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November 26 2018

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November 26 2018 | The Journal of Commerce 11 www.joc.com Cover Story have improvement on the cash and on the cost side, so the situation is much more relaxed for us than earlier this year." Rates have dropped below their 2018 starting point, he said. "We're not really sure why this is happening." No 'new normal' Shippers in the US and Canada have been trying to determine "why this is happening" and what the "new normal" might be in seasonal shipping after they were hammered last fall as hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the ELD mandate, and stronger economic growth combined to constrict capacity and create chaos in the fourth quarter and the first half of 2018. The answer is there may not be a "normal" peak season again anytime soon. UPS and FedEx deal with constant evolution in the peak season for packages each year, and the same is true for freight shippers and carriers. For truckload carriers, spring has long been the "new fall," with waves of outdoor merchandise hitting the Southeast. We're seeing several freight peaks evolve, with different peaks for varied industries and regions, and with timing that shifts each year. "Back-to-school and holiday shop - ping are creating a double peak," Dan Hackett, a partner at Hackett Associ- ates, said at the JOC Inland Distribution Conference in Oak Brook, Illinois, Oct. 23. "Some retailers see the back- to-school shopping season as a bigger peak than the holidays. But peaks have become flatter than they used to be," as purchasing patterns change. In eight of the last 10 years, the peak season for maritime imports in the US has been in August. This year, the peak came in June and July, "pull- ing forward" demand for drayage, intermodal and truckload service. "Growth through August borrowed against the second half of the year," Hackett said. He also sees more "Back-to-school and holiday shopping are creating a double peak."

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