Trucking Biz Buzz Archive

DAT Solutions: Retail shipments keep van capacity tight

Volumes for the top van markets on DAT MembersEdge rebounded 5 percent for the week ending Oct. 28, as shippers moved freight out the door before month’s end. Van rates remain elevated despite a drop of a few cents per week since an early October peak, and the lead-up to Thanksgiving should keep truckload demand high on the spot market.

Load counts continued to climb, and load-to-truck ratios remain about 5.5 in most of the country. In Los Angeles, the van load-to-truck ratio hit 17.6 loads per truck on Oct. 27. That’s a huge number for L.A.

Let’s look at the numbers:

Rates slip but stay high: National average spot van and reefer rates declined for the third week in a row, while the flatbed rate held steady after nearly two months of steady gains. Rates are elevated for this time of year for all three equipment types and may pick up before Thanksgiving, as retail sales are projected to grow by 6 percent this holiday season:

  • Van – $2.03/mile, down 1 cent
  • Flatbed – $2.34/mile, unchanged
  • Reefer – $2.36/mile, down 1 cent

Demand with a plan: The need for truck capacity is high for all three trailer types but volumes for the top van markets were up 5 percent last week as shippers moved freight out the door before month’s end. Nationally, van load posts increased 1 percent and truck posts declined 3 percent, which caused the van load-to-truck ratio to increase from 5.4 to 5.9 loads per truck. The load-to-truck ratio has declined since hitting a peak of 7 loads per truck during the final week in September.

Hot in L.A.: On the L.A.-Chicago lane, competition from rail traffic typically keeps van rates low, but extra freight in Los Angeles has created urgency and pushed more intermodal loads onto the spot truckload market. The spot van rate from Los Angeles rose 13 cents to $1.69/mile last week.

Price is right: Rates are on the rise for lanes serving the Northeast, another sign of strong retail demand:

  • Chicago-Buffalo gained 18 cents at $3.19/mile
  • Memphis-Columbus paid 14 cents better at $2.19/mile, with shippers adjusting warehouse inventories

Downers: The three biggest lane-rate declines for van freight last week were out of the Northeast. Strong inbound volumes meant there were more trucks available in the region:

  • Allentown, Pa.-Richmond, Va. dropped 16 cents to $2.51/mile
  • Buffalo-Chicago fell 14 cents to $1.73/mile
  • Philadelphia-Atlanta lost 12 cents at $1.88/mile

Reefers cooling: The reefer load-to-truck ratio had been falling after hitting the highest average ratio in years in late September, but last week the ratio turned upward again. Load posts held steady and truck posts declined 2 percent, causing the load-to-truck ratio to increase 1 percent, to 9.7 loads per truck.

Flatbeds easing: After hitting the highest load-to-truck ratio in years during the last week of September – 50.2 loads per truck – the flatbed ratio has eased off during the past four weeks. Load posts declined 6 percent and truck posts declined 2 percent, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to slip to 35.9 loads per truck, still a high ratio.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at dat.com/industry-trends/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.

Truckers get free flu shots through a St. Christopher Fund vaccine program

The St. Christopher Truckers Fund is continuing with free vaccine vouchers for the 2017-18 season, a program that is being once again supported with funding from OOIDA.

Through April 30, vouchers for free flu shots will be available for truckers. Also, truckers may get vouchers for free pneumonia and shingles vaccines. They are available through Sept. 20, 2018.

Drivers can get their vouchers from the St. Christopher Fund website or from OOIDA’s Jon Osburn on the Association’s tour truck, the Spirit.

Drivers may choose from Kroger, the Little Clinic and Walgreens – for now – to redeem the vouchers for a free vaccine. However, each location has a separate voucher, so the drivers need to plan on a location before printing the vouchers

Some locations will accept the vouchers electronically. That information will be on the St. Christopher Fund website at TruckersFund.org.

The vouchers are only for semitrailer drivers who hold a valid CDL. Licenses will be checked at each location before the vaccines are given.

If a driver has insurance, they are asked to provide that information, as often the vaccines are fully covered through insurance, especially for the flu vaccine.

Online voting begins for Transition Trucking award

Three military men have been chosen as finalists for Fastport’s 2017 Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence Award, and now’s the time to choose the winner.

The public has until the end of the day on Oct. 31 to vote for a favorite. 

Fastport’s campaign honors a rookie truck driver with a military background.

Fastport is a software company devoted to finding employment opportunities for veterans, National Guard members and reservists.

Fastport plans to award a fully loaded Kenworth T680 to the winner. Each of the finalists is a former member of the military who is now working as a truck driver.

The three finalists:

  • Wayne Roy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Xpress; 
  • Daniel Shonebarger, U.S. Navy, Melton Truck Lines; and 
  • Gregg Softy, U.S. Army, Stevens Transport. 

Each finalist has a video that members of the public can watch to help make their vote. 

Shonebarger was a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with three sea service deployment ribbons. 

“The Navy focused on honor, courage and commitment,” Shonebarger said. “Melton really exemplifies that. Those values that I learned from the eight years I was in really builds character. That’s something I’m really proud of. It’s built me to where I am now.”

Roy was a combat veteran with the Marines.

“In the Marine Corps, we are shown to go above and beyond in everything we do, and that has spilled over in to my driving career,” Roy said. “I will always jump out of the truck and help a fellow driver no matter what company he or she works for.”

Softy graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and then spent 28 years of active duty before retiring as a lieutenant colonel. 

“I feel my military career has prepared me for the responsibilities and challenges that come with driving a truck and being within this industry,” Softy said. “Trucking, like the military, is a people business. The military has instilled in me the imperative of treating everyone with dignity of respect regardless of position or job.”

Nominations for the second annual award began in March. Those nominated:

  • must be a military veteran or a current or former member of the National Guard or Reserves; 
  • must have graduated from a certified driver training school and be a current CDL holder; 
  • must have been employed by any for-hire carrier or private fleet that has pledged to hire veterans through TruckingTrack.org; and 
  • was first employed as a truck driver between Jan. 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. 

The nominations were narrowed to 10 in July and then to three in August. Public voting comes to a finish at the end of Oct. 31. 

On Dec. 15 in Washington, D.C., the winner and the two runners-up will be announced during a ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hall of Flags. The winner will receive a 2017 Kenworth T680 with an approximate value of $155,000. The two other finalists will receive $10,000 in prize money. 

The award’s inaugural winner was Troy Davidson, a U.S. Navy veteran who works with Werner.

DAT Solutions: Flatbed market stays hot as rates climb

Rebuilding is in full swing in places affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, which is good news for flatbed haulers.

While spot flatbed load posts on MembersEdge fell 7 percent and truck posts increased 6 percent during the week ending Oct. 14, the national average spot flatbed rate added 2 cents to $2.33/mile. That's the highest average flatbed rate in more than two years.

Unseasonably strong spot market: The number of posted loads on MembersEdge fell 10 percent while the number of trucks posted increased 7 percent last week, and the combination of fewer loads and more available capacity pushed load-to-truck ratios lower compared to the previous week:

  • Van: 5.4 available loads per truck, down 17 percent but still solid for this time of year
  • Flatbed: 40.9 loads per truck, down 12 percent
  • Refrigerated: 10.1 loads per truck, down 19

Van, reefer rates slip: While the flatbed rate climbed again, the van rate fell 2 cents to $2.07/mile and reefers dropped a penny to $2.36/mile.

Spot van load posts declined 11 percent and truck posts increased 7 percent. Van rates moderated last week but this may be short-lived with volumes surging in California and other Western states.

Who’s No. 1? The No. 1 market for van freight was Los Angeles, where the average rate jumped 4 cents to $2.41/mile. Rates were softer elsewhere:

  • Columbus, Ohio: $2.62/mile, down 14 cents
  • Dallas: $1.78/mile, down 1 cent
  • Houston: $1.75/mile, unchanged
  • Atlanta: $2.23/mile, down 6 cents
  • Buffalo: $2.56/mile, down 13 cents

Squeezed? The Columbus-Buffalo van lane dropped 33 cents last week to $3.09/mile. It could be a case of Columbus being out of inventory, given the extra activity that happened out of there following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which meant freight going into Buffalo had to be sourced elsewhere.

Reefers cool: In the spot reefer market, the number of posted loads decreased 13 percent and truck posts increased 7 percent from the previous week. Florida reefer volumes recovered but outbound rates were so low they actually contributed to a drop in the national average reefer rate.

Gravy: Capacity is still tight in potato-shipping regions like southern Idaho, eastern North Dakota, and southeastern Washington. Reefer rates slipped on some California lanes, despite good outbound volumes, likely because of inbound volumes. Wildfires also could have been a factor.

Tri-haul of the week
Typically the land of cheap freight, Denver van rates actually improved last week. You can take advantage of that and put together a tri-haul:

Los Angeles-Denver paid an average van rate of $2.97/mile but the return trip only paid $1.11. You can up your revenue by more than $900 if you can add a leg to Flagstaff on the way back. Denver-Flagstaff paid an average of $1.55/mile last week, while Flagstaff-L.A. was $1.84/mile. The extra leg adds about 215 miles, not counting deadhead. If you can fit it in with your hours, your average rate would jump 21 cents from $2.04 to $2.25/mile.

For the latest spot market load availability and rate information:

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.

Accelerate! Conference and Expo Nov. 6-8 in K.C.

The third annual Accelerate! Conference & Expo, hosted by the Women In Trucking Association, is on the industry calendar for early November in Kansas City, Mo.

The three-day conference takes place Nov. 6-8 at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center and includes more than 30 educational seminars on careers in trucking for women.

Register by Oct. 20 for a chance to win two paid room nights at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center or bring multiple attendees and save up to 30 percent on registrations.

Kenworth T680s available with Endurant 12-speed automated transmission

Kenworth has recently announced that its T680 model trucks will be available with the new Endurant 12-speed automated transmission paired with the Cummins X15 Efficiency Series engine, according to a news release.

The new feature will be available for regional and linehaul applications up to gross vehicle weight of 110,000 pounds.

The transmission offers engine ratings up to 510 hp and 1,850 lb-ft of torque, and weight savings up to 105 pounds less than competitive automated transmissions. Other key features include a coolerless precision lubrication system with a 750,000 mile lube change, encapsulated sensors and wiring, and standard eight-bolt power take off opening location.

The Endurant offers a five-year/750,000-mile warranty, and a three-year/350,000-mile clutch warranty.

For more information about the Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies, visit EatonCumminsJV.com/Endurant.

Wreaths Across America launches new sponsorship program

Wreaths Across America recently announced a new sponsorship opportunity called Rolling Ambassadors for professional truck drivers, bikers, police officers, and first responders.

A nonprofit organization, Wreaths Across America was founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery that was started by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission of “Remember, Honor, Teach” is carried out through wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states.

For a sponsorship of $125, a Wreaths Across America’s Rolling Ambassador will sponsor two Remembrance Wreaths and receive a special package valued at more than $160. The package includes a Wreaths Across America sweatshirt, window cling, embroidered patch, baseball cap and pin. In addition, the sponsor’s name will be added to a social media graphic during the week of wreaths.

People can sign up for a Rolling Ambassador sponsorship here.

Each holiday season, an Honor Fleet made up of volunteer drivers and donated equipment carry loads of Remembrance Wreaths.

“Every year we have so many professional drivers, bikers, police officers and other first responders asking us how they can get involved, even if they can’t transport wreaths,” Wreaths Across America Executive Director Karen Worcester said in a news release. “This program is designed for these dedicated men and women. By becoming a Rolling Ambassador sponsor, Wreaths Across America is entrusting drivers to proudly wear the logo and share the importance of the mission to remember the fallen, honor those who serve, and teach our children about the true cost of freedom.”

For more information about the Royal Ambassadors program or National Wreaths Across America Day on Dec. 16, visit the Wreaths Across America website.

DAT Solutions: Spot van rate on MembersEdge hits $2.09 a mile

Load posts on DAT MembersEdge dropped 3 percent during the week ending Oct. 7, taking the edge off the uptick from the previous week. Truck posts gained just 1 percent, which kept load-to-truck ratios high:

  • Vans: 6.5 available loads per truck
  • Flatbeds: 46.7 loads per truck
  • Reefers: 12.4 loads per truck

Tight capacity pushed rates higher. Check it out:

  • Vans: $2.09/mile, up 12 cents compared to the previous week
  • Flatbeds: $2.31/mile, up 4 cents
  • Reefers: $2.37/mile, up 14 cents

On to the trendlines.

Spot van volumes declined 6 percent and van posts increased 1 percent. Western markets were solid and the Pacific Northwest in particular, with higher reefer load counts in the region contributing to tighter van capacity. That meant fewer reefer trucks were competing for van loads. Rerouted port traffic from Houston to Seattle after Hurricane Harvey may have added to demand for trucks in the area.

Outbound van rates have soared more than 40 percent out of Seattle in the past month. Seattle is normally a backhaul market, meaning that outbound rates are usually quite a bit lower than the inbound rates.

  • Columbus, Ohio, has been one of the hottest van freight markets ever since Hurricane Harvey caused massive disruptions. Prices are above seasonal norms but key outbound lanes declined compared to the previous week:
  • Columbus-Buffalo fell 19 cents but still averaged $3.42/mile
  • Columbus-Allentown was down 14 cents to $3.72/mile
  • Columbus-Memphis dropped 13 cents to $2.15/mile

In the reefer market, load posts and truck posts were unchanged from the previous week. Seasonal harvests are winding down but tight capacity led to higher reefer rates on the West Coast and in the Midwest.

After reaching the highest flatbed load-to-truck ratio in years the previous week, flatbed load posts dipped 1 percent and truck posts increased 6 percent. Rebuilding efforts in Florida and the Gulf Coast continue to pace demand for flatbeds.

Tri-haul of the Week
The going rate for reefer loads from Grand Rapids, Mich.-Philadelphia was down but paid well at $3.51/mile, while the return trip averaged $1.92/mile. That’s a good roundtrip especially if you can complete the 1,436 miles, with pickup and delivery, in three days.

If your trip will take four days anyway, you can boost your revenue with a tri-haul. One route takes advantage of high rates on the lane from Philly-Cincinnati, which paid an average of $2.51/mile last week. Reefer loads from Cincinnati-Grand Rapids averaged $3.44/mile.

Adding that extra leg would make the trip about 200 miles longer, not counting deadhead. Your average rate would also go from $2.72 to $3.15 per loaded mile. The combination of more loaded miles and higher rate per mile will add more than $1,200 to your total revenue for the trip, giving you $5,100 over four days. Looking at it another way, it’s $1,300 per day instead of $1,000.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at dat.com/industry-trends/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.

Trucking propels Transportation Services Index to all-time high in August

The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals August freight experienced significant gains in trucking, enough to make up for declines in water and pipeline freight to push the index to an all-time high.

Trucking freight made a giant leap for a second consecutive month, increasing to 147.9 from 143.9, a significant increase of nearly 3 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage increase of a 7.1 percent in August to 149 from 139.1 in July. ATA 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 Freight Transportation Services Index for August rose 1.5 percent to 130.7. In July, the index increased by 1.4 percent, replacing an all-time high set in May.

The August index was 38 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 comes amid other positive signals elsewhere in the economy. Employment, personal income and housing starts all increased. Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers’ Index revealed accelerated growth.

Truck stops show huge support for trucking customers

TA/Petro, Sapp Bros. and Coffee Cup Fuel Stop locations participated in the 2017 Band Together for St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund. This year’s late summer campaign raised well over a quarter of a million dollars to benefit truckers and their families who have suffered financial difficulty because of medical problems.

Although final accounting has not been announced, TA/Petro’s unofficial report was $209,401.94 for all locations plus an additional $31,908.64 from a golf tournament. Sapp Brothers raised about $8,000 and the Coffee Cup Fuel Stops raised approximately $20,000.

All donations go directly to SCF and benefit drivers. 

Travel Centers of America has been supporting drivers through the SCF since 2010. It is the second year for Sapp Bros and Coffee Cup Fuel Stops to participate. 

TravelCenters of America is the largest full-service travel center company in the U.S., with corporate headquarters is located in Westlake, Ohio. Sapp Bros., Inc. is a collection of 17 full-service, friendly travel centers; primarily located on Interstate 80 from as far west as Salt Lake City, Utah to Clearfield, Pennsylvania in the east. The Coffee Cup Fuel Stop has been serving truckers since 1981 with locations throughout South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming.

Professional drivers who are suffering from financial hardships due to medical problems can apply to the SCF for help. Assistance may be in the form of direct payment for mortgage/rent, utilities, vehicle payments, insurance, prescriptions and/or some medical procedures. For more information, visit TruckersFund.org or call 865-202-9428.

Volvo recalls certain VNLs and VNMs over steer axle issue

Volvo Trucks North America is recalling certain VNL and VNM trucks because of a steering axle issue, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, several hundred 2016 Volvo VNL and VNM trucks equipped with certain Dana Spicer D-Series and E-Series steer axles are being recalled. The castellated nut on the steer axles may not be properly torqued, allowing the tie rod to loosen, NHTSA recall documents reveal.

The tie rod could potentially disconnect from the steering knuckle if loosened. This could lead to a complete loss of steering. Worst case scenario, the steering axle issue can increase the risk of a crash.

Owners affected by the recall will be notified by Volvo, whose dealers will inspect the torque of the castellated nut and tie rod. Dealers will replace the knuckle and tie rod end assembly for free if it cannot be sufficiently torqued during inspection.

For more information, contact Volvo’s customer service at 800-528-6586 with recall number RVXX1702. The NHTSA recall number is 17V-536.

This is not the first time Greensboro, N.C.-based Volvo has recalled trucks over steering problems. Volvo had to recall nearly 16,000 trucks in the U.S. in March 2016 after it discovered VNL, VNM and VNX trucks may have been manufactured without a roll pin on the steering shafts. With this problem, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had to step in and place any affected vehicle that was not fixed out of service if driven on the roads.

In July 2016, certain 2013 VNL and VNM trucks with Meritor FF967 nondrive front steer axles were recalled. Those axles may have been incorrectly heat treated.

Transport jobs up in September, down across all industries first time since 2010

Despite the first monthly job loss across all industries in seven years because of devastating hurricanes, transportation jobs overall scored an eighth consecutive month of job gains in September. The transport sector netted 21,800 jobs to the economy. Trucking jobs were down a smidge after a significant decrease in August.

So far, the trucking subsector for 2017 has a net gain of 11,500 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of 100 jobs in September after the industry lost 1,600 in August and gained 400 in July. September’s decrease was the sixth month of job losses. However, large gains in February and March puts trucking jobs in the black for the year so far. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. Last January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011, when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

Transit/ground passenger transportation experienced the largest increase with 9,400 more jobs, followed by warehousing and storage at 4,800. Pipeline and rail transportation experienced the largest loss, with 400 fewer jobs each, trailed by trucking, with 100 jobs lost. Six of 10 subsectors experienced gains, while scenic/sightseeing transportation remained unchanged from the previous month.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $24.03 for September – a 6-cent increase from August and up 62 cents from September 2016. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 8 cents to $21.50 from the previous month and a 47-cent increase year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.55, 12 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.9 percent, or 74 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations lowered significantly to 4.5 percent compared with 5.9 percent last September and down from 5.3 percent in August. The overall unemployment rate for the country declined to 4.2 percent from 4.4 percent the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed was essentially unchanged at 1.7 million, accounting for one-quarter of the unemployed.

DAT Solutions: Spot rates on MembersEdge streak higher

The week ending Sept. 30 marks the end of a quarter, when shippers are pushing to move freight out the door before closing their financial statements.

Combine that with 3.2 percent less capacity and 5.4 percent more available loads on DAT MembersEdge and you can see why load-to-truck ratios for van freight is in uncharted territory and all three equipment types are higher:

  • Van: 7.0 available loads per truck, up 10 percent
  • Flatbed: 50.2 loads per truck, up 16 percent
  • Refrigerated: 12.4 loads per truck, up 2 percent

Spot rates simmering: National average spot TL rates continue to hit two-year highs:

  • Van: $1.97/mile, up 3 cents compared to the previous week. That’s 19 cents higher compared to the same period in August and 35 cents higher year over year
  • Flatbed: $2.27/mile, up 2 cents (up 8 cents month-over-month)
  • Reefer: $2.23/mile, up 1 cent (up 15 cents month-over-month)

Ripple effects: The spot van rate rose for the fifth straight week. Rates and volumes are coming back down to normal after the storms in the Southeast, but supply chains throughout the rest of the country are still feeling the ripple effects.

Monsters of the midway: Two markets, Columbus and Chicago, are key distribution points for the Midwest and Northeast. But volume and rates to Southeast markets picked up because of strong seasonal demand and supply chain disruptions following Hurricanes Irma and Harvey:

  • Columbus-Allentown, Pa., surged 50 cents to an average of $3.86/mile
  • Columbus-Memphis climbed 37 cents to $2.28/mile
  • Chicago-Denver added 38 cents at $3.05/mile
  • Chicago-Buffalo was up 37 cents to $3.27/mile

Chicago-Dallas rose 18 cents to $2.45/mile

Reefers rise: Reefer load posts increased 1 percent and truck posts declined 1 percent last week. The 12.4 loads per truck ratio is the highest in years.

Flatbeds moving: Likewise, flatbed freight has begun to move in larger volumes to support rebuilding efforts in Florida and the Gulf Coast. Last week flatbed load posts increased 7 percent and truck posts declined 8 percent, which caused the load-to-truck ratio to rise to 50.2 loads per truck, the highest in recent memory.

Tri-haul of the week
Van loads coming out of Seattle often pay backhaul rates but pricing has gotten better in recent weeks. One lane that still does not pay well is the one from Seattle-Stockton (just $1.43/mile last week). If you need to get from Seattle back to Stockton, though, you can make more money if you create a tri-haul that takes advantage of one of those higher-priced lanes.

Vans got paid an average of $2.45/mile last week from Stockton-Seattle. Instead of hauling cheap freight back to California, grab a load from Seattle-Reno instead. That lane paid an average of $2.49/mile last week. From there, it’s a relatively short haul from Reno-Stockton, for about $2.95. The extra stop adds about 130 miles, not including deadhead, but it can boost your revenue by more than $1,200. That gives you an average of $2.52 per loaded mile for the tri-haul, instead of $1.94 for the roundtrip.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at dat.com/industry-trends/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.

Trucking still leads in surging transport of cross-border freight

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in July 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 third consecutive month.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by nearly 11 percent compared with June, when freight was up 1.5 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 July 2016, freight was up 6.5 percent. This marks the ninth consecutive month of year-to-year increases. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

July’s rise was only the fifth largest year-to-year increase this year, ahead of February (2.9 percent increase) and April (0.8 percent increase). In March, the index reached more than $100 billion for the first time since October 2014.

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 $56 billion of the $89.2 billion of imports and exports in July. Rail came in second with more than $13 billion.

Freight totaled $89.175 billion, down nearly $11 billion from the previous month but an increase of more than $5 billion from July 2016.

Pipeline freight accounted for the largest increase at 24 percent after an increase of 26.3 percent in June. Trucks accounted for a modest increase at 4 percent. In June, truck freight experienced a similar modest increase of 4.4 percent.
 
Nearly 58 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at nearly 16 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by more than 7 percent compared with July 2016. Of the $44.4 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway to own majority stake of Pilot Flying J

Pilot Flying J has just inked a deal for a dramatic shift of ownership in the coming years. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway will acquire nearly 40 percent of PFJ stake. In 2023, Berkshire will own a majority stake, transferring power from the hands of the Haslam family.

According to a news release, Berkshire’s initial minority investment of 38.6 percent will allow the Haslams to continue to own a majority 50.1 percent of PFJ, with Jimmy Haslam remaining chief executive officer. Management team, president and headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., also will remain.

The Haslams’ 50.1 percent ownership and FJ Management’s 11.3 percent will stay intact until 2023. Berkshire will acquire an additional 41.4 percent in 2023, giving Buffett’s holding company an 80 percent majority stake. After 2023, the Haslams will maintain 20 percent ownership and remain involved with PFJ.

“Given the impeccable reputation of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, and our shared vision and values, we decided this was an ideal opportunity,” Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “As a family business that has evolved and prospered over the last six decades, we knew that any potential partner would need to share our commitment and have a proven track record as a long-term investor.”

Pilot Flying J is the largest operator of travel centers in North America with more than 750 locations in 43 states and six Canadian provinces, according to its website. The company employs more than 26,000 people.

James A. "Jim" Haslam II opened the first Pilot on Nov. 20, 1958, in Gate City, Va. Within 10 years, Pilot had 21 locations in the Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia region. James A. "Jimmy" Haslam III joined Pilot’s board in 1975 at the age of 20. Jimmy Haslam would be named CEO in 1996 after the company grew to nearly 150 locations with more than 5,000 employees. Pilot Travel Centers and Flying J merged in 2010, creating Pilot Travel Centers LLC, which known as Pilot Flying J.

Buffett has been widely known for acquiring family-owned businesses. Berkshire has a reputation of keeping business as usual while maintaining a long-term investment, rather than other investment models that include making changes and selling at a profit.

In a letter to investors, Buffett mentioned family-owned businesses that plan to sell have two option: sell to a competitor or sell to a “Wall Street buyer.” Buffet informed investors of a third option that Berkshire offers:

“Berkshire offers a third choice to the business owner who wishes to sell: a permanent home, in which the company’s people and culture will be retained (though, occasionally, management changes will be needed). Beyond that, any business we acquire dramatically increases its financial strength and ability to grow. Its days of dealing with banks and Wall Street analysts are also forever ended.”

Berkshire has ownership with BNSF Railway, Duracell, Fruit of the Loom, Geico, Helzberg Diamonds, Justin Brands, Kraft Heinz, Nebraska Furniture Mart and dozens of other companies. In 2016, Berkshire had total assets valued at more than $600 billion with a net income of more than $24 billion.

DAT Solutions: Hot states get hotter

Just look at that Hot States map from last week.

The deeper the red, the higher the load-to-truck ratio for van freight. Spot truckload freight volumes on DAT MembersEdge hit an all-time high on the top 100 van lanes during the week ending Sept. 23. Rates rose on 66 of those lanes and the national average van rate of $1.94/mile is 16 cents higher than it was for the month of August.

More loads than trucks: Including van, reefer, and flatbed freight, the number of available loads rose 4 percent and truck posts increased 5 percent compared to the previous week. Yet load-to-truck ratios stayed high:

  • Vans: 6.4 available loads per truck, down 3 percent
  • Flatbeds: 43.2 loads per truck, up 5 percent
  • Reefers: 12.2 loads per truck, up 3 percent

Rates up: National average spot TL rates gained again, setting new two-year highs:

  • Vans: $1.94/mile, up 1 cent
  • Flatbeds: $2.25/mile, up 1 cent 
  • Reefers: $2.18/mile, up 3 cents

Van markets solid: Nationally, van load posts increased 4 percent. Volume soared 52 percent out of Atlanta because of emergency freight headed to Florida and pent-up demand from delayed shipments caused by Hurricane Irma. Volumes also rose significantly in Charlotte.

Florida settling down: Despite higher demand, average outbound van rates declined in Charlotte and Atlanta, especially for freight headed into Florida:

  • Charlotte-Lakeland fell 24 cents but was still high at $3.08/mile
  • Same thing with Atlanta-Lakeland, down 22 cents to $3.43/mile

Texas, too: Rates out of Texas markets were down, but outbound averages in both Dallas ($1.78/mile) and Houston ($1.72/mile) were higher than before Hurricane Harvey hit almost five weeks ago.

Strong reefer, flatbed volumes: The number of reefer load posts increased 6 percent and truck posts added 3 percent. In the flatbed segment, load posts increased 4 percent and truck posts slipped 1 percent.

Buffalo wings: Every major van market got a boost to outbound rates in September, but some of the most dramatic increases were out of Buffalo. In just one week:

  • Buffalo-Chicago rose 35 cents to an average of $1.97/mile
  • Buffalo-Charlotte climbed 34 cents to $2.44/mile
  • Buffalo-Columbus was up 31 cents to $2.21/mile
  • Buffalo-Allentown added 27 cents at $2.37/mile

Tri-haul of the Week
Higher prices out of Buffalo create opportunities for revenue-boosting triangular routes. Say you’re taking advantage of the high rates for van loads going from Columbus-Philadelphia. Add a stop to Buffalo on the way back to take advantage of those rates from Buffalo-Columbus.

Columbus-Philly averaged a whopping $3.65/mile last week while the return averaged $1.67, a nice roundtrip if you can do it in two days. If not, take that load from Columbus-Philadelphia, head from Philadelphia-Buffalo ($2.71/mile), and go Buffalo-Columbus ($3.39/mile). Compared to the straight roundtrip, this tri-haul adds about 250 miles (not counting deadhead) and nearly $1,400 in revenue. You’ll make almost $3,900 on the three-day trip, 51 percent higher than the original roundtrip revenue of $2,500.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at dat.com/industry-trends/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 member wins Minimizer contest

OOIDA Member Mike Atwell can no longer say he’s never won anything. The owner-operator from Iowa, La., recently won Minimizer's Comfort Package giveaway on the company's Facebook page.

As part of Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Minimizer gave away a Long Haul Series Seat, Long Haul Series Mattress, and set of Custom Molded Floor Mats, a package valued at over $3,000.

Shell Rotella rolls out one-size-fits-all oil for trucks, passenger vehicles

For years using an oil formulated for your heavy-duty truck in your personal cars wasn’t the best idea. But those days have ended with the introduction of Shell Rotella T6 5W-30 MV.

The new oil was introduced by Jason Brown, Shell Rotella technical manager of heavy-duty engine oil on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at a media event in Goleta, Calif.

Brown explained that normal heavy-duty engine oils and passenger car motor oils are relatively the same. They have the same base oil and the same viscosity modifiers. Performance additives are where they begin to vary widely.

In the trek to develop a one-size-fits-all oil, Shell’s development team had to acknowledge part of the challenge has been the oil weight differences between the two vehicles. The average heavy-duty engine oil used in trucks is 15W-40 and passenger cars is 5W-40.

Part of that trend had to do with options for heavy-duty trucks and prevailing misconceptions. However, with the evolution of lower viscosity heavy-duty engine oils and a push toward lower viscosity oils with equivalent and even better engine protection, those hurdles began to fall.

Enter the Environmental Protection Agency’s new greenhouse gas regulations, known as GHG I, in the industry. Engine makers were required to lower emissions even further, while also increasing fuel mileage. That meant everything, including the oil, would need to evolve. Inevitably, lower viscosity oils were going to be part of the solution.

The American Petroleum Institute established a new category of engine oils, and the oil makers went to work to meet the standards. Because of the unique demands of older engines and engines of the future, a split category was established. That resulted in two new types of engine oils, CK-4 and FA-4. Basically CK-4 oils are backward compatible with all trucks on the road, and FA-4 is designed for new engines going forward.

Shell rolled out its CK-4 Rotella T6 5W-30 in December 2016 as part of the new lineup of engine oils. In addition to meeting the new standards for heavy-duty engines, it also cracked the door further open to an oil that could be used in passenger cars.

A second significant hurdle that oil makers faced was the amount of phosphorus allowed in the different oils. Heavy-duty engine oils were allowed 1,200 parts per million while passenger car oils only allowed 800 parts per million.

Before December 2016, heavy-duty engine oils also could license under the American Petroleum Institute standards for passenger cars with a waiver. That allowed them to keep the higher phosphorus content in the passenger car oil.

While running a heavy-duty engine oil in your passenger car engines would not cause an immediate catastrophic engine failure, it posed a long-term threat to catalytic converters. The higher phosphorus content could eventually poison the catalytic converter over time, leading to an expensive replacement.

When the new API standard went into effect in December 2016, that waiver was eliminated for XW-30 oils. That meant if manufacturers of a heavy-duty engine oil, say Shell’s 5W-30, wanted it to be licensed for passenger cars as well, it would have to drop that phosphorus level to 800 parts per million.

To reduce the levels, Shell engineers turned to the final component of engine oils – the additives. The previous requirements and needs had the formulation of additives different for diesel and gasoline engine oils. The engineers were able to unlock the matrix of additives to fit the unique needs of the different engines with one oil – the Rotella T6 5W-30 MV.

That means truckers opting for the lighter weight Rotella T6 5W-30 for fuel economy will no longer be forced to buy a second passenger car-specific oil for their personal vehicles.

The new T6 5W-30 MV (multivehicle) is expected to be available starting in October at retailers such as NAPA, O’Reilly’s and Wal-Mart.

St. Christopher Fund vaccine program begins

The St. Christopher Truckers Fund is continuing its vaccine voucher program for the 2017-18 season.

As of Oct. 1, free flu shots will be available for truckers. The program lasts through April 30. Vouchers for free pneumonia and shingles vaccines are also available as of Oct. 1 and will continue through Sept. 20, 2018.

Drivers can get their vouchers from the St. Christopher Fund website or from OOIDA’s Jon Osburn on the Association’s tour truck, The Spirit. Drivers will have a choice of Kroger, the Little Clinic, Walgreens and CVS to redeem the vouchers for a free vaccine. However, each location has a separate voucher, so the drivers need to plan on a location before printing the vouchers. Select locations will accept the vouchers electronically. That information will be on the St. Christopher Fund website at truckersfund.org.

The vouchers are solely for semitrailer drivers who hold a valid CDL. Licenses will be checked at each location before the vaccines are given. If a driver has insurance, they are asked to provide that information, as often the vaccines are fully covered through insurance, especially for the flu vaccine.

Love’s Travel Stops acquires Speedco truck lube and tires service

Love’s Travel Stops has recently acquired Speedco from Bridgestone Americas, according to a news release. Speedco is a national network of service locations that provides quick lube and inspection services to the trucking industry.

Pending regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, the acquisition will add 52 trucking services and lube locations to Love’s network. When all is said and done, Oklahoma City-based Love’s will have 323 tire service and lube facilities.

According to its website, Nashville, Tenn.-based Speedco has locations all across the map, spanning from Aurora, Ore., to Harrisburg, Pa. Services offered include tires, lube, oil analysis, battery, federal annual inspections, repairs, trailer lighting and trailer patching.

Speedco and Love’s will operate as separate companies as the two get closer to signing a closure deal. Until then, Speedco will conduct business as usual. Currently, Speedco locations are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekends.

For locations, visit Speedco.com. More information about Love’s locations can be found at Loves.com.

DAT Solutions: Post-hurricane, MembersEdge delivers opportunities to help, work

Flooding in Houston. Another hurricane barreling toward Florida. The Labor Day holiday.

There were lots of reasons for a big drop in load posts on DAT MembersEdge during the week ending Sept. 9. Instead, the number of loads was down just 3 percent at a time when 20 percent is more in line with expectations. There’s freight to move and plenty of folks who would be happy to have truckers haul in the essentials.

Truckload capacity tightened: Truck posts were down 15 percent compared to the previous week. That led to higher van and flatbed load-to-truck ratios:

  • Van L/T ratio: 6.6 (up 17 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 34.4 (up 29 percent)
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 11.3 (down 2 percent)

Rates, diesel prices rise: The national average price rose 4 cents to $2.80/gallon. Higher fuel prices put some pressure on spot rates:

  • Van: $1.93/mile as a national average, up 3 cents compared to the previous week
  • Flatbed: $2.24/mile, up 4 cents
  • Reefer: $2.18/mile, up 8 cents

These rates include a fuel surcharge but not accessorial fees that compensate the carrier for loading, unloading, layovers and detention.

Van volumes stay strong: Nationally, van load posts declined only 3 percent last week while truck posts lost 17 percent. Reefer volumes dropped 10 percent and truck posts declined 8 percent, while flatbed volumes increased 4 percent nationally. Available flatbed capacity fell 20 percent, which is in line with expectations, given the holiday week.

Texas open for business: A lot of volume that was lost in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey started to come back last week. Houston freight levels are at 88 percent of where they were before the storm—a remarkable figure. Dallas volumes also recovered.

Capacity still finding a balance: Trucks have been delivering relief cargo to the region and leaving empty or sticking around to find a load out. More available trucks in a market means that rates are going to fall, and that’s what we’re seeing on outbound loads from Houston and Dallas, in particular.

About those big rate swings: The sharpest rate declines were in Texas, but that’s compared to a week where intrastate lanes hit the highest prices we’ve ever seen. Elsewhere, outbound reefer rates in Atlanta rose 6 cents to an average of $2.46/mile as freight hubs in the Southeast helped to re-stock markets in Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma that are usually served out of Houston. Demand for reefer trucks out of Dallas led to a 19-cent increase to an average of $2.26/mile.

Flatbed trends: Houston is typically the No. 1 market for flatbed freight, but flatbed demand usually lags a couple of weeks to recover after a big weather event. Vans and reefers have been bringing emergency relief into the storm zone, but flatbeds won’t get deployed until it’s time for construction equipment and materials.

The Irma effect: After Harvey, some shippers began to supply markets ordinarily served by Houston from regional hubs in the Southeast, including Atlanta, Charlotte and Memphis. With Irma headed toward Florida, those same distribution centers refocused and moved freight south instead of west. Meanwhile, the Midwest had to supply the Northeast to compensate for the freight that would otherwise arrive from Atlanta. And the Midwestern warehouses were called on to supply Colorado, which is often served by Houston. The pressure intensified even more because of the short workweek.

If you’re taking freight into Florida, remember that it’ll likely be even harder than usual to find loads coming back out. Atlanta and Charlotte are the two major van markets that serve Florida, and outbound rates soared in those markets, but volumes were down. That means the storm threat might have led shippers to cancel or postpone some freight movements instead of expediting them.

Stay safe, and please check the dat.com/blog for updates.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at dat.com/industry-trends/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.

Freightliner salutes Detroit in ‘hardest working city’ program

Freightliner Trucks announced this week that Detroit is the next city to be honored as a Freightliner Trucks Hardest Working Cities award recipient. The program, which launched in 2015, recognizes cities across North America that are fueling economic growth.

The Freightliner Trucks Hardest Working Cities winners are determined by an exhaustive review of about 400 metropolitan census areas across 11 key economic performance indicators, including unemployment rate, infrastructure investment and contribution to total GDP.

Detroit is the fourth city in North America for manufacturing employment. It also is recognized for these top percentile rankings:

  • Top 10 percent of cities for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers and light truck and delivery;
  • Top 10 percent of cities for number of transportation establishments;
  • Top 15 percent of cities for contribution to U.S. GDP; and
  • Top 20 percent of cities for construction employment.

The data review shows a strong correlation between work truck sales and thriving local economies, so as part of this program, Freightliner Trucks will visit work sites around Detroit with pop-up food and gift events to thank workers for their contributions. To date, Freightliner has visited dozens of job sites and thanked hundreds of workers, from contractors shaping landscapes to concrete professionals repairing roadways.

“The city of Detroit is near and dear to Freightliner because of the legendary Detroit engines and drivetrains that power our trucks,” said Allan Haggai, marketing communications manager for Freightliner Vocational Trucks. “In addition, Wolverine Truck Group has been a great partner of ours for many years. We're looking forward to spending time with the people who use our work trucks to power the great things happening in the Motor City.”

Since its inception, the Freightliner Trucks Hardest Working Cities awards program has recognized 10 cities across North America: Dallas; Edmonton, Alberta; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Nashville, Tenn.; New York City, Salt Lake City, Seattle; Toronto; and Des Moines, Iowa.

Freightliner plans to visit Detroit the week of Oct. 9 for job site visits, a customer tour of the Detroit engine plant, and on-site celebration, including a media event scheduled for Oct. 11. To learn more about Freightliner Trucks Hardest Working Cities, visit HardestWorkingCities.com.

Transportation Services Index reaches all-time high in July

The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals July freight moved upward for trucking, pipeline and water freight, enough to move the entire index up to reach a new all-time high.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for July rose 1.4 percent to 128.2. In June, the index fell 0.8 percent, after it reached an all-time high of 127.2 in May.

The July index is 33.3 percent above the low that was set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight made a giant leap to 143 from 139.2, a significant increase of nearly 3 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage increase of just 0.1 percent in July to 138.5 from 138.4 in June. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, the TSI’s upward movement comes amid other positive signals elsewhere in the economy. Employment and personal income both increased, while the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index grew by 0.4 percent, with gains in mining and utilities, according to BTS. The Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers’ Index also showed positive growth.

DAT Solutions: After Harvey, truckers rush to help as TL capacity tightens

The availability of spot truckload freight on DAT MembersEdge increased 2.9 percent while available capacity fell 4.3 percent during the week ending Sept. 2, the first full week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall. National average rates rose compared to the previous week:

  • Van: $1.90/mile, up 12 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.20/mile, up 2 cents
  • Reefer: $2.10/mile, up 3 cents

Rates push higher: These rates include a fuel surcharge but not accessorial fees that compensate the carrier for loading, unloading, layovers and detention, all of which have likely risen significantly for trucks carrying relief supplies. The rearrangement of supply chains, the difficulty of shipping in the flooded region, and a tightening spot market pushed rates higher on 78 of the top 100 van lanes in the country.

Posts increase: Nationally, van load posts increased 4 percent and truck posts declined 5 percent compared to the previous week, to yield a 9 percent increase in the load-to-truck ratio, from 5.2 to 5.6 loads per truck. Reefer load posts increased 11 percent and truck posts declined 4 percent, which resulted in a 16 percent increase in the load-to-truck ratio, to 11.6 loads per truck. Flatbed load posts fell 4 percent while truck posts dipped 4 percent. That caused the load-to-truck ratio to increase one-half percent, to 26.7 loads per truck.

Harvey update: The number of available outbound loads from Houston plunged 72 percent compared to the previous week, when the storm came ashore late on Friday, Aug. 25. Despite the loss of volume, the average outbound spot van rate from Houston increased 20 percent to $2.03/mile.

Houston outbound: Lanes with significant rate changes during the week ending Sept. 2 (average spot rate):

  • Houston to New Orleans: $3.21/mile, up 89 cents. Volume on this lane was down 80 percent.
  • Houston to Dallas: $2.57/mile, up 46 cents. Volume was down 65 percent.
  • Houston to Laredo: $1.76/mile, up 26 cents.
  • Houston to Oklahoma City: $2.19/mile, up 24 cents.

Houston inbound: Lanes with significant rate changes during the same period:

  • Dallas to Houston: $4.00/mile, up $1.60. DAT has never reported anything close to $4/mile on this lane before.
  • Denver to Houston, $1.63/mile, up 59 cents. This is the largest-ever weekly jump on a Denver lane.

FEMA staging: The Federal Emergency Management Agency and other organizations are gathering emergency supplies in warehouses and distribution centers on the outskirts of San Antonio; Dallas; Austin, Texas; Lafayette, La.; and other metro areas, until trucks can enter the storm zone. Many of these emergency relief loads are being handled by freight brokers and 3PLs who are making the loads available on MembersEdge. Rates increased significantly on many lanes heading to those destinations.

Stay safe: Harvey reinforced how truckers are invaluable to relief efforts. With Hurricane Irma threatening Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, please stay safe out there.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/industry-trends/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.

Daseke merges with R&R Trucking

Daseke, the largest owner of flatbed and specialized transportation solutions in North America, announced a merger with R&R Trucking, a leading specialized transporter of defense and commercial arms, ammunitions and explosives cargo.

This marks Addison, Texas-based Daseke Inc.’s fourth company addition since May 1.

R&R Trucking Inc., which was founded in 1988 and based in Joplin, Mo., uses primarily team drivers to move specialty cargo that requires unique training and security clearances.

“With over 3,800 tractors and over 8,200 flatbed and specialized trailers, Daseke is the largest owner of flatbed and specialized equipment in North America, yet accounts for less than 1 percent of the highly fragmented $133 billion in flatbed and specialized freight market,” Daseke President and CEO Don Daseke said in a news release. “We took Daseke public in February of this year to accelerate our vision of building North America’s premier flatbed and specialized transportation company. We continue to attract top-tier companies to join us as we build upon our national scale and further enhance the synergies throughout our unique transportation network.”

Earlier this year, Daseke acquired Schilli Cos., Remington, Ind.; Big Freight Systems, Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Steelman Cos., Springfield, Mo.

“Our highly-credentialed expert team drivers are proud to serve our country,” R&R President and CEO Phil Nelson said in a news release. “I knew this was going to be one of the best opportunities the company would ever have. We are going to continue to do what we do best, but now we will have all the support and benefits of being a Daseke company, like consolidated purchasing power and collaboration with our top-quality sister companies.”

Trucking suffers largest monthly job loss in nearly a year

Transportation jobs overall scored a seventh consecutive month of job gains in August. The transport sector netted 1,900 jobs to the economy. Trucking jobs were down significantly after a short-lived increase in July.

So far, the trucking subsector for 2017 has a net gain of 11,600 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of 1,600 jobs in August after the industry gained 400 in July and lost another 1,400 in June. August’s job loss was the largest decrease since September 2016, when the trucking subsector decreased by 3,600 jobs. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. Last January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011, when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

Couriers and messengers experienced the largest increase for the second consecutive month with 3,900 more jobs, followed by “support activities for transportation” at 2,100. Transit/ground passenger transportation experienced the largest loss, with 3,200 fewer jobs, trailed by trucking, with 1,600 jobs lost. Only four of 10 subsectors experienced gains, making couriers/messengers largely responsible for the transportation sector’s net increase.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.98 for August – a 5-cent increase from July and up 62 cents from August 2016. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 8 cents to $21.41 from the previous month and a 50-cent increase year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.39, 3 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent, or 65 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations lowered significantly to 5.3 percent compared with 7.1 percent last August and down from 6.2 percent in July. The overall unemployment rate for the country experienced an uptick to 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed moved down, to 1.7 million, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the unemployed.

Grote’s LED thin-strip LED lighting sure to change the game

Perhaps one of the coolest innovations in LED lighting was shown to the press corps a few years ago at the Mid-America Trucking Show. Grote Industries trotted out these thin strips of plastic with LED lights in them. We were blown away. The uses, we speculated, were virtually unlimited.

Without a drumroll, because this is online news, Grote has rolled out its LED strip lighting.

LED strip lights are by no means new. However, with limited options and a less-than-rugged design, traditional LED lighting strips have been more play-toy for accent lighting than for the often harsh truck and trailer setting. Fortunately, advances in LED technology are now providing truck owners with better options.

New thin-film LED technology not only produces brighter illumination, but does so using paper-thin strips that can be easily installed into the existing lighting power system or a supplied battery box.

As a result, the number of applications and locations for LED task lighting is skyrocketing. To meet the demand, companies such as Grote Industries are releasing new advanced LED light strip options.

Designed specifically for trucks, the XTL is designed to meet or exceed established industry standards. This includes being waterproof, rather than just rain-resistant, and being able to withstand pressure washing with hot water. It also has a patented thin-film technology that is only 0.5 mils thick (equivalent to a piece of paper) in 34-inch strips that produce a very high 475-plus lumens.

The XTL LED light strips also are resistant to 25 of the most common chemicals associated with vehicles in the event of exposure or spills, including motor oil, diesel fuel, battery acid, gasoline, and brake fluid.

The strips have been installed in sleeping compartments for added lighting and can be attached to a dimmer switch to increase or decrease the lighting needed.

XTL lights are extremely durable and could be hung from the walls or ceiling of a trailer to greatly increase productivity.

To ease installation the lights come with pre-cut, double-sided tape. Simply peel back the protective cover and press the LED strips into place. Some LED strip lights also come with a battery option and a wiring harness to tap directly into the truck’s power system.

For more information about XTL LED Strip Lights, contact Grote at 2600 Lanier Drive, Madison, IN 47250; phone: 800-628-0809; email XTL@Grote.com; or online at Grote.com.

DAT Solutions: August spot market stays hot

The number of available loads on DAT MembersEdge slipped 2 percent during the week ending Aug. 19 but there’s still a lot of freight to move out there.

The number of truck posts was unchanged as demand for capacity remained solid and prices stayed unseasonably high despite losing a penny in each equipment category compared to the previous week:

  • Van: $1.78/mile
  • Flatbed: $2.18/mile
  • Reefer: $2.08/mile

Load-to-truck ratios declined for vans and flatbeds but the reefer ratio rose. The van load/truck ratio was 4.8; flatbeds 28; and reefers 9. All were higher than the July average.

Diesel holds: The national average on-highway diesel prices fell two-tenths of a penny but still rounds up to $2.60/gallon.

Van posts dip: Nationally, van load posts fell 1 percent and truck posts increased 1 percent, a very small change in an otherwise strong market.

Flats edge down: Flatbed load posts declined 7 percent while truck posts dipped 1 percent. That caused the load-to-truck ratio to drop to 27.6 loads per truck—still a high load-to-truck ratio for this time of year.

Reefer trends: Refrigerated load posts increased 6.5 percent last week while truck posts slipped 0.5 percent. The Midwest is heating up for reefers, which is a normal trend for this time of year. More loads are moving out of the Grand Rapids market, and outbound rates rose in Green Bay and Chicago. More loads left Sacramento last week but it’s still not a high-volume market at this point in the summer.

MembersEdge tri-haul of the week:

You can average $1.90 per loaded mile for the round trip from Houston-Oklahoma City and back, which is solid. If you can complete the 900-mile round trip in two days, that’s $1,700 and a pretty good run.

However, if you get held up and you aren’t going to get all the way home on Day Two, you can make more money by turning this round trip into a tri-haul.

From Oklahoma City, take a load to Shreveport. That’s about 400 miles, and it paid an average of $2.01/mile last week. A second load from Shreveport-Houston is paying $2.38/mile for just under 250 miles.

By the time you get back to Houston, you’ll have driven about 200 more loaded miles and added $560 in revenue, so your total trip will be under 1,100 miles for more than $2,250, or an average of $2.08/mile.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

Another positive month for cross-border freight in June

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in June 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.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 1.5 percent compared with May when freight was up nearly 8 percent from the previous month. March experienced 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 June 2016, freight was up nearly 8 percent. This marks the eighth consecutive month of year-to-year increases. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

June’s rise was the third largest year-to-year increase this year, trailing May and March. In March, the index reached more than $100 billion for the first time since October 2014.

August, November and December were the only months to experience 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 $99.8 billion of imports and exports in June. Rail came in second with more than $15 billion.

Freight totaled $99.764 billion, up more than $1.5 billion from the previous month and an increase of more than $7 billion from June 2016.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 26.3 percent after an increase of 60.3 percent in May. Trucks experienced a modest increase at 4.4 percent. In May, truck freight experienced the smallest increase at 5 percent.
 
More than 58 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at more than 16 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by more than 9 percent compared with June 2016. Of the $48.7 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.

Next month’s North American Commercial Vehicle Show sells out exhibit space

Show managers of the North American Commercial Vehicle Show 2017 announced today that the event has officially sold out its 365,000 square feet of net exhibition space. The inaugural commercial vehicle industry trade show next month in Atlanta is focused on truck and trailer manufacturers and commercial vehicle parts and components suppliers.

A total of 400 exhibitors will demonstrate their latest products to the trucking industry’s leaders, fleet owners and managers at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga. from Monday, Sept. 25, to Thursday, Sept. 28.

Forty-two percent of the show’s floor space will be occupied by companies headquartered outside of the United States. Exhibitors from around the world that have booked exhibition space include companies from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey.

According to this week’s press announcement, an impressive lineup of companies that represent the commercial vehicle OEM spectrum are exhibiting at the NACV Show 2017. Major truck manufacturers including Freightliner, Fuso, Hino Trucks, International, Isuzu, Mack, MHC Kenworth, Peterbilt of Atlanta, Volvo and Western Star will showcase the latest trucks.

Leading trailer manufacturers including Carrier Transicold, Cross Country Manufacturing, Dorsey Trailer, East Manufacturing Corp., Great Dane, Hyundai Translead, MAC Trailer Manufacturing, Manac Trailers, Meritor, Stoughton Trailers, Trail King, Trout River Industries Inc., Utility, Vanguard National Trailer Corp., Wabash National Corporation and Wilson Trailer Co. are exhibiting.

Major tire manufacturers including CMA/Double Coin Tires, Continental Corp., Cooper Tire and Rubber Co., Double Star Tires, Falken Tire Corp., Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Hankook Tire America Cor. and Michelin North America plan to showcase their latest products, as will manufacturers of finished lubricants, including Chevron Lubricants, Tenneco and Schaeffer’s Specialized Lubricants.

Major commercial vehicle parts and components suppliers are expected to unveil their latest technologies, including Accuride Corp., Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products – Arconic, Alliance Truck Parts, Allison Transmission, Aperia Technologies, Bee Line Co., Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Bharat Forge America, BorgWarner Inc., Bosch, ConMet, Cummins Inc., Dana Inc., Eaton, Enow, FlowBelow Aero, FUWA/AXN Heavy Duty, Graco, Hendrickson, Jake Brake, Kinedyne LLC, Magna, Mahle Industries Inc., Meritor, Mitchell1, National Fleet Products, Noregon Systems Inc., SAF-Holland, Stoneridge Inc. and Wabco.

Apex Capital giving away money at GATS

Are you going to the Great American Truck Show on Aug. 24-26 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention center in Dallas? What if someone gave you money to go? Apex Capital has recently announced its Get Paid Today cash giveaway during this year’s GATS.

Apex, a freight factoring service company, will hand over a total of $1,500 to GATS attendees who enter into the Get Paid Today giveaway. Attendees can enter by picking up a free Get Paid Today T-shirt at booth 2041. Wear the shirt during the show and someone on Apex’s Blue Cash Crew may spot you and give you some money.

The Blue Cash Crew will be searching the convention center for those wearing the shirt. Increase the odds of being spotted by using the #apexcash hashtag on social media, including Instagram and Facebook.

This will be Apex’s second cash giveaway. Apex, at booth No. 2041, will be joined by their full-service programs, including the Apex Startup Program, free load board NextLOAD.com, and fuel card provider TCS.

Women in Trucking seeks Influential Woman in Trucking nominations

The Women in Trucking Association is seeking nominations for its 2017 Influential Woman in Trucking award. Nominations are due by Friday, Sept. 1.

Sponsored by Freightliner Trucks, one woman will win the Influential Woman in Trucking award. However, finalists will be invited to participate on a panel discussion regarding female leaders in the industry at the Accelerate! Conference and Expo on Nov. 6-8 in Kansas City, Mo.

The nominator needs to provide a response to the following three items (no more than 250 words per item):

  1. Briefly describe this nominee’s role in the trucking industry.
  2. Describe how your nominee has been a role model for women in the trucking industry.
  3. Please tell us why your nominee should be selected as the 2017 Influential Woman in Trucking.

The winner will be highlighted in the following ways:

  • Recognized at the 2017 Accelerate! Conference and Expo; 
  • Feature article in the Redefining the Road magazine; 
  • Featured in news releases and other media initiatives; and
  • Featured in social media channels that are followed by thousands of business influencers and drivers in the industry.

To fill out a nomination form, click here.

North Dakota offers Drivewyze weigh station bypass system

Drivewyze, a service allowing truckers to bypass weigh stations, is now available in North Dakota, according to a press release.

The Drivewyze PreClear system will be available at 21 locations: eight mobile stations and 13 approaches to seven fixed weigh stations. Drivewyze is offered in partnership with the North Dakota Department of Transportation and North Dakota Highway Patrol.

North Dakota’s Drivewyze additions closes a 400-mile gap between Moorehead, Minn., and Wibaux, Mont.

“Drivers traveling from Chicago to Idaho now have bypass opportunities in all six states over a 2,000-mile stretch,” said Brian Heath, president and CEO of Drivewyze.

According to Drivewyze PreClear Analytics, nearly a third of the 983 encounters company trucks had with weigh stations in the United States in the month of July occurred in North Dakota. While each delay lasts on average only a few minutes, they all add up over the course of a day.

Below is a complete listing of the new sites arranged by highway:

  • U.S. Highway 2 Williston Panger – northbound and southbound;
  • North Dakota Route 2Norwich Rest Area – eastbound and westbound;
  • U.S. Route 12Bowman – eastbound and westbound;
  • U.S. Interstate 29 Buxton – northbound and southbound; Mooretown – northbound and southbound;
  • U.S. Highway 81 Joliette – eastbound and westbound;
  • U.S. Highway 85 Bowman – northbound;
  • U.S. Interstate 94 Apple Creek Rest Area – eastbound and westbound; 
  • Beach – eastbound; West Fargo – westbound;
  • U.S. Highway 281 Ellendale – northbound and southbound. 

To learn more about Drivewyze, visit Drivewyze.com.

Paccar recalls thousands of trucks over faulty electrical systems

Paccar is recalling certain Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks after an issue with the electrical system was discovered, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Nearly 6,000 trucks are affected by the recall.

More specifically, certain Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks model 2013-2017 are affected. The vehicles have a spotlight that may short-circuit internally, according to a NHTSA recall acknowledgment. The short circuit may increase the risk of a fire at the cab fuse block.

Among the affected trucks:

  • 2013-2017 Kenworth T680
  • 2013-2017 Kenworth T880
  • 2013-2016 Peterbilt 567
  • 2013-2016 Peterbilt 579

Owners of affected trucks will be notified by Paccar. Dealers will change the polyfuse switch in the spotlight circuit to a standard fuse for free. Recalls will start on Aug. 31.

For more information, call Paccar customer service at 940-591-4220. Paccar’s number for this recall is 17KWC and 717-B.

DAT Solutions: Hot start to August on DAT MembersEdge

August had a stronger start than any month in more than a year and a half as the abundance of freight during the last week of July on DAT MembersEdge carried over into the week ending Aug. 5.

The number of posted loads held firm, and available capacity fell 2.1 percent. Notably, there were increases in manufacturing and exports in July, both of which contribute to freight volume. So there may be more good news to come.

Ratios and rates head up: The van ratio climbed to 5.5, up from 5.2. The flatbed ratio of 34 is high for this time of year, and the reefer ratio of 9.6 is ahead of the July average (8.8). National average rates have not retreated much from their June peaks:

  • Van: $1.82/mile, up 3 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.22/mile, up 3 cents (higher than the national average for the months of June and July)
  • Reefer: $2.12/mile, up 4 cents

Van posts up again: It was a good week to find van freight. Load posts edged up 2 percent while truck posts fell 3 percent on MembersEdge.

Back to school: The biggest van rate increases were on lanes heading to retail distribution centers in the Northeast. Buffalo saw the largest average rate gain of any major van market last week, up 11 cents to $1.98/mile. Rates also got a boost on eastbound lanes out of Chicago and Columbus, now above $2.10/mile due to a richer mix of outbound lane choices.

Other van markets: Chicago, $2.15/mile, up 7 cents; Dallas, $1.74/mile, up 2 cents; Los Angeles, $2.12/mile, down 1 cent; and Atlanta, $2.09/mile, down a penny.

Volume, volume, volume: For van load volume, Los Angeles moved up to No. 1, replacing Atlanta, which occupied the second spot. Dallas stayed at No. 3.

Reefers rising: Nationally, reefer load posts increased 4 percent, and truck posts fell 2 percent. The average reefer rate rose 4 cents to $2.12/mile.

Flatbed trends: Flatbed load posts declined 7 percent last week while the number of truck posts rose 2 percent. At $2.22/mile, the national average flatbed rate was 3 cents higher compared to the previous week. Overall, 18 percent more flatbed loads moved last week than the week before and rates are holding up well especially in the Midwest. Rock Island, Ill., averaged $2.75/mile, up 25 cents, while Cleveland hit $2.25/mile, up 17 cents.

Flatbed lanes with gains:

  • Rock Island-Indianapolis, up 70 cents to $3.00/mile
  • Cleveland-Harrisburg, up 39 cents to $3.81/mile
  • Pittsburgh-Grand Rapids, up 49 cents to to $2.95/mile
  • Reno-Los Angeles, up 40 cents to $2.36/mile
  • Houston-Wichita, up 39 cents to $2.95/mile

MembersEdge van tri-haul of the week

Higher van rates on lanes that connect the Midwest to the Northeast create tri-haul opportunities when you take more than one load in that eastward direction. One example is the lane from Columbus-Buffalo. The average eastbound rate was $2.91/mile and it’s been trending up. The rate for the return trip from Buffalo-Columbus is truly average, at $1.83/mile.

Instead of taking a load straight back to Columbus, find a second load from Buffalo-Allentown, which paid $2.89/mile last week. The rate is not great on the Allentown-Columbus leg – only $1.66/mile – but you’ll add 453 loaded miles and another $1,100 or more in revenue at an average rate of $2.40 per loaded mile for the trip. If it works with your schedule and logbook, this could be a good way to round out your week.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

FreightWatch International changes name to SensiGuard

You may have noticed the company SensiGuard pop up on LandLineMag.com and in the eNews emails. Those familiar with FreightWatch already know SensiGuard but may not realize it. FreightWatch International has recently changed its name to SensiGuard Supply Chain Intelligence Center.

Beverly, Mass.-based SensiGuard Supply Chain Intelligence Center, formerly known as FreightWatch, specializes in tracking supply chain information and cargo thefts around the globe. The company publishes quarterly reports in addition to an annual report on cargo theft. The report notes that delays in incident reporting typically cause measurable increases in theft volumes in the weeks following the quarterly reports, and totals from the most recent quarter are expected to rise.

For more information about the company, visit SensiTech.com.

Freight trucking decrease contributes to decline of overall index

The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals June freight moved downward significantly for trucking and water freight, enough to move the entire index down compared with May.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for June fell 0.8 percent to 126.2. In May, the index rose 2 percent, reaching an all-time high of 127.2. The previous record was set in February at 126.4.

The June index is 33.3 percent above the low that was set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight dipped to 139 from 139.4, a decrease of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 4.3 percent in June to 138.5 from 144.1 in May. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, the TSI’s downward movement comes despite positive signals elsewhere in the economy. Positive growth was seen in employment, housing starts and personal income. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose by 0.4 percent in June because of growth in manufacturing and mining. The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing index rose to 57.8, indicating accelerating growth.

July experiences slight increase in trucking employment

Transportation jobs overall scored a sixth consecutive month of job gains in July, albeit a meager increase. The transport sector netted 900 jobs to the economy. Trucking jobs were up for the first time following a three-month streak of decreases.

