Trucking Biz Buzz

DAT Solutions: Back at work, more trucks chase fewer loads

With the holidays over there were 34 percent more trucks posted to the MembersEdge load board during the week ending Jan. 14 compared to the previous week.

There was an 18 percent increase in the number of loads.

Predictably, rates and load-to-truck ratios took a tumble during the first full workweek of the year.

Rates retreat: With more trucks in the marketplace, rates fell for all three equipment types:

  • Vans: $1.72/mile, down 5 cents
  • Reefers: $2.00/mile, down 3 cents
  • Flatbeds: $1.89/mile, down 3 cents

Those rates include a fuel surcharge. Diesel slipped 1 cent to an average of $2.59/gallon.

Vans galore: The number of vans posted on MembersEdge was up 36 percent compared to the previous week while van load posts rose more gradually at 14 percent. The van load-to-truck ratio was 3.9, still unseasonably high.

Rates fall: Spot van rates declined in many markets, including key regional hubs:

  • Chicago, $2.10/mile, down 1 cent
  • Dallas, $1.57/mile, down 1 cent
  • Atlanta, $1.90/mile, down 6 cents
  • Philadelphia, $1.75/mile, unchanged
  • Los Angeles, $1.99/mile, down 6 cents

Flatbeds bounce back: Flatbed demand rebounded with a 31 percent increase in available loads. Truck posts increased 38 percent, which pressed the flatbed load-to-truck ratio down slightly to 27.1.

Reefers imbalanced: Keeping with the theme, the number of reefer load posts could not keep pace with the number of available trucks, which was up 27 percent. The reefer load-to-truck ratio fell 15 percent to 9.1.

Holding strong at $2 a mile: While the national average reefer rate fell 3 cents but $2.00/mile is still strong for mid-January.

Stormy California: Rates were down in all major reefer markets in California as the state was hit by heavy rains in the lower elevations and snow in the mountains. The average outbound rate from Los Angeles slipped 3 cents to $2.46/mile.

McAllen strong on produce imports: Imports are driving more activity at McAllen, Texas, where the average outbound rate was $2.05/mile, up 4 cents. McAllen-Dallas gained 24 cents to $2.58/mile compared to the previous week.

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 MyMembersEdge.com, join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards, and listen to Land Line Now on the Sirius XM Road Dog Channel.

Navistar recalling some 2017 International trucks over battery issue

Navistar has recently issued a recall for certain International trucks regarding an issue with batteries, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. An electrical short caused by the defect can potentially lead to a fire.

More specifically, certain 2017 International ProStar, LoneStar, 9900i and TransStar trucks are affected. A metallic battery cover latch may unlatch and contact the battery jump start stud, causing an electrical short to ground if the jump start stud is not covered, according to the NHTSA recall.

Owners will be notified and instructed to have a dealer install a latch stop to prevent the latch from rotating to the unlatched position at no charge to the customer. Navistar expects the recall to begin on Feb. 17.

For more information, call Navistar’s customer service at 800-448-7825 with recall number 16513. NHTSA’s official recall number is 16V-938.

Kenworth offering $1,000 savings to OOIDA members

For the 15th straight year, Kenworth and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are offering a $1,000 savings on certain purchases of new Kenworth sleeper trucks. The deal is available to OOIDA members. 

OOIDA members can cash in on the deal when purchasing a new Kenworth T680 or T880 with a 52-inch or larger factory-installed sleeper. Kenworth T660, T800 and W900 glider kits with 72-inch or 86-inch sleepers are also eligible. 

While purchasing any eligible trucks, OOIDA members must show their membership card to the dealer. A copy of the bill of sale, warranty and OOIDA membership number must be mailed to: OOIDA, P.O. Box 1000, Grain Valley, MO 64029, or faxed to OOIDA at 816-229-0518. 

Limits of three trucks per year qualify for the deal for any individual customer. Other restrictions may apply, so talk to a Kenworth dealer about details. 

Locate the nearest dealer by visiting Kenworth.com.

Cat Scales celebrates 40th anniversary with Weigh to Win sweepstakes

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Cat Scales is kicking off a sweepstakes on Feb. 1. Truckers can win a variety of prizes, including a brand-new 2017 Ford F250 Super Duty Crew Cab 4X4.

On Feb. 1, drivers can enter Cat Scales’ Weigh to Win sweepstakes. More than $100,000 in instant prizes are up for grabs. Prizes include Galaxy tablets, Cat Scale hats, Series Sixteen Super Trucks collector card sets, duffel bags, die-cast model trucks, mugs, fitness bands, multi-tools, toiletry bags and more.

The loaded Ford F250 includes:

  • 6.2L 2-valve SOHC EFI NA V8
  • 6-speed auto transmission
  • 3.73 non-limited slip axle ratio
  • Power moon roof
  • Reverse vehicle aid sensor
  • Rearview camera
  • 4x4 electronic shift-on-the-fly
  • Navigation system with premium sound system
  • SYNC in-car connectivity system
  • Sirius XM satellite radio
  • Leather bucket seats with console
  • 10-way power-heated and -cooled front seats
  • Remote start system
  • LED light truck bed
  • And much more

How do you enter? Every time a driver weighs in at a Cat Scale, a promo code will appear on the scale ticket. Simply enter the code at WeighToWin.com for a chance at instant prizes and to enter for a chance to win the pickup truck grand prize. Official rules and details can also be found at the website.

The contest is open to Class 8 drivers and ends May 31.

Averitt Express awarded Flag of Freedom for commitment to hiring veterans

The Missouri Division of Workplace Development recently recognized Averitt Express for its commitment to hiring military veterans, presenting Averitt with the Flag of Freedom honor as part of its Show-Me Heroes program.

