Today’s Logistics Report: Rebound on Wheels; Reviving Auto Supply Chains;

Broad trends in the retail sector are driving a rebound in U.S. freight transportation earnings.

XPO Logistics Inc.

blew past quarterly analyst forecasts with a $93 million third-quarter net profit, the WSJ Logistics Report’s Jennifer Smith writes, capping a series of strong earnings from operators benefiting from restocking and robust e-commerce demand. The rebound came after XPO stumbled this spring as lockdowns clamped down factories and consumers. Manufacturing activity and retail sales are surging this fall, and sales at XPO’s last-mile business that serves the e-commerce market rose 15% last quarter. Less-than-truckload carrier

Old Dominion Freight Line Inc.

last week reported a 23% year-over-year jump in third-quarter net profit that Chief Financial Officer Adam Satterfield pegged partly to “the e-commerce trends that are pushing more retail-related freight into the system.” Truckload carrier

Schneider National Inc.

says tight inventories remain a big concern “to retailers of all sizes and specialties.”


Automotive supply chains are revving their engines.

General Motors Corp.’s

third-quarter profit soared 74% to $4 billion as the company cranked up production of pickups and other lucrative models, the WSJ’s Mike Colias reports, making it the latest auto maker to rebound from earlier Covid-19-related losses. GM is trying to capitalize on demand with plans to produce high-margin pickups in Canada, part of a broad resurgence in the sector that also comes with big questions. Inventory and costs were both depressed after production stopped during lockdowns in the spring. Demand has stormed back as consumers have shunned public transportation and air travel but it’s unclear whether sales will continue on that steep upward track. Meantime, global supply chains are still staggering from the automotive downturn. One ship recycling facility in India says the number of car-carrier vessels brought in for scrap has doubled from a year ago.


Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

is soothing its trading-market wounds even as it totes up more sales to consumers. The Chinese e-commerce giant says it is evaluating the fallout from this week’s scuttled initial public offering by former subsidiary Ant Group. The WSJ’s Liza Lin and Xie Yu report regulators began to target the company’s fast-growing microloan business and plan new rules that could force Ant to put up billions of dollars to continue its lending activities. Ant’s problems have sent Alibaba’s shares tumbling. The online retailer has plenty at stake with Ant since the company’s Alipay payment network facilitates online transactions for more than a billion users on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms. Alibaba has comparatively few worries at its core e-commerce business, where sales rose 30% to nearly $23.5 billion in the last fiscal quarter. China’s economic rebound and demand from consumers remain on track, even if there are problems at the payments business.


We are in a position to own breakfast.

— Carlos Abrams-Rivera, U.S. president at Kraft Heinz, as it benefits from work-from-home trends drawing people away from morning meals at fast-food restaurants.

Number of the Day


Containers and truck trailers in domestic North American intermodal rail transport in the third quarter, a 9.8% increase from a year ago, according to the Intermodal Association of North America.

Read More: Today’s Logistics Report: Rebound on Wheels; Reviving Auto Supply Chains;

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