So far, the trucking subsector for 2017 has a net gain of 13,200 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 400 jobs in July after the industry lost 1,400 in June and 100 in May. July’s job gain was the first since March, when the trucking subsector increased by 4,700 jobs. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. Last January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011, when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

Couriers and messengers experienced the largest increase with 3,200 more jobs, followed by “support activities for transportation” at 1,700. Warehousing and storage experienced the largest loss with 2,200 fewer jobs, trailed transit/ground passenger transportation with 1,600 jobs lost. Only four of 10 subsectors experienced gains, making couriers/messengers largely responsible for the transportation sector’s net increase.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.88 for July – a 2-cent increase from June and up 59 cents from July 2016. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced a decrease of 7 cents to $21.22 from the previous month and a 29-cent increase year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.36, 9 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent, or 65 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations lowered to 6.2 percent compared with 7.5 percent last July but up from 5.7 percent in June. The overall unemployment rate for the country slightly decreased to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed moved up, to 1.8 million, accounting for more than one-quarter of the unemployed.

Paccar launches redesigned used trucks website

Paccar has recently launched a redesigned used truck website, according to a news release.

The redesigned website allows visitors to search by make, model, truck components and miles. Visitors can save their search parameters and individual truck specs to their profiles.

When additional truck inventory is received, the trucks will appear immediately in the users’ saved searches. The site offers a payment calculation tool and product walk-around videos showing the features and advantages of the latest Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks.

There are three Paccar used truck centers: Minooka, Ill.; Salt Lake City; and Spartanburg, N.C. Before going to one of these locations, interested buyers can interact with the Paccar Financial sales team online for price quotes, offer submissions or to schedule a visit.

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association members can receive a $1,000 rebate on qualifying Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks. Trucks must be purchased before Dec. 31 with a limit of three trucks per year.

Check out the new website at PaccarUsedTrucks.com.

Daimler issues two separate recalls for Freightliner and Western Start trucks

Daimler Trucks North America has issued a safety recall for certain Freightliner and Western Star trucks, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Recalls deal with tow hooks and battery cables.

The first recall affects certain 2018 Freightliner and Western Star trucks equipped with tow hooks used for recovery purposes. Tow hooks may fail during use without warning, leading to a sudden release of the vehicle.

Affected trucks include:

  • 2018 Freightliner 114SD
  • 2018 Freightliner 122SD
  • 2018 Freightliner Cascadia
  • 2018 Freightliner M2 Business Class
  • 2018 Western Star 4700
  • 2018 Western Star 5700

Owners will be notified and faulty tow hooks will be replaced for free. The recall is expected to begin on Sept. 14. For more information, call 800-745-8000 with recall number FL-742.

The second recall affects 2014-2017 Freightliner Custom XCR chassis. A battery cable mounting bracket may not have been installed correctly. Consequently, the improperly routed and clipped battery cable can contact the frame rail, possibly causing chafing and short circuiting.

Owners will be notified and dealers will inspect and revise the battery cable mounting bracket and cable routing for free. The recall is expected to begin on Sept. 14. For more information, call 800-745-8000 with recall number FL-741.

Arizona DOT launches system that allows truckers to bypass ports of entry

Truckers driving through ports of entry in Arizona could have the chance to decrease their trip time. The Arizona Department of Transportation has recently announced a new system that will allow qualified trucks to avoid stopping for weight and registration checks.

Called Drivewyze Preclear, credentialed trucks can bypass some of Arizona’s ports of entries with a system that automatically checks the weight and registration. Geofencing technology and sensors on the road will identify weight, credentials and safety status on Drivewyze-registered trucks at Arizona ports of entry from California, Utah and New Mexico.

A cellphone or ELD in the cab will receive instruction when approaching a port of entry. Although Drivewyze will allow truckers to continue through the port, they will not be exempt from random safety checks. Additionally, Drivewyze trucks that clock in overweight or have paperwork issues will be instructed to stop for an inspection.

Drivewyze  is being added at these locations:

  • Interstate 8: Yuma
  • Interstate 10: Ehrenberg near the California line, and San Simon near the New Mexico line
  • Interstate 15: St. George, just north of the Arizona-Utah line
  • Interstate 40: Topock near the California line, and Sanders near the New Mexico line
  • State Route 68 and US 93: Kingman

The new system aims to speed up the process for compliant trucks while clearing up congestion for non-Drivewyze trucks.

“If we pull over every truck, it causes unnecessary delays for drivers and companies that have complied with Arizona’s regulations,” said Tim Lane, director of ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division. “This system will allow us to increase enforcement in the cases where we need to do that.”

Similar technology has been used at the McGuireville rest area in Interstate 17, the Canoa Ranch Rest Area on Interstate 19, and the Sacaton Rest Area on Interstate 10. Sensors and cameras are used at those locations to determine weight, registration, DOT number, fuel tax assessment and safety records.

Arrow Truck Sales donates Volvo truck for Women in Trucking award

In partnership with the Women in Trucking Association, Arrow Truck Sales has recently announced it will donate a 2014 Volvo VNL 670 for WIT’s 2018 Truck Giveaway. Keys to the truck will be awarded to the winner of the Ninth Annual Salute to Women Behind the Wheel ceremony on March 24, 2018.

The 2014 Volvo will be given out during next year’s Mid-America Trucking Show at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. During this year’s MATS, Salute to Women Behind the Wheel honored 169 female professional drivers. The women honored tallied a total of nearly 2,700 years of driving, including six who were recognized for careers of 40 years or more.

“We are thrilled to be able to give a truck to one of our members at our annual Salute to Women Behind the Wheel,” said WIT President and CEO Ellen Voie. “I am especially looking forward to handing over the keys to the Volvo to allow one deserving member the chance of a lifetime, thanks to Arrow Truck Sales and their very generous donation.”

For more information about Salute to Women Behind the Wheel and WIT, including application forms, go to WomenInTrucking.org.

2017 ‘Band Together’ for St. Christopher Fund begins Aug. 1

During the month of August, TA and Petro Stopping Center locations will again participate in the 2017 Band Together for St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund.

This year’s campaign kicks off on Tuesday, Aug. 1. As in past years, those making $1 donations will receive a commemorative wristband and those making $5 donations will receive an SCF keychain.

All donations go directly to SCF. Donations help truck drivers and their families who have financial needs due to medical problems.

TravelCenters of America, operator of the TA and Petro Stopping Centers travel center brands, will be hosting the eighth annual “Band Together” fundraiser. The monthlong campaign will run at participating TA and Petro locations through Aug. 31. During the event, guests and employees at TA and Petro Stopping Centers will be invited to make contributions. Contributions may be made at participating TA and Petro restaurants, travel stores, fuel buildings and truck service facilities.

TravelCenters has been supporting drivers through the SCF since 2010. The TA and Petro annual campaign marks the largest single contribution the SCF receives each year. As of July 2017, the SCF has helped more than 1,900 truck drivers and their families with monthly bills, including utilities and mortgages.

Two more nationally known truck stop chains are joining the effort, as Coffee Cup Fuel Stops and Sapp Brothers’ locations will also “band together.”

Professional drivers who are suffering from financial hardships due to medical problems can apply to the SCF for help. Assistance may be in the form of direct payment for mortgage/rent, utilities, vehicle payments, insurance, prescriptions and/or some medical procedures. For more information, visit TruckersFund.org or call 865-202-9428.

Trelp, the Waze of trucker apps, helps truckers find all variations of parking

Technology has been viewed as a possible solution to the truck parking problem plaguing the nation. A recently launched app, Trelp, hopes to be part of that solution.

Although there are currently truck parking apps out on the market already, Trelp hopes to stand out from the others by allowing truckers to flag parking spots in real time using peer-to-peer input.

If Trelp sounds familiar, it is probably because the app was introduced last year during a trial period to figure out what truckers need in an app. Over the past several months, Trelp has refined its platform and just recently launched the newest version available to everyone for free.

According to Jason’s Law survey results, there are approximately 300,000 available truck parking spots in the United States. Those stats account for private truck stops and public rest areas. Trelp plans on having 3 million parking spots on the app by 2019.

How is this possible?

A spokesperson for Trelp told Land Line that the user-driven information, much like the Waze map app, will include much more than truck stops and rest areas. Truckers will be allowed to flag less traditional parking spots.

Know of a road where trucking parking on the side is allowed? Let Trelp users know.

Know of a shopping center parking lot that allows truck parking? Let Trelp users know.

Know of an industrial area where it is OK to park your truck? Go on Trelp and share that info.

Another feature allows truckers to give each other “last mile directions.” Traditional navigation and parking apps only take you to the physical address of a shipper or receiver, not necessarily the specific locations trucks need to go to load or unload. Last mile directions shared by truckers will let Trelp users know exactly where to go, saving time and fuel.

Truckers can also leave comments on the shipper/receiver. Trelp users can find out who requires a lumper fee in cash for an executed Bill of Lading, which shippers will not allow early arrivals, hours of operation or whether or not overnight parking is allowed.

Currently, Trelp is only available for Android devices, but a Trelp spokesperson told Land Line that an iOS version will be available in the near future.

For more information and to download the app, visit GetTrelp.com or go the Google Play Store.

Paccar recalls newer Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks with Cummins ISX engines

Nearly 2,000 Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks are being recalled over a fuel pump issue, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, 10 models of Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks from 2017 to 2018 equipped with Cummins ISX 15L engines are being recalled. Affected engines have a fuel pump whose drivegear could possibly slip on its drive shaft, causing a fuel pump function loss, resulting in an engine stall.

Trucks part of the recall include:

  • 2018 Kenworth C500
  • 2018 Kenworth T680
  • 2018 Kenworth T800
  • 2018 Kenworth T880
  • 2018 Kenworth W900
  • 2017-2018 Peterbilt 367
  • 2017-2018 Peterbilt 389
  • 2017-2018 Peterbilt 567
  • 2017-2018 Peterbilt 579
  • 2017-2018 Peterbilt 587 

Owners of affected trucks will be contacted by Cummins. Dealers will replace the fuel pumps for free. Notification has yet to be released.

For more information, contact Cummins customer service at 800-286-6467 or Paccar at 425-468-7400. Paccar’s number for this recall is C1909.

Cross-border freight picks up in May across all transport modes

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in May 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.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by nearly 8 percent compared with April when freight was down more than 9 percent from the previous month. March experienced 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 May 2016, freight was up more than 9 percent. This marks the seventh consecutive month of year-to-year increases. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

May’s large increase was the first year-to-year increase since March. In March, the index reached above $100 billion for the first time since October 2014.

August, November and December were the only months to experience 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 were responsible for more than $62 billion of the $98 billion of imports and exports in May. Rail came in second with more than $15 billion.

Freight totaled $98.246 billion, up more than $7 billion from the previous month and an increase of more than $8 billion from May 2016.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 60.3 percent after an increase of 63.5 percent in April. Trucks experienced the smallest increase at 5 percent. In April, truck freight experienced the largest decrease at 5.5 percent.

Nearly 58 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at more than 16 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by more than 7 percent compared with May 2016. Of the $47 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.

DAT Solutions: As demand tapers, spot rates stay strong on DAT MembersEdge

Spot load posts typically fall off this time of year but the number of available loads on DAT MembersEdge slipped just 3 percent during the week ending July 22. The number of truck posts was up 2 percent as demand for capacity stayed solid and prices remained high.

Load-to-truck ratios for all three major freight segments fell 5 percent compared to the previous week. The van load/truck ratio was 4.8; flatbeds 36.1; and reefers 8.5.

Rate redux: National average spot rates were lower week over week but van and flatbed rates were still above June averages:

  • Van: $1.81/mile, down 2 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.18/mile, down 2 cents
  • Reefer: $2.09/mile, down 3 cents

Diesel up: The average on-highway diesel price climbed another 2 cents to a national average of $2.51/gallon.

Van posts dip: The number of van load posts declined 1 percent while posted capacity increased 2 percent nationally last week.

Rates slip, too: Van rates on most of the top 100 van lanes were down, typical for mid to late July. Still, we’re coming off of some of the highest prices we’ve seen in years. A little perspective is in order.

No-No-Northeast: Van lanes into Northeast were down:

  • Columbus-Buffalo fell 21 cents to $2.62/mile
  • Chicago-Allentown, Pa., dropped 17 cents to $2.36/mile
  • Regionally, Philadelphia-Boston declined 24 cents to $3.35/mile

Our 2 cents: Denver had the biggest increase in outbound van rates—2 cents. Van loads paid $1.10/mile on average and rarely ever pay well so you have to make your money on the inbound trip. Other van markets trended lower:

  • Los Angeles: $2.18/mile, down 5 cents
  • Columbus: $2.01/mile, down 5 cents
  • Chicago: $2.07/mile, down 2 cents
  • Dallas: $1.73/mile, down 5 cents
  • Houston: $1.80/mile, down 5 cents
  • Atlanta: $2.12/mile, down 7 cents

Flats edge down: Flatbed load posts declined 1 percent last week while truck posts increased 4 percent.

Reefer trends: The spot reefer market mirrored vans, as load posts decreased 6 percent while truck posts were up 11 percent. There were some bright spots however, including a boost in activity and rates out of the Midwest as fruit and vegetable harvests start to come in. Lanes with gains:

  • Green Bay-Minneapolis spiked 57 cents to $3.12/mile
  • Grand Rapids-Atlanta jumped up 27 cents to $2.47/mile
  • Chicago-Philadelphia gained 22 cents to $2.78/mile

Florida falling: Florida lanes continued to slide. Lakeland-Charlotte was down 28 cents to just $1.13/mile, which is about as low as that lane has been in a year. Miami-Northern New Jersey dropped 32 cents to $1.58/mile.

MembersEdge tri-haul of the week:

Charlotte has some of the best outbound rates in the country but inbound rates on some lanes are pretty low. For example, Charlotte-Philadelphia averaged $2.75/mile last week but the backhaul fetched $1.35/mile.

Instead of heading straight back to Charlotte, make an extra drop and pick in Norfolk, Va.: Philly-Norfolk paid $2.30/mile on average last week, and Norfolk-Charlotte averaged $2.53/mile. Altogether, the tri-haul would boost your average rate per loaded mile from $2.05 to $2.53 and add just under 100 miles, not counting deadhead, to your total trip. If you can fit it into your hours, it works out to an extra 700 bucks.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

New Love’s Travel Stop in Magee, Miss., features nearly 70 parking spaces

Love’s Travel Stops has opened another location Mississippi. The latest addition is off of U.S. Highway 49 in Magee, Miss.

More parking, fuel pumps and other services can be accessed at Love’s new location at U.S. Highway 49 and Goodwater Road between Jackson and the Gulf Coast. Five showers, 66 parking spaces and eight diesel pumps will be available.

Additionally, the location is open 24/7 and offers gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, and name-brand snacks. It also features a Hardee’s restaurant. A Love’s Truck Tire Care center will also be available at Mississippi’s 14th Love’s location.

For more information about this location and other Love’s Travel Stops, visit Loves.com.

DAT Releases TruckersEdge Pro

DAT Solutions has recently launched its TruckersEdge Pro load board. TruckersEdge Pro gives owner-operators access to more than 485,000 load posts each day.

The new load board will show users the average lane rate paid by brokers for loads moved within the past 15 days, according to a press release.

The DAT TruckersEdge Pro 15-day average rate is based on DAT RateView, a database with $33 billion of rates based solely on transactions between carriers, shippers, and brokers.

DAT TruckersEdge Pro is available for a $99 monthly subscription and includes new features such as tri-haul routing showing the highest-dollar yields for three-legged outbound and homebound hauls; IFTA fuel tax calculations based on ProMiles; guaranteed payment through DAT’s unique Assurance Program; and Canadian loads from Link Logistics, Canada’s largest load board and DAT’s sister company north of the border.

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association members can still get access to MembersEdge Pro for $10 less at $89.95 a month and 30 days free.

DAT Solutions: Hot July continues on MembersEdge

The spot freight market went back to work last week and recovered from a four-day holiday as the number of posted loads on DAT MembersEdge increased 35 percent. Truck posts added 28 percent, a sign that truckers returned to their full-time schedules.

Looking at the three major freight segments individually:

  • Van load/truck ratio: 5.0, down slightly despite record load volume on the top 100 lanes
  • Flatbed L/T: 38.0, and rates remain strong
  • Reefer L/T: 9.0, back to mid-June levels

Rates retreat: Without the urgency of a Fourth of July delivery deadline, national average rates backed away from their June peaks:

  • Van: $1.83/mile, down 7 cents, which is still 3 cents higher than the June average
  • Flatbed: $2.20/mile, down a penny from a two-year peak and 4 cents above June’s average
  • Reefer: $2.12/mile, down 6 cents to match the average for June

Lower rates and volumes are expected as freight activity usually tapers off during the summer and fall.

Diesel climbs: The average on-highway diesel price edged up another penny to a national average of $2.49/gallon.

Van lanes are up: The Top 100 van lanes experienced record volume last week and nationally van load posts increased 21 percent. Posted capacity jumped 30 percent nationally.

Rates? Not so much: Despite high volumes, van rates fell. Prices were lower in the Southeast, South Central, and Northeast. Allentown, Pa., lost 11 cents to an average of $2.03/mile and Philadelphia dropped 4 cents to $1.70/mile. Other van markets edged downward:

  • Los Angeles: $2.21/mile, down 8 cents
  • Charlotte: $2.25/mile, down 8 cents
  • Atlanta: $2.20/mile, down 5 cents
  • Dallas: $1.78/mile, down 6 cents
  • Houston: $1.84/mile, down 5 cents

Reefer trends: Reefer load posts increased 27 percent while truck posts were up 17 percent—again, in line with expectations following a holiday week. Reefer rates fell in many California markets, including Sacramento (down 3 cents to $2.76/mile) and 6 cents in Fresno ($2.37/mile).

Cool-lanta: Atlanta is the top origin for outbound reefer loads, and rates there were an average of 5 cents lower at $2.56/mile. Check out these lane pairs: Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla., $3.18/mile, up 15 cents; Lakeland-Atlanta, $1.38/mile, down 49 cents. As an average, Lakeland outbound was down 41 cents to $1.62/mile.

Flatbed trends: Flatbed volumes didn’t slip as expected in the first half of July. Instead, there were almost 50 percent more loads last week than the week before, and rates are holding up at the highest levels in almost two years.

Hot flatbed markets: Flatbed rates were on the rise last week in two Atlantic seaport markets: Baltimore and Jacksonville. Two Southeastern freight hubs, Atlanta and Memphis, also got a big boost. Atlanta’s outbound rates hit an average of $2.70/mile, very close to Houston’s $2.71/mile high-water mark. Houston is the leader for flatbed volume and rates.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

TravelCenters of America teams up with St. Christopher Fund for annual campaign

TravelCenters of America, operator of the TA and Petro Stopping Centers travel center brands, will launch its annual campaign on Aug. 1, in support of the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund. It will be the eighth year for “Band Together.”

The SCF is a nonprofit organization that helps truck drivers suffering financial hardship due to medical problems.

The month-long campaign will run at participating TA and Petro locations through Aug. 31. During the event, guests and employees at TA and Petro Stopping Centers will be invited to make contributions. As in past years, commemorative wristbands and SCF keychains will be made available for $1 and $5 respectively. Contributions may be made at participating TA and Petro restaurants, travel stores, fuel buildings and truck service facilities. One hundred percent of proceeds go directly to SCF. 

“As we kick off our eighth year of the SCF campaign, we couldn’t be happier to continue supporting drivers in need and knowing that our customers and employees are helping answer prayers for those dealing with financial burdens due to sickness or injury,” said Tom O’Brien, president and CEO of TravelCenters, in a press release.

TravelCenters has been supporting drivers through the SCF since 2010. The TA and Petro annual campaign marks the largest single contribution the SCF receives each year. As of July 2017, the SCF has helped more than 1,900 truck drivers and their families with monthly bills, including utilities and mortgages. 

“We are so excited for another year of Band Together. This campaign is instrumental in allowing us the honor of offering assistance to drivers in need,” said Dr. Donna Kennedy, executive director of SCF. “The number of applications we receive skyrocket during and immediately after the campaign. This program not only raises money to help drivers; it clearly raises awareness for those in need. We are so appreciative of TA, the employees and the drivers that contribute.”

Professional drivers who are suffering from financial hardships due to medical problems can apply to the SCF for help. Assistance may be in the form of direct payment for mortgage/rent, utilities, vehicle payments, insurance, prescriptions and/or some medical procedures. For more information, visit TruckersFund.org or call 865-202-9428.

New Love’s locations in Ohio and Mississippi adds nearly 170 parking spaces

Truckers driving through Mississippi and Ohio will have more parking and fuel options. Love’s Travel Stops has recently announced new locations along busy freight corridors in both states.

In Mississippi, the new Love’s is located along U.S. Highway 45A and Lagoon Road in West Point. According to a press release, the West Point location sits “between the growing areas of Mississippi’s Golden Triangle region of Starkville, Tupelo and Columbus” and will serve drivers using the Yokohama tire plant. The West Point store has an Arby’s restaurant, five showers and 67 truck-parking spaces.

Circleville will host the new Love’s location in southern Ohio off of U.S. Highway 23 and Pittsburg Road, not too far from the state capital. The Circleville store offers an IHOP Expressrestaurant, seven showers, 101 truck-parking spaces and a Love’s Truck Tire Care center.

Both stores are open 24/7 and offer showers, gourmet coffee, fresh fruit and vegetables, name-brand snacks, fountain drinks and more. West Point marks Love’s 13th location in Mississippi, and Circleville is the company’s 12th location in Ohio.

Wabco wins 2017 Remanufacturer of the Year award

Wabco was recently recognized by ReMaTec with the Remanufacturer of the Year award. The award was given to Wabco’s global manufacturing business Wabco Reman Solutions.

ReMaTec’s Remanufacturer of the Year award celebrates companies and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the remanufacturing industry for extended periods of time. ReMaTec’s international jury of industry experts judged all award nominations based on a set of key success factors, including technical excellence, commitment to quality, impact on the remanufacturing industry, and customer service

Established in 2005, the Remanufacturer of the Year award represents the most prestigious in the global remanufacturing industry. Wabco Reman Solutions was founded in 2010 and advances operational efficiency and environmental sustainability in the automotive, commercial vehicle and related industries by restoring worn or nonfunctional components to a “like new” or “better-than-new” condition, offering solutions that are fully warranted in performance and quality.

For the first time, ReMaTec jointly recognized two individuals with the 2017 Remanufacturer of the Year award: Dr. Salvador Munoz Zarate, product line leader at WABCO Reman Solutions, and Peter Bartel, engineering director at Circular Economy Solutions.

ReMaTec is known as the world’s leading platform for remanufacturing, according to a Wabco press release.

Luber-finer launches websites in three different languages for Canadian market

Luber-finer has recently launched three new websites aimed to serve the trucking industry in Canada. The websites are featured in English, French and Punjabi.

A heavy-duty filtration brand founded in 1936, Luber-finer is making it easier for Canadians to find information about heavy-duty filters for their truck and fleet. Drivers, technicians, fleet maintenance managers and parts distributors can find the following info:

  • Online parts catalog, including lube/oil, fuel/water, air, hydraulic, coolant or cabin air filters.
  • Part search
  • Cross reference: Type the part number of another brand’s filtration product into the cross-reference tool to obtain a part number and part description for a comparable Luber-finer filter.
  • Distributor locator

For the English website, go to Luberfiner.ca, for French French.Luberfiner.ca, and in Punjabi Punjabi.Luberfiner.ca.

For more information, call 800-851-3641 and follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Freight index in May reaches all-time high

The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals May freight moved upward or changed little for all modes, leading to an increase in the index compared to April.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for May rose 2.2 percent to 126.8. In April, the index fell 0.6 percent after the index reached an all-time high in February at 126.4. May’s TSI sets the new record.

The May index is 33.9 percent above the low that was set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight rose just slightly to 139 from 138.8, an increase of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage increase of 6.5 percent in May to 144.1 from 135.3 in April. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, the TSI’s upward movement comes despite mixed signals elsewhere in the economy. Positive growth was seen in employment, personal income and the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers’ Index. Manufacturing and housing starts declined, while the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index remained unchanged.

2017 St. Christopher fundraiser ‘Band Together’ expands

During the month of August, TA and Petro Stopping Center locations will again participate in the 2017 Band Together for the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund.

As in past years, those making $1 donations will receive a commemorative wristband and those making $5 donations will receive an SCF keychain.

All donations go directly to SCF. Your donations help truck drivers and their families who have financial needs due to medical problems.

But there’s more, as two more nationally known truck stop chains join the effort. Band Together is on the industry calendar for TA/Petro and Coffee Cup Fuel Stops for the month of August. Sapp Brothers’ locations will “band together” for the months of August and September.

For more information regarding SCF, go to TruckersFund.org.

NACV? That new trade show in Atlanta?

The new North American Commercial Vehicle Show is likely to be a major event for the trucking industry, although not necessarily for drivers. The show is planned for Sept. 25-28 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Show producers expect “fleet management leaders and influencers” from around the world to attend.

The NACV is a brand-new concept in commercial vehicle industry trade shows. It’s organized and produced jointly by Hannover Fairs USA and Newcom Media USA.

The inaugural trade show focuses on truck and trailer manufacturers as well as commercial vehicle parts and component suppliers showcasing new equipment at the state-of-the-art facility in Atlanta. Approximately 400 exhibitors and 10,000 trade visitors are expected.

Trucking jobs down for third consecutive month

Transportation jobs overall scored a fifth consecutive month of job gains in June. The transport sector netted 2,400 jobs to the economy. Trucking jobs were down for the third consecutive month, but are still in the black year-to-date.

So far, the trucking subsector for 2017 has a net gain of 12,300 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of 1,400 jobs in June after the industry lost 100 in May and another 100 in April. June’s job loss was the highest since September 2016 when 3,600 jobs were lost, not counting January’s job loss of 1,400 as well. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. Last January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

Couriers and messengers experienced the largest increase with 4,200 more jobs, followed by transit and ground passenger transport at 2,100. Trucking experienced the largest loss with 1,400 fewer jobs, trailed by rail transport, “support activities for transportation” and warehousing and storage all with 800 jobs lost each. Only four of 10 subsectors experienced gains, making couriers/messengers and transit and ground passenger transport largely responsible for the transportation sector’s net increase.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.81 for June – a 2-cent increase from May and up 55 cents from June 2016. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 7 cents to $21.37 from the previous month, 36 cents year-to-year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.25, 4 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent or 63 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations lowered to 5.7 percent compared with 6.7 percent last June, but slightly up from 5.5 percent in May. The overall unemployment rate for the country slightly increased to 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed was unchanged at 1.7 million, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the unemployed.

Heartland Express acquires Interstate Distributor Co.

Heartland Express has recently acquired Washington-based Interstate Distributor Co. in a transaction valued at approximately $113 million, according to a press release.

Interstate, a dry van truckload company, was founded in 1933 and works primarily in the western and southeastern regions of the country. Its fleet consists of approximately 1,350 company tractors, 220 tractors supplied by independent contractors, and 4,700 trailers.

Founded in 1978, Iowa-based Heartland Express focuses on medium to short haul regional freight. The company’s drivers have an average experience level of more than nine years, according to its website.

“Heartland will gain significant additional traffic density in the West, and our stronger eastern network will improve service for (Interstate’s) customers in the East,” Michael Gerdin, chairman, president and CEO of Heartland, said in a statement.

With a 2016 revenue of $325 million, Interstate’s headquarters and national terminal network locations overlap with Heartland locations and will be consolidated over the next 18 months. Numerous Interstate drop yards will be eliminated, according to a press release.

The $113 million transaction value includes approximately $94 million in cash for the equity, $23 million in assumed debt and $4 million of acquired cash. After Heartland pays off Interstate’s debt, the trucking company will be debt-free with a cash balance of $50 million to $170 million of availability on its revolving line of credit.

Heartland acquired Interstate from Saltchuk, who acquired the company in 2012.

“Ultimately, we decided to look for a new home for Interstate to allow us to focus investment in other areas of our business,” Mark Tabbutt, chairman of Saltchuk, said in a statement. “Heartland offered not only a strategic fit for the business that would allow it to grow but a good cultural match for the team.”

Michelin Canada praises Saskatchewan’s move to allow wide-base tires

Saskatchewan has become the fourth province in Canada to allow wide-base tires on heavy-duty trucks.

Michelin Canada recognizes the leaders of the Government of Saskatchewan, Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, and the Saskatchewan Trucking Association, who worked collaboratively for the province to become Canada’s fourth to enact regulations allowing the use of the tires.

According to a Michelin Canada press release, total payload increases with the use of the wide-base tires from 7,700 kg per axle to 8,500 kg. It also allows the industry to adopt fuel-efficient wide-base single heavy-truck tires and to operate at competitive weight limits while decreasing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for the environment.

Substituting wide-base tires in place of conventional dual tires reduces greenhouse gas emissions at about the same rate as what would be achieved by removing 1.8 cars from the road for every heavy truck, according to Michelin Canada. New generation wide-base tires also consume less petroleum in their production and less fuel on the road.

“Michelin just recently hosted ‘Movin’On,’ the Global Summit on Sustainable Mobility, for the first time here in Canada. So we are particularly encouraged to see that Saskatchewan is implementing an environmentally friendly approach to commercial mobility, which also helps the trucking sector improve its competitiveness,” said Jeff MacLean, president, Michelin North America Canada “Accelerating the adoption of new generation wide base single tires is one important way that government and industry can use innovative technologies to help drive Canada’s clean-growth agenda.”

DAT Solutions: Southern states are red hot

A little rough weather in the South wasn’t enough to wash away gains in the spot truckload market.

The number of posted loads on MembersEdge picked up 2.5 percent while truck posts dipped 1.2 percent during the week ending June 24. Severe weather disrupted freight movement in the Southern U.S. but load-to-truck ratios were solid as shippers prepared for both the end of a quarter and the last full week before the July 4 holiday:

  • Van ratio: 5.5 loads per truck, up 6 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 10.4, up 14 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 41.8, down 6 percent

Rates remain in great shape even though surcharges are sliding a bit. On-highway diesel fell 2 cents more to a national average of $2.47/gallon.

Van trends
Nationally, the number of posted van loads jumped 5 percent while truck posts fell 1 percent. The average van rate was unchanged for the second straight week at $1.79/mile. That’s still a full 10 cents higher than the average for May.

Rates rose in 76 of the top 100 van lanes. Lanes with gains:

  • There was a 30-cent raise from Atlanta-Columbus to $2.20/mile 
  • Atlanta-Philadelphia got a 22-cent boost to $2.78/mile
  • Charlotte-Allentown gained 24 cents to $2.83/mile 
  • Memphis-Indianapolis moved up 17 cents to $2.32/mile 

Several outbound markets are trending in the right way for truckers:

Atlanta: Major markets in the Southeast saw a surge in rates last week and van freight from Atlanta is drawing the nation’s highest outbound average spot rate at $2.29/mile, up 10 cents compared to the previous week.

Chicago: Average outbound rates from Chicago added 4 cents to an average of $2.08/mile. Chicago-Los Angeles rose 22 cents to $1.31/mile, a surprise given how the lane is so rail-competitive.

St. Louis and Laredo, Texas, were hot, too, with thousands of daily load posts and a shortage of available trucks for all trailer types.

Reefer trends
Reefer load posts increased 10 percent while truck posts fell 4 percent. The national average rate was up a penny to $2.12/mile, and rates rose on 41 of the top 72 reefer lanes compared to only 27 in the previous week.

Atlanta was a hot market for reefers as well as vans last week thanks to all the seasonal produce leaving refrigerated warehouses and food processing plants (much of that produce originates in the Tifton and Macon markets in southern Georgia and is distributed out of Atlanta). The average outbound rate was $2.50/mile, up 5 cents. Atlanta-Chicago was up 39 cents to $2.15/mile.

Flatbed trends
The flatbed load-to-truck ratio receded again. Flatbed load posts fell 3 percent while truck posts increased 3 percent. At $2.15/mile, the national average flatbed rate fell 1 cent compared to the previous week.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

XPO LTL drivers log more than 1 billion safe miles

XPO Logistics has recently announced that its less-than-truckload drivers have reached more than 1 billion miles void of preventable accidents, according to a press release.

With approximately 12,575 LTL drivers, XPO began tracking accident-free miles in April 2012. By May 2017, 890 XPO drivers had achieved 1 million, 2 million or 3 million accident-free miles, and the total for all these drivers had exceeded 1 billion miles.

“The billion-mile mark is a huge achievement for our company and a point of pride for our drivers,” said Tony Brooks, president of the LTL business for XPO Logistics. “I want to particularly commend the 890 XPO drivers who have achieved personal milestones of 1 to 3 million accident-free miles in the past five years. These drivers alone have contributed 1,102,000,000 miles to our tally.”

XPO praised 19 drivers who have more than 3 million safe miles during a two-day celebration at XPO’s LTL headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich. Representing 11 states, these drivers have an average tenure of 30 years.

Wabco, Daimler extend agreement for Automated Manual Transmission technology

Wabco, a leading global supplier of technologies and services that improve the safety, efficiency and connectivity of commercial vehicles, announced that Daimler Trucks has extended its long-term supply agreement with Wabco for new heavy-duty automated manual transmission (AMT) control technology to support its series production mainly in Europe, North America, Japan and South America.

Headquartered in Germany, Daimler Trucks is the world’s largest manufacturer of trucks over 6 tons. Daimler’s five truck brands – Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, FUSO, Western Star and BharatBenz – offer pioneering technologies and tailor-made products for different applications around the world.

Wabco is supplying this original equipment manufacturer with its newest generation of tailored AMT solutions. AMT control technology transforms a manual transmission into an efficient, cost-effective solution that automatically shifts gears and controls clutch actuation for commercial vehicles.  

Wabco claims its newest AMT solution increases fuel savings through optimized gear shifting. It also differentiates by helping vehicle operators to significantly reduce mechanical wear, lower maintenance costs and decrease vehicle downtime. In addition, AMT technology has been engineered to reduce fuel consumption consistent with the industry’s most stringent standards.

DAT Solutions: A simmering summer for spot rates

The spot truckload market picked up steam in May and June, with load-to-truck ratios and rates hitting highs we haven’t seen in a long time. A few bumps last week won’t slow the roll.

The number of load posts on MembersEdge dipped 1 percent, and truck posts were up 8 percent as capacity returned to the spot market following the Roadcheck inspection blitz. Load-to-truck ratios may have taken a step back but they’re still in good shape for truckers:

  • Van ratio: 5.2 loads per truck, down 9 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 9.1, down 10 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 44.5, down 10 percent

Rates, meanwhile, remain at two-year highs. To the trendlines:

Van trends: The number of posted van loads declined 1 percent while truck posts increased 9 percent. Again, we’ll chalk that up to Roadcheck. The national average van rate held steady at $1.79/mile last week, but it has added 11 cents since May 27.

L.A. gains: Van freight posts in Los Angeles are 10 percent higher over the last month. The average outbound van rate there added 2 cents per mile week over week, hitting $2.30/mile.

Houston happening: Rates from Houston rebounded in a big way, up 6 cents to an average of $1.87/mile. Two outbound lanes to watch:

  • Houston-New Orleans rose 22 cents to $2.65/mile
  • Houston-Oklahoma City hit a new high at $2.30/mile. This has been a wildly up-and-down lane in recent weeks.

Cooling off: Average outbound van rates fell on 40 of the top 100 van lanes. In a lot of cases the declines were small, but they included some key markets:

  • Dallas: $1.76/mile, down 1 cent
  • Denver: $1.10/mile, down 3 cents
  • Columbus: $1.98/mile, down 4 cents
  • Chicago: $2.03/mile, down 2 cents

Reefer trends: The number of reefer load posts dipped 2 percent while truck posts jumped 8 percent. The national average rate was unchanged at $2.11/mile, the highest average in nearly two years. On the top 72 reefer lanes, surprisingly only 27 had higher rates.

Rocky Mountain high: At $1.30/mile, Denver has the lowest average outbound reefer rate in the country. But inbound rates on several lanes were up: Los Angeles-Denver rose 37 cents to $3.23/mile, Dallas-Denver added 24 cents to $2.67/mile, and Chicago-Denver paid 19 cents better at $2.20/mile.

Florida falling: The lane from Lakeland-Charlotte bounced back 13 cents to $2.00/mile. That wasn’t a typical trend out of Florida, though. Drought and wildfires hampered the state’s prime shipping season this year and prices on lanes out of Miami are down.

Flatbed demand dips: After hitting its highest level in years the previous week, the flatbed load-to-truck ratio slipped 10 percent as the number of flatbed load posts held steady and truck posts increased 11 percent. At $2.15/mile, the national average flatbed rate was unchanged compared to the previous week.

Diesel digest: On-highway diesel prices continue to slide. The national average fell another 3 cents to $2.49/gallon last week.

Tri-haul of the week:Houston-Oklahoma City has been a volatile lane as far as rates go, but when prices are down, a tri-haul route can pad the wallet.

The backhaul market rate from OKC-Houston was $1.78/mile last week, but you can head to Shreveport instead. It paid a little better at $1.78/mile, but Shreveport-Houston averaged $2.46/mile last week. Based on average rates from the past week, you can you add nearly $500 if you haul an extra 180 miles on your roundtrip. The extra pick and drop might not be worth the effort when the Houston-OKC leg is paying well, but the tri-haul should work most weeks when that rate is down. 

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

Cross-border freight slows down in April, still up year-to-year

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in April trucks moved nearly 63 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Three of five modes experienced an increase in freight year-to-year.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by more than 9 percent compared with March when freight was up 16 percent from the previous month. This marks the largest month-to-month decrease since July 2016 when NAFTA freight was down nearly 10 percent compared to June 2016.

Compared to April 2016, freight was up 0.8 percent. This marks the sixth consecutive month of year-to-year increases. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

April’s slight decrease was the smallest year-to-year increase since last December when NAFTA freight decreased by 0.4 percent compared to December 2015. In March, the index reached above $100 billion for the first time since October 2014.

August, November and December were the only months to experience 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 were responsible for more than $57 billion of the $91.068 billion of imports and exports in April. Rail came in second with nearly $15 billion.

Freight totaled $91.068 billion, down more than $9 billion from the previous month and an increase of $688 million from April 2016.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 63.5 percent after an increase of 81.3 percent in March. Trucks experienced the largest decrease at 5.5 percent. In March, truck freight experienced the smallest increase at 5 percent.
 
Nearly 58 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at nearly 18 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 1 percent compared with April 2016. Of the $44 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 68 percent of the loads.

‘Everyday Heroes’ Kenworth auction nets $89,000 for Truckers Against Trafficking

A collaboration between Kenworth, Ritchie Bros., and a number of other sponsors resulted in the largest ever one-time donation to Truckers Against Trafficking in the history of the organization.

The “Everyday Heroes” Kenworth T680 was auctioned off this week at Ritchie Bros. in Phoenix. The winning bid was submitted by Mike Jimenez, owner of Phoenix-based J&L Transportation, which resulted in $89,000 netted in support of Truckers Against Trafficking – a 501(c)(3) nonprofit devoted to stopping human trafficking by educating, mobilizing, and empowering the nation’s truck drivers and rest stop employees.

“This culminated an eight-month project that had a tremendous finish,” said Don Blake, Inland Kenworth’s new truck sales manager in the Phoenix area, who spearheaded the program. “Our sponsors came together to donate and discount their pricing in order for us to build the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680. I was on pins and needles as the auction and bidding took place, and was so happy that the truck was going to a local company that demonstrated its commitment to such a worthy cause.”
 
According to Kendis Paris, TAT’s executive director, the $89,000 donation is the largest one-time gift in the organization’s history. “We are absolutely thrilled and overwhelmed by the generosity of the industry, and extremely grateful to Mike Jimenez and J&L Transportation for adding the Everyday Heroes Truck to its fleet,” she said.

Jimenez, who was traveling at the time, produced the winning bid by proxy. “Though I have not encountered human trafficking, it does exist in our world,” he said. “It’s been my experience that when our industry gets behind a cause, it is a worthwhile cause. When Don expressed his interest, along with Inland Kenworth and all the other supporters and sponsors intent on doing this project, I knew J&L should be a part of the answer to end such heartbreaking events. I’m confident that TAT will use the proceeds to continue the education efforts and training necessary to end human trafficking in the future. Without their efforts, I would still be blind to this epidemic in our society,” Jimenez said.
 
The Kenworth T680, fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, 485-hp Paccar MX-13 engine, and Eaton Fuller Advantage 10-speed automated transmission, joins 35 other trucks in the J&L Transportation fleet. The truck will be placed in J&L’s dedicated fleet and used in Arizona, California and Nevada.
 
“When people hear about the horrific realities of human trafficking, they often make promises to get involved, but not everyone follows through. That is not true of Don Blake, George Cravens (with Utility Trailers), and all of the amazing sponsors of the ‘Everyday Heroes’ Kenworth T680,” Paris said.

“This money will enable us to continue to expand our work within the trucking industry, and also allow us to further our partnerships with law enforcement, additional modes of transportation, and multiple countries, in the fight against human trafficking. We are extremely grateful to Ritchie Bros. for auctioning off the truck, the amazing sponsors for helping to build it from the ground up, the trucking media for raising awareness about the work of TAT through the entire process of this one-of-a-kind auction, and to Inland Kenworth’s Don Blake who led the charge to the very end.”

According to Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and Paccar vice president, Blake’s passion for the project was contagious. “Don and Inland Kenworth did a wonderful and creative program to support TAT,” Dozier said. “It shows how an idea can germinate and how the industry can pull together to support the fight against human trafficking. As an organization, we couldn’t be prouder to provide assistance, and to call Don a model representative of Inland Kenworth and our dealer network.”

Providing support for the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 were:
 
Platinum Level

  • Kenworth Truck Co.
  • Ritchie Bros.

Gold Level

  • Inland Kenworth
  • Utility Trailer Sales Co. of Arizona
  • FlowBelow Wheel Covers        

Silver Level

  • Paccar Engine
  • Paccar Parts 
  • Horton 
  • Jost Fifth Wheel
  • Meritor 
  • Eaton Corp.
  • Bendix

Bronze Level

  • Delco
  • ExGuard Grille Guards
  • Davco 
  • National Seats
  • East Penn Batteries
  • Giti Tires
  • Alcoa

 

Hyundai trailers to offer Bendix ADB22X-LT air disc brakes

Shortly after announcing its ADB22X air disc brakes will come standard on International LT Series trucks, Bendix has recently revealed plans to equip Hyundai Translead trailers with the ADB22X-LT air disc brakes.

The ADB22X-LT’s design weighs in at 40 pounds lighter per tandem axle, making it the lightest air disc brake available in the market, and helping deliver increased payload capacity and value in trailer applications that are particularly sensitive to brake weight, according to a Bendix press release. The light weight can help with fuel efficiency and reduce weight to make room for other fuel-efficient technology such as aerodynamics.

The ADB22X-LT features a new brake pad, the Bendix BX276, which delivers 8 percent more wearable volume and up to a 40 percent improvement in wear rate compared to previous pads, combining to extend the service life beyond current air disc brake pad standards.

ADB22X-LT offers a pad replacement time approximately one-quarter that of drum brakes, improving uptime and boosting productivity in the garage. The brake pad’s design eliminates the possibility of rust jacking. The system features an internal self-adjustment mechanism that can help lower the risk of brakes being found out of adjustment during inspection, which can affect Compliance, Safety, Accountability scoring.

The Bendix air disc brakes offer an optimal braking solution capable of meeting a wide range of needs, at up to a 23,000-pound brake rating. Improved side-to-side brake balance helps keep the trailer behind the tractor during heavy braking.

For more information about Bendix air disc brakes, call 800-AIR-BRAKE or visit FoundationBrakes.com.

Trucker Path obtains $30 million in debt financing

Trucking industry app designer Trucker Path has recently announced that it has secured $30 million in debt financing to add InstaPay factoring to the services of its freight marketplace, according to a press release.

Trucker Path encompasses a navigational app used by 550,000 truckers as well as a freight marketplace, Truckloads. Launched in March 2016, Truckloads currently has 100,000 active carriers with more than 3 million monthly loads posted by brokers. InstaPay was introduced in September 2016, allowing carriers to get paid immediately with a one-time flat rate with no hidden fees.

“Carriers often are required to complete tons of paperwork and sign exclusivity, to then wait 30-60 days or longer before getting paid. Trucker Path helps carriers get paid faster with just a few clicks on the mobile app,” said Ivan Tsybaev, CEO and founder of Trucker Path. “We are extremely excited to partner with Flexible Funding as this will enable us to continue our rapid growth and streamline the process of funding for trucking companies.”

For more info, check out TruckerPath.com and FlexibleFund.com.

Brake Safety Day slated for Sept. 7

Truckers have a few months to get those brakes in order. Brake Safety Day is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 7, according to a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance press release.

Inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Inspections conducted will include inspection of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors, and other faulty brake-system components.

ABS malfunction indicator lamps are also checked. Inspectors will measure pushrod stroke, where applicable. Vehicles with defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will be placed out of service.

In the 10 jurisdictions using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment, vehicle braking efficiency will be measured. PBBT systems include a slow speed roller dynamometer that measures total vehicle weight and total brake force from which braking efficiency is determined. The minimum braking efficiency for trucks is 43.5 percent, required by U.S. federal regulation and the CVSA out-of-service criteria.

Law enforcement agencies across North America will conduct inspections on large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake-system and antilock braking system violations as part of the CVSA Operation Airbrake Program. Brake Safety Day activities seek to educate drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake maintenance, operation and performance with outreach and educational efforts.

Brake-related violations composed the largest percentage (representing 45.7 percent) of all out-of-service violations cited during Operation Airbrake’s companion International Roadcheck campaign in 2016, which focused on inspections of both commercial motor vehicles and drivers.

For more information, go to CVSA.org.

Driving for Excellence award deadline is June 30

Kenworth, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program and FASTPORT have joined forces for the Driving for Excellence award. The deadline is approaching to recognize the top rookie military veteran in the trucking industry.

The program honors truckers who have made the transition from active duty military to driving for a commercial fleet. The winner will receive a fully loaded Kenworth T680 Advantage.

To qualify for the Driving for Excellence award, nominees must meet the following conditions:

  • Military veteran or current or former member of the National Guard or Reserves;
  • Graduate of a PTDI-certified, NAPFTDS or CVTA member driver training school, and a current CDL holder;
  • Employed by any for-hire carrier or private fleet trucking company that has pledged to hire veterans through the Trucking Track Mentoring Program;
  • First employed as a CDL driver trucking between Jan. 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017; and
  • A legal resident of the continental United States.

Recently, hundreds of military personnel attended a two-day Hiring Our Heroes transition summit and hiring fair at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Kenworth brought in its T680 with a 76-inch sleeper and Paccar MX-13 engine to show military personnel what they can be working with.

For a full list of conditions and nomination forms, visit TransitionTrucking.org. Nominations are due June 30.

The top 10 finalists will be announced on July 21, and will be recognized on Aug. 26 at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

Bendix air disc brakes will be standard on International LT Series trucks

International Truck has recently announced that its LT Series will come standard with Bendix ADB22X air disc brakes. This marks the first Class 8 tractor in North America to roll off the line with air disc brakes as standard equipment.

The Bendix ADB22X air disc brake features a patented lightweight design that significantly reduces stopping distance and extends brake system life. From Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC, the air disc brakes nearly eliminate brake fade and degradation of stopping power, according to International.

With high efficiency, drivers can save money with longer brake lining life and shorter pad replacement times compared to traditional drums.

A self-adjustment mechanism can help lower the risk of brakes being found out of adjustment during inspection which can affect Compliance, Safety, Accountability scoring.

In addition to the ADB22X air disc brakes, LT Series trucks feature an ergonomic interior, which includes better elbow room, hip room and leg room. International used driver input to ensure driver comfort, reliability, serviceability, safety and functionality.

Launched in 2005, the Bendix ADB22X was the first air disc brake available for the North American commercial vehicle market. The increasing market adoption by fleets and owner-operators means the brake now accounts for more than 1.5 million wheel-ends on the road.

For more information, visit InternationalTrucks.com.

DAT Solutions: Spot rates, freight activity jump into June

The spot truckload market raced into June, with load-to-truck ratios on DAT MembersEdge up sharply for all three equipment types during the week ending June 10. The van ratio hit its highest point in three years.

Let’s look at the trendlines:

Ratios rolling: Brokers and shippers paid a premium for capacity in most major markets and lanes last week. Load-to-truck ratios reflected the increased freight activity:

  • Van ratio: 5.7 loads per truck, up 12 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 10.1, up 33 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 49.2, up 27 percent

Shipper’s holiday? No way: The number of available loads was up 30 percent compared to the previous week, which was shortened by the Memorial Day holiday and included the annual Roadcheck inspection blitz. A 20 percent increase is more in line with expectations.

Van Trends: Nationally, the number of posted van loads increased 12 percent while truck posts were 8 percent higher. The national average van rate gained 6 cents to $1.79/mile, continuing a run of week-over-week increases.

Major market movers: Outbound rates were up in almost every major van freight market:

  • Los Angeles: $2.28/mile, up 10 cents
  • Chicago: $2.06/mile, up 6 cents
  • Dallas: $1.76/mile, up 3 cents
  • Charlotte: $2.16/mile, up 11 cents
  • Philadelphia: $1.73/mile, up 5 cents

Of the top 100 van lanes, only 26 had lower rates.

Reefer trends: Reefer load posts increased 30 percent while truck posts fell 2 percent, which helped move the national average rate 7 cents higher to $2.11/mile.

California stays hot: California shipments are expected to stay strong at least through the Fourth of July, and a few lanes crossed the $3 mark:

  • Fresno-Denver surged 61 cents to $3.14/mile
  • Los Angeles-Portland, Ore., was up 45 cents to $3.33/mile
  • Sacramento-Portland added 50 cents to 3.21/mile
  • Sacramento-Salt Lake City rose 27 cents to an average of $3.00/mile

Florida chilling: Outbound rates tumbled, including Lakeland-Charlotte, which plunged 84 cents to an average of $1.82/mile.

Flats on the rise: The flatbed load-to-truck ratio skyrocketed as load posts increased 38 percent while truck posts increased 9 percent. The national average rate increased 3 cents last week to $2.15/mile, the highest weekly average rate in nearly two years.

Big jumps: Flatbed demand can be volatile and shifts on a lane-by-lane basis. Key movers last week: Las Vegas ($2.82/mile, up 36 cents), Cleveland ($2.31/mile, up 11 cents), and Harrisburg, Pa. ($3.41/mile, up 2 cents).

Tri-haul of the Week:Memphis has been ultra-hot lately, and van rates on the lane to Columbus got another boost last week. Normally this lane pair is pretty balanced, meaning that there isn’t a big difference in rates going in one direction or the other. But with Memphis so strong, the rates coming back from Columbus have fallen to $1.62/mile. You can still find good-paying loads going elsewhere from Columbus, and you can use that to put together a tri-haul.

You could pick up a load from Columbus-Evansville, Ind., which paid $2.03/mile on average last week. From there, go Evansville-Memphis, which was $2.29/mile. That extra leg only adds about 40 loaded miles but earns a $400 revenue boost. If you can make it work with your schedule, this could be a winner.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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 course offers training for FDA rule

The Food and Drug Administration’s rule on the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food required large carriers to receive training by April 2017. The rule gave small carriers until April 2018 before they need to complete the training.

However, Andrew King of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said that members have called in explaining that their motor carrier or shipper is requiring certification regardless of size.

OOIDA is offering an online course that meets all of the training requirements of the rule. The course includes a 63-minute training module, a test, a certificate of completion, a card to keep in the truck, and templates of written procedures and checklists for dry van trailers, reefers, flatbeds, liquid bulk tankers and hopper bottoms.

The course is $100 and is offered to OOIDA members and non-members. About 100 people have used the course so far, King said.

 Last year, the FDA moved forward on the regulation that branched off the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law in 2011. The rule established requirements for shippers, loaders, carriers by motor or rail vehicles, and receivers involved in transporting human and animal food.

After the video, students of the course will take a 20-question test before receiving a certificate of completion to show they are compliant. The certificate can be received electronically or through the mail.

TA-Petro accepting 2018 Citizen Driver nominations

TravelCenters of America, operator of the TA and Petro Stopping Centers travel center brands, is now accepting nominations for 2018 Citizen Driver. Citizen Driver, launched in 2013, recognizes professional drivers who evoke public respect for the truck driving profession through good citizenship, safety, community involvement, health and wellness, and leadership. 

Anyone – fleet owners and executives, co-workers, friends, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, trucking organization members, trucking industry suppliers, trucking industry customers – may nominate a professional driver for the honor. Nomination forms, rules and other information can be found at TA-Petro.com/CitizenDriver. Nominations will be accepted until Sept. 30, 2017. The 2018 Citizen Drivers will be recognized at the 2018 Citizen Drivers Ceremony at the TA-branded Iowa 80 location in Walcott, Iowa, on May 8, 2018.

Over the course of four years, there have been 26 Citizen Drivers and each of their names has been emblazoned on TA-Petro locations of their choice.

Freight index for trucking increases in April

The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals April freight was down for all modes except air and trucking, leading to a decrease in the index compared to March.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for April fell 0.6 percent to 122.8. In March, the index fell 1.5 percent after the index reached an all-time high in February at 126.4, replacing the former all-time high of 125.2 set in July 2016.

The April index is 29.7 percent above the low set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight rose just slightly to 137.6 from 137.2, an increase of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 2.5 percent in April to 134 from 137.4 in February. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, the TSI’s downward movement comes despite positive signals elsewhere in the economy. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index grew by 1 percent, and employment and personal income went up in April. Housing starts declined while the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers’ Index revealed positive but slowing growth.

Michelin acquires fleet tracking company NexTraq

Michelin has recently announced its acquisition of Atlanta-based commercial fleet telematics company NexTraq. According to a news release, NexTraq is a subsidiary of fuel card and workforce payment company Fleetcor Technologies.

Founded in 2000, NexTraq provides solutions for driver safety, fuel management and enhancing fleet productivity. The company provides GPS fleet management solutions for small fleets ranging from two to 50 vehicles.

NexTraq has 117 employees, approximately 7,000 fleet customers and 116,000 individual subscribers. The company will continue to operate independently under the Michelin North America umbrella.

“Telematics and fleet management services are a rapidly growing category worldwide and an important area of Michelin Group’s overall business plans,” said Ralph Dimenna, chief operating officer for Michelin Americas Truck Tires, the heavy truck unit of Michelin North America. “NexTraq represents a strategic acquisition that accelerates our growth in telematics with synergies that increase our scale, expand our geographic footprint and strengthen overall competitiveness in fleet management technology and services in the United States.”

Ritchie Bros. acquires IronPlanet; teams up with Caterpillar

Ritchie Bros., the world’s largest heavy-equipment auctioneer and provider of end-to-end services, just announced that it completed its acquisition of IronPlanet, a leading online marketplace for heavy equipment and other durable assets. Ritchie Bros. acquired IronPlanet for approximately $758.5 million, subject to customary closing adjustments. 

As a part of this acquisition, Ritchie Bros. also enters into an initial five-year strategic alliance with Caterpillar. The alliance is expected to strengthen its relationship with Caterpillar's independent dealers around the world by providing them access to a global auction marketplace to sell their used equipment.

Pilot Flying J partners with celebrity chef on new food items

Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America, is announcing a unique partnership with renowned chef and restaurant owner Tim Love. Love will create new signature food items that will be available at all Pilot Flying J locations across the nation with the goal of providing fresh, convenient food options for interstate travelers.

Known for his signature Urban Western cuisine, chef Love will also develop food items specifically for Pilot Flying J's Southwest region locations, focusing on the flavors and specialties that represent the region's fare.

This collaboration between a chef of Love's caliber and a major travel center network marks the first of its kind, signifying a shift towards providing more diverse and notable food offerings for customers traveling on the interstate.

“I am thrilled to be partnering with Pilot Flying J. They truly want to provide a better food experience for their guests,” Love said in a press release announcing the partnership.

Chef Love’s inspired and innovative dishes have maintained critical and popular acclaim, having been recognized by prominent industry and epicurean outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit, and Food & Wine. Love also appeared on Bravo's “Top Chef: The Cruise” and “Top Chef Masters,” as well as Food Network's “Iron Chef America.” Love’s restaurants include critically and popularly acclaimed venues such as Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Austin, Fort Worth and Knoxville, Queenie’s Steakhouse, Woodshed Smokehouse, Love Shack, and the storied White Elephant Saloon.

Chef Love’s career began in a kitchen in Knoxville – where Pilot Flying J is headquartered – while he was a student at the University of Tennessee. Today, his presence spans the nation from Seattle to Knoxville, though his roots remain close to heart with most of his restaurants located in his home state of Texas.

GATS to donate $1 to charity for every registration before July 4

The Great American Trucking Show is slated for Aug. 24-26 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. Truckers who register between now and July 4 will be helping out one of three charities.

With more than 500,000 square feet of exhibitor space, GATS registration is a steal at … free. No charge for tickets that are preordered online. Otherwise, admission will be $10 at the gate.

This year, GATS has partnered up with Truckers Against Trafficking, TruckersFinalMile.org and the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund. GATS will donate $1 to one of the charities for every trucker who registers before Independence Day. Truckers can choose which charity they want the dollar to go toward.

Events scheduled at GATS include the CCJ Market Movers seminar, Partners in Business, Trucker Talent Search, Trucking’s Top Rookie, and the Pride and Polish contest.

Truckers will want to check out the Landstar Health Pavilion Stage for an array of cooking demonstrations, health and fitness seminars. With topics ranging from diabetes education to food addiction, GATS attendees will take home some key health strategies and advice from this pavilion stage.

For more information about GATS and to register online, visit TruckShow.com. Watch for more info as the show plans develop and be sure to come by and see OOIDA’s crew at booth 21017.

OOIDA member is the winner in Double Coin’s tire drawing

Double Coin and CMA, a tire manufacturer and marketer, recently announced that Dean Steinel, an owner-operator out of Randolph, Ohio, is the latest winner of Double Coin’s “Smart Money Tire Drawing.”

Steinel is an OOIDA member who hauls frozen produce and chicken between Randolph, Ohio, and Georgia.

He entered the drawing at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show and was randomly selected from over 400 eligible entries to receive a free set of Double Coin drive-position tires. Steinel’s ’97 379EXHD Peterbilt runs on 285/75R24.5 drive tires.

For his free set of drive tires, Double Coin Midwest Sales Manager Mike McGuiness recommended Double Coin’s RLB400 drive tires. “The RLB400 is a closed shoulder drive-position tire that features an extra deep 30/32” tread,” said Mr. McGuiness. “Its solid shoulder ribs deliver great handling, and its tread package promotes cooler running. This preserves casing integrity and promotes multiple retreads.”

Trucking employment virtually unchanged in May

Transportation jobs scored a fourth consecutive month of job gains in May. The transport sector netted 3,600 jobs to the economy. Trucking jobs were just slightly down, but are still in the black year-to-date.

So far, the trucking subsector for 2017 has a net gain of 13,700 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of 100 jobs in May after the industry lost another 100 in April but gained 4,700 in March. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. Last January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

Transit and ground passenger transportation experienced the largest increase with 4,500 more jobs, followed by air transport at 2,000. “Support activities for transportation” experienced the largest loss with 2,500 fewer jobs, trailed by pipeline transportation with 900 jobs lost. Only five of 10 subsectors experienced gains, making transit and ground passenger transport largely responsible for the transportation sector’s net increase.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.84 for May – a 16-cent increase from April and up 78 cents from May 2016. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 11 cents to $21.34 from the previous month, 50 cents year-to-year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.22, 4 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent or 63 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations lowered to 5.5 percent compared with 6.0 percent last May, and down from 5.7 percent in April. The overall unemployment rate for the country was down to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent the previous month, a 16-year low. The number of long-term unemployed rose slightly to 1.7 million, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the unemployed.

ATRI needs operation cost data from for-hire carriers

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) is seeking data from for-hire motor carriers for its annual Operational Costs of Trucking report.

ATRI is asking for-hire carriers to take a brief online questionnaire regarding cost information. Information being sought includes driver pay, fuel costs, insurance premiums and lease/purchase payments. Participants will also be asked to provide full-year 2016 cost-per-mile or cost-per-hour data, according to a press release.

After data is collected and analyzed, ATRI will release its report, which will include nine years of trucking cost data from 2008 to 2016. The study will serve as a benchmarking tool for carriers and as a source of real world data for government agencies.

The questionnaire is completely confidential and will be available until Friday, June 29. To take the survey, go to ATRI-online.org. Participants will receive an advance copy of the results before it is publicly released.

DAT Solutions: Van activity picks up ahead of summer

Spot market van volumes have been fairly flat since March but still well above last year's numbers. Now, as May comes to a close, van activity is really starting to heat up.

The number of van loads on DAT MembersEdge increased 12 percent during the week ending May 27, a sign that summer retail season is heating up. Reefer load posts gained 9 percent. 

Van and reefer load-to-truck ratios made gains:

  • Van ratio: 4.2 loads per truck, up 13 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 7.8, up 8 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 34.2, down 11 percent (flatbed load posts declined 7 percent while truck posts increased 4 percent)

Overall, the number of available loads increased 2.3 percent compared to the previous week, and posted capacity fell 0.7 percent as some truckers decided to avoid the holiday traffic.

To the trendlines:

Rates hold: A 1-cent drop in the national average fuel surcharge caused the van rate to dip a penny to $1.68/mile. The reefer rate was $2.01/mile, up 2 cents, while the flatbed rate moved 1 cent higher to $2.10/mile.

Top 100 van lanes: Rates were up on 70 of the top 100 van lanes, including almost every major van freight market:

  • Los Angeles: $2.09/mile, up 7 cents
  • Chicago: $1.93/mile, up 7 cents
  • Houston: $1.82/mile, up 5 cents
  • Charlotte: $2.06/mile, up 10 cents
  • Philadelphia: $1.67/mile, up 2 cents

Reefers on the move in California: Central California produce volumes returned in a big way. Outbound reefer rates soared 13 percent to $2.41/mile in Fresno, led by Fresno-Denver (up 52 cents to $2.70/mile on average) and Fresno-Chicago (up 35 cents to $2.16/mile). Nogales-Dallas jumped 43 cents to $3.04/mile, probably aided by strong volumes from neighboring California.

