Trucking Biz Buzz Archive

DAT Solutions: The results are in

In a week that shook up the country, the spot truckload market stayed steady.

The number of available loads on MembersEdge dipped just 1 percent during the week ending Nov. 12. With capacity up 5 percent compared to the previous week, national average load-to-truck ratios weakened a bit:

  • Van L/T: 2.7 (down 3 percent)
  • Reefer L/T: 6.4 (down 5 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T: 14.1 (unchanged)

As a national average, spot truckload rates gave back some of the previous week’s gains:

  • Vans: Down 3 cents to $1.67/mile
  • Reefers: Off 2 cents to $1.95/mile
  • Flatbeds: Down 2 cents to $1.89/mile

Those rates include a fuel surcharge. The average price of on-highway diesel dropped another 3 cents to $2.44/gallon.

West is best: The strongest areas for spot van loads on MembersEdge are still out West: No. 1 Los Angeles and No. 2 Ontario, Calif. Key lane: Los Angeles-Phoenix jumped 5 cents to $2.77/mile last week.

Get your Philly:Philadelphia saw the biggest jump in average outbound van rates thanks mostly to a couple of lanes to destinations in the Northeast, including Philly-Boston, up 10 cents to $3.20/mile. It’s still tough to get a good rate from Philly if you’re heading to the Midwest or to the Southeast.

Regional high van markets:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.08/mile, unchanged
  • Midwest: Chicago, $2.09/mile, up 1 cent
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.50/mile, down 2 cents
  • Southeast: Memphis, $1.91/mile, up 1 cent
  • Northeast: Buffalo, N.Y., $1.93/mile, down 3 cents

Reefer posts down: Produce had an off week with several markets seeing a large fall-off in volumes. Reefer load posts declined 1.5 percent and truck posts increased 3.4 percent.

Hot fries: Demand for reefers is high in Southern Idaho, with potatoes and onions rolling out ahead of Thanksgiving. Twin Falls is the No. 1 market for reefer posts, and the load-to-truck ratio surged to 33.4 loads per truck. For comparison, the national average is 6.4 reefer loads per truck.

Apples sauced: With Michigan’s peak apple season complete, rates dropped on lanes out of Grand Rapids. Apples will continue moving from storage locations throughout the winter, a likely reason the lane from Grand Rapids to Madison bounced back up to $2.37/mile.

Tri-haul of the week:

Van rates are way up on the lane from Stockton, Calif.-Portland, Ore. You can get a load for $2.11/mile and line up a backhaul for $1.50. Or you can turn that backhaul into a sort of a tri-haul. It’s more like an extra pick and drop, because if you take a load from Portland-Medford in Southern Oregon, you hardly have to leave the I-5 corridor. Those loads aren’t so plentiful now, but if you find one, it will pay $2.39/mile. Then you can grab a load from the Medford area back to Stockton, at $2.02/mile.

Remember that Oregon is a top state for Christmas trees and tree season starts next week. There are going to be more loads heading from Oregon to California.

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

Love’s reaches more than 400 truck stops with new South Holland, Ill., location

Love’s Travel Stops recently reached a milestone with its opening of a new location in South Holland, Ill. The South Holland truck stop pushes Love’s to over 400 locations throughout 40 states.

South Holland’s Love’s is located at Interstate 94 at Exit 73B. The new locations will feature 88 truck parking spaces, seven showers and Love’s Truck Tire facility.

In celebration of its 400-plus milestone, Love’s is allowing customers a chance to win My Love Rewards points, Michelin steer tires and gift cards. For the next four weeks, 25 My Love Rewards members will be randomly selected to win $400 worth of points. Truckers simply swipe their card to see if they have won.

Swiping rewards point cards can also enter truckers into a drawing to win one of four sets of Michelin steer tires. Also, truckers can share on social media how they are celebrating the milestone by using the #Loves400 hashtag. Four people using the hashtag will be selected to win a $100 Love’s gift card.

This year, Love’s has opened 37 locations in 15 states, adding more than 2,200 truck parking spaces. Love’s is expecting to open approximately 50 new stores by the end of the year, making 2016 the year with the most location openings since Love’s was founded in 1964.

Caltrans seeking drivers for truck survey

Keeping up with a trend among states, Caltrans is asking truckers operating in California to take part in a survey regarding the physical and operational characteristics of their commercial vehicles, according to a Caltrans press release.

Hoping to get approximately 14,000 drivers to participate, the survey will take place online and over the phone. About 5 percent of the surveys will involve an onboard GPS device to collect data on trip distance, speed, duration and fuel usage. Devices are shipped to participants and are to be returned after about one week of use.

