Trucking Biz Buzz

Spot freight rates show improvement from previous week’s losses

Two leading load boards show varying spot rates from last week, but indicate improvements from the previous week’s losses for all three modes.

Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and both reveal some unchanged rates, a step up from the across-the-board decline in the previous week for vans, reefers and flatbeds.

Van rates went down a penny to $1.76, and load-to-truck ratios decreased by 3.7 percent to 1.8 loads per truck, according to DAT. van rates remained unchanged at $1.74.

DAT reefer rates were unchanged at $2.04. With a significant deviation from DAT’s numbers, shows a large 7-cent increase for reefer rates to $2.05. Although a difference in the weekly change, it produced a consistent rate between the two boards.

Flatbed rates remained stagnant at $2.07, based on DAT stats. Conversely, shows a 3-cent decrease to $1.95, building on the previous week’s gap between the two reported rates.

Across all modes, shows that load availability decreased by 2 percent and truck availability was left unchanged, indicating a relatively small disadvantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, van and flatbed load-to-truck ratios declined, whereas reefer ratios slightly increased.

Based on both DAT and reports, load availability in Arkansas appears to be strong, with Texas and North Carolina also showing higher availability. Numbers for Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut indicate a weaker market for load availability. Weak and strong markets are little changed from the past several weeks.


Report: Nearly 5 million transport jobs need to be filled by 2022

In collaboration with industry stakeholders, the U.S. Departments of Education, Transportation and Labor have released a report predicting the job needs of the transportation industry through 2022. More than 2 million jobs in the trucking subsector will need to be filled within the 2012-2022 time frame.

Across the entire transportation industry, approximately 4.6 million people will need to be hired, 1.2 times the current employment number. According to the report, actual employment in 2014 was 4 million. Within the 10-year scope, 4.2 million transportation employees will leave the industry with an additional 417,000 jobs being created.

Simply put, every transport job from 2012 will be left vacant due to retirement, transfers, turnovers or some other means and will need to be replaced. More than 400,000 newly created jobs will also need to be accounted for.

Of those 4.6 million job openings, nearly half will come from the trucking subsector. In terms of percentage, transit and ground passenger transport will have the largest total job openings at 133 percent.

More than half of the employees in the trucking industry are 45 years of age or older. According to the report, most trucking employees retire early. With more than half the subsector nearing retirement age, jobs will quickly open up between now and 2022.

Within the trucking subsector, heavy truck drivers lead in total job openings by a wide margin. Nearly 1.2 million heavy truck driving jobs will open up between 2012 and 2022. In distant second are laborers and freight/material movers at 174,419 job openings.

Job voids were calculated by determining the “separation” of employees. Separation was defined as those transferring from one occupation to another – using current occupation as the baseline – and those exiting completely, either by retirement, death, long-term illness or other means. Between transfers and exits, heavy trucking jobs are expected to experience a total separation of 101.1 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Trucking job openings will vary state-to-state. Only seven states are not expected to experience any job growth in trucking though 2022. South Dakota will suffer the biggest hit in trucking jobs with a 10 percent loss. Conversely, North Dakota is projected to experience the largest growth with a job increase of 62 percent. Texas, California, Wyoming and Minnesota are also anticipated to see a trucking job increase in excess of 20 percent.

Dallas, Chicago, Riverside, Los Angeles and Atlanta are cities expected to see some of the highest growth in trucking jobs. California and Texas have the highest concentration of metropolitan areas with the highest projected job growth. Not surprisingly, major metro areas with dense populations and heavy industry traffic are estimated to see more growth than other areas across the entire transportation industry.

The transportation industry as a whole includes trucking, transit/ground passenger, air, rail, maritime and highway construction and maintenance.


Jury orders Swift to pay owner-operator over $2.58 million in negligence suit

An owner-operator sued Swift Transportation citing negligent maintenance practices as a contributing factor for injuries he received after a trailer ran over his foot. He has been awarded $2.58 million by a jury following a trial in federal court.

The plaintiff, Herbert Willoughby, of Virginia, initially sued Swift, The Home Depot and his co-driver, Jason Cribbs. Home Depot was not part of the settlement. The jury found Swift to be 49 percent at fault, Willoughby 43 percent at fault, and Cribbs 8 percent at fault.

