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January 2 2023

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Januar y 2, 2023 | Journal of Commerce 99 EXECUTIVE COMMENTARY 2023 ANNUAL REVIEW & OUTLOOK Surface Transportation will once again see a positive out- come through the dedicated effort of a strong team. Truckstop Brent Hutto Chief Relationship Officer Securing capacity in the full- truckload freight mar- ketplace is often chal- lenging, as it seems there are never enough trucks for the freight that needs to be hauled and shippers want to avoid the capacity challenges they experienced over the last 24 months. The forecast through 2025 is for full-truckload freight to con - tinue to increase and stay above forecasted trend; however, Truck- stop data indicate that current truckload volumes will fall in the near term and provide some service levels to 2 percent, improv - ing upon record lows in 2021 and allowing us to relieve pinch point locations, which were reduced by 40 percent in 2022. TRAC and its customers continue to advocate for neutral/competitive chassis pools, which offer the most modernized fleet while delivering best-in-class choice, fluidity, and customer service. These benefits are further enhanced when terminals and railyards are grounded, with chas - sis inventory kept at convenient, nearby off-terminal locations. In addition, we're collaborating with key industry stakeholders to meet supply chain challenges head-on, taking a leadership role and contributing our time and expertise through several private sector and government-led initiatives. As we look to 2023, we want to thank our people and partners for meeting unique industry challenges with persistence, hard work, and innovation. The upcoming year will certainly bring its share of headwinds, but we will meet the challenge utilizing extensive plan - ning and execution, showing that we Virginia, where cargo is loaded on Norfolk Southern trains for trans- port to Chicago, then switched to Union Pacific for delivery to Western markets — giving our shared cus - tomers another option to navigate West Coast port congestion. That is customer-centricity in action. Providing a strong and resilient service product, offering innovative solutions, and making rail more convenient for customers will put our industry in good position for a successful 2023. TRAC Intermodal Daniel Walsh President and CEO Container- ization has risen to greater national prominence over the past two years, propelled by online spending, record import volumes, and a shift in consumers buying goods instead of ser vices. Late last year, we f inally began to see imports level off. Rising inf lation and recessionar y threats in many countries slowed cargo volumes. Experts predict market dynamics will signal a change in consumer buying patterns, offer - ing a chance for supply chains to catch up. Still, even up against this back- drop, we're on track to equal import volume records in 2022, matching 2021's record of 25.8 million TEU. Consumer demand remains strong, up 7.2 percent in the first nine months of 2022. Surplus inventories at warehouses and stored containers on equipment at yards and termi - nals are causing street dwell times to remain more than double pre- pandemic levels. To meet these challenges and improve fluidity, TRAC is focusing on safety, investment, available inventory, and collaboration. TRAC's investment in expanding and modernizing our fleet totals over $1 billion since 2015. We reduced Roadie Marc Gorlin Founder and CEO The good old days when you could reli- ably predict market conditions are long gone. After the last three years, smart retailers are going to make flexibility a priority, especially for high-volume periods such as peak season. For resil- ience in the last mile, find solutions that can flex and scale with your busi- ness — expanding quickly with spikes and running lean during lulls. There hasn't been a one-size- fits-all solution for delivery in many years, but in the three years since the post-pandemic world, that's truer than ever. I expect retailers to take a good, hard look at their delivery toolboxes. Every item has an optimal delivery method depending on the speed required for delivery. For example, it's hard to beat traditional carriers such as UPS for parcels going over 100 miles, especially at a high volume. But for many local deliveries, especially for big, oversized, perishable, or out-of- the-box items, other solutions will be optimal. Finding those methods and implementing them will keep customer satisfaction high and costs under control. Also, retailers will look beyond buy online, deliver from stores (BODFS) to see how local delivery can integrate with their existing foot - prints in cities and towns. Can they deliver directly from warehouses and distribution centers instead of sorting, delivering to the store, shelving, pick- ing again, packing, and then delivering to the end customer? It takes some innovating, but our retail customers are increasingly interested in ways they can turn their legacy warehouse networks into something more flexible. That's the major logistics trend I'm watching this year. "Aer the last three years, smart retailers are going to make flexibility a priority, especially for high-volume periods such as peak season." ◀ "Experts predict market dynamics will signal a change in consumer buying patterns, offering a chance for supply chains to catch up." Daniel Walsh

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