Data will be used to assist Caltrans in planning and developing projects to improve freight movement. Information gleaned from the results will include types of trucks used, types of commodities carried, and travel patterns.

For more information on the Caltrans Truck Survey, click here.

Rush Truck Centers to offer APG’s Duel Fuel trucks in 14 states

American Power Group, manufacturer of the Turbocharged Natural Gas Duel Fuel System, has announced its partnership with Rush Truck Centers, a commercial vehicle dealership. Rush Truck Centers will now be an installer and dealer of the Duel Fuel System. 

The multi-year deal will include Rush Truck Centers in 14 states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. 

According to its website, APG’s Duel Fuel System converts a truck’s standard diesel fuel system to one that uses both natural gas and diesel. After the conversion, the engine can use either a mixture of diesel and natural gas or 100 percent diesel. APG offers Duel Fuel Gliders and Class 8 conversions. 

For more information, visit APG’s website or RushTruckCenters.com.

FMCSA issues Safety Advisory for Keith Huber Inc. cargo tanks

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a Safety Advisory regarding certain cargo tank vehicles manufactured by Keith Huber Inc., according to a news release. 

According to FMCSA, DOT407 and DOT412 cargo tanks are not in compliance with Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations. The Safety Advisory affects cargo tanks manufactured by Keith Huber Inc. before May 1, 2013. 

Keith Huber Inc. is out of business and stopped making cargo tanks around May 1, 2013. Although an entity of Keith Huber Corp., Keith Huber Inc. cargo tanks are not the same. Cargo tanks manufactured by Keith Huber Corp. are not subject to the Safety Advisory. 

Due to the advisory, operation of the affected cargo tanks is prohibited in specification hazardous materials service. Continued use under those circumstances can lead to enforcement and civil penalties. 

For more information, click here. Questions regarding the issue should be sent to FMCSA.CargoTank@dot.gov.  

Freight index down for second consecutive month

Official freight numbers for September are in. The index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals freight was down for pipelines, rail intermodal and trucking, enough to bring down the index for a second consecutive month.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for September decreased by 0.6 percent to 121.5. 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 September index is 28.2 percent above the low set during the recession in June 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went down 134 from 135.5, a decrease of more than 1 percent. Numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 5.8 percent in September to 132.7 from 140.8 in August. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s fall occurred during a time of economic stability as the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index increased by only 0.1 percent. Employment rose by 161,000 jobs, and housing starts increased by 1.9 percent when compared with August.

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

DAT Solutions: Unseasonably Warm Spots

We’ve turned back the clocks. There’s a nip in the air. The leaves are falling.

Yet for reefers, spot TL rates feel more like a June peak than the first week in November. During the week ending Nov. 5, the national average reefer rate on DAT MembersEdge jumped 7 cents to an average of $1.97/mile. Reefer rates haven't been this high since mid-July, when produce harvests are coming in.

Spot market load availability gained 4.8 percent while the number of trucks posted slipped 2 percent, which led to higher van and reefer load-to-truck ratios. The van L/T ratio was 3 (up 9 percent compared to last week) while the reefer ratio was 6.8 (up 13 percent).

Van rate rises: At $1.70/mile, the average van rate was up 5 cents week over week and was just 1 cent below year-ago levels.

More loads, small changes: Van load posts rose 7 percent and truck posts dropped 2 percent last week. Price changes were small on most individual lanes but the overall effect boosted the average linehaul rate to just 1 cent below the average for this time last year.

Best out west: Several van markets are stronger than they were a month ago, especially markets in the West (Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, and Stockton) that connect the region to much of the East Coast.

Top spot van markets by region:

  • Northeast: Buffalo, $1.97/mile, up 6 cents
  • West: Los Angeles, $2.07/mile, up 4 cents
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.51/mile, up 1 cent
  • Midwest: Chicago, $2.05/mile, up 1 cent
  • Southeast: Charlotte, N.C., $1.91/mile, up 2 cents

Reefer trends: With produce and other fresh food moving into position for Thanksgiving, reefer load posts unexpectedly increased 10 percent last week while truck posts declined 2.5 percent.

