The Transportation Intermediaries Association’s (TIA) Second Quarter 2021 TIA 3PL Market Report, which was recently released, showed significant annual gains for key brokered freight transportation metrics.
This report is based on monthly data from TIA member companies who submit real operating data and respond to questions on business conditions impacting the 3PL sector. Types of questions that the member companies’ answers include: number of shipments by mode, total billing, and gross margins. Other data collected are customer-based forecasts to offer up expectations of near-term business volume.
TIA officials said that this report represents more than 1.6 million shipments and more than $3.8 billion in total revenue for the second quarter.
Total quarterly shipments increased 11.3%, from the first quarter to the second quarter, and were up 21.7% annually, and total revenue rose 21%, from the first quarter to the second quarter, and was up 59.1% annually. Gross margin percentage was off 110 basis points, from the first quarter to the second quarter, and was off 460 basis points on an annual basis.
“We know now that the COVID phenomenon (disease, restrictions, economic stimuli) has kicked off a remarkable economic boom concentrated in the transport-intense sectors of the economy,” said TIA Chief Economist Noël Perry in a statement. “As a result, we have had an acceleration of demand that no supply chains can keep pace with, not to mention doing it with the handicaps currently affecting most supply chain aspects. The result is a record capacity crisis that has imposed significant challenges on the brokerage industry.”
Perry added that such volatility in market conditions is especially important for brokers because the spot market they serve is the place where market stresses naturally congregate.
“For almost every market segment, volumes increased; truckload saw substantial gains, as well as LTL,” TIA President & CEO Anne Reinke told LM. “The intermodal segment has been challenged by some rail service and congestion issues and as a result those volumes remained sluggish over the quarter. All of our members, from every revenue classification, experienced an increase in volumes and gross revenues, albeit recognizing that the costs of transportation and the driver shortage affects their net profitability. Overall, it was another quarter of heavy volumes, providing more affirmation about the critical role our members play in the supply chain.”