Your Strategic Transportation Management Solutions Provider

Breakthrough is a strategic transportation partner empowering shippers with data, technology, and market knowledge to reduce cost, create fair partnerships, and improve transportation network efficiency and sustainability.

Explore our services to discover your transportation network's opportunity.

A Holistic Approach to Transportation Management

Breakthrough shippers represent some of the most innovative, expansive, and influential transportation networks in North America. Powered by our clients' data, insights, and experiences, we design and maintain comprehensive network strategies as dynamic as the market you ship in. The value of a Breakthrough partnership is clear.

Reduce costs
Stabilize networks
Strengthen partnerships
Increase productivity
Improve service

Empowering the world’s leading shippers

Industry-leading shippers use Breakthrough to create a competitive advantage in their supply chains.

You trust them emphatically, because of the sheer amount of information we give them and things that they have at their fingertips. They’re the kind of partner you want to have.

Brian Stoufer

Sr. Director of Transportation

Conagra Foods


A Strategic Platform For Contract Freight

Meet FELIX—Breakthrough’s strategic transportation platform that uses an unbiased industry view and pure dataset to design and maintain better contract freight partnerships for the world’s leading shippers.

The Latest From the Breakthrough Blog

Check out our blog for updates about trends in the transportation industry, fuel management, and supply chain transportation optimization.

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Sustainability & Tech
April 22, 2022
You Can: Announcing New Possibilities With CleanMile

Sustainability isn’t always top of mind for transportation management professionals focused on getting goods from point A to point B. As supply chain conditions evolve, it can feel like your organization’s carbon footprint is beyond your control or that your sustainability initiatives are too small to make a difference. But as sustainability becomes increasingly important and stringent government regulations pressure companies to prioritize sustainability, it’s time to tackle the problem head on.

Sustainability is daunting. Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions make up the vast majority of shippers’ emissions — about 10% of which come from transportation. These emissions are also the most difficult to quantify and reduce because they fall outside the reporting organization’s direct control.

Today, that changes. We’re clearing up the misconception that sustainability equals complexity with the launch of CleanMile — an end-to-end transportation emissions management solution. For any transportation professional who has wondered if they can make transportation fuel management, network strategy, or execution more sustainable, CleanMile is here to make sure they will.

This Earth Day, we are excited to showcase how CleanMile enables organizations to weave sustainable practices into transportation operations to effectively reduce lifecycle emissions.

The Pressure is on for More Sustainable Practices

Transportation — including trucking, rail, and other modes — is both the highest emitting sector of CO2 in the U.S. and a significant contributor to atmospheric pollution. Rising atmospheric CO2 levels are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the energy polarity causing the Earth’s temperature to increase. The rise in carbon dioxide has myriad, far-reaching consequences for the global environment, from ocean acidification to changes in the availability of natural resources.

But scope 3 emissions continue to be the most difficult for companies to manage. Your organization is responsible for reporting greenhouse gas output from sources that aren’t directly under your control. How do you quantify how much CO2 a particular vendor is producing, let alone reduce it?

The issue is a double-edged sword: We need transportation to distribute goods across the globe, yet emissions stemming from transportation are harming the environment at a rapid pace. But this paradox presents an opportunity. Organizations seeking opportunities to harness their data can use CleanMile to work toward scope 3 emissions reduction and make progress toward corporate sustainability goals. If you’ve ever wanted to make better business decisions for the planet, now you can.

We Make Real Progress

At Breakthrough, we work alongside our clients to create a competitive advantage in their supply chains. In 2021 alone, new Breakthrough clients on the Fuel Recovery program reduced intermodal fuel spend by 58% and truckload fuel spend by 20%.

Now, we are going the extra mile by enabling your business to make real progress toward transportation emissions reduction. With three phases of engagement, CleanMile helps your business:

  1. Track. By combining data and smart technology, CleanMile can monitor the energy consumption and lifecycle emissions associated with your entire inbound and outbound transportation network. This sets the foundation for custom recommendations for emissions reduction.

  2. Plan. After tracking and analyzing your network’s carbon emissions, we create an emissions reduction roadmap tailored to your sustainability goals. In the planning phase, we provide actionable and data-driven recommendations to help you stay on track with business objectives while reducing emissions.

  3. Execute. What separates us from our competitors? We don’t just suggest a plan and expect you to execute it — we stay by your side until you reach the end of your roadmap to sustainability. Every business is unique, so every business’s plan to achieve sustainability goals will look different. Whether you need to overcome the hurdles of alternative energy use or you’re in search of a more sustainable shipping partner, we’ve got you covered.

With CleanMile, You Can

Tackling sustainability initiatives doesn’t have to be intimidating. This Earth Day, we’re changing the way we view scope 3 emissions reduction — the problem is no longer too large or too complex. You can make meaningful progress toward more sustainable transportation practices and with CleanMile, you will.

Ready to take your first step toward a greener future? Schedule a demo of CleanMile today.

