Trucking Biz Buzz

Love’s opens new location in Sidney, Neb., with an IHOP

Truckers driving through western Nebraska now have another location to park and rest. And eat pancakes. Love’s Travel Stops has opened a new location in Sidney, Neb., off of Exit 59 on Interstate 80. Love’s announced last week that for the first time, an IHOP (International House of Pancakes) Express, open 24/7, will also be available. 

The new Love’s will feature 88 parking spaces for trucks, a Love’s Truck Tire Care center, Cat Scales, RFID cardless fueling, as well as gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift merchandise, name-brand electronics and more. 

A 68-room Comfort Inn & Suites will open near the travel stop later this year. Truckers with a valid CDL will be eligible for room discounts. 

For more information about Love’s Travel Stops locations, visit loves.com.

 

DAT Solutions: Signs that spot rates will rise

Spot truckload freight volume and available capacity both fell during the week ending May 21, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

However, load-to-truck ratios increased and diesel prices are up sharply – an indication that spot truckload rates may pick up soon.

Let’s take a look at the latest trends:

Loads, capacity down: The number of spot market load posts fell another 4 percent due to a 6 percent drop in flatbed load volume. The number of posted van loads was steady while reefer load posts were up 2 percent.

Tighter capacity helps L/T ratios: Fewer truck posts compared to the previous week helped boost load-to-truck ratios. The van ratio gained 1 percent, to 1.7 loads per truck; the reefer ratio increased 18 percent to 3.3; and the flatbed ratio was up 5 percent to 15.4. Load-to-truck ratios measure the number of loads posted for each available truck on the DAT network.

Fuel surcharges up: Diesel priceswere up sharply last week with the national average retail price gaining 6 cents to $2.36/gallon. Expect an increase in the average fuel surcharge this week—and a corresponding rise in spot rates.

National average spot TL rates:

  • Van: Down 1 cent to $1.53/mile
  • Reefer: Down a penny to $1.87/mile
  • Flatbed: Unchanged at $1.91/mile for the third week in a row

Reefer trends: Rates rose on more than half of the highest-volume lanes. The high-dollar market in each region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.41/mile, unchanged
  • Midwest: Grand Rapids, Mich., $2.39/mile, up 2 cents
  • South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.88/mile, down 1 cent
  • Southeast: Miami, $2.06/mile, unchanged
  • Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.16/mile, down 9 cents

Atlanta and Lakeland, Fla., are still No. 1 and 2 for reefer load posts on DAT MembersEdge, though volumes slipped a bit in Central Florida.

Van trends: Volume was up in Houston, the country’s No. 2 market for van load posts on DAT MembersEdge, after Atlanta. Chicago’s average outbound rate was down 2 cents to $1.71/mile, and rail competition is killing the lane from Chicago to L.A.: the average spot van rate lost another 14 cents to just $1.05/mile.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

 

June calendar: A variety of trucks shows nationwide

Start clearing that calendar because the month of June is a busy one for truck shows across America. Some must-see shows, including Shell Rotella SuperRigs, are just around the corner.

Huron, S.D., will be kicking off June shows with the Wheel Jam Truck Show on June 3-5. Like many shows, Wheel Jam is more than just trucks. Classic cars, motorcycles and stock cars will also be featured. This year will also include a virtual truck driving sequence, battle of the bands, and parade. For more information, visit WheelJamTruckShow.com or call Scot Marone at 605-354-2809 or Doug Flowers at 605-354-1324.

If you’re in or near Pennsylvania on that same weekend, consider going to the Paul Riggle & Sons show at their facility in Apollo, Pa., at 601 Marco Road. Slated for June 4, Riggle & Sons is a show for those who love all types of vehicles, including classic cars and trucks. For more information call 724-727-7505.

The following week will feature one of the bigger shows of the year: the 34th annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs show. SuperRigs will be held June 9-11 at the Joplin Convention and Trade Center in Joplin, Mo. Beauty contests (for trucks), street parties, parades, entertainment and more will make SuperRigs another exciting show this year. More details can be found at Shell.com/Rotella/SuperRigs.

That same weekend, June 10-11, the Oak Grove Truckers Jamboree will be taking place at the Oak Grove Petro in…you guessed it…Oak Grove, Mo. Last year’s show featured race cars, trucks, poker and live music. More information about this year’s show can be found at OakGrovePetro.com or by calling 816-690-4455.

Those toward the Northeast will have a chance to catch the Western Pennsylvania Pride and Shine Spring Show on June 10-12 at the Stoneboro Fair Grounds in Stoneboro, Pa. With six competition categories for both semi and pickup trucks, expect plenty of show-quality vehicles. Also expect some not-so-show-quality pickups with the Ugliest Truck category. Visit WPaPrideAndShine.com for more information.

