🖤 Donations of all sizes power our public service journalism Give Now

In the freight business, it feels like a recession

Aug 1, 2023
Rates truckers are paid have plummeted by more than half since 2021, accounting for inflation. Meanwhile, costs have only risen.
This week, trucking company Yellow shut down operations. Its downfall is indicative of tough times for freight shipping.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Truckers aren't too enthused about an AI revolution

Dec 28, 2022
Autonomous vehicle tech has advanced quite a bit, but we're nowhere close to replacing truck drivers with AI yet ― and we probably don't want to.
AI technology isn't so much being integrated into trucks as it is invading cabs, says Karen Levy.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Newsmakers

In the customs business, delays are becoming less common

Sep 12, 2022
As congestion eases at some ports, "we know the fixed date of when freight is arriving now," said customs broker Gretchen Blough.
 "Customs kind of takes a special kind of person.," says customs broker Gretchen Blough. “We’re kind of the Ally Sheedy of 'The Breakfast Club.'”
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Freight rail faces service and labor issues as well as federal scrutiny

Jul 21, 2022
What happens on the rails has ripple effects because freight trains are the economy's bloodstream, circulating products across the U.S.
Observers have attributed freight trains' service shortfalls to both pandemic-related stresses and cost-cutting to please investors.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty images

Remember the trade war with China? U.S. businesses are still feeling it.

Apr 19, 2022
Kevin Feig's Florida auto parts company is paying the U.S. government up to $600,000 a month in import duties.
"You have to deal with what you're given. And right now, we've accepted the fact that the tariffs aren't going away," says Kevin Feig, president of Foreign Parts Distributors in Miami. Above, a worker assembles car door unit in Chicago.
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Companies reroute cargo away from Russian rail network

Mar 16, 2022
It could put extra pressure on global shipping and force companies to raise prices.
Some goods with high price margins, like computers and car parts, typically travel between China and Europe by rail. Above, a freight train rolls through a forest in Poland.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Why this plant nursery drives cross-country to hand-deliver orders: “There's not a lot of wiggle room”

Nov 24, 2021
Rising freight rates and delayed deliveries are forcing a Wisconsin plant nursery to find ways around the supply chain tie-ups.
Knight Hollow Nursery in Middleton, Wisconsin, specializes in propagations of high-value ornamental trees, shrubs and fruit crops.
Matt Cardy via Getty Images

For public good, not for profit.

Pay or delay: Importers caught in shipping backup face limited options

Oct 8, 2021
“There’s nothing I can do,” said India Hynes, CEO of appliance importer Vinotemp.
Stacks of shipping containers at the Port of Oakland in California. "Containers aren't unloaded at the port level, and the factories are hesitant to produce," laments India Hynes, CEO of Vinotemp.
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

What freight rail tells us about the economy

Aug 4, 2021
Trains are delivering shipping containers brimming with the imported products consumers are demanding. Rail can tell us about U.S. exports, too.
The U.S. has seen an uptick in intermodal train traffic over the first half of the year — that's when products travel in containers from ship to truck or train.
David McNew/Getty Images

A freight time to be in shipping

Dec 21, 2020
In recent months, freight rates have been skyrocketing.
A truck carrying a cargo shipping container drives across a bridge in the Port of Long Beach on Dec. 14, 2020.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images