Trucking Biz Buzz

DAT Solutions: A simmering summer for spot rates

The spot truckload market picked up steam in May and June, with load-to-truck ratios and rates hitting highs we haven’t seen in a long time. A few bumps last week won’t slow the roll.

The number of load posts on MembersEdge dipped 1 percent, and truck posts were up 8 percent as capacity returned to the spot market following the Roadcheck inspection blitz. Load-to-truck ratios may have taken a step back but they’re still in good shape for truckers:

  • Van ratio: 5.2 loads per truck, down 9 percent
  • Reefer ratio: 9.1, down 10 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 44.5, down 10 percent

Rates, meanwhile, remain at two-year highs. To the trendlines:

Van trends: The number of posted van loads declined 1 percent while truck posts increased 9 percent. Again, we’ll chalk that up to Roadcheck. The national average van rate held steady at $1.79/mile last week, but it has added 11 cents since May 27.

L.A. gains: Van freight posts in Los Angeles are 10 percent higher over the last month. The average outbound van rate there added 2 cents per mile week over week, hitting $2.30/mile.

Houston happening: Rates from Houston rebounded in a big way, up 6 cents to an average of $1.87/mile. Two outbound lanes to watch:

  • Houston-New Orleans rose 22 cents to $2.65/mile
  • Houston-Oklahoma City hit a new high at $2.30/mile. This has been a wildly up-and-down lane in recent weeks.

Cooling off: Average outbound van rates fell on 40 of the top 100 van lanes. In a lot of cases the declines were small, but they included some key markets:

  • Dallas: $1.76/mile, down 1 cent
  • Denver: $1.10/mile, down 3 cents
  • Columbus: $1.98/mile, down 4 cents
  • Chicago: $2.03/mile, down 2 cents

Reefer trends: The number of reefer load posts dipped 2 percent while truck posts jumped 8 percent. The national average rate was unchanged at $2.11/mile, the highest average in nearly two years. On the top 72 reefer lanes, surprisingly only 27 had higher rates.

Rocky Mountain high: At $1.30/mile, Denver has the lowest average outbound reefer rate in the country. But inbound rates on several lanes were up: Los Angeles-Denver rose 37 cents to $3.23/mile, Dallas-Denver added 24 cents to $2.67/mile, and Chicago-Denver paid 19 cents better at $2.20/mile.

Florida falling: The lane from Lakeland-Charlotte bounced back 13 cents to $2.00/mile. That wasn’t a typical trend out of Florida, though. Drought and wildfires hampered the state’s prime shipping season this year and prices on lanes out of Miami are down.

Flatbed demand dips: After hitting its highest level in years the previous week, the flatbed load-to-truck ratio slipped 10 percent as the number of flatbed load posts held steady and truck posts increased 11 percent. At $2.15/mile, the national average flatbed rate was unchanged compared to the previous week.

Diesel digest: On-highway diesel prices continue to slide. The national average fell another 3 cents to $2.49/gallon last week.

Tri-haul of the week:Houston-Oklahoma City has been a volatile lane as far as rates go, but when prices are down, a tri-haul route can pad the wallet.

The backhaul market rate from OKC-Houston was $1.78/mile last week, but you can head to Shreveport instead. It paid a little better at $1.78/mile, but Shreveport-Houston averaged $2.46/mile last week. Based on average rates from the past week, you can you add nearly $500 if you haul an extra 180 miles on your roundtrip. The extra pick and drop might not be worth the effort when the Houston-OKC leg is paying well, but the tri-haul should work most weeks when that rate is down. 

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 OOIDA’s load board or tune in to Land Line Now. You can get all of the latest rate information at, comment on the DAT Freight Talk blog, or join us on Facebook. On Twitter you can tweet your questions to us @LoadBoards and have your questions answered by DAT Industry Analyst Mark Montague.

Cross-border freight slows down in April, still up year-to-year

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in April trucks moved nearly 63 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Three of five modes experienced an increase in freight year-to-year.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by more than 9 percent compared with March when freight was up 16 percent from the previous month. This marks the largest month-to-month decrease since July 2016 when NAFTA freight was down nearly 10 percent compared to June 2016.