Top reefer lanes: Rates on the top reefer lanes have been hard to predict, with lots of changes from week to week:

  • Fresno-Denver added 27 cents for an average of $2.27/mile
  • Miami-Northern New Jersey added 35 cents for $1.44/mile
  • Green Bay-Minneapolis rose 36 cents to $2.24/mile
  • Miami-Baltimore was down 29 cents to $1.36/mile
  • Los Angeles-Denver dipped 18 cents to $2.38/mile
  • Ontario-Phoenix rose 7 cents to $3.10/mile

Flatbed trends: Flatbed load posts declined 1 percent last week as truck posts increased less than 1 percent. That caused the load-to-truck ratio to decline nearly 2 percent to 14.1 loads per truck. The average flatbed rate declined 1 cent to $1.91/mile.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

TravelCenters of America creates truck service tire network

TravelCenters of America, operator of the TA and Petro Stopping Centers, has created a monster – monster independent commercial tire dealer, that is.

The Westlake, Ohio-based travel center corporation has formed the TA Truck Service Commercial Tire Network, significantly expanding TA’s commercial tire business. TA claims the network is now the largest in the nation.

TA Executive Vice President Barry Richards made the announcement last week at the SEMA Show Complex. SEMA is the annual Specialty Equipment Manufacturers show held every year in Las Vegas.

All TA Truck Service centers now carry full lines of tires from Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental, and Samson. TA Truck Service also offers premium and economy Goodyear retread lines.

In addition to its traditional retail and national account offering, TA has already added tire brands, including Cooper Tire Roadmaster, Goodyear Marathon and Kelly, and expects to add others soon, including BF Goodrich, Pirelli and Formula by Pirelli. TA has also expanded the array of tire brands available through both its RoadSquad emergency roadside service and its growing “OnSite” mobile maintenance service.

Whether steers, drives or trailer tires, customers can choose to have them delivered anywhere coast to coast across the U.S., pick them up at any TA Truck Service location, or have them installed by an ASE-certified TA Truck Service technician. Truck service technicians are available to install your tires in bay at TA Truck Service facilities. 

The TA Truck Service network includes 243 truck service facilities, 1,079 repair bays, and nearly 3,000 technicians. TA has more than 1,600 RoadSquad Connect emergency assistance roadside vehicles and a growing fleet of OnSite maintenance vehicles.

Trucking jobs were up in October, still down year-to-date

Transportation jobs in October rebounded from a hit in September, adding 7,500 jobs to the economy, including 3,000 trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector gained 7,500 jobs in October, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net loss of more than 4,000 jobs, down from a net loss of nearly 12,000 in September. 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 3,000 jobs in October after the industry lost 3,600 in September and gained 3,400 in August. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss of 5,000 jobs.

The warehousing and storage subsector experienced the largest increase with 3,300 jobs added to the economy, followed by trucking. “Support activities for transportation” experienced the largest loss with 1,200 fewer jobs, trailed by water transport with 1,100 jobs lost.

Last year, 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.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.55 for October – a 6-cent increase from September. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 11 cents to $21.10. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.92, 10 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 down to 5.8 percent from 6.7 percent last October, and just slightly down from 5.9 percent in September. The overall unemployment rate for the country was down to 4.9 percent after hovering at 5 percent for four consecutive months. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or gone relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed was unchanged at 2 million, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the unemployed.

Musket Corp. opens sixth diesel exhaust fluid facility in Georgia

Musket Corp. has opened its sixth diesel exhaust fluid wholesale bulk rack in Morrow, Ga., according to a Love’s Travel Stops press release. Musket is the trading and logistics arm of Love’s. 

DEF facilities are located in Memphis, Tenn.; Kingman, Ariz.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Albuquerque, N.M.; Louisville, Ky.; and Morrow, Ga. Musket produces its own DEF at these locations. DEF facilities are located near Love’s Travel Stops stores for easy access.

With six DEF terminals in place, Musket plans to double the number of facilities by 2017. DEF production by Musket began in 2014 in response to high demand and low supply. Love’s has had DEF available at the pump since 2010. 

As selective catalytic reduction technology (SCR) has become more popular due to the EPA’s Clean Air Act’s call to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, the use of DEF has increased, according to a Love’s press release. DEF is used as an after treatment on SCR technology as it converts harmful emissions into nitrogen and water.

DAT Solutions: Van freight volumes sleepy, hollow

By and large, October was a good month on the spot market. Load availability rose 2.8 percent on the MembersEdge load board and capacity was up 3.4 percent compared to September. Freight volume also exceeded 2015 levels for the month.

But rates did not catch up to the previous year's highs. And judging by the trendlines from the final week of October, spot freight availability is weakening as we ride into November.