Heather Mueller
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Market Events
February 28, 2022
What Are the 2023 IMO Sulfur Regulations?

International shipping went through profound change during 2020. This not only applies to the global pandemic—and what it has meant for supply chains and trade—but the International Maritime Organization’s 2020 sulfur cap, known as IMO 2020.

IMO 2020 was significant because of the scope of change for international shipping. While the regulation to reduce the allowable sulfur content in marine fuel from 3.5% to 0.5%S m/m came to fruition after more than a decade of planning, much of the fuel market transition occurred in about a quarter. Vessels quickly moved from high-sulfur fuel to low-sulfur alternatives or sulfur-removing technology (scrubbers).

A series of regulations targeting vessel efficiency and carbon intensity will likely enter into force by 2023, and therefore, is being aptly named IMO 2023. This next chapter of change for international shipping is quickly approaching and a new wave of uncertainty and questions comes with it.

The regulations will encourage the improvement of vessel efficiency, adoption of low-carbon alternative fuels, and lower emissions in international shipping. These coming changes create challenges and opportunities for the vessel owner/operators seeking compliance and the beneficial cargo owners seeking opportunities to lower the energy cost and emissions needed to get their goods to customers.

Watch the Breakthrough team break down the impending IMO 2023 regulations and answer frequently asked questions from shippers in this video:

What changes are coming through IMO 2023?

Since 2018, the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee has conducted a series of meetings that have ultimately adopted “technical and operational measures to reduce caron intensity of international shipping, taking effect from 2023. The measures include the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI), the enhanced Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), and the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) rating scheme. These short-term measures are aimed at meeting the target set in the IMO Initial GHG Strategy – to reduce carbon intensity of all ships by 40% by 2030, compared to 2008.

What is the objective for each of these measures?

1. The Attained Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) is required to be calculated for most commercial vessels in accordance with different values set for vessel types and size categories. This indicates the energy efficiency of the vessel compared to a baseline. Vessels are required to meet a specific required Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI), which is based on a required reduction factor (expressed as a percentage relative to the EEXI baseline).

  • All vessels must have a calculated EEXI

  • Likely more impactful for older vessels

  • Likely more impactful for regional trades that feature smaller feeder vessels rather than deep-sea trades.

2. The Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) is a mandatory, ship-specific document that lays out the plan to improve the vessel’s energy efficiency in a cost-effective manner.

3. A vessel’s Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) links the GHG emissions to a ratio of the amount of cargo carried and the distance travelled. The CII will determine the annual carbon reduction factor needed to ensure continuous improvement of the ship's operational carbon intensity within a specific rating level.

  • All vessels must have an established CII and will receive a rating (A, B, C, D, or E – where A is best).

  • A ship rated D or E for three consecutive years must submit a corrective action plan to show how the required index (C or above) may be achieved.

  • There are many things a ship can do to improve its rating through various measures taken on existing capital. Many efficiency improvements and emissions reduction pathways are being executed by carriers, such as: hull cleaning to reduce drag, steam speed adjustment, routing optimization, and fuel switching.

These regulatory requirements are expected to enter into force on November 1, 2022. If that happens, the requirements for EEXI and CII certification will come into effect from January 1, 2023. This means the first annual reporting will be completed in 2023, with the first rating given in 2024.

There is limited apparent guidance on potential penalties for non-compliant vessels. According to industry sources, the number of vessels affected, and the potential affect the IMO 2023 GHG measures will have on capacity are largely unknown. An IMO MEPC meeting will be held June 6-10, 2022, and will likely provide more detail.

The IMO is yet to set a net-zero emissions target, but many individual ocean shipping companies—including container lines—already have. This continues a trend more broadly experienced through transportation – companies are continuing to progress their sustainability strategies without being pushed (too hard) by policy. Such actions include the first orders for carbon-neutral container vessels running on “green” methanol.

Customer demand for green transport is pushing carriers and shipowners to action and investing in carbon-neutral vessels. This is creating an environment where access to green shipping lanes in the not-so-distant future will offer a competitive advantage to BCOs seeking to progressively reduce their global shipping emissions.

While the IMO 2023 regulations will have the biggest impact on vessel owners, beneficial cargo owners, or shippers, may see pass through expenses come their way as a result. Breakthrough can help shippers mitigate the effects of this oncost by managing their maritime fuel spend according to actual fuel cost and consumption. Additionally, we can offer guidance in the market with our deep knowledge of maritime vessels’ operations, including fuel consumption and lanes of service.

Learn more about our marine fuel management solution.

Matt Muenster
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Market Events
February 24, 2022
Russia-Ukraine Conflict | Advisor Pulse

March 7, 2022 - Update

Continuation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict has sent unprecedented shockwaves through energy markets since Russia’s initial invasion on February 24. In response, many countries have turned against Russia by intensifying economic sanctions and/or unofficially choosing to abandon them as a supplier of crude oil, refined products, natural gas, and other commodities. This has left crude oil and transportation fuel prices exposed to more volatility than ever before and on the cusp of never-before-seen levels—a harsh reality with an end that remains heavily unknown.