On the third weekend of June, stop by Humboldt, Neb., on June 18 for the Down Home Truck Show. With nearly a dozen show classes being judged, all types of trucks will be lined up in the downtown square showing their goods. The children, ages 4-9, can get in on the action with a kids pedal pull. Head over to Facebook.com/DownHomeTruckShow for more information.

That same weekend further east in Ashland, Ohio, the Ohio Vintage Truck Jamboree will take place June 18-19 at the Ashland County Fairgrounds. Convoys, light shows, truck pulls, raffle drawing and much more will be featured this year. A drop and hook competition will be available to the first 20 signed up exhibitors. Participants needing a hotel should book soon as the Wayne County Fairgrounds will be holding a large event the same weekend. More details can be found at OhVinTrkJam.com.

The final weekend of June will include two shows, the first taking place in Houston, Texas. On June 24-26, the George R. Brown Convention Center will be hosting the Texas Trucking Show. The heavy-duty aftermarket trade show will feature a variety of exhibitors displaying their latest offerings. Several seminars will be available and will include topics ranging from hazardous materials violations to factoring. For more info visit TexasTruckingShow.com.

The Transport for Christ Truck Rally, June 25-26, will be at the Lebanon Valley Expo Center in Lebanon, Pa. Call 717-426-9977, email tfcio@TransportForChrist.org or visit TransportForChrist.org for details.

 

FMCSA issues safety advisory for MC330 and MC331 tankers

Nearly two weeks after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a safety advisory affecting certain tankers, the federal agency has issued another safety advisory that affects tanker drivers. This time the advisory is in regards to pressure relief devices (PRD).

The latest FMCSA advisory comes after a recent crash involving an MC330 tanker truck equipped with Fisher Controls model H282 PRD manufactured by Emerson Process Management Regulator Technologies. In 2013 and 2014, Emerson Process Management Regulator Technologies recalled Fisher Control PRD models H732, H832, H282, H882, H5112, and H8112.

FMCSA is advising all owners and operators of MC330 or MC331 cargo tank trucks to inspect the vehicle’s PRDs for Fisher Control model numbers affected by the above recalls. Trucks with a recalled PRD should be taken out of hazardous materials transportation service immediately and have the PRD removed and replaced. Failure to do so will be considered a violation of safety regulations.

According to FMCSA, PRDs are an integral part of the safety mechanisms for U.S. Department of Transportation specification cargo tank motor vehicles and are vital to ensuring the safety of hazardous materials transportation by highway.

For more information or questions, contact Paul Bomgardner, Chief, Hazardous Materials Division, at 202-493-0027, or by email at paul.bomgardner@dot.gov.

 

Western Star introduces Extreme Duty Offroad package

Western Star has announced its new Extreme Duty (XD) Offroad package and MBT-40 Transformer chassis. The package is designed for extremely rugged environments.

Available for 4900 and 6900 models, the XD Offroad package offers safety and comfort while providing drivers with a low cost per ton product for off-road trucks. The 6900 XD is available in 6x4 and 6x6 configurations. XD Offroad packages will be available for other models in the future.

The 6900 XD Offroad, also known as the Multi-Body Transformer, can change from one body application to another. The truck uses a Palfinger G68 hook-lift with a lifting capacity of 68,000 pounds. Western Star engineered the truck to replace the need for multiple pieces of off-road equipment on a job site.

For more information, go to WesternStarTrucks.com.

 

Freight tonnage numbers for March reveal another slow month

Official freight numbers for March are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was down for all freight modes except air.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for March decreased by 0.9 percent to 120. March’s TSI is a 2.8 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.5 set in November 2014.

The February index is 26.7 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight decreased by 0.6 points to 134.7 from 135.3, a drop of less than 1 percent. However, American Trucking Associations’ numbers reveal a tonnage decrease of 4.5 percent in March to 137.6 from 144 in February. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s drop lines up with monthly decreases in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index. Manufacturing activity and high inventories showed signs of decline.

The decrease was driven by continued weakness in the mining (including oil and gas well drilling and servicing), utility and manufacturing sectors of the economy. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index declined 0.6 percent in March, its second consecutive monthly decline.

 

Strick to recall 2005-2009 van trailers for faulty rear impact guard

Strick Trailer is recalling certain single-axle 28-foot van trailers for a rear-impact guard issue, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document.

More specifically, 2005-2009 van trailers manufactured July 25, 2004, to Feb. 3, 2009, and equipped with rear-impact guards using gussets 55997 and 55998 are affected. Gussets on affected trucks can increase the chances of injury during a crash, thereby violating Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 223, “Rear Impact Guards.”

In March 2014, Strick discovered that the gussets may not have been verified using prescribed test procedures, according to the NHTSA document. Tests conducted in April 2014 confirmed that the gussets violated FMVSS 223.

Owners will be notified by Strick to have reinforcements installed to the rear-impact guards at no cost. For more information, contact Strick’s customer service at 260-692-6121. The recall will begin on June 17.