Average spot rates:

  • Van: The national average van rate edged down 1 cent to $1.65/mile
  • Reefer: Reefer rates held steady at a national average of $1.90/mile
  • Flatbed: The national average flatbed rate added 1 cent due to rising fuel surcharges. The average rate was $1.92/mile

Mixed load-to-truck ratios:

  • Van L/T ratio: 2.7. Unchanged
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 6. Up 2 percent
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 14.4. Down 8 percent

Van market slipping: Volumes rose significantly in Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles as van freight picked up from west to east. But nationally van load availability and truck posts both slipped 1 percent, and rates barely moved on a majority of lanes.

Hot markets by region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.07/mile, up 2 cents
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.51/mile, down 1 cent
  • Midwest: Chicago, $2.01/mile, up 1 cent
  • Northeast: Allentown, Pa., $1.95/mile, down 2 cents
  • Southeast: Charlotte, N.C., $1.90/mile, up 3 cents after falling sharply in the previous week, in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

Reefer trends: Reefer load posts declined less than 1 percent last week while truck posts were down 2.5 percent.

California slumping: Reefer volumes in California slumped, which hurt the national picture last week. There was much more regional movement with refrigerated freight than there was with van freight, though, so there’s evidence of a pre-Thanksgiving push.

Key reefer lanes:

  • Ontario, Calif.-Phoenix rebounded 20 cents to an average of $3.03/mile.
  • Green Bay-Des Moines added 20 cents to an average of $1.93/mile.
  • Twin Falls-Los Angeles paid an average of $1.97/mile, 20 cents better than the previous week.
  • Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla., was off 11 cents to $2.76/mile
  • There’s also a lot of poultry shipping out of northern Georgia this time of year, so those factors combined led to a 24-cent drop on the lane from Elizabeth, N.J.-Atlanta, which paid $1.54/mile last week.

MembersEdge tri-haul of the week: Van rates were down last week on the Columbus-Atlanta lane, a typical headhaul. Instead of taking the backhaul rate from Atlanta to Columbus, which was just $1.28/mile last week, try Atlanta-Nashville instead. That lane paid $2.59/mile on average last week, and loads going from Nashville-Columbus paid an average of $1.75/mile. If your hours let you fit that extra third leg into your round trip, you’d add about 60 miles to your trip, and the average roundtrip rate goes from $1.60 to $2.01 for all loaded miles.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards.

Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

Phase two of TxDOT truck toll discount on SH 130 begins

Phase two of the Texas Department of Transportation Truck Toll Discount Program is underway. A trucker driving on State Highway 130 (from the Interstate 35 exit in Georgetown to U.S. 183 exit in Buda) and State Highway 45SE will see the discount on tolls increase.

From Nov. 1 through Aug. 31, 2017, a savings of 67 percent will be issued to TxTag users only. Those with the tag will pay only $8.04. However, pay-by-mail drivers will still pay the $21.41 rate from phase one. Switching from pay-by-mail to TxTag could save up to 75 percent.

On March 31, the state legislature passed the Truck Toll Discount Program in an effort to relieve congestion on Interstate 35. Phase one began in April and ran through Oct. 31 and included a 33 percent discount. Pay-by-mail truckers will keep that rate, whereas TxTag truckers get the increased discount.

Discounts are being offered after the state legislature approved $18.7 million over two years for reduced tolls on large trucks. Only SH 130 and SH 45SE are eligible for the discount. All other toll roads near Austin will continue to operate at the normal rates.

“By getting some of these big rigs to use SH 130, during peak hours, we will help ease some of the gridlock we see on I-35 through Austin,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass in a press release. “This will get drivers to their destinations quicker by saving them time that otherwise would be spent in traffic.”

But will truckers take advantage of the discount?

OOIDA Member Sean O’Rourke told Land Line when he plans to use SH 130.

“Never,” O’Rourke said. “I’m not driving on a toll road if there’s another route that’s free.”

O’Rourke acknowledged that truckers driving through the area more frequently may find a use for the discounted SH 130, but the company he drives for avoids tolls whenever possible. In some cases, O’Rourke will drive on a toll road if the route is quicker and time is an issue. Otherwise, he finds driving on alternate routes that are toll-free to be more cost efficient.

This is not the first or second time truckers have received a discount on SH 130. According to TxDOT spokesperson Mark Cross, trucker incentives were placed Dec. 21, 2011, to Jan. 25, 2012; Feb. 4, 2013, to March 3, 2013; and April 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2013. During the previous discount, truck toll transactions increased more than 36 percent, according to TxDOT.

XPO sells former Con-way truckload business to TransForce for $558 million

Nearly one year to the day after XPO Logistics officially acquired Con-way, the company has announced it has completed the sale of its truckload business to TransForce for $558 million in cash, according to an XPO press release.

