from 2019 and particularly Q4 because I see some numbers and we’re going to talk about the specific numbers in the region, in some of the regions where, um, that occurred. Do you, do you guys, um, analyze whether that was an impact based on rate compression? So part of it’s the rates. There are stories of carriers that, you know, we’ll go

Bobby Holland (23:46):

in and negotiate with shippers just to be able to get freight moving. Fuel prices is a, is a big impact as well. The fact that fruit fuel prices and fuel surcharges are down means that you know, you can be moving more shipments, but you know, the costs are going to be a little bit lower.

Scott Luton (24:06):

So on that note and, and based on, uh, Daniel Stanton’s comment, we’re going to segue right into re into regional takeaways. Uh, Daniel mentioned a LinkedIn. I thought it was really interesting that the Southeast seemed to respond faster and better than the other regions. Uh, Southeast, uh, are splotching. Now folks will probably call that the supply chain city effect. I like that Daniel is referencing the moniker for, uh, what Atlanta refers to as supply chain city. So let’s pivot a little bit here. Uh, Bobby, let’s stop into, I think we’ve got our, uh, regional overview charts teed up, uh, starting with the Southeast, uh, which of course Daniel’s Stanton, right on time. Kind of segue this into what’s one key takeaway from the Q1 freight payment index? About the Southeastern region.

Bobby Holland (24:57):

Um, basically that the Southeast in our coordinator, our index was the only region to have, um, you know, a true positive growth in both indexes. Uh, and you know, that’s likely from a couple of factors. One was the fact that their supply chains are more resilient, um, having to deal with, um, multiple disasters and being able to, to, and their experience in responding and changing that quickly. And the other one perhaps is due to the fact that the stay at home orders went into effect a lot later if at all in the Southeast compared to the other regions. And then the, and then one other factor is a large amount of back haul traffic, um, out of the Southeast. And so, you know, freight is able to move in and out more readily than some of the other, um, regions that tend to call more freight in than they push out for various reasons.

Scott Luton (25:52):

Hm. The stuff there. Lee, do you want to weigh in on what we saw in the data from a Southeastern standpoint?

Lee Klaskow (25:58):

Yeah. Again, yeah, I probably echo what Bobby just said. You know, especially the state home orders, you know, the, the Southeast, um, a lot of the States where we’re very slow to implement those and you know, the West coast and the Northeast for kind of a lot quicker I guess, if you will, to pull the trigger and, and, and demand that people stay at home to try to flatten the curve. So I probably had a lot to do with it. Not to mention that a lot of supplies that maybe we were loading up on, uh, came from, you know, the South East and the Midwest in terms of, you know, um, our canned goods and, and, and other, uh, you know, consumable products we buy in the grocery store. So I think maybe those two things probably had the biggest impact from, from, you

Greg White (26:44):

know, just looking at the data, uh, and not knowing the data is as intimately as Bobby does. Yep.

Scott Luton (26:50):

Yep. And Greg, right before we get you to weigh in on Southeast quick comment from Claudia, she asked if the slides are available, uh, and by the way, Claudia says, your information is awesome, Bobby. So love that. And Claudia and to our audience, yes, it’s available. In fact, we’ve got a link to subscribe and download the full PDF report in the show notes of each of the, uh, live stream platforms that we’re, we’re, we’re currently broadcasting against Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and Twitch. Um, so Greg and good, great, great question. Claudia. Greg, your take on the Southeast real quick.

Greg White (27:25):

I think there’s a couple of additional factors into, in addition to what Bobby and Lee talked about. One is, um, there has been a significant shift of goods even from China, um, from West coast ports to East coast ports. And we continue to see that because the West coast ports are pretty jammed up, uh, remain remarkably inefficient and the additional travel time of those ships to get to the East coast, um, you know, put, put those goods on land just a little bit later than they would have landed on the West coast anyway. So, um, that has probably some at least incremental effect.

