Trucking Biz Buzz

Spot freight rates experiencing seasonal decline

Reflecting the winter seasonal trend, spot rates decreased across the board for the fourth consecutive week for the week ending Saturday, Jan. 24. This is compared with the prior week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.  

Van rates declined by 2 cents to $1.96. Los Angeles and Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.00 and $2.11, respectively. Rates for the month of December are up 7.2 percent from December 2013. Load-to-truck ratios went down 30 percent to 2.2 loads per truck. Several northwestern states – including Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana – had a load-to-truck ratio greater than 5.5. Only 11 states have a 5.5 ratio, which is lower than previous weeks, indicative of the downward seasonal trend.

Reefer rates lost 2 cents to $2.27 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.81, whereas Lakeland, Fla., had low rates of $1.53. Compared with December 2013, reefer rates are up 14 percent. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 32 percent to 6.9 from 10.1 in the previous week. Most states west of the Mississippi River had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates went down 4 cents to $2.21. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.85. Rates are down 0.9 percent for the month, but are up 5.5 percent in the last 12 months. There were 10.0 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 28 percent decrease from the last week. Nearly half the states have a ratio of 18 or higher.


Marten Transport sets record-breaking quarter

Wisconsin-based truckload carrier Marten Transport has reported its highest net income and operating revenue in its history.

Marten’s 2014 fourth quarter net income increased by 22.8 percent to $9 million. For the year, net income decreased to $29.8 million when compared to 2013’s $30.1 million. Operating revenue went up 4.4 percent to $173.5 million in the fourth quarter and up to $672.9 million for the year compared to $659.2 in 2013. Operating revenue consists of revenue from truckload, dedicated, intermodal and brokerage operations.

Operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenue went down to 88.7 percent in the fourth quarter, an improvement from 90.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. Percentages for the year were 90.7 percent compared with 90.2 percent in 2013.

Marten Transport was founded by Roger Marten in 1946. Marten specializes in transporting and distributing food and other consumer packaged goods that require a temperature-controlled or insulated environment.


Iowa 80 joining the blogosphere

Iowa 80 has launched a new blog at Titled “Trucker Tips,” the blog will feature articles on a variety of topics for truckers, including company drivers and owner-operators. Current and former drivers will be writing the blog entries.

The blog that is currently posted is “Winter Preparedness – What You Need to Know” by OOIDA Life Member Heather Hogeland and OOIDA Member Kim Grimm.

Hogeland lives in Bullhead City, Ariz., and Grimm hails from Sun Prairie, Wisc. Both are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving.

“Our goal is to assist drivers in being safe, healthy and productive. We really hope that many find the information useful and will pass it on for others to benefit from too,” General Manager Deanna Slack said in a press release.


Detroit Radiator sponsoring Truck Drivers

Detroit Radiator has announced its official sponsorship of Truck Drivers

Detroit Radiator will assist Truck Drivers with their traveling campaign, which promotes good health and exercise to truckers. As part of the campaign, the health advocacy organization will have a demonstration explaining the differences between a healthy and unhealthy driver with the use of a healthy and unhealthy truck.

Speaking a language that truckers can understand, an out-of-shape driver with 20 years of experience will be represented by an old 1995 Western Star show truck. Highlighting the transformation a healthy lifestyle can lead to, Truck Drivers will rebuild the aging show truck while explaining tips on a healthier driver and a healthier truck.

The campaign will span across two years, starting at the 2015 Mid-American Truck Show on March 26-26 and ending at MATS 2017. During that time, the truck can be seen at approximately 60 truck shows and more than 350 trucking industry companies.

For more information about the campaign, visit


Mack offering discounted rate for returning veterans

Continuing a program honoring veterans, Mack will offer special financing terms for recently returning U.S. military veterans.

Veterans who have been honorably discharged of active duty within the past 24 months can qualify for a half percent discount off of an approved finance rate from Mack Financial Services acquired through a Mack dealer. Possession of a valid commercial driver’s license is also required. Members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are eligible.

Truck must be delivered and funded by Dec. 31, 2015. The discounted rate will only be available for a maximum of three units per qualifying veteran.

For more information, visit


C.R. England increases pay for driver trainers

Another carrier can be added to an increasing list of trucking companies giving drivers more money. C.R. England has increased wages for their company driver trainers in the national and regional division, according to a press release.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 19, all driver trainers in the national and regional division of C.R. England will receive an average 14.5 percent increase in pay. More specifically, trainers will be paid an additional 4 cents for all training miles.