Compared to April 2016, freight was up 0.8 percent. This marks the sixth consecutive month of year-to-year increases. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

April’s slight decrease was the smallest year-to-year increase since last December when NAFTA freight decreased by 0.4 percent compared to December 2015. In March, the index reached above $100 billion for the first time since October 2014.

August, November and December were the only months to experience a year-to-year increase in 2016 at 0.7 percent, 3.3 percent and 0.4 percent respectively. August was the first year-to-year increase since December 2014 when freight increased by more than 5 percent.

Trucks were responsible for more than $57 billion of the $91.068 billion of imports and exports in April. Rail came in second with nearly $15 billion.

Freight totaled $91.068 billion, down more than $9 billion from the previous month and an increase of $688 million from April 2016.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 63.5 percent after an increase of 81.3 percent in March. Trucks experienced the largest decrease at 5.5 percent. In March, truck freight experienced the smallest increase at 5 percent.
Nearly 58 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at nearly 18 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 1 percent compared with April 2016. Of the $44 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 68 percent of the loads.

‘Everyday Heroes’ Kenworth auction nets $89,000 for Truckers Against Trafficking

A collaboration between Kenworth, Ritchie Bros., and a number of other sponsors resulted in the largest ever one-time donation to Truckers Against Trafficking in the history of the organization.

The “Everyday Heroes” Kenworth T680 was auctioned off this week at Ritchie Bros. in Phoenix. The winning bid was submitted by Mike Jimenez, owner of Phoenix-based J&L Transportation, which resulted in $89,000 netted in support of Truckers Against Trafficking – a 501(c)(3) nonprofit devoted to stopping human trafficking by educating, mobilizing, and empowering the nation’s truck drivers and rest stop employees.

“This culminated an eight-month project that had a tremendous finish,” said Don Blake, Inland Kenworth’s new truck sales manager in the Phoenix area, who spearheaded the program. “Our sponsors came together to donate and discount their pricing in order for us to build the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680. I was on pins and needles as the auction and bidding took place, and was so happy that the truck was going to a local company that demonstrated its commitment to such a worthy cause.”
According to Kendis Paris, TAT’s executive director, the $89,000 donation is the largest one-time gift in the organization’s history. “We are absolutely thrilled and overwhelmed by the generosity of the industry, and extremely grateful to Mike Jimenez and J&L Transportation for adding the Everyday Heroes Truck to its fleet,” she said.

Jimenez, who was traveling at the time, produced the winning bid by proxy. “Though I have not encountered human trafficking, it does exist in our world,” he said. “It’s been my experience that when our industry gets behind a cause, it is a worthwhile cause. When Don expressed his interest, along with Inland Kenworth and all the other supporters and sponsors intent on doing this project, I knew J&L should be a part of the answer to end such heartbreaking events. I’m confident that TAT will use the proceeds to continue the education efforts and training necessary to end human trafficking in the future. Without their efforts, I would still be blind to this epidemic in our society,” Jimenez said.
The Kenworth T680, fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, 485-hp Paccar MX-13 engine, and Eaton Fuller Advantage 10-speed automated transmission, joins 35 other trucks in the J&L Transportation fleet. The truck will be placed in J&L’s dedicated fleet and used in Arizona, California and Nevada.
“When people hear about the horrific realities of human trafficking, they often make promises to get involved, but not everyone follows through. That is not true of Don Blake, George Cravens (with Utility Trailers), and all of the amazing sponsors of the ‘Everyday Heroes’ Kenworth T680,” Paris said.

“This money will enable us to continue to expand our work within the trucking industry, and also allow us to further our partnerships with law enforcement, additional modes of transportation, and multiple countries, in the fight against human trafficking. We are extremely grateful to Ritchie Bros. for auctioning off the truck, the amazing sponsors for helping to build it from the ground up, the trucking media for raising awareness about the work of TAT through the entire process of this one-of-a-kind auction, and to Inland Kenworth’s Don Blake who led the charge to the very end.”

According to Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and Paccar vice president, Blake’s passion for the project was contagious. “Don and Inland Kenworth did a wonderful and creative program to support TAT,” Dozier said. “It shows how an idea can germinate and how the industry can pull together to support the fight against human trafficking. As an organization, we couldn’t be prouder to provide assistance, and to call Don a model representative of Inland Kenworth and our dealer network.”

