Trucking Biz Buzz

DAT Solutions: Competition, capacity keep spot van markets cool

Spot market rates continue to decline seasonally, as volumes for February are slightly lower compared to 2017. That loss can be attributed to competition from the railroads, as intermodal shipments are up slightly year over year.

That extra competition has helped push truckload rates lower.

On DAT MembersEdge, the national average van rate fell six cents to $2.17 per mile and reefers tumbled 9 cents to $2.50 per mile during the week ending Feb. 10.

Despite the drop in prices, the national average van rate is still 33 percent higher than at this point a year ago. So far, freight trends in February suggests that spot market capacity shortfalls as a result of the ELD mandate have had a stronger impact than economic conditions on van rates.

Loads, capacity hold firm
The number of loads on the spot truckload freight market increased 0.3 percent and truck posts dipped 1.5 percent compared to the previous week.

Van trends
The number of van loads posted declined was unchanged while truck posts declined 3 percent. That caused the load-to-truck ratio to increase from 6.9 to 7.1 loads per truck.

Markets fall
With the exception of Charlotte ($2.50 per mile, up three cents), most outbound van markets were down last week:

  • Buffalo, N.Y. – $2.78 per mile, down 18 cents
  • Philadelphia – $2.15 per mile, down 4 cents
  • Houston – $1.97 per mile, down 2 cents
  • Dallas – $1.92 per mile, down 3 cents
  • Chicago – $2.70 per mile, down 8 cents 

Deep dish on Chicago
The three lanes with the biggest increases all involved Chicago, one outbound and two inbound:

  • Chicago-Denver rose 13 cents to an average of $3.05 per mile
  • Charlotte-Chicago was up 8 cents to $1.86 per mile, back to where it was a month ago
  • Dallas-Chicago also climbed 8 cents to $1.44 per mile, still short of last month’s average

L.A. slips again
Los Angeles was down 10 cents to $2.20 per mile following a 9-cent decline the previous week.

Reefer trends
Reefer load posts fell 2 percent and the number of truck posts was unchanged, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to fall 2 percent from 10.2 to 10. At $2.50 per mile, the national average reefer rate was the lowest average of 2018 but still higher than the peak reefer rates from 2017.

Flatbed trends
After four straight weeks of declines, the national average flatbed rate inched up 2 cents to $2.28 per mile – a sign that flatbed rates may have hit bottom. Better weather typically causes demand to pick up for flatbeds, a key mode for construction materials and equipment.

Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, visit the load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at per industry-trends per trendlines, comment on the DAT Freight Talk blog, or join us on Facebook. On Twitter you can tweet your questions to us @LoadBoards and have your questions answered by DAT industry analyst Mark Montague.

OOIDA’s Compliance Connection program helps owner-operators manage paperwork

No matter the size, managing a fleet of trucks and drivers can be burdensome. Keeping tabs on which truck and which driver is compliant can be difficult and easy to forget. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is now offering a new program to relieve a lot of that burden called Compliance Connection.

Compliance Connection is a new OOIDA program that assists members to be in compliance with driver qualification files, equipment maintenance files, drug and alcohol files, and an accident register. With friendly reminders when due dates are coming up, think of Compliance Connection as a digital personal assistant.

One feature includes storing driver qualification files. Compliance Connection will make sure that driver forms are filled out completely and correctly.

It can be easy to forget the expiration dates of certifications and other necessary documents. No problem. Compliance Connection will track expiration dates on medical certificates, Motor Vehicle Report and CDLs. When that date approaches, the program will send the account holder a notice.

MVRs can be obtained at any time if needed by the carrier for whatever reason. Paperwork is organized, allowing auditors quick and easy access to review during a new entrant safety audit.

It is worth noting that some state auditors may not accept the program to submit forms. Some auditors require paperwork to be submitted directly to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or by some other preferred method. Members should check with their state auditor before using Compliance Connection for that purpose.

