Trucking Biz Buzz

Dart Transit increasing driver pay for second time this year

Effective April 1, Dart Transit Company will be increasing over-the-road contracts for long-haul owner-operators by 2 cents per mile.

Only a quarter of the way through the year, this marks Dart’s second pay increase for the year. The first increase was in January when drivers along Dart’s main freight lanes saw an increase of 5 cents per mile.

“Dart is growing its freight network, and with that comes the need to grow our fleet size with owner-operators and company drivers,” said Russ Moore, Dart vice president of Safety and Fleet Services, in a press release.

For more information, visit

Cross-border freight off to strong start with largest increase since 2014

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in January trucks moved more than 62 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. All five modes experienced an increase compared to January 2016.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 1 percent compared with December when freight was down more than 4 percent from the previous month. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

Compared to January 2016, freight was up nearly 7 percent. This marks the largest year-to-year increase since September 2014 when U.S.-NAFTA freight increased by 8.2 percent from September 2013.

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 nearly $55 billion of the $88 billion of imports and exports in January. Rail came in second with more than $13 billion.

Freight totaled $87.960 billion, up nearly $900 million from the previous month and an increase of more than $5.5 billion from January 2016.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 42.7 percent after an increase of 30.9 percent in December. Trucks had a 0.4 percent increase, the smallest increase after experiencing the largest decrease in December when three of five modes went up.
Nearly 57 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.1 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 6.3 percent compared with January 2016. Of the $43 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 69 percent of the loads.

DAT Solutions: Flurry of activity

If you pulled your truck off the road to miss last week’s bad weather, you weren’t alone. Available capacity on DAT MembersEdge dipped 3.4 percent for the week ending March 18.

That didn’t stop shippers from trying to move freight.

The week began with a push to ship goods ahead of snow in the Midwest and Northeast. Shippers rushed to catch up once the roads were clear, and load-to-truck ratios rose for all three equipment types:

  • Van ratio: 3.4 loads per truck, up 23 percent to its highest point this year
  • Reefer ratio: 6.6, up 16 percent
  • Flatbed ratio: 37.4, up 5 percent

Overall, the number of available loads was 8 percent higher.

Rates lukewarm: As a national average only vans increased, gaining 1 cent to $1.64/mile. The reefer rate ($1.87/mile) and flatbed rate ($2.01/mile) were unchanged compared to the previous week.

East Coast blast: How did the storm affect rates in and out of East Coast markets? The average van rate gained 20 cents or more in one week on three lanes in the region:

  • Buffalo-Allentown, Pa., was up 22 cents to $2.80/mile
  • Allentown-Boston also paid 22 cents better at $3.19/mile
  • Philadelphia-Boston rose 21 cents to $3.27/mile

The average Allentown outbound rate added 9 cents to $1.93/mile, while Philadelphia averaged $1.59/mile, up a penny.

Turn up the reefer volume: Reefer load posts increased 16 percent while truck posts held steady. Regional rate leaders:

  • Green Bay: $2.63/mile, up 4 cents
  • McAllen, Texas: $2.08/mile, up 16 cents
  • Dallas: $1.73/mile, up 2 cents
  • Elizabeth, N.J.: $1.70/mile, up 6 cents

Laid back in California: A number of markets in the Southwest saw higher freight volumes and rates, led by Los Angeles ($2.27/mile, up 4 cents). But central California remains soft: in Fresno, volumes fell and the average rate fell 2 cents to $1.81/mile.

Houston hot: You won’t find any snow down in Houston. Freight volumes and rates continued to climb, and flatbed freight averaged $2.13/mile, up 3 cents. If you look at all load posts on the DAT network of load boards, with all trailer types combined, Houston is No. 1 so far in 2017.

Strong trends for flats: Outbound load volume held strong and steady while available capacity declined 5 percent. The flatbed load-to-truck ratio increased for the seventh week in a row.

Big swings: Some of the biggest flatbed rate swings were likely due to weather:

  • Charlotte-Roanoke, Va., was up 37 cents to $2.95/mile
  • Harrisburg-Buffalo plunged 76 cents better to $2.44/mile
  • Cleveland-Grand Rapids, Mich., fell 67 cents to $2.27/mile 

And big regional flatbed markets were up and down:

  • Phoenix: $1.71/mile, up 9 cents
  • Rock Island, Ill.: $2.34/mile, down 15 cents
  • Houston: $2.13/mile, up 3 cents
  • Atlanta: $2.22/mile, down 7 cents
  • Harrisburg: $2.99/mile, down 15 cents

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, tune in to Land Line Now, and join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

Arrow Truck Sales load new ‘Prime Program’ with incentives

Arrow Truck Sales Inc. has announced a used truck purchasing program for owner-operators who currently drive for select carriers or belong to select associations like OOIDA.

As a Prime member, the buyer qualifies for certain exclusive benefits, including a free six-month/50,000 mile warranty, special $1,000 allowance and more.

Carriers currently engaged in the Prime program include Landstar, USA Truck, Allied Van Lines and others.

The Prime program is also offered through select associations, including Women In Trucking, OOIDA, National Minority Trucking Association and more. A complete list of Prime benefits, carriers and associations can be found on Arrow’s website.