Truckload operations acquired through the Con-way deal on Oct. 30, 2015, include approximately 3,000 tractors, 7,500 trailers and 29 locations. Using its position as the second largest brokerage network, XPO will continue to offer truckload services in North America.

Back in early October last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that XPO would consider selling Con-way’s truckload unit. According to the newspaper, three offers for Con-way’s truckload unit were made to XPO. XPO CEO Bradley Jacobs had not made a decision as to whether or not sell the unit at the time.

Approximately $632 million in annual revenue, or around 11 percent of Con-way’s overall revenue, would have been lost in the sale of the truckload unit during the acquisition last year. Before the deal was made official, XPO expected to increase annual operating profit of Con-way from $40 million to $210 million over the next two years via cost savings and operational improvements.

XPO will put the profits from the TransForce deal toward the debt the company has accrued after acquiring several companies. In April 2015, XPO bought Norbert Dentressangle, a European transport and logistics company, for $3.5 billion.

In September 2015, XPO faced opposition toward the $3 billion Con-way acquisition. Just one day after XPO announced plans to acquire Con-way, Moody’s Investors Service announced that XPO’s ratings would be under review for a possible downgrade. XPO had a rating of B1 at the time, which is considered a “high credit risk.”

Moody’s review questioned XPO’s ability to integrate both Con-way and Norbert Dentressangle without burying itself in excessive debt. A document dated Sept. 17, 2015, on Moody’s website suggested that XPO’s plan to acquire Con-way is “credit negative.” A similar document dated April 28, 2015, declared the same “credit negative” status for the Norbert Dentressangle acquisition.

In January, XPO cut approximately 190 jobs as part of its previously announced synergy plans in its less-than-truckload acquisition from Con-way. Approximately one week later, the logistics company shut down seven terminals.

In May, XPO employees in the U.S. and Europe were upset about anti-worker actions and abuses, according to a Teamsters news release. Union leaders were claiming XPO was “mismanaging the integration of its new businesses, leading to operational and financial risks.”

NAFTA truck freight shows increase

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in August trucks moved more than 65 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Truck and air freight were the only modes to experience an increase compared to last August.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by more than 11 percent compared with July when freight was down nearly 10 percent from the previous month. August marks the largest month-to-month increase since March 2015.

Compared to August 2015, freight was up 0.7 percent, the first year-to-year increase since December 2014 when freight increased by more than 5 percent. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month since then.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $61 billion of the $93.1 billion of imports and exports in August. Rail came in second with more than $14 billion.

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow because of plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $93.126 billion, up more than $9 billion from the previous month and an increase of nearly $700 million from August 2015.

Vessel freight experienced the steepest decline at 12.5 percent, half of July’s drop of 25.1 percent. Trucks had a 3.4 percent increase, the second highest increase next to air freight at 4.9 percent.
 
Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.5 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 3 percent compared with August 2015. Of the $45.8 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 71 percent of the loads.

DAT Solutions: Despite more loads, spot rates dip

Load-to-truck ratios gained in all three equipment types on DAT MembersEdge during the week ending Oct. 15. The average fuel surcharge added a penny as the price of diesel went up another 4 cents to $2.48/gallon as a national average.

But spot truckload rates?

Well, let’s take a closer look at the trendlines from DAT MembersEdge:

National average spot TL rates:

  • Van: $1.66/mile, down 2 cents
  • Reefer: $1.91/mile, down 1 cent
  • Flatbed: $1.92/mile, unchanged

Higher L/T ratios: With more loads in the system, the national average van load-to-truck ratio was up 9 percent to 2.9 while the reefer ratio climbed 4 percent to 5.8. At 14.7, the flatbed ratio was up 10 percent.

Florida freight: Freight started moving into Florida again last week after Hurricane Matthew put shipments on hold. That led to more load posts and higher rates on MembersEdge. Volumes doubled from Charlotte to Lakeland, Fla., which pushed the average rate up 38 cents to $2.65/mile. Atlanta to Lakeland jumped up 16 cents to $2.56/mile.

Hot-lanta: Van rates were higher throughout the Southeast. Atlanta reclaimed the top spot for van load posts as more freight left there for areas affected by the storm and I-95 closures. The average Atlanta-outbound rate jumped 5 cents to $1.91/mile.

Top van markets by region: Van rates rose on more than half of the highest-volume lanes. The high-dollar market in each region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.05/mile, up 1 cent
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.53/mile, up 2 cents
  • Southeast: Charlotte, $2.08/mile, up 13 cents
  • Northeast: Buffalo, N.Y., $1.99/mile, down 2 cents
  • Midwest: Chicago, $1.99/mile, down 3 cents

Reefer loads rise: Reefer load posts were up 4 percent last week, while truck posts were unchanged.