Scott Luton (28:07):

Yep. You know, what’s interesting is also, as I think one of y’all alluded to, what’s cited in the report is the Southeast typical response to disasters and hurricanes, which of course are notorious in the, in the Southeast in particular. Um, what’s interesting though, what a lot of questions we get, I don’t know about you, Bobby, and Lee, is, you know, a lot of times, as we all know, the natural disasters are located and affect one particular geographic region. So, you know, uh, global supply chains or even, you know, uh, regional supply chains can make adjustments, uh, inventory or transportation or you name it, with something like COBIT 19, this impacting the globe and the supply chain industry on a whole, this is, that really illustrates the uniqueness about this threat we’ve been facing. Right, Bobby?

Bobby Holland (28:58):

Yes. Yeah. It’s unique in that regard. But again, it’s, it’s not the same as a hurricane obviously, but in the initial impacts, again, the resiliency and the adaptability of the supply chains, uh, are what, um, have helped the Southeast because a lot, you know, at least in Q1, a lot of the shortages were not due to, uh, no nothing being available. Um, it’s the, due to the stress on the supply chains, the ability to move the sudden, you know, new quantities needed in various places and that’s where the adaptability of the supply chain, you know, how do you reconfigure, how do you reconstitute across market sectors to get, you know, you know, change it over from type of freight to another quickly and move it to where it needs to be. Yup. That’s the problem. That’s the challenge that we had in Q1. Now going into Q2.

Bobby Holland (29:49):

Um, to your point, you know, once the full impacts of COBIT are felt on the marketplace and you’re going to see different stressors on the supply chain and that that’ll take, you know, kind of move it more in the direction that you were talking about where we’ll fill the unique challenges more so right now as a natural disaster and where things are needed to move quickly. The Southeast is more resilient, that fashion proven itself that we have paper plants all up and down the East coast East as well. Right. In paper one was a huge portion of what was being shipped.

Scott Luton (30:25):

Great point. All right, so we’re gonna move into the Northeast region next. Again, just one of the key takeaways from the data there to our audience. So whether you’re tuned in on LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook or YouTube or Twitch, uh, tell us what you’re seeing in, in the freight market. We’d love to share your observations with this expert panel we’ve assembled. Okay. So Bobby, let’s go into the Northeast. What was some of the things that you were seeing there? Something that your key takeaway or two from that region?

Bobby Holland (30:54):

Well, again, uh, freight surges for essentials was not enough to offset weaknesses. Other work elsewhere in the Northeast markets, uh, and Northeast is almost say notorious but is more impacted by having more inbound freight then for food and other consumer stables, but less outbound freight. And because of the lower shipments in general, um, it hurts carrier revenues. Um, and the expectations that we’ll see lower continue to see lower freight levels. I mean, they’re the second quarter as the business closures and the basically the full impacts of the virus hit definitely impact the Narcy Northeast. Yep. Uh, Lee.

Lee Klaskow (31:37):

Yeah. And again, you know, um, I probably, I go, uh, Bobby said some people had concerns about, uh, go into New York or Philadelphia for concern, you know, not being able to bring a load to the next stop because, you know, this coven 19 to breakout was kind of highly concentrated in New York city and on the West coast. So, you know, people I think were maybe we were concerned about, you know, if a trucker went in there, would he be able to come back out and deliver the next load or would shipper and say like, Oh, you were in New York, you know, we don’t want you to, so we did hear anecdotal, uh, you know, comments from, from panel that some truckers were just avoiding the area altogether.

Scott Luton (32:20):

Mm Hmm. We saw plenty of the reports of that as well. Greg, quick take on the Northeast before we move right along.

Bobby Holland (32:26):

Yeah, I would just echo what, what Bobby and Lee have said. I mean, you know, the Northeast is pretty straightforward to, to analyze from that standpoint.