“We’re happy to be associated with these premier carriers and associations,” stated Jim Taber, Arrow’s National Account sales executive. “We believe these strategic partnerships will ultimately benefit drivers wanting to buy a used truck while receiving incentives to help with their purchase.”

Peterbilt offers $1,000 rebate for OOIDA members

Peterbilt will be featuring their latest products at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., on March 23-25. In addition, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association will be offering a $1,000 rebate on certain Peterbilt models.

At MATS, Peterbilt will feature 10 commercial vehicles; the Model 579 EPIQ’s latest fuel economy enhancements and new day cab configuration; SmartLINQ remote diagnostics technology; and a special display for the Red Oval pre-owned truck program.

Peterbilt is the truck sponsor of the annual Paul K. Young Memorial Truck Beauty Championship, which will include a new “Best Peterbilt in Show” category with awards for first through third place.

For Peterbilt models 567, 579 and 389 with a factory-installed 72-, 78- or 80-inch sleeper, OOIDA members can receive a $1,000 discount with a limit of three rebates.

For more information about Peterbilt, visit Details about MATS can be found at

For more info and the complete list of OOIDA’s rebate programs for members, visit

Wisconsin Kenworth wins Dealer Award

Wisconsin Kenworth received the 2016 Kenworth Dealer of the Year Award for the United States and Canada during a meeting in February at Indian Wells, Calif.

It marked the second time in the past four years that Wisconsin Kenworth won the award.

“Wisconsin Kenworth has a culture of exceeding customer expectations in every aspect of our business relationships,” said Jim Moeller, the CEO of CSM Companies, which is the parent company of Wisconsin Kenworth. “Our belief is that if we do that well, sales take care of themselves.”

New Love’s location in Hagerstown, Md., features 84 parking spaces

Truckers traveling through northern Maryland will have another rest stop option. Love’s has opened its second location in the Old Line State in Hagerstown off of Interstate 81.

Located at I-81 and Showalter Road at Exit 10A, the new Love’s will add 84 truck parking spaces to the area.

The Hagerstown Love’s features Subway and Wendy’s restaurants, seven showers, eight diesel pumps, Cat scales, a Love’s Truck Tire Care center and other driver services. Like other Love’s Travel Stops, gourmet coffee, fountain drinks, fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, small electronics, mobile accessories, and name-brand snacks will also be available.

Love’s other location in Maryland is at Interstate 68 off of Exit 46/47.

For more information about Love’s locations, visit

Trucking experiences largest job growth in nearly four years

quickly rebounded in February. The transport sector added nearly 9,000 jobs to the economy, including more than 10,000 trucking jobs. Trucking’s employment surge is the largest since April 2013 when the subsector grew by 11,700 jobs.

In the first two months, the trucking subsector started 2017 at a net gain of 9,200 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 10,600 jobs in February after the industry lost 1,400 in January and gained 1,400 in December. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

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 trucking subsector experienced the largest increase by a wide margin, followed by transit and ground passenger transportation at 1,400. Warehousing and storage experienced the largest loss with 1,500 fewer jobs, trailed by rail transport with 1,100 jobs lost. Only four of 10 subsectors experienced gains, making trucking largely responsible for the transportation sector’s net increase.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.59 for February – a 4-cent increase from January. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 8 cents to $21.04. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.09, 6 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.8 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 7.3 percent from 6.6 percent last February, and up from 7 percent in January. The overall unemployment rate for the country was down to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed was down slightly at 1.8 million, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the unemployed.

CVSA Roadcheck set for June 6-8

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Roadcheck is in its 30th year in 2017. This year’s International Roadcheck will take place June 6-8, 2017. It is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world with nearly 15 trucks or buses inspected, on average, every minute across North America during a 72-hour period.

International Roadcheck is an annual three-day event when CVSA-certified inspectors conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeted at various elements of motor carrier, vehicle and driver safety.

Since its inception in 1988, roadside inspections conducted during International Roadcheck have numbered more than 1.4 million. Roadcheck also provides an opportunity to educate industry and the general public about the importance of safe commercial vehicle operations and the roadside inspection program.

CVSA sponsors International Roadcheck with participation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada, and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).

In past years, jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada have actively participated in the program and publicized the number of inspections and out-of-service orders. There haven’t been any hard numbers out of Mexico in recent years.

No word yet on what this year’s focus will be, but for more information, visit the CVSA website.

January freight index unchanged, trucking freight down

The official freight index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals January freight was up for air, water and rail carload freight but down for trucking pipeline and rail intermodal, resulting in no change in the index from December.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for January was stagnant at 123.2. After adjustments from last month, this is 1.6 percent below the high set in July 2016 (125.2), which replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014 before the index started to decline in August.

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

Trucking freight went down to 137.2 from 138.3, a decrease of less than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage increase of nearly 3 percent in January to 138.8 from 134.9 in December. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, the TSI’s lack of movement comes amid mixed signals in the economy. Employment, personal income, and the Institute for Supply Management Purchasing Managers’ Index all grew while the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index fell 0.3 percent and housing starts were down 2.6 percent.