Providing support for the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 were:
Platinum Level

  • Kenworth Truck Co.
  • Ritchie Bros.

Gold Level

  • Inland Kenworth
  • Utility Trailer Sales Co. of Arizona
  • FlowBelow Wheel Covers        

Silver Level

  • Paccar Engine
  • Paccar Parts 
  • Horton 
  • Jost Fifth Wheel
  • Meritor 
  • Eaton Corp.
  • Bendix

Bronze Level

  • Delco
  • ExGuard Grille Guards
  • Davco 
  • National Seats
  • East Penn Batteries
  • Giti Tires
  • Alcoa


Hyundai trailers to offer Bendix ADB22X-LT air disc brakes

Shortly after announcing its ADB22X air disc brakes will come standard on International LT Series trucks, Bendix has recently revealed plans to equip Hyundai Translead trailers with the ADB22X-LT air disc brakes.

The ADB22X-LT’s design weighs in at 40 pounds lighter per tandem axle, making it the lightest air disc brake available in the market, and helping deliver increased payload capacity and value in trailer applications that are particularly sensitive to brake weight, according to a Bendix press release. The light weight can help with fuel efficiency and reduce weight to make room for other fuel-efficient technology such as aerodynamics.

The ADB22X-LT features a new brake pad, the Bendix BX276, which delivers 8 percent more wearable volume and up to a 40 percent improvement in wear rate compared to previous pads, combining to extend the service life beyond current air disc brake pad standards.

ADB22X-LT offers a pad replacement time approximately one-quarter that of drum brakes, improving uptime and boosting productivity in the garage. The brake pad’s design eliminates the possibility of rust jacking. The system features an internal self-adjustment mechanism that can help lower the risk of brakes being found out of adjustment during inspection, which can affect Compliance, Safety, Accountability scoring.

The Bendix air disc brakes offer an optimal braking solution capable of meeting a wide range of needs, at up to a 23,000-pound brake rating. Improved side-to-side brake balance helps keep the trailer behind the tractor during heavy braking.

For more information about Bendix air disc brakes, call 800-AIR-BRAKE or visit

Trucker Path obtains $30 million in debt financing

Trucking industry app designer Trucker Path has recently announced that it has secured $30 million in debt financing to add InstaPay factoring to the services of its freight marketplace, according to a press release.

Trucker Path encompasses a navigational app used by 550,000 truckers as well as a freight marketplace, Truckloads. Launched in March 2016, Truckloads currently has 100,000 active carriers with more than 3 million monthly loads posted by brokers. InstaPay was introduced in September 2016, allowing carriers to get paid immediately with a one-time flat rate with no hidden fees.

“Carriers often are required to complete tons of paperwork and sign exclusivity, to then wait 30-60 days or longer before getting paid. Trucker Path helps carriers get paid faster with just a few clicks on the mobile app,” said Ivan Tsybaev, CEO and founder of Trucker Path. “We are extremely excited to partner with Flexible Funding as this will enable us to continue our rapid growth and streamline the process of funding for trucking companies.”

For more info, check out and

Brake Safety Day slated for Sept. 7

Truckers have a few months to get those brakes in order. Brake Safety Day is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 7, according to a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance press release.

Inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Inspections conducted will include inspection of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors, and other faulty brake-system components.

ABS malfunction indicator lamps are also checked. Inspectors will measure pushrod stroke, where applicable. Vehicles with defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will be placed out of service.

In the 10 jurisdictions using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment, vehicle braking efficiency will be measured. PBBT systems include a slow speed roller dynamometer that measures total vehicle weight and total brake force from which braking efficiency is determined. The minimum braking efficiency for trucks is 43.5 percent, required by U.S. federal regulation and the CVSA out-of-service criteria.

Law enforcement agencies across North America will conduct inspections on large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake-system and antilock braking system violations as part of the CVSA Operation Airbrake Program. Brake Safety Day activities seek to educate drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake maintenance, operation and performance with outreach and educational efforts.

Brake-related violations composed the largest percentage (representing 45.7 percent) of all out-of-service violations cited during Operation Airbrake’s companion International Roadcheck campaign in 2016, which focused on inspections of both commercial motor vehicles and drivers.