Florida outbound: Two reefer lanes out of Florida spiked last week. Lakeland-Atlanta rose 44 cents to $2.30/mile, and Miami-Baltimore was up 35 cents to $2.63/mile.

Up and down: Flatbed rates can be volatile from one week to the next, so expect big gains and drops:

  • Flatbed rates jumped an average of 36 cents coming out of Las Vegas, hitting $2.82/mile. Las Vegas-Los Angeles jumped 90 cents to $3.71/mile
  • Cleveland-Harrisburg added 82 cents to $3.59/mile
  • Raleigh-Baltimore gained 38 cents to $3.70/mile

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

Expedite Expo on the calendar for July 14-15

Expedite Expo will be held July 14-15 at the Lexington Convention Center in Lexington, Ky.

The Expo features free educational workshops to help truckers maximize income potential. Industry experts and fellow expedite drivers will be available to discuss how to spec a truck, choose the right carrier, reduce costs, improve profits, and save time. 

The show starts at 8 a.m. both days with informational workshops. The Expo floor is then open at 11 a.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday.  Both days the show floor will close at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Registration, admission, and parking are free.

Launched in 2001, the Expo attracts attendees and exhibitors from across North America to learn about the newest trucks, career opportunities, and products geared specifically to owner-operators and drivers of medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks. The Expo covers over 50,000 square feet of trucks, truck parts, trucking displays and product exhibits.

For more details about Expedite Expo, visit ExpediteExpo.com or call 859-746-2046.

Mack Trucks to take part in Rolling Thunder rally for fallen troops

Mack Trucks will again participate in the Rolling Thunder – Ride for Freedom rally Memorial Day weekend to pay tribute to America’s fallen military. This year, Mack’s Ride for Freedom truck is Jack Mack, a custom-built one-of-a-kind mega-crew cab named after John “Jack” M. Mack, one of the founders of Mack Trucks.

 

This year, Mack’s Ride for Freedom truck is Jack Mack, a custom-built one-of-a-kind mega-crew cab named after John “Jack” M. Mack, one of the founders of Mack Trucks.

The 30th annual rally will take place in Washington, D.C. Mack Lehigh Valley Operations and Mack Customer Center employees will travel from Pennsylvania by truck and motorcycle to Hagerstown, Md., for a special memorial ceremony at Mack’s powertrain facility.

Hagerstown employees will then join their colleagues following the ceremony as they continue to Washington, D.C., to join thousands of other Ride for Freedom participants.

Related stories:
Volvo honors military heroes with Ride For Freedom truck during Run For The Wall
Run For The Wall a chance for fellowship, healing

Hundreds of Freightliner and Western Star trucks recalled over axle assembly issue

Daimler Trucks of North America is recalling nearly 700 Freightliner Cascadias and Western Star 5700s for a power train issue regarding the axle assembly, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, DTNA is recalling certain 2017 Freightliner Cascadia trucks and 2017 Western Star 5700 trucks equipped with NFD tandem rear axles. During the hardening process, the axle assembly output shaft may have been made brittle, possibly resulting in the output shaft fracturing while the vehicle is in use, a NHTSA recall statement explains.

If the issue occurs while descending a grade, compression braking may become ineffective. Furthermore, large debris could possibly fall onto the road.

Owners will be notified by DTNA. Detroit axle dealers will replace the output shaft for free. The recall is slated for July 9. For questions, call DTNA’s customer service at 800-547-0712 with recall number FL-738. NHTSA’s recall number is 17V-315.

DAT Solutions: Reefer rate hits a five-month high

Want to see the laws of supply and demand at work?

The number of loads on DAT MembersEdge increased 5.4 percent compared to the previous week while the number of trucks fell 2.9 percent. This pushed the national average spot reefer rate on DAT MembersEdge to its highest since mid-January, and rates for van and flatbed freight up during the week ending May 20.

Van and reefer load-to-truck ratios both had double-digit increases:

  • Van L/T ratio: 3.7 loads per truck, up 12 percent
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 7.2, up 17 percent
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 38.3, up 4 percent

Let’s take a closer look at the trendlines:

Vans make gains: The national average van rate was up 1 cent at $1.69/mile as the number of posted van loads increased 9 percent. Truck posts fell 3 percent.

Mixed markets: Average outbound van rates from major markets were mixed.

  • Los Angeles: $2.02/mile, up 1 cent
  • Chicago: $1.86/mile, down 2 cents
  • Houston: $1.77/mile, unchanged
  • Charlotte: $1.97/mile, down 2 cents
  • Philadelphia: $1.65/mile, down 2 cents

Reefers stay strong: Last week reefer load posts increased 13 percent while truck posts declined 2 percent. The national average spot reefer rate was unchanged at $1.99/mile, the highest weekly average since mid-January.

Regional differences: Prices out of California were mixed, with rates trending up in Southern California but slipping in Central Valley markets. With harvests winding down in Florida, rates dropped significantly from Miami and Lakeland. Other key reefer lanes:

  • McAllen-Dallas: $2.51/mile, down 3 cents
  • Elizabeth, N.J.-Boston: $3.46/mile, down 12 cents
  • Atlanta-Chicago: $1.57/mile, down 15 cents
  • Los Angeles-Denver: $2.87/mile, up 3 cents
  • Grand Rapids-Atlanta: $1.92/mile, up 2 cents

Flatbeds stay flat: Very little movement in the flatbed trendlines as load posts increased 1 percent while truck posts declined 3 percent last week. The national average spot flatbed rate added 1 cent to $2.09/mile. At 38.3, the flatbed load-to-truck ratio remains strong, however.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

March records massive increase in cross-border freight

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in March trucks moved nearly 64 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.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 16 percent compared with February when freight was down nearly 2 percent from the previous month. This marks the largest month-to-month increase since March 2011 when NAFTA freight was up more than 22 percent compared to February 2011.

Compared to March 2016, freight was up 11 percent. This marks the fifth consecutive month of year-to-year increases. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

March’s significant increase was the largest year-to-year increase since February 2012 when NAFTA freight increased by 16.1 percent compared to February 2011. This is also the first time the index has reached above $100 billion since October 2014.

August, November and December were the only months to experience 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 were responsible for nearly $64 billion of the $100.289 billion of imports and exports in February. Rail came in second with nearly $16 billion.

Freight totaled $100.289 billion, up nearly $14 billion from the previous month and an increase of nearly $10 billion from March 2016.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 81.3 percent after an increase of 65.2 percent in February. Trucks experienced the smallest decrease at 5 percent. In February, truck freight experienced the largest decrease at 3.6 percent.
 
Nearly 59 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at more than 16 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 11.3 percent compared with March 2016. Of the $49.1 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 69 percent of the loads.

Volvo honors military heroes with Ride for Freedom truck during Run For The Wall

Volvo Trucks’ New River Valley assembly plant in Dublin, Va., unveiled the design of its 2017 Ride for Freedom truck, which honors U.S. military service members. The memorial truck will accompany a motorcade of about 160 motorcycles from the plant to Washington, D.C., during the Run For The Wall motorcycle rally Memorial Day weekend.

 

Volvo Trucks’ New River Valley assembly plant in Dublin, Va., recently unveiled its 2017 Ride for Freedom truck featuring custom-designed graphics that honor the U.S. military. The new Volvo VNR 640 model will travel in a motorcade from the plant to the U.S. capitol to participate in the Ride for Freedom rally during the Memorial Day weekend.

The Run For The Wall pays tribute to those who have been captured or lost their lives while serving in America’s armed forces.

For 26 years, NRV employees and the UAW Local 2069 Veteran Committee have supported the Ride for Freedom event, creating special graphics to salute America’s military heroes. The truck, Volvo’s new Volvo VNR 640 model, features custom-designed graphics that honor America, all branches of the U.S. military, and those who served. The slogan is “We stand for the flag and kneel for the fallen.”

Related story:
Run For The Wall a chance for fellowship, healing

Daimler Trucks opens new High Desert Proving Grounds in Oregon

Daimler Trucks North America has recently completed and opened its new High Desert Proving Grounds in Madras, Ore., according to a DTNA press release.

After nearly two years and $18.7 million, the proving grounds will merge real-world validation of DTNA’s research and development and engineering initiatives. Also, the grounds will help bring new technologies to market faster.

According to the press release, the 87-acre proving ground “is critical for assurance of reliability, durability and fuel efficiency for Freightliner, Western Star, Thomas Built Buses and Freightliner Custom Chassis vehicles.”

One of the major uses for the track will include testing in truck platooning and autonomous vehicles.

The test track is 3.5 miles of highly engineered surfaces that allow engineers to simulate a typical vehicle’s full service life in approximately six months. The 32,000-square-foot office building will be home to up to 40 employees, the majority of whom will be hired locally, with responsibility for both driving and test engineering. Additionally, there are 14 service bays for technicians to work on and inspect the fleet of durability test vehicles.

TMAF reveals mascot

Trucking Moves America Forward unveiled a mascot that aims to promote the organization’s goal of presenting a positive image of truck drivers and the trucking industry. The presentation was Thursday, May 18, at a Pilot Flying J in Knoxville, Tenn.

 

Kevin Burch, co-chairman of Trucking Moves America Forward, said the mascot will be an “attention-grabber” that will share the organization’s story with the public.

While the red, white and blue mascot with a trucker’s hat was revealed, it still doesn’t have a name. TMAF launched a naming contest, and suggestions can be sent to mascot@truckingmovesamerica.com.

TMAF said it will collect the submissions in the coming weeks before allowing the public to vote on the finalists through social media sometime next month.

DAT Solutions: Spring harvests help reefer rates

Last week, the national average van rate on DAT MembersEdge gave up 2 cents after hitting its highest point since January. Likewise, the national flatbed rate dipped a penny after reaching its highest level in nearly two years the week before.

And the reefer rate? Things were looking up during the week ending May 13, thanks to produce from California and Central Florida. Let’s look at the trendlines:

Load posts dip: The number of load posts on DAT MembersEdge edged down 2 percent last week while truck posts were up 2 percent. That led to lower load-to-truck ratios for reefers and flatbeds:

  • Van ratio: 3.3 loads per truck, unchanged
  • Reefer ratio: 6.1, down 6 percent after a nice uptick the previous week
  • Flatbed ratio: 36.9, down 6 percent

Van and flatbed rates lower: The national average van rate was $1.68/mile, down 2 cents, while the flatbed rate was $2.08/mile, off 1 cent. The reefer rate was $1.99/mile, up 2 cents. This is the highest weekly average spot reefer rate in the past four months.

Reefer trends: On the top 72 lanes for spot reefer freight, 51 lanes had higher rates last week. That comes despite uneven production out of Florida, shipping gaps in California, and a drop in volumes in markets near the Mexican border. Overall, reefer load posts on MembersEdge declined 1 percent while truck posts increased 5 percent.

Miami down, Lakeland up: Miami outbound faded but high demand from Lakeland kept rates in Florida from falling too much. Key lane: Lakeland-Baltimore surged 40 cents to $2.68/mile on average.

Make it a dozen: In terms of rates, produce from California is running about a month ahead of last year when the state was in a drought. Two markets to watch: Fresno, where the average outbound rate jumped 12 cents to $2.14/mile, and Los Angeles, also up 12 cents, at $2.57/mile.

Van trends: Nationally, van load posts and truck posts increased 1 percent last week. Volumes have been fairly flat since March but still ahead of last year. No major van markets made big moves in one direction or the other last week, but outbound rates in Houston ($1.76/mile, up 3 cents) and Los Angeles ($2.01/mile, unchanged) have both improved by 5 percent over the past month.

Put your shorts on: The average length of haul in the van market decreased last week, so the biggest rate increases were generally on shorter, regional lanes:

  • Atlanta-Charlotte: $2.40/mile, up 23 cents
  • Philadelphia-Boston: $3.18/mile, up 16 cents (but remember, return loads are hard to come by and they generally don't pay well)
  • Houston-New Orleans: $2.53/mile, up 15 cents
  • Memphis-Indianapolis: $1.89/mile, up 12 cents

Long hauls down: Since the average length of haul was down, it’s no surprise that the biggest declines last week were on long-haul lanes. Intermodal companies have also been competing for market share lately with aggressive pricing, which has pushed truckload rates lower on longer lanes that compete with rail.

Flatbed volume slips: Flatbed load posts declined 3 percent after giving up 12 percent the prior week. Truck posts increased 3 percent.

Tri-haul of the week: Memphis and Columbus are distribution hubs. As a lane pair, van rates are often pretty balanced in both directions. But last week, van loads from Memphis to Columbus paid $1.99/mile on average while Columbus to Memphis paid just $1.53/mile. If you have the desire and hours, you can turn the trip into a tri-haul and regain some of that balance. Instead of going straight back to Memphis, take a load from Columbus to Bloomington, Ill., which paid an average of $1.89/mile last week. From Bloomington, loads to Memphis paid an average of $1.92. Not counting deadhead, the extra leg of the trip adds 213 miles but your average rate per loaded mile goes from $1.76 to $1.94, which works out to an extra $627.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

Eaton, Cummins form joint venture to build automated transmissions

With their eyes set on becoming the “world’s leading powertrain supplier,” Eaton and Cummins have teamed up to form a 50/50 joint venture to build automated transmission for heavy- and medium-duty commercial vehicles.

Cummins is shelling out $600 million in cash to Eaton to receive 50 percent of the transmission-building business. The deal is subject to approval by the federal government, but it is expected to close sometime in the third quarter of 2017.

While the joint venture cash deal is new, this isn’t the first time Eaton and Cummins have teamed up in the powertrain development business. Drawing from a long history of collaboration, Eaton officials are very optimistic about the success of the Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies venture.

“We really think this gives us an opportunity to build on that successful history and do a much better job of deeper integration engines – both for our OEM customers and Cummins as well,” Craig Arnold, Eaton chairman and chief executive officer told media on a conference call following the announcement.

Truckers, along with OEM and parts providers, know that change has been fast and furious over the past several years. That, in part prompted the joint venture.

“The commercial vehicle industry has been through multiple rounds of regulatory changes and is in the midst of a number of changes as we look forward. We had emission standards that went into place in 2010. And the EPA is on track for another round of emission standards that go into effect in 2024,” Allen said.

“The engine manufacturers and transmission manufacturers, namely Cummins and Eaton in this case, also have to go through a number of changes. We really think this puts together two of the world’s leading powertrain suppliers into what we think is a strong combination that will position our respective businesses to deliver for our customers.”

Cummins CEO was equally optimistic about the partnership.

“Our (joint venture) with Eaton will deliver the most advanced automated transmissions and develop an integrated powertrain and service network that supports our customers like never before. Just as we’ve done for the past 100 years, we will use our experience in partnerships and technological expertise to ensure our customers’ success,” said Tom Linebarger, chairman and CEO of Cummins.

Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies will design, assemble, sell and support all future medium- and heavy-duty automated transmissions. Eaton’s next generation heavy-duty transmissions will be part of the joint venture. However, the Eaton Cummins duo will market, sell and support Eaton’s current automated heavy-duty transmissions to OEMs.

Eaton will retain its global transmission and clutch businesses as well as its current generation transmission business outside of North America.

DAT Solutions: What’s up? Right now, spot TL rates

Everybody wants a little good news these days, so we’ll put this right up front: Last week ended with national average spot van and reefer truckload rates on DAT MembersEdge at their highest marks since January, and the flatbed rate as high as it’s been in nearly two years.

Sure, freight availability was tighter. The number of available loads on MembersEdge fell 6 percent compared to the previous week while truck posting activity was virtually unchanged (down 0.4 percent). Still, load-to-truck ratios increased for reefer freight and dipped for vans and flatbeds:

  • Van ratio: 3.3 loads per truck, down 3 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 6.5, up 11 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 39.4, down 12 percent

Let’s look at the trends:

Ups and downs: The national average spot flatbed rate edged up 2 cents to $2.09/mile. This is an average, remember, because flatbed rates have been volatile on a lane-to-lane basis:

  • Las Vegas-Los Angeles, $2.96/mile, up 64 cents
  • Las Vegas-Stockton, $1.98/mile, down 60 cents
  • Reno-Los Angeles, $2.33/mile, up 39 cents
  • Harrisburg-Springfield, Mass., $3.78/mile, down 31 cents
  • Savannah-Charlotte, $3.48/mile, up 55 cents
  • Rock Island, Ill.-Grand Rapids, $2.91/mile, up 47 cents

Flatbed load availability drops: The number of flatbed load posts decreased 12 percent while truck posts were unchanged last week.

Van trends: The national average van rate climbed to $1.70/mile amid a 3 percent decline in freight volume while truck posts held steady.

Mo’ better van lanes: Van lanes with rising rates continue to outnumber falling lanes on a week-to-week basis, with 52 of the top 100 lanes higher, 37 paying less, and 17 unchanged. Average outbound van rates in key markets:

  • Los Angeles: $2.02/mile, up 4 cents
  • Chicago: $1.89/mile, down 1 cents
  • Atlanta: $1.92/mile, up 1 cent
  • Philadelphia: $1.64/mile, down 4 cents

Houston averaged $1.73/mile, up 5 cents. Two notable lanes showed increases: Houston-Chicago up 13 cents to $1.47/mile and Houston-New Orleans also 13 cents higher to $2.38/mile.

Reefer loads fertile: The national average spot reefer rate moved 3 cents higher to $1.97/mile as load posts increased 9 percent while truck posts declined 2 percent.

You say tomato: Key trend in vans and reefers: spot rates out of California are trending up thanks to tomato production. That’s good for reefer freight but processed and canned tomatoes in paste and sauces are also a boon for vans. From June to October last year, California shipped 500,000 loads of processed tomato products.

Trihaul of the week: Van loads from Philadelphia have been soft and inbound rates on many lanes are up as a result. You can use that to your advantage when putting together a Trihaul.

Van loads from Chicago-Philadelphia paid an average of $2.19/mile last week, and instead of taking the $1.12/mile backhaul from Philly, break the return trip into two legs. Grab a load to Pittsburgh, which paid $2.09/mile on average, then go Pittsburgh-Chicago at an average of $1.48/mile. Not counting deadhead, the extra drop and pick would add just 6 miles to the trip while boosting your revenue $468, assuming you can work it all into your hours of service.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

Freight index for March decreases slightly

The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals March freight was down for trucking, rail carloads, rail intermodal and water freight, leading to a decrease in the index compared to February. Air and pipeline freight were the only two modes to experience growth in March.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for March fell 1.5 percent to 124. This comes after the index reached an all-time high in February at 126.4, replacing the former all-time high of 125.2 set in July 2016.

The March index is 30.9 percent above the low set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight fell to 137.4 from 138.1, a decrease of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 1 percent in March to 137.5 from 138.8 in February. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, the TSI’s downward movement comes amid mixed signals in the economy. Housing starts declined and gross domestic product growth slowed down to 0.7 percent from 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter 2016. Employment and personal income grew, with the unemployment rate reaching its lowest in a decade.

E-ZPass grace period in Massachusetts ends

Connecticut and Vermont residents who frequently drive in Massachusetts might want to consider acquiring an E-ZPass if they do not already have one. Massachusetts has ended its grace period allowing pay-by-play drivers the same toll rates as E-ZPass users.

Last October, the Massachusetts Turnpike switched to all-electronic tolling, paving the way for discounted rates for E-ZPass transponder users. To ease into the transition, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced a six-month grace period for drivers to obtain a transponder.

That six months is up, and all non-E-ZPass drivers will have to pay a higher toll rate. For example, a five-axle vehicle paying by plate will now pay $4.70 at the Sumner Tunnel compared with $4.40 for E-ZPass users.

For privately owned two-axle vehicles, the difference is steeper. E-ZPass users will pay only $1.50. However, that toll increases to $2.05 if paying by plate.

Although Connecticut currently does not have any tolls, a House bill in the General Assembly may change that. If passed, HB6058 will authorize the Department of Transportation to build, maintain and operate tolls. Such a move could make obtaining an E-ZPass less optional for residents.

For more information about E-ZPass in Massachusetts, visit EZDriveMA.com.

Trucking job numbers down a smidge in April

Transportation jobs scored a third consecutive month of job gains in April. The transport sector netted 3,500 jobs to the economy. Trucking jobs were just slightly down, but are still in the black year-to-date.

So far, the trucking subsector for 2017 has a net gain of 13,800 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of 100 jobs in April after the industry gained 4,700 in March and 10,600 in February. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. In January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

Couriers and messengers experienced the largest increase with 3,200 more jobs, followed by warehousing and storage at 2,500. Transit and ground passenger transportation experienced the largest loss for the second consecutive month with 4,400 fewer jobs, trailed by air and rail transportation with 500 jobs lost each. Only five of 10 subsectors experienced gains, making couriers/messengers and warehousing largely responsible for the transportation sector’s net increase.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.68 for April – a 2-cent increase from March and up 60 cents from April 2016. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 3 cents to $21.17 from the previous month, 29 cents year-to-year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.19, 7 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent or 65 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations lowered to 5.7 percent compared with 6.8 percent last April, and down from 6.2 percent in March. The overall unemployment rate for the country was down to 4.4 percent from 4.5 percent the previous month, the lowest it has been since May 2007. The number of long-term unemployed was down slightly at 1.6 million, accounting for nearly 23 percent of the unemployed.

Power Service and Cummins announced endorsement partnership

Power Service products recently announced an endorsement partnership with the world’s largest manufacturer of diesel engines. Cummins Inc. now officially endorses and recommends two Power Service products – Diesel Kleen +Cetane Boost and Diesel Fuel Supplement +Cetane Boost – for use in diesel engines.

The announcement comes after significant internal testing concluded that both products meet Cummins requirements, becoming the first fuel additive products Cummins Inc. has ever officially recommended in the marketplace.

Roger England, director of technical quality and materials engineering for Cummins Inc., stated, “In recent years diesel fuel quality has become increasingly important as engines evolve and the diesel fuel manufacturing processes change.”

England said the Power Service Diesel Kleen and Diesel Fuel Supplement additives provide easily-accessible solutions with proven technology to customers in the field when they encounter challenges with their fuel such as poor lubricity, low cetane numbers, low temperature operability issues, injector deposits, etc.

“Cummins Inc. is in a very unique position in that we design not only the engine but also the turbochargers, fuel system, and after treatment systems, which enables us to fully leverage the Power Service diesel fuel additive technologies,” said England.

Diesel Fuel Supplement +Cetane Boost, recommended for use in cold winter months when temperatures drop below +30F, is a winterizer/anti-gel used to prevent fuel gelling and keep fuel-filters from plugging with ice and wax. When temperatures drop, paraffin (wax) in Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel fuel (ULSD) will gel, stopping fuel from flowing through the engine and water in the fuel can freeze on the facings of fuel-filters, blocking fuel flow.  

“When Cummins and Power Service began to discuss the endorsement partnership, it was a culmination of 60 years of hard work and dedication to developing the most consistent and effective diesel additives on the market,” said President of Power Service Products Ed Kramer.

Stoughton recalling thousands of dry van trailers

Stoughton Trailers is recalling more than 4,000 dry van single-axle trailers, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. An issue with the suspension is the reason for the recall.

More specifically, 2017-2018 Stoughton DAVW and DVW 285S dry van single-axle trailers are affected. The outside welds that attach the front suspension hangers to the subframe may crack, allowing the front hanger to detach, according to a NHTSA recall document. If the hangers detach, the axle assemblies will break loose from the trailer, causing a loss of vehicle control and increasing the risk of a crash.

Owners will be notified by Stoughton, who will inspect the hanger for cracks and repair as necessary. Gussets inside the subframe will be installed as well. Stoughton has not released a notification schedule as of press time.

For more information, contact Stoughton at 608-873-2500.

Kenworth offers Meritor Wabco OnGuardACTIVE in T680 and T880 trucks

Kenworth is now offering the Meritor Wabco OnGuardACTIVE system as an option for T680 and T880 trucks, according to a press release.

OnGuardACTIVE is an “advanced radar-based safety system that is always on and features forward collision warning, collision mitigation and adaptive cruise control,” according to Kenworth.

The system measures the truck’s position in relation to other vehicles and objects; detects moving, stopped or stationary vehicles ahead; and uses audible, visual and short brake pulse warnings to alert the driver of a possible rear-end collision. When appropriate, OnGuardACTIVE will apply the brakes to help avoid or mitigate a rear-end collision.

For more information, visit MeritorWabco.com.

DAT Solutions: Solid April gives way to May

The final week of any month usually means a bump in freight activity as shippers move goods prior to closing their books. But load posts on DAT MembersEdge edged up only slightly during the week ending April 29 – just a 2 percent increase. With truck posts rising 8 percent, load-to-truck ratios fell:

  • Van ratio: 3.4 loads per truck, down 4 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 5.8, down 13 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 44.5, down 7 percent (but still high)

While April may have ended quietly, rates rose for all trailer types during the month and load-to-truck ratios were above seasonal norms, signaling a strong start to the second quarter.

Let’s look at the trends:

National average rates:

  • Vans: The national average van rate dipped 1 cent to $1.67/mile, but that rate is still 4 cents higher than the March average
  • Reefers: The national reefer rate was $1.94/mile for the third week in a row, but 7 cents better than the March average
  • Flatbeds: The average flatbed rate was unchanged at $2.07/mile throughout April, and 4 cents better than the March average

Van trends: Nationally, van load posts increased 4 percent while truck posts increased 8 percent. On the top 100 van lanes, 50 were down in volume, 41 were up, and nine were neutral. Most changes were slight, though.

Van lanes with rate gains:

  • Los Angeles outbound jumped 3 cents to $2.00/mile
  • Seattle-Spokane hit $2.48/mile, up 6 cents
  • Houston-New Orleans rose 8 cents to $2.28/mile
  • Houston-Oklahoma City added 10 cents for $1.91/mile, a springtime high 

Faltering Philly: Outbound freight volume and rates declined in Philadelphia ($1.68/mile, down 6 cents), giving up gains made earlier in the month. Philadelphia-Boston tumbled 22 cents to an average of $3.12/mile.

Flatbed L/T ratio down slightly: After a 20 percent gain last week, the flatbed load-to-truck ratio settled down 2 percent to 44.5. Flatbed load posts increased 2 percent while truck posts were up 10 percent.

Reefers slip: Reefer load posts declined 5 percent while truck posts increased 10 percent. But compared to the same period in 2015 and 2016, reefer load-to-truck ratios are solid – and a positive sign for truckers.

Border bounce: If you looked at the national average reefer rate, you might think that there wasn’t much happening in the spot market. But there was an influx of produce crossing the Mexican border last week, and reefer load-to-truck ratios surged in Nogales, Laredo, and especially McAllen, where volumes soared 64 percent.

Florida falling: After wildfires interrupted traffic in Florida, produce started moving out of the state again last week. Key outbound lanes:

  • Miami-northern New Jersey reefer rates were up 17 cents to $2.26/mile
  • Lakeland-Baltimore added 24 cents to $2.24/mile

California flat: A higher load count out of the Fresno area was offset by declines farther south in California. In fact, California was behind Texas, Florida, and Georgia for reefer load availability.

We’re hearing a lot about shipping gaps in California due to delays in planting because of an unusually wet winter, which explains the flat volumes last week. The upside is that the best is yet to come, as the multiyear drought is mostly finished, and California produce should be gaining strength in the coming weeks.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

Double Coin steps up retread warranty

CMA/Double Coin has enhanced their retread warranty to seven years and three retreads for all Double Coin Truck & Bus Radial tire products.

“We have been tracking Double Coin casings’ performance through various channels for the past eight years,” said Walt Weller, senior vice president of CMA/Double Coin. “The data shows that our TBR casings tires are extremely durable, and will retread as well as any major brand casings. We decided to put our money where our mouth is and extend the warranty.”  

The new seven-year three-retread warranty on truck and bus radial tires increases the warranty to two additional years and one additional retread from five years and two retreads on all truck and bus radial tires. This also provides an additional retread for all OptiGreen Series Fuel-Efficient TBR tires.

Double Coin made the announcement in April at the North American Tire & Retread Expo in New Orleans.

Cross-border freight continues year-to-year increase trend

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in February trucks moved more than 63 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. However, only air and truck freight decreased across all five modes.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by nearly 2 percent compared with January when freight was up 1 percent from the previous month.

Compared to February 2016, freight was up nearly 3 percent. This marks the fourth consecutive month of year-to-year increases. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

August, November and December were the only months to experience 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 were responsible for nearly $55 billion of the $86.4 billion of imports and exports in February. Rail came in second with more than $14 billion.

Freight totaled $86.474 billion, down nearly $1.5 billion from the previous month but an increase of more than $2.4 billion from February 2016.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 65.2 percent after an increase of 42.7 percent in January. Trucks experienced the largest decrease at 3.6 percent. In January, truck freight experienced the smallest increase when all five modes were up.
 
Nearly 58 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at nearly 17 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 1.5 percent compared with February 2016. Of the $42.1 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 69 percent of the loads.

PrePass launches InfoRM, a tool to improve inspection selection scores

PrePass has just become much more than a convenient way to bypass weigh stations. The electronic pre-screening company recently announced the launch of InfoRM, a database that provides customers with inspection and safety information.

InfoRM (Information and Reports Manager) is designed to allow truckers to identify areas of improvement by generating a snapshot of Inspection Selection System score factors. The system provides information about roadside inspections and determines how ISS safety scores can change. Data includes CVIEW/SAFER records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and info from more than 100 different government sources.

Features include:

  • Interactive map of truck inspection and violations filtered by state, city, and highway;
  • Filters to search by VIN number, site, violation type and other parameters to identify trends; and 
  • Historical views of inspections and violations, with the ability to export data for reporting purposes.

The new system can be used on PCs and tablets at no additional cost to PrePass customers.

For more information about InfoRM, PrePass customers can call 800-773-7277.

DAT Solutions: The more things change…

When you look at the rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight, they may look like more of the same: national average spot truckload rates on DAT MembersEdge were unchanged during the week ending April 22.

But the number of available loads jumped 10 percent compared to the previous week and capacity tightened 1.5 percent.

If you’re a trucker, more loads are good news. Indeed, load-to-truck ratios gained for all three equipment types:

  • Van ratio: 3.6 loads per truck, up 11 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 6.7, up 2 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 47.8, up 20 percent

So while national average rates stayed the same week over week, in many major markets they’re on a slow springtime climb. Let’s look at the trends:

Vans get stronger: The national average van rate was unchanged at $1.68/mile. Lanes with rising rates continue to outnumber falling lanes on a week-to-week basis but not enough to bump up the national average.

Southern cooking: The top five markets for van load posts were all in the South:

  1. Atlanta, $1.94/mile, up 2 cents
  2. Charlotte, $1.91/mile, down 1 cent
  3. Houston, $1.66/mile, down 1 cent
  4. Dallas, $1.64/mile, up 5 cents
  5. Memphis, $1.95/mile, unchanged

Rate-toppers: The average rate on these van lanes hit their highest rates in the last six weeks:

  • Philadelphia-Boston jumped up 27 cents to $3.34/mile
  • Memphis-Columbus hit $1.89/mile, up 14 cents
  • Dallas-Denver rose 11 cents to $1.94/mile
  • Stockton-Seattle added 15 cents for $2.18/mile 

Speed bumps: Buffalo and Denver are the only van markets where outbound rates are down more than 1 percent for the month.

Flatbed L/T ratio peaks: The flatbed load-to-truck ratio jumped 20 percent to 47.8 loads per truck last week. That’s the highest weekly flatbed load-to-truck ratio in years. Flatbed load posts increased 14 percent while truck posts declined 5 percent. The national average flatbed rate was, you guessed it, unchanged at $2.07/mile.

Reefer rates hold: The national average reefer rate was unchanged at $1.94/mile. The largest drop last week was on the lane from Chicago-Philadelphia, which fell 23 cents to $2.37/mile.

Florida falling: Last week reefer load posts held steady while truck posts declined 2 percent. One market where freight patterns are shifting: Florida. Volumes were down and wildfires and evacuations made it more expensive to move freight:

  • Miami-Boston reefer rates were up 23 cents to $2.14/mile
  • Lakeland, Fla.-Baltimore climbed 26 cents to $2.00/mile

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/trendlines, comment on the DAT Freight Talk blog, or go to Facebook. On Twitter you can tweet your questions to us @LoadBoards and have your questions answered by DAT Industry Analyst Mark Montague.

SuperRigs’ 35th anniversary scheduled for May 18-20 in Tulsa

It’s truck show season, and one of the biggest shows of the year will be celebrating its 35th anniversary. The 35th Shell Rotella SuperRigs will be held on May 18-20 at the Exchange Center at Expo Square in Tulsa, Okla., off Route I-44, Highway 51 and I-244.

The theme this year? Titans of Tulsa.

With one of the most popular truck beauty contests for actively working trucks, SuperRigs will feature a variety of eye-candy trucks. The contest will award 24 working trucks in categories including Best of Show, Tractor, Tractor/Trailer Combination, and Classic.

Cash prizes valued at more than $25,000 will be given out after trucks are judged by industry professionals at major trucking publications and broadcast companies. Judges will be paying attention to exterior appearance, design, detail/finish, originality and workmanship. Land Line Magazine Managing Editor Jami Jones will be back judging again this year.

Twelve drivers will be selected to have their trucks featured in the 2018 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar.

SuperRigs is more than just trucks. Attractions include vendors, a scavenger hunt, prizes, games, the Rotella Road Show, and the Rotella T6 BBQ Pitt. While in Tulsa, attendees can also check out a Tulsa Drillers Minor League ballgame, flea markets and fairs.

For more information and updates, visit Rotella.com and follow the social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

PennDOT and Trillium CNG open the first of 29 CNG stations in the state

The push for alternative fuels is making some progress in Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced the opening of a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station that is part of a public private partnership. The deal will include 29 CNG stations.

With a 20-year public private partnership agreement with PennDOT, Trillium CNG will be building, financing and operating 29 CNG fueling stations at public transit agency sites. The deal is part of an $84.5 million statewide project.

Currently, the project will allow public access to CNG fueling stations at six transit agency sites. Options to add sites to the public could be made available in the future. The latest opening in Johnstown is open to the public, including trucks.

PennDOT has been guaranteed at least $2.1 million in royalties for each gallon of fuel sold to the public, approximately at 15 percent. Using a private company will speed up the building process and save the state about $46 million.

The public private partnership was created to provide fuel for public transit vehicles, although some locations will be open to the public. Once the project is completed, filling stations will provide fuel for more than 1,600 CNG PennDOT buses.

DAT Solutions: Back(haul) to work

Spot market volumes usually dip in the week before Easter, as shippers close early on Good Friday and truck drivers book loads home for the holiday.

That combination – a little less freight to haul, a little more motivation on the part of trucker – tends to tamp down rates on the spot market.

Still, the 2.4 percent drop in load counts during the week ending April 15 wasn’t as steep as expected. And rates on DAT MembersEdge, for the most part, stayed firm. The national average spot van rate fell 1 cent to $1.68/mile; the flatbed rate was unchanged at $2.07/mile, while agricultural markets pushed the reefer rate up 1 cent to $1.94/mile.

With 8 percent fewer van load posts last week, the national average van load-to-truck ratio dipped from 3.4 to 3.2 loads per truck. The flatbed ratio increased slightly to 39.7 loads per truck but remains strong, while a 2 percent decline in volume caused the reefer ratio to slip 4 percent to 6.6 loads per truck.

Here’s what’s driving trends on DAT MembersEdge in key markets:

California and Southwest: Lettuce, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower—they’re all shipping now, with strawberries coming out of Oxnard and the Santa Maria districts. And with Cinco de Mayo around the corner, more avocados are crossing the border at Nogales, Ariz. (where the average reefer rate jumped 14 cents a mile). Out of Los Angeles, the average reefer rate jumped 5 cents to $2.39/mile; the van rate was unchanged at $1.90/mile.

Atlanta: Volumes declined and the average spot rate dropped 2 cents to $1.92/mile but Atlanta was still the top van market last week. Memphis-Atlanta, a big inbound lane, fell 17 cents to an average of $2.07/mile, giving back a 13-cent gain from the previous week and then some.

Columbus, Ohio: Columbus, a jumping off point for van freight moving into the Northeast, saw the average outbound van rate decline 3 cents to $1.89/mile. Rates also fell in Buffalo and Philadelphia, signaling slower traffic into the region.

Florida: It’s coming on strong with sweet corn, potatoes, mixed veggies and melons. Key reefer lanes surged:

  • Lakeland-Charlotte: $2.06/mile, up 49 cents
  • Lakeland-Atlanta: $1.65/mile, up 22 cents
  • Miami-Baltimore: $2.15/mile, up 39 cents

Grand Rapids, Mich.: Reduced shipments of fresh eggs and stored apples dragged down reefer rates last week. On average, Grand Rapids fell 3 cents to $2.67/mile, and two key lanes took a hit: Grand Rapids-Madison tumbled 32 cents to $2.01/mile while Grand Rapids-Cleveland skidded 10 cents to $3.18/mile.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

Toyota unveils hydrogen fuel cell truck for California port study

Toyota Motor North America has announced its “Project Portal,” a hydrogen fuel cell system for heavy-duty trucks at the Port of Los Angeles. The concept will study fuel cell technology in a zero-emission truck.

In a press conference with the California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission, the truck manufacturer’s feasibility study with the concept truck will begin this summer as part of the Port’s Clean Air Action Plan. Established in 1995, the plan reduces harmful emission from Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles operations.

The hydrogen fuel cell concept truck will be a fully functioning heavy-duty truck with enough power and torque to for port drayage work “while emitting nothing but water vapor,” according to a Toyota press release. The truck generates more than 670 horsepower and 1,325 lb-ft of torque from two Mirai fuel cell stacks and a 12kWh battery, a relatively small battery to support class 8 load operations. The concept’s gross combined weight capacity is 80,000 lbs., and its estimated driving range is more than 200 miles per fill, under normal drayage operation.

Listening session about automated commercial vehicles planned

Automation continues to be a hot topic in the trucking industry, and soon truck drivers will have the opportunity to provide their two cents on the subject.

Later this month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will host a public listening session to solicit information on issues relating to the design, development, testing and deployment of highly automated commercial vehicles.

The listening session will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon EDT on Monday, April 24, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta in the Regency Ballroom. Interested parties will have the opportunity to share their views and any data or analysis on this topic with representatives of the agency.

Participation in the listening session is free. FMCSA will post specific information on how to participate via the internet at the FMCSA website in advance of the session.

More information about the listening session can be found here.

DAT Solutions: On the spot market, spring is producing

The overall number of available loads on DAT MembersEdge slipped 2 percent during the first week of April – normal compared to the last week of March, when shippers are rushing to move freight before closing their books on Q1.

Still, national average spot rates for all three equipment types were up during the week ending April 8:

  • Vans: $1.69/mile, up 6 cents
  • Reefers: $1.93/mile, up 6 cents
  • Flatbeds: $2.07/mile, up 4 cents

Diesel rose another 2 cents to a national average of $2.58/gallon.

Reefer, van volumes slip: The number of reefer load posts was virtually unchanged compared to the previous week while reefer truck posts fell 1 percent. The reefer load-to-truck ratio gained a percentage point to 6.8 loads per truck. A 6 percent drop in van load posts contributed to an 8 percent dip in the van ratio, which hit 3.4 loads per truck.

Flatbeds in demand: Flatbeds continue to be in high demand although the load-to-truck ratio dipped slightly last week. Flatbed load posts held steady and truck posts increased 4 percent, which sent the flatbed load-to-truck ratio down 4 percent to 39.1.

Here’s what’s driving trends on DAT MembersEdge in key markets:

Atlanta: About that collapsed interstate … Van load counts in Atlanta rose and the average outbound rate gained 2 cents to $1.94/mile last week. Rates increased on major inbound lanes, unusual for this time of year. Memphis-Atlanta paid 13 cents better at an average of $2.23/mile compared to last week.

Charlotte: Freight volumes and rates slipped in Charlotte, which lost fruit in a mid-March freeze. That seemed to have a spillover effect into van capacity: Charlotte van rates dropped 3 cents to $1.89/mile.

Lakeland, Fla.: Produce is picking up momentum as the average outbound reefer rate from Lakeland gained 9 cents to $1.48/mile. Still low for the Southeast but a good harbinger for the rest of the month.

Nogales, Ariz.: We expect reefer load counts to pick up here and in border markets as avocados ship ahead of Cinco de Mayo. At $2.04/mile, McAllen, Texas, was unchanged compared to the previous week. Shipments out of the Santa Maria District pushed rates up out of the Fresno market, while Los Angeles reefer freight averaged $2.34/mile, up 7 cents.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at DAT.com/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.

February freight index reaches new all-time high

The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals February freight was up for all freight transportation modes except pipeline, leading to an increase in the index compared to January.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for February rose 1.5 percent to 126.4. After adjustments from last month, this marks a new all-time high for the index, replacing the former all-time high of 125.2 set in July 2016.

The February index is 33.5 percent above the low set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went up to 138.4 from 137.6, an increase of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 0.1 percent in February to 138.7 from 138.9 in January. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, the TSI’s upward movement comes amid similar signals in the economy. Employment, housing starts and personal income all increased in February. Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers’ Index also revealed improvement.

Two NHTSA recall investigations affect nearly 250,000 Cascadia trucks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently opened two recall investigations for certain Freightliner Cascadia trucks. One recall deals with a steering defect, and the other defect affects the wiper motor. Nearly 250,000 trucks are potentially affected between the two issues.

The first defect investigation affects an estimated 50,000 2016-2017 Cascadia trucks. According to NHTSA documents, the capscrews that secure the lower steering arm to the steering knuckle on the tie rod may fail without warning.

One crash that resulted in two fatalities has been reported.

In September 2015, Daimler Trucks North America issued a similar recall (15V-613) for 2016 Freightliner Cascadia, Business Class M2, 108SD, 114SD, 122SD, Coronado Glider, and Columbia Glider trucks. Nearly 11,000 trucks were affected in that recall.

In the 2015 recall, axles were built in Mexico with insufficient torque applied to steering arm capscrews. According to NHTSA, only 62 percent of affected trucks have completed the remedy to date.

On Oct. 23, 2016, a 2017 Cascadia was involved in a crash where both the driver and co-driver were killed along Interstate 57 in Illinois. An investigation found that “the steering linkage separation occurred at the lower steering arm capscrews on the driver side.”

NHTSA is currently investigating to determine whether or not a larger population of trucks should have been included in the recall from 2015.

In a separate investigation, NHTSA is looking into a wiper defect affecting nearly 200,000 2015-2016 Cascadia trucks. According to investigation documents, “The wiper motor intermittently ceases to operate causing a loss of vision while driving and increasing the risk of a crash.”

Field reports reveal that multiple vehicles were affected, with some trucks experiencing the issues multiple times. Replacing the wiper motor appeared to resolve the problem.

In one situation, the wipers quit working when a driver switched the wiper speed from intermediate to high during a rainstorm. As a result of the loss of visibility, the driver lost control and hit an embankment.

DTNA has collected wiper motors from trucks reported to experience failure. However, in each case DTNA claims the motor worked and the manufacturer was unable to duplicate the failure. The investigation has been upgraded to an Engineering Analysis, according to NHTSA documents.

Knight, Swift to merge in all-stock deal

The boards of directors of Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation struck an all-stock merger of the two companies, creating the largest all truckload carrier in the U.S.

The deal was announced in a joint press release issued by the two motor carriers on Monday, April 10. The merger lands Knight-Swift firmly in the top five largest for hire motor carriers, trailing UPS, FedEx, XPO and J.B. Hunt.

The two companies combined have a revenue of $5.1 billion, roughly $1.1 billion less than J.B. Hunt. However, according to the press release, the merged Knight-Swift operation will continue to focus on full truckload freight, as opposed to J.B. Hunt’s more diversified operations including less-than-truckload and intermodal freight. Thus, it will be the largest for-hire truckload carrier in the U.S.

“The holding company structure will enable the Knight and Swift businesses to operate under common ownership and share best practices, while maintaining distinct brands and operations,” the merger press release stated. “The company will remain headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., operating with approximately 23,000 tractors, 77,000 trailers, and 28,000 employees.”

The all-stock deal means that Knight stockholders will get one Knight-Swift share for each share of Knight stock they held. Swift stockholders will get 0.72 shares of Knight-Swift stock for each share of Swift they held before the merger.

The value of the stock shares was based on close of trading on Friday, April 7.

At that time Knight shares closed at $30.65 and Swift closed at $20.02 per share, according to Nasdaq.com. Swift’s implied value, or what it’s expected to be following the announcement of the merger, was reported in the press release at $22.07. The merged Knight-Swift leadership expects to pay quarterly dividends of 6 cents per share following the merger.

The makeup of the board of directors and management team will be split between Knight and Swift operations. However, chairman of the board and company executive seats will be taken by Knight Transportation individuals.

Of course, Swift founder Jerry Moyes will be on the board, along with three other Swift representatives. The remaining 10 board seats will be filled by the current members of the Knight Transportation Board of Directors.

Day-to-day operations will be run by Executive Chairman Kevin Knight and CEO Dave Jackson, both of Knight Transportation.

The deal hinges on a final vote by Swift and Knight shareholders. The Jerry Moyes family, which owns 56 percent Swift stock, and the Knight family, who hold approximately 10 percent of the Knight stock, all agree to vote in favor of the merger.

Trucking sector gains more jobs in March, nets nearly 14,000 for the year

After a strong month in February, March followed with another positive month for transportation jobs. The transport sector netted 3,500 jobs to the economy, including nearly 5,000 trucking jobs. February’s employment surge was the largest since April 2013 when the subsector grew by 11,700 jobs.

So far, the trucking subsector for 2017 has a net gain of 13,900 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 4,700 jobs in March after the industry gained 10,600 in February and lost 1,400 in January. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. In January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

The trucking subsector experienced the largest increase by a wide margin for the second consecutive month, followed by air transportation at 2,000. Transit and ground passenger transportation experienced the largest loss with 2,300 fewer jobs, trailed by couriers and messengers with 1,200 jobs lost. Only four of 10 subsectors experienced gains, making trucking and air largely responsible for the transportation sector’s net increase.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.67 for March – a 9-cent increase from February. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 11 cents to $21.14. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.14, 5 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.7 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is unchanged at 6.2 percent compared with last March, but significantly down from 7.3 percent in February. The overall unemployment rate for the country was down to 4.5 percent from 4.7 percent the previous month, the lowest in nearly a decade. The number of long-term unemployed was down slightly at 1.7 million, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the unemployed.

America’s largest expedite trucking show scheduled for July 14-15

Expedite Expo, returns in 2017 with new format designed to optimize interactions between exhibitors and attendees, as well as offering ideas and opportunities. Expedite Expo will be held July 14-15, 2017, at the Lexington Convention Center in downtown Lexington, Ky.

The new format will feature a focus on workshops in the morning each day at 8-11 a.m. Friday, July 14, and 8-10 a.m. Saturday, July 15 – before the show floor opens. Expo producer On Time Media announced that the event will feature dedicated workshops for every type of person attending. The workshops will be organized by tracks – fleet owner, owner-operator, driver and motor carrier.

In addition to floor booths and workshops, as many as 25 to 30 companies that are hiring drivers could be on site at the Expo.
 
Another new feature at the Expo this year is Expediter of the Year award, sponsored by ExpeditersOnline.com. This contest is open to any expedite trucking industry driver, team, or owner-operator based in the United States or Canada. Anyone can nominate a driver, and nominations will be viewed and voted on by a group of trucking professionals. Nominations can be submitted through the ExpeditersOnline.com application process.

The top three nominees will be announced in early June and will be asked to be present at Expedite Expo. The top finalist will receive $500 cash for travel, two nights’ hotel accommodations provided by ExpeditersOnline.com, and an Expediter of the Year plaque.

The Expo offers free registration, convenient free parking and hotel attached to the Convention Center. For more details call 859-746-2046.

DAT Solutions: More freight. What about rates?

Did you find a load last week?

They were out there. The number of available loads on DAT MembersEdge jumped 7.1 percent during the week ending April 1 while truck posts declined 4.9 percent.

Load-to-truck ratios increased for all three equipment types:

  • Van ratio: 3.7 loads per truck, up 10 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 6.7, up 7 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 40.6, up 14 percent

Great news. That’s typically what happens at the end of a quarter, when shippers push freight out the door.

What did more loads and fewer trucks mean for spot rates?

Not much. Let’s look at the trends:

Atlanta flames: The big story last week was the I-85 roadway fire and collapse in Atlanta. Freight going to and from the Carolinas and points to the Northeast will be most affected but account for only about 10 percent of Atlanta’s truck traffic. Atlanta van freight averaged $1.92/mile last week, up 2 cents compared to the previous week.

Van rates steady: The national average van rate held steady at $1.63/mile. On the top 100 van lanes last week, 62 paid better and 10 were neutral. Average outbound rates in key van markets:

  • Los Angeles, $1.89/mile, up 5 cents.
  • Chicago, $1.96/mile, up 3 cents
  • Houston, $1.65/mile, up 4 cents
  • Dallas, $1.60/mile, up 4 cents
  • Memphis, $1.95/mile, up 6 cents

Reefers up a tick: The average spot reefer rate added a penny to $1.87/mile.

Strawberry fields: Many of the most active markets were in California, especially strawberry regions as producers move goods to store shelves ahead of Easter. California ships 87 percent of the strawberries in the country. Average outbound rates increased 6 cents to $1.87/mile from Fresno and 4 cents per mile to $2.28/mile from Los Angeles.

Reefer lanes with gains:

  • Green Bay-Wilmington, Del., $2.97/mile, up 10 cents
  • Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla., $2.62/mile, up 11 cents
  • Lakeland-Chicago, $1.28/mile, unchanged
  • Elizabeth, N.J.-Boston, $3.71/mile, up 5 cents
  • Fresno-Denver is still well below summer pricing, but it picked up 21 cents to $2.14/mile last week

Flatbeds jump: The flatbed load-to-truck ratio jumped 14 percent as load posts increased 7 percent and truck posts decreased 6 percent compared to the previous week. Demand for flatbeds continues to be strong.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

MCS-150 forms causing confusion in California

Some motor carriers in California are receiving a letter from the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding Motor Carrier Identification Report (MCS-150) forms, except there is one problem: They should not have a MCS-150 on file. Here’s what is going on and what exempt truckers in California should do if they receive the letter.

Every two years, carriers required to have a DOT number are obligated to update information via MCS-150. Operations that do not require a DOT number do not need to fill out the form.

However, many carriers who are exempt have received a letter to update their MCS-150, most notably in California. In California, the state assigns all intrastate carriers with a DOT number for its own personal tracking purposes. Many carriers may not even know they have a DOT number.

For example, one exemption includes farmers who transport agricultural commodities within a certain distance or commercial passenger van operators, according to Duane DeBruyne, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spokesperson. Most states would not issue a DOT number, but in California one could be assigned for such carriers.

As a result, blank information has been received by the feds over at FMCSA. Letters being sent out reflect that missing information, unbeknownst to the carriers that anything was ever on file in the first place.

Theoretically, this can cause problems at a scale house when law enforcement officers check their database. If they see an incomplete form, an overzealous officer could technically write up a ticket or cause some delay.

Any motor carriers that are exempt from biennial MCS-150s and received a letter or otherwise suspect they may have one on file are encouraged to contact FMCSA at 800-832-5660, by fax at 202-366-3477 or on their website by clicking here.

ATRI releases online driver survey

The American Transportation Research Institute launched its annual online truck driver survey to receive feedback on the top concerns in the industry.

Last week, ATRI collected more than 500 driver surveys at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. The online version of the same survey is intended to allow a larger number of truck drivers to participate.

“Driver involvement is so critical to ATRI’s research, and we were extremely pleased with the number of surveys completed at MATS,” ATRI President Rebecca Brewster said in a news release. “We encourage drivers to spend a few minutes completing the online survey so that driver opinions are included in the research of these timely issues.”

The survey includes 26 questions on such topics as highway safety, driver retention, and infrastructure.

DAT Solutions: When will spring freight take a leap?

Crushing snow? Drenching rain? Epic heat? No matter where you are, it doesn’t exactly feel like spring. Especially if you’re moving spot truckload freight.

Available capacity on DAT MembersEdge jumped 5.7 percent for the week ending March 25 as truckers hit the road after – you guessed it – another spate of bad weather in the East. While freight volumes picked up on many top lanes, the total number of posted loads last week dipped 0.4 percent. Load-to-truck ratios sagged as well:

  • Van ratio: 3.2 loads per truck, down 6 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 6.3, down 4 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 35.8, down 4 percent

More capacity, less freight, and a 1-cent lower fuel surcharge (diesel fell a penny to $2.53/gallon) caused national average van and reefer spot rates to slide 1 cent per mile. The national average flatbed rate rose 1 cent.

Let’s look at the latest trends:

Vans drop a penny: The national average spot truckload van rate was $1.63/mile, 1 cent lower due to the reduced fuel surcharge.

California? Still dreamin’:Los Angeles-outbound spot van freight averaged $1.83/mile, up 1 cent. Volumes in California are better – good news. While the improvement is slow, as volumes build we should see rates pick up in order to attract capacity.

Hot spots: Texas is the place for van freight, with Dallas adding 3 cents per mile to $1.56/mile. Chicago averaged 2 cents higher at $1.94/mile. Key lane: Chicago-Buffalo, up 18 cents to $2.33/mile.

Reefer rates sluggish: At $1.86/mile, the average spot reefer rate is up just 1.5 percent from late February despite a 14 percent uptick in volume on the high-traffic lanes.

March madness:Denver outbound rates rose 10 cents to $1.38/mile. Denver-Phoenix averaged $1.77/mile, well above the norm. With the NCAA Final Four in Glendale this weekend, those beer coolers apparently need filling.

Calm after the storm: Northeast markets calmed down after the winter weather passed. Elizabeth, N.J.-Boston thawed out, dropping 46 cents to $3.67/mile, and Philadelphia-Boston was down 15 cents to $3.35/mile.

Regional reefer movers: Other reefer markets to watch:

  • Green Bay, $2.64/mile, up 2 cents
  • Dallas, $1.85/mile, up 9 cents
  • Lakeland, Fla., $1.36/mile, down 6 cents

Flats stay flat: The flatbed load-to-truck ratio declined slightly after seven straight weeks of increases. Load posts fell 1 percent and truck posts increased 3 percent compared to the previous week.

A post-MATS message: Thank you to everyone who stopped by to see DAT at the Mid-America Trucking Show last week. We really appreciate it and hope you enjoyed MATS as much as we enjoyed talking to all of you.

For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, visit OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

St. Christopher fund partners with Fastport

The St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund announced its new partnership with Fastport at the Mid-America Trucking Show last week in Louisville, Ky. The SCF is a nonprofit organization that helps truck drivers when medical problems lead to financial difficulty. Fastport works individually with companies to build and sustain DOL-approved registered apprenticeship programs and connect candidates with that paid on-the-job training.

The SCF assists by paying for household expenses on behalf of drivers when they are sick or injured and out of work. Often, drivers that apply for assistance will be unable to return to driving because of their medical condition. For instance, they have become an insulin-dependent diabetic, cannot tolerate wearing a CPAP, have a defibrillator, or have had a certain kind of stroke.

While these conditions make the applicant ineligible to continue as an over-the-road trucker, they do not make the person unable to work. Therefore, the SCF has partnered with Fastport to refer these persons to apprenticeship programs to be trained in other transportation jobs.

Late last year, the Department of Labor selected Fastport as the transportation industry intermediary partner for increasing apprenticeship opportunities. 

“I’ve been with the SCF since its inception nearly 10 years ago and have been looking for ways to help drivers in these exact situations. Up until now, the best we could do was refer them to their local unemployment office to ask for help finding a non-driving job,” said Dr. Donna Kennedy, executive director. 

Dr. Kennedy explains that applicants who have spent the majority of their lives working as truckers want to continue, and they don’t know what else to do. 

“Having a way for them to train and remain in the industry they love will truly be life changing,” she said.

Brad Bentley, president of Fastport, projected how the two organizations will work in tandem. “The St. Christopher Truckers Fund has an incredible history and reputation for helping professional drivers who strive to recover after injury and get back to this great industry,” said Bentley. “With their support and the leadership from transportation sector employers around the nation, we will be able to provide great apprenticeship opportunities to continue employing these hardworking trucking professionals.”   
 
The St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Assistance includes paying for expenses such as mortgage, utility, car payments, and prescriptions, finding local resources, and providing information on how to negotiate doctor/hospital bills. The SCF also provides health, wellness and prevention programs for drivers. All donations to the SCF are tax-deductible. For more information, visit TruckersFund.org or call 865-202-9428.
 
Fastport Inc. is an employment software development company that builds products to help civilians and all members of the military community find meaningful employment. Using its proprietary technology, Fastport is committed to matching candidates to actively hiring employers.
 
Fastport Inc. is a Department of Labor Industry Intermediary to increase apprenticeship programs for civilian and veteran talent and has a commercial co-venture with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program to develop the pre-eminent employment marketplace to connect employers and military candidates. For more information, visit Fastport.com.

More than 2,000 International trucks recalled for air brake issue

Navistar is recalling certain International trucks with model years ranging from 2016 to 2018. Affected trucks have an issue with the air brakes.

More specifically, International LoneStar (2017), ProStar (2016-2017), LT (2016-2018) and RH (2017-2018) trucks fall under the recall. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2,733 trucks are affected.

The air dryer mounting bracket may fracture, which could cause the air dryer to separate from the vehicle frame with possible airline separation from the dryer, resulting in air system leaks or loss of air pressure to the brake system, according to a NHTSA recall document.

Loss of air in the brake system can increase stopping distances and increase the risk of a crash. Drivers may notice loss of air pressure on the air gauge or hear a buzzer in the cab in affected trucks.

Navistar will replace the air dryer mounting bracket with a bracket made of stronger material. Owners and dealerships are expected to be notified of the recall by May 12. For questions, contact Navistar at 800-448-7825 with recall number 17502.

Chemists cook up durable new tire at Cooper

When you think about tires for your truck, the last thing that likely comes to mind is a team of chemists. But that’s where the innovation of new truck tires starts at Cooper Tire and Rubber Co.

Cooper launched its Roadmaster line of tires in 2007, according to Gary Schroeder, director of global truck and bus tires for Cooper Tires.

“It was a slow start,” he said. “But after three or four years it took off like a rocket. Owner-operators brought this brand to the dance.”

While owner-operators may be responsible for the growth in sales, Schroeder credits Cooper’s approach to tire manufacturing for its quality reputation.

“Tires are highly engineered,” he said. “It’s a constant balancing act when you’re looking to improve one thing like rolling resistance.”

The emergence of the Environmental Protection Agency and the SmartWay program put pressure on tire makers to find ways to design tires to use less fuel. Thus the evolution of low-rolling-resistance tires.

Schroeder says that the ultimate goal is to find a low-rolling-resistance tire that doesn’t rob life from the tire.

“The real challenge,” he said, “is to break that paradigm.”

Enter a team of “Ph.D.s and chemists” who work on a daily basis at the Cooper labs concocting new tire compounds every day.

Every day new hurdles are thrown at them. Take adjustments in road compounds. Notoriously slippery roads in Florida have ground-up oyster shells to help with traction. That, in turn, is harder on the tires.

“It’s like running across 40 grit sandpaper,” Schroeder said.

With all of the challenges and innovation, development of the newest addition to the Roadmaster lineup started back in 2012. The testing process alone took four years, Schroeder said. All of that testing and tweaking paid off.

Cooper unveiled its Roadmaster RM852(EM) long-haul drive tire, which is SmartWay verified at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The new line has a 30/32 tread depth that will deliver 300,000 to 350,000 miles of service life.

The combination of fuel-efficiency and long life breaks the paradigm that Shroeder talked about.

“This is not a low-tech product,” Schroeder said.

Dart Transit increasing driver pay for second time this year

Effective April 1, Dart Transit Company will be increasing over-the-road contracts for long-haul owner-operators by 2 cents per mile.

Only a quarter of the way through the year, this marks Dart’s second pay increase for the year. The first increase was in January when drivers along Dart’s main freight lanes saw an increase of 5 cents per mile.

“Dart is growing its freight network, and with that comes the need to grow our fleet size with owner-operators and company drivers,” said Russ Moore, Dart vice president of Safety and Fleet Services, in a press release.

For more information, visit DartTruckingJobs.com.

Cross-border freight off to strong start with largest increase since 2014

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in January trucks moved more than 62 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. All five modes experienced an increase compared to January 2016.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 1 percent compared with December when freight was down more than 4 percent from the previous month. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

Compared to January 2016, freight was up nearly 7 percent. This marks the largest year-to-year increase since September 2014 when U.S.-NAFTA freight increased by 8.2 percent from September 2013.

August, November and December were the only months to experience 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 were responsible for nearly $55 billion of the $88 billion of imports and exports in January. Rail came in second with more than $13 billion.

Freight totaled $87.960 billion, up nearly $900 million from the previous month and an increase of more than $5.5 billion from January 2016.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 42.7 percent after an increase of 30.9 percent in December. Trucks had a 0.4 percent increase, the smallest increase after experiencing the largest decrease in December when three of five modes went up.
 
Nearly 57 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.1 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 6.3 percent compared with January 2016. Of the $43 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 69 percent of the loads.

DAT Solutions: Flurry of activity

If you pulled your truck off the road to miss last week’s bad weather, you weren’t alone. Available capacity on DAT MembersEdge dipped 3.4 percent for the week ending March 18.

That didn’t stop shippers from trying to move freight.

The week began with a push to ship goods ahead of snow in the Midwest and Northeast. Shippers rushed to catch up once the roads were clear, and load-to-truck ratios rose for all three equipment types:

  • Van ratio: 3.4 loads per truck, up 23 percent to its highest point this year
  • Reefer ratio: 6.6, up 16 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 37.4, up 5 percent

Overall, the number of available loads was 8 percent higher.

