Trucking Biz Buzz

Minor changes for average spot freight rates

Spot rate averages for freight failed to increase for the week ending Saturday, June 27. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down a penny to $1.87. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.23. Rates for the month of May were down 0.5 percent from the previous month and declined 6.6 percent since May 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 11.6 percent to 2.3 loads per truck. Three states – Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates also went down 1 cent to $2.21. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.75, 3 cents higher than the previous week. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.82. Compared with May 2014, reefer rates are down 6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up 21 percent to 6.1 loads per truck. Four states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates remained stagnant at $2.19. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.48, unchanged when compared to the previous two weeks. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.91. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 7.2 percent in the past 12 months. There were 19.0 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 7.9 percent from the previous week. Half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.


Navistar and GM to build medium-duty trucks

The business publication Forbes reports that industry sources think Navistar and General Motors are about to announce that they’ll partner to build Class 4 through 6 medium-duty trucks.

GM built medium-duty trucks for many years before its bankruptcy in 2009.

Navistar, the parent company of International Trucks, already makes medium-duty trucks but has been in a cost-cutting mode in recent years.


Apex Capital launches free load board

After gathering feedback from truckers, brokers and shippers, Apex Capital Corp has launched a new load board,, that offers free unlimited searching and free load posting.

Carriers and drivers can create free accounts to search for loads by city or state, equipment type, load size and date. With a 10-second refresh time, users will quickly find the newest and most relevant loads. users can also create filters with alerts that let them know when the loads they are looking for are posted.

Founded in 1995, Apex Capital Corp is a full-service freight factor that specializes in small to medium-sized trucking companies. Apex is a sponsor of OOIDA’s Business Education online series.


Band Together for SCF campaign now available for Natso members

The Band Together for SCF campaign was created in 2010. The idea was simple: to offer wristbands for $1 for one month and inform customers about the St. Christopher Trucker Development & Relief Fund, a not-for-profit designed to benefit truck drivers in need. 

The first year was a huge success. With the help of SCF’s founding participant, TravelCenters of America, the effort raised $211,125.  Each subsequent year has been more and more successful, raising a total of $1,268,085 to date and allowing the fund to help more than 1,200 drivers in need.

The 2015 Band Together for SCF is now open to any travel center operator who is a member of Natso, the national association representing truck stops and travel plazas. Each participating Natso member will be in charge of running their campaign, and assistance on how to get started is available. 

One of the first truck stops to step up is Sapp Bros. Travel Centers. Sapp Bros. recently announced it will host its first fundraising efforts for the St. Christopher Fund. Starting Aug. 1, die-cut donation cards will be available. Gray cards will be offered for a $1 donation, and gold cards will be a $5 donation. The fundraiser will run through Aug. 31 at all Sapp Bros. Travel Centers.

TravelCenter of Americas campaign will also run throughout the month of August. Tom Liutkus, vice president of marketing and public relations at TA and SCF Board president, said: “TA initially got involved with the SCF with the hopes of furthering the only organization we found that is exclusively devoted to helping professional truck drivers in need.  We’ve been able to do that successfully and we encourage other trucks stops to do the same.”

Drivers can donate $1 or more at TA and Petro sites and receive a commemorative wristband. The money goes to help truckers with financial hardships due to a medical condition. TravelCenters of America has provided support to the St. Christopher Fund since 2010 through its annual campaign plus through smaller collection efforts at tradeshows and employee events throughout the year. To date, TravelCenters has helped raise more than $1.4 million for the charity, which provides financial support to professional drivers without other means to fund prescription medications, living expenses and medical procedures.

Donations to the St. Christopher Fund can also be made directly at


Daimler acquires a share of Seattle-based company Zonar Systems

Daimler Trucks has recently invested in American electronic fleet management company Zonar Systems Inc. According to a press release, Daimler acquired a minority stake in the company.

The Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) long-term partnership with Zonar is part of a shared pursuit of “optimal transport logistics through intelligent connectivity.”

Since DTNA did not buy the company outright, Zonar will maintain its operations independently. DTNA President and CEO Martin Daum will hold a seat on the supervisory board to ensure the two companies’ shared vision is realized.