…But rates chill: Average reefer rates were cooler than expected. High-dollar markets by region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.37, down 2 cents
  • South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.79/mile, up 10 cents
  • Southeast: Atlanta, $2.25/mile, unchanged
  • Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.36/mile, down 5 cents
  • Midwest: Grand Rapids, Mich., $2.98/mile, down 13 cents

Also out of Atlanta, the lane to Lakeland dropped 11 cents to $2.70/mile, while Lakeland-outbound averaged $1.15/mile, down 6 cents. The trends remained mixed.

Flats up: In the week following Hurricane Matthew, flatbed load posts increased 10 percent while truck posts held steady, elevating the average load-to-truck ratio. The Top 5 markets for flatbed load posts: Little Rock, Cleveland, Shreveport, Spokane, and Portland, Ore.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at DAT.com.

USA Truck increases pay rates for independent contractors

USA Truck, a carrier and logistics company based in Arkansas, has recently announced a pay increase for independent contractors, according to a press release. 

Dubbed the Independent Contractor Compensation Program, new independent contractors will receive higher mileage rates. Depending on the length of the haul, rates have been increased from $1.02 to $1.35 per mile.

Other benefits of the program include discounted fuel at in-network fuel stops, preferred labor rates, and discounted parts at USA Truck maintenance facilities.

To find out more, visit DriveUSATruck.com or call 479-471-2508.

Index points to largest freight tonnage decrease since January 2014

Official freight numbers for August are in. The index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals freight was down for pipelines, rail carloads and trucking, enough to bring down the index from July’s all-time high.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for August decreases by 1.8 percent to 122.3. July’s TSI replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014.

The August index is 29 percent above the low set during the recession in June 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went down relatively sharply to 136.5 from 140.8, a decrease of more than 3 percent. However, numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage increase of 5.7 percent in August to 141.8 from 134.2 in July. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s fall lines up with declines in the mining and manufacturing sectors. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index fell 0.4 percent in August.

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

DAT Solutions: Stormy weather

Hurricane Matthew and its toll on the South, both in human terms and in relation to the supply chain, continues to rise. The storm’s effects likely contributed to higher van rates and lower freight volumes during the week ending Oct. 8 as shippers paid more to move freight early in the week before reducing their activity later.

Inbound rates could go up in hard-hit areas like the Carolinas this week.

While we await those numbers, let’s take a closer look at the trendlines from DAT MembersEdge:

National average spot TL rates:

  • Van: $1.68/mile, up 6 cents
  • Reefer: $1.92/mile, up 1 cent
  • Flatbed: $1.92/mile, up 4 cents

Fewer van loads, more competition: The van load-to-truck ratio dropped 9 percent to 2.8 for the week as the number of posted loads fell 7 percent and truck posts rose 2 percent—unusual for a week with a 6-cent increase in the average van rate.

Reefer, flatbed L/T ratios down: Reefer load posts declined 4 percent while truck posts increased 3 percent. The result: a 7 percent decline in the reefer load-to-truck ratio (5.6). The flatbed load-to-truck ratio fell 7 percent to 13.4 after flatbed load posts declined 6 percent and truck posts increased 1 percent.

Hanjin fallout: The Hanjin Shipping Co. bankruptcy continues to affect demand, as Los Angeles was again the No. 1 market for load posts on DAT MembersEdge by a wide margin. The load-to-truck ratio there was 7.4 (the national average was 2.8). Eastbound freight remained solid for carriers: L.A.-Elizabeth, N.J., averaged $1.74/mile.

Regional rates: Van rates rose on more than half of the highest-volume lanes. The high-dollar market in each region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.06/mile, up 4 cents
  • South Central: Dallas, $1.50/mile, up 1 cent
  • Southeast: Charlotte, $1.92/mile, up 3 cents
  • Northeast: Buffalo, N.Y., $2.00/mile, up 6 cents
  • Midwest: Chicago, $2.03/mile, up 2 cents

Rising reefer lanes: Reefer rates were up and down, even among the high-dollar lanes by region:

  • West: Ontario, Calif.-Phoenix, $2.86/mile, up 3 cents
  • South Central: Dallas-Houston, $2.32/mile, down 7 cents
  • Southeast: Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla., $2.70/mile, down 11 cents
  • Northeast: Elizabeth-Boston, $3.53/mile, down 15 cents
  • Midwest: Grand Rapids-Cleveland, $3.48/mile, up 2 cents

Also out of Grand Rapids, the lane to Atlanta dropped 53 cents to $2.23/mile, which gives you a good idea of how mixed the trends were last 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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at DAT.com.

