Trucking Biz Buzz

DAT Solutions: Van rates to rebound?

Four weeks ago, the average van rate on the DAT MembersEdge load board was $1.64/mile.

It ended last week at $1.60.

A gradual decline in July and August isn’t unusual on the spot truckload freight market, but typically rates start to climb as we head toward September.

It looks like we may be getting there.

The number of van load posts increased 1 percent and truck posts stayed the same last week, which yielded a slight increase in the load-to-truck ratio from 2.5 to 2.6 loads per truck.

That’s good news, an indication that spot van rates may soon be on the rise.

Let’s look at the overall trendlines from the week ending Aug. 20:

Louisiana loads: Flooding in Louisiana led to higher rates on lanes heading into the New Orleans market, which includes Baton Rouge. Van loads from Dallas to New Orleans paid 18 cents better last week at an average of $1.79/mile. Houston to New Orleans also added 16 cents to $2.10/mile.

FEMA lanes: Rate and volume increases were even more dramatic on lanes into the Shreveport market, which includes Alexandria. Ensler Field outside Alexandria is one of the staging areas for FEMA.

Capacity up, loads down: Accounting for all three equipment types, the total number of load posts on DAT MembersEdge fell 1 percent last week as truck posts held steady.

L/T ratios steady: The overall load-to-truck ratio stayed at 4.2 loads per truck. Ratios went up slightly for vans (2.6) and reefers (5.3), and down for flatbeds (10.2). Load-to-truck ratios measure the number of loads posted for each available truck on the network.

Fuel up: Diesel prices jumped up 6 cents to $2.37/gallon as a national average.

National average spot TL rates:

  • Van: Down 1 cent to $1.60/mile
  • Reefer: Down 1 cent to $1.89/mile
  • Flatbed: Unchanged at $1.92/mile

Van trends: Chicago took over the top spot for load posts on DAT MembersEdge last week, which pushed Atlanta down to No. 2. Key lanes by region:

  • Columbus-Buffalo, $2.67/mile, up 10 cents
  • Los Angeles-Phoenix, $2.58/mile, down 2 cents
  • Dallas-Houston, $2.17/mile, up 2 cents
  • Atlanta-Lakeland, $2.36/mile, down 5 cents
  • Philadelphia-Boston, $3.13/mile, down 7 cents

Reefer trends: Reefer freight continued its downward turn, typical for the season. Key markets by region:

  • Los Angeles, $2.40/mile, down 4 cents
  • Grand Rapids, Mich., $2.75/mile, up 7 cents
  • Dallas, $1.70/mile, up 4 cents
  • Atlanta, $2.24/mile, down 6 cents
  • Philadelphia, $2.17/mile, down 3 cents.

Flatbeds down: Flatbed load posts declined 4 percent last week while truck posts increased 4 percent. That caused the load-to-truck ratio to fall from 11 to 10.2 flatbed loads per truck.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

 

U.S. DOT: Truck freight in June down year-to-date

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in June trucks moved more than 65 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Air freight was the only mode to experience an increase year-to-date.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by more than 3 percent compared with May when freight was down less than 1 percent from the previous month. June marks the first increase after two consecutive decreases in April and May.

Compared to June 2015, freight was down 6.4 percent. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for more than $60 billion of the $92.7 billion of imports and exports in June. Rail came in second with more than $14 billion. 

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow because of plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $92.671 billion, up nearly $2 billion from the previous month and down more than $6 billion from June 2015.

Vessel freight experienced the steepest decline at 19.7 percent, a smaller drop than May’s 30.7 percent decrease. Trucks had a 5.8 percent decrease, the second lowest decline next to rail at 4.4 percent.
 
More than 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.8 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 5.5 percent compared with June 2015. Of the $44.5 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 70.8 percent of the loads.

 

Bestpass launches two new departments addressing owner-operator needs

Bestpass recently announced two new departments in its operation. An Owner-Operator Customer Service team and a Fulfillment Center will now be available at the single-source toll payment company.

Focusing on the needs of owner-operators, the Owner-Operator Customer Service team will include staff from the sales, customer service and finance teams. The collaboration service will provide continuous support from the moment of signing up.