The program also works for vehicles by retaining equipment maintenance files. Members can enter all equipment repairs and maintenance as required by FMCSA into the program for their records. Periodic maintenance can be scheduled and tracked. As certain maintenance items come up, the program will send a reminder.

Compliance Connection will house annual inspection certificates, roadside inspection reports and Driver-Vehicle Inspection Reports. As an added bonus, the program can keep track of costs and cost per mile based on the information inputted by the user.

Compliance Connection offers more help than that.

Members of the program can also store copies of leases, contracts, permits, training certifications and pretty much any other document needed for safe keeping. Regardless of which drug consortium the member uses, drug testing information can also be stored in the system.

Compliance Connection is a user-friendly online system and available to members 24/7 on a smart phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

Pricing will vary depending on size of the fleet. Typically, one truck, one trailer and one driver will be $20 per month plus a one-time $85 set-up fee. A MVR fee will be tacked on if OOIDA obtains it for the carrier. From there, additional drivers will be another $11 a month each plus a one-time $60 set-up fee. Additional trucks will run another $5 per month each, with trailers costing $4 per month. Set-up fee for both trucks and trailers is $5 each.

For more information, call 816-229-5791 and ask for Compliance Connection.

Freight index continues streak of setting new record high

The Transportation Services Index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, shows freight transportation reaching another all-time high in December, including a modest increase in trucking.

Trucking freight jumped forward for a sixth consecutive month, increasing from 148.3 to 149, an increase of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 6.2 percent from 142.7 in November to 133.8 in December. American Trucking Associations calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Transportation Services Index for December rose 0.7 percent to 132. In November, the index increased by 0.2 percent, replacing an all-time high set in October, which replaced an all-time high in September.

The December index was 39.4 percent above the low that was set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

According to the DOT, the TSI’s upward movement coincides with growth in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production Index, employment and personal income. Manufacturing and mining also increased. Housing starts decreased by 8.2 percent.

FMCSA issues temporary exemption for truckers using certain JJ Keller ELDs

Drivers and carriers using certain electronic logging devices from J.J. Keller and Associates will be allowed to continue using paper logs to record duty status.

The extension for paper logs allows the company to correct “deficiencies” in eight of its devices until Feb. 28 or the deficiencies are corrected, whichever comes first, according to a Feb. 9 letter from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Carriers must keep a copy of the letter at their principle place of business and a copy must be kept in each vehicle with a malfunctioning ELD.

The affected devices:

  • Geotab GO7 – J.J. Keller Android BYOD
  • Geotab GO7 – J.J. Keller Android Tablet
  • J.J. Keller ELD – Android BYOD 2.0
  • J.J. Keller ELD – Android Tablet 2.0
  • J.J. Keller ELD – iOS 2.0
  • J.J. Keller ELD –iOS 2.5
  • J.J. Keller ELD – Android BYOD 2.5
  • J.J. Keller ELD – Android Compliance Tablet 2.5

Dale Watkins, supervisor of OOIDA’s Regulatory and Compliance department, says the problems with the devices in question involve transferring data to law enforcement during roadside inspections. He said representatives from J.J. Keller have been in contact with OOIDA and say they are working on a software update to address the issues.

“The most important thing people with these devices need to know is they’re going to be getting updates, and if you have one of these devices, you need to accept the update,” Watkins said.

Employment in trucking subsector kicks off 2018 with more jobs

For the 12th consecutive month, transportation jobs overall scored gains in January. The transport sector netted 11,100 jobs to the economy. Trucking jobs also went up after a small decrease in December.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 2,200 jobs in January after the industry lost 600 in December and gained 1,800 in November.

Warehousing and storage experienced the largest increase, with 5,300 more jobs, followed by couriers and messengers at 4,900. Transit and ground passenger transportation experienced the largest loss with 2,500 fewer jobs, trailed by scenic and sightseeing transportation’s loss of 1,200. Only half of subsectors experienced gains, enough to outweigh the losses by a significant margin.