November another positive month for the freight service index

The Freight Transportation Service Index for November increased by 0.8 percent from October to 123.2. September’s increase marks the fifth consecutive month of a rise in the index, making the 123.2 index an all-time high, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Trucking, air freight, pipeline and waterborne modes were the main contributors to November’s growth. Increases in employment, retail sales, manufacturing and industrial production, and an all-time high in inventories were economic factors affecting positive change for transportation. TSI has gone up 30.2 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6.

Freight shipments are up 3.5 percent from last November, 21.8 percent from five years ago, and 10.1 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.


St. Christopher Fund: 2014 was a blockbuster year helping drivers

The St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund is a truck driver charity that helps drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship. As it begins a new year, the fund is well on its way to $1 million in assistance.

The SCF reported recently that in 2014, the charity has given a total of $855, 236 since the charity’s inception in 2007. A total of 1,118 drivers have been helped.

In 2014, the SCF gave financial assistance 449 times in the amount of $317,627 to 373 drivers in need. In 2013, the organization gave $193,339 to qualifying truckers and their families. The top reason for applications was cardiology, including all heart conditions such as high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease and heart attacks.

Executive Director Dr. Donna Kennedy is calling 2014 a blockbuster year for the fund. Kennedy said during the month of December, the St. Christopher Fund sent checks in the total amount of $47,236, divided among 50 applicants.

“In just one week we gave $20,759 to support beneficiaries,” said Shannon Currier, operations manager and director of philanthropy and development. “That’s a lot of checks in one week.”

In December, Tom Liutkus was elected as president of the SCF Board of Directors. Liutkus is vice president of marketing and public relations for TravelCenters of America and has served on the board for several years. Joyce Brenny, CEO of Brenny Transportation was elected as vice president. Land Line Editor-in-Chief Sandi Soendker was elected secretary, and Tom Heinz of Coffee Cup Fuel Stops was elected treasurer.

Other members of the board are Tim Ridley of Nemo Entertainment; Linda Caffee, owner-operator from Silex, Mo.; Buck Black, Licensed Clinical Social Worker; and Rick Ash, owner-operator from Lakewood, Colo., and chairman of the Trucking Solutions Group.

SCF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Along with assistance, the SCF also conducts health research to benefit truck drivers and the trucking industry. 

On Feb. 16-18, representatives of the St. Christopher Fund will be at the Natso show in Las Vegas and March 26-28 in Louisville for the Mid-America Trucking Show.

For more information, visit or send a letter to P.O. Box 30763, Knoxville, Tenn. 37930. 


CAT Scales’ new app makes weighing in easier, faster

CAT Scale and Electronic Funds Source LLC (EFS) have teamed up to offer a new form of payment for drivers using CAT Scale’s new Weigh My Truck mobile app. EFS’s involvement will allow truckers to never leave their vehicle at the weigh station.

Drivers can link their EFS card to the Weigh My Truck app. Upon registering an account at, users simply use their EFS card as the form of payment and download the app. After weighing in at any of CAT Scale’s 1,550 locations, the app uses the phone’s GPS location to verify the payment. Acknowledge the transaction on the phone, and voila – time to go without ever having to exit the vehicle.

“We’ve seen a significant positive impact on hours of service and driver satisfaction among our customers using this mobile app payment solution, as drivers are spending less time weighing and more time on the road,” said Senior Vice President of Merchant Services for EFS Karl Kelley in a press release.

The Weigh My Truck app is available for free at both the Apple App Store and Google Play for Android devices.


Motor sports fan? MAVTV is the go-to place

Top competitors are going head-to-head this week in the 29th running of the world famous Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire at the River Spirit Expo Center, Tulsa, Okla., Jan. 13-17, 2015. With 326 entries and 318 drivers from 36 states plus Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, the final entry total will be the largest yet – and MAVTV will be on-hand to broadcast all the side-by-side action live again this year.

Known as the Super Bowl of Midget racing – the 2015 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals gathers together the stars of American racing including Midgets, Late Model Dirt, Super Modified, World of Outlaws, IndyCar, NHRA and NASCAR. Last year, when Brian Clausen denied Kevin Swindell his fifth straight title and took the chequered flag on the final lap, history was in the making with a new first-time winner and three-hour live television coverage by MAVTV. Dave Despain hosted last year’s broadcast and will return again for 2015. 

According to Bob Patison, President of MAVTV, “Last year’s Chili Bowl airing produced one of the highest-rated shows on the network and we expect even better results in 2015.” 

With programming such as the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl, Lucas Oil Drag Boats, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Late Model Dirt, Lucas Oil Modified, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, the FIA World Rally Championship and Pirelli World Challenge, MAVTV has become the go-to place for motorsports fans.

In addition to Dish Network and DirecTV satellite services, MAVTV is currently available on Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and Charter, along with many others.



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