Rates lukewarm: As a national average only vans increased, gaining 1 cent to $1.64/mile. The reefer rate ($1.87/mile) and flatbed rate ($2.01/mile) were unchanged compared to the previous week.

East Coast blast: How did the storm affect rates in and out of East Coast markets? The average van rate gained 20 cents or more in one week on three lanes in the region:

  • Buffalo-Allentown, Pa., was up 22 cents to $2.80/mile
  • Allentown-Boston also paid 22 cents better at $3.19/mile
  • Philadelphia-Boston rose 21 cents to $3.27/mile

The average Allentown outbound rate added 9 cents to $1.93/mile, while Philadelphia averaged $1.59/mile, up a penny.

Turn up the reefer volume: Reefer load posts increased 16 percent while truck posts held steady. Regional rate leaders:

  • Green Bay: $2.63/mile, up 4 cents
  • McAllen, Texas: $2.08/mile, up 16 cents
  • Dallas: $1.73/mile, up 2 cents
  • Elizabeth, N.J.: $1.70/mile, up 6 cents

Laid back in California: A number of markets in the Southwest saw higher freight volumes and rates, led by Los Angeles ($2.27/mile, up 4 cents). But central California remains soft: in Fresno, volumes fell and the average rate fell 2 cents to $1.81/mile.

Houston hot: You won’t find any snow down in Houston. Freight volumes and rates continued to climb, and flatbed freight averaged $2.13/mile, up 3 cents. If you look at all load posts on the DAT network of load boards, with all trailer types combined, Houston is No. 1 so far in 2017.

Strong trends for flats: Outbound load volume held strong and steady while available capacity declined 5 percent. The flatbed load-to-truck ratio increased for the seventh week in a row.

Big swings: Some of the biggest flatbed rate swings were likely due to weather:

  • Charlotte-Roanoke, Va., was up 37 cents to $2.95/mile
  • Harrisburg-Buffalo plunged 76 cents better to $2.44/mile
  • Cleveland-Grand Rapids, Mich., fell 67 cents to $2.27/mile 

And big regional flatbed markets were up and down:

  • Phoenix: $1.71/mile, up 9 cents
  • Rock Island, Ill.: $2.34/mile, down 15 cents
  • Houston: $2.13/mile, up 3 cents
  • Atlanta: $2.22/mile, down 7 cents
  • Harrisburg: $2.99/mile, down 15 cents

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

Arrow Truck Sales load new ‘Prime Program’ with incentives

Arrow Truck Sales Inc. has announced a used truck purchasing program for owner-operators who currently drive for select carriers or belong to select associations like OOIDA.

As a Prime member, the buyer qualifies for certain exclusive benefits, including a free six-month/50,000 mile warranty, special $1,000 allowance and more.

Carriers currently engaged in the Prime program include Landstar, USA Truck, Allied Van Lines and others.

The Prime program is also offered through select associations, including Women In Trucking, OOIDA, National Minority Trucking Association and more. A complete list of Prime benefits, carriers and associations can be found on Arrow’s website.

“We’re happy to be associated with these premier carriers and associations,” stated Jim Taber, Arrow’s National Account sales executive. “We believe these strategic partnerships will ultimately benefit drivers wanting to buy a used truck while receiving incentives to help with their purchase.”

Peterbilt offers $1,000 rebate for OOIDA members

Peterbilt will be featuring their latest products at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., on March 23-25. In addition, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association will be offering a $1,000 rebate on certain Peterbilt models.

At MATS, Peterbilt will feature 10 commercial vehicles; the Model 579 EPIQ’s latest fuel economy enhancements and new day cab configuration; SmartLINQ remote diagnostics technology; and a special display for the Red Oval pre-owned truck program.

Peterbilt is the truck sponsor of the annual Paul K. Young Memorial Truck Beauty Championship, which will include a new “Best Peterbilt in Show” category with awards for first through third place.

For Peterbilt models 567, 579 and 389 with a factory-installed 72-, 78- or 80-inch sleeper, OOIDA members can receive a $1,000 discount with a limit of three rebates.

For more information about Peterbilt, visit Peterbilt.com. Details about MATS can be found at TruckingShow.com.

For more info and the complete list of OOIDA’s rebate programs for members, visit OOIDA.com.

Wisconsin Kenworth wins Dealer Award

Wisconsin Kenworth received the 2016 Kenworth Dealer of the Year Award for the United States and Canada during a meeting in February at Indian Wells, Calif.

It marked the second time in the past four years that Wisconsin Kenworth won the award.

“Wisconsin Kenworth has a culture of exceeding customer expectations in every aspect of our business relationships,” said Jim Moeller, the CEO of CSM Companies, which is the parent company of Wisconsin Kenworth. “Our belief is that if we do that well, sales take care of themselves.”

New Love’s location in Hagerstown, Md., features 84 parking spaces

Truckers traveling through northern Maryland will have another rest stop option. Love’s has opened its second location in the Old Line State in Hagerstown off of Interstate 81.

Located at I-81 and Showalter Road at Exit 10A, the new Love’s will add 84 truck parking spaces to the area.

The Hagerstown Love’s features Subway and Wendy’s restaurants, seven showers, eight diesel pumps, Cat scales, a Love’s Truck Tire Care center and other driver services. Like other Love’s Travel Stops, gourmet coffee, fountain drinks, fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, small electronics, mobile accessories, and name-brand snacks will also be available.

Love’s other location in Maryland is at Interstate 68 off of Exit 46/47.

For more information about Love’s locations, visit Loves.com.

Trucking experiences largest job growth in nearly four years

quickly rebounded in February. The transport sector added nearly 9,000 jobs to the economy, including more than 10,000 trucking jobs. Trucking’s employment surge is the largest since April 2013 when the subsector grew by 11,700 jobs.

In the first two months, the trucking subsector started 2017 at a net gain of 9,200 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 10,600 jobs in February after the industry lost 1,400 in January and gained 1,400 in December. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. In January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

The trucking subsector experienced the largest increase by a wide margin, followed by transit and ground passenger transportation at 1,400. Warehousing and storage experienced the largest loss with 1,500 fewer jobs, trailed by rail transport with 1,100 jobs lost. Only four of 10 subsectors experienced gains, making trucking largely responsible for the transportation sector’s net increase.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.59 for February – a 4-cent increase from January. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 8 cents to $21.04. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.09, 6 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.8 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 7.3 percent from 6.6 percent last February, and up from 7 percent in January. The overall unemployment rate for the country was down to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed was down slightly at 1.8 million, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the unemployed.

DAT Solutions: March madness tips off

We’ve been saying that as long as spot truckload freight volumes keep rising, rates will follow. Eventually.

Well, the number of loads on DAT MembersEdge soared 17 percent during the week ending March 4, and rates across the board responded with the first week-over-week increase in national averages in more than a month.

With the number of available trucks down 4 percent overall, load-to-truck ratios made double-digit gains:

  • Van ratio: 2.9 loads per truck, up 25 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 5.7, up 30 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 34.6, up 19 percent

Let’s take a closer look at the trendlines.

Rates bust out: After several weeks of truckload posts up 100 percent year-over-year, rates finally followed demand up:

  • Vans: $1.66/mile, up 4 cents
  • Reefers: $1.88/mile, up 1 cent
  • Flatbeds: $2.02/mile, up 6 cents.

Previously, rates had been depressed because of the volume of trucks that contract carriers were putting on the spot market, particularly in the Southwest and West.

Vans on the rise: The national average van rate made its first week-over-week increase in more than a month. More loads and fewer trucks will do that; van load volume increased 21 percent while truck posts were down 4 percent.

The better half: Prices rose on 56 of the top 100 van lanes last week, led by Memphis ($1.90/mile, up 6 cents) and Atlanta ($1.89/mile up 4 cents). Watch for Chicago and Los Angeles, where big increases in the number of available loads this week could send rates higher.

Reefers warming: After seven straight week-over-week declines, the national average reefer rate picked up a penny. The number of reefer load posts was up 24 percent while the number of trucks posted fell 14 percent. With reefer capacity in short supply, there are good rates to have.

Miami makes waves: In Miami, reefer volumes are surging perhaps because of an early growing season for imports from South America. An uptick in loads and rates out of Miami usually means that the inbound rate goes down. Not the case on Atlanta-Miami, which was up 15 cents to $2.58/mile last week.

Bigger in Texas: A boost of volumes from McAllen made the border town the No. 3 market for reefer load posts on DAT MembersEdge, behind Atlanta and Elizabeth, N.J.

Anything but flat: Demand for flatbed capacity keeps building. Flatbed load posts increased 13 percent while truck posts fell 5 percent last week, which pushed the flatbed load-to-truck ratio (34.6) higher for the fifth week in a row.

Leaning to port: Flatbed rates improved in major markets and especially out of port cities like Los Angeles ($2.24/mile, up 7 cents) and Houston ($2.10/mile up 6 cents).

Flatbed lanes with gains:

  • Baltimore-Springfield, Mass., was up 25 cents to $3.44/mile
  • Houston-Fort Worth paid 12 cents better on average at $2.36/mile
  • Memphis-Dallas was up 39 cents to $2.74/mile, with a nice boost in volumes
  • Atlanta-Nashville climbed 35 cents to $2.58/mile

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

CVSA Roadcheck set for June 6-8

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Roadcheck is in its 30th year in 2017. This year’s International Roadcheck will take place June 6-8, 2017. It is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world with nearly 15 trucks or buses inspected, on average, every minute across North America during a 72-hour period.

International Roadcheck is an annual three-day event when CVSA-certified inspectors conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeted at various elements of motor carrier, vehicle and driver safety.

Since its inception in 1988, roadside inspections conducted during International Roadcheck have numbered more than 1.4 million. Roadcheck also provides an opportunity to educate industry and the general public about the importance of safe commercial vehicle operations and the roadside inspection program.

CVSA sponsors International Roadcheck with participation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada, and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).

In past years, jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada have actively participated in the program and publicized the number of inspections and out-of-service orders. There haven’t been any hard numbers out of Mexico in recent years.

No word yet on what this year’s focus will be, but for more information, visit the CVSA website.

January freight index unchanged, trucking freight down

The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals January freight was up for air, water and rail carload freight but down for trucking pipeline and rail intermodal, resulting in no change in the index from December.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for January was stagnant at 123.2. After adjustments from last month, this is 1.6 percent below the high set in July 2016 (125.2), which replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014 before the index started to decline in August.

The January index is 30.1 percent above the low set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went down to 137.2 from 138.3, a decrease of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage increase of nearly 3 percent in January to 138.8 from 134.9 in December. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, the TSI’s lack of movement comes amid mixed signals in the economy. Employment, personal income, and the Institute for Supply Management Purchasing Managers’ Index all grew while the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index fell 0.3 percent and housing starts were down 2.6 percent.

Hundreds of Western Star 4900s recalled over service brake issue

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling approximately 450 Western Star 4900 trucks, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Issues with service air brakes prompted the recall.

Western Star 4900 trucks with model years 2015-2018 are affected by the recall. The aluminum air tanks on these vehicles may have improper welds possibly resulting in a rapid loss of air pressure, according to a NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. Parking brakes can suddenly apply with no warning as a result of a loss of air pressure.

Owners will be notified by DTNA and aluminum air tanks with steel, triple compartment and air tanks will be replaced for free. The recall is expected to begin April 27, 2017. For questions, call 800-547-0712 with DTNA recall number FL-732.

MATS offers free app for attendees

Those planning to attend the 2017 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., can access all the information they need to know about the annual show by using their phone.

The free smartphone application provides users general information about the show, a list of exhibitors, maps for each of the sections of the Kentucky Expo Center, an events calendar, and answers to frequently asked questions. The application also answers questions about how to register and provides information about travel and hotels.

MATS, which is touted as the largest annual heavy-duty trucking event in the world, will take place March 23-25 at the Expo Center. The show boasts more than 1.1 million square feet of exhibit space and anticipates having more than 1,100 exhibitors from 45 states and 12 countries.

In addition to providing an abundance of information, the application allows attendees to customize it for their particular needs. Users can create their own schedule for the events they plan to attend, interact with others about the show through Facebook and Twitter, and receive news and messages about the show.

The application is powered by truckstop.com and is available at TruckingShow.com/MatsMobile.

Kenworth offers T880 trucks in all-wheel drive

Kenworth has recently announced that its T880 trucks are now available in all-wheel drive.

To speed up delivery time and lower costs, the front drive axle is installed at the Kenworth factory. The Marmon Herrington MT-22 front drive axle is available in 6x6 or 8x8 with a 22,000-pound capacity rating.

The all-wheel drive configuration requires a Fabco transfer case, and can be specified with Fabco’s 1-speed TC-142 or 2-speed TC-143 transfer case, according to a press release.

For more information, visit Kenworth.com.

Kenworth T680 auction to support Truckers Against Trafficking

A special Kenworth T680, which will be auctioned off to support Truckers Against Trafficking, will be on display this week (March 9-10) at Ritchie Bros. in Las Vegas.

Called “Everyday Heroes,” the truck previously had been shown Feb. 27-March 2 in Nashville, Tenn. It also will be shown April 13-14 in Phoenix before being placed on auction April 20 in Phoenix. Those who are interested can begin registering to bid on April 21 at the Ritchie Bros website. Online bidding will take place on June 20.

All proceeds of the Kenworth T680, which has a retail value of $157,000, will go directly to Truckers Against Trafficking, a nonprofit organization devoted to stopping human trafficking by educating, mobilizing and empowering the nation’s truck drivers and rest stop employees.

Various sponsors helped offset the cost of the truck, which is loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, 485-hp Paccar MX-13 engine, and Eaton Fuller Advantage 10-speed automated transmission.

Kendis Paris, the executive director for Truckers Against Trafficking, said that many truck drivers are already helping in the fight against human trafficking.

“Many are calling the national hotline,” Paris said. “Nearly 1,600 calls have been reported by truckers alone since the program began in 2009. Of that number, we had 503 likely human trafficking cases identified, involving nearly 1,100 victims, of which 299 were minors.”

Suspicious activity can be reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 888-3737-888, or to local law enforcement.

NAFTA freight value down for second straight year in 2016

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics has released North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) data for 2016 and it looks much like data from 2015 – i.e., another yearly loss. Four out of five modes, including trucks, carried less freight when compared to the previous year.

Overall freight value for 2016 was $1.069 trillion, a 3.4 percent decline from 2015. Freight value decreased by 7.3 percent in 2015. Both 2013 and 2014 experienced yearly increases of 2.8 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.

Trucks carried $700 billion of NAFTA freight last year, the smallest decrease across all modes at 1.65 percent, and accounted for approximately 65.5 percent of total NAFTA freight. Vessel freight suffered the largest annual decrease at 20 percent. Rail was the only mode where value increased for the year, up 0.2 percent in 2016.

As a share of commodities across all modes, trucking’s share increased by 1.1 percent and rail increased by 0.5 percent. All other modes saw their share decline in 2016. Compared to a decade ago, trucking’s share has increased by nearly 4 percent.

According to BTS, the declining price of crude oil led to the decline value of vessel and pipeline freight. As oil prices began to increase later in the year and continue to do so, vessel and pipeline freight could see its 2017 value increase relative to 2016’s value.

Freight values of the Canadian flow dropped 5.4 percent last year to $544 billion. Trucks carried more than 60 percent of Canadian freight, a 1.9 percent increase from 2015 and 1.3 percent increase from 2006. Michigan led states with the highest Canadian freight flow at more than $71 billion dollars, a 3.9 percent increase from 2015. The top commodity between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, valued at $106.1 billion.

Mexican freight value fell 1.1 percent to $525.1 billion. Trucks carried 71 percent of Mexican freight, a 0.1 increase from 2015 and a 5 percent increase from 2006. Texas carried the most Mexican freight at more than $173 billion, down 2.4 percent from the previous year. Electrical machinery was the top commodity between the U.S. and its southern neighbor, valued at $102.6 billion.

DAT Solutions: On MembersEdge, flatbed freight remains a bright spot

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn.

A couple of weeks ago it looked like the sun would come up on spot van and refrigerated truckload rates. And then the market rolled over and hit snooze.

Overall spot truckload freight volumes on MembersEdge improved marginally during the week ending Feb. 25 thanks to a 7 percent bump in the number of flatbed load posts. Vans and reefers continued to slumber, with volumes declining 5 percent and 6 percent respectively.

All told, national average outbound rates stirred little last week:

  • Van: $1.62/mile, unchanged
  • Reefer: $1.87/mile, down 1 cent
  • Flatbed: Unchanged at $1.96/mile

Ratios tell the story: Stronger flatbed volume and declining van and reefer freight posts were reflected in the week’s load-to-truck ratios:

  • Van ratio: 2.3 van loads per truck, down 7 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 4.4, down 6 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 29.0, up 8 percent

Spot vans show life: Volumes slipped 5 percent overall, but activity on the top 100 van lanes may put upward pressure on spot rates.

But not yet: No major van market saw a big increase in the average outbound rate. Check out the key regional markets:

  • Los Angeles, $1.84/mile, unchanged
  • Chicago, $1.92/mile, down 2 cents
  • Dallas, $1.51/mile, unchanged
  • Atlanta, $1.83/mile, unchanged
  • Philadelphia, $1.60/mile, down 1 cent

Load counts were up in Atlanta, Chicago, and Memphis. That’s good news. But in terms of rates, Denver-Stockton – with an 11-cent gainwas the only lane among the top 100 van lanes that was up more than 7 cents for the week. The head-haul direction from Stockton fell 16 cents to $1.69/mile, though.

Flatbed trends: With vans and reefers in a lull, flatbed rates and volumes are climbing ahead of schedule. The flatbed load-to-truck ratio increased for the 4th week in a row; the number of posted loads was up 7 percent while truck posts declined 1 percent.

Weather or not: Some flatbed rate strength was due to freight activity, but weather also played a role:

  • Rock Island, Ill.-Minneapolis went from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to heavy snow late in the week. On average, the lane rate rose 39 cents to $2.55/mile.
  • Cleveland-Harrisburg, Pa., jumped 35 cents to $3.09/mile. It’s unusual for this lane to be above $3 a mile this time of year.
  • Raleigh-Baltimore paid 32 cents better on average at $2.61/mile—surprisingly high for February.

Leaning to port: Outbound spot flatbed rates trended down in Savannah, Jacksonville, and Los Angeles. All three are port cities, so lower outbound rates could be a sign of stronger exports than imports.

Reefers just chilling: The number of spot reefer load posts declined 6 percent against a 1 percent drop in truck posts. The national average reefer rate lost 1 cent for the third week in a row.

Rates mixed: Two bright spots were in the Northeast: Philadelphia at $2.28/mile (up 6 cents) and Elizabeth, N.J., at $1.67/mile (up a penny). Out West, Los Angeles averaged $2.32/mile, unchanged. In the South, Atlanta ($2.11/mile) and McAllen ($1.93/mile) both fell 2 cents on average.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

Cummins X15 Efficiency Series engine wins TWNA Tech Achievement Award

The Truck Writers of North America’s 2016 Technical Achievement Award has been decided, and the winner is the Cummins X15 Efficiency Series diesel engine.

The 14.9-liter diesel gains 3 percent in fuel efficiency over the preceding model, the ISX15, through improvements to air-handling, combustion efficiency, reduced parasitic losses and advanced electronics, according to a Cummins news release. Maintenance should cost 40 percent less than previous engines over five years.

The ISX15 was redesigned to meet 2017 federal greenhouse gas and fuel economy requirements, and two models called X15 Performance and X15 Efficiency were introduced.

To be nominated for the award, products must show technical innovation, have a wide applicability and availability in trucking, and offer significant operating benefits.

The other four finalists were Accuride’s EverSteel wheel with a special anti-corrosion treatment; the Mack and Volvo “wave” piston, part of engine upgrades to comply with new greenhouse gas and fuel economy regulations; SAF-Holland’s P89 disc brake, a high-performance, lightweight and moderate-cost braking product; and Volvo’s iSee and Mack’s Predictive cruise control, which “learns” routes and operates a truck’s powertrain to gain maximum efficiency.

Central Freight to acquire Wilson Trucking

Two less-than-truckload carriers will soon combine forces. Central Freight Lines has recently announced that it will acquire Wilson Trucking, according to a press release.

Based in Waco, Texas, Central Freight Lines has 56 terminals in 17 West and Southwest states. Wilson Trucking, based in Fishersville, Va., includes 29 terminals in nine Southeast states and the District of Columbia. The acquisition will geographically expand the network of Central Freight Lines.

Central Freight Lines will also acquire Wilson Trucking’s fleet of about 3,000 tractors and trailers. Currently, Central Freight Line operates about 9,600 tractors and trailers.

Both companies have been around close to 100 years. Central Freight Line was founded in 1925, whereas Wilson Trucking was formed just one year before.

The transaction is expected to close by March 31, 2017, according to a Wilson Trucking news release.

Hundreds of Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks recalled for fuel system issue

Paccar is recalling more than 400 Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents that cite an issue with the fuel system. According to NHTSA, the problem affects model years ranging from 2015 to 2018.

More specifically, the plastic fuel tee fittings may leak fuel in the engine compartment. A potential fire can occur if this fuel leak reaches an ignition source.

The following trucks are affected by the recall:

  • 2015-2018 Kenworth K370
  • 2015-2018 Kenworth T680
  • 2015-2018 Kenworth T880
  • 2017-2018 Peterbilt 567
  • 2017-2018 Peterbilt 579

Owners will be notified and dealers will replace the fuel tees for free. A notification schedule has not been released. Questions can directed to Kenworth customer service at 425-828-5000 and Peterbilt customer service at 940-591-4000. Paccar's numbers for this recall are 17KWA and 217-A.

Martin Daum will head Daimler Trucks and Buses

Daimler AG’s board members met in Stuttgart, Germany, this week and appointed Martin Daum to the Board of Management as the head of Daimler Trucks and Bus division. With the five-year appointment, Daum succeeds Wolfgang Bernhard, effective March 1. 

A press statement from Daimler says Bernhard is leaving the company of his own volition and for personal reasons. 

“With Martin Daum and his international management experience, the right course is being set at the top of Daimler Trucks & Buses for the long term,” stated Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and the head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.  

Since June 2009, Martin Daum has been president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America and its affiliated companies Freightliner Trucks, Western Star Trucks, Thomas Built Buses, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., and Detroit Diesel Corp. Before that, he was a member of the management of Mercedes-Benz Trucks in Europe as Vice President Production Mercedes-Benz Trucks, and at the same time was responsible for the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth, the world’s biggest truck plant. 

Daum started his career in the trainee executive group of the Daimler-Benz AG in 1987.

New Love’s in Utah and Illinois adds nearly 200 truck parking spaces

Love’s Travel Stops is on a roll in 2017 with another two new locations this week. The latest additions are in Brigham City, Utah, and Greenup, Ill. Love’s has opened nine new locations so far this year.

In Brigham City, Love’s has opened a truck stop at Interstate 15 and Forest Street at Exit 363. In addition to 94 truck parking spots, the Brigham City location offers Subway and Carl’s Jr. restaurants and seven showers.

The Greenup Love’s is located at Interstate 70 and State Route 130 at Exit 119. With 92 truck parking spots, this location features a game room, Chester’s Chicken and IHOP Express restaurants, and seven showers.

Both travel stops are open 24/7 and offer gourmet coffee, fountain drinks, fresh fruit, name-brand snacks, Love’s Truck Tire Care Centers, Cat scales, DEF and other driver services.

For more information about Love’s locations, visit Loves.com.

Nearly 62 percent of NAFTA freight moved by truck in December

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in December trucks moved nearly 62 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Three of five modes experienced an increase compared to December 2015.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by more than 4 percent compared with November when freight was down more than 2 percent from the previous month. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

Compared to December 2015, freight was up 0.4 percent. August and November were the only other months to experience a year-to-year increase in 2016 at 0.7 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. August was the first year-to-year increase since December 2014 when freight increased by more than 5 percent. 

Trucks were responsible for nearly $54 billion of the $87.1 billion of imports and exports in November. Rail came in second with more than $13 billion. 

Freight totaled $87.086 billion, down more than $4 billion from the previous month and an increase of more than $330 million from December 2015.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 30.9 percent after an increase of 30.6 percent in November. Trucks had a 2 percent decrease, the largest decrease after experiencing the smallest increase in November when all five modes went up.
 
Nearly 57 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.2 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 2.1 percent compared with December 2015. Of the $42.6 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 67 percent of the loads.

DAT Solutions: Spot truckload volumes going steady

Call it a Valentine to truckers. But not quite a big box of chocolates.

Truckload freight volumes on the spot market stabilized in the week ending Feb. 18, as the number of loads on MembersEdge picked up 4 percent and capacity dipped 1.2 percent compared to the previous week.

It made for some sweet spot load-to-truck ratios:

  • Van ratio: 2.5 loads per truck, up 4 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 4.7, unchanged
  • Flatbed ratio: 26.9, up 9 percent. Flatbed load posts increased 7 percent last week while truck posts declined 2 percent

Those better ratios were not enough to cause an increase in national average outbound rates, however:

  • Van rate: $1.62/mile, down 1 cent
  • Reefer rate: $1.88/mile, down 1 cent
  • Flatbed rate: Unchanged at $1.96/mile

Let’s take a closer look at the trends:

Vans and reefers, sharing the market: The number of van load posts increased 3 percent last week while van posts dipped 1 percent. Several van lanes were down due to an influx of reefer capacity: low reefer demand has brought temperature-controlled equipment into the van market.

Lanes with gains: 46 of the top 100 van lanes had higher rates last week compared to the 41 that paid less. Thirteen lanes were neutral and outbound rates in major markets were mixed:

  • Dallas, $1.49/mile, up 2 cents
  • Atlanta, $1.83/mile, unchanged
  • Philadelphia, $1.57/mile, up 2 cents
  • Chicago, $1.93/mile, up 2 cents
  • Los Angeles, $1.86/mile, down 2 cents

Reefers rising: Both load and truck posts increased less than 1 percent last week, which kept the national reefer load-to-truck ratio unchanged at 4.7. Regionally, winter crops in Florida boosted outbound rates from Lakeland by more than 4 percent to an average of $1.40/mile.

Gimme shelter: Warmer weather gave a boost to lanes where commodities suddenly needed protection from heat:

  • Philadelphia-Boston paid 18 cents better on average at $3.46/mile
  • Grand Rapids-Cleveland rose 29 cents to $3.31/mile
  • Denver-Houston paid 16 cents better at $1.77/mile

The warmer weather had the opposite effect on other lanes, where some commodities suddenly didn’t need to be protected from freezing:

  • Green Bay-Minneapolis was down 22 cents to $1.89/mile
  • Grand Rapids-Philadelphia fell 18 cents to $2.70/mile

Flats head up: Flatbed load posts increased 7 percent last week while truck posts declined 2 percent. That caused the load-to-truck ratio to increase 9 percent, to 26.9 loads per truck nationally.

Spot 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. The average price of on-highway diesel added another penny last week, settling at $2.57/gallon.

For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, visit OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

Averitt Express donates $500,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Last year, truckers and other employees at Averitt Express raised the bar when they donated $500,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This year the trucking company has donated another half-million dollars to the charity.

Averitt employees made weekly contributions in 2016 as part of its Averitt Cares for Kids program. Nearly 90 percent of employees participate in the program where members give $1 each week. Established more than 30 years ago, the program has generated nearly $8.5 million for charities, including nearly $6 million to St. Jude.

In September 2007, Averitt Cares for Kids completed a $1.5 million endowment to help fund the initial construction of the St. Jude Leukemia and Lymphoma Clinic, through which the majority of St. Jude patients are treated. Averitt associates’ most recent contribution will continue to support the groundbreaking research and lifesaving care at St. Jude, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Clinic.

For more information about the charity program, visit AverittExpress.com/AverittCares.

New Love’s in Knoxville, Ill., includes nearly 100 truck parking spaces

Truckers traveling through central Illinois on Interstate 74 will have another truck stop to add to their list. Love’s has recently opened a new location in Knoxville, Ill.

The Knoxville location is the 14th in Illinois and is located off of Exit 51 on Interstate 74. Other locations on I-74 include Le Roy, Ill., at Exit 149; St. Paul, Ind., at Exit 123; and Pittsboro, Ind., at Exit 61.

A total of 94 truck parking spaces will be added to the infrastructure at the Knoxville location.

The Knoxville travel stop is open 24/7 and offers Subway and Chester’s Chicken restaurants, seven showers, and a Love’s Truck Tire Care Center, as well as other services and amenities for professional drivers. Customers will also find gourmet coffee, fountain drinks, fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, small electronics, mobile accessories, name-brand snacks and more.

For more information on Love’s locations, visit Loves.com.

DAT Solutions: Spot flatbed market keeps climbing

These days, the market for spot flatbed freight is anything but flat.

The national spot rate on MembersEdge averaged $1.96/mile for flatbed freight during the week ending Feb. 11. That’s the fourth straight week of increases and a 4-cent jump in the flatbed rate compared to the previous week.

The flatbed load-to-truck ratio gained as well, up 13 percent to 24.6 loads per truck nationally. The number of flatbed load posts rose 11 percent while truck posts declined 1 percent.

Flats have been a high point compared to spot van and reefer freight. But even that may be shifting:

Strong volumes: Overall, the number of spot van, reefer, and flatbed load posts increased 1.7 percent while truck posts gained 3.2 percent compared to the previous week. Those numbers are strong for this time of year.

Vans slip: Van volume was weaker, as the number of load posts declined 6 percent. A 3 percent increase in truck posts pushed the load-to-truck ratio lower from 2.6 to 2.4 loads per truck.

Rates bottoming out? Despite the declining van load-to-truck ratio, van freight volume rose 2.5 percent on the top 100 van lanes and is 2 percent higher than a month ago. Higher volume is a signal that rates may be bottoming out.

But not yet: The national average van rate fell 3 cents to $1.63/mile. Outbound rates gave ground in many major markets:

  • Los Angeles, $1.88/mile, down 2 cents
  • Chicago, $1.92/mile, down 2 cents
  • Atlanta, $1.84/mile, down 1 cent
  • Philadelphia, $1.53/mile, down 6 cents
  • Dallas, $1.48/mile, down 1 cent

Southwestern swings: Contract carriers have had a tough January and February, with volumes off in the Southwest. That puts a lot of trucks on the spot market and tamped down load-to-truck ratios in the region. While this may be the bottom for van rates, we won’t know for sure until ratios start to improve out there.

Reefers down, too: The reefer load-to-truck ratio slipped from 5.2 to 4.7 loads per truck nationally as the number of posted loads fell 7 percent and capacity decreased 5 percent. The average reefer rate edged down 2 cents to $1.89/mile last week.

Heating up: A burst of potato shipments helped propel reefer rates out of Miami last week:

  • Miami-Elizabeth, N.J., surged 35 cents to $1.84/mile
  • Miami-Boston was up 33 cents to $1.99/mile
  • Miami-Atlanta added 33 cents to $1.66/mile

Volume also spiked out of Lakeland. It’s too early for a seasonal surge of produce but more loads in Florida is a welcome change compared to recent weeks.

Northern chill: On the flip side, lanes from Idaho are softer. Twin Falls-Chicago dropped 27 cents to $1.63/mile last week.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

DAT Freight Index reveals relatively strong month for January

Spot truckloads went down in January compared to the previous month but went significantly upward year-to-year, according to DAT’s North American Freight Index.

DAT’s Freight Index decreased by 2.5 percent last month when compared to December, which experienced a positive month during the holiday season. Compared to January 2016, the index increased 56 percent.

Year-to-year, spot van, reefer and flatbed rates increased in January. However, a capacity surge on high-traffic lanes from contract carriers brought the index down from December.

Average van rates for January were $1.68, 5 cents lower than December but a 2-cent increase from January 2016. Refrigerated rates clocked in at an average of $1.96, a 3-cent decrease from December but up 6 cents from a year ago. Flatbed average rates were $1.91, down 5 cents from the previous month and up 3 cents from January 2016.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

Optimus Prime to be featured at Carlisle Truck Nationals Aug. 4-6

Those attending this year’s Carlisle Truck Nationals on Aug. 4-6 at the Carlisle, Pa., Fairgrounds are in for a surprise. Showrunners have announced that a Transformers Optimus Prime fan-built replica truck will be featured at the show.

The 2017 Western Star 5700 XE has been approved as an official replica by toymaker Hasbro, owner of the Transformers franchise. The replica looks like the truck featured in “Transformers 4” and closely resembles the one featured in the upcoming “Transformers 5,” according to a news release.

There are only three Optimus Prime replicas in the world, including the replica featured in Carlisle this August. In addition to seeing this rare truck, guests will have an opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat for a photo at an additional cost. Viewing the truck will be free.

In addition to Optimus Prime, guests will enjoy all the usual features at the Carlisle Truck Nationals, including lowered mini trucks, lifted 4x4s, chromed out big rigs, SUVs, custom vans and restored classics. More than 2,000 trucks are featured each year, the news release said.

For more information, visit CarlisleEvents.com.

Wolfgang Bernhard steps down as head of Daimler Trucks and Buses

Wolfgang Bernhard has recently announced he will be stepping down as head of Daimler Trucks and Buses, according to a Daimler news release.

Bernhard informed Manfred Bischoff, chairman of the Supervisory Board, that he will not extend his current contract which expires in February 2018. According to Daimler, Bernhard is leaving the company “at his own request and for personal reasons.”

Effective immediately, Bernhard will be replaced temporarily by CEO Dieter Zetsche as Daimler seeks to appoint his successor. Zetsche is the Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and the head of Mercedes-Benz.

Bernhard became head of the Mercedes-Benz Vans division in 2009 and was appointed to the Board of Management of Daimler AG in February 2010. Until March 2013, he was a Board of Management member for Production and Procurement Mercedes-Benz Cars & Mercedes-Benz Vans. Since April 2013, he has been responsible for Daimler Trucks & Buses.

According to Reuters, Bernhard was seen as a likely candidate to take over the CEO position of Zetsche. However, Zetsche extended his contract in 2016 for another three years. That move theoretically took the 56-year-old Bernhard out of the running as Daimler is likely to promote a younger candidate to CEO when the time arrives since the company is looking for longevity within the position.

Some have speculated a possible CEO position could be available for Bernhard at Fiat Chrysler or Volkswagen, according to Reuters.

U.S. DOT: Trucking freight tonnage increased in 2016

The 2016 year-end numbers for freight movement from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics are in and are looking positive. The Transportation Services Index for freight climbed nearly 3 percent last year when compared with 2015.

Since the index reached a record low during the recession in April 2009, TSI has increased by 31.7 percent. In 2015, the index decreased by 2 percent for the year. With a 2.9 percent increase last year, the two-year change is an increase of 0.8 percent, according to the bureau.

August experienced the largest month-to-month decrease as a percentage with a 1.8 percent drop. That was preceded by the largest increase in July when the index surged 1.8 percent.

Freight dropped in February and March and steadily climbed through July. TSI went down in August and September before making a three-month rally at the end of the year. From September through December, the index rose 2.9 percent, the same increase for the year.

December also matched the record high with July 2016 at 124.7. The record high previous to July 2016 was set in December 2014 when TSI was 123.7.

Rail intermodal experienced the largest increase among all other modes at 6.9 percent. Truck tonnage increased by 1 percent last year, according to the Bureau of Transportation statistics. Truck and pipeline freight were the only transportation modes to experience an increase in 2015, with truck freight rising 2.5 percent.

Freight index for 2016 ends with all-time high

The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals December freight was up for all modes except air freight and rail carloads, bringing the index up for the third consecutive month and matching the all-time high.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for December increased by 1 percent to 124.7. This matches July’s record-high TSI, which replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014 before the index started to decline in August.

The December index is 31.7 percent above the low set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went up to 138.5 from 137.9, an increase of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of more than 6 percent in December to 133.8 from 142.7 in November. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s rise occurred as the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose by 0.8 percent in addition to growth in employment, personal income and both manufacturing and utilities. Mining production declined and housing starts were off by 0.2 percent.

Trucking industry begins 2017 with a net job loss

The year started off weak for transportation jobs as January marked the first net loss after three consecutive months of gains. The sector lost 4,000 jobs to the economy, including more than 1,000 fewer trucking jobs. Since 2007, transport jobs have experienced significant losses in January except in 2007, 2012 and 2014.

Kicking off the year, the trucking subsector starts 2017 at a net loss. The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of approximately 1,400 jobs in January after the industry gained 1,400 in December and 1,100 in November. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. In January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

The couriers and messengers subsector experienced the largest decrease with 7,400 jobs eliminated from the economy, followed by “support activities for transportation” at 5,600. Warehousing and storage experienced the largest gain with 9,400 more jobs, trailed by air and pipeline transport with 1,000 jobs gained each.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.53 for January – a 5-cent increase from December. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 10 cents to $20.93. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.00, 3 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 7.0 percent from 7.6 percent last January, but up from 6.1 percent in December. The overall unemployment rate for the country was up to 4.8 percent from 4.7 percent the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed was up slightly at 1.9 million, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the unemployed.

DAT Solutions: Spot TL freight strong but trending lower

December was arguably the strongest month for truckload freight in 2016. So even though volume on the MembersEdge load board was down 12 percent during the last full week of the month, and average van and reefer rates took a dip, the market is generally stronger than usual for this time of year. Let’s take a closer look at trends for the week ending Jan. 28:

Van trends: Van load posts were 9 percent lower last week and truck posts increased 4 percent, which sent the van load-to-truck ratio down 13 percent to 2.5 loads per truck. The national average van rate edged down 1 cent to $1.69/mile

Less urgency: Compared to December, the combination of more capacity and less urgency in the supply chain in January pushed van rates lower on high-traffic lanes:

  • Los Angeles, $1.95/mile, down 3 cents
  • Chicago, $2.01/mile, down 6 cents
  • Atlanta, $1.88/mile, down 1 cent
  • Buffalo, $1.94/mile, down 3 cents
  • Dallas, $1.51/mile, down 4 cents

Basically every major van market was down but again, it’s not out of the ordinary for this time of year.

Super, Houston: At $1.54/mile, Houston was one of the few major van markets where prices did not decline last week. Several outbound lanes from Dallas failed to keep pace, though:

  • Dallas-Chicago paid an average of $1.13/mile, a penny lower
  • Dallas-Houston dropped 6 cents to $2.09/mile

Reefer wrap-up: While volumes actually improved on the top 72 lanes for refrigerated freight, the reefer load-to-truck ratio fell a full 20 percent to 5.3 nationally. The number of posted reefer loads was down 14 percent and capacity rose 8 percent. The average reefer rate lost 1 cent to $1.97/mile.

Swings, misses: No single market or region is driving produce freight right now. One place where volumes are shifting: the Midwest. The average rate from Grand Rapids-Madison, Wis., rose 31 cents to $2.71/mile, while Green Bay-Des Moines paid 13 cents better at $2.20/mile. Green Bay and Grand Rapids also had two of the biggest declines last week. Green Bay-Joliet, Ill., was down 31 cents to $2.92/mile; Grand Rapids-Atlanta fell 25 cents to an average of $2.12/mile.

Flatbeds post lower: Flatbed load posts declined 15 percent and truck posts rose 3 percent. That sent the load-to-truck ratio down from 17 percent to 18.1 loads per truck. The national average spot rate added a penny to $1.91/mile.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

Tire prices to increase across the board in 2017

Truckers and drivers of all types of vehicles can expect to pay more for tires this year. Michelin and Yokohama were the latest tire companies to announce price increases, following other big names such as Bridgestone, Cooper and Goodyear.

Michelin and Yokohama announced prices increases recently of 8 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Goodyear, Cooper and Bridgestone all announced price increases of up to 8 percent earlier this year, according to Modern Tire Dealer.

Prices will increase for nearly all vehicle types across all brands in North America, including recreational vehicles and two-wheel vehicles.

The increase in tire prices is because of an expected rise in natural rubber prices. On Jan. 13, the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries released its Natural Rubber Trends & Statistics for December 2016. In the report, ANRPC noted a rebound in natural rubber prices as a result of increasing oil prices, supply concerns after flooding in South Thailand, renewed expectation of a US-led faster global economic recovery, and the resultant improved demand outlook.

Twelve provinces in South Thailand, the “latex bowl of the world” according to ANRPC, have experienced some of the worst flooding in the past 30 years. OPEC’s deal to cut production, which began on Jan. 1, is expected to prevent oil prices from dropping to record lows seen last year. ANRPC’s analysis expects “a substantial rise in rubber prices during 2017.”

DAT Solutions: Top 10 spot freight locations in 2016

Freight in 2016 ebbed and flowed, but those hauling loads in and out of Atlanta may have experienced a better year than most. According to DAT Solutions, Atlanta was the No. 1 location to find spot truckload freight last year.

Atlanta took the No. 1 spot in both van loads and refrigerated loads categories. Little Rock secured the top spot for flatbed loads.

Below are the rankings based on an analysis of more than 100 million annual freight matches and a database of $33 billion of market transactions on the DAT network load boards:

Van loads:

  1. Atlanta
  2. Houston
  3. Chicago
  4. Dallas
  5. Charlotte, N.C.
  6. Memphis, Tenn.
  7. Los Angeles
  8. Cleveland
  9. Elizabeth, N.J.
  10. Indianapolis

Refrigerated loads:

  1. Atlanta
  2. Chicago
  3. Elizabeth, N.J.
  4. Dallas
  5. Twin Falls, Idaho
  6. Charlotte
  7. Los Angeles
  8. Grand Rapids, Mich.
  9. Joliet, Ill.
  10. Philadelphia

Flatbed loads:

  1. Little Rock, Ark.
  2. Shreveport, La.
  3. Mobile, Ala.
  4. Jackson, Miss.
  5. Cleveland
  6. Decatur, Ill.
  7. Houston
  8. Montgomery, Ala
  9. Birmingham, Ala.
  10. Spokane, Wash. 

For more information about DAT Solutions, visit DAT.com and follow them on Twitter at @LoadBoards.

Ritchie Bros. Orlando auction planned for Feb. 20-24

More than 7,200 items are already listed to be sold in Ritchie Bros. annual five-day auction in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 20-24, 2017. Consignments are still being accepted for the event that serves as a kick-off for the auction season. 

The auction will have equipment for every industry, with particularly large selections of gear for the construction, transportation and lifting industry. According today’s release, more than 355 truck tractors, 200 trailers, 65 pickup trucks and 135 dump trucks have been consigned. 

The tentative auction schedule and inventory is online at rbauction.com. Bids in the auction can be made in person, online, via the Ritchie Bros. mobile app and by proxy. Online registration is open now; on-site registration begins on Feb. 16. 

Three new Love’s locations adds up to 183 more truck parking spaces

Love’s Travel Stops has opened three new locations in Kansas, Ohio and Texas. The three locations add up to a total of 183 truck parking spaces for trucking customers.

The location in Cunningham, Kan., is located at U.S. Highway 400/54 and Southwest 170th Avenue, which is approximately 60 miles west of Wichita. A Subway restaurant will be included at this location.

Ohio’s newest Love’s is located in Springfield at Interstate 70, Exit 59. This is just west of Columbus and includes a Subway and Wendy’s.

In Texas, Love’s has built a new truck stop in Hereford at U.S. Highway 60 and U.S. Highway 385. The Hereford location features a Carl’s Jr. fast food restaurant, famous for its charbroiled burgers.

All three travel stops are open 24/7 and offer gourmet coffee, fountain drinks, fresh fruit, name-brand snacks, showers, Cat scales, DEF and other driver services.

For more information about Love’s locations, visit Loves.com.

Federal excise tax, GHG regs discussed at American Truck Dealers event

Lately, the trucking industry calendar has been a nonstop carnival ride of tech/concept auto events, trade shows, beauty contests and more. Among those industry event was the 2017 ATD Conference and Exposition on Thursday, Jan. 26, through Sunday, Jan. 29, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. 

The four-day ATD Convention ran concurrently with the NADA Convention and includes meetings, workshops, an expo and numerous networking events. The ATD is a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association – NADA. 

The ATD event has a reputation for being a place where provocative people talk about trends and industry concerns. Steve Parker, chairman of the ATD, called on the nation’s commercial truck dealers to urge Congress to explore reforming or possibly repealing the 12-percent federal excise tax (FET) on the retail sale of trucks, trailers and other commercial truck products. 

Other speakers were Frank Abagnale, a renowned cybersecurity and fraud prevention expert and author of “Catch Me If You Can”; Ford Motor Co. President and CEO Mark Fields; racing legends Roger Penske and Helio Castroneves; NADA Chairmen Jeff Carlson and Mark Scarpelli; comedian Jim Gaffigan; and inspirational speaker Amy Purdy. 

On Thursday, NADA/ATD Chief Regulatory Counsel Doug Greenhaus moderated the roundtable and panel discussion on how the massive new federal Phase 2 greenhouse gas/fuel efficiency regulations will impact future products. It also discussed potential new NOx standards for commercial diesel trucks. 

On new government mandates that may influence truck and tractor designs and engine performance, panelists were Brian Mormino (Cummins), David Kayes (Daimler Trucks North America), Darren Gosbee (Navistar), Dan Kieffer (Paccar) and Rick Anderson (Volvo Group Trucks).

DAT Solutions: Rates, freight tapering off

It's typical for load counts to start tapering off in the third week of January, and that’s what happened last week.

The number of loads on the MembersEdge network fell 14 percent during the week ending Jan. 21, while available capacity increased 13 percent.

Fewer loads and more trucks put a damper on load-to-truck ratios and rates, especially for reefers and vans. Let’s take a closer look:

Reefers chill: After six months of gains, the reefer load-to-truck ratio continued to decline in January, down to 6.7 loads per truck. There was an 18 percent decline in reefer load posts and 12 percent fall in the number of posted trucks last week.

Rates dip: The average reefer rate fell 2 cents to $1.98/mile last week. The van rate also edged down 2 cents to $1.70/mile.

Fuel falls: At $2.59/gallon, the average price of on-highway diesel fell 2 cents.

Texas, California surge: There was a bump in reefer activity out of Dallas and McAllen, Texas, and California in particular is more active after a period of heavy snow and rain. Volumes are still light out of central Florida, since the main crop harvests for this season haven’t started, but the backhaul lane from Lakeland-Charlotte recovered 25 cents to $1.46/mile on average. Those beer coolers for the Super Bowl in Houston must be full, because reefer rates from Denver-Houston were down 28 cents to a more typical $1.68/mile.

Van trends: The number of available vans increased 14 percent last week while load posts were down 16 percent. The van load-to-truck ratio fell a full point from 3.9 to 2.9 loads per truck.

Outbound and down: The holiday retail season has fully receded as spot van rates continue to soften in key markets:

  • Los Angeles, $1.95/mile, down 5 cents
  • Chicago, $2.06/mile, down 5 cents
  • Dallas, $1.54/mile, down 2 cents
  • Atlanta, $1.88/mile, down 2 cents
  • Philadelphia, $1.70/mile, down 5 cents

Few lanes paid better last week, though backhaul lanes held firm. Some lanes rebounded from large drops in previous weeks. Among them:

  • Chicago-Buffalo paid an average of $2.41/mile, 12 cents better
  • Buffalo-Charlotte was up 9 cents to $1.75/mile

About those flats: Flatbed demand fell as load posts declined 10 percent and truck posts increase 12 percent. That sent the load-to-truck ratio down from 27.1 to 21.8 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.

For the latest spot market load availability and rate information, visit OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

November NAFTA only second month in two years to experience an increase

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in November trucks moved nearly 65 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. All five modes experienced an increase compared to November 2015.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by more than 2 percent compared with October when freight was up more than 2 percent from the previous month, bringing the freight flow back to September levels. Year-to-date, nine of 11 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year.

Compared to November 2015, freight was up 3.3 percent. August was the only other month to experience a year-to-year increase in 2016 at 0.7 percent, and the first since December 2014 when freight increased by more than 5 percent. 

Trucks were responsible for nearly $59 billion of the $91.1 billion of imports and exports in November. Rail came in second with nearly $14 billion. 

Freight totaled $91.089 billion, down more than $2 billion from the previous month and an increase of nearly $3 billion from November 2015.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 30.6 percent after an increase of 21.8 percent in October. Trucks had a 0.6 percent increase, the smallest increase and the first for trucking after two straight months of decreases.
 
Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 4.5 percent compared with November 2015. Of the $45 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 70 percent of the loads.

DAT Solutions: Back at work, more trucks chase fewer loads

With the holidays over there were 34 percent more trucks posted to the MembersEdge load board during the week ending Jan. 14 compared to the previous week.

There was an 18 percent increase in the number of loads.

Predictably, rates and load-to-truck ratios took a tumble during the first full workweek of the year.

Rates retreat: With more trucks in the marketplace, rates fell for all three equipment types:

  • Vans: $1.72/mile, down 5 cents
  • Reefers: $2.00/mile, down 3 cents
  • Flatbeds: $1.89/mile, down 3 cents

Those rates include a fuel surcharge. Diesel slipped 1 cent to an average of $2.59/gallon.

Vans galore: The number of vans posted on MembersEdge was up 36 percent compared to the previous week while van load posts rose more gradually at 14 percent. The van load-to-truck ratio was 3.9, still unseasonably high.

Rates fall: Spot van rates declined in many markets, including key regional hubs:

  • Chicago, $2.10/mile, down 1 cent
  • Dallas, $1.57/mile, down 1 cent
  • Atlanta, $1.90/mile, down 6 cents
  • Philadelphia, $1.75/mile, unchanged
  • Los Angeles, $1.99/mile, down 6 cents

Flatbeds bounce back: Flatbed demand rebounded with a 31 percent increase in available loads. Truck posts increased 38 percent, which pressed the flatbed load-to-truck ratio down slightly to 27.1.

Reefers imbalanced: Keeping with the theme, the number of reefer load posts could not keep pace with the number of available trucks, which was up 27 percent. The reefer load-to-truck ratio fell 15 percent to 9.1.

Holding strong at $2 a mile: While the national average reefer rate fell 3 cents but $2.00/mile is still strong for mid-January.

Stormy California: Rates were down in all major reefer markets in California as the state was hit by heavy rains in the lower elevations and snow in the mountains. The average outbound rate from Los Angeles slipped 3 cents to $2.46/mile.

McAllen strong on produce imports: Imports are driving more activity at McAllen, Texas, where the average outbound rate was $2.05/mile, up 4 cents. McAllen-Dallas gained 24 cents to $2.58/mile compared to the previous week.

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 MyMembersEdge.com, join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards, and listen to Land Line Now on the Sirius XM Road Dog Channel.

Navistar recalling some 2017 International trucks over battery issue

Navistar has recently issued a recall for certain International trucks regarding an issue with batteries, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. An electrical short caused by the defect can potentially lead to a fire.

More specifically, certain 2017 International ProStar, LoneStar, 9900i and TransStar trucks are affected. A metallic battery cover latch may unlatch and contact the battery jump start stud, causing an electrical short to ground if the jump start stud is not covered, according to the NHTSA recall.

Owners will be notified and instructed to have a dealer install a latch stop to prevent the latch from rotating to the unlatched position at no charge to the customer. Navistar expects the recall to begin on Feb. 17.

For more information, call Navistar’s customer service at 800-448-7825 with recall number 16513. NHTSA’s official recall number is 16V-938.

Kenworth offering $1,000 savings to OOIDA members

For the 15th straight year, Kenworth and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are offering a $1,000 savings on certain purchases of new Kenworth sleeper trucks. The deal is available to OOIDA members. 

OOIDA members can cash in on the deal when purchasing a new Kenworth T680 or T880 with a 52-inch or larger factory-installed sleeper. Kenworth T660, T800 and W900 glider kits with 72-inch or 86-inch sleepers are also eligible. 

While purchasing any eligible trucks, OOIDA members must show their membership card to the dealer. A copy of the bill of sale, warranty and OOIDA membership number must be mailed to: OOIDA, P.O. Box 1000, Grain Valley, MO 64029, or faxed to OOIDA at 816-229-0518. 

Limits of three trucks per year qualify for the deal for any individual customer. Other restrictions may apply, so talk to a Kenworth dealer about details. 

Locate the nearest dealer by visiting Kenworth.com.

Cat Scales celebrates 40th anniversary with Weigh to Win sweepstakes

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Cat Scales is kicking off a sweepstakes on Feb. 1. Truckers can win a variety of prizes, including a brand-new 2017 Ford F250 Super Duty Crew Cab 4X4.

On Feb. 1, drivers can enter Cat Scales’ Weigh to Win sweepstakes. More than $100,000 in instant prizes are up for grabs. Prizes include Galaxy tablets, Cat Scale hats, Series Sixteen Super Trucks collector card sets, duffel bags, die-cast model trucks, mugs, fitness bands, multi-tools, toiletry bags and more.

The loaded Ford F250 includes:

  • 6.2L 2-valve SOHC EFI NA V8
  • 6-speed auto transmission
  • 3.73 non-limited slip axle ratio
  • Power moon roof
  • Reverse vehicle aid sensor
  • Rearview camera
  • 4x4 electronic shift-on-the-fly
  • Navigation system with premium sound system
  • SYNC in-car connectivity system
  • Sirius XM satellite radio
  • Leather bucket seats with console
  • 10-way power-heated and -cooled front seats
  • Remote start system
  • LED light truck bed
  • And much more

How do you enter? Every time a driver weighs in at a Cat Scale, a promo code will appear on the scale ticket. Simply enter the code at WeighToWin.com for a chance at instant prizes and to enter for a chance to win the pickup truck grand prize. Official rules and details can also be found at the website.

The contest is open to Class 8 drivers and ends May 31.

Averitt Express awarded Flag of Freedom for commitment to hiring veterans

The Missouri Division of Workplace Development recently recognized Averitt Express for its commitment to hiring military veterans, presenting Averitt with the Flag of Freedom honor as part of its Show-Me Heroes program.

Averitt is based in Cookville, Tenn., and has a service center in St. Louis.

More than 20 percent of Averitt’s current employees have served in the U.S. military. Additionally, Averitt has pledged to add 1,200 more veterans to its team by 2020.
 
“We’re very humbled to receive this recognition from the Show-Me Heroes program,” said Elise Leeson, Averitt’s vice president of human resources. “Adding veterans to our team is a win-win for everyone, because they know the importance of teamwork and helping each other for a common cause. They’re also dedicated to providing outstanding service, and that makes them a great fit for our unique culture.”

Love’s Travel Stops opens two new locations, 150 truck parking spaces

Only two weeks into 2017 and Love’s Travel Stops is already announcing new locations and new truck parking spaces. The first two locations for the new year are located in Syracuse, Neb., and Angleton, Texas. 

The Syracuse location is at SR 2 and SR 50 and will feature a Hardee’s restaurant. Nearly 70 truck parking spaces will be included, as well as five showers. 

Angleton’s location is at SR 288 and FM 523 and features a Carl’s Jr. restaurant. More than 80 truck parking spaces and five showers are available. 

Both travel stops are open 24/7 and offer gourmet coffee, fountain drinks, fresh fruit, name-brand snacks, Cat scales, DEF and other driver services. 

For more information about these two new locations and all Love’s locations, visit Loves.com.

Pilot Flying J adds more than 1,300 parking spaces in 2016

Pilot Flying J had a busy year in 2016, adding 58 locations to its portfolio, including 41 Speedway/Wilco conversions and 17 new travel centers.

Truckers in the Southeast have probably noticed a lot more Pilot Flying J signs in the past year. After a joint venture with Speedway LLC, 41 Speedway locations made the switch to PFJ. Additionally, PFJ opened 17 new travel centers across the nation.

Including the 41 pre-existing locations that were formerly Speedway, PFJ added 4,200 parking spaces under its banner, a total of 74,000 across the country. At the 17 new locations alone, more than 1,300 trucking spaces were added to the infrastructure by PFJ in 2016, including spaces brought back from rebuilds, according to a Pilot Flying J spokesperson.

PFJ’s 2016 expansion also included 320 showers, bringing the nationwide total to 5,100 showers. The 17 new locations also added more than 1,000 local jobs. More than 750 PFJ locations are now scattered across North America.

Pilot Flying J also expanded its technology last year. The new myPilot app was recently launched, allowing truckers to pay for fuel through the app rather than carrying around a bunch of cards or cash. The app also allows drivers to check which diesel pump is likely to open up next, reserve a shower, view store listings, get directions, and receive and store electronic receipts.

Drivers can save 3 cents per gallon on gasoline and diesel when using myPilot. Apple users can download the app at the App Store and Android users can find it at Google Play.

Trucking freight stats for 2016 not final, but showing increase

Freight stats for 2016 continue to dribble in. The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals November freight was up for all modes except pipeline, bringing the index up for the second consecutive month.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for November increased by 0.5 percent to 123.2. July’s TSI replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014 before the index started to decline in August.

The October index is 30.1 percent above the low set during the recession in June 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went up to 137.5 from 136.8, an increase of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage increase of more than 8 percent in October to 142.4 from 131.6 in October. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s fall occurred as employment rose by 178,000 jobs, retail sales increased by 0.1 percent and personal income went up by less than 0.1 percent. However the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index decreased by 0.4 percent and housing starts dropped 4.7 percent.

August’s freight TSI was the largest monthly decrease since January 2014 and the first decline after four consecutive monthly increases.

Volvo recalls thousands of trucks for faulty electronic air dryer

Volvo Truck North America is recalling more than 6,000 VNL, VNM and VNX trucks due to issues with the electronic air dryer that can potentially affect brake performance, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, certain 2013-2017 VNL, VNM and VNX trucks manufactured from April 11, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2016 have electronic air dryers with cycling parameters set too low at one-third of the required volume of air to purge the drying substance, according to NHTSA.

According to NHTSA, as a result, condensation can accumulate, allowing oil and water to contaminate the brake system. Brake performance can be negatively affected in cold weather and other conditions. Periodically draining the wet tank and replacing the air dryer filter may help prevent future problems.

Volvo’s recall is proactive as no reports of accidents related to the defect have been identified. Affected vehicles will have the control module reprogrammed to correct parameters, and air dryer filters will be replaced. Owners will be notified by Feb. 17. The NHTSA recall number is 16V928.

Trucking adds 1,400 jobs in December, net loss of 2,500 for 2016

December marked the third consecutive positive month for transportation jobs as the sector added nearly 15,000 jobs to the economy, including more than 1,000 trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector gained 14,700 jobs in December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. In January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 1,400 jobs in December after the industry gained 1,100 in November and 3,000 in October. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2015, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. May’s increase of nearly 9,000 jobs was the largest in 2015 for the trucking subsector.

The couriers and messengers subsector experienced the largest increase with 11,700 jobs added to the economy, followed by “support activities for transportation” at 3,800. “Transit and ground passenger transportation” experienced the largest loss with 4,700 fewer jobs, trailed by rail transport with 200 jobs lost, the only two subsectors to experience a decrease in December.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.60 for December – a 6-cent increase from November. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced a significant decrease of 25 cents to $20.71. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26, 10 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.9 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent last December, but up from 5.7 percent in November. The overall unemployment rate for the country was up to 4.7 percent from 4.6 percent after two consecutive months of decreases. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or gone relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed was down slightly at 1.8 million, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the unemployed.

Second consecutive decrease for NAFTA truck freight in October

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in October trucks moved more than 65 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Rail and pipeline freight were the only modes to experience an increase compared to October 2015.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by more than 2 percent compared with September when freight was down more than 2 percent from the previous month, bringing the freight flow back to August levels. Year-to-date, nine of 10 months experienced a loss, with October’s decrease value lying in the middle.

Compared to October 2015, freight was down 3.6 percent. August experienced the only year-to-year increase in 2016 at 0.7 percent, the first since December 2014 when freight increased by more than 5 percent.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $61 billion of the $93.2 billion of imports and exports in October. Rail came in second with more than $14 billion.

Freight totaled $93.165 billion, up more than $2 billion from the previous month and a decrease of more than $3 billion from October 2015.

Air freight experienced the steepest decline at 12.7 percent after an increase of 3.4 percent in September, the only increase in September other than rail. Trucks had a 6.1 percent decrease, the second consecutive month of a year-to-year decrease. Pipeline freight was up 21.8 percent, the largest increase in October, followed by rail at 6.2 percent.
 
More than 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.1 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 4.7 percent compared with October 2015. Of the $46.6 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 70 percent of the loads.

Schneider National and Daseke to go public in 2017

Schneider National and Daseke have both recently announced plans to take their companies public. Daseke’s shift to a public company coincides with a merger with blank check company Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp.

On Dec. 22, Schneider announced a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its Class B common stock. It is under the New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol “SNDR,” but how many shares are to be offered and at what price is yet to be determined.

On the same day of Schneider’s announcement, investment platform company Hennessy announced a merger with Daseke, which will allow the trucking company to become a Nasdaq-listed public company under the ticker symbol “DSKE.”

According to a Daseke press release, Hennessy will be making a minority investment in Daseke using publicly traded stock, making Daseke a public company. Current shareholders will still own approximately 60 percent of the company, and no management changes will be made.

Daseke gave three reasons for the move: 1) add more companies to Daseke, as it continues to build, 2) provide stock ownership plans for all employees, and 3) invest in operating companies to support growth and ensure one of the most modern, efficient and safest fleets in the industry.

More details are expected after the merger closes, which is expected to take place in a few months.

Volkswagen to recall more than 80,000 vehicles after $1B diesel scandal deal

Another chapter of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal has closed as the automaker has agreed to a unique recall of 83,000 vehicles model year 2009 through 2016 at a cost of more than $1 billion, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The 3.0 liter diesel vehicles are said to be equipped with “defeat devices” to cheat emission tests.

Volkswagen is obligated to have a buyback offer for older vehicles, including termination of leases. An emissions modification must also be available if regulators approve of such a proposal by Volkswagen. Newer cars have the ability to be modified to compliance on Volkswagen’s dime. As a result, the automaker is not required to buy back newer vehicles.

Although the latest settlement solves some of Volkswagen’s problems, the automaker is still on the hook for several other claims including civil penalties, criminal liabilities, consumer claims, claims by the Federal Trade Commission, and individual owner/lessee multidistrict litigation.