In 2017, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 74,000 jobs. In every month except January there was a job increase compared to the previous month. September accounted for the largest one-month increase, with nearly 22,000 jobs in the sector added to the economy. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net gain of 10,400 jobs in 2017.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $24.29 for January – a 5-cent increase from December and up 75 cents from January 2017. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 9 cents to $21.65 from the previous month and a 71-cent increase year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.74, a 9-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.9 percent, or 75 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations decreased to 6.8 percent, compared with 7 percent in January 2017, but went up significantly from 5.1 percent in December. The overall unemployment rate remained stagnant at 4.1 percent for the fourth consecutive month. The number of long-term unemployed dropped slightly to 1.4 million, accounting for 21.5 percent of the unemployed.

Shell Rotella SuperRigs heads to White’s Travel Center in Virginia

The big daddy of show truck competitions, 36th annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs, is scheduled for June 14-16 at White’s Travel Center in Raphine, Va., just off I-64/I-80.

The Shell Rotella SuperRigs Truck Beauty Contest began back in 1982 as a way to bring together and recognize hard-working drivers from throughout the trucking industry.

This year, the theme is “Tribute to Toughness.” Owner-operator truckers from across the United States and Canada are expected to compete for more than $25,000 in cash and prizes.

In addition to cash and prizes, truckers will compete for 12 spots on the 2019 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar.

Trucks entered in SuperRigs are judged by industry professionals who work for major trucking publications or broadcast companies. The judges – who include Land Line Magazine Managing Editor Jami Jones – score the rigs on exterior appearance, design, detail/finish, originality and workmanship.

Judging will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, June 14-15, and from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 16. Individual contestant judging is expected to take about 20 minutes. Contestants do not need to be present to win.

Here are some of the highlights of the event:

  • A truck parade, with participants going from White’s Travel Center to historic downtown Lexington, Va., about 16 miles away, where truckers will stage their rigs, turn on their lights and pump up the music as part of street party for truckers and locals;
  • A firework display and music after the truck parade at White’s Travel Center; and 
  • A three-day music festival featuring local bands and DJs.

White’s Travel Center offers a variety of on-site amenities, including a chrome shop, pharmacy, showers, movie theater, numerous restaurants, laundry services and a shuttle service. A Blue Beacon Truck Wash and Cat Scale facilities are also available.

Kellie Pickler to headline MATS concert

Kellie Pickler, a country music star and “American Idol” alum, will headline the 2018 Mid-America Trucking Show concert on Friday, March 23, at the Kentucky Exposition Center’s Freedom Hall in Louisville.

The annual free concert is sponsored by ExxonMobil and the Mobil Delvac team.

“Every year, the Mobil Delvac Driver Appreciation Concert gives us the chance to spend time with and honor the remarkable men and women who drive today’s trucking industry forward,” ExxonMobil’s Cassandra Clarke said in a news release. “We’re proud to be sponsoring our 10th straight concert, and we look forward to celebrating with our colleagues and friends across the industry in Louisville.”

Pickler boasts 11 songs that have made it onto Billboard’s country music charts, including five in the top 20. “Best Days of Your Life,” off her self-titled sophomore album reached No. 9 on the charts in 2009. Her third album, “100 Proof,” was named the Country Album of the Year by Rolling Stone in 2012. She released “The Woman I Am” in 2013, which included the hit song, “Someone Somewhere Tonight.”

She gained fame as a contestant on the fifth season of “American Idol” in 2006. That same year, she signed with 19 Recordings and BNA Records to release her debut album, “Small Town Girl,” which sold more than 900,000 copies.

In addition to her success as a singer, Pickler has been featured on several television shows. She teamed with Derek Hough as the winners of the 16th season of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2013, and starred in CMT shows “I Love Kellie Pickler,” and “Pickler and Ben.”

She also has been an avid supporter of the U.S. military, having completed 11 USO Tours.