Scott Luton (32:36):

Yep. Okay. So real quick, a question from Claudia. Um, she asked, do you see any dry vans as temporary storage of some inventory, uh, that can’t be stored in warehouses? Clearly, we’re seeing, uh, in a somewhat related, uh, aside, we’re seeing supertankers are all the rage right now is we’re looking at the store crude, uh, and it’s amazing, uh, as reported in wall street journal. I think yesterday, the daily freight rates, uh, from $10,000 a day to $150,000 a day. So if you’re, if you drive or own one of the 815 super tankers out there, this is, this is a good time for you, I guess, but let’s talk about how we’re using drive ans as, as temporary storage. Have you all seen any of that and, and is it meaningful? Uh, Bobby early.

Bobby Holland (33:24):

I have not seen that. Um, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t occur. Just my data doesn’t show it yet. Not movement. Right. So,

Scott Luton (33:35):

alright, so let’s talk about the Midwest. Uh, so Bobby starting with the Midwest, anything different than, you know, some of the general, uh, dynamics that we’ve identified.

Bobby Holland (33:48):

Uh, the agricultural sector is bearing the brunt of lower exports because of the, you know, they’re reduced, but there’s still ongoing trade Wars with China and they’re also being hit on the factory sector and their proximity to the West coast. There’s a lot of trade that takes place, not trade, a lot of freight that moves between the West and the Midwest regions. And so, you know, what impacts the West, you know, can tend to affect, um, the Western side of the Midwest region. And then, um, there’s increased activity in spot markets as carriers. Um, challenge on the agricultural side are looking for additional freight. Um, but again, they also are part of the trend where there’s an upsurge in, you know, moving out of central, you’re going to find that that’s the theme of, of this quarter’s index. But it wasn’t enough to offset the weaknesses as, as was what the other regions.

Scott Luton (34:43):

Mm Hmm. Lee, the Midwest.

Lee Klaskow (34:46):

Again, I sound like a broken record, but you know, uh, I think I, I would echo what Bobby said. You know, we look at data, you know, we’re really looking at it from a national standpoint. Um, you know, just given that most of the companies that we cover, I have national footprints. Um, so, you know, the, the, the, the, the equipment takes from each region kinda kind of wash out to get some more of a national picture, which is what we focus on. Uh, you know, I think the comments from, uh, from Bobby are probably right on.

Scott Luton (35:18):

Alright. So Greg, I know you’ve got some roots there in the Midwest, in the great city, Wichita, Kansas, and you may echo exactly what Bobby and Lee have shared, but having lived in the, in the great city of Wichita, any, any localized information or insights you might share?

Bobby Holland (35:33):

You just want to give me a chance to sound off in the Midwest? Appreciate.

Greg White (35:38):

Um, I can tell you that, that, you know, um, Kansas city, Springfield, Missouri, um, all have, um, you know, a significant chunk of, of short haul and long haul carriers. Um, and I know that the, the, the businesses down pretty substantially for them. Um, and the, you know, the cause is, is because again, even if we’re trying to move goods as opposed to waste move produce as opposed to waste produce, um, that the, that it’s not enough to offset the rest of the downturn. And additionally, because, uh, so many meat processing facilities are in the Midwest and that is way, way down as well. That’s having a big impact.

Scott Luton (36:25):

Yeah. That, that’s a situation that we’ve been keeping around for several weeks now. And I read, I think earlier today, I didn’t have time to take a deep dive into the article, but the inspectors are starting to get impacted, uh, in these, in, in the meat packing and the processing plant. So we’ll, we’ll keep our eye on that. Hey, real quick aside, um, uh, derail, who is a business leader in one of the food retailers has a comment. So he says we’re witnessing warehouses clear inventory out to stores as a means to clear space at the warehouse. And at the same time the shortage of drivers is playing a bit into the freight market. He also says that he and the team, uh, and I’m not going to mention the company, you can see that on the stream of LinkedIn, but they’re weathering the storm for each of us. So we’ve got to level all the re all the folks that, that play a part in the end to end supply chain, whether you’re in operations or warehouses or manufacturing or as Greg as we like to point out the folks that are stocking the shelves and, and, and making sure these stores don’t close. Right?