 

XPO under attack by U.S. and European unions over ‘anti-worker actions’

Just over six months after acquiring Con-way, Employee and union leaders assembled outside an XPO Logistics shareholder meeting in Greenwich, Conn., to demand that CEO Bradley Jacobs address several concerns. In an email statement, XPO is calling it a Teamster’s publicity stunt.

XPO employees in the U.S. and Europe are upset about anti-worker actions and abuses, according to a Teamsters news release. Union leaders are claiming XPO is “mismanaging the integration of its new businesses, leading to operational and financial risks.”

“There were concerns about the company growing too fast and not being able to manage the company providing service for the workers,” said Galen Munroe, senior communications coordinator for Teamsters, during a press conference.

After acquiring Con-way, unions say port and rail drivers have experienced wage theft totaling more than $200 million as a result of their being misclassified as independent contractors. In January, a lawsuit was filed against XPO for misclassifying port drivers. The suit claimed the companies did not pay minimum wage, provide meal/rest breaks, reimburse business expenses, or pay overtime/double time wages, and committed other labor law violations. In total, the lawsuit claims violations of 10 separate labor laws.

“XPO has lost every case at every investigation by any governmental agency,” Munroe said. “They have lost every one of them and found that the workers are misclassified. What their business model has been is to negotiate a settlement and pay those drivers, but they never fix the problem.”

XPO also agreed to delay any layoffs in France for at least 18 months after acquiring Norbert Dentressangle SA last April. Union leaders claim that XPO did not honor that agreement.

“This company is not really interested in growing,” said Greg Alden, Teamsters’ freight division representative. “They are very interested in getting rid of the people there and using subcontractors.”

Earlier this year, XPO cut 190 non-driver jobs in its LTL operations. Approximately one week later, the logistics company shut down seven truck terminals in “remote areas,” according to an XPO statement.

In an interview with Bloomberg last September, Jacobs said that drivers were “very important” and XPO intended to keep all the drivers. In the U.S., all layoffs have affected administrative, management and executive offices. No known driver layoffs have occurred to date.

To date, Jacobs has declined to meet with union leaders.

The 1.4 million-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 75,000 freight members, including nearly 200 at XPO.

XPO sent Land Line the following statement:

This was obviously a publicity stunt by the Teamsters. We have excellent relationships with our employees and the owner-operators who serve our customers. Our drivers and the owner-operators we do business with are aware that we pay them more than their union counterparts in other companies. The Teamsters will have to look elsewhere for a way to solve their declining membership problem.

 

FMCSA issues safety advisory for Trailers Y Tanques De Aluminio tankers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a safety advisory mandating the owners of certain tankers manufactured by Trailers Y Tanques De Aluminio (TYTAL) cease all operations using the cargo tank, according to a FMCSA press release.

TYTAL, USDOT No. 2164338, CT-12407, cargo tank vehicles with a capacity of 8,400, 8,717 and 10,500 gallons are in need of immediate repairs. The 10,500-gallon tanker has inadequate venting capacity of pressure relief systems and inadequate accident damage protection. The other two tankers have inadequate accident damage protection as well.

Affected TYTAL tankers are unauthorized, according to the FMCSA, until repairs and testing have been completed. Effective June 1, enforcement and fines will be given to owners and drivers operating any of the above tankers that have not made necessary repairs.

Owners and operators opting not to continue to use these tanks in hazardous materials service must immediately remove, obliterate or cover the specification plate that identifies the vehicle as a DOT specification cargo tank. The specification plate must remain out of sight until the necessary repairs are completed.

A full list of affected vehicles needing repair can be found here.

TYTAL has notified known customers, and repairs have begun free of charge. More information about the defect can be found by calling 011-52-828-269-0030, emailing CustomerService@tytal.com.mx or visiting tytal.com.mx/en/. Paul Bomgardner, chief of Hazardous Materials Division, may also be contacted at 202-493-0027 or paul.bomgardner@dot.gov.

 

Department of Labor reports job increases for transportation sector

Transportation jobs experienced the first gain in 2016, including the first increase in trucking jobs since January.

The overall transportation sector gained nearly 9,000 jobs in April, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. From January through March, more than 28,000 jobs have been eliminated from the transportation and warehousing sector.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 700 jobs in April after the industry lost 2,400 in March and 600 in February. Approximately 1,500 trucking jobs were added in January, leaving a net loss of 800 for the year.

Warehousing and storage subsector experienced the largest increase with 6,500 more jobs, followed by couriers and messengers with an increase of 2,500. Rail transport and “support activities for transportation” experienced the only losses with 3,700 and 1,600 fewer jobs in April, respectively.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.10 for April, a 2-cent increase from March. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 3 cents to $20.93. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.53, 8 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 6.8 percent from 6.1 percent last April. The overall unemployment rate for the country was mostly unchanged at 5 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 150,000 compared with the previous month to around 2.1 million.

 

 

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