The incident happened June 5, 2012, when Willoughby, a leased operator, and Cribbs, a driver trainee, were at a Home Depot warehouse in Harris County, Texas. According to the amended complaint filed by Willoughby in U.S. District Court in Houston, a defect on his Wabash trailer prevented him from being able to “slide the rails” without assistance, requiring him to have to physically hold the pin out to adjust the trailer’s rails.

Willoughby’s complaint alleged Cribbs failed, among other things, to take proper evasive action, to maintain a proper lookout, and to operate the vehicle in a reasonably attentive manner. The suit alleged that Swift had knowledge of the problems with Willoughby’s trailer and failed to adequately repair and maintain it.

Swift filed a countersuit, which was thrown out, alleging that Willoughby himself was negligent for failing to properly instruct his student driver, Cribbs, for failing to apply the trailer brakes before releasing the truck to Cribbs, and failing to properly communicate the procedure to him before attempting to move the tandem wheels. Court records in the counter-claim indicate that Willoughby had been a trainer for Swift since August 2005.

Among the damages awarded to Willoughby by the jury were $500,000 for physical pain and mental anguish, $500,000 for past physical impairment, and $450,000 for loss of earnings capacity.


FASTPORT attends job fairs at military bases with Kenworth and TCA

FASTPORT, Kenworth and the Truckload Carriers Association have teamed up to address the driver shortage across the country. The three trucking industry stakeholders will be attending job fairs on military bases to help usher veterans into civilian life.

With the first job fair held on Aug. 17 at Fort Benning, FASTPORT and trucking partners will be attending job fairs on military bases across the country this year and 2016. Military personnel will have a chance to learn about the trucking industry and get recruited for driving jobs.

Educational opportunities will come in the form of panel discussions, driving simulators and a chance to explore all types of trucking equipment. The event at Fort Benning included 27 employers with more than 1,000 available driving jobs being offered.

One qualified candidate will have the chance to win a Kenworth T680. The winner of “America’s Top Veteran Rookie Driver” will be the new owner of a 2016 T680 with a Paccar MX-13 engine. TCA will announce contest details in the near future.


Alcoa sponsoring healthy lifestyle contest on Twitter through Sept. 25

Alcoa has launched a new social media campaign and contest that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Contestants can enter by sending pictures or videos of their healthy lifestyle tips and success stories to Alcoa’s official Twitter account.

Launched on Aug. 24 and ending on Sept. 25, the campaign will allow drivers to share information on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Entering the contest is simple: Follow @AlcoaWheels on Twitter, tweet an image or video of healthy tips or stories, and use the hashtag #5lbPledge. Tweets that follow those instructions are automatically entered into the contest.

Each week of the contest will have its own theme. Contestants are encouraged to follow @AlcoaWheels to discover the current week’s theme. Followers will be asked to submit entries relevant to the current theme. Prizes will be awarded on Friday each week to entries that follow the theme.

After Sept. 25 Alcoa will review all submissions for the grand prize winner. The grand prize will include a pair of Ultra ONE wheels. Winners will be contacted via direct message on Twitter, so follow @AlcoaWheels.

Called #5lbPledge, the campaign was inspired by Alcoa’s Ultra ONE wheel with MagnaForce alloy. The Alcoa wheel weighs 5 pounds less than its previous lightest wheel, eliminating nearly 100 pounds on an 18-wheeler.

The contest is a dedicated social media activity and will be carried out solely through Twitter.


New CNG station opens in eastern Tennessee

Despite several-year-lows for both gasoline and diesel fuel, the natural gas market is still slowly increasing. Most recently, amp Trillium has opened a public compressed natural gas (CNG) station in Newport, Tenn.

Located off of Highway 2570 near I-40, both CNG-powered trucks and cars can refuel at the station in Eastern Tennessee. The new station will be open 24/7 and can service multiple Class 8 trucks at one time. Also near western North Carolina, the exact location will be at the Time Out Travel Center at 1130 W. Highway 2570.