Greg White (37:30):

Yeah. If you’re running a register, you’re on the front lines.

Scott Luton (37:32):

That’s right. Yep. So really appreciate what you’re doing. DRL okay. So, you know, rather than as I’m Laura, it takes them a little while. Sometimes I’m a slow learner. Um, let’s look at, let’s, let’s conclude our regional rap. They interesting regions too. Alright, well let’s, let’s combine the Southeast and the West, right? Rather than taking them one by one. Um, I’m sure we’ll see some overlap in terms of what your observations are and the data. But Bobby, let’s talk about the South Southwest and the West regions.

Bobby Holland (38:03):

Um, Southwest is, um, effected by oil prices, a lot of, um, oil, um, energy producer, shippers and operators that are closely tied to that industry and the Southwest. And so with the fact that oil is literally tanking, um, I gotta give you cross on that one, but the fact that, uh, energy producers are being hit, uh, by dropping oil prices, it’s impacting their carriers as well. Um, but basically they’re suffering from lower volumes, lower fuel surcharges and stopping and pricing. I think, uh, um, as Lee had mentioned previously and in the West, um, again, impacted by trade Wars, it was the first, uh, region to be hit by Cobra 19 issues, uh, for truck freight. And it started earlier in the quarter. Um, and then when the Chinese economy shut down, that affected the ports as well. So, uh, but the West, you know, had the first way, um, it’s from a coal bed. So they’re suffering because those two regions are, are connected in some fashion. Um, they’re hurting. Yeah. Um,

Lee Klaskow (39:17):

and Lee, I’m scared to ask you, but I know you, you echo, I imagine a lot, I’m getting better by predictive analytics. You’re gonna echo some of what Bobby shared, but anything else stand out. I’ll talk about something different. Like, you know, in the Southwest, that number is going to probably get a lot worse because the increase coupled with the fact that crude is trading below 20 bucks a barrel. So people aren’t going to be, you know, the horizontal drillers are gonna have a real tough time from an economic standpoint of pulling that oil out of the ground to make sense. So all the truckers that were driving, you know, frac sand, water, chemicals back and forth to the Wells, um, you know, there’s gonna be a lot less loads there, you know, and that’s obviously gonna have a ripple effect for the regional economy, you know, as goes, uh, the energy market. So does part of the country economy. Good point. And Greg, anything else stick out to you?

Greg White (40:18):

Oil is key. I wonder if,

Bobby Holland (40:22):


Greg White (40:23):

Lee is oil had gone about 40 bucks a barrel, negative where I haven’t looked lately. Where does it stand now? Is it literally paying people to buy, to take the oil and carted away? I guess here, here’s why that’s important. My thought at the time was some struggling trucking company should go get paid 40 bucks a barrel to haul it away, find a supertanker and store it.

Bobby Holland (40:53):

Mm. And, and, um,

Greg White (40:57):

you know, boosts their opportunity to earn if that, if that still exists. Is that right?

Lee Klaskow (41:03):

The problem with that is it’s really not that much storage available. Uh, and then off shore, uh, the amount of capacity it’s been sucked up, uh, from a floating storage on large VLCC second handle into million barrel of oil, those rates have skyrocketed. So, you know, there’s still, uh, you know, speculation, uh, ability between buying it now, holding it and maybe selling it down the road, but because of where rates are going, that margin is kind of shrinking.

Scott Luton (41:39):

Yup. So, quick aside here, um, a comment from Daniel, uh, that he’s heard today that there are East coast ports starting to shut down because of low demand, uh, Lee, Bobby, have you all seen any of the similar reports of that happening?

Lee Klaskow (41:57):

I have not seen that yet. Um, you know, I know the ports, most sports are still operational because they’re considered essential. And at the end of the day, you know, people don’t have to work closely next to each other, um, because you’re in a, an a machine alone typically. Um, but, uh, I haven’t heard that as as of yet.