Trucking industry suffers job losses in September

Transportation jobs took a hit in September, including 3,600 trucking jobs eliminated from the workforce.

The overall transportation sector lost 9,000 jobs in September, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net loss of nearly 12,000 jobs, up from 3,000 in August.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of approximately 3,600 jobs in September after the industry gained 3,400 in August and 1,700 in July. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss of 8,000 jobs. September’s loss was the largest monthly decrease since June when the trucking subsector lost 6,300 jobs.

The “Transit and ground passenger transportation” subsector experienced the largest decrease with 14,100 jobs removed from the economy, followed by trucking. Warehousing and storage experienced the largest gain with an additional 5,300 jobs, trailed by “support activities for transportation” with 3,300 more jobs.

Last year, 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.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.65 for September – a 19-cent increase from August. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 14 cents to $21.22. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.79, 6 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.6 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 5.9 percent from 5.8 percent last September, but down from 7.1 percent in August. The overall unemployment rate for the country was little changed at 5 percent for the fourth consecutive month. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or gone relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed changed little at 2 million, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the unemployed.

Mack’s new powertrain underscores integration, fuel efficiency

At a press conference in Las Vegas this week, Mack Trucks told members of the trucking press how its 2017 powertrain will reduce fuel consumption without sacrificing power. Jonathan Randall, Mack’s senior vice president of sales, said that is what customers want. Mack’s new powertrain is also designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is what the EPA wants.

Randall provided details on the 2017 Mack powertrain, including its Mack MP series engines, Mack mDRIVE HD 13- and 14-speed automated manual transmissions. Other news included the new ClearTech One single package Exhaust Aftertreatment System (EATS) and the coming availability of Mack Predictive Cruise.
 
Several upgrades and enhancements to Mack’s 11-liter MP7 and 13-liter MP8 boosted fuel efficiency from 2.1 to 8.8 percent compared with prior model year engines. Both engines feature an updated wave piston design that raises the compression ratio and enables more complete combustion of fuel. The new common-rail fuel system also injects fuel more precisely. Combined with a two-speed coolant pump, these features help increase MP7 fuel efficiency by up to 5.1 percent and MP8 fuel efficiency by up to 5 percent.

The 2017 MP7 also delivers more power with a new 425 horsepower rating.
 
Mack also will offer the 2017 MP8 engine with a turbo compounding system – available exclusively with Mack’s SuperEconodyne downspeeding package – engineered to give customers in highway applications increased power and efficiency.

The 2017 Mack MP8 and 2017 MP7 are available for order now. The Mack MP8 with turbo compounding will be available for order sometime this month.

The updated 2017 Mack MP series engines complement Mack’s recently launched Mack mDRIVE HD 13- and 14-speed automated manual transmissions. With up to two low-ratio creeper gears, Mack says the new mDRIVE HD variants provide improved startability for heavy loads, while maintaining proper gearing for fuel efficiency at speed.

Also new for 2017 is ClearTech One, which is more compact than a two-component Exhaust Aftertreatment System, allowing for a shorter wheelbase for improved maneuverability. The smaller package also is about 17 pounds lighter than the current two-unit EATS. According to the company, ClearTech One is optimized for passive regeneration and SCR performance. The SCR catalyst is mounted downstream of the DPF, preventing hydrocarbon, ash or soot from entering the system.

Mack also announced this week that in January 2017 customers will be able to order Mack Predictive Cruise, an intelligent system that memorizes a route when cruise control is on, storing up to 4,500 hills in its memory. When the driver travels the same route the next time, Mack Predictive Cruise engages mDRIVE to choose the most fuel-efficient gear.

Predictive Cruise constantly monitors speed, engine load, weight and the road gradient in order to select the best gear for the road ahead. Mack says the predictive cruise feature can increase fuel efficiency by up to 1 percent and does not require a constant GPS connection.

Paccar announces updates to MX-13 and MX-11 engines, new proprietary axle

Paccar is launching new power, torque and fuel efficiency enhancements to its MX-13 and MX-11 engines for North America. The maker of Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks released details this week at a press conference in Las Vegas.

Paccar increased the MX-13 engine’s output to 510 hp and 1,850 lb-ft of torque and increased the MX-11 engine’s output to 430 hp and 1,650 lb-ft of torque. The enhanced MX-11 engine also adds a new 335 hp and 1,150 lb-ft torque rating in the lower end of the power range. Paccar’s MX engines deliver peak torque at 900 rpm for the majority of engine ratings, supporting increased performance and driving flexibility. 

