Tag Archives: logistics

Truckload Earnings Expected to Be Mixed for Third Quarter, but Brighter Times Are Ahead, Insiders Say

Wall Street analysts expect truckload carriers to report mixed third-quarter earnings, despite a boost in business related to hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Six of the 16 publicly traded truckload carriers are expected to see 3Q profit growth, while three could have diminished returns, according to a Bloomberg News consensus analyst forecast. USA Truck is forecast to lose money for the seventh consecutive quarter, but will likely climb closer to the break-even mark than during any point of 2016.

Celadon Group and Roadrunner Transportation Systems won’t report earnings, due to ongoing audits into financial discrepancies. Schneider and Daseke Inc. don’t have year-over-year comparisons available because they began trading on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year. Patriot Transportation and PAM Transport Services have no industry analysts covering them.

Werner Enterprises, which ranks No. 16 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America, is expected to have their second consecutive strong quarter. After growing profits 27% year over year in the second quarter, forecasts call for a 14% rise to $21.6 million in the third quarter. Earnings per share could rise a nickel year over year to 31 cents.

Conversely, the newly created Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings — the companies closed their merger on Sept. 8 could announce that profits in the third quarter fell about 10% to $34.5 million or 33 cents, the analysts predict. The year-over-year comparison would be evaluated against the combined profits of the two companies one year ago. Swift and Knight rank Nos. 7 and 30, respectively, on the for-hire TT100.

John Larkin, analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus and Co., noted that spot markets are up 15% and contract rates in the second half of the year were up 5% to 10% year over year, which will eventually spur earnings growth.

For Epes Carriers Inc., revenue and operating income rose low-to-mid single digits versus last year, according to the company, based on data through August. The Greensboro, N.C., dry-van carrier ranks No. 81 on the for-hire TT100.

“The past quarter has been very robust. We find ourselves in most areas most every day. And since the hurricanes, which was unfortunate for the country, things have picked up even more. We’re at a point where we’re extremely busy right now,” said Scott Fulton, ‎Epes senior vice president of sales.

Big G Express president Randy Vernon said it’s been the busiest he’s seen conditions since late 2014. Vernon is re-approaching shippers for rate increases because he believes pricing hasn’t bounced back to 2015 levels, even after the latest capacity crunch.

“It’s better to be us now than it was 12 months ago. There isn’t any capacity right now and I don’t see it changing in the next two to three quarters,” he said. “A year ago, we were relying on brokers for about 6% to 7% of our business, whereas now broker business is probably about 0.1% or 0.2% in the last 60 days.”

For Nussbaum Transportation, a dry-van carrier in Hudson, Ill., volume and revenue were up about 14%, which founder and CEO Brent Nussbaum credits to the strong economy.

“Demand is up significantly from last year. Freight rates are up. Every industry we work with is up. This appears to be a result of housing, commercial construction, mining of commodities, business investment and consumer confidence [all] going up,” he said.

Flatbed carriers in particular have capitalized on increased residential and commercial construction in 2017. The Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index climbed in July, August and September to 56.3, 58.8 and 60.8, respectively. During the same period last year, the numbers were 52.3, 49.4 and 51.7. A total above 50 is expansion and below 50 is contraction.

Melton Truck Lines, based in Tulsa, Okla., reaped the rewards as revenue per truck per week rose 4.8% in the quarter.

“If you put our freight levels graph on the same chart as the ISM, the two are highly correlated. So last month when the ISM was over 60 — smoking hot — conditions are very, very strong for us. The entire year as a whole has been very robust,” Chief Financial Officer Robert Ragan said. “Our conditions, in some ways, are tied to how steel is doing and the steel industry is much healthier than it was a few years ago.”

Business has not been as favorable in the refrigerated truckload market in 2017.

Twin Falls, Idaho-based Giltner Inc., and Los Angeles-based White Arrow summarized the third quarter as flat. White Arrow CEO Chris Ceausu said per-mile rates were about the same as a year ago, while Giltner General Manager Mark Durfee described the last three months as marginal.