Bobby Holland (42:18):

Okay. I have not either. We’re tracking some data regarding D by region, not necessarily specifically at the ports. Um, and even into April. Um, Southeast and Northeast regions, um, are still are down a couple percent.

Scott Luton (42:38):

Gotcha. And Greg, what about the Cracker jacks supply chain now research team? Have we, have we heard anything of the port East coast ports going down because of the low demand?

Bobby Holland (42:48):

I know that, that um, I know that they had slowed pretty substantially, but I haven’t seen any breaking news on that. We’ll have.

Scott Luton (42:58):

That’s right. Okay. So we’re going to switch gears. We’ve been going region by region, going through all the data of the Q1 freight payment index, which a U S bank and Bobby and his team puts out, uh, four times a year. Uh, Bobby, we’re going to shift gears here. Um, what we’d like to do, you can answer both of these questions or you can pick your favorite question to answer your biggest single takeaway from the Q1 report or what to expect. And everyone’s crystal ball. Some of them are not. If you’re, if you’re a slight mind is not working at all right now. So what to expect and Q2 or the remainder of the year? What, what say you?

Speaker 6 (43:39):


Bobby Holland (43:39):

Uh, well we expect, um, largely because of the predictions of the GDP and again, the impacts of the virus that, um, Tutu is going to continue to, to drop. Um, ideally, and I’m not forecasting anything just saying ideally Q3 once, um, yeah, opening start to occur will mitigate some of the full impacts of that and we’ll start to see things climbing in Q three or at least by two, four. But Q2 definitely going to be off the charts right now as far as where it’s going.

Speaker 6 (44:18):


Bobby Holland (44:19):


Scott Luton (44:21):

either. I’ll tell you what. So Lee, same question for you. Um, you know, either biggest takeaway from what the, this report has shared or you know, what looked for moving forward?

Lee Klaskow (44:38):

Sure. I mean, I think we’ll look at back at this report from like 12 months from now and look on the data pretty fondly. Uh, cause you know, it looks like it’s probably going to be a peak, uh, in terms of demand, uh, and, and, and rates, uh, from our standpoint, you know, uh, things are collapsing. Um, things are getting bad in the second quarter. A lot of people are becoming, I don’t employ it, that’s gonna have ripple effects for demand. It’s going to have ripple effects for freight demand. Um, you know, and that’s obviously going to weigh heavily on these numbers going forward. So, you know, that’s the thing that we think about when looking at this that, you know, this might be the peak of a 2020.

Scott Luton (45:22):

Mm. Hmm. Okay. Greg, uh, your same question to you.

Greg White (45:27):

Yeah. Um, so, um, volumes are down eight to 10% from early February, just in April so far. Um, and spot quotes to quote somebody are at unprecedented lows. We have to, we have to, uh, slip unprecedented into any discussion around covert 19 and this seismic societal disruption. That’s right. Um, so, uh, yeah, I’m not, I can’t say that the worst is yet to come, but the, but worse than where we are is yet to come.

Scott Luton (46:01):

Yeah, I’m sure. Hey, going back, uh, uh, to the ports in this, in the East coast, we were talking about them potentially being idle. Uh, uh, JOC is reporting that the Virginia, uh, the port of Virginia is going to idle the terminal, uh, and suspend container operations and the Portsmouth Marine terminal beginning May 3rd due to Cobra 19 volume drops. So we’ll see if other ports, uh, followed suit. Um, okay. So, uh, as we start to wrap up, um, Bobby, I’ll tell you, I, I’m not envious of you and your team and, and the job they’ve got to do, pulling all these data points together, uh, to, to share these insights. But let’s make sure folks know how to compare, uh, reach out to you and connect with you as well as, um, sign up for the Q2 freight payment index that U S bank puts out

Greg White (46:57):

that’s at freight that us And again, just fill out the form and it’ll be sent to you automatically on every publishing date, every quarterly publishing day.