Earlier this year, FTC claimed Volkswagen used false advertising to promote its “clean diesel” VWs and Audis and was reportedly seeking more than $15 billion in damages. In October, FTC announced a $10 billion settlement for owners and lessees of VW and Audi 2.0 liter diesel vehicles affected by false advertising regarding diesel emissions.

The latest VW settlement will cover owners and lessees of VW and Audi 3.0 liter diesel vehicles that were not part of the October settlement.

In a civil complaint filed by the Department of Justice, VW allegedly equipped vehicles with a device that was able to detect when it was undergoing EPA and California emissions tests. When activated, the device controlled emissions to EPA and California standards. According to the claim, VW vehicles emit up to nine times or more above EPA-compliant levels of nitrogen oxide during normal driving periods.

Love’s has explosive 2016, expects more fireworks in 2017

If you have been driving through the country and thinking, “Man, there sure seem to be more Love’s Travel Stops than I remembered,” you’re not wrong. Love’s development team cranked it to 11 in 2016, opening the most stores in a year in its entire history.

Love’s opened 47 locations throughout the United States this year, about 10 more than in 2015 and more than any other year since Love’s was founded in 1964. In fact, Love’s opened five locations on Thursday, Dec. 15, beating a one-day record. The previous record was three locations in one day.

New locations were not concentrated in one region. According to Love’s spokesperson Kealey Dorian, new travel stops sprang up in 20 states. The long-term goal is to shorten the gap between locations.

“If we’ve got a location on I-40 in Oklahoma City and then we’ve got another one on I-40 in Little Rock, Ark., we’re looking in between there to see how we can fill that gap and provide a few more stops.”

Love’s expansion did not occur overnight. It didn’t even happen over the course of a year. According to Dorian, this has been in the making for approximately four years.

“This is a combination of work started by our development team back in 2012,” Dorian said. “It takes several months to go through the approval process on the local level.”

The approval process Dorian refers to has been the bane of many truck stop locations. Many municipalities are resistant to the building of truck stops for various reasons. In the Jason’s Law survey results, the Federal Highway Administration found that “it has been challenging for states to site truck parking locations due to negative public perceptions and local planning and zoning issues.”

“There’s always going to be people who don’t want any sort of development, and sometimes it’s our business in particular,” Dorian said. “I don’t know if that’s ever going to go away.”

Despite some resistance, Love’s is always reaching out to see how they can help the community. Because of this process, a new location can take anywhere from 18 to 36 months to open from the time Love’s approaches the city with its plans.

As the trucking industry continues to battle the pervasive issue of parking, Love’s is trying to do its part in alleviating the problem. Jason’s Law report confirmed what many already knew: Truckers prefer private truck stops. Of the more than 300,000 truck parking spaces documented, 272,000 belong to private truck stops. As governments are limited to what they can do, it’s up to private industry to build more spaces.

American Transportation Research Institute found in a recent truck parking report that 48.8 percent of truck parking spaces at public rest areas were occupied by non-commercial vehicles. ATRI also discovered that more than 70 percent of truckers stop at private truck stops for 10-hour required breaks.

The message is clear: The burden of more truck parking spaces lies on the shoulders of private truck stops such as Love’s.

With the 47 new locations in 2016, Love’s added more than 3,000 truck parking spaces.

“Next year, we are looking at either matching what we accomplished (in 2016), possibly outpacing it,” Dorian said.

It is hard to predict what is in store for 2017, but Dorian projects Love’s will add approximately 3,100 truck parking spaces this year. Of course, this is dependent on the developmental side of the equation. Due to opposition and other factors, some projects may not be completed until 2018.

Carrier Corp. announces remedy for recalled Transicold starters

Last week, Land Line reported on a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall regarding Carrier Transicold starters. Carrier Corp. reached out to Land Line to clarify some information, including a fix available to affected customers.

More than 31,000 Transicold starters were in fact recalled. However, a Carrier Corp. representative noted that these starters were installed as replacements on certain older models of Transicold trailer refrigeration units.

As reported by Land Line, affected parts include Carrier Transicold or Performance Parts Group part number 25-39316-01, or Thermo Engine Supply part number R-25-39316-00, manufactured April 1, 2009, to Aug. 18, 2016. 

Starters may come apart during the start cycle, and the pieces may strike someone who is in close proximity to the starter, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

In its recall documents, NHTSA noted that no known remedies were available and that Carrier has stopped sales of the identified starters. Due to developing remedies, a notification schedule is to be determined at a later date.

Carrier Corp. has since reached out to clarify that Carrier Transicold dealers may substitute Carrier Transicold part number 25-39587-00SV starter in place of the 25-39316-01 starter.

For questions, owners can call Carrier at 800-448-1661. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 16E-087.

DAT Solutions: A hot start to December

The availability of freight on the MembersEdge load board stayed hot given the time of year despite edging down 9 percent during the week ending Dec. 10. Load-to-truck ratios remain high for the season, although a 15 percent jump in the number of available trucks last week caused them to slip across all three equipment types:

  • Van L/T: 3.4 (down 28 percent from a 30-month high)
  • Reefer L/T: 6.1 (down 25 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T: 17.7 (down 6 percent)

Spot rates stable: The average spot truckload rate for van freight fell 1 cent to $1.73/mile after an 8-cent increase the previous week. The reefer rate was $1.95/mile, also down a penny. The national average flatbed rate gained 1 cent to $1.92/mile.

Diesel on the rise: Spot TL rates include a fuel surcharge, which increased 1 cent on average after the national average price of on-highway diesel climbed another cent to $2.49/gallon.

Van volumes lower: The number of van load posts declined 17 percent, falling away from last week’s unprecedented highs. Truck posts increased 15 percent week over week.

Winter storm watch: Snow and cold in the Midwest and Northeast could push rates higher this week. Traveling those lanes will be slower and more difficult, and carriers will naturally want to get paid for that extra time and risk. Be careful out there!

Packages on the move: Traditional hubs like Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta lost momentum as e-commerce hubs like Memphis and Denver ramp up for the holidays.

The two biggest average price jumps on the top 100 van lanes were out of Denver: Denver-Stockton was up 18 cents to $1.49/mile, and Denver-Phoenix rose 13 cents to $1.25/mile. That’s low but still strong compared to what this lane has paid historically.

L.A. lower: At $2.10/mile, Los Angeles is the biggest van market where outbound rates are lower now than they were a month ago. Average rates from other key van markets:

  • Denver, $1.38/mile, up 10 cents
  • Chicago, $2.09/mile, down 2 cents
  • Charlotte, $1.98/mile, down 4 cents
  • Buffalo, $2.18/mile, up 4 cents
  • Houston, $1.51/mile, up 1 cent

Reefer posts fall 15 percent: After hitting a 21-month high reefer load-to-truck ratio the previous week, the number of load posts declined 15 percent and truck posts increased 15 percent. Idaho is at the epicenter of reefer activity with 80 million pounds of potatoes shipping out every week. Last Friday, the load-to-truck ratio in Twin Falls hit 18.5; by comparison, the national average is 6.1 reefer loads per truck.

Flats rise: The number of flatbed load posts increased 7.5 percent and truck posts increased 14 percent compared to the previous week. Several flatbed markets are picking up steam in December, with average rates steady or on the rise:

  • Phoenix, $1.83/mile, down 1 cent last week but up over the last month
  • Rock Island, Ill., $2.37/mile, up 2 cents
  • Cleveland, $2.21/mile, up 5 cents
  • Savannah, Ga., $2.36/mile, up 9 cents
  • Harrisburg, Pa., $3.17/mile, up 13 cents

Flatbed lanes with gains:

  • Reno-Watsonville, Calif., $3.01/mile, up 12 cents
  • Cleveland-Houston, $1.73/mile, up 16 cents
  • Houston-El Paso, $2.23/mile, up 21 cents
  • Baltimore-Springfield, Ohio, $3.39/mile, up 9 cents

Sweet November: Wrapping up November, a sharp increase in e-commerce traffic and refrigerated produce extended an already busy holiday season for truckers. The red line on the DAT Freight Index shows a pattern of strong freight volumes that started in July and hasn’t really let up. Load-to-truck ratios increased significantly last month; a change in the ratio is typically followed by a change in freight rates. Good news for carriers.

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.

Trucking and rail increase overall freight index in October

Official freight numbers for October are in. The index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals freight was up for trucking and rail, enough to compensate for a decline in all other modes and bring the index up after two consecutive months going down.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for October increased by 0.1 percent to 122. July’s TSI replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014 before the index started to decline in August.

The October index is 28.8 percent above the low set during the recession in June 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went up to 136.5 from 133.3, an increase of more than 2 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 0.3 percent in October to 131.6 from 131.9 in September. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s fall occurred as employment rose by 161,000 jobs, retail sales increased by 0.8 percent, personal income went up by 0.6 percent, and housing starts increased by 25.5 percent.

August’s freight TSI was the largest monthly decrease since January 2014 and the first decline after four consecutive monthly increases.

Tolls begin Dec. 30 on three bridges

Truckers and motorists who cross the Ohio River in the Louisville, Ky., area will be confronted with tolls on three bridges beginning Dec. 30. 

The tolls on two Interstate-65 bridges and the Kennedy Bridge will range from 10 to $12 for 5-axle trucks depending on whether they have transponders. 

Mindy Peterson, spokeswoman for the RiverLink Project, says two new bridges and improvements to an existing bridge means ending years of congestion. 

Peterson notes that people who want to avoid a toll can use the Interstate-64 Sherman-Minton Bridge, which will remain toll-free. 

Unified Registration System final compliance dates revised again

Beginning back in September, the Unified Registration System became the means of getting a U.S. DOT number and registering your operating authority, adding or updating registration(s). The fed’s new online system has been rolling out one calendar chunk at a time and according to its latest advisory, the implementation for the final stage will be delayed again.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made the notification on Friday, Dec. 9. The final date has not been announced, but the agency is extending the implementation date of the final stage of the Unified Registration System “beyond” Jan. 14, 2017.

FMCSA will publish a Federal Register notice in early January 2017 announcing the revised regulatory compliance dates.

The URS is a single, online federal information system that businesses use to register and update their information with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Its goal was to roll it out in final phase about a month from now.

The new online system eliminates a lot of paperwork. It also does away with the old MC number, FF or MX number. But additional time is needed to securely migrate old data into a new central database and to conduct some tests.

FMCSA’s memo stated that by moving the implementation date, it is providing its state partners more time to develop, update, and verify data connectivity and system reliability. The additional time will also enable the agency to conduct more thorough training and to implement broader outreach and education activities that will provide for a seamless transition.

Since the December 2015 launch of the initial phase of URS, the agency estimates that the industry has saved more than $3 million in registration expenses.

According to the memo, the agency issued over 100,000 new U.S. DOT numbers, removed more than 360,000 dormant U.S. DOT numbers from its databases, and achieved a 100 percent screening of operating authority applications for disqualified carriers attempting to fraudulently reincarnate as new operators.

More info on URS
The URS rule applies to all interstate motor carriers (including private and for-hire passenger and property motor carriers), freight forwarders, brokers, intermodal equipment providers (IEPs), hazardous materials safety permit (HMSP) applicants/holders, and cargo tank manufacturing and repair facilities under FMCSA’s jurisdiction. Mexican-domiciled carriers conducting long-haul operations are exempt.

When completely implemented, the URS will require online registration for all filers, will use only the U.S. DOT number as a sole identifier, will impose a new fee schedule, and will keep a record on financial responsibility and your BOC-3. It replaces multiple forms and the registration functions of several systems such as the Licensing and Insurance System and the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).

It is designed to simplify the process of registering, to reduce paperwork and errors, and to make it possible to electronically screen all applications to identify high-risk carriers, including potential reincarnated carriers.

For more information on the URS or for assistance, contact OOIDA’s Business Services/Permits and Licensing Department at 800-444-5791.

Navistar opens new Used Truck Reconditioning Center

Navistar recently opened its new Used Truck Reconditioning Center in Melrose Park, Ill. The center was opened after the closing and sale of the Indianapolis Center.

Designed to be the new home for the Diamond Renewed 180-plus point inspection and serving pre-owned truck reconditioning program, the center will be co-located near Chicago where the prototype and testing facility is situated.

The centralized Reconditioning Center allows Navistar to examine the reconditioning process to “to ensure a consistent product is available to all International Dealers and Navistar’s own 15 Used Truck Sales Centers,” according to a press release. Handling large transactions, ensuring quality, and meeting internal costs will also be made possible.

A wash bay, detailing/painting booth, welding room and parts storage area will be included in the Reconditioning Center. Navistar worked with the Local UAW to come to an agreement.

Navistar plans to relocate its nearby International Used Truck Sales Center to its Melrose Park facility in 2017.

First Love’s location in northern Iowa features 80 parking spaces

The year is almost over, but Love’s Travel Stops hasn’t stopped opening new locations for 2016. Love’s has recently opened a location in northern Iowa in the city of Floyd.

Truckers in northern Iowa can stop at U.S. Highway 18/218 and Monroe Street and fuel, eat and shop at the new Love’s location in Floyd, Iowa. The travel stop is approximately 20 miles east of Interstate 35 on Highway 18. According to a press release, Love’s did not have a location in northern Iowa or on Highway 18 prior to the Floyd location.

In addition to 80 new parking spaces, the Floyd location will include a Subway and Godfather’s Pizza restaurant, five showers, RFID cardless fueling, Cat Scales and other driver services. This will be the sixth Love’s travel stop in Iowa.

For more information, visit Loves.com.

DAT Solutions: Spot market ends November on a high

As expected, the number of available loads on the spot truckload freight market surged last week compared with the previous week, which was shortened by the Thanksgiving holiday.

Less expected was the high load volume on the MembersEdge board during the week ending Dec. 3: a 64 percent jump in the number of available loads and a 13 percent increase in the number of posted trucks.

Unseasonably high ratios: The spot van load-to-truck ratio is the highest since June 2014; the refrigerated ratio is at its highest since March 2015:

  • Van L/T: 4.7 (up 61 percent)
  • Reefer L/T: 8.2 (up 36 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T: 18.8 (up 27 percent)

Rates rise: With demand on the upswing, rates rose across all three equipment types:

  • Vans: $1.74/mile, up 8 cents
  • Reefers: $1.96/mile, up 1 cent
  • Flatbeds: $1.91/mile, up 2 cents

Fuel prices up: The average price of on-highway diesel gained 2.4 percent compared to the previous week at $2.48/gallon. Spot rates include a fuel surcharge.

Van loads soar: The number of van load posts soared 80 percent and truck posts increased 11 percent week over week. Spot van rates stayed strong in key regional markets:

  • Chicago, $2.09/mile, unchanged
  • Dallas, $1.57/mile, up 2 cents
  • Charlotte, $2.02/mile, up 5 cents
  • Buffalo, N.Y., $2.12/mile, up 10 cents
  • Los Angeles, $2.16/mile, down 3 cents

Reefers cooling: Reefer load posts were up 49 percent last week, and truck posts increased 9 percent. With holiday produce on the move, the national average rate for November was 6 cents higher than October’s average. But prices are now tailing off in produce markets:

  • Crops out of Green Bay are mostly finished and prices on some lanes fell hard. Green Bay-Joliet, Ill., was down 36 cents to $1.97/mile
  • Out of California, loads on the Ontario-Chicago lane paid 20 cents less last week at $1.71/mile, and Fresno-Boston slipped 17 cents to $1.91/mile
  • Miami rates slipped after big gains in the previous week. Miami-Boston fell 22 cents to $1.63/mile, and Miami-Elizabeth, N.J., dropped 21 cents to $1.47/mile

Flatdecks bounce back: Flatbed demand bounced back after Thanksgiving. The number of flatbed load posts increased 59 percent, and truck posts gained 26 percent compared to the previous week.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

More than 800 Freightliners recalled over issues with Goodyear tires

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling certain Freightliner trucks equipped with Goodyear G399A LHS 295/75R22.5 Load Range G tires. Affected vehicles can potentially experience tire tread separation.

More specifically, 2017 Freightliner Cascadia, Business Class M2 and 122SD trucks manufactured Jan. 24, 2016, to Oct. 10, 2016, with Goodyear G399A LHS 295/75R22.5 Load Range G tires are affected by the recall. Tires may have cured improperly, possibly resulting in a partial tread separation.

Owners will be notified, and affected tires will be replaced for free. Recalls are slated for Jan. 6, 2017. Questions can be directed to DTNA customer service at 800-547-0712 with the recall number FL-728.

MAVTV begins airing in Canada Jan. 10

Owned and operated by Lucas Oil Products, MAVTV Motorsports Network is a U.S. television network with its roots deep in the automotive world. MAVTV is set to start airing its motorsports content, events and exclusive automotive reality shows in Canada on Jan. 10, 2017. 

MAVTV announced this week that a distribution agreement has been signed to make the network available to all 115 CCSA members across Canada. Media executive and partner Mike Garrow describes the agreement as a “winning combination for racing fans.” MAVTV’s Jan. 10 launch will coincide with the live broadcast of the 31st annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, the largest indoor race in North America.   

MAVTVCanada is operated by REV Sports Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Neon Star Sports & Entertainment Inc.

Bob Patison, president of MAVTV said MAVTV Motorsports Network has been delivering the “best grass roots racing content” on television for many years. “Now our Canadian race fans will be able to enjoy our exciting shows and exclusive events.”

MAVTV Motorsports Network will feature exclusive automotive and motorsports programming such as The Dave Despain Show, Full Custom Garage, Stacey David’s GearZ and Speed Sport hosted by Ralph Sheheen in partnership with National Speed Sports News.

MAVTV Motorsports Network benefits from Lucas Oil Production Studios, which produces more than 300 hours of exclusive motorsports programming.

Truckers and speed sports fan alike are familiar with the name Lucas Oil. It was founded in 1989 by trucker and longtime OOIDA supporter Forrest Lucas and his wife, Charlotte. Lucas Oil Products Inc. is now a recognized world leader of high performance lubricants, additives and produces and markets more than 270 unique formulations in more than 40 countries. Products include engine oils, greases, gear lubes, problem-solving additives and car-care products. In the USA, Lucas Oil is sold in more than 30,000 auto parts stores and at every truck stop nationwide.

Women in Trucking online auction happening now

Holiday auctions online are fun, especially when the proceeds benefits truckers. The Women In Trucking Foundation is holding its third annual holiday auction through Saturday, Dec. 10, midnight Central Standard Time.

It’s an online public auction in which anyone will be able to bid on items like a custom handmade quilted ornament, a custom suncatcher handmade by OOIDA Life Member Sandy Long, a custom truck painting, four trucker therapy sessions from Buck Black’s Trucker Therapy, die-cast models of the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution, a UPS Feeder truck and a Walmart truck, plus a GPS from Rand-McNally, a rolling duffle bag from Ryder, crystal butterfly bracelets, a four-day stay at Florida’s Orange Lake Resort from Great Dane, and more.

Proceeds from the auction will support the WIT Foundation by providing scholarships to women and men to begin or advance their careers in the trucking industry. It’s not necessary to be a WIT member to apply for the scholarship.

Visit the auction at https://www.32auctions.com/WITholiday2016.

Averitt contributes $10,000 to Red Cross for Tennessee relief effort

In response to the recent wildfires and tornadoes in East Tennessee, employees of Averitt Express have contributed $10,000 to the American Red Cross to help the relief efforts in that area. Averitt Express is a privately owned transportation and supply chain management company based in Cookeville, Tenn.
 
The contribution comes from Averitt’s associate-driven charitable giving organization, Averitt Cares for Kids. Nearly 85 percent of Averitt associates are part of this group, giving $1 per week to make a difference in the lives of countless people.
 
“Our hearts go out to the people who have been impacted by the natural disasters in East Tennessee,” said Gary Sasser, Averitt’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We want to do what we can to help the relief efforts there, and we’re proud to partner with the American Red Cross as it continues its important work.”
 
According to Averitt, Red Cross disaster workers are currently assisting those who have lost their homes and possessions, providing relief and support services. This work includes operating three shelters in Tennessee to provide a safe place to stay, as well as providing necessities for evacuees.
 
Averitt has received numerous charitable awards for its corporate giving and has actively supported a growing list of groups such as Ronald McDonald House, American Cancer Society, Special Olympics, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and many more. For more information about Averitt associates’ charitable giving efforts, visit AverittExpress.com/AverittCares.

More than 1,000 trucking jobs added in November

Another strong month for transportation jobs in November as the sector added nearly 9,000 jobs to the economy, including more than 1,000 trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector gained 8,900 jobs in November, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net gain of nearly 5,000 jobs, up from a net loss of more than 4,000 in October. In January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 1,100 jobs in November after the industry gained 3,000 in October and lost 3,600 in September. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss nearly 4,000 jobs.

The couriers and messengers subsector experienced the largest increase with 5,700 jobs added to the economy, followed by warehousing and storage at 3,100. Air transportation experienced the largest loss with 1,000 fewer jobs, trailed by rail transport with 500 jobs lost.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. May’s increase of nearly 9,000 jobs was the largest in 2015 for the trucking subsector.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.65 for November – a 9-cent increase from October. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 4 cents to $21.17. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.89, 3 cents lower from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 5.7 percent from 6.8 percent last November, and just slightly down from 5.8 percent in October. The overall unemployment rate for the country was down to 4.6 percent, the second consecutive monthly decrease. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or gone relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed was little changed at 1.9 million, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the unemployed.

Professional Truck Driver Institute will move to Denver

The board of directors of the Professional Truck Driver Institute has voted to move the organization’s headquarters to Denver, Colorado. There it will be managed by Leading Associations.

Since 1996, PTDI has been managed by the Truckload Carriers Association. The decision to switch management was brought on by converging changes to both PTDI’s and the TCA’s missions.

PTDI said in a press release that the transition will take effect immediately. The phone number and website/email addresses will remain the same. Tim Blum of Leading Associations will be PTDI’s executive director.

NJPass allows truckers to bypass New Jersey weigh stations

Truckers traveling through New Jersey will have more options going through weigh stations. The New Jersey Department of Transportation has recently launched NJPass, allowing trucks to bypass weigh stations.

Trucks with NJPass will be able to bypass the three inbound stations located at Interstate 78, Interstate 80 and Interstate 295. NJDOT expects the new system to reduce backups at weigh stations and help truckers save money on fuel and decrease drive times.

All trucking companies are open to apply for the program. Trucking companies enrolled in the program will pay an annual fee based on fleet numbers and how long the company participates in the program.

For more information, call 866-903-0333 or visit NJPass.net.

NAFTA truck freight decreased in September

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in September trucks moved nearly 65 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Rail and air freight were the only modes to experience an increase compared to last September.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by more than 2 percent compared with August when freight was up more than 11 percent from the previous month. September marks the smallest year-to-year decrease since February when freight fell by 2 percent compared to February 2015.

Compared to September 2015, freight was down 2.3 percent, a return to a year-to-year decrease after August experienced the first increase since December 2014 when freight increased by more than 5 percent. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month since then.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $59 billion of the $91.1 billion of imports and exports in September. 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 $91.126 billion, down $2 billion from the previous month and a decrease of more than $2 billion from September 2015.

Vessel freight experienced the steepest decline at 6.8 percent, nearly half of August’s drop of 12.5 percent. Trucks had a 3.8 percent decrease, the smallest decrease followed by pipeline freight at 5.2 percent.
 
Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.4 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 0.04 percent compared with September 2015. Of the $44.9 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 70 percent of the loads.

Pilot Flying J to reopen Indianapolis truck stop and open two others

Pilot Flying J has been busy opening new locations throughout the United States with four new locations built from July through September. Additionally, the truck stop chain plans to open two more locations by the end of the year, plus the reopening of a location in Indianapolis that caught fire earlier this year.

According to a PFJ press release, a total of 17 locations will be added in 2016, creating more than 1,000 local jobs and adding more than 1,000 truck parking spaces. PFJ is monitoring truckers’ needs for future locations in 2017.

The following locations were added from July through September:

  • Santa Rosa, N.M. – 2464 Historic Route 66 (I-40 and HWY-84); features Subway, Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon, and eight diesel lanes;
  • North Charleston/Hanahan, S.C. –5714 North Rhett Avenue; features Arby’s, Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon, and eight diesel lanes;
  • Stratford, Texas – 100 South Poplar (HWY-287 and 54); features Subway and Pizza Hut, and seven diesel lanes; and
  • Springfield, Mo. – 4939 West Chestnut Expressway (I-44, Exit 72); features Wendy’s, Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon, and nine diesel lanes.

By the end of the year, a new location will be added in Indiana and California. Marion, Ind., will feature a new store at 6252 State Route 18 East off of Interstate 69, Exit 264. And in Patterson, Calif., the new location will be at 2275 Sperry Avenue off of Interstate 5, Exit 434.

The Pilot Flying J at 1720 Thompson Road in Indianapolis, Indiana (I-465, Exit 4) is slated to reopen before the end of the year. Earlier this year, the truck stop went up in flames after a possible grease fire was started, with damages estimated at $4 million.

Wisconsin budget proposal to eliminate idling reduction grant program

A recent multi-year budget proposal in Wisconsin will eliminate the state’s grant program that provides motor carriers to purchase and install idling reduction units for newer trucks. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is encouraging affected truckers to contact lawmakers to support the program.

The Petroleum Inspection Fund has allocated $1 million each year for the program, which was created in 2005. According to the Wisconsin State Energy Office, the program is designed to assist common, contract and private motor carriers in the purchase and installation of idling reduction technologies. Reimbursements of up to 50 percent are available for truckers who purchase and install idling reduction equipment.

According to the budget proposal, the Diesel Idling Reduction Grant Program was originally scheduled to sunset on June 30, 2020, and with an expiration date of June 30, 2021. Although demand for funding is still strong, the budget claims “incorporation of these technologies has become generally accepted by the industry due to their cost effectiveness and proven technologies.” The budget document states that sunsetting the program earlier than scheduled will not decrease the use of idling reduction equipment.

If the budget passes as is, the Diesel Idling Reduction Gran Program will sunset on June 30, 2017, and funding will stop on June 30, 2018.

OOIDA is encouraging truckers who may plan on using the program in the future to contact state lawmakers regarding the issue. Wisconsin residents can find their state lawmakers at the Fighting For Truckers website.

For more information about the program, click here.

Truck Centers of Arkansas’ food drive provides thousands with Thanksgiving meals

More than 5,000 Arkansas residents in need will have a Thanksgiving meal thanks to the efforts of Truck Centers of Arkansas. The dealer network closed out its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, which collected hundreds of dollars and more than 700 pounds of food.

Each of the network’s three locations collected donations and non-perishable foods for less fortunate individuals during the Thanksgiving holiday. Donations were turned over to the local food bank and include:
North Little Rock - $100 and 146 pounds of food donated to Arkansas Food Bank, providing more than 1,200 meals;
Springdale - $240 and 353 pounds of food donated to North West Arkansas Food Bank, providing more than 2,900 meals; and
Van Buren – 233 pounds of food donated to River Valley Food Bank, providing more than 1,100 meals.

“Our whole staff really came together this year for the food drive. I’m proud to say that thanks to our team members’ generosity, over 5,000 Arkansans will have a Thanksgiving meal this year,” said Truck Centers of Arkansas Human Resources Director Alicia Wilkins.

Truck Centers of Arkansas operates a full service dealership representing Daimler truck brands.

Trillium CNG opens two new stations in Washington and Maryland

Trillium CNG, owned by Love’s, has added two new CNG stations in Washington and Maryland. Additionally, a CNG system for an existing station in Pennsylvania is in the works.

The new CNG station in Maryland is located in Aberdeen near U.S. Highway 40 and Old Philadelphia Road. A grant from the Maryland Energy Administration helped complete the new station.

Washington’s CNG station is in Vancouver at 5420 NW Fruit Valley Road. The Vancouver location was installed due to supply demand coming from Matheson Postal Services and PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division.

Each location is open to the public, including light- and heavy-duty trucks. Two CNG dispensers are available at each location.

Slated to open early next year, an agreement for a light-duty CNG location at an American Natural convenience store in Sewickley, Pa., has been signed. Two CNG pumps will be available at the American Natural located at 2619 Wexford Bayne Road.

Certain 2017 Paccar trucks recalled over Goodyear tire issues

More than 200 Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks are being recalled due to issues with Goodyear tires, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. More than a dozen models are affected.

More specifically, various models of 2017 Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks equipped with Goodyear LHS Load Range G tires, size 295/75R22.5 G399A are being recalled. Tire tread may partially separate due to incomplete adhesion.

The following models are affected (all model year 2017):

  • Kenworth K370 
  • Kenworth t270 
  • Kenworth t370 
  • Kenworth t440 
  • Kenworth t660
  • Kenworth t800 
  • Peterbilt 330
  • Peterbilt 337 
  • Peterbilt 348 
  • Peterbilt 367 
  • Peterbilt 389
  • Peterbilt 567 
  • Peterbilt 579

Owners will be notified and Kenworth/Peterbilt dealers will replace the tires for free. The recall is slated for Dec. 15. For more questions, call Kenworth customer service at 425-828-5000 or Peterbilt customer service at 940-591-4000. Kenworth’s recall number is 16KWC and Peterbilt’s recall number is 1016G (PB).

Comdata expands service for small fleets

Comdata Inc. recently announced the expansion of its fleet management offerings to better support smaller over-the-road trucking firms. The result of extensive research, including Comdata surveys of more than 500 U.S. small fleet owners and managers, Comdata’s MyFleet Program is a custom portfolio of services that allows fleets with up to 100 trucks to address their most critical operating challenges.

Comdata cited an ATA trends report estimating that more than 97 percent of the interstate carriers in the United States fit into this 1–100 truck market. Despite its size, Comdata noted this market tends to be underserved due to a narrow set of offerings and the difficulty many service providers have in reaching this highly dispersed audience. Comdata survey results showed that small fleets spend approximately 30 hours per week on non-driving activities, such as compliance and administrative work.

Through the MyFleet Program web portal, Comdata’s small fleet customers can take advantage of offerings in the following categories:

  • Save Me Money: Pre-negotiated discounts and time savings on expenses such as fuel, hotel stays and scale weighs;
  • Find Me Capital: Flexible options for establishing credit, pre-funded, factoring and short-term micro-loan accounts to support OTR purchases; and
  • Keep Me Compliant: Broad range of solutions address IFTA requirements, permitting, licensing services, IRS 2290 filings, pilot cars and more.
DAT Solutions: The results are in

In a week that shook up the country, the spot truckload market stayed steady.

The number of available loads on MembersEdge dipped just 1 percent during the week ending Nov. 12. With capacity up 5 percent compared to the previous week, national average load-to-truck ratios weakened a bit:

  • Van L/T: 2.7 (down 3 percent)
  • Reefer L/T: 6.4 (down 5 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T: 14.1 (unchanged)

As a national average, spot truckload rates gave back some of the previous week’s gains:

  • Vans: Down 3 cents to $1.67/mile
  • Reefers: Off 2 cents to $1.95/mile
  • Flatbeds: Down 2 cents to $1.89/mile

Those rates include a fuel surcharge. The average price of on-highway diesel dropped another 3 cents to $2.44/gallon.

West is best: The strongest areas for spot van loads on MembersEdge are still out West: No. 1 Los Angeles and No. 2 Ontario, Calif. Key lane: Los Angeles-Phoenix jumped 5 cents to $2.77/mile last week.

Get your Philly:Philadelphia saw the biggest jump in average outbound van rates thanks mostly to a couple of lanes to destinations in the Northeast, including Philly-Boston, up 10 cents to $3.20/mile. It’s still tough to get a good rate from Philly if you’re heading to the Midwest or to the Southeast.

Regional high van markets:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.08/mile, unchanged
  • Midwest: Chicago, $2.09/mile, up 1 cent
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.50/mile, down 2 cents
  • Southeast: Memphis, $1.91/mile, up 1 cent
  • Northeast: Buffalo, N.Y., $1.93/mile, down 3 cents

Reefer posts down: Produce had an off week with several markets seeing a large fall-off in volumes. Reefer load posts declined 1.5 percent and truck posts increased 3.4 percent.

Hot fries: Demand for reefers is high in Southern Idaho, with potatoes and onions rolling out ahead of Thanksgiving. Twin Falls is the No. 1 market for reefer posts, and the load-to-truck ratio surged to 33.4 loads per truck. For comparison, the national average is 6.4 reefer loads per truck.

Apples sauced: With Michigan’s peak apple season complete, rates dropped on lanes out of Grand Rapids. Apples will continue moving from storage locations throughout the winter, a likely reason the lane from Grand Rapids to Madison bounced back up to $2.37/mile.

Tri-haul of the week:

Van rates are way up on the lane from Stockton, Calif.-Portland, Ore. You can get a load for $2.11/mile and line up a backhaul for $1.50. Or you can turn that backhaul into a sort of a tri-haul. It’s more like an extra pick and drop, because if you take a load from Portland-Medford in Southern Oregon, you hardly have to leave the I-5 corridor. Those loads aren’t so plentiful now, but if you find one, it will pay $2.39/mile. Then you can grab a load from the Medford area back to Stockton, at $2.02/mile.

Remember that Oregon is a top state for Christmas trees and tree season starts next week. There are going to be more loads heading from Oregon to California.

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 OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com load board, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

Thanksgiving Trucker Movember raises awareness for men’s health issues

Scale Buster and the Movember Foundation have teamed up to launch Thanksgiving Trucker Movember. The social media campaign will raise awareness and money for men’s health issues.

From Nov. 21 through Nov. 30, truckers are challenged to shave their face. Once a trucker shaves his face, the facial hair should grow and be groomed as desired through Nov. 30. Using the hashtag #TruckerMow, participants are encouraged to share the progress of their beard, mustache, or whatever it is they choose to do as well as a link to the campaign donation link, MoBro.co/ScaleBusterApp.

The campaign will raise awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and poor mental health. According to a Scale Buster, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men, and rates have doubled in the last 50 years. The Movember Foundation is working to cut those numbers in half by 2030.

Love’s reaches more than 400 truck stops with new South Holland, Ill., location

Love’s Travel Stops recently reached a milestone with its opening of a new location in South Holland, Ill. The South Holland truck stop pushes Love’s to over 400 locations throughout 40 states.

South Holland’s Love’s is located at Interstate 94 at Exit 73B. The new locations will feature 88 truck parking spaces, seven showers and Love’s Truck Tire facility.

In celebration of its 400-plus milestone, Love’s is allowing customers a chance to win My Love Rewards points, Michelin steer tires and gift cards. For the next four weeks, 25 My Love Rewards members will be randomly selected to win $400 worth of points. Truckers simply swipe their card to see if they have won.

Swiping rewards point cards can also enter truckers into a drawing to win one of four sets of Michelin steer tires. Also, truckers can share on social media how they are celebrating the milestone by using the #Loves400 hashtag. Four people using the hashtag will be selected to win a $100 Love’s gift card.

This year, Love’s has opened 37 locations in 15 states, adding more than 2,200 truck parking spaces. Love’s is expecting to open approximately 50 new stores by the end of the year, making 2016 the year with the most location openings since Love’s was founded in 1964.

Caltrans seeking drivers for truck survey

Keeping up with a trend among states, Caltrans is asking truckers operating in California to take part in a survey regarding the physical and operational characteristics of their commercial vehicles, according to a Caltrans press release.

Hoping to get approximately 14,000 drivers to participate, the survey will take place online and over the phone. About 5 percent of the surveys will involve an onboard GPS device to collect data on trip distance, speed, duration and fuel usage. Devices are shipped to participants and are to be returned after about one week of use.

Data will be used to assist Caltrans in planning and developing projects to improve freight movement. Information gleaned from the results will include types of trucks used, types of commodities carried, and travel patterns.

For more information on the Caltrans Truck Survey, click here.

Rush Truck Centers to offer APG’s Duel Fuel trucks in 14 states

American Power Group, manufacturer of the Turbocharged Natural Gas Duel Fuel System, has announced its partnership with Rush Truck Centers, a commercial vehicle dealership. Rush Truck Centers will now be an installer and dealer of the Duel Fuel System. 

The multi-year deal will include Rush Truck Centers in 14 states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. 

According to its website, APG’s Duel Fuel System converts a truck’s standard diesel fuel system to one that uses both natural gas and diesel. After the conversion, the engine can use either a mixture of diesel and natural gas or 100 percent diesel. APG offers Duel Fuel Gliders and Class 8 conversions. 

For more information, visit APG’s website or RushTruckCenters.com.

FMCSA issues Safety Advisory for Keith Huber Inc. cargo tanks

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a Safety Advisory regarding certain cargo tank vehicles manufactured by Keith Huber Inc., according to a news release. 

According to FMCSA, DOT407 and DOT412 cargo tanks are not in compliance with Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations. The Safety Advisory affects cargo tanks manufactured by Keith Huber Inc. before May 1, 2013. 

Keith Huber Inc. is out of business and stopped making cargo tanks around May 1, 2013. Although an entity of Keith Huber Corp., Keith Huber Inc. cargo tanks are not the same. Cargo tanks manufactured by Keith Huber Corp. are not subject to the Safety Advisory. 

Due to the advisory, operation of the affected cargo tanks is prohibited in specification hazardous materials service. Continued use under those circumstances can lead to enforcement and civil penalties. 

For more information, click here. Questions regarding the issue should be sent to FMCSA.CargoTank@dot.gov.  

Freight index down for second consecutive month

Official freight numbers for September are in. The index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals freight was down for pipelines, rail intermodal and trucking, enough to bring down the index for a second consecutive month.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for September decreased by 0.6 percent to 121.5. July’s TSI replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014 before the index started to decline in August.

The September index is 28.2 percent above the low set during the recession in June 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went down 134 from 135.5, a decrease of more than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 5.8 percent in September to 132.7 from 140.8 in August. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s fall occurred during a time of economic stability as the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index increased by only 0.1 percent. Employment rose by 161,000 jobs, and housing starts increased by 1.9 percent when compared with August.

August’s freight TSI was the largest monthly decrease since January 2014 and the first decline after four consecutive monthly increases.

DAT Solutions: Unseasonably Warm Spots

We’ve turned back the clocks. There’s a nip in the air. The leaves are falling.

Yet for reefers, spot TL rates feel more like a June peak than the first week in November. During the week ending Nov. 5, the national average reefer rate on DAT MembersEdge jumped 7 cents to an average of $1.97/mile. Reefer rates haven't been this high since mid-July, when produce harvests are coming in.

Spot market load availability gained 4.8 percent while the number of trucks posted slipped 2 percent, which led to higher van and reefer load-to-truck ratios. The van L/T ratio was 3 (up 9 percent compared to last week) while the reefer ratio was 6.8 (up 13 percent).

Van rate rises: At $1.70/mile, the average van rate was up 5 cents week over week and was just 1 cent below year-ago levels.

More loads, small changes: Van load posts rose 7 percent and truck posts dropped 2 percent last week. Price changes were small on most individual lanes but the overall effect boosted the average linehaul rate to just 1 cent below the average for this time last year.

Best out west: Several van markets are stronger than they were a month ago, especially markets in the West (Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, and Stockton) that connect the region to much of the East Coast.

Top spot van markets by region:

  • Northeast: Buffalo, $1.97/mile, up 6 cents
  • West: Los Angeles, $2.07/mile, up 4 cents
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.51/mile, up 1 cent
  • Midwest: Chicago, $2.05/mile, up 1 cent
  • Southeast: Charlotte, N.C., $1.91/mile, up 2 cents

Reefer trends: With produce and other fresh food moving into position for Thanksgiving, reefer load posts unexpectedly increased 10 percent last week while truck posts declined 2.5 percent.

Top reefer lanes: Rates on the top reefer lanes have been hard to predict, with lots of changes from week to week:

  • Fresno-Denver added 27 cents for an average of $2.27/mile
  • Miami-Northern New Jersey added 35 cents for $1.44/mile
  • Green Bay-Minneapolis rose 36 cents to $2.24/mile
  • Miami-Baltimore was down 29 cents to $1.36/mile
  • Los Angeles-Denver dipped 18 cents to $2.38/mile
  • Ontario-Phoenix rose 7 cents to $3.10/mile

Flatbed trends: Flatbed load posts declined 1 percent last week as truck posts increased less than 1 percent. That caused the load-to-truck ratio to decline nearly 2 percent to 14.1 loads per truck. The average flatbed rate declined 1 cent to $1.91/mile.

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.

TravelCenters of America creates truck service tire network

TravelCenters of America, operator of the TA and Petro Stopping Centers, has created a monster – monster independent commercial tire dealer, that is.

The Westlake, Ohio-based travel center corporation has formed the TA Truck Service Commercial Tire Network, significantly expanding TA’s commercial tire business. TA claims the network is now the largest in the nation.

TA Executive Vice President Barry Richards made the announcement last week at the SEMA Show Complex. SEMA is the annual Specialty Equipment Manufacturers show held every year in Las Vegas.

All TA Truck Service centers now carry full lines of tires from Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental, and Samson. TA Truck Service also offers premium and economy Goodyear retread lines.

In addition to its traditional retail and national account offering, TA has already added tire brands, including Cooper Tire Roadmaster, Goodyear Marathon and Kelly, and expects to add others soon, including BF Goodrich, Pirelli and Formula by Pirelli. TA has also expanded the array of tire brands available through both its RoadSquad emergency roadside service and its growing “OnSite” mobile maintenance service.

Whether steers, drives or trailer tires, customers can choose to have them delivered anywhere coast to coast across the U.S., pick them up at any TA Truck Service location, or have them installed by an ASE-certified TA Truck Service technician. Truck service technicians are available to install your tires in bay at TA Truck Service facilities. 

The TA Truck Service network includes 243 truck service facilities, 1,079 repair bays, and nearly 3,000 technicians. TA has more than 1,600 RoadSquad Connect emergency assistance roadside vehicles and a growing fleet of OnSite maintenance vehicles.

Trucking jobs were up in October, still down year-to-date

Transportation jobs in October rebounded from a hit in September, adding 7,500 jobs to the economy, including 3,000 trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector gained 7,500 jobs in October, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net loss of more than 4,000 jobs, down from a net loss of nearly 12,000 in September. In January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 3,000 jobs in October after the industry lost 3,600 in September and gained 3,400 in August. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss of 5,000 jobs.

The warehousing and storage subsector experienced the largest increase with 3,300 jobs added to the economy, followed by trucking. “Support activities for transportation” experienced the largest loss with 1,200 fewer jobs, trailed by water transport with 1,100 jobs lost.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. May’s increase of nearly 9,000 jobs was the largest in 2015 for the trucking subsector.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.55 for October – a 6-cent increase from September. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 11 cents to $21.10. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.92, 10 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.8 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 5.8 percent from 6.7 percent last October, and just slightly down from 5.9 percent in September. The overall unemployment rate for the country was down to 4.9 percent after hovering at 5 percent for four consecutive months. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or gone relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed was unchanged at 2 million, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the unemployed.

Musket Corp. opens sixth diesel exhaust fluid facility in Georgia

Musket Corp. has opened its sixth diesel exhaust fluid wholesale bulk rack in Morrow, Ga., according to a Love’s Travel Stops press release. Musket is the trading and logistics arm of Love’s. 

DEF facilities are located in Memphis, Tenn.; Kingman, Ariz.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Albuquerque, N.M.; Louisville, Ky.; and Morrow, Ga. Musket produces its own DEF at these locations. DEF facilities are located near Love’s Travel Stops stores for easy access.

With six DEF terminals in place, Musket plans to double the number of facilities by 2017. DEF production by Musket began in 2014 in response to high demand and low supply. Love’s has had DEF available at the pump since 2010. 

As selective catalytic reduction technology (SCR) has become more popular due to the EPA’s Clean Air Act’s call to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, the use of DEF has increased, according to a Love’s press release. DEF is used as an after treatment on SCR technology as it converts harmful emissions into nitrogen and water.

DAT Solutions: Van freight volumes sleepy, hollow

By and large, October was a good month on the spot market. Load availability rose 2.8 percent on the MembersEdge load board and capacity was up 3.4 percent compared to September. Freight volume also exceeded 2015 levels for the month.

But rates did not catch up to the previous year's highs. And judging by the trendlines from the final week of October, spot freight availability is weakening as we ride into November.

Average spot rates:

  • Van: The national average van rate edged down 1 cent to $1.65/mile
  • Reefer: Reefer rates held steady at a national average of $1.90/mile
  • Flatbed: The national average flatbed rate added 1 cent due to rising fuel surcharges. The average rate was $1.92/mile

Mixed load-to-truck ratios:

  • Van L/T ratio: 2.7. Unchanged
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 6. Up 2 percent
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 14.4. Down 8 percent

Van market slipping: Volumes rose significantly in Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles as van freight picked up from west to east. But nationally van load availability and truck posts both slipped 1 percent, and rates barely moved on a majority of lanes.

Hot markets by region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.07/mile, up 2 cents
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.51/mile, down 1 cent
  • Midwest: Chicago, $2.01/mile, up 1 cent
  • Northeast: Allentown, Pa., $1.95/mile, down 2 cents
  • Southeast: Charlotte, N.C., $1.90/mile, up 3 cents after falling sharply in the previous week, in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

Reefer trends: Reefer load posts declined less than 1 percent last week while truck posts were down 2.5 percent.

California slumping: Reefer volumes in California slumped, which hurt the national picture last week. There was much more regional movement with refrigerated freight than there was with van freight, though, so there’s evidence of a pre-Thanksgiving push.

Key reefer lanes:

  • Ontario, Calif.-Phoenix rebounded 20 cents to an average of $3.03/mile.
  • Green Bay-Des Moines added 20 cents to an average of $1.93/mile.
  • Twin Falls-Los Angeles paid an average of $1.97/mile, 20 cents better than the previous week.
  • Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla., was off 11 cents to $2.76/mile
  • There’s also a lot of poultry shipping out of northern Georgia this time of year, so those factors combined led to a 24-cent drop on the lane from Elizabeth, N.J.-Atlanta, which paid $1.54/mile last week.

MembersEdge tri-haul of the week: Van rates were down last week on the Columbus-Atlanta lane, a typical headhaul. Instead of taking the backhaul rate from Atlanta to Columbus, which was just $1.28/mile last week, try Atlanta-Nashville instead. That lane paid $2.59/mile on average last week, and loads going from Nashville-Columbus paid an average of $1.75/mile. If your hours let you fit that extra third leg into your round trip, you’d add about 60 miles to your trip, and the average roundtrip rate goes from $1.60 to $2.01 for all loaded miles.

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.

Phase two of TxDOT truck toll discount on SH 130 begins

Phase two of the Texas Department of Transportation Truck Toll Discount Program is underway. A trucker driving on State Highway 130 (from the Interstate 35 exit in Georgetown to U.S. 183 exit in Buda) and State Highway 45SE will see the discount on tolls increase.

From Nov. 1 through Aug. 31, 2017, a savings of 67 percent will be issued to TxTag users only. Those with the tag will pay only $8.04. However, pay-by-mail drivers will still pay the $21.41 rate from phase one. Switching from pay-by-mail to TxTag could save up to 75 percent.

On March 31, the state legislature passed the Truck Toll Discount Program in an effort to relieve congestion on Interstate 35. Phase one began in April and ran through Oct. 31 and included a 33 percent discount. Pay-by-mail truckers will keep that rate, whereas TxTag truckers get the increased discount.

Discounts are being offered after the state legislature approved $18.7 million over two years for reduced tolls on large trucks. Only SH 130 and SH 45SE are eligible for the discount. All other toll roads near Austin will continue to operate at the normal rates.

“By getting some of these big rigs to use SH 130, during peak hours, we will help ease some of the gridlock we see on I-35 through Austin,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass in a press release. “This will get drivers to their destinations quicker by saving them time that otherwise would be spent in traffic.”

But will truckers take advantage of the discount?

OOIDA Member Sean O’Rourke told Land Line when he plans to use SH 130.

“Never,” O’Rourke said. “I’m not driving on a toll road if there’s another route that’s free.”

O’Rourke acknowledged that truckers driving through the area more frequently may find a use for the discounted SH 130, but the company he drives for avoids tolls whenever possible. In some cases, O’Rourke will drive on a toll road if the route is quicker and time is an issue. Otherwise, he finds driving on alternate routes that are toll-free to be more cost efficient.

This is not the first or second time truckers have received a discount on SH 130. According to TxDOT spokesperson Mark Cross, trucker incentives were placed Dec. 21, 2011, to Jan. 25, 2012; Feb. 4, 2013, to March 3, 2013; and April 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2013. During the previous discount, truck toll transactions increased more than 36 percent, according to TxDOT.

XPO sells former Con-way truckload business to TransForce for $558 million

Nearly one year to the day after XPO Logistics officially acquired Con-way, the company has announced it has completed the sale of its truckload business to TransForce for $558 million in cash, according to an XPO press release.

Truckload operations acquired through the Con-way deal on Oct. 30, 2015, include approximately 3,000 tractors, 7,500 trailers and 29 locations. Using its position as the second largest brokerage network, XPO will continue to offer truckload services in North America.

Back in early October last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that XPO would consider selling Con-way’s truckload unit. According to the newspaper, three offers for Con-way’s truckload unit were made to XPO. XPO CEO Bradley Jacobs had not made a decision as to whether or not sell the unit at the time.

Approximately $632 million in annual revenue, or around 11 percent of Con-way’s overall revenue, would have been lost in the sale of the truckload unit during the acquisition last year. Before the deal was made official, XPO expected to increase annual operating profit of Con-way from $40 million to $210 million over the next two years via cost savings and operational improvements.

XPO will put the profits from the TransForce deal toward the debt the company has accrued after acquiring several companies. In April 2015, XPO bought Norbert Dentressangle, a European transport and logistics company, for $3.5 billion.

In September 2015, XPO faced opposition toward the $3 billion Con-way acquisition. Just one day after XPO announced plans to acquire Con-way, Moody’s Investors Service announced that XPO’s ratings would be under review for a possible downgrade. XPO had a rating of B1 at the time, which is considered a “high credit risk.”

Moody’s review questioned XPO’s ability to integrate both Con-way and Norbert Dentressangle without burying itself in excessive debt. A document dated Sept. 17, 2015, on Moody’s website suggested that XPO’s plan to acquire Con-way is “credit negative.” A similar document dated April 28, 2015, declared the same “credit negative” status for the Norbert Dentressangle acquisition.

In January, XPO cut approximately 190 jobs as part of its previously announced synergy plans in its less-than-truckload acquisition from Con-way. Approximately one week later, the logistics company shut down seven terminals.

In May, XPO employees in the U.S. and Europe were upset about anti-worker actions and abuses, according to a Teamsters news release. Union leaders were claiming XPO was “mismanaging the integration of its new businesses, leading to operational and financial risks.”

NAFTA truck freight shows increase

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in August trucks moved more than 65 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Truck and air freight were the only modes to experience an increase compared to last August.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by more than 11 percent compared with July when freight was down nearly 10 percent from the previous month. August marks the largest month-to-month increase since March 2015.

Compared to August 2015, freight was up 0.7 percent, the first year-to-year increase since December 2014 when freight increased by more than 5 percent. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month since then.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $61 billion of the $93.1 billion of imports and exports in August. 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 $93.126 billion, up more than $9 billion from the previous month and an increase of nearly $700 million from August 2015.

Vessel freight experienced the steepest decline at 12.5 percent, half of July’s drop of 25.1 percent. Trucks had a 3.4 percent increase, the second highest increase next to air freight at 4.9 percent.
 
Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.5 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 3 percent compared with August 2015. Of the $45.8 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 71 percent of the loads.

DAT Solutions: Despite more loads, spot rates dip

Load-to-truck ratios gained in all three equipment types on DAT MembersEdge during the week ending Oct. 15. The average fuel surcharge added a penny as the price of diesel went up another 4 cents to $2.48/gallon as a national average.

But spot truckload rates?

Well, let’s take a closer look at the trendlines from DAT MembersEdge:

National average spot TL rates:

  • Van: $1.66/mile, down 2 cents
  • Reefer: $1.91/mile, down 1 cent
  • Flatbed: $1.92/mile, unchanged

Higher L/T ratios: With more loads in the system, the national average van load-to-truck ratio was up 9 percent to 2.9 while the reefer ratio climbed 4 percent to 5.8. At 14.7, the flatbed ratio was up 10 percent.

Florida freight: Freight started moving into Florida again last week after Hurricane Matthew put shipments on hold. That led to more load posts and higher rates on MembersEdge. Volumes doubled from Charlotte to Lakeland, Fla., which pushed the average rate up 38 cents to $2.65/mile. Atlanta to Lakeland jumped up 16 cents to $2.56/mile.

Hot-lanta: Van rates were higher throughout the Southeast. Atlanta reclaimed the top spot for van load posts as more freight left there for areas affected by the storm and I-95 closures. The average Atlanta-outbound rate jumped 5 cents to $1.91/mile.

Top van markets by region: Van rates rose on more than half of the highest-volume lanes. The high-dollar market in each region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.05/mile, up 1 cent
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.53/mile, up 2 cents
  • Southeast: Charlotte, $2.08/mile, up 13 cents
  • Northeast: Buffalo, N.Y., $1.99/mile, down 2 cents
  • Midwest: Chicago, $1.99/mile, down 3 cents

Reefer loads rise: Reefer load posts were up 4 percent last week, while truck posts were unchanged.

…But rates chill: Average reefer rates were cooler than expected. High-dollar markets by region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.37, down 2 cents
  • South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.79/mile, up 10 cents
  • Southeast: Atlanta, $2.25/mile, unchanged
  • Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.36/mile, down 5 cents
  • Midwest: Grand Rapids, Mich., $2.98/mile, down 13 cents

Also out of Atlanta, the lane to Lakeland dropped 11 cents to $2.70/mile, while Lakeland-outbound averaged $1.15/mile, down 6 cents. The trends remained mixed.

Flats up: In the week following Hurricane Matthew, flatbed load posts increased 10 percent while truck posts held steady, elevating the average load-to-truck ratio. The Top 5 markets for flatbed load posts: Little Rock, Cleveland, Shreveport, Spokane, and Portland, Ore.

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 DAT.com.

USA Truck increases pay rates for independent contractors

USA Truck, a carrier and logistics company based in Arkansas, has recently announced a pay increase for independent contractors, according to a press release. 

Dubbed the Independent Contractor Compensation Program, new independent contractors will receive higher mileage rates. Depending on the length of the haul, rates have been increased from $1.02 to $1.35 per mile.

Other benefits of the program include discounted fuel at in-network fuel stops, preferred labor rates, and discounted parts at USA Truck maintenance facilities.

To find out more, visit DriveUSATruck.com or call 479-471-2508.

Index points to largest freight tonnage decrease since January 2014

Official freight numbers for August are in. The index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals freight was down for pipelines, rail carloads and trucking, enough to bring down the index from July’s all-time high.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for August decreases by 1.8 percent to 122.3. July’s TSI replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014.

The August index is 29 percent above the low set during the recession in June 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went down relatively sharply to 136.5 from 140.8, a decrease of more than 3 percent. However, numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage increase of 5.7 percent in August to 141.8 from 134.2 in July. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s fall lines up with declines in the mining and manufacturing sectors. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index fell 0.4 percent in August.

August’s freight TSI is the largest monthly decrease since January 2014 and the first decline after four consecutive monthly increases.

DAT Solutions: Stormy weather

Hurricane Matthew and its toll on the South, both in human terms and in relation to the supply chain, continues to rise. The storm’s effects likely contributed to higher van rates and lower freight volumes during the week ending Oct. 8 as shippers paid more to move freight early in the week before reducing their activity later.

Inbound rates could go up in hard-hit areas like the Carolinas this week.

While we await those numbers, let’s take a closer look at the trendlines from DAT MembersEdge:

National average spot TL rates:

  • Van: $1.68/mile, up 6 cents
  • Reefer: $1.92/mile, up 1 cent
  • Flatbed: $1.92/mile, up 4 cents

Fewer van loads, more competition: The van load-to-truck ratio dropped 9 percent to 2.8 for the week as the number of posted loads fell 7 percent and truck posts rose 2 percent—unusual for a week with a 6-cent increase in the average van rate.

Reefer, flatbed L/T ratios down: Reefer load posts declined 4 percent while truck posts increased 3 percent. The result: a 7 percent decline in the reefer load-to-truck ratio (5.6). The flatbed load-to-truck ratio fell 7 percent to 13.4 after flatbed load posts declined 6 percent and truck posts increased 1 percent.

Hanjin fallout: The Hanjin Shipping Co. bankruptcy continues to affect demand, as Los Angeles was again the No. 1 market for load posts on DAT MembersEdge by a wide margin. The load-to-truck ratio there was 7.4 (the national average was 2.8). Eastbound freight remained solid for carriers: L.A.-Elizabeth, N.J., averaged $1.74/mile.

Regional rates: Van rates rose on more than half of the highest-volume lanes. The high-dollar market in each region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.06/mile, up 4 cents
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.50/mile, up 1 cent
  • Southeast: Charlotte, $1.92/mile, up 3 cents
  • Northeast: Buffalo, N.Y., $2.00/mile, up 6 cents
  • Midwest: Chicago, $2.03/mile, up 2 cents

Rising reefer lanes: Reefer rates were up and down, even among the high-dollar lanes by region:

  • West: Ontario, Calif.-Phoenix, $2.86/mile, up 3 cents
  • South Central: Dallas-Houston, $2.32/mile, down 7 cents
  • Southeast: Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla., $2.70/mile, down 11 cents
  • Northeast: Elizabeth-Boston, $3.53/mile, down 15 cents
  • Midwest: Grand Rapids-Cleveland, $3.48/mile, up 2 cents

Also out of Grand Rapids, the lane to Atlanta dropped 53 cents to $2.23/mile, which gives you a good idea of how mixed the trends were last week.

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 DAT.com.

Trucking industry suffers job losses in September

Transportation jobs took a hit in September, including 3,600 trucking jobs eliminated from the workforce.

The overall transportation sector lost 9,000 jobs in September, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net loss of nearly 12,000 jobs, up from 3,000 in August.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of approximately 3,600 jobs in September after the industry gained 3,400 in August and 1,700 in July. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss of 8,000 jobs. September’s loss was the largest monthly decrease since June when the trucking subsector lost 6,300 jobs.

The “Transit and ground passenger transportation” subsector experienced the largest decrease with 14,100 jobs removed from the economy, followed by trucking. Warehousing and storage experienced the largest gain with an additional 5,300 jobs, trailed by “support activities for transportation” with 3,300 more jobs.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. May’s increase of nearly 9,000 jobs was the largest in 2015 for the trucking subsector.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.65 for September – a 19-cent increase from August. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 14 cents to $21.22. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.79, 6 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.6 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 5.9 percent from 5.8 percent last September, but down from 7.1 percent in August. The overall unemployment rate for the country was little changed at 5 percent for the fourth consecutive month. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or gone relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed changed little at 2 million, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the unemployed.

Mack’s new powertrain underscores integration, fuel efficiency

At a press conference in Las Vegas this week, Mack Trucks told members of the trucking press how its 2017 powertrain will reduce fuel consumption without sacrificing power. Jonathan Randall, Mack’s senior vice president of sales, said that is what customers want. Mack’s new powertrain is also designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is what the EPA wants.

Randall provided details on the 2017 Mack powertrain, including its Mack MP series engines, Mack mDRIVE HD 13- and 14-speed automated manual transmissions. Other news included the new ClearTech One single package Exhaust Aftertreatment System (EATS) and the coming availability of Mack Predictive Cruise.
 
Several upgrades and enhancements to Mack’s 11-liter MP7 and 13-liter MP8 boosted fuel efficiency from 2.1 to 8.8 percent compared with prior model year engines. Both engines feature an updated wave piston design that raises the compression ratio and enables more complete combustion of fuel. The new common-rail fuel system also injects fuel more precisely. Combined with a two-speed coolant pump, these features help increase MP7 fuel efficiency by up to 5.1 percent and MP8 fuel efficiency by up to 5 percent.

The 2017 MP7 also delivers more power with a new 425 horsepower rating.
 
Mack also will offer the 2017 MP8 engine with a turbo compounding system – available exclusively with Mack’s SuperEconodyne downspeeding package – engineered to give customers in highway applications increased power and efficiency.

The 2017 Mack MP8 and 2017 MP7 are available for order now. The Mack MP8 with turbo compounding will be available for order sometime this month.

The updated 2017 Mack MP series engines complement Mack’s recently launched Mack mDRIVE HD 13- and 14-speed automated manual transmissions. With up to two low-ratio creeper gears, Mack says the new mDRIVE HD variants provide improved startability for heavy loads, while maintaining proper gearing for fuel efficiency at speed.

Also new for 2017 is ClearTech One, which is more compact than a two-component Exhaust Aftertreatment System, allowing for a shorter wheelbase for improved maneuverability. The smaller package also is about 17 pounds lighter than the current two-unit EATS. According to the company, ClearTech One is optimized for passive regeneration and SCR performance. The SCR catalyst is mounted downstream of the DPF, preventing hydrocarbon, ash or soot from entering the system.

Mack also announced this week that in January 2017 customers will be able to order Mack Predictive Cruise, an intelligent system that memorizes a route when cruise control is on, storing up to 4,500 hills in its memory. When the driver travels the same route the next time, Mack Predictive Cruise engages mDRIVE to choose the most fuel-efficient gear.

Predictive Cruise constantly monitors speed, engine load, weight and the road gradient in order to select the best gear for the road ahead. Mack says the predictive cruise feature can increase fuel efficiency by up to 1 percent and does not require a constant GPS connection.

Paccar announces updates to MX-13 and MX-11 engines, new proprietary axle

Paccar is launching new power, torque and fuel efficiency enhancements to its MX-13 and MX-11 engines for North America. The maker of Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks released details this week at a press conference in Las Vegas.

Paccar increased the MX-13 engine’s output to 510 hp and 1,850 lb-ft of torque and increased the MX-11 engine’s output to 430 hp and 1,650 lb-ft of torque. The enhanced MX-11 engine also adds a new 335 hp and 1,150 lb-ft torque rating in the lower end of the power range. Paccar’s MX engines deliver peak torque at 900 rpm for the majority of engine ratings, supporting increased performance and driving flexibility. 

Paccar expects 90 percent of the MX-13 and MX-11 engines to reach 1 million miles without the need for a major overhaul. Each MX engine also comes standard with factory-installed remote diagnostics to deliver proactive customer support.   