“Capacity was well-matched to the volume until about the last three weeks of the quarter when things got very tight. Everyone we talk to wants us to give them trucks, but we’re completely booked up and all of our trucks are manned with drivers,” Durfee said. “But when you put all three months together, it was break-even at best. We’re looking forward to the fourth quarter as hopefully good for us, given the recent capacity crunch.”

Story by Ari Ashe @ Transport Topics

ReedTMS Logistics provides supplies for Lockhart Elementary

                                                                                                                                       Lee Elementary Magnet School students were moved to Lockhart Elementary Magnet School, which is less than a mile away from Lee. A devastating fire destroyed Lee Elementary and Hillsborough County Public Schools have developed a plan to keep students and staff together.

Beginning on Monday, Sept 18th 2017 students began to share Lockhart campus, which also is a magnet school at 3719 North 17th St., Tampa.

Lockhart Elementary has space for nearly 300 more students and is also located next to Young Middle Magnet School. For the first two to three weeks, the older students from Lee Elementary will temporarily be taught in classrooms on Young’s campus, while the district installs portable classrooms at Lockhart within a few weeks. About 329 students and 49 staff members were displaced.

ReedTMS Logistics jumped on the opportunity to help the children and teachers who lost entire classrooms worth of supplies. National Sales Manager Pat Lyman and Marketing Manager Andy Patel delivered the goods to the classroom on Friday, September 22nd. 2017. They also had the opportunity to spend some time with the children and help them on schooling activities such as division.

Story by : Andy Patel

Could apprenticeship programs bring more youngsters into trucking?

This particular thought has been bandied about the trucking industry for some time now: allowing 18 to 21 year olds, under close supervision, to drive commercial trucks.

Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) acknowledged to me at the recent TMW Systems and PeopleNet 2017 in.sight user conference and exposition that the trade group plans to push for the establishment of an apprentice program that would allow the trucking industry to “capture” 18 year old high school graduates and train them as drivers.

“We’re losing the 18 to 21 year olds to other industries,” he explained as the reason why ATA plans to make a concerted effort to get the federal government behind its apprenticeship plan.

“We’re going to need 960,000 people for our industry as drivers over the next decade,” Spear emphasized. “We need to think outside of the box; we do a disservice to our industry if we don’t.”

Spear added that when he work in the Department of Labor during the George W. Bush’s presidency, he noted that the agency provided workforce training “grants” to a variety of industries to the tune of $4 billion a year – and Spear believes just retooling some of that money to fund truck driver apprenticeships, especially in the inner cities of the U.S., could uncork a broader flow of candidates into the truck driver employment pool.

But not so fast, argue others – including John Larkin, managing director and head of transportation capital markets research for Stifel Capital Markets.

John Larkin. (Photo: Aaron Marsh/Fleet Owner)

In a recent research note, Larkin said “it could take several years” to gain Congressional and regulatory approval for such an apprenticeship program – “if the industry association can get any traction at all,” he added.

“Most insurance companies refuse to insure companies hiring drivers younger than 22 to 25 years old,” Larkin pointed out. Also “most of the higher quality high school graduates, who are not attending college, have developed other careers prior to becoming age eligible for a professional truck driving position.”

In addition, he noted that “all the talk of autonomous trucks is scaring away many young people from the industry. Why would a young person want to enter a profession that will soon be disrupted by technology?”

Yet Larkin also emphasized that widespread adoption of autonomous trucks might be several decades, or more, away – leaving the trucking industry facing yet another challenge, that of “getting that message across to young people” who might consider a career as a professional truck driver if they were not going to eventually be replaced by self-driving machines.

It’s a ticklish problem, no doubt: one of many bedeviling industry efforts to find, recruit, and retain good safety-conscious truck drivers. And it’s an effort that will need to be sustained for a long time to come.

Story by Sean Kilcarr in Trucks in Work

ReedTMS Logistics Volunteers at Feeding Tampa Bay

ReedTMS Logistics kicked off its fall philanthropic push on Saturday, August 12th by volunteering at Feeding Tampa Bay.

