Monthly Archives: February 2018

Truck Driving Makes 2018 List of Toughest Jobs to Fill

The truck driving profession is on the top 10 list for CareerCast’s 2018 Toughest Jobs to Fill report, which CareerCast Online Content Editor Kyle Kensing believes is the result of the recession and skills gap.

In the report, CareerCast lists a truck drivers’s annual median salary as $41,340 and has a growth outlook of 6%. By 2026, there will be an additional 108,400 positions available. The data was compiled through cross reference with trade associations and information available to CareerCast.

“When you think of consumer confidence being down, shopping being down, construction being down — those are all of the industries that feed in directly to trucking and transportation,” said Kensing.

As a result of the recent recession, people have either found work in different industries or former truck drivers who took a hiatus need to be recertified, according to Kensing.

Kensing believes that the solution to filling those jobs is a renewed focus on vocational-type careers and training.

“Trucking is an excellent and rewarding field and there is typically high demand there,” said Kensing. “I think we just need to do a better job at providing a little bit more information and background about what it entails as well as the kind of career path you can have and the kind of money you can make.”

Apollo Career Center Truck Driving Academy Manager Jim Rosen and his team are doing all they can to prepare students who are seeking to become truck drivers.

In the very beginning of the course, Rosen takes the students through career counseling to make sure that trucking is a good fit.

“We seem to be able to keep the classes full for our capacity,” said Rosen. “There is definitely a demand and interest in it. We have 40-some companies that will hire our graduates.”

Despite the fact that truck driving is listed as one of the top jobs to fill, it is in high demand and is a profession that Rosen said is well worth it.

“There is great job stability,” said Rosen. “As long as you keep a good driving record, you can drive, you can really make a good living with full benefits.”

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Produce groups seek 2-year wait on electronic logging

A coalition of industry associations has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a two-year exemption on electronic logging device mandate for trucks carrying agricultural commodities.

A current ELD mandate waiver which postponed the measure for trucks carrying produce and other ag products ends March 18.

In a letter submitted Feb. 20, the United Fresh Produce Association, Western Growers, the National Potato Council, the U.S Apple Association and more than 20 other produce groups said a combination of factors have driven up transportation costs.

“With the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, driver shortages, and other issues, there have been considerable increases in transportation costs for fresh produce causing devastating effects on our industry,” the letter said. “We are hearing from many of our members across multiple commodities and sectors throughout the country that shippers are having to pay two or three times, occasionally more, the normal rate for transporting their product.”

ELD concerns

The letter said feedback from producers and trucking operations indicates many ELDs on the market are not able to accommodate the agricultural exemption that is provided under the hours-of-service regulations. Under the agricultural exemption, hours-of-service regulations do not apply to the transportation of agricultural commodities operating within a 150-air mile radius of a pick-up.

“We believe that this extension would provide a reasonable period of time for FMCSA to work with the technology providers in developing a program to verify that the ELDs on the market can perform the tasks that the rule mandates and allow trucks hauling agricultural commodities to fully utilize the 150-mile exemption,” according to the letter.

The coalition is asking the agency to consider hours-of-service modifications to accommodate the realities of loading and unloading fresh produce.

“The unpredictability of loading and unloading times as it relates to fresh fruits and vegetables can significantly detract from the on-duty hours drivers are allowed in a day,” according to the letter, which notes that two-to four-hour delays at loading are not uncommon.

“We encourage FMCSA to consider flexibility under either the ELD rule or the hours-of-service rule for truck drivers who are idling, waiting or traveling small distances reflective of negotiating a congested terminal to be considered in an exempt status,” according to the letter. “We do not believe that this type of activity is as demanding as over-the-road driving and therefore should not contribute to maximum driving times.”

The letter also asks the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to:

  • Allow packing facilities, cold storages and other locations to be considered as a “source” location under the hours-of-service regulation.
  • Allow the agricultural exemption’s 150-air-mile radius to begin at the final pick up point for multi-point pickups. Drivers make multiple pick-ups from small packinghouses or cold storage facilities to fill their load before continuing to final destinations. “We would encourage the 150 air-mile radius to begin at the location of the last pick-up point so as not to disrupt current supply chains and accommodate the operational efficiencies organically created by the marketplace over the last 100-plus years,” according to the letter.
  •  Clearly define that empty trucks are covered under the agricultural exemption. According to the letter, agricultural exemptions should be clearly defined to include unladen trucks as eligible if they are traveling to a facility exclusively to pick up an order.

Story by Tom Karst @thepacker

ReedTMS January 2018 Employees of the Month!

Congratulations to Amy Thomas & Adam Rauwerdink, ReedTMS Logistics’ Employees of the month for January. Amy and Adam have been incredible assets to our company and are regarded by their peers as some of the most helpful employees in the entire office.