The Mid-America Trucking Show will be March 22-24 in Louisville. Free tickets for the concert will be available at the Mobil Delvac booth (No. 18160 in the North Hall) on Thursday and Friday during regular show hours.

The doors to the concert will open at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 23, and the show will start at 7 p.m. An opening act has not been announced.

Last year’s MATS concert featured Thompson Square and OOIDA Member Tony Justice.

NAFTA freight holds strong in November; truck freight still improving

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in November trucks moved more than 63 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. All five modes experienced an increase in freight year to year for the second consecutive month.

The value of freight hauled across the borders was essentially unchanged compared with October, when freight was up nearly more than 7 percent from the previous month. March had the largest month-to-month increase (16 percent) since March 2011, when NAFTA freight was up more than 22 percent compared to February 2011.

Compared to November 2016, freight was up 10.5 percent. This marks the 13th consecutive month of year-to-year increases. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

November’s rise was the second largest year-to-year increase this year, following behind March at 10.9 percent. In March, the index reached more than $100 billion for the first time since October 2014 before going back below that mark in April. That landmark was revisited in October and maintained through November.

August, November and December were the only months to have a year-to-year increase in 2016, at 0.7 percent, 3.3 percent and 0.4 percent respectively. August was the first year-to-year increase since December 2014, when freight increased by more than 5 percent.

Trucks carried more than $63 billion of the $100.61 billion of imports and exports in November. Rail came in second with nearly $15 billion.

Freight totaled $100.613 billion, up more than $50 million from the previous month and an increase of more than $9.5 billion from November 2016.

Vessel freight accounted for the largest increase at 46 percent after an increase of 32.6 percent in October. Trucks accounted for an increase of 8.1 percent. Truck freight experienced modest increases of 5.7 in October and 2.9 percent in September.

Nearly 58 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by nearly 10 percent compared with November 2016. Of the $49.3 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 69 percent of the loads.

Shell Rotella SuperRigs heads to Virginia

The “super bowl” of show truck competitions is packing up and heading east. SuperRigs will be June 14-16 at White’s Travel Center, Raphine, Va.

The Shell Rotella SuperRigs Truck Beauty Contest began back in 1982 as a way to bring together and recognize hard working drivers throughout the trucking industry.

“Over the years, we’ve seen some of our contestants take the ‘working truck’ to a whole new level – the level of SuperRig,” Shell Rotella posted on its Facebook site.

In addition to cash and prizes, truckers compete for 12 coveted spots on the annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar.

Trucks entered in SuperRigs are judged by industry professionals who work for major trucking publications or broadcast companies. The judges – who include Land Line Magazine Managing Editor Jami Jones – score the rigs on exterior appearance, design, detail/finish, originality and workmanship.

OOIDA members qualify for $1,000 off on Kenworth trucks

OOIDA members can get a rebate of $1,000 on the purchase price of a Kenworth sleeper truck during 2018.

Kenworth and OOIDA are offering the promotion for the 16th consecutive year.

OOIDA members can choose from a Kenworth T680 or T880 with a 52-inch or larger factory-installed sleeper or Kenworth T660, T800 and W900 glider kits equipped with 72-inch or 86-inch factory-installed sleepers. The deal is good for new stock and special-order vehicles.

To qualify, buyers must show their OOIDA membership card to their Kenworth dealer at time of purchase in 2018. A copy of the bill of sale and warranty, along with the buyer’s OOIDA membership number, must be mailed to: OOIDA, P.O. Box 1000, Grain Valley, MO 64029, or faxed to OOIDA at 816-229-0518.

Each customer is limited to three qualifying Kenworth trucks per year. Other limitations may apply on the Kenworth rebate program. Details are available at Kenworth dealerships.

In 2017, more than 300 OOIDA members benefited from this program, according to a news release from Kenworth.

Kenworth Truck Co., Kirkland, Wash., is a subsidiary of Paccar Inc., Bellevue, Wash.