For more information, go to

Driving for Excellence award deadline is June 30

Kenworth, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program and FASTPORT have joined forces for the Driving for Excellence award. The deadline is approaching to recognize the top rookie military veteran in the trucking industry.

The program honors truckers who have made the transition from active duty military to driving for a commercial fleet. The winner will receive a fully loaded Kenworth T680 Advantage.

To qualify for the Driving for Excellence award, nominees must meet the following conditions:

  • Military veteran or current or former member of the National Guard or Reserves;
  • Graduate of a PTDI-certified, NAPFTDS or CVTA member driver training school, and a current CDL holder;
  • Employed by any for-hire carrier or private fleet trucking company that has pledged to hire veterans through the Trucking Track Mentoring Program;
  • First employed as a CDL driver trucking between Jan. 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017; and
  • A legal resident of the continental United States.

Recently, hundreds of military personnel attended a two-day Hiring Our Heroes transition summit and hiring fair at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Kenworth brought in its T680 with a 76-inch sleeper and Paccar MX-13 engine to show military personnel what they can be working with.

For a full list of conditions and nomination forms, visit Nominations are due June 30.

The top 10 finalists will be announced on July 21, and will be recognized on Aug. 26 at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

Bendix air disc brakes will be standard on International LT Series trucks

International Truck has recently announced that its LT Series will come standard with Bendix ADB22X air disc brakes. This marks the first Class 8 tractor in North America to roll off the line with air disc brakes as standard equipment.

The Bendix ADB22X air disc brake features a patented lightweight design that significantly reduces stopping distance and extends brake system life. From Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC, the air disc brakes nearly eliminate brake fade and degradation of stopping power, according to International.

With high efficiency, drivers can save money with longer brake lining life and shorter pad replacement times compared to traditional drums.

A self-adjustment mechanism can help lower the risk of brakes being found out of adjustment during inspection which can affect Compliance, Safety, Accountability scoring.

In addition to the ADB22X air disc brakes, LT Series trucks feature an ergonomic interior, which includes better elbow room, hip room and leg room. International used driver input to ensure driver comfort, reliability, serviceability, safety and functionality.

Launched in 2005, the Bendix ADB22X was the first air disc brake available for the North American commercial vehicle market. The increasing market adoption by fleets and owner-operators means the brake now accounts for more than 1.5 million wheel-ends on the road.

For more information, visit

OOIDA course offers training for FDA rule

The Food and Drug Administration’s rule on the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food required large carriers to receive training by April 2017. The rule gave small carriers until April 2018 before they need to complete the training.

However, Andrew King of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said that members have called in explaining that their motor carrier or shipper is requiring certification regardless of size.

OOIDA is offering an online course that meets all of the training requirements of the rule. The course includes a 63-minute training module, a test, a certificate of completion, a card to keep in the truck, and templates of written procedures and checklists for dry van trailers, reefers, flatbeds, liquid bulk tankers and hopper bottoms.

The course is $100 and is offered to OOIDA members and non-members. About 100 people have used the course so far, King said.

 Last year, the FDA moved forward on the regulation that branched off the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law in 2011. The rule established requirements for shippers, loaders, carriers by motor or rail vehicles, and receivers involved in transporting human and animal food.

After the video, students of the course will take a 20-question test before receiving a certificate of completion to show they are compliant. The certificate can be received electronically or through the mail.

TA-Petro accepting 2018 Citizen Driver nominations

TravelCenters of America, operator of the TA and Petro Stopping Centers travel center brands, is now accepting nominations for 2018 Citizen Driver. Citizen Driver, launched in 2013, recognizes professional drivers who evoke public respect for the truck driving profession through good citizenship, safety, community involvement, health and wellness, and leadership. 

Anyone – fleet owners and executives, co-workers, friends, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, trucking organization members, trucking industry suppliers, trucking industry customers – may nominate a professional driver for the honor. Nomination forms, rules and other information can be found at Nominations will be accepted until Sept. 30, 2017. The 2018 Citizen Drivers will be recognized at the 2018 Citizen Drivers Ceremony at the TA-branded Iowa 80 location in Walcott, Iowa, on May 8, 2018.

Over the course of four years, there have been 26 Citizen Drivers and each of their names has been emblazoned on TA-Petro locations of their choice.