Although the purchased market share is a new development, the relationship between the two companies is not. Zonar and DTNA have been in a partnership for five years. Detroit Connect and Virtual Technician remote diagnostics systems have been developed as a result.


Commerce report from April: Freight down for all modes except air

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that in April trucks moved more than 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. 

The dollar value of freight hauled across the borders was the lowest April value since 2012. All modes except air carried less freight when compared with last April.

Reduced value of mineral fuels led to a decrease in April 2015 U.S.-NAFTA trade flow as it has for previous months, according to BTS. Freight totaled $93.3 billion, down less than $3 billion from the previous month.

Only air freight experienced an increase in commodity value when compared with April 2014. Air freight had a growth at a rate of 3.0 percent. Truck and rail freight had the smallest decline at 0.9 percent. Pipeline freight decreased by 44.9 percent, the largest slide in April.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $60 billion of the $93.3 billion of imports and exports in April. Rail came in at second with a contribution of nearly $15 billion. 

Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.9 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 0.3 percent compared with April 2014. Of the $44.5 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 70 percent of the loads.


Chicago Skyway up for sale: Report

Looking to buy a toll road? The long-term lease of the Chicago Skyway has gone up for sale, according to Reuters. The news agency reports that Spanish toll road investor Ferrovial and Australian investor Macquarie are offering their stakes in the toll road for sale to the highest bidder.

Ferrovial is the parent company of Cintra.

Cintra and Macquarie leased the 8-mile toll road in 2005, paying the city of Chicago $1.83 billion for the right to collect tolls and maintain the roadway through 2104.

The Chicago Skyway was profitable in 2014 with revenue exceeding expenses by about $8 million.


Free hazmat transportation safety seminar on Aug. 11-12

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is hosting a free two-day hazmat Transportation Safety Multimodal Seminar on August 11 and 12 in New Orleans, La., at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Representatives from various Department of Transportation agencies and the United States Coast Guard will provide informational presentations regarding modal hazmat requirements and will be on hand to answer individual questions both days.  Presentations on the fundamentals of the 49 CFR, general hazmat transportation, transportation training & security, and legal updates and reviews as well as other modes will be provided.

To register, visit the website


More than 10,000 veterans acquire CDL through skills test waiver program

Military personnel, both former and active, have been taking advantage of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Military Skills Test Waiver Program. To date, more than 10,000 veterans and active duty personnel have enrolled in the program.

Established in 2011, the waiver program helped approximately 6,000 former military personnel obtain a civilian CDL. In the last 12 months alone, approximately 4,000 more military service members are licensed to operate a commercial vehicle thanks to the program.

The FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Program allows for active duty or recently detached veterans who have at least two years of safe driving experience with a military truck or bus to waive the skills test necessary for acquiring a commercial driver’s license. By allowing the waiver, veterans can more smoothly transition to being civilian drivers while lowering costs for both the driver and state licensing agencies.

Alaska became the 50th state to participate in the program on June 27, 2014.

In addition to a one-year extension for all states, Virginia has rolled out an initiative to recognize state-issued Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificates acquired due to “limb impairment” as an equivalent to the federally-issued SPE. The SPE will allow these drivers to obtain an interstate commercial driver’s license. FMCSA is encouraging other states to adopt a similar equivalency program for SPEs.

Veteran and active military personnel can apply for the waiver program at FMCSA’s website.


Minimizer to live stream ChampTruck races on July 3-4

Trucks will be lining up at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on July 3-4 for the Meritor ChampTruck World Series and fans can watch it from the comfort of their home or even their own truck. Minimizer will be live streaming the race at

Fans can log on to the website to watch the races during the Fourth of July weekend. Free tickets are also available on the website, while supplies last.

The Meritor ChampTruck World Series features Class 8 tractors with commercially available diesel engines. Renowned stunt driver, truck racer and OOIDA Member Mike Ryan has said that tractor racing has a big following in Europe, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. Check out Land Line Staff Writer Greg Grisolano’s interview with Ryan here.

According to its website, ChampTruck will hold 10 races that will crown a champion at an event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Nov. 1. Much like NASCAR, drivers will earn points in each of the races. Racing began on April 24 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park.

For more information and event schedules, visit the Meritor ChampTruck World Series website.



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