The Fulfillment Center will primarily address all matters dealing with the transponders. Services include transponder inventory; shipping and handling; and associated account fulfillment processes, including the strategic deployment plans that Bestpass develops for its fleet customers.

Bestpass currently holds 3,400 accounts with more than 230,000 active transponders. For more information, visit Bestpass.com.

 

Navistar recalls nearly 4,000 ProStars over faulty fuse terminals

Navistar is recalling nearly 4,000 2014-2017 International ProStar trucks, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Affected trucks have an electrical issue with the battery fuse terminals.

ProStars manufactured from June 11, 2013, to May 19, 2016, may have an issue with fuse terminals. According to NHTSA, “the battery mounted cube fuse terminal connection on certain ProStar model trucks built with the battery box mounted between the frame rails may possibly break resulting in loss of power to the cab.” 

Vibrations at the battery cable and terminal interface are the likely cause of the cube fuse terminal failure. Cab lights may flicker or gauges may become erratic before cube fuse failure.

The recall was first discovered in March with several more reports received by May. Navistar officially declared the recall in July 18, and it was recently made official by NHTSA. Affected trucks will have the cube fuse replaced with a chassis-mounted power distribution module (PDM) inside the battery box. PDMs are not subject to the same vibrations.

Customers affected by the recall should be receiving a letter from Navistar around Sept. 16. Owners can contact NHTSA at 888-327-4236 or visit SaferCar.gov.

 

Aero Industries recalling hundreds of trailer tarps

Aero Industries has recalled approximately 746 Conestoga XP trailer tarps. Affected tarps could have a rivet failure, causing the rear aerodynamic device (RAD) to fail, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Affected tarps include those manufactured from Oct. 15, 2014, to Jan. 19, 2016. According to NHTSA, “the issue is the weakening or failure of the rivets holding the RAD to the rear bow of the Conestoga curtain that appears to be caused by damage to or misuse of the product.”

There have been 44 reports of rivets being sheared off the hinges. In one case, the entire RAD fell off the rear bow. If enough rivets fail, the curtain clamp will be weakened. When all rivets fail, the RAD can fall off the Conestoga.

NHTSA cannot quite pinpoint the exact cause of the defect. The agency has three theories:
Damage caused by an accident or misuse;
Driver error that causes the back of the trailer to hit a dock or other structure; or
Fatigued rivets due to improper operation of the Conestoga. Possible use of the RAD as a handle rather than the handle on the rear bow, causing greater pressure on the rivets.

Aero Industries will issue a repair kit to replace certain rivets with higher strength bolts and nuts for affected tarps. Recall letters are slated to be released between now and Sept. 30. Owners can call Aero at 800-535-7563.

 

Goodyear brings its Total Solution to GATS

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will bring its Total Solution for owner-operators and small- to mid-size fleets to the Great American Trucking Show, which will take place Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 25-27, in Dallas, Texas, at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

The Goodyear Total Solution of products, a nationwide network, services and fleet management tools is designed to help owner-operators and small- to mid-size fleets lower their operating costs.

“The Goodyear Total Solution will be on display inside Goodyear’s GATS booth (No. 14077),” said Jose Martinez, digital and solutions manager for Goodyear. Highlights will include Goodyear services, such as the 24/7 Goodyear-Fleet HQ Emergency Roadside Service program, which helps utility trucks that have been immobilized by road hazards return to service quickly.

“The Goodyear-Fleet HQ Emergency Roadside Service program has put more than 1.1 million trucks back on the road, with a current, average roll-time of two hours and 11 minutes,” said Martinez.

GATS attendees also will have the opportunity to enroll in the Goodyear Smart Fleet program at Goodyear’s show booth. The Goodyear Smart Fleet program is Goodyear’s national account program for owner-operators and small- to mid-size fleets. There’s no cost to join.

Benefits of membership include:

  • Access to premium Goodyear-brand truck tires, retreads and technologies;
  • Online, published pricing on new Goodyear tires, retreads and services – honored by participating Goodyear commercial tire dealers;
  • Goodyear-Fleet HQ Emergency Roadside Service. “Goodyear Smart Fleet members do not have to pay a dispatch fee for road service calls,” said Martinez.
  • Customized tire performance and service activity reporting, and more.