The 2017 Paccar MX-13 and MX-11 engines include a new single cylinder air compressor, variable displacement oil pump, and variable speed coolant pump providing customers with fuel economy gains over the previous engine design. The latest MX-13 and MX-11 engines extend oil and fuel filter change intervals from 60,000 miles to 75,000 miles, a cost savings for customers over the life of the vehicle. 

In addition, the MX-13 and MX-11 engines now use a single canister aftertreatment system that reduces weight by 100 pounds, improves serviceability, and lengthens service intervals.

The new engines will be available in Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks in January 2017. 

Paccar also announced this week its new proprietary tandem axle for North America, designed to complement the MX engines. Paccar Vice President Landon Sproull said it’s the industry’s lightest axle in its class and is rated at 40,000 pounds, supporting a gross combination weight of 80,000 lbs. 

The Paccar axle features a unique pinion-through-shaft design that simplifies power flow in the axle for maximum efficiency. The axle comes with a warranty of five years or 750,000 miles.

Kenworth and Peterbilt will begin offering the axle to customers in January 2017.

DAT Solutions: The Hanjin effect

As the West Coast feels ripple effects from the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping Co., nationally the number of loads posted on DAT MembersEdge fell 5 percent during the week ending Sept. 24 while capacity was up 3 percent. That helped send average load-to-truck ratios down: 

  • Van L/T: 2.8 (down 10 percent)
  • Reefer L/T: 5.5 (down 10 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T: 13.2 (unchanged)

Those ratios are back on par with August levels, but spot truckload rates didn’t move much:

  • Vans: Holding steady at $1.64/mile
  • Reefers: Unchanged at $1.91/mile
  • Flatbeds: Down 1 cent for an average of $1.88/mile

Hanjin Shakeout: Los Angeles jumped to the No. 2 spot for load posts on DAT MembersEdge (behind Chicago). Spot van freight volume and rates surged there last week ($2.01/mile, up 2 cents), with larger rate increases on eastbound, long-haul lanes. Los Angeles-Phoenix, up 4 cents to $2.61/mile, set the high mark for outbound rates.

Key van lanes: Several lanes showed strength last week while two L.A.-inbound lanes created opportunities for carriers looking to position trucks in that market:

  • Columbus-Buffalo, $2.75/mile, up 6 cents
  • Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla., $2.37/mile, unchanged
  • Philadelphia-Boston, $3.15/mile, down 3 cents
  • Chicago-Los Angeles, $1.29/mile, up 9 cents
  • Dallas-Los Angeles, $1.08/mile, up 2 cents

More on California: Reefer prices showed gains in Los Angeles, where the average outbound rate was up a penny to $2.36/mile. The highest-paying lane in the West was Ontario-Phoenix, up 2 cents to $2.90/mile.

Number 1: Twin Falls, Idaho, held onto the top spot last week for reefer posts on MembersEdge on strong potato harvests. The average Twin Falls-Chicago rate was up 24 cents to $1.89/mile.

Midwest rates: Midwest reefer rates were mostly down, but Green Bay-Minneapolis paid 20 cents better last week at $2.10/mile. The return trip averages $2.21/mile but volume is low. Try to secure loads in both directions in advance, if you can.

Apple sauce: Apple shipments might be slowing down in Michigan. The lane from Grand Rapids-Atlanta fell 24 cents to $2.32/mile.

Haul of the week: If you like long hauls, there are opportunities in California because of the Hanjin turmoil. Most trucks that unload in the Los Angeles area want a load to another city in California, or to Arizona or Nevada, just a few hundred miles away, so it’s getting harder for brokers to find a truck to the East Coast.

If you want to go east, one of the top destinations is the Elizabeth, N.J., market, which includes Newark, the nation’s No. 3 seaport and a regional warehousing hub. Los Angeles-Elizabeth is up 10 cents a mile this week. If you’re looking for a load on Friday, you can probably negotiate an even better rate than that.

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.

Utility recalling some flatbed trailers for faulty Conestoga XP systems

Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co. is recalling certain flatbed trailers, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Affected trailers have an issue with the Aero Industries’ tarp system.

More specifically, certain 2015-2017 Utility flatbed trailers equipped with Aero Industries Conestoga XP with RAD-style rear closures are affected. RAD is a “rear aerodynamic device.” Rivets may become loose if trailer is backed into a dock, or forcibly hit by a blunt object, with RAD closure in the open position.

A handle on the rear bow should be used to move the system. If the handle is not used, rivets could fatigue over time. As a result, the RAD can fall onto the roadway and potentially cause a crash.

Aero Industries will supply a repair kit at no cost to owners of affected vehicles. According to the recall report, the repair kit includes instructions, nuts and bolts, drill bit and Allen wrench for the repair. The repair is expected to take up to one hour.

Owners of affected vehicles can contact Aero Industries at 800-535-7563. This recall is part of a previous recall from Aero Industries in August.

Virtual 5K run to generate money for St. Christopher Fund

Running in a local 5K can often be a difficult task for a truck driver. All of the time spent on the highways makes it tough to find the time for such events.

The Truckin’ Runners Facebook Group, however, has created a 5-kilometer run specifically tailored toward the life of a truck driver. And it’s for a good cause.

The group started out small in 2010, says Jeff Clark, an OOIDA member and a runner from Kewaunee, Wis., but now has 911 members.

Truckin’ Runners will have its third annual Virtual 5K run/walk from Oct. 24-30. Money generated from the fundraisers will benefit the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund.

What makes the race unique is that a runner can be anywhere, and they can run whenever is convenient for them during the week. A person can run in a park, on a treadmill, or in a local 5K race. All they have to do is record the race on their smartphone and turn in the results.

Clark said the first two virtual races had about 30 participants, but he’s expecting more this year since the group has grown.

While the group will recognize the top finishers, Clark said the most important goal is to encourage truck drivers to be active. The typical times are anywhere from 20 minutes to more than an hour.

“We just want everyone to do something every day,” Clark said. “The point of the group has always been to encourage everyone to do whatever they can.”

You can watch a video that explains the race, and more details can be found here.

The St. Christopher Fund is a charity that helps semi-truck drivers with medical problems that have occurred within the last two years, which have led to financial hardship. According to the St. Christopher website, the charity has provided more than $1.3 million to more than 1,600 truckers in need.

U.S. DOT: NAFTA freight takes a huge hit in July

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

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by nearly 10 percent compared with June when freight was up more than 3 percent from the previous month. July marks the largest month-to-month decrease for the year.

Compared to July 2015, freight was down 10 percent, the largest year-to-year decrease in 2016. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for more than $54 billion of the $83.7 billion of imports and exports in July. Rail came in second with nearly $13 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 $83.725 billion, down nearly $9 billion from the previous month and down more than $9 billion from July 2015.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at 26.9 percent, a larger drop than June’s 15.6 percent decrease. Trucks had an 8.8 percent decrease, the second lowest decline next to air freight at 6.4 percent.
 
Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.7 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 5.5 percent compared with June 2015. Of the $41.3 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.

Freightliner, Western Star trucks recalled for faulty axles

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling several Freightliner and Western Star trucks due to a defect with axle hubs, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, various model year 2014-2017 trucks equipped with Conmet aluminum non-high-capacity hubs are affected. These vehicles specify a front axle weight limit that may be greater than that of the hub capacity, according to NHTSA. The wheel could potentially separate from the axle, resulting in a crash.

Trucks affected by the recall include (all 2014-2017 models):

  • Freightliner 108SD
  • Freightliner 114SD
  • Freightliner Business Class M2
  • Freightliner Cascadia
  • Freightliner Coronado
  • Western Star 4700
  • Western Star 4800
  • Western Star 5700

Affected trucks will have the front axle hubs replaced for free. Recalls are expected to begin Oct. 27. Contact DTNA customer service with recall number FL-718 at 800-745-8000 for any questions.

Trucker Buddy announces new board members

Trucker Buddy International recently announced the addition of three new board members for fiscal year 2016.

The board’s newly elected board members are Henry Albert, Scott Grenerth and Andrew Mitrisin. In addition, Linda Caffee was elected president, while Brad Williamson was named vice president, and Kate Miller accepted the position of treasurer.

Elisabeth Barna, K.C. Brau, Mark Reddig and Steve Sichterman are leaving the board after completing eight-year terms.

“We want to thank K.C., Mark, Elisabeth and Steve for eight tremendous years of service to Trucker Buddy,” Executive Director Randy Schwartzenburg said. “K.C. was such a tremendous president, working tirelessly behind the scenes promoting Trucker Buddy and conducting Trucker Buddy programs.”

Caffee and Albert have both been active in Trucker Buddy and both have earned the Citizen Driver Awards. They are members of the Trucking Solutions Group, Run Team Smart and are members of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

Grenerth is the director of regulatory affairs for OOIDA and has been active in Trucker Buddy.

Mitrisin is the communication specialist for the American Trucking Associations.

“Due to the leadership of all four outgoing board members, Trucker Buddy is in better position for the future,” Schwartzenburg said. “The new board members have begun their new terms. We are excited to have them on the leadership team, each bringing a unique skill set to help Trucker Buddy in our upcoming opportunities.”

Trucker Buddy International is an independent, nonprofit organization that helps educate schoolchildren and introduces educators to the trucking industry. After an extensive screening process, professional truck drivers are matched with a class and are directed by a teacher. Via a pen-pal relationship, drivers share news about their travels with their assigned class while students write letters and send pictures to their classroom driver.

Since 1992, Trucker Buddy International has helped educate more than a million schoolchildren. The Trucker Buddy program is funded entirely by sponsorships and donations.

CRST acquires California-based Gardner Trucking

CRST International recently announced its acquisition of Gardner Trucking of Ontario, Calif., according to a press release.

Gardner Trucking was founded in 1989 and is considered one of the largest truckload carriers in California. The California-based trucking company provides specialized regional truckload services, logistics, drayage and warehouse services for bulk and commodity end-to-end markets.

With facilities in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Texas, Gardner services the western part of the country. Customers are mostly those in the paper/packaging, food/beverage, wood products and metal/plastic container industries.

Tom Lanting, current president of Gardner Trucking, will maintain his role in the company. The largest acquisition for CRST, Gardner is expected to bring in $400 million in revenue for CRST with its more than 2,400 drivers and 500 non-driver personnel.

DAT Solutions: No day off for van, reefer rates

The number of load posts on DAT MembersEdge dropped 13 percent and truck posts fell 15 percent for the week ending Sept. 10 – not bad, considering that most businesses were closed for the Labor Day holiday. A four-day week is 20 percent shorter than a five-day week, so you’d expect a 20 percent decline in all load board activity.

To understand the impact on load-to-truck ratios, let’s look at the three big equipment types last week:

  • Van L/T ratio: 3.2. That’s down 0.4 percent, basically unchanged from last week when the ratio was the highest since early July.
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 6. Down 9 percent but a very strong number for this time of year.
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 12.2. That’s up 21 percent, a big increase even though rates fell by a couple of cents.

Here’s a closer look at the latest trends in the spot market:

Van rates hold: The national average van rate held on to last week’s gains and was unchanged at $1.66/mile. Demand for trucks was up, and there weren’t a lot of big price changes on the top 100 van lanes.

Better in Texas: Texas volumes are improving and rates were up on most major outbound lanes from Dallas. Average outbound: $1.55/mile, up 3 cents. Dallas-Houston paid an average of $2.20/mile, a penny better than the previous week.

Top van markets by region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.03/mile, down 2 cents
  • Midwest: Chicago, $1.99/mile, down 2 cents
  • Southeast: Charlotte, $1.92/mile, down 3 cents
  • Northeast: Allentown, Pa., $2.01/mile, down 3 cents

Prices in Chicago, Columbus, Seattle, and Philadelphia are all up from where they were a month ago.

Reefer lanes with gains: The national average spot market rate for reefers gained a penny to $1.93/mile compared to the previous week. Reefer volumes held up during the Labor Day week. Of the top 72 reefer lanes, 35 paid better while rates slipped lower on 32 lanes.

North is up: Demand for reefers was strongest up north. Chicago, Elizabeth, N.J., and Grand Rapids, Mich., were numbers 1, 2, and 3 for reefer load posts on MembersEdge.

Key reefer lanes: Several major reefer lanes remained solid last week:

  • Disappointing apple volumes had been hurting prices in Grand Rapids but rates there improved last week. The average Grand Rapids-Madison rate rose 29 cents to an average of $2.75/mile.
  • Chicago-Kansas City improved by 19 cents to $2.21/mile.
  • Sacramento averaged $2.39/mile outbound, up 10 cents. Sacramento-Denver surged another 24 cents to $2.35/mile.
  • Elizabeth, N.J.-Boston was down 17 cents to $3.37/mile. That might sound high but tolls and traffic can erode your margin. Plus it’s hard to find a load out of Boston.

Diesel prices: The national average price of diesel was $2.40/gallon, down 1 cent from the previous week.

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.

Freight tonnage in July reaches all-time high thanks to trucking and rail

Official freight numbers for July are in. The index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals freight was down for all modes except rail carloads and trucking, but the latter two were enough to raise the overall index to an all-time high.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for July increased by 1.6 percent to 124.6. July’s TSI replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014.

The July index is 31.6 percent above the low set during the recession in June 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went up relatively sharply to 141.1 from 136.9, an increase of more than 3 percent. However, numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 2.1 percent in July to 134.3 from 137.1 in June. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s growth lines up with monthly increases in the mining, utility and manufacturing sectors. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose 0.7 percent in June.

July’s freight TSI increase is the fourth consecutive monthly increase, the first time to happen since December 2014, which perhaps not coincidentally was the previous all-time high. The index grew by 4 percent from March to July, the largest four-month increase since February 2013 when the index went up 5 percent.

DAT Solutions: Spot rates show some life

We don’t make predictions here but when the number of load posts on DAT MembersEdge jumps 8 percent and truck posts drop 3 percent, it was a probably a good week to make money on the spot truckload freight market.

That’s how the week of Sept. 3 ended, with load-to-truck ratios finally picking up steam and spot TL rates on the rise. Here’s a closer look at the latest trends in the spot market:

Van ratio hits a high: The van L/T ratio was 3.2, up 16 percent compared to the previous week. That’s the highest ratio for vans this year.

Van rate jumps: The national average van rate finally showed life. The new average is $1.66/mile, up 6 cents. That includes a 2-cent hike in the average fuel surcharge.

Lanes with gains: 57 of the top 100 van lanes were up last week, and the ones that were down weren’t down by much. The biggest gains were on southbound lanes: Charlotte up 6 cents to $1.94/mile, Atlanta up 4 cents to $1.87/mile, and Memphis up 4 cents to $1.86/mile.

Mighty Midwest: In the Midwest, a 4 percent increase in van freight volume fueled an 8-cent-per-mile boost on outbound lanes originating in Chicago (to $1.99/mile). Rates out of Columbus added an average of 6 cents to $1.90/mile.

Reefer ready? The number of reefer load posts increased 11 percent last week while capacity declined 2 percent. That boosted the reefer L/T ratio 14 percent to 6.6, its highest point since early January. The national average spot market rate for reefers edged up 3 cents to $1.92/mile compared to the previous week, including a 1-cent increase in the fuel surcharge.

Better out West: In California, average outbound rates increased 5 cents in Los Angeles ($2.46/mile). Idaho potato harvests led to higher volumes in the Twin Falls market but outbound rates slipped leading up to the Labor Day weekend.

Key reefer lanes: Several major reefer lanes remained solid last week:

  • Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla.: $2.84/mile, up 6 cents
  • Elizabeth, N.J.-Boston: $3.55/mile, down 3 cents
  • Chicago outbound: $2.35/mile, up 14 cents

Falling flat: The number of flatbed load posts was steady while truck posts increased 4 percent. That pushed the load-to-truck ratio up 4 percent to 10.1 loads per truck. The national average flatbed rate was up a penny (due to the fuel surcharge) at $1.91/mile.

Diesel prices: The national average price of diesel was $2.41/gallon, unchanged from the previous week.

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.

September proving big for truck shows across the country

As summer begins to wind down, truck shows this month continue to go strong. September shows will span from Oklahoma to New Jersey. Popular gatherings include the Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show and Guilty By Association Truck Show.

Dodge County Fairgrounds in Kasson, Minn., will kick things off this month with the Big Iron Classic Sept. 9-10. According to the website, the Big Iron Classic is “the largest ‘Working Class’ truck show in the Midwest for semi-trucks and trailers and one of the largest contributors of toys to local charities.” In addition to showing off hundreds of trucks, the Big Iron Classic will also collect toys for charity, review new technology, and include a truck pull competition. For more information visit BigIronClassic.com.

Further east on Sept. 10, Denton, Md., will be hosting the Eastern Shore Large Cars show. Plenty of trucks will be on display, but truckers can also take advantage of a Department of Transportation Q&A hosted by BayCom and Wilson Transportation Services. Representatives for the two companies will answer questions regarding regulations, e-logs and other trucking-related issues. Visit Facebook.com/ESLargeCars or email eslc@comcast.net.

The following weekend will feature three truck shows. Starting in Tonkawa, Okla., at Wilkins Oklahoma Truck Supply on Sept. 16-18 is the Wilkins Busted Knuckle Classic. Friday night will get the event started with a convoy through the city followed by a light show. Saturday will be packed with events, including the truck show, prize giveaways and Chad Smith performing live music for the “Party on the Prairie.” Go to Stores.WilkinsChrome.com to find out more.

Truckers farther north can catch the Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show in St. Ignace, Mich., on Sept. 15-18. Light shows, truck show, silent auctions, dunk tanks and more can be experienced at this year’s show. Check out live music from Brian Lorente and The Usual Suspects and attend a meet-and-greet with OOIDA Life Member Alex Debogorski of “Ice Road Truckers.” For more information, including last year’s winners, visit NastShowTrucks.org.

On the East Coast in Englishtown, N.J., the U.S. Diesel Truckin’ Nationals will take place on Sept. 17 at Raceway Park. With gates opening at 9 a.m. and the final event ending at 10 p.m., showgoers will get more than half a day’s worth of entertainment, which includes diesel pickup races, big rig races and a monster truck show. Tickets for adults are $30, and kids under 12 get in for $10. Every ticket is a pit pass. Visit USDieselNationals.com for more details.

Closing out truck shows for the month of September will be the Chrome Shop Mafia at 4 State Trucks in Joplin, Mo., on Sept. 23-24 for the annual Guilty By Association Truck Show. Ending the month with a bang, GBATS will feature fireworks, Big Rig Burnouts, Bounty Hunter Show Truck live demo, live music by Tony Justice, swap meet, Special Olympics Convoy and more. Truckers can also score deals at the on-site store. For more information, go to ChromeShopMafia.com.

Trucking industry experiences another monthly job increase in August

Transportation jobs experienced its third monthly gain this year in August, including the fourth increase in trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector gained nearly 15,000 jobs in August, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net loss of nearly 3,000 jobs, down from more than 17,000 in July.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 3,400 jobs in August after the industry gained 1,700 in July and lost 6,300 in June. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss of 4,400 jobs. August’s gain was the largest monthly increase since last December when the trucking subsector gained 5,300 jobs.

Warehousing and storage subsector experienced the largest increase with 4,300 jobs added to the economy, followed by couriers and messengers with 4,000 more jobs. “Support activities for transportation” and water transport were the only subsectors to lose jobs, with a total loss of 1,200 jobs between the two.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. May’s increase of nearly 9,000 jobs was the largest in 2015 for the trucking subsector.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.50 for August – a 13-cent increase from July. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 12 cents to $21.20. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.73, 3 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.4 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 7.1 percent from 6.3 percent last August. The overall unemployment rate for the country was little changed at 4.9 percent for the third consecutive month. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or gone relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed changed little at 2 million, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the unemployed.

‘Band Together’ campaign extended to Sept. 9 at TA and Petro locations

The TravelCenters of America’s annual “Band Together” fundraising campaign for the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund will be extended until Sept. 9, a spokesman for the company said on Thursday. The fundraiser was originally scheduled to run through August.

As part of the campaign, guests and employees at TA and Petro Stopping Centers are invited to make donations to the St. Christopher Fund, which is a nonprofit organization that helps truck drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship. A $1 donation earns a commemorative wristband, and those who donate $5 receive a St. Christopher Fund keychain.

Donna Kennedy, executive director of the St. Christopher Fund, said additional “Band Together” fundraisers took place in August at Coffee Cup Fuel Stops and Sapp Bros. Travel Centers.

The “Band Together” campaign is crucial to the charity’s mission, Kennedy said.

“It’s huge,” she said. “It’s our biggest fundraiser. Without Band Together, we wouldn’t be here to be able to keep helping the drivers. We’ve given more than $1.3 million to more than 1,600 drivers since 2007, and that has been through these truckers making donations and buying these bands. We really appreciate their support, and we really appreciate all the truck stops that do the fundraising for us. They give 100 percent back to the St. Christopher Fund. It’s really amazing.”

According to the St. Christopher Fund website, the money generated helps with such costs as rent and mortgage, utilities, medical costs and insurance for truck drivers in need.

Truckers in need of help can apply here.

Form 2290 deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 31

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.

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. However, at this point, it’s a good idea to e-file in order to guarantee that the form is accepted before the Wednesday, Aug. 31 deadline. 
 
“For a service fee, OOIDA Permits and Licensing Department offers members the convenience and speed of filing the Form 2290s online,” says Cathy Koncilia of OOIDA’s Business Services Department. “Or you can e-file yourself online at ooida2290.com.”

State governments are required to receive proof of payment of the federal heavy-vehicle use tax as a condition of vehicle registration. 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.

First day at GATS a good one for the St. Christopher Fund

The St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund received $105,000 from Blue Tiger USA and TA Petro Thursday, Aug. 25, at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.
 
This year, TravelCenters of America, operator of TA and Petro Stopping Centers, teamed up with Blue Tiger USA for a fundraiser promotion. The fundraiser directed $10 from every Blue Tiger Bluetooth Elite headset sold at TravelCenter locations to the SCF. The results far exceeded the original goal. On Thursday afternoon, Blue Tiger President Fieras Saah and Vice President of Marketing Tyler Gillespie presented a check for $105,000 to the St. Christopher Fund.

“Professional drivers directly support the United States economy, and it’s really amazing what the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund has done to support them. TravelCenters of America stepped in to help support this organization without any hesitation. We could not be more proud to partner with TA and Petro Stopping Centers to give back to some of the hardworking people who keep America running,” said Saah.

Tom Liutkus, president of the board of directors of the St. Christopher Fund, accepted the contribution, along with several other board directors and executives.

Liutkus is vice president of marketing and public relations for TA Petro, which has a long history of being a major supporter of the St. Christopher Fund. Since 2010, TA’s “Band Together for SCF” annual campaigns and other fundraisers have generated more than $1.7 million in donations to help with financial support when drivers are off the road due to medical issues.

On Thursday afternoon, Luitkus also accepted a $100,000 donation from the National Association of Independent Truckers, a group that has been a strong supporter of the St. Christopher Fund.

Love’s Travel Stops donates $25,000 to Louisiana flood relief efforts

After floods in Louisiana claimed at least 10 lives and damaged tens of thousands of homes, Love’s Travel Stops has stepped up the plate with a helping hand. Love’s recently donated $25,000 to the Salvation Army for relief efforts.

Many Love’s employees and customers were affected by the historic flooding in Louisiana. As pointed out in a blog posted by Love’s, an employee at the Port Allen location had family in the affected area. Port Allen received approximately two feet of rain within three days.

Love’s in Duson was under curfew and nearby Interstate 10 was shut down for a period of time. At least two Love’s employees lost their homes.

Canteens from The Salvation Army are going out each day in affected communities to help anyone who needs a hot meal, something to drink or somebody to talk to. The Salvation Army has prepared more than 78,000 meals, 87,700 drinks, 15,600 snacks, 9,300 food boxes, 8,100 clean-up kits and 8,000 comfort kits for those in need so far.

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.

DAT Solutions: An up and down week

Typically, spot truckload rates go down in July and up again in August. But that cycle is out of sync this year.

The number of available loads on the spot truckload freight market fell another 6.2 percent during the week ending Aug. 13, sinking load-to-truck ratios and rates across all three equipment types on the MembersEdge load board.

Before we look at the trends, some truckers are getting loads from FEMA this week to bring emergency supplies to the flood zones in Louisiana. That can be dangerous work, and it’s difficult to find a load out, so please be careful out there. 

Capacity up, loads down: The 6.2 percent drop in freight availability was countered by a 3 percent increase in the number of trucks posted on MembersEdge last week.

More capacity hurts L/T ratios: The van ratio fell 7 percent to 2.5 loads per truck; the reefer ratio dropped 6 percent to 5; and the flatbed ratio was down 14 percent to 11. Load-to-truck ratios measure the number of loads posted for each available truck on the network.

Fuel surcharges down: Diesel prices dipped a penny last week with the national average retail price down to $2.31/gallon. The average fuel surcharge also fell 1 cent.

National average spot TL rates:

  • Van: Down 3 cents to $1.61/mile, including a 1-cent decline in the fuel surcharge
  • Reefer: Also lost 3 cents to $1.90/mile
  • Flatbed: Edged down 1 cent to $1.92/mile

Reefer trends: Reefer freight is in its typical lull between spring and fall harvests, with 41 of the top 72 reefer lanes in some sort of decline last week. The high-dollar market in each region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.44/mile, down 4 cents
  • Midwest: Grand Rapids, Mich., $2.64/mile, up 15 cents
  • South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.70/mile, down 5 cents
  • Southeast: Atlanta, $2.30/mile, unchanged
  • Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.22/mile, down 2 cents.

Van trends: The top five markets for load posts on DAT MembersEdge are Atlanta; Chicago; Elizabeth, N.J.; Dallas; and Indianapolis. Forty three of the top 100 van lanes saw prices go up last week, but most of the increases were small.

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.

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.

DAT Solutions: Freight takes a dip

Shippers kicked off the month in “summer” mode as the number of available loads on DAT MembersEdge fell 5 percent during the week ending Aug. 6.

Truck posts held steady, though, and van and flatbed load-to-truck ratios dipped while demand was up slightly for reefers:

  • Van L/T ratio: 2.7 loads per truck (down 2 percent)
  • Reefer: 5.3 (up 4 percent)
  • Flatbed: 12.8 (down 11 percent)

The national average diesel price fell 3 cents to $2.32 per gallon compared with the previous week, which led to a 1-cent fuel surcharge loss.

National average rates:

  • Van: $1.64 per mile. Unchanged. A 1-cent drop in the line-haul rate was offset by a 1-cent increase in the fuel surcharge.
  • Reefer: $1.93 per mile. Unchanged but riding a positive trend toward fall freight season.
  • Flatbed: $1.93 per mile. Up a penny.

Vans on hold: The top 100 van lanes were mostly steady last week. The national average van rate was $1.64 per mile, above where it was in June and only a penny off the four-week high. 

Memphis moves: While most spot van rate changes were slight, the big increases occurred on a handful of lanes known for retail traffic. Almost every major outbound lane from Memphis paid slightly better last week, as freight volume made it the No. 3 market for load posts on DAT MembersEdge.

Down South:Atlanta and Dallas were the No. 1 and 2 markets for van freight on MembersEdge but they’re also No. 2 and 3 for van posts. The competition helped push van rates down in both markets: Atlanta fell 4 cents to $1.87 per mile; Dallas dropped 2 cents to $1.55 per mile.

Reefers in demand: Demand for reefer trucks was up as the back-to-school grocery season and late summer harvests both picked up steam.

Hotter up North: Northern reefer-freight markets are showing strength. Rates jumped 14 cents to $1.80 per mile out of Elizabeth, N.J., last week as fruit and vegetable harvests in rural New Jersey and Pennsylvania contributed to an increase in demand. Elsewhere, regional markets with the highest average rates compared to the previous week:

  • Southeast: Atlanta, $2.29 per mile, up 3 cents
  • West: Los Angeles, $2.48 per mile, up 2 cents
  • Midwest: Green Bay, $2.47 per mile, up 2 cents
  • South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.74 per mile, down 3 cents
  • Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.29 per mile, up 2 cents.

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.

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.

Freight tonnage in June increases slightly for trucking

Official freight numbers for June are in. The index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals freight was up for all freight modes except water and rail intermodal freight.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for June increased by 0.6 percent to 122.3. June’s TSI is a 1.1 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.7 set in December 2014.

The June index is 29.1 percent above the low set during the recession in June 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went up slightly to 136.6 from 136.2, an increase of less than 1 percent. However, numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 1.5 percent in June to 137.2 from 139.3 in May. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s growth lines up with monthly increases in the mining, utility and manufacturing sectors. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose 0.6 percent in June.

June’s freight TSI increase is the fourth month-to-month increase for the year. Although edging higher, the TSI index for June is barely below January’s level of 122.5. February and March’s decreases were only the third back-to-back monthly decreases since December 2013. In all three cases, the next month represented an increase of 1.2 percent or more, including three of the four largest increases in that period.

‘Pork rind nation’ gets behind the St. Christopher Fund

Southern Recipe (famous for its pork rind snacks) is teaming up with the St. Christopher Fund, a charitable organization that promotes trucker health and helps truckers sidelined with medical issues. Your first reaction might be “Pork rinds? Trucker health? That seems like kind of an oxymoron.”

Here’s why it is not. Many snack munchers are quick to assume pork rinds are lard-soaked, deep-fried pigskin junk food that could not possibly be have any nutritional value. A couple of years ago, Men’s Health Magazine torpedoed that assumption with an article that points out that pork rinds are in a group of “vilified foods that have been unjustly convicted” and “deserve to be pardoned.” According to the article, a 1-ounce serving of pork rinds has 0 carbs, 9 grams of fat (43 percent unsaturated), and 17 grams of protein.

Right now (and through Sept. 15) Southern Recipe pork rind folks are honoring the more than 3.5 million hard-working truck drivers in our country who travel nearly 400 billion miles each year. The company has launched its Fifth Annual Truck Driver Appreciation campaign.

Go to the website and earn a chance to win a cash prize of $1,000 – while also helping the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund to earn a $2,000 donation.  

From Aug. 1 to Sept. 15, truck drivers and consumers may visit PorkRinds.com where – aside from neat facts and recipes from the website of the “pork rind nation” – they will be asked to answer one truck driving and/or pork rind-related trivia question daily. With each visit, consumers will work together to help move the Southern Recipe “truck” across the country via an interactive map. When the truck driver reaches his destination, a total of $2,000 will be donated to SCF. 

“Our goal is to support America’s truck drivers in every way we can. This year, we’re honored to partner with Southern Recipe and celebrate these road warriors in a big way,” said Shannon Currier, director of philanthropy and development at SCF.

Mark Singleton, vice president of sales and marketing at Rudolph Foods Company, says working with St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund is the snack makers’ way of showing appreciation for heavy-duty truckers (and heavy-duty snackers) everywhere.

Two truck stop chains join TA’s ‘Band Together for SCF’ fundraiser

TravelCenters of America’s annual fundraising campaign for the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund began Aug. 1 and will run at participating TA and Petro locations through Aug. 31. The campaign – which began in 2010 – is known as “Band Together for SCF.”

This year, that phrase means more than truckers and TA and Petro employees banding together. Coffee Cup Fuel Stops and Sapp Brothers truck stops have joined the fundraising efforts.

As part of the campaign, guests and employees at TA and Petro Stopping Centers will be invited to make donations, which may be made at participating TA and Petro restaurants, travel stores, fuel buildings and truck service facilities. All of the money generated will go to the St. Christopher Fund. 

If you are trucking through the Upper Great Plains, a special promotion has been extended through the end of August at each location of a Coffee Cup Fuel Stop. Eight fuel stops have joined the effort to raise funds for the St. Christopher Fund through the Band Together campaign. Coffee Cup Fuel Stops are located in Summit, N.D., Burbank, S.D., Plankinton, S.D., Steele, N.D., Hot Springs, S.D., Vivian, S.D., Moorcroft, Wyo., Hartford, S.D.

Sapp Bros. has joined the fundraising efforts, too, for the month of August. Sapp Bros. offers 16 travel centers from as far east as Clearfield, Penn., to Salt Lake City, Utah in the West.

St. Christopher Fund is a nonprofit organization that helps truck drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship. The organization has provided more than $1.3 million to 1,575 truck drivers since its inception in 2007. The money helps with such costs as rent and mortgage, utilities, medical costs and insurance. 

The TA and Petro annual campaign contribution is the largest single donation the St. Christopher Fund receives each year. Last year, the campaign generated $315,331 for the charity.

Trucking industry experiences largest monthly job increase of the year

Transportation jobs experienced only its second monthly gain this year in July, including the third increase in trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector gained nearly 12,000 jobs in July, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net loss of more than 17,000 jobs, down from 29,000 in June.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 1,700 jobs in July after the industry lost 6,300 in June and 2,400 in May. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss of 7,800 jobs. July’s gain was the largest monthly increase since last December when the trucking subsector gained 5,300 jobs.

Transit and ground transportation subsector experienced the largest increase with more than 4,000 jobs added to the economy, followed by warehousing and storage at 2,600 more jobs. Pipeline, water and rail transport were the only subsectors to lose jobs, with a total loss of 800 jobs between all three.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.33 for July – a 2-cent increase from June. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 4 cents to $21.00. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.69, 8 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.6 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 7.5 percent from 6.9 percent last July. The overall unemployment rate for the country was little changed at 4.9 percent, after the first increase since April 2011 the previous month. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or went relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed changed little to 2 million, accounting for approximately one quarter of the unemployed.

Daimler Trucks cuts more than 100 jobs at North Carolina facility

As orders for Class 6-8 vehicles continue to decline, Daimler Trucks North America has been experiencing a drop in production. DTNA recently announced another round of layoffs at a North Carolina facility.

Approximately 115 workers are affected by the workforce reduction at the Gastonia, N.C., components and logistics facility, according to David Giroux, director of corporate communications for DTNA. Earlier this summer, 180 workers were impacted by a separate reduction at the same facility.

Reductions are expected to take effect on Aug. 12. In January, nearly 1,000 workers were laid off at DTNA’s Cleveland, N.C., Freightliner plant. DTNA declined to comment on any future adjustments to workforces.

According to Giroux, DTNA’s layoffs this year have been a response to decreasing orders which have led to a reduction in its build rate. Workforce adjustments are expected to be temporary as the company weathers the storm. Workers affected by the adjustments will have the opportunity to return to work once the economic environment allows for a higher build rate.

DAT Solutions: Summer break? Rates stay solid

Lazy days of summer? Not quite.

The number of available loads on the DAT MembersEdge load board gained 4 percent during the week ending July 30 while truck posts fell 5 percent, bumping up load-to-truck ratios for all equipment types:

  • Van L/T ratio: 2.8 (up 11 percent)
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 5.1 percent (up 18 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 14.4 percent (up 5 percent)

Opportunities are out there. Here’s what you need to know about where to find them:

National average rates: The national average spot truckload rate for van freight dipped 1 cent to $1.64/mile compared to the previous week, which is still 2 cents higher than the national average in June. The reefer rate was down 3 cents to $1.93/mile; that’s 4 cents below the June average but, by comparison, there was a 10-cent drop between June and July averages last year. For flatbeds, the national average rate picked up a penny to $1.92/mile, 4 cents below the June average.

Diesel down again: The national average price of diesel declined another 3 cents to $2.35/gallon. Because spot rates are all-in rates and include a surcharge portion, lower fuel prices can chip away at rates.

Van rates split: On the DAT MembersEdge top 100 van lanes, 44 had higher rates compared to the previous week and 44 were lower. The rest were unchanged.

Markets to watch:

  • Columbus ($1.80/mile, up 5 cents): Columbus-Buffalo paid 16 cents better last week at $2.01/mile, which is well above the average for the year on that lane. Columbus-Atlanta also added 11 cents to 1.64/mile. 
  • Dallas ($1.58/mile, unchanged): Still the No. 2 market on DAT MembersEdge for van load posts behind Atlanta, but also No. 3 for truck posts. That means there’s more competition, which keeps rates from rising.

Reefers hot and cold: Reefer rates lost ground in California last week, led by Los Angeles down 5 cents to $2.46/mile and Fresno off 2 cents to $2.02/mile. However, major Midwest markets like Grand Rapids picked up the pace: the average rate jumped 20 cents last week, likely because of cucumber and squash harvests.

Flat activity: Most major flatbed markets were down but one bucked that trend: Raleigh, N.C., where construction activity fueled demand. The average spot rate was up 14 cents last week to an average of $2.54/mile. The lane from Raleigh to Tampa gained 35 cents in the past month to $2.55/mile.

Flatbed lanes with gains:

  • Roanoke-Baltimore surged to $3.93/mile. That’s $1.18 higher than last month.
  • Savannah-Charlotte recovered 38 cents to $2.55/mile.
  • Cleveland-Roanoke spiked 36 cents and paid $2.50/mile on average.

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.

Kansas Turnpike Authority accepting Nationalpass transponders

Truckers driving through Kansas can now convert their K-Tag to a multistate transponder. The Kansas Turnpike Authority has announced the tolling agency will now accept Nationalpass transponders.

Created by TransCore, the new national interoperable electronic tolling device is currently in use in 20 states. TransCore was also the manufacturer of the K-Tag. States using Nationalpass include:

  • California
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

KTA also accepts Bestpass and is currently in the testing phase with PrePass Plus. For more information about Nationalpass and to sign up, visit Nationalpass.net.

TA and Petro launches St. Christopher Fund campaign in August

TravelCenters of America’s annual fundraising campaign for the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund begins Aug. 1.

The St. Christopher campaign, which started in 2010, will run at participating TA and Petro locations through Aug. 31. St. Christopher Fund is a nonprofit organization that helps truck drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship.

As part of the campaign, guests and employees at TA and Petro Stopping Centers will be invited to make donations. Those who donate a $1 will receive a commemorative wristband, while those who donate $5 will receive a St. Christopher Fund keychain.

Donations may be made at participating TA and Petro restaurants, travel stores, fuel buildings and truck service facilities. All of the money generated will go to the St. Christopher Fund.

“It’s always a great feeling helping St. Christopher Fund raise money for truck drivers in need,” Tom O’Brien, president and CEO of TravelCenters said in a press release. “Seeing how our customers come together to help their fellow drivers in need is an amazing example of why we’ve all come to love and respect the truck driving community. Our team is proud to play a role in making that happen and telling others about it.”

According to the St. Christopher Fund website, the organization has provided more than $1.3 million to 1,575 truck drivers since its inception in 2007. The money helps with such costs as rent and mortgage, utilities, medical costs and insurance.

The TA and Petro annual campaign contribution is the largest single donation the St. Christopher Fund receives each year. Last year, the campaign generated $315,331 for the charity.

“We cannot thank the donors and TA and Petro employees enough for all they do to make this campaign so successful,” Donna Kennedy, executive director of the St. Christopher Fund. “We are truly grateful.”

Truckers in need can apply for funds here.

U.S. DOT: Second consecutive increase in NAFTA truck freight in May

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in May trucks moved 66 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. For the second consecutive month, trucking was the only mode to experience an increase when compared to the previous year.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased a small fraction of a percent compared with April when freight was also down less than 1 percent from the previous month. May marks the second consecutive decrease after two consecutive increases in February and March.

Compared to May 2015, freight was down 3.1 percent. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for more than $59 billion of the $89.8 billion of imports and exports in May. 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 $89.8 billion, down $540 million from the previous month and down nearly $3 billion from May 2015.

Vessel freight experienced the steepest decline at 30.7 percent, a larger drop than April’s 26.4 percent decrease. Trucks had a 1.3 percent increase, the only increase among the five modes.

More than 61 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.6 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 0.1 percent compared with May 2015. Of the $43.9 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 71.2 percent of the loads.

Fitzgerald Glider Kits acquires two Peterbilt dealerships in Virginia

Tommy Fitzgerald Jr. and Nick Bresaw of Fitzgerald Glider Kits have bought two Peterbilt dealerships in southwest Virginia, according to a press release. 

Formerly Performance Peterbilt of Bristol, the two dealerships acquired by Fitzgerald are located at 33392 Lee Highway in Glade Spring, Va. and 220 Kelly Road in Fancy Gap, Va. The dealerships will now be called Fitzgerald Peterbilt.

Performance Peterbilt of Bristol, LLC was founded in 2002. The company offers sales, parts, service and contract maintenance to the TriCities region, which encompasses company headquarters in Virginia.

Massive recall affects more than 30,000 trailers with parking brake issue

Trailer manufacturers are recalling tens of thousands of trailers due to an issue with Bendix spring valves. Approximately 10 manufacturers have recalled a total of more than 30,000 trailers in response to an equipment recall Bendix announced in June.

On June 8, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 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.

More than a month later, NHTSA has sent out a recall notice with specific makes and models of trailers affected by the recall. Affected trailers include:

  • Brenner liquid tank, 2015-2017
  • Cheetah Bridgemaster chassis trailers, 2015-2016
  • Cheetah curtainside flatbed trailers, 2016
  • Cheetah extendable chassis trailers, 2014-2016
  • Cheetah flatbed trailers, 2015
  • Cheetah gooseneck chassis trailers, 2014-2016
  • Cheetah straight frame chassis trailers, 2015-2016
  • Fontaine Revolution, 2015-2017
  • Great Dane flatbed trailers, 2015-2017
  • Great Dane reefer trailers, 2015-2017
  • Great Dane van trailers, 2015-2017
  • Hackney beverage trailers, 2014-2016
  • Kidron refrigerated trailers, 2014-2016
  • Transcraft platform trailers, 2015-2017
  • Utility dry van trailers. 2014-2016
  • Utility flatbed trailers, 2014-2016
  • Utility refrigerated trailers, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer DT6, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer HG4000, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer HG6000, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer HG8000, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer TG5000, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer TG7000, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer TG9000, 2014-2015
  • Vermeer TR620, 2015-2016
  • Vermeer TR626, 2015-2016
  • Vermeer WC2300XL, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer WC2500XL, 2015-2016
  • Wabash National van trailers, 2015-2017
  • Wilson CD-1080, 2015
  • Wilson DWH-550, 2015

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.

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.

Nearly 200 Mack and Volvo 2013 trucks recalled for steer axle issue

Mack Trucks and Volvo Trucks North America are recalling 2013 model year Pinnacle (CXU) and VNL/VNM trucks, respectively. The 193 trucks affected by the recall have an issue with the front steer axles, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Affected trucks are equipped with Meritor FF967 non-drive front steer axles that may have been incorrectly heat treated. Axles that have not been heat treated correctly may fracture, increasing the risk of a crash, according to NHTSA.

Both Mack and Volvo owners will be notified. Dealers will check axles for specific heat code serial numbers and replace them free of charge if necessary. Recalls are expected to begin July 29.

Mack owners can call 800-866-1177 with recall number SC0404 with any questions. Volvo owners can call 800-528-6586 with recall number RVXX1605.

DAT Solutions: Reefer rate tops $2

It was a hot week for refrigerated carriers.

The average spot truckload rate for reefer freight surged 5 cents to $2.02/mile during the week ending July 9 and topped $2 for the first time since October 2015, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

Available loads of all types fell 19 percent, and truck posts were down 22 percent compared to the previous week – as expected when you compare a four-day workweek to a five-day workweek.

As a result we saw an increase in load-to-truck ratios:

  • Reefer L/T ratio: 6.5 (up 1 percent compared to last week after a sharp rise in June)
  • Van L/T ratio: 3.5 (the highest ratio yet this year, up 6 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 15.6 (down 1 percent)

National average spot truckload rates surged compared to the previous week:

  • Van: $1.70/mile, up 8 cents
  • Reefer: $2.02/mile, up 1 cent 
  • Flatbed: $1.85/mile, down 10 cents

Major-market indicators: This is still a transition period for produce, with the focus shifting north. The average Chicago outbound rate was up 6 cents to $2.12/mile, and load counts there were down less than you’d expect for a four-day workweek. Atlanta ($2.37/mile, down 11 cents) and Lakeland, Fla. ($1.56/mile, down 12 cents), both fell.

Lanes with gains:

  • Sacramento-Portland, Ore.: $3.13/mile, up 13 cents
  • Green Bay-Joliet: $2.84/mile, up 9 cents
  • Dallas-Phoenix: $1.30/mile, up 13 cents

Reefer rates and volumes continue to decline at markets in Arizona and Texas that share a border with Mexico. Example: McAllen fell 6 cents to $1.75/mile.

Vans rates jump: Spot van rates typically drop after July 4 but not last week as the average rate climbed higher than June averages. Some truckers may have taken an extended holiday, which made it harder for shippers and brokers to find trucks. Or it could be an improving freight market. Next week’s numbers should tell us more.

Volumes lower: Van load posts dropped 19 percent and truck posts declined 24 percent - in line with expectations for a holiday week.

Hot-lanta: Atlanta remains the No. 1 market for spot van load posts on DAT MembersEdge; the average outbound rate was $2.04/mile. Dallas moved into the No. 2 spot (average rate: $1.59/mile), with Dallas-Houston up 7 cents to $2.30/mile.

Northern climbs: Outbound rates in Philadelphia and Allentown, Pa., saw some of the biggest rate increases last week. The lane from Allentown to Boston was up an average of 14 cents to $3.24/mile.

Trending down: At $1.92/mile, the average Memphis rate slipped 4 cents. That market is closely tied to retail, so it’s not surprising to see rates slide right after the end of the quarter.

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.

Judge approves $13.5 million settlement for misclassified drivers

Nearly four years of a court battle could be nearing a close for hundreds of drivers embroiled in a lawsuit against Exel Direct. A U.S. District Court judge in Northern California has approved of a preliminary settlement of $13.5 million to the plaintiffs for allegations of misclassification as independent contractors, according to court documents.

In a lawsuit originally filed in August 2012, 386 drivers for Exel Direct claimed the company misclassified them as independent contractors in addition to:

  • Failure to pay minimum wage
  • Failure to pay overtime
  • Failure to provide off-duty meal periods
  • Failure to provide off-duty rest periods
  • Unlawful deductions from wages
  • Cost of physical examinations
  • Coerced purchases
  • Reimbursement of business expenses
  • Failure to keep accurate payroll records
  • Failure to furnish accurate wage statements
  • Waiting time penalties
  • Unfair competition

According to the lawsuit, prospective drivers for Exel Direct were required to obtain a business license proving they were a LLC and sign an “Independent Truckman’s Agreement.” Applicants had to undergo drug and alcohol testing at their expense and agree to future testing at the company’s discretion throughout employment.

Despite requests for Spanish translations, contracts were provided in English only and were not open to negotiations. The one-year contract remained in effect year-to-year unless otherwise terminated.

Drivers also had to purchase or lease vehicles from a third party through Exel Direct. Costs of leased vehicles were deducted from paychecks. Exel Direct required control and exclusive use of any equipment, including the vehicles. Two weeks of training were also mandated, which discussed how to drive a vehicle, what speed to drive, what to discuss with customers, etc.

Several more allegations, including the demand that drivers speak English during deliveries, were mentioned in the lawsuit.

A fairness hearing for the $13.5 million settlement is scheduled for Dec. 9.

Freight tonnage in May decreases slightly for trucking

Official freight numbers for May are in. The index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals freight was up for all freight modes except trucking and air freight.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for May increased by 0.2 percent to 121.8. May’s TSI is a 1.5 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.7 set in December 2014.

The May index is 28.6 percent above the low set during the recession in May 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went down to 136.1 from 137.2, a decrease of less than 1 percent. However, numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage increase of 2.7 percent in May to 139 from 135.3 in April. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s growth lines up with monthly increases in personal income, personal consumption and imports of goods. In addition to higher employment, May also experienced a slight increase in the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing index, suggesting accelerating manufacturing growth, according to BTS.

May’s freight TSI increase is the third month-to-month increase for the year. Although edging higher, the TSI index for May is below January’s level of 122.6. February and March’s decreases were only the third back-to-back monthly decreases since December 2013. In all three cases, the next month represented an increase of 1.2 percent or more, including three of the four largest increases in that period.

Navistar trucks affected by Cummins recall regarding ECMs

Navistar is recalling five models of trucks, including ProStar, due to an issue with Cummins engines equipped with certain engine control modules, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Volvo recalled 129 VNL trucks in June for the same issue.

More specifically, certain 2017 International ProStar, LoneStar, PayStar, HX and 9900 trucks with Cummins ISX15L engines equipped with certain ECMs are being recalled. Approximately 1,191 trucks are affected.

These ECMs may experience an internal electrical short that can cause a fuse to blow, resulting in an unexpected engine stall without the ability to restart the engine, according to NHTSA.

Owners will be notified by Cummins and have the ECM replaced for free. The recall is expected to begin Aug. 19, 2016. For more information call Cummins at 800-343-7357 or call Navistar at 331-332-1590.

NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 16V-453.

Explaining the FMCSA’s new registration system

Starting Sept. 30, 2016, The FMCSA’s new online system called the Unified Registration System, or URS, will be the means of getting a U.S. DOT number and registering your operating authority, adding or updating registration(s).

If you own a trucking business, you’ve probably been hearing about it. The new registration system does away with a lot of paperwork, requires regulated trucking businesses register online, and eliminates the old MC number, FF or MX number.

According to OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Scott Grenerth, “In one sentence, the URS is a single, online federal information system that businesses use to register and update their information” with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

It’s common to get URS mixed up with another registration program called UCR. Grenerth explains that the URS and the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) are not the same thing. They sound similar, but they are different.

“The URS is the FMCSA’s new online system,” says Grenerth. “It’s different from UCR, which is not part of the FMCSA. The UCR program is a federally mandated, annual state-administered registration program. The UCR’s sole purpose is, well, to just collect money from trucking entities and distribute it to participating states.”

The URS rule applies to all interstate motor carriers (including private and for-hire passenger and property motor carriers), freight forwarders, brokers, intermodal equipment providers (IEPs), hazardous materials safety permit (HMSP) applicants/holders, and cargo tank manufacturing and repair facilities under FMCSA’s jurisdiction. Mexican-domiciled carriers conducting long-haul operations are exempt.

The URS will require online registration for all filers, will use only the U.S. DOT number as a sole identifier, will impose a new fee schedule, and will keep a record on financial responsibility and your BOC-3. It replaces multiple forms and the registration functions of several systems such as the Licensing and Insurance System and the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).

It is designed to simplify the process of registering, to reduce paperwork and errors, and to make it possible to electronically screen all applications to identify high-risk carriers, including potential reincarnated carriers.

FHWA first announced the plans for such a system back in 1996. When trucking got its own agency within the administration, the agency inherited the task of developing the URS plan. Through the years, it’s been rough path, but FMCSA issued the final rule for the Unified Registration System on Aug. 23, 2013.

URS requirements are being rolled out in a phased approach. The online registration application was available for first-time applicants on Dec. 12, 2015. All applicants will begin using URS for registrations and changes starting Sept. 30, 2016. Enforcement for existing “entities” is effective Dec. 31, 2016.

The requirement for electronic filing of the Form BOC-3, designation of process agent, comes into effect on Sept. 30, 2016. However, companies already registered with FMCSA as of that date will not be required to comply until Dec. 21, 2016.

According to the overview webpage on the agency’s website, FMCSA will also begin issuing a separate and distinct safety registration, consistent with the URS final rule and new statutory requirements. Existing registered carriers with an active U.S. DOT number (who are not under an operations out-of-service order or who have not had their operating authority registration revoked) will hold safety registration when the URS is fully implemented.

All brand new applications for registration received on or after Sept. 30, 2016, will incur a $300 registration fee for each distinct registration type – including safety registration and each requested operating authority registration. A new application for registration and fees will be required if an applicant’s registration has been revoked (but the applicant will retain the same U.S. DOT number).

No fees will be required for businesses that are already registered and are simply filing a biennial update or a name/address/form of business change.
After Sept. 30, 2016, applicants seeking reinstatement of a suspended registration must pay a reinstatement fee of $10 for each request for reinstatement after that date.
OOIDA’s Grenerth says there have been some changes to the schedule for the URS roll-out and advises carriers and regulated entities to get familiar with the outreach material and FAQs provided by FMCSA on its website. There’s also a printout version of a UCR brochure, says Grenerth, and a glossary and a “need-to-know” flyer.

For more information on the URS or assistance, contact OOIDA’s Business Services - Permits and Licensing Department at 800-444-5791.

Trucking job losses in June largest in more than a year

Transportation jobs experienced its fifth monthly loss in June, including the fourth decrease in trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector lost more than 9,000 jobs in June, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net loss of more than 29,000 jobs.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of approximately 6,300 jobs in June after the industry lost 2,400 in May and gained 700 in April. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss of 9,500 jobs. June’s loss was the largest monthly decline since last March when the trucking subsector lost 6,800 jobs.

Trucking experienced the largest decrease with 3,000 fewer jobs, followed by “transit and ground passenger transportation” with a decrease of 6,000. After two consecutive months of the largest decrease, the warehousing and storage subsector saw the largest increase with 4,700 more jobs in June, reducing the net loss for the transportation sector.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.29 for June – a 21-cent increase from May. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 19 cents to $21.07. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.61, 2 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.6 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.7 percent from 6.9 percent last June. The overall unemployment rate for the country was up 0.2 percentage points to 4.9 percent, first increase since April 2011. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or went relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed changed little to 2 million, accounting for approximately one quarter of the unemployed.

DAT Solutions: A predictable rise in rates

With shippers rushing to move van and reefer loads before the end of the second quarter and the start of the July 4th weekend, the number of loads on the spot truckload market jumped 10 percent, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

Available truck capacity increased 5 percent, which pushed load-to-truck ratios up for vans and reefers:

  • Van L/T ratio: 3.4 (up 19 percent)
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 6.4 (up 12 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 15.7 (down 11 percent)

Predictably, national average spot truckload rates were up compared to the previous week:

  • Van: $1.62/mile, up a penny
  • Reefer: $1.97/mile, up 1 cent 
  • Flatbed: $1.95/mile, unchanged for the third week in a row

Vans volumes slower: Van load posts spiked last week but volumes weren’t as strong as they were in the week before Memorial Day, which is disappointing.

Silver lining: Van volumes have improved and the van load-to-truck ratio was higher in June than it was a year ago, the first such gain in 2016. So there’s some good news.

Southern comforts: Atlanta, Charlotte, and Memphis were the top three markets for van load posts on DAT MembersEdge for the week, and load-to-truck ratios in those markets were well above the national average.

  • Atlanta averaged $2.01/mile, up 8 cents
  • Charlotte to Allentown averaged $2.62/mile, up 3 cents
  • Atlanta to Columbus rates went up 17 cents last week to an average of $1.75/mile (the backhaul was also up 6 cents to $1.57/mile)
  • Trending the other way: Memphis to Columbus was down 14 cents to $1.94/mile; Charlotte to Chicago lost 10 cents to an average of $1.59/mile

Reefers: Hotter, higher: At $1.97, the national reefer rate was 8 cents higher in June than it was in May, and that’s the third straight month of rate increases. California and the Southeast are the hottest areas for reefer loads, and rates rose in both regions last week.

Top lanes: Generally, rates were mixed but a few reefer lanes stood out:

  • Dallas-Houston: $2.45/mile, up 7 cents
  • Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla.: $3.01/mile, up 25 cents
  • Ontario, Calif.-Phoenix: $3.06/mile, up 9 cents
  • Philadelphia-Miami: $1.83/mile, up 24 cents. Outbound rates were also up 9 cents in Miami (still 12 percent below Miami rates of a month ago)

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.

Cummins recall affecting Volvo VNLs

The Cummins recall of more than 5,400 ISX12 and ISX15 engines involves 129 Volvo truck owners with 2017 Volvo VNLs.

Volvo is the first heavy-truck manufacturer identified to be part of the Cummins recall of more than 5,000 ISX12 and ISX15 engines. The recall will specifically address a defect with the engine control module that may develop an internal electrical short circuit, possibly resulting in the engine stalling without warning, according to the NHTSA recall notice.

The Volvo trucks specifically affected by the recall have either the Cummins ISX12 or Cummins ISX15 engines and were manufactured between March 15 and April 20.

Cummins will be notifying the owners of the trucks, and dealers will replace the existing ECM with a new one, free of charge. The recall is expected to start July 7, according to the NHTSA recall.

Owners may contact Cummins customer service at 800-343-7357 or Volvo customer service at 800-528-6586. Volvo’s number for this recall is RVXX1604.

New Love’s in Oklahoma includes more than 60 parking spaces

Truckers travelling through Oklahoma on U.S. Highway 412 have another option to add to their list of places to park and rest. Love’s Travel Stops has announced a new location in Enid, Okla.

Located at 42nd Street off of Highway 412, the new Love’s Travel Stop will feature more than 60 truck parking spaces. This marks the third Love’s opening in Oklahoma this year and 70th overall in the state.

The 8,000 square-foot facility is open 24/7. The new Love’s features 63 truck-parking spaces, five showers, RFID cardless fueling, Cat scales and other driver services. Customers can also enjoy gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, a Carl’s Jr. restaurant and more.

For more information, visit Loves.com.

DAT Solutions: Steady into summer

By itself, a week with 12 percent fewer trucks on the spot market should would appear to be good for rates.

Unfortunately, the number of load posts dropped 14 percent during the week ending Saturday, June 18, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

Together, that did little to move spot rates as a national average:

  • Van: $1.61/mile. Same as last week.
  • Reefer: $1.96/mile. Up 2 cents including a 1-cent increase in the fuel surcharge.
  • Flatbed: $1.95/mile. Also up 2 cents because of a seasonal increase in demand.

Load-to-truck ratios remain strong relative to earlier in 2016 but failed to keep up the momentum of the previous week:

  • Van L/T ratio: 2.7 loads per truck, down 12 percent
  • Reefer: 5.3, down 11 percent
  • Flatbed: 18.2, down 10 percent

California dreamin’: While reefer rates and volumes were mostly flat nationwide, California is cooking. Three of the top five markets for reefer load posts were Los Angeles (No. 2); Fresno (4); and Ontario (5).

Fresno reefer volumes soared in the past two weeks and the average outbound rate remains solid at 2.20/mile. Two of the better-paying lanes in the country were out of Sacramento:

  • Sacramento to Portland, $2.97/mile, up 28 cents
  • Sacramento to Salt Lake City, $2.73/mile, up 19 cents

Florida falling: Rates are dropping as harvests shift north. Lakeland, Fla., outbound fell 9 cents to an average of $1.62/mile; Lakeland-to-Chicago was the Southeast region’s low reefer lane at $1.42/mile, a 22-cent fall.

Van L/T ratio still strong: At 2.7, the van load-to-truck ratio fell 12 percent but still hit its second highest mark of the year. Van load posts were down 2.9 percent last week while truck posts were up 10 percent.

Mixed picture in the Northeast: The high number of van loads heading to the Northeast gave the region trucks to spare. Buffalo outbound rates took the biggest hit despite strong volumes. One example: Buffalo to Allentown, Pa., dropped 17 cents to $2.28/mile.

Flats rising: The number of available flatbed loads dropped 1.8 percent following a spike the previous week. Capacity added 9.7 percent, which dropped the flatbed load-to-truck ratio to 18.2 loads per truck.

Several markets and lanes made big gains:

  • Raleigh, N.C.: $2.50/mile, up 17 cents. Raleigh to Baltimore picked up 54 cents to $3.29/mile.
  • Harrisburg, Pa.: $3.03/mile, a 22-cent rise. Harrisburg to Springfield, Ill., was 35 cents higher at $3.33/mile.
  • Rock Island, Ill.: $2.23/mile, up 11 cents.

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: Slight increase in NAFTA truck freight in April

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in April trucks moved nearly 67 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Trucking was the only mode to experience an increase when compared to April 2015.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased a small fraction of a percent compared with March when freight went up 7.6 percent from the previous month. April marks the first decrease after two consecutive increases in February and March.

Compared to April 2015, freight was down 3.2 percent. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for more than $60 billion of the $90.4 billion of imports and exports in April. 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 due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $90.4 billion, down $82 million from the previous month and down nearly $3 billion from April 2015.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at 30.5 percent, a smaller drop than March’s 33.2 percent decrease. Trucks had a 0.8 percent increase, the only increase among the five modes.

Nearly 61 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 17 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 0.1 percent compared with April 2015. Of the $44.5 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 73 percent of the loads.

Cummins recalling more than 5,000 engines for ECM issues

Cummins is recalling approximately 5,400 ISX12 and ISX15 engines, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. An issue with the engine control module can short circuit.

ISX12 and ISX15 engines manufactured March 7, 2016, through April 12, 2016, are affected. Part number for the ISX12 is 4358814 and the ISX15 numbers are 5317106 and 4358814. Affected engines may short circuit and blow a fuse, resulting in the engine stalling without warning. The engine cannot be restarted until the ECM and fuse are replaced.

Owners will be notified by Cummins, and the ECM will be replaced with a new one for free. Recalls are scheduled to begin July 7. Any questions can be directed to Cummins customer service at 800-343-7357. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 16E-047.

Trucker Path adds 1,000 locations to parking info app

To help drivers with the truck parking epidemic, Trucker Path Pro has added 1,000 locations to the trip-planning app.

The addition gives Trucker Path Pro users information on parking availability at more than 27,000 locations along the National Highway System. Fueled by the users using crowdsourcing technology, the app provides real-time information from more than 400,000 drivers who use the application.

Truckers can use Trucker Path Pro to find truck parking availability by time of day and day of week. Real-time fuel pricing information is also available.

The free download is available on iOS and Android devices.

Summertime fun at truck events across America in July

Summer officially kicks off on June 20, and you know what that means: festivals, barbeques and truck shows. July is loaded with great truck events, including the Walcott Truckers Jamboree, Expedite Expo, Pride and Polish, the Keystone Diesel Truck Nationals and more.

Shows start midway through the month with the Fitzgerald Glider Kits show on July 14-16 at the Fitzgerald Glider Kits facility in Crossville, Tenn. Part of the Pride and Polish circuit, the show will include Truck Beauty competitions, fireworks, food, a childrens’ area and more. Details can be found at PrideAndPolish.com. Land Line Magazine is a media partner of the show.

