A variety of companies, including food producer Hormel Foods Corp. and retailer Dollar General Corp., have reconfigured their supply chains, including building out their own truck fleets, reducing the frequency of pickups and deliveries, and shopping around for better rates.
Freight rates have been climbing in recent months, making it harder and more costly for shippers to book transportation at a time of year when demand is typically lighter. U.S. trucking and rail-freight spending rose 17.3 percent in May compared with the same month in 2017, according to the Cass Information Systems Inc. index for freight expenditures.
In recent comments to investors, retailers including Costco Wholesale Corp. and Dollar General as well as food manufacturers Hostess Brands Inc. and Hormel have said freight costs weighed on profits this year.
As strong consumer spending and steady economic growth push higher volumes of goods through logistics networks, many truck fleets, facing historically low unemployment, have said they are turning down cargo loads because they don’t have enough drivers to haul goods.
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