Feeding Tampa Bay, part of the national Feeding America network, focuses on providing food to the more than 700,000 hungry in the 10-county area of West Central Florida.

You might be surprised to learn that Florida is fourth in the nation for family hunger. Or, that 60% of the population in West Central Florida is eligible for food stamps. Many at-risk students won’t eat at all between lunch on Friday and breakfast Monday morning. Although these facts may surprise you, they are hard realities for the one in six in our region who live with daily hunger.

According to the new Hunger in America 2014 study conducted nationally by Feeding America, you would be surprised to learn the characteristics of the 841,000 hungry people in the community served yearly by Feeding Tampa Bay.
Too often, we associate being hungry with negative stereotypes, such as being homeless or uneducated, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. The new Hunger in America data humanizes the hungry in our community by showing they’re largely families or seniors with homes. They truly are our neighbors, our friends, our fellow church members and our coworkers.

Employees at ReedTMS, helped package food into 20 different categories in order for the goods to be easily distributed throughout the community. When it was all said and done 9,823 meals were packaged for malnourished families in the Tampa Bay area on Saturday morning!

For More information about Feeding Tampa Bay and how you can get involved in the cause, please visit their website here.

Story By : Andy Patel

Amazon has filed a patent for its drone delivery systems

Amazon teased consumers with drone delivery during a 2017 Super Bowl commercial, though the ad bore a disclaimer: “Prime Air is not available in some states (or any really). Yet.”

Back in December 2016, Amazon made its first successful customer delivery in a trial area in the United Kingdom; in March 2017, the online retail giant completed a test delivery at its invite-only MARS 2017 robotics conference in Palm Springs. Now that it has filed a series of patents for drone delivery systems, Amazon seems to be following through on promises that Prime Air will eventually become a reality.

An old joke says, “You don’t need a parachute to skydive. You only need one if you want to skydive twice.” This logic applies to dropping packages—which could contain any number of fragile products—from the air. Amazon’s latest approved patent reveals a design that incorporates a parachute directly into a package label, according to documents obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trade Office.

Using these labels, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)—or drones—could deploy packages from the air and let them drift safely to the ground. This would reduce delivery times by eliminating the need to land and take off. Packages could even potentially be dropped without the drone stopping, which makes it possible to use multiple types of UAVs instead of just those that can hover and land.

The patent also states that “different sized parachute canopies can be used for different sized shipping container’s descent appropriately to prevent damage to the contents of the shipping container,” suggesting that Amazon would scale the technology for a wide range of package sizes and weights. The patent also describes multiple ways UAVs might carry a parachute-labeled package, including mechanical arms, a suction system, magnets, and retractable shelves.

The retailer also received recent patents for a magnet-based delivery system and a coiled spring model, so it seems likely that the company will use a combination of many technologies to get drone packages on doorsteps.

Amazon continues to wait on Federal Aviation Administration approval before it can complete more widespread Prime Air distribution testing. This process will most likely take several more years, but there is little doubt that the company plans to drop its packages from the skies as soon as it is able.

Story by Jason McDowell @ inbound logistics

Uber Freight Expanding Into Six Markets This Year

Truck

Uber Freight will expand to Arizona, California, Georgia, North and South Carolina and into the Midwest-Chicago area over the next few months after a test run that began in Texas.

“These new areas represent where drivers like to run, which makes sense: These regions including Texas cover over a quarter of the country’s drivers and freight,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Unlocking this geography allows more carriers and their drivers to grow their businesses with Uber Freight’s instant load booking and quick payment. While today we still have most of our loads in Texas, over the coming months drivers can expect to see an ever-increasing number of loads available on the app in these new markets.”

The transportation giant also said that it has heard from truck drivers who prefer to haul specific types of freight in specific lanes. As a result, Uber announced it will build new features to “automatically learn drivers’ preferences based on their past loads, their location, their home base, and more. When a new load is available that matches these preferences, the app will notify the driver.”

Uber has declined to publicly release data on the number of carriers and shipments brokered so far, but the group told USA Today that load counts have increased tenfold in Texas since January.

Story by Transport Topics