New Energy Market Developments Since Last Week

Last week’s Advisor Pulse highlighted that Russian energy products were exempt from sanctions. This was believed to be because of uncertainty around the scope and duration of the disruption and an inability of customers to quickly replace Russian supply in an already-tight market. Now, however, key players like the United States and European Union are threatening to ban Russian energy imports altogether to further cripple the Russian economy as punishment for its attack. Whether all of Russia’s crude oil and refined product exports are removed from the supply equation will depend on whether NATO countries choose to sacrifice their energy security and seek replacement suppliers. Collectively, these measures may change Russia’s energy market reputation, its contribution to the global supply landscape, and fuel price dynamics for longer than the duration of the war in Ukraine.

Price Impacts And Comparison

The oil market would be out about another 3 million barrels of crude oil per day if countries not named China—Russia’s main ally—choose to move away from Russian imports. The U.S. is a relatively small buyer of Russia crude oil and refined products at roughly 0.5 million barrels per day, but Europe would feel the brunt of the impact of an embargo. European diesel prices have already skyrocketed to near-record levels because of this threat, driven both by Brent crude oil prices above $120 per barrel and diesel refinery margins that have also been inflated by the controversy.

From a U.S. price standpoint, at 461.3¢ per gallon, national wholesale diesel prices on March 7 were nearly 100¢ per gallon higher than on February 28. Additionally, another drastic price increase of 15-20¢ per gallon is expected on Tuesday, March 8 because of the market’s response to a possible Russian import ban. Quick and large wholesale price moves have also caused DOE-Wholesale spreads to decrease to range between -20 to -50¢ per gallon since March 3. This is due to last week’s small DOE retail adjustment occurring before the bulk of the energy commodity price increases experienced throughout the week.

DOE-Wholesale spreads are expected to remain negative this week and will stay tight until DOE retail adjustments reflect the steep gains both seen and anticipated in the wholesale market. Regardless, Breakthrough Fuel Recovery accounts for all price volatility—including that associated with the Russia-Ukraine disruption—to ensure carriers are accurately reimbursed for the market price of diesel.

February 24, 2022 - Original Post

Energy Market Update

Russian troops invaded Ukraine and Ukraine’s President issued a statement declaring martial law. Ukrainian allies, including the U.S., are expected to impose further economic sanctions on Russia. From previous Breakthrough Advisor coverage, you have become aware that Russia is a significant producer of global energy supplies, particularly crude oil and natural gas. Sanctions have already targeted Russian energy infrastructure plans in Europe (Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline). Further sanctions are likely to target the Russian energy industry because of its role in its economy. Russia exports about 4.5 million barrels of crude oil and refined product daily so any disruption of Russian exports can have a profound impact upon global energy prices. To our knowledge, applying sanctions to the movements of energy supplies has not been directly discussed at this time. There does not appear to be a quick resolution to this conflict. The scope and duration of disruption will remain speculative and will drive energy prices higher.

The Impact on Energy Prices

Markets responded to the progression of developments that culminated in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Wholesale diesel prices increased more than 55 cents per gallon (19 percent) from the initial threat of U.S. sanctions that occurred on December 7, 2021, leading up to the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022. This is shown in the chart below.

Markets also responded quickly to this morning’s invasion (following figures as of market close PM CST on February 24, 2022).

  • Crude oil prices (WTI) started the day near $100 per barrel but finished less than $1 per barrel higher at $93 per barrel (Brent crude rose to $99 per barrel).

  • Diesel prices increased about 6 cents per gallon (national wholesale prices near $3.70 per gallon). The DOE-wholesale spread will subsequently contract by about 6 cents per gallon.

  • Commodities outside of energy (e.g., agricultural) are also facing upward price pressure.

  • Global currencies are volatile.

  • The U.S. has begun coordinating an oil release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves with other countries also bringing supplies onto the market.

Global energy supplies were tight before the elevated risk and eventual geopolitical crisis arose. A swift resolution to the conflict does not seem likely. We expect transportation energy prices will therefore remain high for months to come. Many comparisons are being made to 2014 as the last time WTI oil prices were above $100 per barrel. For a comparison on the impact to diesel prices, the following graphic compares the diesel prices from July 2014—the last month where oil prices averaged over $100 per barrel—and an estimated diesel price for tomorrow, February 25. The overall price of diesel is higher in today’s market, due to a larger diesel crack spread from diesel demand as well as higher other cost elements (like fuel terminal margins and state taxes).

Helpful guidance:

  • Wholesale diesel prices rise approximately 2.4 cents per gallon for each $1 per barrel increase in the crude oil market.

  • The Applied Knowledge Team communicated a significant Q1-Q2 2022 forecast increase with clients during our mid-month webcast on February 16. This remains our expectation. The next forecast release will be on March 2, 2022 as part of the March Advisor publication.

Matt Muenster

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