Scott Luton (47:08):

Outstanding. And again, as we shared earlier that a signup link will make, try to make things easy for you, is in the show notes of each of the live streams here. Um, Lee, appreciate you coming back. You and Bobby both repeat guests now. Uh, let’s let, make sure folks know how to connect with you and, and certainly keep in, keep their finger on the pulse of all the things that Bloomberg intelligence is up to.

Lee Klaskow (47:33):

Sure. Uh, well most of our research that we do primarily goes across the Bloomberg terminal. Uh, but I am on LinkedIn, um, spelling of my last name the runway.

Greg White (47:44):

I know it’s hard,

Lee Klaskow (47:47):

right? That’s the spelling of my last name. You know, I’m all about meeting new people and getting smarter from industry professionals and I do smatter LinkedIn with, uh, with some of our research as well. So, you know, feel free to, to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Scott Luton (48:05):

Really appreciate it. Your supply chain Accu will certainly increase if you follow Bobby or Lee, uh, across social media and check out the research. All right. That’s right. That’s all right.

Greg White (48:20):

I can’t get my hand down there to pointed his name.

Scott Luton (48:23):

So Greg, a lot of them, a lot of information. I really appreciate how Bobby and the freight payment index bulls down all these data points into some really practical and, uh, executive level insights, right?

Greg White (48:40):

Yeah, it is. I mean, it’s, it’s a fantastic bit of analysis, um, based on a huge amount of data. Um, and good, I think to bring it to the industry bad news this time around. I feel, uh, I feel like when I talked to one of my cousins who’s a meteorologist, I want him to influence the weather. And I wish Bobby somehow could influence transportation, um, you know, transportation, um, movement. But we know we can’t and we know we’ve got a tough, tough things to come, but I gotta tell you this isn’t as bad as I actually thought it was going to be. Um, so, uh, you know, I don’t know if there’s, I don’t know if there’s any good news here. It’s just news at this point. Right.

Scott Luton (49:27):

Great. Well put. All right, so I’m going to surprise y’all with one final question that’s a little bit outside of the freight payment index we were before we went on. What’s that? I said you’ve been doing this lately. Well, right as we were coming on, we learned something about Bobby that we didn’t know that he is a voracious reader. Right? Uh, when he’s not providing, uh, cutting edge insights that that helps supply chain leaders make decisions. He’s reading a lot of books. So I want to pose this question to you either what’s your most recent read that you recommend or what is your go to resource that when you’re drinking your cup of coffee at four 30 in the morning, your first cup of coffee that you check, you know, online or, or, you know, get your insights from. So Bobby, you’re telling us about a recent read. Uh, what’s been your, one of your recent favorite reads? Recent favorite reads? I think it was one of my books on

Greg White (50:23):

Tableau. Okay. A lot about you Bobby.

Scott Luton (50:30):

So you’re taking the challenge to professionally develop yourself during this quarantine very seriously. Okay, man. Um, all right. So Lee, same question to you. So what’s a GoTo resource or a great recent read?

Lee Klaskow (50:45):

Well, of course it’s and of course my news and information. Uh, uh, but, uh, yeah, I haven’t read a, uh, uh, a book in a long time. I think the last one was switched point, which was about precision scheduled railroading, uh, PRS. Yeah, that’s, that’s a PSR because I get, um, you know, part of my job was I read all day, so when I want to relax, it’s not usually not usually having a cocktail,

Scott Luton (51:18):

uh, to stay in and he can relate. Okay. Greg? Same question.

Greg White (51:22):

I happened to have it right here. So, um, I think on a show a couple of weeks ago, I confess that I don’t read much. And Peter Heflin, um, friend of mine that has worked with me at a couple of my companies suggested that I read this book culture code. Um, I’ve just started it, but, um, so far it’s a really good read the secrets of highly successful groups, team building a book. So, um, so far so good. Outstanding. Good stuff. Sunday funnies. But there aren’t any.