Some of the comments as to why they were nominated are as follow:

“Amy has really stepped up to help solve issues that were occurring in another department over the last month.”

“Amy set aside time from her usual duties to not only listen, but also found a way to get the final result we were trying to achieve.”

“She is a trooper in the purest since. Amy was looking out for the company when it would have been much easier to tell me she had no idea and send me away with my issue”

“Adam is the lead mechanic in Cedar Grove. He handles most of the after hours breakdown calls. He also runs the shop when the Manager is gone and more importantly he is always eager to help with emergency deliveries anywhere in the state.”

“Adam bailed us out of multiple important loads that we had no way to deliver.”

“Adam is always there when you need him. He takes his role helping to keep our fleet of trucks up and running seriously. Not only does he take care of getting his job completed he will also run loads for us anytime we have an issue with another driver or load”

Thanks for all you do Amy & Adam, keep up the good work!

Freight Brokers Moved 16% More Loads in 2017

Revenue rose steadily throughout 2017 for freight brokers in the DAT Keypoint benchmark project. The benchmark report draws data from 100 companies whose average annual revenue of $19.5 million grew 26% compared to 2016.

The revenue increase was fueled by 16% increases in both the number of loads and the total revenue per load. Rates rose rapidly during the year, contributing to the revenue increase. However, gross margins for the group dropped to an average of 13.7% from 14.8% in 2016, as costs increased faster than billings.

Total profit for the year also declined 11% compared to 2016, due largely to a few challenging months when expenses rose faster than revenues. Also, brokers tended to postpone profits from December to January, to take advantage of this year’s more favorable tax laws. That made December seem less profitable for the group, which had a big impact on quarterly results.

A Challenging but Successful Year, in Graphs

The selection of graphs below tell the story of a challenging but successful year. Brokers moved more loads in 2017, with higher revenue per load and higher revenue per employee. Costs rose faster than revenues, however, reducing profitability in some months and paring down gross margins for the year. The cost increase was associated primarily with rising spot market rates. Labor costs also grew throughout 2017.

Labor costs rose to 66% of net revenue in Q4 2016 and stayed in the 65% to 67% range for all of 2017. During the same period, non-labor expense declined from 29% to 22% as a portion of net revenue. The combination of the two put a squeeze on net operating profits, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2016, until profitability rebounded for the group in the second half of 2017.


Costs began to climb in Q4 2016, with labor expense leading non-labor expense, as brokerage companies in the group prepared to handle the revenue growth to come.


Revenue per employee held steady from Q4 2016 through Q2 2017, but average profit declined on a per-employee basis. The brokerages increased headcount during that period, to position their companies for additional growth.


Load counts increased 16% in 2017, including a 22% increase in the fourth quarter, compared to 2016. Steady, quarter-over-quarter growth in load counts began in Q1 2016 and accelerated in Q2 2017.


Revenue per load increased steadily in 2017, on both a year-over-year and a quarter-over-quarter basis, rising from an average of $1,226 per load in Q1 to $1,549 in Q4. Profits lagged during the period from Q4 2016 through Q2 2017, however, due to increased costs. From a $4.63 profit per load in Q1, the group’s average results improved to $22.42 per load in Q4. Profitability would likely have been higher in Q4, but many brokers moved profits to the new tax year. 


Rapid increases in spot market freight rates led to margin compression for many freight brokers in 2017. Gross margins fell to 11% in January, due to extreme weather, then declined again to 13% from May through June, as rates began to rise sharply.

The DAT Broker Benchmark project analyzes revenues, expenses and profits, based on more than 25 key performance indicators available in DAT Keypoint, the transportation management system developed exclusively for freight brokers.

Story by Steve Blair at

Del Monte to purchase Mann Packing

Coral Gables, Fla.-based Del Monte Fresh Produce has agreed to purchase Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing for $361 million.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of this year, according to a news release.

“Mann Packing’s strength in the vegetable category, one of the fastest-growing fresh food segments, will provide us with synergies, enhancing our ability to better serve our combined customers and address consumers’ needs for healthier products,” Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Del Monte chairman and CEO, said in the release. “This acquisition is a significant step toward our goal to be the world’s leading supplier of healthful, wholesome and nutritious fresh and prepared food and beverages for consumers.”

Mann Packing sales in 2017 were $535 million.

“Everyone at Mann is excited with this development,” Lorri Koster, chairman and CEO of Mann Packing, said in the release. “We share Del Monte’s values and commitment of providing fresh, high-quality produce based foods that are nutritious and delicious. Both our companies have been successful in their own right with their superior quality, service and value to our customers and consumers in all channels throughout North America. This will only be enhanced by combining the business expertise and skills of two of the industry’s premiere organizations.”

Story by Ashley Nickle at