Tag Archives: trucking

Spot Freight Rates for Vans, Reefers Rise Sharply

Spot truckload rates hit multi-year highs during the week ending Oct. 7, according to DAT Solutions and its network of load boards, as the number of available loads fell.

The 3% decline in freight availability following the close of the third quarter and generally tight capacity kept spot load-to-truck ratios elevated:

  • Van: 6.7 available loads per truck
  • Flatbed: 46.7 loads per truck
  • Refrigerated: 12.4 loads per truck

National average spot truckload rates, which include fuel surcharges, jumped significantly compared to the previous week:

  • Van: $2.09 per mile, up 12 cents
  • Flatbed: $2.31 per mile, up 4 cents
  • Reefer: $2.37 per mile, up 14 cents

The market for van freight remains solid despite a 6% decline in volume and 1% increase in truck posts last week, according to DAT. In Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, higher reefer load counts in the region contributed to tighter van capacity, meaning that 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.

In the spot reefer market, both load posts and truck posts were unchanged from the previous week. The national average reefer rate moved higher due to seasonal demand and relief efforts following Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

The number of flatbed load posts dipped 1% and truck posts increased 6%, with rebuilding efforts in Florida and the Gulf Coast driving demand for flatbed capacity.

Story by Evan Lockridge at truckinginfo.com

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

Volvo eyes trucking’s future with 2017 product updates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a year that’s seen the company roll out two updated tractors and a futuristic concept tractor-trailer, Volvo Trucks North America said Monday it’s readying itself for the future of freight transportation. In a press update held at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show, Volvo recapped its busy year of updates, offering a bird’s eye perspective of what the new technology means for the trucking industry and its future.

The company unveiled this year a refreshed VNL tractor for the long-haul market and a new tractor, the VNR, targeting the regional-haul segment. In March, the company debuted its SuperTruck tractor-trailer, a $40 million venture built via a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Volvo SuperTruck achieved a 12 mpg average, and Volvo brought features developed as part of the SuperTruck’s research and development to its current product line. Its 2017 D13 engine brings 7.5 percent better fuel efficiency than its 2014 predecessor, said Volvo’s Magnus Koeck, VP of Marketing. The engine leans on features like turbo compounding, a form of waste heat recovery, and wave pistons to achieve its fuel economy gains.

The long-haul tractor powered by the D13, Volvo’s new VNL, also “takes another step” in fuel efficiency, says Koeck. “This isn’t a 6 mpg truck anymore,” Koeck says of the sculpted aerodynamic unit. The VNL also features new exterior stylings, like an updated grille, and a refreshed and driver-focused interior. The company will be showing off the new VNL in a truck stop tour taking place between Oct. 3 and Oct. 14 in select truck stops across North America.

Take rates on the company’s powertrain package, which combines the D13 and the I-Shift automated-manual transmission, are close to 95 percent, says Koeck. Take rates on the I-Shift alone are upwards of 90 percent. “Those are strong numbers,” he said. “They’re hard to beat.”

Volvo also said it’s pressing to connect more Volvo trucks to its Remote Programming platform, which allows over-the-air software updates and engine repogramming. The system aims to cut downtime and make it easier for Volvo trucks and engines to maintain up-to-date software. Currently, about 135,000 trucks are connected to the system, says Volvo.

The company made its remote diagnostics system standard in 2012. It launched the remote programming element earlier this year.

Eyeing the future of transportation, Volvo’s Keith Brandis said the company is investing in three key technology areas — connectivity, electrification and automation — as well as the convergence of the three, which will create a “dramatical future,” says Brandis.

Such technologies are still in a fledgling state, says Brandis, and much work needs to be done in the public and private sector before these systems come to market. But technologies like electrification, automation and connectivity can solve some of transportation’s most pressing issues, such as congestion and gridlock, as well as safety.

“The future is coming and it’s coming fast,” says Volvo Trucks’ President Goran Nyberg. “We’re excited to find new ways to improve efficiency, safety and, above all, the productivity of the industry.”

Story by James Jaillet at ccdigital.com

ATA Celebrates National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

Screenshot via Trucking Moves America Forward

American Trucking Associations kicked off National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, a week-long celebration of the trucking industry’s 3.5 million professional truck drivers.

Running Sept. 10-16, National Truck Driver Appreciation Week highlights the efforts of professional truck drivers to remind the industry of the important role that truck driver’s play in transporting goods across the nation. More than 80% of U.S. communities rely exclusively on truck drivers to deliver goods and commodities, and some remote towns and territories are unreachable by other modes of transportation.

“This week was created to commemorate and support the industry professionals who work daily to deliver America’s goods,” said Chris Spear, ATA president and CEO. “Truck drivers are hard-working men and women who practice safety on the roads and serve as the faces of our industry. These drivers improve our collective quality of life by making personal commitments to safety and delivering our critical goods like medicine, food, building supplies and clothing.”

ATA is asking the trucking industry to engage their communities in this week’s celebration of truck drivers. Public officials, community leaders, members of the media and local businesses can all play a role in helping to better understand the important work that truck drivers do in safely moving the economy each day. Highway safety is dramatically improved when the motoring public acknowledges the difficulties of driving a truck and the limitations of large commercial vehicles.

In support of this effort, Trucking Moves America Forward, the trucking industry’s image movement, is partnering with state trucking associations to run billboard advertisements along key highways to thank truck drivers for their service to the industry.

This year, special attention is being paid to the 1.6 million trucking industry employees who live and work in the direct paths of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. During National Truck Driver Appreciation week, ATA is monitoring the storms and working with FEMA and the American Logistics Aid network to carry out relief efforts.

State trucking associations, industry suppliers, and carriers are set to host appreciation events for the men and women who safely deliver more than 70% of all freight tonnage in the United States. Additionally, America’s Road Team Captains and Share the Road professional truck drivers will take to the airwaves Sept. 12 for live satellite broadcasts from the Nashville terminal of TCW. ATA first vice chairman Dave Manning, president of TCW, will participate in the morning broadcasts and speak alongside the professional truck drivers about the important role that drivers play in the nation’s economy.

“Truck drivers work day in and day out to make our jobs possible, our shopping more convenient, and our roads a lot safer,” said Manning. “Truck drivers are entrusted with large vehicles, yet we know we can rely on them to be fully aware of their surroundings on the road and make good decisions. They make safety their responsibility and truly deliver everything that makes our economy function.”

The ATA official NTDAW site offers a collection of resources to magnify driver appreciation events. The content provided by ATA allows industry professionals to engage their communities during this week of outreach. These resources are aimed at demonstrating public support for the work that drivers do each day and reflecting the image of professional truck drivers.

Story by Truckinginfo.com

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

JobNewsUSA.com to host Lakeland Job Fair on Wednesday, August 23

JobNewsUSA.com is hosting a job fair in Lakeland on Wednesday, August 23 from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. to fill hundreds of open positions.

The job fair will be held at the Lakeland Center located at 701 W. Lime Street and will feature 17 different employers from the across the bay area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Companies participating in the job fair include:

  • ReedTms Logistics
  • 1st Priority Staffing
  • Bridgestone
  • Chapters Health System
  • CyraCom, Devry University
  • GC Services
  • Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
  • Keymark Corporation of Florida
  • Lakeland Regional Health
  • Massey Services
  • MidState Machine
  • PeopleReady
  • Advanced Disposal
  • The Mosaic Company
  • Charter Communications – Spectrum Direct
  • CareerSource Polk

You must register for the event. Click here to register.

Job seekers are encouraged to dress professionally and bring resumes or work history with them to the event.

There will be free parking and admission to the job fair.