Scott Luton (51:54):

All right, well we got to thank our guests. Really appreciate y’alls time here today. We’ve been chatting with Bobby Holland, vice president and group product manager and director of consulting services at U S bank. Thanks so much Bobby. Good to see you. We’ll see you next time for the [inaudible] report. Uh, we’ve also been talking and getting the insights analysis from Lee class, Cal senior analyst, transportation and logistics with Bloomberg intelligence. Thanks so much, Lee.

Lee Klaskow (52:19):

Thanks Scott and Greg and I’ll be safe and healthy. Absolutely.

Scott Luton (52:24):

And keep our finger off the mute button. Right. Alright, so Greg, a great show here today as we wrap up, really appreciate, uh, you know, the content engine keeps churning here, but this is, this is really good information, you know, um, informed data-driven content, uh, from the experts that know that’s in demand right now and it’s proven in a variety different levels. And that’s what the last hour has felt like to me.

Greg White (52:51):

You’d feel you’d be hard pressed to find two people more knowledgeable on the transportation industry. I greatly appreciate both of your time, Bobby, you put in so much time into this thing, but I feel like that book on Tablo, you can learn some shortcuts that’ll help you save maybe an extra couple hours. Ooh, boy.

Scott Luton (53:12):

Um, all right, so to our audience, thanks so much for the engagement and the questions and the comments. Uh, uh, be sure to check out a wide variety of thought leadership including other featuring Lee and Bobby, um, fondness and subscribe. If you listen to podcasts, you can find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. Uh, we want to wish a on behalf of the entire team here, stay safe, uh, brighter days. Absolutely lie ahead, even if we’re not exactly sure when there’ll be a right around the corner and we will see you next time here on supply chain now. Thanks everybody.


Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott and Greg welcome Bobby Holland with U.S. Bank and Lee Klaskow with Bloomberg Intelligence to Supply Chain Now.

Bobby Holland is responsible for the Freight Data Solutions team at U.S. Bank. Bobby has over 36 years of broad-based data processing, software engineering and consulting experience. He has leadership in multiple industries including insurance, large-scale billing, customer care services and banking. His specialties include systems integration, enterprise applications architecture, agile methodology, DevOps practice, systems engineering, object-oriented development, analytics, and product and project management. Bobby’s current focus is in analytics and data-related product management for the freight industry. Bobby holds a degree in Computer Science from Metropolitan State University.


Lee Klaskow is a senior analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, a unique platform for in-depth analysis, ideas, and data sets on industries and companies, as well as credit, government, ESG, and litigation factors that impact decision-making available on the Bloomberg Professional services at BI . He specializes in freight transportation and logistics, including global marine shipping, air freight and logistics sectors as well as the North American trucking and railroad industries.  Klaskow provides primary company coverage on CSX, CP, CNI, CHRW, DPW GY, EURN, FDX, JBHT, KSU, KNX, LSTR, MAERSKB DC, NSC, ODFL, UNP, UPS, WERN and XPO, for Bloomberg Intelligence. Engaged in extensive contact with management teams, investors, sell-side analysts, bankers, industry contacts and Bloomberg customers to develop and refine research and analysis. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Klaskow was a senior analyst at Longbow Research and Prudential Equity Group, where he covered freight transportation and logistics companies. He has also worked at Prudential Equity Group as an industrial associate prior to being promoted to senior analyst. Klaskow helped originate and execute global equity transactions for both ABN Amro Rothschild and J.P. Morgan. Klaskow began his career at McCarthy, Crisanti & Maffei analyzing and reporting on the primary equity markets. Klaskow earned his bachelor of science degree in finance and management from Ithaca College, and his master’s in business from Fordham University.


Greg White serves as Principle & Host at Supply Chain Now. Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory:


Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here:


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