Transportation & Logistics Industry Update
What We're Reading
COVID-19 is disrupting global distribution on a scale unseen in recent times, creating extreme challenges for the supply chain. With this disruption, companies have an opportunity to reshape their logistics operating model to increase effectiveness, efficiency and resilience. Several pragmatic steps can help companies respond to the immediate challenges of distributing products and adapt to the new normal.
The contract trucking market seems to be bottoming out. The declines we saw in trucking tenders seem to be leveling off and there are signs of a bottom. This makes sense – most of the economy that shut down due to COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders are largely offline right now. Over the next few weeks, we can expect that the parts of the economy that impact freight demand will start to come back online. Life won’t return to normal, but the trucking freight markets largely will.
The COVID-19 outbreak is showing industrialized countries not only what clean air means and how to cope without traveling, but also how healthier populations in a cleaner environment cope better with coronavirus. That shift in mindset is set to bolster plans to improve high-speed train availability and further fuel growing concerns around climate impacts, resulting in a slight slowdown in global appetites for air travel.
On April 20, the broader market fell sharply and tanker equities went in the opposite direction. This occurs when oil markets are in “contango” — i.e., when the forward price is higher than the spot price – and leads to conditions ripe for floating storage. The steeper the forward curve of crude oil, the more a charterer can pay for use of a tanker as a storage device and still profit from buying crude now and selling it later. The higher the implied charter rate, the likelier it is that tanker stocks will rise.
As passenger air traffic has dwindled significantly amid the coronavirus outbreak, cargo flights are seeing a booming business. The reason is simple: passenger planes used to carry quite a bit of cargo in the hold (around 50% of global cargo in total) on any given flight, and now that capacity is mostly gone. That has meant cargo operators are busier than ever, and the price of air freight has shot up. Meanwhile, several airlines have decided to get in on the game by modifying passenger planes to fly cargo only – in some cases even removing most of the seats so they can pack in more.
Harris Williams is a leading advisor to the transportation and logistics M&A market. Our Transportation & Logistics Group serves companies in a broad range of attractive niches, including third-party logistics (3PL), truck, rail, marine and air transportation, transportation equipment, and the automotive and heavy dutyvehicle market.
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