Owner-operators and small- to mid-size fleet owners who sign up for the Goodyear Smart Fleet program at the Goodyear booth during GATS will be automatically entered into a drawing for their choice of two select steer tires. Available choices include the Marathon LHS, the Fuel Max RSA or the Goodyear G399A. (Visit the Goodyear booth at GATS for additional terms and conditions.)

Show-goers who attend the four “Partners In Business” seminars during GATS also will be eligible to enter the Goodyear steer tire drawing. “Partners in Business” seminars will take place on Friday, Aug. 26, from 11 a.m. to noon and 1-2 p.m., and on Saturday, Aug. 27, 1:30-2:30 p.m. and 3:30-4:30 p.m.

 

Kenworth to end production of its T660

Kenworth announced Tuesday, Aug. 16, that it will sunset its T660 by year-end after 10 years of production, and is now offering customers a “last call” opportunity to order from the final production allotment of 500 T660s.
 
“The Kenworth T660 has been a fantastic truck for our customers with more than 60,000 T660s sold since its introduction in 2007,” said Jason Skoog, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing. “Due to its popularity, we continued to offer the T660 after introducing the award-winning T680 four years ago.”
 
When it entered the Class 8 market, the T660 became the latest evolution of Kenworth’s aerodynamic product line taking the reins from the Kenworth T600 – the industry’s first truly aerodynamic truck that debuted in 1985.  
 
Truck operators interested in ordering the Kenworth T660 may contact their Kenworth dealer for more information. The T660 is standard with the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 455-hp and 1,650 lb-ft of torque. The T660 is available as a day cab or in 38-inch, 62-inch, 72-inch and 86-inch AeroCab sleeper configurations.

 

It’s Form 2290 time; anything new you should know? Yes.

OOIDA’s Permits and Licensing Department is giving truck owners a heads up: The clock is ticking when it comes to paying that federal highway use tax for heavy vehicles. It’s the $550 fee you pay each year when you file an IRS Form 2290. 

The tax year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. The balance due shown on the Form 2290 must be paid in full by the due date of the return. For trucks and other taxable vehicles in use during July, the Form 2290 and payment are due on Aug. 31. State governments are required to receive proof of payment of the federal heavy vehicle use tax as a condition of vehicle registration.

Fleets with 25 or more vehicles must pay online with the IRS. Smaller fleets still have the option of paying by mailed check or money order or online.

You need to know about some important changes.

You can no longer just drive to nearest IRS office to process your Form 2290. That’s changing. OOIDA’s Cathy Koncilia of the Business Services Department says if you want to visit the IRS now, most offices require an appointment.

But there’s one more thing that’s new, says Koncilia. “You must have an Employer Identification Number to e-file. You cannot use your Social Security number.

“For a service fee, OOIDA Permits and Licensing Department offers members the convenience and speed of filing the Form 2290s online,” said Koncilia. “If you need help getting an EIN, call OOIDA at 800-444-5791, and we will show you how to apply for one online.” 

In general, the federal heavy vehicle use tax applies to trucks, truck tractors and buses with a gross taxable weight of 55,000 pounds or more.

 

Bendix announces permanent remedy kit for recalled spring brake valves

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems announced Monday, Aug. 15, that a no-cost permanent remedy kit is now available to enable repair of Bendix SR-5 spring brake valves identified in a voluntary safety recall campaign. Since June, more than 200,000 trailers made by a number of manufacturers have been recalled due an issue with the brake valves.

Bendix is directing affected vehicle owners to work through their vehicle OEM or an authorized Bendix parts outlet – depending on how each OEM has elected to administer the recall – to obtain this remedy kit, known as Bendix part No. K140496.

On May 10, 2016, Bendix notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the start of a voluntary safety recall campaign involving the Bendix SR-5 spring brake valve, which is sold outright and is also included in Bendixantilock braking kits for trailers. The recall was assigned number 16E045.