Also running July 14-16 is the Walcott Truckers Jamboree at the Iowa 80 Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa. Occurring annually since 1979, the jamboree features an antique truck display, truck beauty contest, more than 175 exhibits, the Iowa Pork Chop Cookout, carnival games, live music and more. For more info, visit Iowa80Truckstop.com or call 563-284-6961.

Those interested or involved in expediting or truckers in general who will be further southeast during that weekend may consider the Expedite Expo which runs July 15-16 at the Lexington Center in Lexington, Ky. Learn all about the newest expedite trucking industry news, equipment, career opportunities and products. Go to ExpediteExpo.com or call 859-746-2046 for more details.

In between the Walcott Truckers Jamboree and Expedite Expo lies another truck show to attend. On July 16, the Kosciusko County Truck Show and Shine will take place at the Kosciusko Fairgrounds in Warsaw, Ind. Last year’s show included wide variety of trucks, and this year’s show is expected to do the same. Want more information? Call Kristen at 574-551-1657 or email at kmessmore1@gmail.com.

Headed northeast, the Keystone Diesel Truck Nationals is slated for July 23 at the Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pa. More than just a truck show, the Keystone Diesel Truck Nationals will feature diesel drag racing, Xtreme Diesel Performance car crusher, monster truck rides, music, a kid zone and a 300 mph jet dragster. More info can be found at MapleGroveRaceway.com.

Two shows will wrap up the July 2016 truck show festivities. Running July 29-31, the Color and Chrome Fantasy Truck Show will be held in Champion, Neb. Visit CCFTruckShow.com for more information.

That same weekend will also feature the Top Gun Large Car Shootout at the Rantoul National Aviation Center in Rantoul, Ill. Kiddie pedal pull, parade of lights, car and rat rod show, music by Nickel & Dimes, a beer garden and more will all be there. A list of more events can be seen at TopGunLargeCarShootout.com.

Don’t forget to visit the Industry Calendar at LandLineMag.com for an updated list of upcoming shows.

Love’s opens locations in Arizona and Virginia, adds 161 parking spaces

Two new Love’s Travel Stops have opened in Meadowview, Va., and in Tolleson, Ariz.

The location in Meadowview, Va., will include 72 parking spaces off of Interstate 81. In Tolleson, Ariz., near the Phoenix area, the new Love’s will feature 89 parking spaces off of Interstate 10. Together, the new locations will add 161 truck parking spaces.

Each location will also include RFID cardless fueling, Love’s Truck Tire Care centers, Cat Scales, gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items and name-brand electronics.

The Meadowview location will have Subway and McDonald’s restaurants as well as five showers. In Tolleson, seven showers, a Subway and Carl’s Jr. restaurants will be included.

For more information about Love’s Travel Stops, visit Loves.com.

Stoughton recalls 1,200 trailers with faulty pivot bolts

Stoughton Trailers is recalling approximately 1,200 model year 2014 trailers, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Affected vehicles have pivot bolts in the suspension that may fail.

More specifically, AHV, AVW, AVXW and ZGPVW 2014 Stoughton trailers are affected. These trailers are equipped with certain SAF-Holland-brand CBX Trailer Suspension Air Ride Axle Systems. Trailer suspensions have pivot bolts that may fail, potentially resulting in the separation of the suspension and attached axle from the trailer.

Owners will be notified by Stoughton. SAF-Holland-approved repair shops will replace the pivot bolts at no charge. Drivers with questions can call Stoughton customer service at 608-873-2555 with recall number 14V-268.

Bendix recalls nearly 195,000 trailer spring brake valves

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems notified the National Highway Traffic Administration on June 8 that it is recalling nearly 195,000 spring brake valves. According to NHTSA documents, if there is a delay of the spring brake application, the trailer may roll away after being decoupled.

More specifically, SR-5 trailer spring brake valves manufactured Jan. 1, 2004, to March 4, 2016, are affected by the recall. Valves were improperly machined without a radius on the internal check valve seat, causing a delay of application of the spring brakes while parking. 

According to a NHTSA recall document, Bendix has not yet developed a remedy for the problem. Therefore, a notification schedule has not been submitted as of press time.

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 glad hand 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.

Truckers who have questions about this defect should contact Bendix at 877-345-9526. NHTSA can also be contacted at 888-327-4236. Ask about NHTSA campaign number 16E-045.

Nearly 100 parking spaces at new Love’s location in Oregon

More parking spaces are available for truckers driving in northern Oregon. Love’s Travel Stops has opened a new location in Boardman, Ore., along Interstate 84, Exit 159.

Now the third Love’s location in Oregon, the Boardman Love’s will feature 95 parking spaces for trucks. Open 24/7, the 11,000-square-foot facility will also include seven showers, a Love’s Truck Tire Care facility, RFID cardless fueling, Cat scales and other driver services. Gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, and a Carl’s Jr. with a Green Burrito restaurant can also be found at the new location.

For more information about Love’s Travel Stops, visit Loves.com.

Freight tonnage in April experiences slight increase for trucking

Official freight numbers for April are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was down for all freight modes except trucking and pipeline, which was enough for a net increase.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for April increased by 1.3 percent to 121.1. April’s TSI is a 2 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014.

The April index is 27.9 percent above the low set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went up to 137 from 134.6, a nearly 2 percent increase. However, numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 2.1 percent in April to 134.8 from 137.6 in March. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s growth lines up with monthly increases in housing starts and industry production. Mining production and employment fell in April. The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Index declined, but numbers indicate slow but positive manufacturing growth, according to BTS.

April’s freight TSI increase is the largest month-to-month increase since March 2014. Although above February levels, the TSI index for April is still below 10 of 12 months of last year. February and March’s decreases were only the third back-to-back monthly decreases since December 2013. In all three cases, the next month represented an increase of 1.2 percent or more, including three of the four largest increases in that period.

Trucking industry suffers another month of job losses

Transportation jobs experienced its fourth monthly loss in May, including the third decrease in trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector lost 500 jobs in May, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net loss of 20,000 jobs.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of approximately 2,400 jobs in May after the industry gained 700 in April and lost another 2,400 in March. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss of more than 3,000 jobs.

For the second straight month, warehousing and storage subsector experienced the largest increase with 3,000 more jobs, followed by air transportation with an increase of 1,200. “Support activities for transportation” experienced the largest loss with 2,700 jobs eliminated from the economy.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.03 for May – a 6-cent increase from April. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 9 cents to $20.83. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.59, 5 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6 percent from 7 percent last May. The overall unemployment rate for the country was down 0.3 percentage points to 4.7 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 178,000 compared with the previous month, to around 1.9 million.

DAT Solutions: Fuel pumps up spot rates

Nearly every market showed signs of improvement as the number of spot truckload freight posts was up 8.5 percent and available capacity was steady during the week ending May 28, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

Load-to-truck ratios highlight the trendlines:

  • Van L/T ratio: 1.9 loads per truck (up 16 percent)
  • Reefer: 4.1 (up 25 percent)
  • Flatbed: 14.2 (down 8 percent)

Let’s take a closer look:

Fuel price pressure: The national average diesel price rose another 2.5 cents to $2.38/gallon. That’s the national average. The average on the West Coast is $2.65/gallon, up 5 cents.

National average rates:

  • Van: $1.54/mile. Up a penny because of an increase in the fuel surcharge.
  • Reefer: $1.87/mile. No change.
  • Flatbed: $1.92/mile. Up 1 cent due to the fuel surcharge.

19 percent more reefer loads: The number of spot reefer loads increased 19 percent and available capacity fell 5 percent. The national average rate was unchanged despite a seasonal increase in demand.

Flatbed markets heat up: Flatbed load availability was virtually unchanged while capacity increased 8 percent last week. Every region has at least one hot market:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.40/mile, up 6 cents
  • Midwest: Rock Island, Ill., $2.23/mile, up 11 cents
  • South Central: Fort Worth, Texas, $2.04/mile, unchanged
  • Southeast: Raleigh, N.C., $2.50/mile, up 17 cents
  • Northeast: Harrisburg, Pa., $3.33/mile, up 35 cents

Van trends: Demand for vans increased 16 percent while capacity held steady last week.

Signs of life (van edition): Van markets that have been sluggish lately are starting to pick up:

  • Chicago, up 4 cents to $1.74/mile
  • Columbus, Ohio, up 5 cents to $1.68/mile
  • Philadelphia, up 5 cents to $1.49/mile
  • Charlotte, up 3 cents to $1.82/mile

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.

FedEx adds 400,000 employees with acquisition of TNT Express

FedEx now has nearly 400,000 employees worldwide and revenues of $58 billion a year.

The Memphis, Tenn.-based company grew substantially last week when it acquired the European parcel delivery powerhouse TNT Express for nearly $5 billion.

Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx spoke about the merger in a press release.

“The timing of this historic event is important, particularly in the current market environment where global e-commerce is growing at double-digit rates,” Smith said. “Adding TNT’s capabilities to our existing world-class suite of services, including GENCO and the recently relaunched FedEx CrossBorder, will further expand the ability of FedEx to support business connections around the world.”

FedEx is now in a virtual dead heat with UPS in terms of revenues, although UPS has about 40,000 more employees.

U.S. DOT: NAFTA freight up month-to-month, down year-to-year

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in March trucks moved more than 67 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Freight movement was down in all five modes.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 7.6 percent compared with February when freight went up 2 percent from the previous month. March marks the second consecutive month-to-month increase and the largest month-to-month percentage increase since March 2015 when freight was up 12.1 percent.

Compared to March 2015, freight was down 5.8 percent. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for more than $60 billion of the $90.5 billion of imports and exports in March. 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 due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $90.5 billion, up $6.4 billion from the previous month and down $5.6 billion from March 2015.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at 33.2 percent, a smaller drop than February’s 35.6 percent decrease. Trucks had a 1.1 percent decrease, the smallest decline among the five modes.

More than 62 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 17 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 2.6 percent compared with March 2015. Of the $44.1 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 72 percent of the loads.

Love’s opens new location in Sidney, Neb., with an IHOP

Truckers driving through western Nebraska now have another location to park and rest. And eat pancakes. Love’s Travel Stops has opened a new location in Sidney, Neb., off of Exit 59 on Interstate 80. Love’s announced last week that for the first time, an IHOP (International House of Pancakes) Express, open 24/7, will also be available. 

The new Love’s will feature 88 parking spaces for trucks, a Love’s Truck Tire Care center, Cat Scales, RFID cardless fueling, as well as gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift merchandise, name-brand electronics and more. 

A 68-room Comfort Inn & Suites will open near the travel stop later this year. Truckers with a valid CDL will be eligible for room discounts. 

For more information about Love’s Travel Stops locations, visit loves.com.

DAT Solutions: Signs that spot rates will rise

Spot truckload freight volume and available capacity both fell during the week ending May 21, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

However, load-to-truck ratios increased and diesel prices are up sharply – an indication that spot truckload rates may pick up soon.

Let’s take a look at the latest trends:

Loads, capacity down: The number of spot market load posts fell another 4 percent due to a 6 percent drop in flatbed load volume. The number of posted van loads was steady while reefer load posts were up 2 percent.

Tighter capacity helps L/T ratios: Fewer truck posts compared to the previous week helped boost load-to-truck ratios. The van ratio gained 1 percent, to 1.7 loads per truck; the reefer ratio increased 18 percent to 3.3; and the flatbed ratio was up 5 percent to 15.4. Load-to-truck ratios measure the number of loads posted for each available truck on the DAT network.

Fuel surcharges up: Diesel priceswere up sharply last week with the national average retail price gaining 6 cents to $2.36/gallon. Expect an increase in the average fuel surcharge this week—and a corresponding rise in spot rates.

National average spot TL rates:

  • Van: Down 1 cent to $1.53/mile
  • Reefer: Down a penny to $1.87/mile
  • Flatbed: Unchanged at $1.91/mile for the third week in a row

Reefer trends: Rates rose on more than half of the highest-volume lanes. The high-dollar market in each region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.41/mile, unchanged
  • Midwest: Grand Rapids, Mich., $2.39/mile, up 2 cents
  • South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.88/mile, down 1 cent
  • Southeast: Miami, $2.06/mile, unchanged
  • Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.16/mile, down 9 cents

Atlanta and Lakeland, Fla., are still No. 1 and 2 for reefer load posts on DAT MembersEdge, though volumes slipped a bit in Central Florida.

Van trends: Volume was up in Houston, the country’s No. 2 market for van load posts on DAT MembersEdge, after Atlanta. Chicago’s average outbound rate was down 2 cents to $1.71/mile, and rail competition is killing the lane from Chicago to L.A.: the average spot van rate lost another 14 cents to just $1.05/mile.

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.

June calendar: A variety of trucks shows nationwide

Start clearing that calendar because the month of June is a busy one for truck shows across America. Some must-see shows, including Shell Rotella SuperRigs, are just around the corner.

Huron, S.D., will be kicking off June shows with the Wheel Jam Truck Show on June 3-5. Like many shows, Wheel Jam is more than just trucks. Classic cars, motorcycles and stock cars will also be featured. This year will also include a virtual truck driving sequence, battle of the bands, and parade. For more information, visit WheelJamTruckShow.com or call Scot Marone at 605-354-2809 or Doug Flowers at 605-354-1324.

If you’re in or near Pennsylvania on that same weekend, consider going to the Paul Riggle & Sons show at their facility in Apollo, Pa., at 601 Marco Road. Slated for June 4, Riggle & Sons is a show for those who love all types of vehicles, including classic cars and trucks. For more information call 724-727-7505.

The following week will feature one of the bigger shows of the year: the 34th annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs show. SuperRigs will be held June 9-11 at the Joplin Convention and Trade Center in Joplin, Mo. Beauty contests (for trucks), street parties, parades, entertainment and more will make SuperRigs another exciting show this year. More details can be found at Shell.com/Rotella/SuperRigs.

That same weekend, June 10-11, the Oak Grove Truckers Jamboree will be taking place at the Oak Grove Petro in…you guessed it…Oak Grove, Mo. Last year’s show featured race cars, trucks, poker and live music. More information about this year’s show can be found at OakGrovePetro.com or by calling 816-690-4455.

Those toward the Northeast will have a chance to catch the Western Pennsylvania Pride and Shine Spring Show on June 10-12 at the Stoneboro Fair Grounds in Stoneboro, Pa. With six competition categories for both semi and pickup trucks, expect plenty of show-quality vehicles. Also expect some not-so-show-quality pickups with the Ugliest Truck category. Visit WPaPrideAndShine.com for more information.

On the third weekend of June, stop by Humboldt, Neb., on June 18 for the Down Home Truck Show. With nearly a dozen show classes being judged, all types of trucks will be lined up in the downtown square showing their goods. The children, ages 4-9, can get in on the action with a kids pedal pull. Head over to Facebook.com/DownHomeTruckShow for more information.

That same weekend further east in Ashland, Ohio, the Ohio Vintage Truck Jamboree will take place June 18-19 at the Ashland County Fairgrounds. Convoys, light shows, truck pulls, raffle drawing and much more will be featured this year. A drop and hook competition will be available to the first 20 signed up exhibitors. Participants needing a hotel should book soon as the Wayne County Fairgrounds will be holding a large event the same weekend. More details can be found at OhVinTrkJam.com.

The final weekend of June will include two shows, the first taking place in Houston, Texas. On June 24-26, the George R. Brown Convention Center will be hosting the Texas Trucking Show. The heavy-duty aftermarket trade show will feature a variety of exhibitors displaying their latest offerings. Several seminars will be available and will include topics ranging from hazardous materials violations to factoring. For more info visit TexasTruckingShow.com.

The Transport for Christ Truck Rally, June 25-26, will be at the Lebanon Valley Expo Center in Lebanon, Pa. Call 717-426-9977, email tfcio@TransportForChrist.org or visit TransportForChrist.org for details.

FMCSA issues safety advisory for MC330 and MC331 tankers

Nearly two weeks after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a safety advisory affecting certain tankers, the federal agency has issued another safety advisory that affects tanker drivers. This time the advisory is in regards to pressure relief devices (PRD).

The latest FMCSA advisory comes after a recent crash involving an MC330 tanker truck equipped with Fisher Controls model H282 PRD manufactured by Emerson Process Management Regulator Technologies. In 2013 and 2014, Emerson Process Management Regulator Technologies recalled Fisher Control PRD models H732, H832, H282, H882, H5112, and H8112.

FMCSA is advising all owners and operators of MC330 or MC331 cargo tank trucks to inspect the vehicle’s PRDs for Fisher Control model numbers affected by the above recalls. Trucks with a recalled PRD should be taken out of hazardous materials transportation service immediately and have the PRD removed and replaced. Failure to do so will be considered a violation of safety regulations.

According to FMCSA, PRDs are an integral part of the safety mechanisms for U.S. Department of Transportation specification cargo tank motor vehicles and are vital to ensuring the safety of hazardous materials transportation by highway.

For more information or questions, contact Paul Bomgardner, Chief, Hazardous Materials Division, at 202-493-0027, or by email at paul.bomgardner@dot.gov.

Western Star introduces Extreme Duty Offroad package

Western Star has announced its new Extreme Duty (XD) Offroad package and MBT-40 Transformer chassis. The package is designed for extremely rugged environments.

Available for 4900 and 6900 models, the XD Offroad package offers safety and comfort while providing drivers with a low cost per ton product for off-road trucks. The 6900 XD is available in 6x4 and 6x6 configurations. XD Offroad packages will be available for other models in the future.

The 6900 XD Offroad, also known as the Multi-Body Transformer, can change from one body application to another. The truck uses a Palfinger G68 hook-lift with a lifting capacity of 68,000 pounds. Western Star engineered the truck to replace the need for multiple pieces of off-road equipment on a job site.

For more information, go to WesternStarTrucks.com.

Freight tonnage numbers for March reveal another slow month

Official freight numbers for March are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was down for all freight modes except air.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for March decreased by 0.9 percent to 120. March’s TSI is a 2.8 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.5 set in November 2014.

The February index is 26.7 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight decreased by 0.6 points to 134.7 from 135.3, a drop of less than 1 percent. However, American Trucking Associations’ numbers reveal a tonnage decrease of 4.5 percent in March to 137.6 from 144 in February. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s drop lines up with monthly decreases in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index. Manufacturing activity and high inventories showed signs of decline.

The decrease was driven by continued weakness in the mining (including oil and gas well drilling and servicing), utility and manufacturing sectors of the economy. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index declined 0.6 percent in March, its second consecutive monthly decline.

Strick to recall 2005-2009 van trailers for faulty rear impact guard

Strick Trailer is recalling certain single-axle 28-foot van trailers for a rear-impact guard issue, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document.

More specifically, 2005-2009 van trailers manufactured July 25, 2004, to Feb. 3, 2009, and equipped with rear-impact guards using gussets 55997 and 55998 are affected. Gussets on affected trucks can increase the chances of injury during a crash, thereby violating Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 223, “Rear Impact Guards.”

In March 2014, Strick discovered that the gussets may not have been verified using prescribed test procedures, according to the NHTSA document. Tests conducted in April 2014 confirmed that the gussets violated FMVSS 223.

Owners will be notified by Strick to have reinforcements installed to the rear-impact guards at no cost. For more information, contact Strick’s customer service at 260-692-6121. The recall will begin on June 17.

XPO under attack by U.S. and European unions over ‘anti-worker actions’

Just over six months after acquiring Con-way, Employee and union leaders assembled outside an XPO Logistics shareholder meeting in Greenwich, Conn., to demand that CEO Bradley Jacobs address several concerns. In an email statement, XPO is calling it a Teamster’s publicity stunt.

XPO employees in the U.S. and Europe are upset about anti-worker actions and abuses, according to a Teamsters news release. Union leaders are claiming XPO is “mismanaging the integration of its new businesses, leading to operational and financial risks.”

“There were concerns about the company growing too fast and not being able to manage the company providing service for the workers,” said Galen Munroe, senior communications coordinator for Teamsters, during a press conference.

After acquiring Con-way, unions say port and rail drivers have experienced wage theft totaling more than $200 million as a result of their being misclassified as independent contractors. In January, a lawsuit was filed against XPO for misclassifying port drivers. The suit claimed the companies did not pay minimum wage, provide meal/rest breaks, reimburse business expenses, or pay overtime/double time wages, and committed other labor law violations. In total, the lawsuit claims violations of 10 separate labor laws.

“XPO has lost every case at every investigation by any governmental agency,” Munroe said. “They have lost every one of them and found that the workers are misclassified. What their business model has been is to negotiate a settlement and pay those drivers, but they never fix the problem.”

XPO also agreed to delay any layoffs in France for at least 18 months after acquiring Norbert Dentressangle SA last April. Union leaders claim that XPO did not honor that agreement.

“This company is not really interested in growing,” said Greg Alden, Teamsters’ freight division representative. “They are very interested in getting rid of the people there and using subcontractors.”

Earlier this year, XPO cut 190 non-driver jobs in its LTL operations. Approximately one week later, the logistics company shut down seven truck terminals in “remote areas,” according to an XPO statement.

In an interview with Bloomberg last September, Jacobs said that drivers were “very important” and XPO intended to keep all the drivers. In the U.S., all layoffs have affected administrative, management and executive offices. No known driver layoffs have occurred to date.

To date, Jacobs has declined to meet with union leaders.

The 1.4 million-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 75,000 freight members, including nearly 200 at XPO.

XPO sent Land Line the following statement:

This was obviously a publicity stunt by the Teamsters. We have excellent relationships with our employees and the owner-operators who serve our customers. Our drivers and the owner-operators we do business with are aware that we pay them more than their union counterparts in other companies. The Teamsters will have to look elsewhere for a way to solve their declining membership problem.

FMCSA issues safety advisory for Trailers Y Tanques De Aluminio tankers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a safety advisory mandating the owners of certain tankers manufactured by Trailers Y Tanques De Aluminio (TYTAL) cease all operations using the cargo tank, according to a FMCSA press release.

TYTAL, USDOT No. 2164338, CT-12407, cargo tank vehicles with a capacity of 8,400, 8,717 and 10,500 gallons are in need of immediate repairs. The 10,500-gallon tanker has inadequate venting capacity of pressure relief systems and inadequate accident damage protection. The other two tankers have inadequate accident damage protection as well.

Affected TYTAL tankers are unauthorized, according to the FMCSA, until repairs and testing have been completed. Effective June 1, enforcement and fines will be given to owners and drivers operating any of the above tankers that have not made necessary repairs.

Owners and operators opting not to continue to use these tanks in hazardous materials service must immediately remove, obliterate or cover the specification plate that identifies the vehicle as a DOT specification cargo tank. The specification plate must remain out of sight until the necessary repairs are completed.

A full list of affected vehicles needing repair can be found here.

TYTAL has notified known customers, and repairs have begun free of charge. More information about the defect can be found by calling 011-52-828-269-0030, emailing CustomerService@tytal.com.mx or visiting tytal.com.mx/en/. Paul Bomgardner, chief of Hazardous Materials Division, may also be contacted at 202-493-0027 or paul.bomgardner@dot.gov.

DAT Solutions: Southbound and up! Spot rates jump

Load volume continued to increase last week, and rates are responding.

Truckload rates on the spot market jumped sharply for all three equipment types during the first week of May, says DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board. The number of loads posted on DAT boards was up 5.1 percent compared to the previous week.

This goes to 11: The number of posted reefer loads increased 11 percent, and the national average spot reefer rate was up 11 cents to a national average of $1.90/mile.

Florida producing: Outbound reefer volumes and rates surged in Florida:
Lakeland was up 29 cents to an average of $1.91/mile.
Miami added 23 cents to an average of $2.32/mile.
The lane from Miami to Atlanta paid an average of 38 cents better last week at $2.18/mile.
Hot lane: Miami-to-Baltimore jumped 41 cents to an average of $2.62/mile.

Vans in demand: Van load posts rose 11 percent and pushed the van load-to-truck ratio up 11 percent to 1.8 loads per truck.

Van rate jumps 7 cents: The national average spot van rate was $1.57/mile, a 7-cent increase including a 2-cent rise in the average fuel surcharge.

Look South: The top five van markets on DAT MembersEdge were Atlanta, Houston, Charlotte, Greenville, S.C., and Lakeland. The No. 2 market, Houston, averaged $1.49/mile, up 5 cents, with rates up on all major outbound lanes and trucks in short supply.

Flats hold steady: Flatbed load volume was unchanged while capacity increased 12 percent from the previous week. That led to an 11 percent decline in the load-to-truck ratio to 18.8 flatbed loads per truck. The national average flatbed rate added 1 cent to $1.91 a mile.

Fuel surcharge: Diesel prices inched up a half cent to $2.27/gallon as a national average. A steady increase in diesel prices added 2 cents per mile to the average fuel surcharge and gave spot rates an extra boost. 

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.

Department of Labor reports job increases for transportation sector

Transportation jobs experienced the first gain in 2016, including the first increase in trucking jobs since January.

The overall transportation sector gained nearly 9,000 jobs in April, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. From January through March, more than 28,000 jobs have been eliminated from the transportation and warehousing sector.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 700 jobs in April after the industry lost 2,400 in March and 600 in February. Approximately 1,500 trucking jobs were added in January, leaving a net loss of 800 for the year.

Warehousing and storage subsector experienced the largest increase with 6,500 more jobs, followed by couriers and messengers with an increase of 2,500. Rail transport and “support activities for transportation” experienced the only losses with 3,700 and 1,600 fewer jobs in April, respectively.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.10 for April, a 2-cent increase from March. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 3 cents to $20.93. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.53, 8 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 6.8 percent from 6.1 percent last April. The overall unemployment rate for the country was mostly unchanged at 5 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 150,000 compared with the previous month to around 2.1 million.

Paccar Parts opens $32 million distribution center

Paccar Parts has opened a new $32 million, 160,000-square-foot distribution center in Renton, Wash., according to a news release. The center will service dealers in the Northwestern U.S. and Western Canada. 

The Renton distribution center includes a 15,000-square-foot small-parts mezzanine with state-of-the-art equipment. A 125 percent increase in capacity of parts is expected at the new facility, with the storage of more than 39,000 different parts. 

A 50-person training room and interactive “Paccar Parts Experience” will also be featured. The interactive feature demonstrates Paccar Parts distribution network, products and services to visitors. Featuring a 3-D model of the distribution center, the Paccar Parts Experience demonstrates the efficiencies and innovative technologies that provide superior levels of customer service.

U.S. DOT: Trucks moving more than 67 percent of NAFTA freight

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in February trucks moved more than 67 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Freight movement was down in three of five modes.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 2 percent compared with January when freight went down nearly 5 percent from the previous month. February marks the first month-to-month increase since last October. All modes carried less freight when compared with February 2015 except for trucks and rail.

Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $57 billion of the $84 billion of imports and exports in February. Rail came in second with more than $13 billion. 

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $84 billion, up $1.6 billion from the previous month and down $1.7 billion from February 2015.

Vessel freight experienced the steepest decline at 41 percent, a steeper drop than January’s 37.3 percent decrease. Together, all modes are down 2 percent from last year.

Nearly 62 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at nearly 17 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 2 percent compared with February 2015. Of the $41.4 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 74 percent of the loads.

DAT Solutions: A Southeastern shift

The national average reefer rate was unchanged during the week ending April 26 despite some promising signs that demand would increase soon.

Nationally, the number of reefer load posts increased just 1 percent and average spot truckload rates have yet to make a seasonal jump, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board.

Let’s take a closer look at the good, the bad, and a tip of the week in the spot market:

The good
So far this spring, imported produce from Mexico has dominated reefer demand, with solid opportunities for hauls from along the southern border. Now the focus is shifting to the Southeast. Reefer volume is up in Florida, Georgia peaches have started to ship, and produce is ripening elsewhere along the coast.

The top three markets for reefer load posts on DAT MembersEdge are Miami, Atlanta, and Lakeland, Fla., with several sharp increases on key lanes: Miami to Elizabeth, N.J., surged 31 cents and paid an average of $1.76 a mile, Miami to Boston rose 30 cents to $1.97 a mile, and Lakeland to Baltimore was up 25 cents to $1.81 a mile.

Nationally, the reefer load-to-truck ratio was unchanged, holding at 2.6 loads per truck. The national average reefer rate held steady at $1.78 per mile. 

The bad
The van market is still trying to find some traction. The van load-to-truck ratio was unchanged compared to the previous week, rounding to 1.4 loads per truck on 4 percent lower volume. The national average van rate was also unchanged at $1.50 a mile. 

Regionally, van rates weakened or remained the same in several key markets including Atlanta (unchanged at $1.64), Charlotte (down 2 cents to $1.74), Los Angeles ($1.83, unchanged), and Chicago (down 1 cent to $1.75). 

The rising price of fuel has done little to move the needle on spot rates. The national average diesel price rose 4 cents to $2.20 a gallon, building on a 3-cent gain the previous week.

The takeaway
If you haul reefer freight, you’ll have no trouble finding a load out of Miami, where the load-to-truck ratio is roughly 7. But the average rate from Miami to Atlanta is still low at $1.41. You’ll want to negotiate hard on the southbound leg, from Atlanta to Miami, which averaged $2.06 last week.

Another option is to build a tri-haul out of Miami. Tune in every Wednesday at 6 Central Time to Sirius XM’s Road Dog Channel and OOIDA’s Land Line Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT. This week, he talked with Peggy Dorf about opportunities on the MembersEdge load board to increase revenue by adding a third leg to your route. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network)

Truck show dates make May a busy calendar month

Truck show season is underway and May’s calendar features events across the country featuring some of the industry’s most eye-catching trucks. Check Land Line’s Industry Calendar periodically for updated information.

If you are near Earlville, Iowa, on May 6-7, swing by the Midwest Pride in Your Ride Truck and Tractor Show. Pride in Your Ride will feature show trucks, antique farm tractors, a truck pull, truck drag racing and more. The event will take place at the Tri-State Raceway. For more information, visit MidwestPrideInYourRide.org.

One day after the Pride in Your Ride Show, the Make-A-Wish foundation in Philadelphia will be hosting its 27th annual Mother’s Day Truck Convoy. From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 8 at Burle Industries off of Route 23 in Lancaster more than 300 trucks will be participating in a convoy that will leave at 1:30 p.m. sharp. Other activities include live music, BBQ, games, auctions and more. Visit the website by clicking here for details.

On May 12-14, Kenly 95 Petro in Kenly, N.C., will be hosting the 5th annual East Coast Truckers Jamboree. The “Gear’d Up” show will feature motorcycles, cars and street trucks in addition to the big rigs. Live music includes John Berry on Friday and Jim Quick and the Coastline Band on Thursday. Go to Kenly95.com for additional information.

The American Truck Historical Society is planning its National Convention on May 26-28 at the Oregon State Fair and Expo Center in Salem, Ore. Last year’s show featured a variety of trucks, both antique and new. Everything from old-school pickup trucks to B-model Macks to Marmons and everything in between can be seen. Visit ATHS.org for more information.

FMCSA reports 830 trucks affected by Volvo recall still not fixed

Approximately 830 Volvo 2016-2017 VNL, VNX and VNM trucks subjected to the large scale steering recall are unaccounted for, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. On Tuesday, the agency issued a recall update with a reminder that these vehicles should not be operated “as they pose an imminent hazard and are to be immediately ordered out-of-service by federal and state roadside safety inspectors.”

On March 31, Land Line reported Volvo recalling nearly 20,000 trucks because of a substantial defect with the steering. The defect is so significant that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has urged owners to take affected vehicles out of service as soon as possible or face penalties.

Some trucks may be missing a roll pin on the steering shafts, potentially disconnecting the lower steering shaft from the junction block. Additionally, the bolt connecting the upper steering shaft to the lower steering shaft may not have been properly tightened. Both situations can cause the steering shaft to separate.

On March 25, nearly 14,000 affected trucks had been fixed or taken out of service, approximately three-fourths of all trucks affected by the recall. 

Volvo Trucks North America spokesperson John Mies confirmed to Land Line that the company will reimburse customers for “reasonable towing and/or rental expenses.”

Any drivers wanting to make a claim must submit it in writing to Volvo Group North America LLC, Attn: Steering Shaft Recall, 7900 National Service Road, Greensboro, N.C. 27409. Make sure the affected vehicle’s VIN is included as well as supporting documents justifying the amount being requested. An itemized breakdown of each expense must be included.

Repairs to affected trucks can only be done by someone authorized by Volvo Trucks. To find the nearest shop, drivers should call Volvo’s customer support line at 877-800-4945.

Owners can call Volvo at 877-800-4945 and choose option No. 1. Volvo’s recall numbers for this campaign are RVXX1602 and RVXX1603. This recall supersedes safety recall 15V-786.

WABCO acquires Laydone Composites Ltd.

WABCO, a component provider for OEMs, has recently acquired Laydon Composites Ltd. (LCL), a manufacturer of aerodynamic devices for heavy-duty trucks and trailers, according to a news release.

LCL, based in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, generated approximately $25 million (Canadian dollars) last year. The company has been around for more than 30 years.

WABCO’s acquisition will give worldwide access to LCL products. In a symbiotic relationship, WABCO in turn will be able to expand its North American market access through LCL’s pre-established relationships.

LCL’s collapsible air fairings improve air flow over tractor cabs, reducing fuel usage as much as 12 percent. For trailers, LCL’s patented, SmartWay Elite certified TrailerSkirt and nose fairings reduce air drag for a combined 9 percent fuel savings and lower CO2 emissions.

For more information about WABCO products visit the company website.

Love’s opens new location in Davenport, Fla.

Love’s Travel Stops has opened a new location in central Florida. Drivers will now have a new place to stop at along Interstate 4 and U.S. Highway 27 in Davenport, Fla.

Davenport’s new Love’s location is the fourth Love’s Travel Stop in Florida since 2014. Including the 69 truck-parking spaces in Davenport, Love’s has added 373 truck-parking spaces in Florida. Love’s other newer travel stops in Florida are in Fort Pierce, Fort Myers and Mossy Head. Love’s operates 12 travel stops in the state.

The Davenport Love’s features seven showers, a Love’s Truck Tire Care facility, RFID cardless fueling and CAT scales. Customers can also enjoy gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, an Arby’s restaurant and more.

DAT Solutions: When will spot rates get better?

Spot truckload rates declined across all equipment types during the week ending April 16, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board. The number of posted trucks increased 4.5 percent, and the number of available loads fell 6.4 percent compared to the previous week.

However, demand was up in major markets, a signal that spot rates may rebound.

Good news
The number of available loads last week fell 6 percent for vans, 1 percent for reefers, and 9 percent for flatbeds and average spot rates dipped accordingly. The national average van rate fell 3 cents to $1.50 per mile, marking the third straight week of declines.

The reefer rate was down 2 cents at $1.78 per mile despite the fact that volumes were up in almost every major reefer market. And the average flatbed rate fell 1 cent to $1.91 per mile.

Where’s the good news? Use your load board to drill down to specific lanes.

For instance, while reefer demand has been generally softer than expected, the average rate for reefer loads was $2.02 a mile from Nogales, Ariz., to Dallas, up 13 cents compared to the week before last. Nogales-Tucson has been the top market for load posts on DAT MembersEdge in the past two weeks, with 10.6 available loads per truck.

Two of the biggest van rate increases were on low-paying lanes: Chicago to Los Angeles was up 15 cents to $1.25 a mile, and Denver to Oklahoma City gained 11 cents to $1.10 a mile. Demand is finally starting to drive rates up, albeit slowly.

Better news
National average flatbed rates are up 5 cents a mile so far in April, with increases in the 9-cent range in high-volume lanes.

Regionally, demand is strong and rates are holding up well in the Southeast, including lanes originating in Atlanta, Roanoke, and Savannah. Leading lanes include Tampa outbound, up 8 cents to an average of $1.91 a mile, and Memphis, up 14 cents to $2.46.

Memphis-to-Dallas added 8 cents and is up 22 cents for the month to $2.29 a mile. An added bonus: You end up in Texas, where you can usually find a load out of Dallas, Fort Worth, or Houston.

What to watch
The gap between contract rates and spot rates is expanding. In the van market, the average spread between contract and spot rates is 36 cents during the month of April.

One factor is the declining price of fuel. Spot rates are “all in” rates; they theoretically combine a line-haul portion and a fuel surcharge. This rolled-up rate has fallen much more sharply than the fuel surcharge has dropped for carriers hauling freight under contract.

Another reason is that shippers have less exception freight to move. In other words, they’re just not producing more than they planned for.

Look for the latest load availability and rate information at MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to Land Line Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Mark Montague for details on spot truckload rates.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

New truck show planned for September 2017 in Atlanta

The North American Commercial Vehicle Show is set to debut Sept. 25-29, 2017 in Atlanta.

The show, which will be focused on the commercial fleet and heavy-truck market, will consist of more than 300,000 square feet of exhibition space.

According to a news release, the NACV Show will allow suppliers, commercial vehicle OEMs and the supply chain to meet with and address the needs of the North American commercial vehicle industry audience. The show will be held on alternating years from the Deutsche Messe-hosted show in Hannover, Germany.

The NACV Show will be organized and managed jointly by Hannover Fairs USA and Newcom Business Media.

“The new North American Commercial Vehicle Show is a perfect fit with Deutsche Messe’s commercial vehicle events portfolio,” said Larry Turner, the President and CEO of Hannover Fairs USA. “Hannover Fairs USA and Newcom are uniquely positioned to develop and organize this new event while working with the industry to guarantee the needs of all participants are met.”

The NACV Show will specifically target North American-based commercial fleet owners, owner operators, commercial and light commercial vehicle dealers, distributors, repair shops, truck manufacturers and the commercial vehicle trade media, according to a news release.

“We look forward to working with Hannover Fairs USA to leverage Deutsche Messe and Newcom’s commercial vehicle event expertise, experience and sales network to gain a strong position in the United State with major manufacturers and pertinent industry associations,” said Joe Glionna, the Vice President and General Manager of the NewCom Business Media.

In late March, the American Trucking Associations announced plans to explore development of a new commercial vehicle event. ATA, along with the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association division of the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, said it had entered into an agreement with Messe Frankfurt to develop a new, biennial North American based truck and transportation event that also would take place in odd numbered years.

No further details have been released.

WisDOT begins electronic credential pilot program

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is seeking drivers to participate in a pilot program regarding electronic credentials. WisDOT wants participants to go paperless with certain documents to assess time saved and the convenience of updating credentials.

Already in progress and ending on Sept. 30, participation is informal and voluntary. Drivers who wish to participate are encouraged to have electronic forms of the following documents:

  • IRP cab card or intrastate vehicle certificate of registration
  • Trailer vehicle certificate or registration
  • IFTA license
  • Lease agreement, if lessee is providing IFTA or IRP
  • Authority documents
  • Certificate of insurance
  • Hazmat Registration Certificate
  • Non-hazmat bills of lading

Electronic documents not supported by the pilot program:

  • CDL
  • Federal Medical Examiner Certificate
  • Hazmat shipping papers and related required documents
  • Hazardous material guidebook
  • Emergency response guidebook
  • FMCSA regulations handbook
  • Canadian operating authority
  • Any other paperwork not listed as included

Documents can be presented in a pdf file on a tablet, smartphone or a computer. Law enforcement may request a driver to send the file to an email address. Personal websites with electronic credentials are also acceptable. Drivers must show paper documents to law enforcement if requested, regardless of availability of electronic documents.

Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota are also participating in the program, along with some law enforcement agencies in Illinois. Other states may be added during the pilot.

After the pilot date, a final report will include results and recommend laws and procedure changes needed to implement electronic credentials as a substitute for paper documents.

For more information about the pilot program, including a handbook and roadside brochure, visit the WisDOT website.

NHTSA investigates Freightliner Cascadias for wiper motor failure

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into a possible defect with 2015-2016 Freightliner Cascadias. Affected trucks may have an issue with wiper motors.

According to a document from NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation, the agency has received field reports indicating a possible wiper motor failure on Cascadia trucks. Wiper motors may occasionally cease to operate, leading to reduced visibility when wipers are needed.

Field reports reveal that multiple trucks are experiencing the same issue, and motor failures occur multiple times within the same vehicle. Approximately 5,000 trucks may be affected.

NHTSA has opened a preliminary evaluation. The investigation will determine the severity and scope of the defect and issue a recall if warranted.

Ryder donates $25,000 to Women In Trucking scholarship

Ryder System’s Ryder Charitable Foundation has donated $25,000 to the Women In Trucking Foundation, according to a press release.

The Ryder Charitable Foundation supports causes related to expertise, innovation, safety and community collaboration. The WIT Foundation provides student scholarships to women interested in the transportation industry.

In March, five women received the Ryder/WIT Foundation Scholarship to begin work on a career in trucking. Each recipient was awarded $1,500 for tuition and fees to a technical school of their choice. The winners are as follows:

  • Corinna Carter – enrolled at the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tenn.
  • Heather Dodson – enrolled at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Md.
  • Wanda Lee-Ann Edwards van Muijen – enrolled at Professional Transport Driver Training School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Susan Murphy – enrolled at Midwest Technical Institute in Springfield, Mo.
  • Shanna Waters – enrolled at Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, Ga.

For more information about the Ryder Charitable Foundation, visit its website. More information about the WIT Foundation can be found by clicking here

DAT Solutions: Flatbed market makes steady gains

After a flurry of activity to end March, spot truckload freight volume settled back down 1 percent nationally while the number of truck posts jumped 6.2 percent during the week ending April 9, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board.

A swell of flatbed loads and better rates contrasted with downward trends for van and reefer freight. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers:

The Good
The national average flatbed load-to-truck ratio was 23.5, meaning there were 23.5 available flatbed loads for every truck posted on the DAT load board network last week. The load-to-truck ratio is a real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.

The flatbed ratio has been climbing steadily all year, from an average of 8.7 in January to 10.4 in February to 17.5 in March, up slightly compared to March 2015 when the ratio was 16.3.

Flatbed rates gained 1 cent to a national average of $1.92 per mile. Hot markets included Jacksonville (up 18 cents to an average of $2.45 a mile), Phoenix (also up 18 cents to $1.75), Reno (a 19-cent gain to $2.26), and Harrisburg, Pa. (31 cents higher at $2.96).

The Bad
On the other hand, van and refrigerated spot truckload rates remain soft. Average rates trended down on 63 of the top 100 van lanes – not a great week, although most adjustments were small. Van load posts fell 13 percent and truck posts increased 7 percent; the van load-to-truck ratio fell slightly to 1.6.

The national average van rate dropped 4 cents compared with the previous week to $1.53. Looking at the past 30 days, average van rates rose in three markets: Atlanta, Houston, and Stockton, Calif.

Reefer demand is undergoing a regional shift as produce season winds down in Florida. Texas was home to four of the top eight markets for reefer load posts on MembersEdge, and harvests in the Coachella and Imperial Valleys of California have produced stronger demand and better outbound rates in markets like Ontario.

The reefer load-to-truck ratio fell to 2.6 last week and the national average spot reefer rate dropped 2 cents to $1.80 per mile.

The Takeaway
In a reefer rate environment like this, use your load board to maximize your revenue. Our reefer trihaul of the Week is Chicago-Atlanta, a 1,432-mile roundtrip that would pay an average of $1.68 a mile: $2,406 total or roughly $800 a day.

So look for a load from Atlanta to another market with lots of reefer loads to Chicago, like Charleston, W.V., (with a 6.8 load-to-truck ratio, there’s a shortage of trucks there). Take the trihaul from Chicago to Atlanta to Charleston and back to Chicago, and you’ll end up with $3,640 instead of $2,406.

Since it can be hard to find a load from Charleston to Chicago, look at different combinations and line up your lane and load up before you leave Atlanta.

Look for the latest load availability and rate information at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to Land Line Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Mark Montague for details on spot truckload rates.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

Slow month for trucking leads to lower overall freight tonnage in February

Official freight numbers for February are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was up for air freight, water and rail carloads. However, significant declines in truck and pipeline freight brought down the overall index.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for February decreased by 0.7 percent to 122.2. February’s TSI is a 1.2 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.7 set in November 2014.

The February index is 29 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight decreased by nearly two points to 135.8 from 137.5, a 1.2 percent drop. However, American Trucking Associations’ numbers reveal a tonnage increase of 7.2 percent in February. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s drop lines up with monthly decreases in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index. Manufacturing activity and high inventories showed signs of decline.

Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in tons and ton-miles. This information is used to measure the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry.

Ritchie Bros. plan massive five-day Edmonton auction

On Tuesday, April 26, which is day one of Ritchie Bros. biggest Canadian auction, a vintage 1965 and a 1970 Chevrolet El Camino will sell with all proceeds going to charity. Through Saturday, April 30, bidders will see trucks, trailers, pickups, RVs, automobiles, heavy equipment of all types, and even boats.

For weeks, the Ritchie Bros. crew in Edmonton, Alberta, has been working hard getting everything lined up and ready for the thousands of bidders expected come auction time in April.

With just two weeks until the auction begins, equipment still arrives daily to the massive site located just outside Alberta’s capital.

The Edmonton auction in April is traditionally the company's largest Canadian auction of the year, and this year is the biggest yet. On April 26-30, 2016, Ritchie Bros. will sell more than 10,000 items in Edmonton, including more than 260 truck tractors and more than 1,000 trailers, plus hundreds of excavators, compactors, loaders, dozers and more.

Every item will be sold with no reserve prices or minimum bids.

For a detailed list of all equipment in the auction, including high-res photos of the items, visit rbauction.com/Edmonton. Interested buyers can bid in person at the auction site, online in real time, or by proxy.

Truckers Against Trafficking has new partners in Kansas

A new partnership between the Kansas Attorney General, the state’s motor carriers association, and Truckers Against Trafficking aims to combat sex trafficking in the Sunflower State by raising awareness of the issue.

The partnership between Attorney General Derek Schmidt, the Kansas Motor Carriers Association, and TAT is part of an effort to build coalitions between law enforcement and the trucking industry to help identify and thwart human trafficking, according to Esther Goetsch, TAT’s coalition build specialist.

“Our mission is to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking industry to combat human trafficking as part of their everyday jobs,” Goetsch said via email. “We do this through our trucking specific training materials, through partnering with law enforcement to facilitate the investigation of human trafficking, and through marshaling the resources of the trucking industry to combat these crimes.”  

The partnership is part of a joint training operation for state law enforcement, which was hosted by Schmidt’s office in Topeka on Thursday, April 7.

“Through this new partnership, we will continue to train local law enforcement and educate the trucking industry about the signs of human trafficking and how to report it,” Schmidt said in a statement. “By combining forces with the trucking industry, we hope to raise awareness of sex trafficking that occurs along our Kansas roads and highways.”

According to Goetsch, the coalition builds are designed to create strategies for trucking and law enforcement to come together in this effort. The group works to train law enforcement, professional drivers and truck stop and travel plaza employees with training materials to help identify cases of human trafficking.

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides a hotline as well as extensive data sets on human trafficking in the United States, reported 5,544 cases of human trafficking in the U.S. in 2015. Of those, more than 4,600 of the victims were women and more than 1,600 of the total victims were under the age of 18. The vast majority of all cases were involved in sex trafficking.

Tom Whitaker, executive director of the KMCA, said his organization got involved to help make connections between trucking companies, the Kansas Highway Patrol, and travel plaza owners and managers to ensure that “if they see something, they make the call to law enforcement or the Human Trafficking Hotline.”

“This collaboration means that Kansas is not only taking an active role in the fight against human trafficking but we are also providing education to the eyes and ears of our highways,” Whitaker said. “KMCA is also in a unique position as we provide CMV registration and it gives us the opportunity to reach drivers and companies that may not be members to help distribute vital information on what to do if that company or driver suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking.”

Goetsch thanked the motor carriers association and the attorney general for their partnership.

“We hope that through these meetings, more drivers and truck stop and travel plaza employees will be trained and that law enforcement will be able to use this industry more effectively as they go after traffickers who are exploiting victims and legitimate businesses for criminal gain,” she said.

The public can also assist by reporting suspicious activity to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s hotline at 888-3737-888.

Coffee Cup Fuel Stops fundraising for St. Christopher Fund

If you are trucking through the Upper Great Plains, a special promotion is happening during April at each location of a Coffee Cup Fuel Stop. All of the Coffee Cup stops have joined the effort to raise money for the St. Christopher Fund through the Band Together campaign, which was started by the TravelCenters of America.

Wristbands are now available for $1. All donations go to help truckers in need of financial assistance due to medical problems.

TA Petro does their Band Together during August, and Sapp Bros. will do Band Together in August as well.

Coffee Cup Fuel Stops are located in Steele, N.D., Burbank, S.D., Hartford, S.D., Hot Springs, S.D., Plankinton, S.D., Summit, S.D., Vivian, S.D., and Moorcroft, Wyo.

DAT Solutions: Spot market rates end Q1 with a flourish

The end of March is the end of a fiscal term, when shippers scour the spot market for trucks to help them move freight out the door before they have to close their books for the quarter.

Spot truckload freight volume was up 11 percent nationally while the number of truck posts dipped 5.5 percent during the week ending April 2, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board.

Van and flatbed rates responded with increases while the average refrigerated rate stayed put, a perfect setup for the good, the bad, and the takeaway of the week in the spot market:

The good
The national average van load-to-truck ratio was 1.9, meaning there were 1.9 available van loads for every truck posted on the DAT load board network. The good news is that van rates are climbing in the most popular lanes, especially in the Southeast and South Central regions.

Outbound rates each rose a penny in Charlotte (to average of $1.82 a mile), Atlanta ($1.73), and Dallas ($1.52). Greenville, S.C., had a load-to-truck ratio of 2.6 – well above the national average of 1.9, which means Greenville was a great place to find loads.

Rates were way up in both directions between Dallas and Houston, a 480-mile roundtrip that produced an average of $1.97 a mile. Dallas to Houston was the higher-paying lane, but for some reason there were more loads and a higher load-to-truck ratio going from Houston to Dallas.

As a national average, the spot van rate was up 1 cent to $1.57 per mile.

The bad
Refrigerated spot truckload rates out of McAllen, Texas, fell 5 cents to an average of $1.80 per mile. Until a few weeks ago, McAllen, on the Mexican border in the Rio Grande Valley, was the top source of reefer load posts on DAT MembersEdge. Now it’s No. 5, after Atlanta, Los Angeles, Tucson and Dallas.

It’s an indicator that produce harvest activity is shifting north to areas like Central California, where Fresno was up 7 cents to an average of $1.86 per mile.

It’s also important to note that Easter was early this year, so there was a big push to get fresh food into supermarkets and restaurants earlier in March instead of April. So reefer rates are trending up, but it’s a gradual increase, nothing dramatic.

The reefer load-to-truck ratio was 3.2 last week, a 5 percent improvement. As a national average, the spot reefer rate was unchanged at $1.58 per mile.

The takeaway
If you ever needed proof that March is a month of transition, look no further than month-over-month and year-over-year freight volumes at DAT.com/TrendLines. The total number of spot market loads posted in March was 42 percent higher compared to February—yet still 28 percent lower compared to March 2015.

As always, use your load board to maximize your revenue. Our van TriHaul of the Week involves Memphis-Indianapolis, a 932-mile roundtrip that would pay an average of $1.68 a mile ($1,561 total). Adding a third leg on the return trip from Memphis could boost your average to $2 a mile for total revenue of $1,929. If it works with your schedule, you could increase your average by 33 cents a mile and add between $350 and $400 in revenue.

Look for the latest load availability and rate information at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to Land Line Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Mark Montague for details on spot truckload rates.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

Navistar reaches settlement with SEC over allegation of misleading investors

The maker of International trucks has reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations the Illinois-based company misled its investors about technology it developed to meet emissions standards.

Lisle, Ill.-based Navistar will pay the SEC $7.5 million. The company didn’t admit or deny any findings in the SEC’s order.

“We believe that it was time to put this matter behind us and that this settlement was in the best interests of Navistar and its stockholders,” said Lyndi McMillan, a spokeswoman for Navistar. “Settling this matter will avoid the expense and distraction of a potential dispute with the SEC and allow us to continue or focus on building and sustaining momentum on behalf of our shareholders.”

In a matter unrelated to the settlement, the SEC has filed a complaint in federal court in Illinois alleging that former Navistar CEO Daniel Ustian misled investors by not fully disclosing difficulties obtaining EPA certification to meet emissions standards for 2010.

“When public companies and top executives discuss important regulatory developments with investors, they must tell the whole truth,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC division of enforcement, according to a news release.

In 2015, Navistar was served with a $300 million lawsuit by EPA for International diesel truck engines that allegedly didn’t meet federal emissions standards while using the company’s patented Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or EGR emissions system.

The EGR system was proprietary technology developed by Navistar for International trucks and buses, which the company believed would help give it a leg up while all diesel competitors used selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, technology. After enough regulatory emissions issues, Navistar abandoned EGR and embraced SCR in July 2012.

Navistar spent an estimated $700 million on the failed technology.

One week after the filing of the EPA suit last year, the California Air Resources Board announced it had fined Navistar $250,000 after the company failed to properly demonstrate that its diesel particulate filter system met in-use compliance requirements. CARB said about 200 International’s DPX Catalyzed Soot Filter Systems were sold in California before the error was discovered.

Department of Labor: Trucking loses 2,400 jobs in March

Transportation jobs suffered its third monthly loss in 2016, including the second consecutive monthly job loss in the trucking subsector.

The overall transportation sector lost more than 2,000 jobs in March, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both January and February this year have experienced job losses.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of approximately 2,400 jobs in March after the industry lost 600 in February and gained more than 1,000 in January. March marks the largest job loss in the trucking subsector since this past September when trucking lost 4,000 jobs.

Trucking jobs had the second-largest decrease with 2,400 jobs eliminated from to the economy, only behind rail transport with a loss of 2,800 jobs. Truck and rail job losses offset a large gain from the transit and ground passenger transport subsector, which experienced an increase of more than 3,000.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.06 for March, a 2-cent decrease from February. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased a penny to $20.94. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.43, 7 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.3 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.2 percent from 8.1 percent last March. The overall unemployment rate for the country was mostly unchanged at 5 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was also unchanged compared with the previous month at around 2.2 million, where it has remained since last June. However, that number has decreased by 334,000 in the past 12 months.

DAT Solutions: Go where the loads are

In trucking, you don’t always know where the work will take you. That’s part of the appeal. 

But staying in business requires knowing (and going) where the freight is. Here are a few basic rules to help you build more profitable routes, plus some real-world routing strategies using the MembersEdge load board from the week ending Saturday, March 26. 

Plan every trip as a roundup

If you’re starting from a place with above-average outbound rates, you can turn a so-so roundtrip into a really good one. For example, let’s compare loads out of Memphis going to Chicago and Columbus. 

The load to Columbus pays 12 cents more per mile and has about 50 more loaded miles. But Chicago has more loads available coming back to Memphis, and the average rate is 30 cents higher on the return trip. 

The roundtrip average for Memphis-Chicago-Memphis is $1.60 per mile while Columbus pays $1.51. But Memphis-Columbus-Memphis gives you 100 more loaded miles and $70 more for the two-day trip. 

Both roundtrips are good, but Chicago is better. You make almost the same money in two days, there are more loads to choose from, and you’ll save about $35 in fuel and put 100 fewer miles on your truck. 

Super-size it

Why settle for a roundtrip when you can add a third profitable leg on the route? 

If you’re based in Columbus, you might decide to go to Memphis because you know the return trip is good. Or you could take a load to Chicago first, and then take another load from Chicago to Memphis. That’s a tri-haul. 

You can go home the same way: one load from Memphis to Chicago, and a second load from Chicago to Columbus. 

Instead of leaving Columbus for a 1,200-mile roundtrip with two loads, now you have a 1,800-mile trip with four loads. That adds about 50 percent more loaded miles, and the rate per mile is higher: You average $1.88 instead of $1.51. 

You’ll add a day or a day and a half to your trip, but it’s worth it if the schedule works. After that detour to Chicago, you’ll come away with almost $3,300 instead of $1,800. That could be a good week. 

Go where the loads are going to be

You can get valuable clues about where the competition is – and isn’t – by looking at DAT’s free online Trendlines. You’ll see Hot State Maps showing the relative number of loads posted versus trucks by equipment type, and a separate set of regional maps showing the going rates in the region’s major cities. A ratio of 3 posted loads or more to every posted truck usually indicates a competitive advantage for truckers. 

Look for the latest load availability and rate information at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to Land Line Now this week, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Ralph Galantine for more details on spot truckload rates. 

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

Kenworth again offers $1,000 savings to OOIDA members

Kenworth and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association have teamed up for the 14th year in a row to provide a $1,000 savings to OOIDA members on qualifying purchases of new Kenworth sleeper trucks during 2016.

Featured eligible Kenworth trucks are the Kenworth T680 or T880 with a 52-inch or 76-inch factory-installed sleeper. The program also includes Kenworth T660, T800 and W900 glider kits equipped with a 72-inch or 86-inch factory-installed sleeper. Both new stock and special order vehicles qualify. Buyers must show their OOIDA membership card to their Kenworth dealer at time of purchase in 2016.

Limit for a single customer is three qualifying Kenworth trucks per year. Other limitations apply on the Kenworth rebate program. For more information about the rebate, visit the KW discount page on OOIDA.com or call OOIDA at 800-444-5791.

OOIDA, an advocacy group for owner-operators and independent truck drivers, currently has more than 152,000 members. OOIDA’s website is OOIDA.com.

Kenworth’s home page is at Kenworth.com. Kenworth is a Paccar company.

Pureflow Technologies founder Charles Ekstam dies at 71

Charles (Charlie) L. Ekstam died of cancer Feb. 11 at his home in Fort Myers, Fla. He was 71. Ekstam was well-known in the diesel engine industry for the AirDog Fuel Preporator products he invented and patented.

Ekstam’s wife, Dora Serrano, remains at the head of their company, PureFlow Technologies Inc., as president. The company is located in Jefferson City, Mo.

The AirDog Fuel Preporator lineup of diesel fuel air separation systems were a direct result of Ekstam’s own experiences as a 14-year owner-operator with four trucks.

Since the introduction of the original AirDog Fuel Preporator in 1993, Ekstam continued to refine and perfect a wide range of fuel separator systems. In 2002 the AirDog line was introduced with applications in pickup trucks as well as medium- and heavy-duty product lines. During the past two years, the company has seen the rollout of the Champ product line, featuring the AirDog Champ I and Champ II.

Ekstam’s vision was to have a full range of fuel separation systems for all diesel engines. The AirDog Fuel Preporator lineup covers virtually all diesel engines including Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit, Paccar, Volvo, and Mack as well as all diesel pickups. 

U.S. DOT: NAFTA freight in January down year-to-year, month-to-month

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in January trucks moved more than 66 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Freight movement was down in all modes, but trucking showed the least decline.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by nearly 5 percent compared with December when freight went down nearly 2 percent from the previous month. All modes carried less freight when compared with January 2015.

NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $55 billion of the $82.43 billion of imports and exports in January. Rail came in second with nearly $13 billion. 

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $82.43 billion, down more than $4 billion from the previous month and down nearly $7 billion from January 2015.

Vessel freight experienced the steepest decline at 37.3 percent, a steeper drop than December’s 29.9 percent decrease. Trucks experienced the smallest decline with a drop of only 1.5 percent. Across all modes, there was a 7.7 percent decrease when compared with the previous year.

More than 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.9 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 1.8 percent compared with January 2015. Of the $40.5 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 72 percent of the loads.

NHTSA investigating certain Marmon-Herrington axles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation looking into certain Marmon-Herrington axles, according to NHTSA documents. The investigation was prompted by a recall that was issued last September.

NHTSA is looking further into a defect with Marmon-Herrington MT14, MT17, MT22, R17 and R22 drive axles installed as original equipment in certain heavy-duty trucks. If the hex nuts are not tightened to specification, the driveshaft may disconnect from the drive axle, resulting in a loss of propulsion and increasing the risk of a crash.

Last September, Marmon-Herrington recalled more than 500 of the axles for loose hex nuts. In January, approximately 40 Freightliner 108SD, 114SD, M2 trucks and Western Star 4900 trucks were recalled for the same defect.

NHTSA’s latest investigation into the matter seeks to obtain a complete purchaser list from Marmon-Herrington. Companies who purchased the axles will be notified of the defect. Safety recalls will be conducted where appropriate.

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DAT Solutions: Van rates, volume up in Southeast

With more consumer goods moving through key regional hubs, spot truckload van freight volume was up 7 percent nationally while the number of truck posts was unchanged during the week ending March 19, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board.

With spring in the air, let’s take a closer look at the good, the bad, and the takeaway of the week in the spot van market:

The Good
Some of the strongest van rates were in the Southeast, and in particular on lanes that connect Charlotte, Memphis and Atlanta. In Memphis, the average outbound rate gained 4 cents to $1.85 a mile while the rate from Atlanta was up 3 cents to $1.60. You could book a Charlotte-Atlanta-Charlotte round trip at an average of $1.96 a mile, a 6-cent increase compared to the previous week.

Other markets improved as well: Los Angeles, up 6 cents to $1.89 on higher port traffic; Chicago, up 2 cents to $1.75; Dallas, up 1 cent to $1.51; and Philadelphia, where the Philly-to-Boston lane paid $3.09, a 14-cent bump.

The national average van load-to-truck ratio was 1.6, meaning there were 1.6 available van loads for every truck posted on the DAT load board network.

The Bad
As a national average, the spot van rate was $1.58 per mile, up 3 cents. But a penny of that was fuel surcharge: The price of diesel gained 2 cents to $2.12 a gallon and has increased 10 cents over the past two weeks. If you take fuel out of the equation, the line-haul portion of the spot van rate averaged $1.43 last week, still 13 percent lower than the same period in 2015.

The Takeaway
Seasonal transitions can produce lanes where the rate looks solid one way and shaky on the return.

For instance, the average rate from Memphis to Atlanta picked up 16 cents to $1.96 a mile for the week. The return leg, though, was $1.44, for a roundtrip average of $1.70. It’s a 760-mile roundtrip, which doesn’t give you a great average per day.
 
The takeaway? If you’re based in Memphis and want to take a load to Atlanta, your ultimate destination is Memphis. You might want to look for a tri-haul to fill out that second day and boost your revenue.