Averitt is based in Cookville, Tenn., and has a service center in St. Louis.

More than 20 percent of Averitt’s current employees have served in the U.S. military. Additionally, Averitt has pledged to add 1,200 more veterans to its team by 2020.
 
“We’re very humbled to receive this recognition from the Show-Me Heroes program,” said Elise Leeson, Averitt’s vice president of human resources. “Adding veterans to our team is a win-win for everyone, because they know the importance of teamwork and helping each other for a common cause. They’re also dedicated to providing outstanding service, and that makes them a great fit for our unique culture.”

Love’s Travel Stops opens two new locations, 150 truck parking spaces

Only two weeks into 2017 and Love’s Travel Stops is already announcing new locations and new truck parking spaces. The first two locations for the new year are located in Syracuse, Neb., and Angleton, Texas. 

The Syracuse location is at SR 2 and SR 50 and will feature a Hardee’s restaurant. Nearly 70 truck parking spaces will be included, as well as five showers. 

Angleton’s location is at SR 288 and FM 523 and features a Carl’s Jr. restaurant. More than 80 truck parking spaces and five showers are available. 

Both travel stops are open 24/7 and offer gourmet coffee, fountain drinks, fresh fruit, name-brand snacks, Cat scales, DEF and other driver services. 

For more information about these two new locations and all Love’s locations, visit Loves.com.

Pilot Flying J adds more than 1,300 parking spaces in 2016

Pilot Flying J had a busy year in 2016, adding 58 locations to its portfolio, including 41 Speedway/Wilco conversions and 17 new travel centers.

Truckers in the Southeast have probably noticed a lot more Pilot Flying J signs in the past year. After a joint venture with Speedway LLC, 41 Speedway locations made the switch to PFJ. Additionally, PFJ opened 17 new travel centers across the nation.

Including the 41 pre-existing locations that were formerly Speedway, PFJ added 4,200 parking spaces under its banner, a total of 74,000 across the country. At the 17 new locations alone, more than 1,300 trucking spaces were added to the infrastructure by PFJ in 2016, including spaces brought back from rebuilds, according to a Pilot Flying J spokesperson.

PFJ’s 2016 expansion also included 320 showers, bringing the nationwide total to 5,100 showers. The 17 new locations also added more than 1,000 local jobs. More than 750 PFJ locations are now scattered across North America.

Pilot Flying J also expanded its technology last year. The new myPilot app was recently launched, allowing truckers to pay for fuel through the app rather than carrying around a bunch of cards or cash. The app also allows drivers to check which diesel pump is likely to open up next, reserve a shower, view store listings, get directions, and receive and store electronic receipts.

Drivers can save 3 cents per gallon on gasoline and diesel when using myPilot. Apple users can download the app at the App Store and Android users can find it at Google Play.

Trucking freight stats for 2016 not final, but showing increase

Freight stats for 2016 continue to dribble in. The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals November freight was up for all modes except pipeline, bringing the index up for the second consecutive month.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for November increased by 0.5 percent to 123.2. July’s TSI replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014 before the index started to decline in August.

The October index is 30.1 percent above the low set during the recession in June 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went up to 137.5 from 136.8, an increase of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage increase of more than 8 percent in October to 142.4 from 131.6 in October. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s fall occurred as employment rose by 178,000 jobs, retail sales increased by 0.1 percent and personal income went up by less than 0.1 percent. However the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index decreased by 0.4 percent and housing starts dropped 4.7 percent.

August’s freight TSI was the largest monthly decrease since January 2014 and the first decline after four consecutive monthly increases.

Volvo recalls thousands of trucks for faulty electronic air dryer

Volvo Truck North America is recalling more than 6,000 VNL, VNM and VNX trucks due to issues with the electronic air dryer that can potentially affect brake performance, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, certain 2013-2017 VNL, VNM and VNX trucks manufactured from April 11, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2016 have electronic air dryers with cycling parameters set too low at one-third of the required volume of air to purge the drying substance, according to NHTSA.

According to NHTSA, as a result, condensation can accumulate, allowing oil and water to contaminate the brake system. Brake performance can be negatively affected in cold weather and other conditions. Periodically draining the wet tank and replacing the air dryer filter may help prevent future problems.

Volvo’s recall is proactive as no reports of accidents related to the defect have been identified. Affected vehicles will have the control module reprogrammed to correct parameters, and air dryer filters will be replaced. Owners will be notified by Feb. 17. The NHTSA recall number is 16V928.

Trucking adds 1,400 jobs in December, net loss of 2,500 for 2016

December marked the third consecutive positive month for transportation jobs as the sector added nearly 15,000 jobs to the economy, including more than 1,000 trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector gained 14,700 jobs in December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. In January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 1,400 jobs in December after the industry gained 1,100 in November and 3,000 in October. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2015, 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. May’s increase of nearly 9,000 jobs was the largest in 2015 for the trucking subsector.

The couriers and messengers subsector experienced the largest increase with 11,700 jobs added to the economy, followed by “support activities for transportation” at 3,800. “Transit and ground passenger transportation” experienced the largest loss with 4,700 fewer jobs, trailed by rail transport with 200 jobs lost, the only two subsectors to experience a decrease in December.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.60 for December – a 6-cent increase from November. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced a significant decrease of 25 cents to $20.71. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26, 10 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.9 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent last December, but up from 5.7 percent in November. The overall unemployment rate for the country was up to 4.7 percent from 4.6 percent after two consecutive months of decreases. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or gone relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed was down slightly at 1.8 million, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the unemployed.

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