This recall includes all Bendix SR-5 trailer spring brake valves manufactured between Jan. 1, 2014, and March 4, 2016. The SR-5 is a trailer-only product, so no powered vehicles (tractors) are affected. This issue potentially affects any trailer that uses this valve. According to Bendix, this action does not affect SR-5 spring brake valves manufactured prior to or after the stated dates.

Approximately 200,000 SR-5 valves are covered. These valves were made available through vehicle OEMs and the aftermarket. As part of the reporting requirements, OEMs will indicate which of the trailers they manufactured – identified by year and model number – that are part of the total number of trailers containing valves reported by Bendix as a part of this voluntary action.

Bendix told Land Line late last month that under a combination of a unique set of circumstances, it is possible (though not probable) for an internal leakage to develop in the SR-5 unit, resulting in slow-to-apply spring brakes when parking the trailer. According to Monday’s press statement, the leak is heard or observed at the supply (red) gladhand when uncoupled from the tractor – or, if coupled, from the exhaust of the park control valve (BendixMV-3 dash control valve). Bendix emphasizes that this issue does not affect the tractor brakes.

In a press release on Monday, Aug. 15, Bendix states that as remedy kits are shipped into the marketplace, vehicle owners should follow the instructions provided in direct communications from their OEM or Bendix in the coming weeks. Bendix Product Action Center representatives are available to assist vehicle owners with questions about this voluntary recall Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, toll-free at 877-345-9526, or by email at SR5campaign@Bendix.com.

Information is also available at the company’s online Product Action Center under the Services & Support tab on Bendix.com. According to Bendix’s press statement, applicable information on the recall is available and refreshed often.

 

Over 9,000 more trailers recalled over parking brake issue

Another round of manufacturers are recalling trailers due to an issue with Bendix spring valves. More than 9,000 Manac, Polar Tank, Heil and Hyundai trailers are affected in this latest notice, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

On June 8, NHTSA sent out a recall notice regarding an issue with nearly 195,000 Bendix SR-5 trailer spring brake valves. According to NHTSA, brake valves were improperly machined without a radius on the internal check valve seat, causing a delay of application of the spring brakes while parking.

Bendix’s public relations firm reached out to Land Line via email on July 29, and offered their own description of the problem: “Under a combination of a unique set of circumstances, it is possible (though not probable) for an internal leakage to develop in the SR-5 unit, resulting in slow-to-apply spring brakes when parking the trailer.”

On Tuesday, Aug. 9, NHTSA sent out a recall notice with specific makes and models of trailers affected by the recall. Affected trailers include:

  • 2016 Manac flatbed trailers
  • 2017-2018 Manac van trailers
  • 2014-2016 Polar Tank DOT 406 tank trailers
  • 2014-2016 Polar Tank DOT 407 tank trailers
  • 2014-2016 Polar Tank DOT 412 tank trailers
  • 2014-2015 Polar Tank MC 331 tank trailers
  • 2014-2016 Polar Tank non-code tank trailers
  • 2014-2016 Heil crude trailers
  • 2014-2016 Heil dry bulk trailers
  • 2014-2016 Heil flatbed trailers
  • 2014-2016 Heil petroleum pull trailers
  • 2004-2016 Hyundai Translead chassis
  • 2004-2016 Hyundai Translead containers
  • 2004-2016 Hyundai Translead van reefer trailers
  • 2004-2016 Hyundai Translead van trailers

The SR-5 valve is a reservoir-mounted trailer valve that can control four spring brake actuators during parking or emergency applications, a NHTSA safety recall report explains. A trailer will have an audible air leak from the dash mounted park control valve or red gladhand when it is disconnected, prior to decoupling when a slow-to-park situation occurs. This leakage will continue until the trailer reservoirs and spring brake chambers are depleted of air pressure.

In July, approximately 10 manufacturers recalled a total of more than 30,000 trailers over the same issue.

Remedies for this recall are still under development. Expected recall dates vary by manufacturer. Owners of potentially affected trailers can contact NHTSA at 888-327-4236. NHTSA recall number for the original Bendix equipment recall is 16E-045.

 

 

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