Look for the latest load availability and rate information at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to Land Line Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Mark Montague for more details on spot truckload rates.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

Plagued by employee-contractor legal disputes, drayage carrier files bankruptcy

A major port drayage trucking company has filed for bankruptcy after losing several legal battles over its ability to designate professional truck drivers as independent contractors.

Total Transportation Services Inc., also known as Premium Transportation Services Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in Delaware on Monday, March 14.

TTSI is one of several large port drayage trucking companies that have been burned by battles over the practice of classifying drayage truck drivers as independent contractors. Many drivers have won legal claims that they were misclassified as independent drivers even while being made to wear company uniforms, drive company trucks, take specific break times, and adhere to other measures typically required of employees.

TTSI had about 140 independent contractor truck drivers who mostly owned their own trucks.

According to court documents, the company blamed “downward pricing pressure from some of its major clients over the past year.” Legal expenses related to driver classification also hurt TTSI’s ability to meet its obligations, the company said.

TTSI lost 14 lawsuits in California state court and nearly a dozen claims of misclassification cases heard by the California Labor Commission. The company lost $3.5 million in awards and damages to drivers and spent $4 million more in legal fees.

TTSI and other major port drayage carriers have come under increasing scrutiny from labor bodies and as a result of protests launched by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and associated worker organizations.

Yearly value of NAFTA truck freight down first time in six years

After several years of increasing numbers, NAFTA truck freight value for 2015 went down when compared with the previous year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a subdivision of the U.S. Department of Transportation. This marks the first year-to-year decrease since 2009.

All five modes – truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air – carried less freight by value last year. NAFTA freight for 2015 was valued at $1.1 trillion dollars, a loss of more than $86 billion from 2014, or a decrease of 7 percent.

Trucks experienced the smallest year-to-year decrease at 0.4 percent. Pipeline freight suffered the largest decrease at 39.4 percent. Significant decreases in the price of crude oil were a major factor in the declines of the dollar value, according to the report. Petroleum-related commodity values decreased by 40 percent in 2015. Comparatively, the value of other freight dropped by 0.9 percent.

More than 64 percent of NAFTA freight was hauled by trucks last year, a 2.2 percent increase from 2005. Rail carried the second most at 14.9 percent. Trucks carried 58.3 percent of Canadian freight and 70.9 percent of freight coming out of Mexico.

Love’s Travel Stops opens three locations, adds 227 truck-parking spaces

Love’s opened its doors for business today in three new locations in Texas, Kansas and Missouri. The three new sites add 227 additional parking spaces for truck drivers.

The new locations are:

  • The Love’s in Midland, Texas, located along Interstate 20; 
  • A new store in Scott City, Kan., on U.S. Highway 83; and 
  • A new store in Sikeston, Mo., along U.S. Highway 60 and U.S. Highway 61/62.

The Midland location includes 107 truck-parking spaces, a Love’s Truck Tire Care center and Subway, Chester’s Chicken and Godfather’s Pizza restaurants.

An 81-room Suburban Extended Stay will open adjacent to the travel stop in Midland this summer. Professional drivers with a valid commercial driver’s license will be eligible for discounted room rates.

The Scott City location includes a Sonic Drive-In, complete with indoor seating, a drive-through and drive-in stalls, as well as 53 truck-parking spaces.

The Sikeston location is home to Love’s first Dunkin’ Donuts. It also includes a Chester’s Chicken restaurant and 67 truck-parking spaces.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores has more than 370 locations in 40 states. For more information about Love’s locations, visit Loves.com.

DAT Solutions: Flatbed Volume Rises 4 percent

There are two seasons in some parts of the country: winter and road construction season.

The transition to warmer days has brought an increase in flatbed freight on the spot market, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board.

Flatbed freight volume rose 4 percent and available capacity declined 5 percent during the week ending March 12. This pushed the load-to-truck ratio up 9 percent to 16.1, which means there were 16.1 flatbed loads for every flatbed truck posted on DAT load boards. Let’s take a closer look:

The Good
Flatbed volume is surging in the Sun Belt and rates are up as well. Outbound freight from Reno jumped 19 cents to $2.26 a mile, and Phoenix gained 18 cents to $1.75.

The flatbed market is especially strong in the Southeast, but not in the markets you would expect. For instance, flatbed load-to-truck ratios are soaring in Alabama and Arkansas. And rates are skyrocketing in Raleigh: After a down month, four major lanes out of Raleigh had double-digit increases last week. Jacksonville, Fla., rose 18 cents to $2.45.

In the Northeast, outbound loads from Harrisburg, Pa., saw a 31-cent gain to $2.96 on average. Flatbed rates rose 8 cents per mile outbound from Pittsburgh to $1.89.

The Bad
Recent steel plant shutdowns have hurt prices on popular lanes in the Midwest. The average rate out of Rock Island, Ill., was down 26 cents to $2.13 a mile, and Cleveland outbound dropped 2 cents to $1.99.

The Takeaway
The flatbed market is still developing. While the national average flatbed rate fell 1 cent to $1.82 per mile, rates rose on 44 of the top 72 flatbed lanes. With rates and demand firming up lane-by-lane, look for the latest load availability and rate information at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to LandLine Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Mark Montague for more details on spot truckload rates.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

DTNA recalls Freightliner chassis over steering issues

Daimler Trucks of North America is recalling certain Freightliner Custom Chassis XCPs because of a steering issue, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, model year 2014-16 Freightliner Custom Chassis XCPs manufactured from April 26, 2013, through Dec. 15, 2014. The power steering fluid temperature may exceed the hose material ratings on some rear engine chassis built with certain 18,000-pound and 20,000-pound load-capacity front axles used in motor home applications. Steering in either direction at low speeds could become difficult as a result.

DTNA will notify owners and will replace the power steering hose with a hose that has a higher temperature rating, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on April 26. Owners may contact DTNA customer service at 800-745-8000. DTNA’s recall number for this campaign is FL-702.

Trinity Health takes control of its supply chain with XPO

XPO Logistics recently announced plans to team up with Trinity Health to build supply distribution centers in Fort Wayne, Ind., for the 21-state hospital system, according to an XPO press release.

Trinity’s deal with XPO gives the hospital system control over its supply chain. XPO will receive $26 million over 10 years to run the distribution center. According to The Wall Street Journal, hospital chains across the nation have begun taking over their supply chain rather than contracting it out to individual facilities.

The Fort Wayne facility is the first of four distribution centers planned for Trinity Health. Approximately 75 jobs are expected to be created in Indiana. Fort Wayne’s strategic location puts the facility two hours from Indianapolis and three hours from Chicago, Detroit, Columbus and Cincinnati.

Several Mack Trucks models recalled for power train/steering issue

Mack Trucks is recalling certain models in two separate issues filed with the National Highway Safety Administration, according to NHTSA documents.

The first recall affects Mack Granite and Mack Terrapro trucks model year 2016-2017. The affected trucks may be missing a roll pin to secure the upper steering yoke to the steering shaft. A complete loss of steering may occur, increasing the chances of a crash.

A separate recall affects Mack Granite, Pinnacle CHU, Pinnacle CXU, Terrapro LEU, Terrapro MRU and Titan TD trucks model year 2012-2015 and Mack LR trucks model year 2015. In affected trucks, the cap nut that retains the interaxle driveshaft yoke to the rear axle input shaft may loosen. The driveshaft can possibly disconnect as a result.

Mack will notify owners and replace any parts free of charge. The first recall affecting only Granite and Terrapro trucks is expected to begin on March 11. The other recall is slated for April 15. Owners may contact Mack customer service at 610-709-2131. Recall number for 2016-2017 Granite/Terrapro issues is SC0400. Number for the other recall is SC0399.

Weigh My Truck app now accepting Comdata Card payments

Users of Cat Scale’s Weigh My Truck app will now be able to use their Comdata card for payments, according to a Cat Scale press release.

Weigh My Truck allows drivers to weigh and pay straight from their smartphone. The weight is displayed on the smartphone without the driver needing to leave the truck. A PDF copy of the scale ticket or text file of the weight information can be sent to up to five email addresses. Hard-copy scale tickets can still be printed and picked up at the fuel desk.

Truckers can sign up, provide an email address, enter truck identification, and select a payment method. Payment methods include PayPal, EFS and now Comdata.

Once a driver is signed up, simply open the app and confirm the Cat Scale location. Once the truck identification has been confirmed and the weighmaster has ensured the truck is positioned correctly, the weigh ticket will be sent to the email addresses provided.

More information about the new Weigh My Truckapp can be found online at WeighMyTruck.com. Weigh My Truck is available on the Google Play Store and also the Apple App Store.

Daimler Euro trucks to feature Wabco air disc brakes

Wabco has begun delivery of its Maxx air disc brakes to Daimler AG, according to a Wabco press release. Daimler’s European heavy-duty trucks – including Actros, Antos and Arocs models – will now be equipped with Wabco single-piston air disc brakes.

New to the European line of Daimler trucks, Wabco has been supplying Maxxus air disc brakes to Daimler Trucks North America since 2012. Maxxus brakes are based on Maxx single-piston technology.

European Daimler trucks will be produced with Maxx 22 brakes on the front axle and the new Maxx 22L brakes on the rear axle. The Maxx 22L brakes feature an optimized rear-axle design that requires less brake torque than air disc brakes for front axles and are 7 percent lighter than the Maxx 22 model.

For more information about Wabco products, visit Wabco-Auto.com.

DAT Solutions: Be ready for shift in reefer traffic

Spring has sprung on the spot freight market.

The number of available loads was up 12 percent during the week ending March 5, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board. With capacity down 1.9 percent for the week, the national load-to-truck ratio rose to 3.5 loads per truck, meaning there were 3.5 loads for every truck posted. 

More good news: national average van, reefer, and flatbed freight rates all gained compared to the previous week. And with warmer days upon us, the refrigerated freight market is heating up—but not in all the places you’re used to. Let’s take a closer look:

The good
The number of reefer load posts was up 10 percent as a national average while truck posts fell 2 percent. The increased demand for trucks put the reefer load-to-truck ratio at 3.1 (up 12 percent) and helped send the national average rate up a penny to $1.80 per mile.

As you’d expect in March, rates are firming up in the Midwest. Reefer loads out of Green Bay paid an average of 6 cents more per mile ($2.51), and—in a nice surprise—average outbound rates from Chicago paid $2.07, up 4 cents. The load-to-truck ratio for vans in Chicago is still way below the national ratio, but lane rates rose 5 cents from Chicago to Dallas and 3 cents from Chicago to L.A.
 
The bad 
In central California, rates are just now starting to inch up from Fresno (average outbound rate: $1.78, up 1 cent) but the season is not expected to be very good. Heavy rain interfered with planting in December and January, which is reducing harvests of vegetables and berries. When California crops don’t do well, expect to see more reefer loads available along the U.S. border with Mexico.

The takeaway
If you pull reefers, expect to find more of your loads originating at the borders and ports. The #1 market for reefer load posts on DAT MembersEdge has been McAllen, Texas, another hot spot for fruit and vegetables coming across the border. Average outbound loads from McAllen paid $1.80 a mile last week, down a penny, but volume is building.

Increased food imports also mean there’s greater demand for reefers at ports like Miami and Savannah, with an ever-larger portion of the reefer freight in those markets originating from Chile and neighboring countries. Other ports that bear foreign fruit include East Coast docks at Philadelphia/Wilmington, and NY/Newark, as well as Los Angeles/Long Beach. 

The shift toward the ports also will affect seasonal rate spikes. The early rush in Florida won’t be as great, and the typical June boom in reefer rates may be muted, as well. It’s something to watch as we get deeper into Spring.


(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

Overall freight tonnage went up in January, including trucking

Official freight numbers for January are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was up for rail intermodal and pipeline freight, but decreased for truck freight. Revisions to December’s TSI resulted in a slight monthly increase in December, changed from a decrease with the preliminary numbers.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for January increased by 0.5 percent to 122.2, despite severe winter weather. January’s TSI is a 1.3 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.8 set in November 2014.

The January index is 29 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Rail intermodal and pipeline freight experienced significant gains. Trucking freight increased just slightly. However, American Trucking Associations’ numbers reveal a tonnage decrease of 1.4 percent in January. Air, rail carloads, and water all experienced decreases this January, according to BTS.

According to the DOT, TSI’s increase lines up with monthly increases in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index, personal income and employment. Manufacturing and high inventories showed signs of decline.

Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in tons and ton-miles. This information is used to measure the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry.

Department of Labor: Trucking industry lost jobs in February

Jobs in the transportation industry started the year with a significant loss, and the situation did not improve much in February with another net loss. That includes the trucking subsector, which experienced a gain during January’s large job decline within the transportation industry.

The overall transportation sector lost more than 5,000 jobs in February, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both January and February this year have experienced job losses.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of approximately 600 jobs after the industry gained more than 1,000 in January and more than 5,000 in December. February marks the largest job loss in the trucking subsector since this past September when trucking lost 4,000 jobs.

Warehousing and Storage jobs had the largest increase with more than 2,000 jobs added to the economy. The Couriers and Messengers subsector was the largest contributor to the net transport industry net loss with 4,000 jobs eliminated.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.20 for February, a 6-cent increase from January. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased a penny to $21.00. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.35, 3 cents lower from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.6 percent from 7.7 percent last February. The overall unemployment rate for the country was unchanged at 4.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was also unchanged compared with the previous month at around 2.2 million, where it has remained since last June. However, that number has decreased by 512,000 in the past 12 months.

Volvo recalling more trucks over problems with ball joints

Volvo is recalling certain VNL, VNM and VT trucks with model years ranging from 2009 to 2016. The recall is due to an issue with front suspension ball joints and is an extension of another recall, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, certain 2009-2010 VT and 2016 VNL and VNM trucks are included in the recall. Affected trucks are equipped with USK non-greasable drag links that may experience corrosion of the ball joints due to the seals being compromised, possibly resulting in accelerated wear and failure of the ball joint. Separation of the socket may occur, resulting in loss of steering and increasing the chances of a crash.

This recall is an extension of a previous recall from October 2015. In the October recall, only 2009-2015 VN trucks were affected. More than 8,000 vehicles were recalled.

Owners of affected vehicles will be contacted by Volvo and will have the drag links replaced for free. Volvo is expected to begin the recall on April 15. For more information, call 800-528-6586 with recall number RVXX1601.

Goodyear revamps truck tire website for optimal search capabilities

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. has overhauled its commercial tire website that allows fleets to find the best possible Goodyear Tire Solution. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops can all access the new website.

Tailored to the information provided by the business, GoodyearTruckTires.com provides optimal products, services, business solutions and nationwide Goodyear network to fleets. A “My Solutions Finder” tool directs users to the nearest Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Network Dealer.

Tire selection is user-friendly and user-specific with a function that searches for products by application, vocation, name, size technologies and SmartWay verification. A fuel savings calculator has been updated for more detailed information. Users can also request a sales follow-up from Goodyear.

Businesses of all sizes – including owner-operators and small- to mid-size fleets – will have the ability to access the Goodyear Smart Fleet portal where they can enroll in the program. Vocations ranging from long haul to tanker to logging and oil field can be searched to find the appropriate tires.

Howes Lubricator and SAGE trucking schools offering $1,000 scholarships

Howes Lubricator and SAGE Truck Driving Schools have teamed up again for the Howes Truckers of Tomorrow Scholarship Program. Scholarships will be awarded throughout the year.

One student at each of the SAGE schools’ 25 locations nationwide will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Applicants must meet all trucking industry qualifications and show a need for financial assistance.

“We want to lend a hand to as many people as possible,” Rob Howes, president of Howes Lubricator, said in a news release. “So we are spreading out the funds in order to help numerous students all year long.”

According to its website, SAGE provides comprehensive CDL training courses, as well as basic, advanced and specialized tractor-trailer training. Since 1920, Howes Lubricator has been producing additives for the trucking industry.

For more information, visit SageSchools.com, HowesLube.com, or call 800-GET-HOWES.

U.S. DOT: NAFTA freight down every month in 2015

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in December trucks moved more than 63 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Freight movement was down in all modes, but trucking showed the least decline.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by nearly 2 percent when compared with November when freight went down nearly 9 percent from the previous month. All modes carried less freight when compared with December 2014.

NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $55 billion of the $86.7 billion of imports and exports in December. Rail came in second with a contribution of more than $13 billion. 

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $86.7 billion, down more than $1 billion from the previous month and down more than $9 billion from December 2014.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at nearly 47.4 percent, a steeper drop than November’s 43 percent decrease. Trucks experienced the smallest decline with a drop of only 3.1 percent. Across all modes, there was a 1.6 percent decrease when compared with the previous year.

Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.9 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 2.4 percent compared with December 2014. Of the $41.7 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 70 percent of the loads.

Bike Week March 4-13 in Ormond Beach: Truckers must ‘fuel and go’ at Love’s

At Love’s Travel Stop in Ormond Beach, Fla., truckers will have to fuel up and keep on rolling March 4-13 during Bike Week. This year is the 75th anniversary of the event.

Long-term parking won’t be available at this Love’s at I-95/U.S. Highway 1 during this time.

Thousands of motorcyclists will converge on the Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach area Friday, March 4, for the start of the annual biker event known as Bike Week. Daytona Harley Davidson, located next door to the Love’s in Ormond Beach, is a major participant of the annual motorcycle event and rally, which causes unusually high traffic volume in and around the area.

In past years, the increased traffic volumes for truckers waiting to fuel – combined with the significant influx of cars, trucks and motorcycles – has caused severe traffic jams, forcing state police to close the exit. Love’s wants to provide the necessary fueling for professional drivers. In order to ensure that it is still available, Love’s is asking drivers to continue moving in and out at that exit.

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla. The chain has more than 200 locations in more than 30 states.

For more information, visit the Love’s website or Facebook page.

Goodyear announces three finalists for Highway Hero award

A trucker who pulled an injured man from a burning car, another who rescued a fellow trucker who was ejected following a crash, and another who used his truck and tanker to shield an injured motorcycle cop from oncoming traffic following a crash are the finalists for 33rd annual Goodyear Highway Hero Award.

The winner will be announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., next month. The award honors professional truckers who put themselves in harm’s way to help others.

The three finalists are:

Mark Cavanagh, Hillsville, Va. Cavanagh was driving his truck through Pennsylvania when he saw another tractor-trailer drive off the road and roll down a hill. The truck’s driver was ejected from the rig and was hanging from its mirror bracket by a belt. Cavanagh stopped his truck, descended the hill, cut the injured driver’s belt, and pulled him away from the damaged truck. He then helped the driver back to the road.

Dorian Cole, Los Angeles, Calif.
Cole was driving through the Sylmar section of Los Angeles when he saw a Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer collide with another motorcyclist. The impact from the collision caused the officer to hit a concrete divider. To protect the injured officer from oncoming traffic, Cole positioned his tanker truck across several highway lanes. This also gave paramedics unimpeded access to the officer. Cole received a commendation from the Los Angeles City Council for his efforts.

Julian Kaczor, Utica, N.Y. Kaczor was driving through Jacksonville, Fla., when a car drove past him at a high rate of speed, nearly clipping his truck. The car crashed into a construction barrier and began to emit smoke. Kaczor ran to the car as it became engulfed in flames, which he tried to extinguish. As the fire intensified, he forced the car’s driver-side door open, pulled the injured driver out of the vehicle, and dragged him to safety.

The winner is selected by a pool of trucking industry journalists and will receive a special ring, a cash award and a congratulatory trophy. Each of the other finalists will receive a cash prize and other items.

Ritchie Bros. sells $172 million in equipment at Orlando sale

Bidders registered for the Ritchie Bros. sale in Orlando, Fla., last week, set a new site record. In just five days, Ritchie Bros. sold a record 10,700-plus items for more than $172 million.

This year’s unreserved auction attracted more than 9,850 bidders from 79 countries. Out-of-state buyers purchased $137 million of equipment (80 percent), including $40 million purchased by out-of-country buyers (23 percent).

Bidders participated in the auction in person, online in real time, and by proxy. Online buyers purchased more than $64 million of equipment (38 percent). All items were sold without minimum bids or reserve prices.

“This is not just a U.S. auction; this is a global event with participation from around the world,” said Terry Dolan, Ritchie Bros. president (USA & Latin America). “People travel from across the globe to attend this auction, and thousands more participate online from as far away as Belgium, Costa Rica, Colombia, Vietnam and more.”

Ritchie Bros. sold equipment and trucks from all the top manufacturers, including Caterpillar, Volvo, John Deere, Komatsu, Terex, Grove, JLG, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Freightliner, International and more. Equipment sold included more than 500 truck-tractors and about 390 trailers.

Stoughton recalls hopper trailers over structural problems

Stoughton Trailers has recalled certain grain hopper trailers due to a structural issue, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, certain 2009-2010 Grain Hopper Trailers manufactured Dec. 17, 2007, to Dec. 1, 2009, are affected. Trailers being recalled have an incorrectly positioned panel in the hopper assembly or the lower part of the cargo area of the trailer.

The panel can potentially separate, resulting in cargo spilling out of the trailer. Affected trailers may also have a major structural failure. The defective panels increase the risk of a crash.

Owners of affected trailers will be notified by Stoughton. Dealers will reinforce the hopper connections free of charge. Notification schedules are yet to be announced. For more questions, contact Stoughton customer service at 608-873-2555.

Fitzgerald and Team Penske partner for 2016 NASCAR Xfinity series

Team Penske announced today it has partnered with Fitzgerald Glider Kits to sponsor the No. 22 Ford Mustang in select 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series races this season.
 
You’ll see the Fitzgerald logo on the side of the No. 22 Ford in events at Bristol Motor Speedway in April, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July, Darlington Raceway in September, and Dover International Speedway in October. In addition, Fitzgerald will be an associate sponsor of the team for the balance of the season.
 
The official unveiling of the No. 22 Fitzgerald Ford Mustang livery will be made in mid-March at the company’s corporate headquarters in central Tennessee during a special event for employees and local media.
 
“Fitzgerald Glider Kits is a family run business,” said founder Tommy Fitzgerald Sr. “The family and I have always been huge fans of NASCAR, and it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to see our family name on the side of one of these amazing machines. We feel that our partnership with a team as prestigious as Team Penske has increased our odds of seeing our family name in Victory Lane.”
 
“We are excited to welcome Fitzgerald to Team Penske as a new partner in 2016,” said Roger Penske. “Fitzgerald is a family run business that has made a name for itself and has become established as an industry leader.”  

The 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series season will begin at Daytona International Speedway this Saturday, Feb. 20.
 
Fitzgerald Glider Kits was founded in 1989, by Tommy Fitzgerald Sr. and his brother, Ricky Fitzgerald. Today, the company is also co-owned with Tommy’s sons, Robert and Tommy Jr, along with friend Nick Bresaw. Fitzgerald’s specializes in installing pre-emission engines into new Class 8 trucks to create a more fuel-efficient rig that requires less maintenance and yields less downtime. Based in central Tennessee, Fitzgerald Glider Kits produces more than 4,000 trucks per year, and offers various models of the Peterbilt, Kenworth, Freightliner, and Western Star brands. For more information, visit FitzgeraldGliderKits.com.

Daimler Trucks lays off 1,250 more workers in North Carolina plants

A little more than a month after Daimler Trucks North America laid off nearly 1,000 workers at its Cleveland, N.C., Freightliner plant, the company has announced another series of layoffs that will affect two North Carolina plants, including the Cleveland location.

Approximately 550 employees at the Cleveland plant and 700 employees at the Mt. Holly plant are affected by the layoff, according to David Giroux, DTNA director of corporate communications. Employees will report to their last day of work on Friday, Feb. 19.

The recent layoff in Cleveland, N.C., is in addition to the more than 900 workers affected by a layoff in January.

Per Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (WARN), employees must be notified in advance of layoffs. Scheduled to go into effect on April 16, affected employees will receive pay at their current rate instead of the notice period. Workers will be able to seek other employment while receiving WARN payments.

Nearly a third of the workforce at Mt. Holly is affected by the layoff. About a quarter of the Cleveland workforce will lose their jobs. Mt. Holly operations will be reduced to two full shifts per day rather than three. Cleveland operations will slow down to one full shift per day.

Giroux stated that the decision to layoff plant workers is in response to reduced orders and build rates. DTNA expects the Class 6-8 market in North America to diminish by 10 percent this year. Americas Commercial Transportation Research recently announced that Class 8 truck supply continued to increase at a faster rate than demand for the fifth consecutive month and the 11th time in 13 months in January.

Related stories:
Freightliner plant in North Carolina to lay off nearly 1,000 workers

Trucks only mode to experience increased freight tonnage in December

Official freight numbers for December 2015 are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was down for all modes in December, except for trucking.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Freight Transportation Services Index for December decreased by 0.4 percent to 121. December’s TSI is a 2.3 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.8 set in November 2014.

The December index is 27.8 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking tonnage went up by 1 percent. Air, rail, water and pipeline freight all experienced decreases this past December.

According to the DOT, decreases may have stemmed from weak mining, utility and manufacturing industries; decreases in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index and the Institute of Supply Management Manufacturing Index; and decreasing housing starts.

Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in tons and ton-miles. This information is used to measure the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry.

Bridgestone recalling thousands of Firestone trailer tires

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations will be recalling nearly 36,000 trailer tires, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Potential tread separation is the root cause of the recall.

More specifically, certain Firestone FS561 replacement tires used on trailers, size 255/70R22.5 that were manufactured from Jan. 25, 2015, to Jan. 27, 2016, are affected. Tires subjected to the recall may experience possible tread separation or detachment due to scrubbing during use.

Bridgestone will notify owners affected by the recall that dealers will replace the tires for free. Notification schedule is still pending. For more information, contact Bridgestone at 800-847-3272.

XPO shuts down seven truck terminals

One week after announcing it’s laying off 190 employees, XPO Logistics has shut down seven terminals, XPO confirmed to Land Line.

As part of continuing efforts to reduce costs through consolidations after acquiring Con-way, XPO has closed seven truck terminals in “remote areas,” XPO said in a statement. XPO pointed out that it will not be exiting any markets. Operations at the small terminals that were shut down will be consolidated to larger nearby locations.

When asked which terminals were shut down, XPO declined to disclose specific locations.

XPO claims the move will result in faster transit times. All less-than-truckload customers will continue business as usual with the logistics company.

Last week, XPO laid off approximately 190 employees. The majority of layoffs involved non-sales positions, with 160 of those jobs eliminated. Of those job cuts, the majority were in administrative, management and back office functions.

Less than 1 percent of the LTL workforce in North America was affected, according to the press release. Approximately another 30 positions were cut as a result of redundancies from the acquisition of Con-way.

Department of Labor: Truck sector keeps adding jobs

After experiencing the largest job gain in more than two years in December, the transportation industry in January lost more jobs in a single month than in any month during the past five years. Jobs for truckers continue to grow.

The overall transportation sector lost more than 20,000 jobs in January, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of more than 1,000 jobs after the industry gained more than 5,000 in December and more than 2,000 in November. Truck and pipeline transportation were the only sectors with a job increase. Approximately 100 jobs were added in the pipeline subsector. Couriers and messengers took a huge hit with a job loss of more than 14,000.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.14 for January, a 7-cent increase from December. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 7 cents to $20.95. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.39, 12 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent last January. The overall unemployment rate for the country was dropped slightly from 5 to 4.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was unchanged compared with the previous month at 2.1 million. However, that number has decreased by 687,000 in the past 12 months.

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BP to lay off 7,000 employees after damaging fourth quarter

After fourth-quarter results tanked more than 90 percent, BP has announced that it will eliminate approximately 7,000 jobs, according to a BP press release. Shareholders are expected to keep the dividend.

Profit results for 2015 plunged by 51 percent to $5.9 billion compared with 2014’s report of $12.1 billion. Fourth quarter results for 2015 were $196 million, down 91 percent when compared to the $2.2 billion reported in the fourth quarter in 2014.

Despite the steep plummet reflected in the fourth quarter results, stockholders are expected to receive dividends. According to BP, a dividend of 10 cents per ordinary share for the quarter will be payable in March.

Negative fourth-quarter results came to no surprise as oil prices have also experienced a dramatic fall. Both WTI and Brent crude oil hit 12-year lows in January as prices steadily declined in the weeks and months preceding 2016. Oil prices increased briefly in the last week of January before decreasing again on Feb. 1.

BP did not go into detail as to which employees will be affected by the massive layoff. According to the press release, 4,000 staff and contractors in the upstream sector and 3,000 in the downstream sector will be affected. The upstream sector includes the search for, recovery and production of crude oil and natural gas. Downstream sector jobs include refining of crude oil and the marketing and distribution of products derived from crude oil.

CVSA officer explains inspections in new OOIDA video

If you are a professional truck driver, and you drive long enough, you are going to get pulled over for a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection. It doesn’t matter if you are new to driving or if you have been pulling loads for years, eventually you will get pulled over for an inspection.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has created a video of a CVSA inspection and asked a Missouri Department of Transportation CVSA inspector to explain what he is doing while providing answers to the five most commonly asked questions:

  • What triggers an inspection?
  • Why do some drivers get inspected more often than others?
  • Who does the inspection?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What’s the difference between a Level-1, Level-2 and a Level-3 inspection?

Other topics covered include CVSA decals, common problems found during an inspection, which violation will not place a vehicle out of service, and more.

The CVSA inspector and former Missouri Highway Patrol officer will guide you through the inspection from the point of view of law enforcement, providing drivers with the insight needed to comply with inspection regulations. Watch as the CVSA inspector gives OOIDA Senior Member and Association tour truck driver Jon Osburn a mock inspection.

The CVSA inspection video is free and runs approximately 25 minutes.

The video is part of OOIDA’s Online Business Education and can be found at OOIDAOnlineEducation.com. Just click the link, go to the “Education” tab and find the “CVSA Inspections – Level I, II, and III Inspections” class. The video will also soon be available on OOIDA’s Business Education YouTube page.

While visiting the Online Business Education website, check out other classes addressing a variety of topics including taxes, costs of operations, drug and alcohol regulations, insurance, load boards, and hours of service.

Caterpillar to shut down five plants, 670 jobs affected

As part of global restructuring and cost reduction efforts announced last September, Caterpillar Inc. has announced that it will close five plants. The closures will eliminate approximately 670 jobs, according to a Caterpillar statement. Facility consolidations, closures and job cuts will affect workforces in seven states and China.

The Caterpillar plant in East Peoria, Ill., will consolidate manufacturing operations to other facilities and outside suppliers. The change in operations, which will begin this year and end in late 2018, will affect 230 jobs. An additional 120 employees will be placed on an indefinite layoff due to low demand for mining products. Both office and production positions are affected by the move.

Caterpillar’s facility in Prentice, Wis., will move production to facilities in LaGrange, Ga., and Victoria, Texas. Approximately 220 jobs in Prentice will be eliminated. Employment in the Georgia and Texas facilities is not expected to be affected. The Prentice facility transition is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Facilities in Santa Fe, N.M., and Thomasville, Ga., will also be closed. The Santa Fe facility expects about 50 jobs to be affected by the closure. Caterpillar estimates that approximately 200 jobs will be impacted at the Thomasville facility. However, operations for the two facilities will be consolidated into the facility located at Pontiac, Ill. Approximately 160 jobs will be added to the Pontiac plan as a result.

Operations at a plant in Tongzhou, Jiangsu province, in China will move to the facility in Aurora, Ill. Although 40 jobs at the China plant will be affected, there is no expected impact in employment at the Aurora location.

Other consolidation and transfer efforts are planned, but are not expected to affect employment. The recent closures and layoffs are estimated to lower operating costs amid “challenging marketplace conditions,” according to a Caterpillar statement.

Issue with service brakes prompts recall of Vanguard van trailers

Vanguard National Trailer Corp. is recalling certain 2014-2015 dry freight van trailers due to issues with the service brakes, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document.

More specifically, Vanguard dry freight van trailers manufactured from Nov. 22, 2013, to Nov. 12, 2014, that are equipped with certain Haldex Life Seal Type 30/30 Long Stroke Air Brake Actuators are affected. According to the NHTSA document, affected vehicles may experience brake drag due to an improperly seated diaphragm in the brake chamber. Wheel end fires may occur as a result of brake drag.

Owners of affected vehicles will be notified by Vanguard, who will replace the actuators free of charge. Recalls are expected to begin in February. For more information, contact Vanguard customer service at 888-253-3008 with the recall number 15E-017.

Love’s opens new location in Holcomb, Kan.

Truckers driving through western Kansas will have more rest area options. Love’s Travel Stops has opened its fifth location in Kansas in the city of Holcomb at the intersection of U.S. Highway 400/50 and North Big Lowe Road.

Like most Love’s Travel Stops, the location in Holcomb, Kan., includes gourmet coffee, an expanded fountain drink selection, fresh fruit, and gift items for professional drivers. Two showers, 36 truck parking spaces, RFID cardless fueling and Cat Scales are also featured at the Holcomb truck stop.

Holcomb is also home to the third Sonic Drive-In in a Love’s travel stop. The Sonic Drive-In at Love’s features seated tables for those with vehicles too large for the drive-in. Love’s in Holcomb will also include a Subway restaurant.

For more information about Love’s locations, visit Loves.com.

XPO cuts 190 non-driver jobs in its LTL operations

XPO Logistics has cut approximately 190 jobs as part of its previously announced synergy plans in its less-than-truckload acquisition from Con-way, according to a press release.

The majority of layoffs involved non-sales positions, with 160 of those jobs eliminated. Of those job cuts, the majority were in administrative, management and back office functions. Less than 1 percent of the LTL workforce in North America was affected, according to the press release. Approximately another 30 positions were cut as a result of redundancies from the acquisition of Con-way.

XPO expects to save more than $20 million in annual costs from the job cuts. Since XPO acquired Con-way last October, the logistics corporation has earned about $50 million of expected annualized savings.

In an interview with Bloomberg last September, XPO CEO Bradley Jacobs said that drivers were “very important” and XPO intended to keep all the drivers. To date, the majority of layoffs have occurred in the administrative, management and executive offices.

Lucas Oil launches stock car racing app

Truckers into stock car racing may have the ability to keep up with coverage no matter where they are. MAVTV and Lucas Oil have teamed up to launch LucasOilRacingTV, an app covering stock car racing and six Super Cup Stock Car Series (SCSCS) events.

MAVTV coverage includes the SCSCS series opener from Columbus Motor Speedway in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, June 18; followed by a doubleheader on July 9 from Jennerstown Speedway in Jennerstown, Pa., before revisiting Jennerstown Speedway on Aug. 27.

The SCSCS season points finale will be held at Motordrome Speedway in Smithton, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 17. Each MAVTV/SCSCS show will be 30 minutes long. Air dates and times will be announced at a later date.

In its ninth season, SCSCS is a reformulation of the Late Model Hooters Cup Series. SCSCS teams campaign steel-bodied, 600hp, V8 Chevrolets and Fords on quarter and half-mile asphalt tracks across the Midwest.

For more information, visit mavtv.com.

DOT: NAFTA freight dropped $8 billion in November

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in November trucks moved more than 66 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by nearly 9 percent when compared with October when freight went up nearly 4 percent from the previous month. All modes carried less freight when compared with November 2014.

Trucks were responsible for more than $58 billion of the $88.2 billion of imports and exports in November. Rail came in second with a contribution of more than $13 billion.

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $88.2 billion, down more than $8 billion from the previous month and down more than $8 billion from November 2014.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at nearly 43.2 percent, an improvement compared to October’s 52 percent decrease. Trucks experienced the lowest decline with a drop of only 0.4 percent. Across all modes, there was an 8.4 percent decrease when compared with the previous year.

More than 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.3 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 1.9 percent compared with November 2014. Of the $43 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 72 percent of the loads.

Year-to-date, NAFTA freight has been down every month in 2015.

APHIS adjusts fees for Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection program

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has amended its old user fee regulations by adding new categories and adjusting current charges. In order to minimize pest risks, vessels, trucks, railroad cars, aircraft, and international passengers arriving at ports in the customs territory of the United States are provided quarantine and inspection services. The fees are to recoup the cost of that service.

As of Dec. 28, 2015, the agency also adjusted or removed the fee caps associated with commercial trucks, commercial vessels and commercial railcars. For commercial trucks with a transponder, the final rule increases fees from $105 to $301.67 a year, and commercial trucks without a transponder from $5.25 to $7.55 per crossing.

“If imported cargo needs to be treated to minimize pest risks, the APHIS will charge a fee for that, too,” says Dale Watkins of OOIDA’s Business Services Department.

The fee is for treatment services to remove invasive animal or plant pests that have been found in cargo shipments. The fee, which is scheduled to be phased in over five years, starts out at $47 the first year, before reaching $237 by the fifth year. The agency has published the new fees on its website here.

In a press release announcing the publishing of the final rule, the agency says the new fees are designed to recoup the costs of conducting Agricultural Quarantine Inspections at U.S. ports of entry. The release states that the fee adjustment is based on an independent evaluation by an outside accounting firm and that the fees were also subject to an economic analysis.

“Under the new fee schedule, the U.S. Government will recover approximately $113 million more in revenue each year, providing total estimated annual revenue of $748 million on over $2.7 trillion in commercial goods and tens of millions of air and sea passengers entering the United States each year. This increase will ensure the financial stability of the AQI program, while minimizing the impact of fee changes on the U.S. economy and small businesses,” the release stated.

The agency used data from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to determine that approximately 91 percent of trucks use transponders rather than pay a per-crossing fee.  

Editor-in-Chief Sandi Soendker contributed to this report.

Meritor launches latest version of Toolbox diagnostics software

Meritor Wabco has announced the latest version of its Toolbox software. Toolbox is a PC-based diagnostic software that expedites vehicle diagnosis, increases uptime, and optimizes work for technicians.

Toolbox 12 includes support for anti-lock braking systems, electronic braking systems and hydraulic power brakes. OnGuard Active diagnostics, aftermarket electronic control unit programming updates, and an improved quick-start guide are also part of the latest Toolbox software.

For a limited time, customers who possess a Toolbox 11 license can upgrade to Toolbox 12 for $99. New Toolbox customers can purchase Toolbox 12 at a base price of $299. Discounts can be added for volume purchases.

The program’s basic functions include the following:

  • Static displays (ECU numbers) and dynamic displays (RPMs) for a system being tested;
  • Displays for active and stored system faults as well as appropriate repair instructions;
  • Activation of components to verify system integrity, correct component operation, and installation wiring;
  • Direct digital access to product maintenance manuals; and
  • Aftermarket ECU programming updates.

For more information, visit Meritor’s website at MeritorWabco.com or call Meritor’s OnTrac tech support center at 866-OnTrac1 (866-668-7221).

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Love’s Travel Stops opens new location in eastern Nebraska

Truckers traveling through Nebraska will another place to stop for fuel, parking and food. Love’s Travel Stops has opened a new location in Valley, Neb., near Highway 64 and Highway 275.

The newest location in Nebraska features five showers, 67 truck parking spaces, RFID cardless fueling and Cat Scales. Gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, a Subway restaurant and other amenities are also available.

For more information, visit Loves.com.

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Daimler Trucks invests millions in South Carolina facilities

Daimler Trucks of North America will be investing millions in facility expansion and operation improvements in Gaffney, S.C., according to a DTNA press release.

Specifically, more than $22 million will be invested in Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. The investment will also drive implementation of a new line-side delivery process, which will use nearly 60 percent more component kitting.

Daimler representatives explained that the kitting process is a just-in-time parts delivery process in which parts are pulled per vehicle VIN or engine number and placed on a cart. This cart is then delivered to the plant. Once the engine, for example, is launched, the kit or cart with all of the serial specific parts follows the engine. This will not only free up space around the line, but also virtually eliminates the possibility of the wrong part being installed, according to the release.

Money from the investment will fund the construction of a new logistics center for Freightliner Custom Chassis. Expansions of the office building, employee parking lot, completed chassis parking and load/delivery operations will also be a part of the investment.

Expansions include a 25 percent increase in personal work stations; an increase in the training room capacity from 25 to 100; the amount of available team work space doubled; and an increase in the cafeteria capacity from 15 to 119.

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U.S. Xpress increases pay for safe drivers

Effective March 1, solo drivers for U.S. Xpress with clean records will have their base mileage pay increased by 13.5 percent.

The pay raise will apply to drivers who have a clean record the past 12 months, according to a press release. Over-the-road solo drivers must not have been in a crash or received a traffic ticket, including CSA violations.

This is the first pay raise for U.S. Xpress truckers since August 2014 when driver pay went up 13 percent across the board.

U.S. Xpress claims that a safe driver with five years of experience can make more than $70,000 total compensation with the new pay increase. A safe driver who becomes a training adviser for the company’s academy could earn more than $110,000, according to U.S. Xpress.

Finalists for TWNA Technical Achievement Award announced

The top five finalists for the 2015 Truck Writers of North America Technical Achievement Award have been announced. The award recognizes products and services that exhibit technical innovation within the trucking industry.

Nominations are submitted by TWNA members. A Technical Achievement Award committee at TWNA, a panel of editors for trucking industry publications, ranks components each year to come up five finalists.

Finalists for the 2015 TWNA Technical Achievement Award are:

  • Detroit Assurance safety system from Daimler Trucks North America 
  • Eaton Procision 7-speed medium-duty automated manual transmission
  • Meritor WABCO SmartTrac automatic trailer lift axle control system
  • Phillips Industries Lite-Sentry trailer-chassis light monitoring system
  • Silver Eagle Manufacturing T-Dolly adjustable trailer converter dolly

Other nominees for the award include Volvo Trucks Adaptive Loading 6x2 liftable axle; Trucker Path navigational assistance and load sourcing app; Thermo King ThermoLite Solar Panels; and the Rotavan RG-3 swiveling kingpin.

The winner will be announced during the Industry Awards Luncheon at the Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition on March 2, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Last year’s winner was Aperia Technology’s Halo automatic tire inflation system.

Incorrect size rims on some Pete 388s prompts recall

Paccar is recalling specific 2015 Peterbilt 388 trucks, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document. 

Specifically, trucks equipped with Michelin MN295/60 R22.5 XZA front tires and 8.25-inch wheels and were certified to a gross axle weight rating (GAWR) greater than the maximum 12,350 pounds. 

Affected vehicles do not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard requirements. Because of the incorrect size rims, tires are susceptible to fail if the truck exceeds the load rating, increasing the chances of a crash.

Owners will be notified by Paccar, who will replace the wheels and re-program the maximum vehicle speed to the correct settings, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin Jan. 29. Owners may contact Paccar customer service at 940-591-4000. Paccar’s recall number is 1115Q.

In December, Land Line reported Paccar was recalling nearly 2,000 Peterbilt trucks for a similar issue, necessitating reprogramming of the speed limiter. Model years ranging from 2009 to 2016 were affected. Those trucks include:

  • 2010 Peterbilt 335 
  • 2010, 2012, 2015-2016 Peterbilt 337 
  • 2009-2010 Peterbilt 340 
  • 2011-2016 Peterbilt 348 
  • 2009, 2011-2016 Peterbilt 365 
  • 2009, 2012-2013 Peterbilt 386 
  • 2009-2015 Peterbilt 388 
  • 2015-2016 Peterbilt 389 
  • 2015 Peterbilt 567
Lawsuit filed against XPO for misclassification of port drivers

XPO Logistics, the Connecticut-based corporation that bought Con-way last year, is facing a class action lawsuit claiming three of its trucking subsidiaries misclassified drivers as independent contractors, according to Los Angeles Superior Court documents. At least one other trucking company – Intermodal Container Services Inc. – is also part of the lawsuit.

The court documents reveal the defendants to be Harbor Rail Transport, Pacer Cartage Inc., PDS Transportation Inc. and Intermodal Container Services Inc. One plaintiff is named on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated.

The suit claims the companies did not pay minimum wage, provide meal/rest breaks, reimburse business expenses, pay overtime/double time wages and committed other labor law violations. In total, the lawsuit claims violations of 10 separate labor laws.

This past November, Land Line reported that port drivers conducted a five-day strike and picket at XPO Logistics. The strike was over misclassification of drivers. At the time of the report, approximately $60 million for 550 claims against various companies were pending.

Last September, XPO announced it would acquire Con-way for $3 billion, sending shockwaves across Wall Street. XPO Logistics began in 1989 as Express-1 Expedited Solutions and was purchased by Segmentz in 2004. XPO completed its first acquisition in 2008 with Concert Group Logistics for $9 million in cash and the issuance of 4.8 million shares of XPO stock. Since then, XPO has acquired nearly 20 companies, with six of those in 2013 alone.

Neither XPO nor the attorney for the plaintiff could be reached for comment.

Freight tonnage decreased in November

Official freight numbers for November 2015 are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was down for all modes in November.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Freight Transportation Services Index for November decreased by 1 percent to 122.3. November’s TSI is a 1.1 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.7 set in November 2014.

The November index is 29.1 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking tonnage went down by 0.9 percent. Air, rail, water and pipeline freight also experienced decreases this past November.

According to the DOT, decreases may have stemmed from weak mining and manufacturing industries, decreases in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index and the Institute of Supply Management Manufacturing Index, as well as increased inventory to sales ratios.

Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in tons and ton-miles. This information is used to measure the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry.

Freightliner and Western Star trucks recalled for drive axle issue

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling specific 2015-2016 Freightliner and Western Star trucks, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document. The recall is because of an issue with the axle assembly.

Specifically, trucks equipped with Marmon-Herrington drive axles are affected. Axle assemblies have hex nuts on the flange yoke that may not have been properly tightened. The defect can result in the driveshaft disconnecting from the drive axle, creating a loss of propulsion and increasing the risk of a crash.

Affected vehicles include:

  • 2015-2016 Freightliner 108SD
  • 2015-2016 Freightliner 114SD
  • 2015-2016 Freightliner Business Class M2
  • 2015-2016 Western Star 4900

Owners will be notified by DTNA, who will inspect the hex nuts and tighten them free of charge. The recall is expected to begin Feb. 16. Owners may contact DTNA customer service at 800-745-8000. DTNA’s recall number is FL-699.

Vanguard Trailers issues two recalls for axle issues

Vanguard National Trailer Corp. is recalling certain van and reefer trailers for an axle issue that has resulted in recalls for three other trailer companies, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Affected models include 2015-2016 Vanguard CIMC dry freight and refrigerated trailers equipped with Meritor EX225L2 or EX225L+ axles. The affected axle assemblies have caliper bolts that may not have been properly tightened, allowing the caliper mounting bolts to back out and the caliper to detach from the axle flange.

Vanguard also issued a recall for SAF-Holland tapered axles, part numbers 24790745090, 24790175090 and 24790165090. In the affected axles, the wheel end may separate from the axle due to an out-of-specification material thickness on the spindle.

On Thursday, Land Line reported on a Great Dane recall for the same Meritor axle defect. Less than three weeks ago, VT Hackney issued a recall for its Kidron refrigerated trailers for the same issue. Just four days prior to the VT Hackney recall, Wabash issued a recall for several of its trailers over Meritor axles.

Owners of affected trailers will be notified by Vanguard. Caliper bolts will be inspected and tightened as needed, free of charge. For more questions about the recall, contact Vanguard at 219-253-2000 or Meritor at 866-668-7221. Vanguard's number for the Meritor axle recall is 15E083. The number for the SAF-Holland axle recall is 15E-080.

DOT: Trucks moved 67 percent of NAFTA freight in October

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that in October trucks moved more than 67 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by nearly 4 percent when compared with September when freight went up less than 1 percent from the previous month. All modes carried less freight when compared with October 2014.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $65 billion of the $96.6 billion of imports and exports in October. Rail came in second with a contribution of nearly $14 billion.

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow, according to BTS. Freight totaled $96.6 billion, up more than $3 billion from the previous month and down nearly $12 billion from October 2014.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at nearly 52 percent, a steeper drop than September’s 42 percent decrease. Trucks experienced the lowest decline with a drop of only 2 percent. Across all modes, there was a 10.7 percent decrease when compared with the previous year.

More than 61 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.4 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 1.5 percent compared with October 2014. Of the $48.9 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 73 percent of the loads.

Year-to-date, NAFTA freight has been down every month in 2015.

Mack OKs use of renewable diesel in all its engines

Following extensive truck and engine testing, Mack Trucks has signed off on the use of renewable diesel fuel in all Mackengines. In a press release, Mack states that renewable diesel fuel delivers performance similar to diesel refined from petroleum, but with several additional customer benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas and particulate emissions, as well as decreased maintenance costs.
 
Similar to conventional biodiesel, renewable diesel fuel is derived from biomass feedstocks, including animal fats and oils. However, unlike biodiesel, renewable diesel fuel is produced using a different process and maintains physical properties and performance similar to petroleum diesel.

Renewable diesel fuel offers several environmental benefits to customers, including reducing particulate matter. A life cycle analysis of renewable diesel fuel conducted by the California Air Resources Board also demonstrated reductions in greenhouse gases by 15 to 80 percent, depending on feedstock source used.

According to Mack Trucks, customers can also save money with renewable diesel fuel, as it requires fewer maintenance costs compared with other alternative fuels.

Freightliner plant in North Carolina to lay off nearly 1,000 workers

As truck sales are expected to weaken in 2016, manufacturing plants are trimming down. Employees at Daimler Trucks North America’s Cleveland, N.C., Freightliner plant are the latest to take a hit, with nearly 1,000 workers to be laid off.

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the official notice date of DTNA’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) was on Jan. 4. Although it will go into full effect on March 5, affected employees’ last day of work will be Friday, Jan. 8, according to David Giroux, DTNA director of corporate communications and public relations.

“Employees will receive payment in lieu of the notice period at each employee’s regular rate of pay, and employees are free to seek and accept other employment during the notice period without jeopardizing their entitlement to the WARN period payment or benefits,” Giroux told Land Line in a statement.

The layoff is expected to be temporary. DTNA’s decision to lay off workers stems from a reduction in orders. A slowdown in truck orders has resulted in a reduced build rate.

The Cleveland plant manufactures heavy-duty Freightliner and Western Star trucks. Before the layoff, the plant employed 3,100 workers. Giroux noted that DTNA is reducing output by one-third at the Cleveland plant as the company is preparing for a weaker truck market in 2016.

In December, Mack and Volvo laid off a total of more than 1,000 workers at their plants in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. A Mack spokesperson told Land Line that the Class 8 truck market is cyclical and experienced its peak in 2015.

The United Automobile Workers Local 3520, which represents union workers at the plant, declined to comment.

Trucking industry gains most jobs since 2013 in December

December experienced the largest job gain in more than two years for the transportation industry. The trucking subsector received the most jobs in six months.

The overall transportation sector gained more than 23,000 jobs in December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the largest increase since November 2013 when more than 30,000 jobs were added to the economy.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of more than 5,000 jobs after the industry gained more than 2,000 in November and 400 in October. December’s increase is the most since last June when 7,400 jobs were added. September was only the second month of 2015 in which the trucking industry lost jobs. Nearly 7,000 truck transportation jobs were lost in March.

Couriers and messengers experienced the largest job gain with more than 15,000 added. “Support activities for transportation” had the largest drop in employment with nearly 2,000 positions exiting the economy.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.99 for December, a 2-cent decrease from November. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 6 cents to $20.73. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.24, a penny lower from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent last December. The overall unemployment rate for the country stayed stagnant at 5 percent for the third month in a row. The number of long-term unemployed saw little change compared with the previous month at 2.1 million. However, that number has decreased by 687,000 in the past 12 months.

DAT’s load board network shows gain in spot van and reefer freight

Van and reefer capacity demand went up significantly to end 2015 and begin the new year, according to DAT Solutions. Based on information from DAT’s network of load boards, average spot market rates were up for two of three modes of trucking.

Average van rates nationwide remained stagnant at $1.71 per mile. Van load posts increased 27 percent, with truck posts decreasing 28 percent. The load-to-truck ratio for Dec. 27 to Jan. 2 was 3.4, a 77 percent surge when compared to the previous week.

Reefer rates went up 2 cents to $1.95. Load posts increased 40 percent while trucks posts decreased 24 percent. Load-to-truck ratio for reefers also experienced a large increase of 83 percent, bringing it to 9.6 loads for every truck posted.

Flatbed rates increased by a penny to $1.92. Load posts were up 7.8 percent and truck posts down 29 percent. Nationwide, the flatbed load-to-truck ratio was 11.4, an increase of 51 percent.

Month-to-month, there was very little change in spot rates for December. Compared with December 2014, rates were down 16-18 percent last month. Load-to-truck ratios were up 13 to 18 percent in December when compared with the previous month, but were down 43 to 53 percent over the last 12 months.

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.

Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.

(Editor’s note: This analysis is provided by DAT Solutions and breaks down the rates and trends on the company’s network of load boards. For complete national and regional reports on spot rates and demand, visit dat.com/Trendlines. DAT Trendlines is a weekly report on spot market freight availability, truck capacity, and rates.)

Cummins’ engine lineup EPA-certified for 2017

Cummins Inc. announced this week that it received certification for its complete lineup of on-highway diesel and natural gas engines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, meeting both the current EPA regulations and the second step in greenhouse gas and fuel-efficiency standards which take effect in January 2017.

According to the company, fuel efficiency is improved across the commercial vehicle engine lineup from 5.0 liters to 15 liters. Spokesman Amy Boerger said efficiency improvements implemented in the 2016 ISX15 400 hp-to-475 hp ratings will provide customers with fuel economy gains over the 2013 ISX15, ranging from 2.5 percent on the base engine up to 7.5 percent with a SmartAdvantage Powertrain with ADEPT (SmartCoast) features.

Throughout 2014 and 2015, Cummins implemented efficiency enhancements that enable its engines to meet EPA 2016 and GHG 2017 requirements. Exhaust tailpipe emissions are monitored, a particulate matter sensor has been implemented, and electronic controls have been enhanced to interact with the diesel exhaust fluid quality sensor implemented by original equipment manufacturers on DEF tanks. 

Three months to MATS; free online registration is open now

If you are planning on going to the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville March 31-April 2, you can register now at no cost. Every attendee must register individually for the show. Here’s how you do it.

You can register online for free prior to Feb. 29. After that you can still register online for a fee of $10 or purchase a ticket at the door for $10. 

Each registration will allow one badge to be printed onsite. The badge is good for all three days of the show. Those who register by Feb. 29 will have their badges mailed at the end of February or the first week of March. If you register after that date, you’ll need to bring a printout of your registration confirmation email with you to the show, and then exchange it for a badge when you get there.

MATS is the largest annual heavy-duty trucking industry event in the world. It happens each year at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. According to show management, the show attracts attendees and exhibitors from throughout the United States and abroad. Last year, it set records with 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space, as well as 81,768 attendees from 50 states and 74 countries. Truckers converged on the show, along with 1,064 exhibitors from 43 states and 14 countries.

Covering the event were 224 media professionals from all over the globe. OOIDA media covered the show from beginning to end with Sirius XM satellite radio broadcasts on “Land Line Now” and with the award-winning “Pork Chop Diaries” written by Land Line Magazine staff on the scene.

For information on show hours, parking, off-site tractor-trailer parking, directions and more, cruise the website at truckingshow.com. Watch Land Line for event news and entertainment announcements.

Calling all high school seniors: OOIDA scholarship deadline set for Feb. 1

The deadline for the 2016 OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship Program is fast approaching. All applications from students must be turned in by Feb. 1, 2016. Children, grandchildren and legal dependents of OOIDA members are eligible for the scholarships.

Founded in 1998, the OOIDA Scholarship Fund awards five scholarships every year: one $2,000 scholarship and four $1,000 scholarships. Students must submit an application, a 500-word essay on the topic indicated on the application, and transcripts from high school or an institution of higher learning.

Winners will be notified by letter after the spring meeting of the OOIDA Board of Directors in 2016. Tax-deductible donations to the OOIDA Scholarship Fund can be sent to OOIDA Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 1000, Grain Valley, Mo., 64029.

For more information, contact Andrew King at 816-229-5791, ext. 1133 or by email to Andrew_King@ooida.com.

Kidron trailers also affected by Meritor axle recall

Another trailer manufacturer is recalling certain trailers upon discovering a defect with Meritor axles, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. The same recall was issued by Wabash a week ago.

VT Hackney is recalling affected Kidron refrigerated trailers model year 2015. Affected trailers are equipped with Meritor EX225L2 or EX225L+ axles. The affected axle assemblies have caliper bolts that may not have been properly tightened, allowing the caliper mounting bolts to back out and the caliper to detach from the axle flange.

Last week, Land Line reported on a Wabash van trailer recall involving Meritor EX225L2, EX225L+ and Bendix ADB22X axles with the same issue with caliper bolts. In October, Meritor and Bendix issued a general recall for the axles.

Owners of Kidron trailers can call VT Hackney at 800-763-0700. Any drivers with vehicles equipped with Meritor EX225L2, EX225L+ and Bendix ADB22X axles can contact Meritor at 866-668-7221.

Trailer orders experience large gains in November

Trailer orders for November were up 18 percent month-to-month and 10 percent year-to-year, according to Americas Commercial Transportation Research.

Sales of trailers are doing better than tractors. ACT Research reported earlier this month that Class 5-8 vehicle orders were down 26 percent month-to-month and down 37 percent year-to-year. Those numbers are consistent with Volvo’s and Mack’s move to lay off workers at their manufacturing plants as demand for new vehicles have weekend.

“Although the trailer market continues at a solid pace, the tractor market has registered a noticeable slowdown in orders. And considered in tandem, this disconnect is somewhat disconcerting,” said Frank Maly in a press release, director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT.

ACT Research noted that dry vans made up the bulk of November’s increase in orders. Dry van orders were up nearly 50 percent month-to-month and more than 30 percent year-to-year.

IRS lowers business mileage for 2016

On Dec. 17, the IRS announced that it has lowered the standard mileage reimbursement and deduction rate to 54 cents per mile in 2016. This allowance is down from 57.5 cents per mile in 2015.

Small-business truckers traveling in their personal vehicles should take note of the change and keep records for business miles associated with parts pickup and other business trips. Another example, when you are driving to get a DOT physical, be sure to keep mileage records.

Click here for details from the IRS news release.

Wabash recalling van trailers for axle defect

Wabash National Corp. is recalling van trailers model year 2013-2015, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document. The recall is due to an issue with the service brakes.

Specifically, Wabash van trailers equipped with Meritor EX225L2, EX225L+ and Bendix ADB22X axles are affected. Axle assemblies have brake caliper mounting bolts that may not have been properly tightened. The defect can result in the caliper detaching from the axle flange, affecting braking performance and increasing the risk of a crash.

Owners will be notified by Wabash, who will inspect caliper bolts and tighten them free of charge. The recall is expected to begin Jan. 15. Owners may contact Wabash customer service at 765-771-5404.

Mack to lay off about 400 workers, 200 more laid off at Volvo

Approximately 400 workers at the Lehigh Valley Mack plant in Lower Macungie Township, Pa., will be laid off in January, a Mack spokesperson confirmed to Land Line. Over at the Volvo plant in Hagerstown, Md., about 200 more will be laid off. Volvo is the parent company of Mack Trucks.

According to Mack spokesperson Christopher Heffner, the layoffs will take effect beginning Jan. 25. Affected employees will be offered outplacement support. Bargaining unit employees will not be offered a severance package. However, those employees will receive benefits based on the collective bargaining agreement. With the exception of probationary employees, workers affected by the layoff will be eligible for job recalls.

Volvo spokesperson John Mies told Land Line that layoffs at the Hagerstown manufacturing facility will go into effect sometime in the first quarter next year, as early as late-January. Terms of the layoffs are similar to those of the Lehigh Valley layoffs.

“The Class 8 heavy-duty truck market is cyclical, and we said several months ago that 2015 would be the peak year,” Heffner told Land Line. “We regret having to take this action, but we must adapt to market demand.”

Mies gave a similar explanation for the Volvo plant layoffs.

Orders for Class 8 trucks were classified as “weak” in November, according to Americas Commercial Transportation Research. Unfavorable supply and demand were attributed to strong capacity additions and a weak industrial economy.

In a “truck deliveries” report dated Dec. 17, Volvo revealed that North American deliveries for Mack trucks in November decreased 6 percent compared with November 2014. Heavy-duty truck deliveries for the month fell 11 percent. Year-to-date, deliveries increased 8 percent compared with last November.

Heffner noted that 2016 projections estimate a 10 percent drop for Mack.

All Mack trucks built for North America and export are assembled at the Lehigh Valley manufacturing facility, according to a press release. Just one month ago, the plant celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Two weeks ago, Land Line reported that Volvo would lay off more than 700 workers at its New River Valley plant in Dublin, Va. The New River Valley plant is Volvo’s largest truck manufacturing facility in the world.

Strick recalls more than 2,000 trailers

Strick Trailers is recalling more than 2,000 trailers for issues with rear-impact guards, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Dry freight van trailers manufactured by Strick Trailers with model years 1998-2005 are affected by the recall. Rear-impact guards of affected trailers may not be strong enough to prevent a vehicle from traveling under a trailer in the event of a crash. This defect is in direct violation of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 223 titled “Rear Impact Guards.”

Strick will notify owners and install reinforcements to the rear-impact guards, free of charge. Recalls are slated for January 2016. Strick Trailers customers can contact the company at 704-436-2590.

UCR: no fee changes for 2016

The Unified Carrier Registration board will make no changes for the 2016 fee schedule, and enforcement for non-payment begins Jan. 1, 2016. That’s the news from OOIDA General Vice President Woody Chambers, Eddyville, Ky., who serves on the UCR board representing owner-operator carriers.
 
OOIDA Life Member Monte Wiederhold, Lebanon, Ohio, also serves on the UCR board. Both attended the meeting of the UCR Board Dec. 8-9, in San Diego. 
 
In a new development, the UCR is in the process of incorporating and has a contract with Dave Lazarides to serve as executive director. Lazarides has served in a number of regulatory capacities, including director of information for the Illinois Commerce Commission’s Transportation Bureau. He is a former vice president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
 
As a bit of background, the Unified Carrier Registration program is a federally mandated, annual state-administered registration program. It was created by federal legislation, replacing the former system for registering the operators of vehicles engaged in interstate travel. The former system, the Single State Registration System or SSRS, was repealed Jan. 1, 2007. The UCR applies not only to for-hire