An Oregon freight-forwarder was hit with an export ban in what officials said was a warning to companies to heed restrictions on the shipment of sensitive technologies to countries the U.S. considers threats to national security. The U.S. Commerce Department said on Monday it was imposing a three-year export ban on USGoBuy after the Portland-based company failed to improve its compliance with U.S. export-controls laws following a 2021 settlement. Under that agreement, the department had agreed to forgo any immediate ban—pending compliance improvements at the company. That pact came to an end last week. The Commerce Department went forward with a so-called denial order, a rare step that could effectively shut down USGoBuy’s operations given the nature of the company’s business.

Rising warehouse wages are driving up demand for technology and automation to reduce labor costs, according to a study from the Nevada-based third-party logistics provider (3PL) ITS Logistics. Wages have increased to a regional average of $18.99, which is around a 40-50 percent increase in the last five years. It was not long ago that a starting warehouse employee made $12 to $14 per hour on the high end. But at the same time that wages are rising in response to historically low unemployment rates, the tight market for industrial real estate has been loosening up in recent months. The National Industrial Real Estate Vacancy Rate for the second quarter of 2024 eclipsed 6.2 percent, which is up from 5.7 percent in Q1. There is also more warehouse space available on the market right now than at any time since the 2020 onset of the pandemic.

Freight shipments and total freight spend remained under pressure again in May, according to data from Cass Information Systems. Shipments in May were flat with April but down 5.8 percent year over year (y/y). The y/y decline was 1.8 percentage points more pronounced than in April, and when adjusting for seasonal trends, the shipments index was off 3.1 percent sequentially to a 46-month low. The Monday report noted “ongoing softness in for-hire demand” as loads normally pegged for the for-hire market are being insourced by private carriers. It also said shippers consolidating less-than-truckload shipments into single truckload moves is weighing on the index.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend, the parade, and the song of the week, The Boys Are Back by the Dropkick Murphys.

The post This Week in Logistics News (June 15 – 21) appeared first on Logistics Viewpoints.