Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Q&A with UPS Freight President Jack Holmes

Last week, LM Group News Editor Jeff Berman conducted an on-stage interview with Jack Holmes, president of UPS Freight, the less-than-truckload (LTL) subsidiary of UPS at the 10th annual eyefortransport 3PL Summit, which was held in Chicago. Holmes provided an in-depth look at the LTL sector and how LTL’s and shippers should—and could—work well together, among other topics.

Logistics Management (LM): What is the current state of the LTL market in your opinion? How do things look compared to a year ago and also on a year-to-date basis?

Holmes: It would be bad form to complain after the last few years and what we have been through as it took a lot of years off the lives of LTL industry executives. It is a lot better than it was and not as good as we want it to be. The pace of improvement year-over-year is certainly slowing, with overall industry growth close to 4 percent for shipments and tonnage year-over-year in the first quarter, and it appears that same number is closer to 2 percent in the second quarter. Revenues are up, with much of that attributed to the price of fuel in the first quarter. And as fuel has dropped [in recent weeks], we are seeing the revenue-per-hundredweight improvement year-over-year drop with it. Things are better but certainly nowhere close to pre-recession levels for shipments and tonnage. In fact, about this time last year revenue-per-hundredweight for the industry was less than it was in 2007. If you think about another industry that can make a similar claim beyond housing, you would have a hard time coming up with another one that was attracting less price than it was five years previous. As an industry, we are not in a great spot but it is getting a little better.

For a full transcript of the conversation between Berman and Holmes follow this link.