The latest addition brings amp Trillium’s total to 22 CNG stations in the United States. The company plans to continue to add more stations to keep up with the demand needed to make CNG vehicles more economically viable.


More than 12,000 Kenworth trucks recalled for hazard light defect

Approximately 12,551 Kenworth trucks have been recalled because of an issue with the headlamps overriding the hazard warning lights, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall notice.

Five different Kenworth models from 2011 to 2016 are affected. Those trucks with HID headlamps and Daytime Running Lamps (DRL) may have issues with the hazard lights. When hazard warning lights are activated, DRLs are required to deactivate. However, after the brake pedal is pressed for more than two seconds, the DRLs will override the flashing hazard lights. Affected vehicles could potentially fail to warn oncoming vehicles, increasing the risk of a crash.

Affected vehicles include:

  • 2011-2016 Kenworth T440
  • 2011-2016 Kenworth T470 
  • 2011-2016 Kenworth T660 
  • 2011-2016 Kenworth T680 
  • 2011-2016 Kenworth T880

Owners will be notified by Kenworth, and the can controller software will be replaced free of charge. The recall is expected to begin Sept. 17. Owners may contact Kenworth customer service at 425-828-5000. Kenworth's number for this recall is 15KWL.

Affected vehicle owners can also call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 or go to


Guilty By Association Truck Show to run Sept. 25-26 in Joplin, Mo.

Guilty By Association, known as GBATS, is on the calendar for Sept. 25-26 at 4 State Trucks in Joplin, Mo. Promoted as “a cross between a truck show, a customer expo and an open house,” the event has become a huge trucker fall favorite.

This year, more than 10,000 attendees and at least 330 show trucks are expected to appear at the two-day, family friendly event. In addition to the show trucks and various events, discounted sale pricing on parts and merchandise will be available.

Expect to see trucks with a motorcycle stunt rider demo, FMX High-Flyin’ motocross show, and a kids’ pedal tractor pull among the many attractions.

Saturday night will feature the infamous truck convoy, which departs at 6 p.m. and culminates in downtown Joplin where concerts by Tony Justice and Livewire will take place. More than $73,000 was raised for Special Olympics of Missouri last year.

The number of events at GBATS is too many to list here, so check out the full schedule at Admission is free, and registration closes at noon on Sept. 25.


Transportation Service Index: Truck freight went down in June

The Freight Transportation Service Index decreased by 0.3 percent in June to 121.9 from 122.2 in May. May experienced an increase in what appears to occur every other month starting in January, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Truck, water and rail intermodal freight decreased in June compared with the previous month. In May, increases in truck and waterborne freights resulted in a net gain for the index, despite losses in other freight modes.

June was the third month of the year to have a month-to-month decrease in the index. The index has fluctuated from a net loss and a net gain each month. TSI has gone up 28.8 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6. 

Trucking freight decreased in June after its first monthly increase in May, which was preceded by three consecutive months of decreases.

Freight shipments are down 0.4 percent from June 2014, up 14.6 percent from five years ago, and up 9.2 percent from 10 years ago.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.


Goodyear Smart Fleet announces GATS tire sweepstakes

Truckers attending the Great American Trucking Show on Aug. 27-29 in Dallas, Texas, will have the chance to find out more about Goodyear’s Smart Fleet program and maybe score some new rubber for their tractor. The Goodyear Smart Fleet program is Goodyear's national account program for owner-operators and small fleets.  

Those who sign up for the program during the show can win a set of two Goodyear Fuel Max LHS steer tires.

There is no cost to join the program, and truckers attending GATS who enroll in it during the show will receive up to a $250 mail-in rebate for their first purchase. The rebate includes $25 per tire for up to 10 Goodyear truck tires.

GATS attendees can enroll in the Smart Fleet program and enter the sweepstakes at two locations: Goodyear’s main booth (No. 14077) and Goodyear’s Smart Fleet booth in the lobby of the convention center.

Not attending GATS? No problem. Owner-operators and small fleets can enroll in the Smart Fleet program at although those not attending GATS are ineligible for the tire sweepstakes.

GATS will take place Aug. 27-29 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.



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