Trucking Biz Buzz

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 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.

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