Paccar expects 90 percent of the MX-13 and MX-11 engines to reach 1 million miles without the need for a major overhaul. Each MX engine also comes standard with factory-installed remote diagnostics to deliver proactive customer support.   

The 2017 Paccar MX-13 and MX-11 engines include a new single cylinder air compressor, variable displacement oil pump, and variable speed coolant pump providing customers with fuel economy gains over the previous engine design. The latest MX-13 and MX-11 engines extend oil and fuel filter change intervals from 60,000 miles to 75,000 miles, a cost savings for customers over the life of the vehicle. 

In addition, the MX-13 and MX-11 engines now use a single canister aftertreatment system that reduces weight by 100 pounds, improves serviceability, and lengthens service intervals.

The new engines will be available in Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks in January 2017. 

Paccar also announced this week its new proprietary tandem axle for North America, designed to complement the MX engines. Paccar Vice President Landon Sproull said it’s the industry’s lightest axle in its class and is rated at 40,000 pounds, supporting a gross combination weight of 80,000 lbs. 

The Paccar axle features a unique pinion-through-shaft design that simplifies power flow in the axle for maximum efficiency. The axle comes with a warranty of five years or 750,000 miles.

Kenworth and Peterbilt will begin offering the axle to customers in January 2017.

DAT Solutions: The Hanjin effect

As the West Coast feels ripple effects from the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping Co., nationally the number of loads posted on DAT MembersEdge fell 5 percent during the week ending Sept. 24 while capacity was up 3 percent. That helped send average load-to-truck ratios down: 

  • Van L/T: 2.8 (down 10 percent)
  • Reefer L/T: 5.5 (down 10 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T: 13.2 (unchanged)

Those ratios are back on par with August levels, but spot truckload rates didn’t move much:

  • Vans: Holding steady at $1.64/mile
  • Reefers: Unchanged at $1.91/mile
  • Flatbeds: Down 1 cent for an average of $1.88/mile

Hanjin Shakeout: Los Angeles jumped to the No. 2 spot for load posts on DAT MembersEdge (behind Chicago). Spot van freight volume and rates surged there last week ($2.01/mile, up 2 cents), with larger rate increases on eastbound, long-haul lanes. Los Angeles-Phoenix, up 4 cents to $2.61/mile, set the high mark for outbound rates.

Key van lanes: Several lanes showed strength last week while two L.A.-inbound lanes created opportunities for carriers looking to position trucks in that market:

  • Columbus-Buffalo, $2.75/mile, up 6 cents
  • Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla., $2.37/mile, unchanged
  • Philadelphia-Boston, $3.15/mile, down 3 cents
  • Chicago-Los Angeles, $1.29/mile, up 9 cents
  • Dallas-Los Angeles, $1.08/mile, up 2 cents

More on California: Reefer prices showed gains in Los Angeles, where the average outbound rate was up a penny to $2.36/mile. The highest-paying lane in the West was Ontario-Phoenix, up 2 cents to $2.90/mile.

Number 1: Twin Falls, Idaho, held onto the top spot last week for reefer posts on MembersEdge on strong potato harvests. The average Twin Falls-Chicago rate was up 24 cents to $1.89/mile.

Midwest rates: Midwest reefer rates were mostly down, but Green Bay-Minneapolis paid 20 cents better last week at $2.10/mile. The return trip averages $2.21/mile but volume is low. Try to secure loads in both directions in advance, if you can.

Apple sauce: Apple shipments might be slowing down in Michigan. The lane from Grand Rapids-Atlanta fell 24 cents to $2.32/mile.

Haul of the week: If you like long hauls, there are opportunities in California because of the Hanjin turmoil. Most trucks that unload in the Los Angeles area want a load to another city in California, or to Arizona or Nevada, just a few hundred miles away, so it’s getting harder for brokers to find a truck to the East Coast.

If you want to go east, one of the top destinations is the Elizabeth, N.J., market, which includes Newark, the nation’s No. 3 seaport and a regional warehousing hub. Los Angeles-Elizabeth is up 10 cents a mile this week. If you’re looking for a load on Friday, you can probably negotiate an even better rate than that.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

Utility recalling some flatbed trailers for faulty Conestoga XP systems

Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co. is recalling certain flatbed trailers, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Affected trailers have an issue with the Aero Industries’ tarp system.

More specifically, certain 2015-2017 Utility flatbed trailers equipped with Aero Industries Conestoga XP with RAD-style rear closures are affected. RAD is a “rear aerodynamic device.” Rivets may become loose if trailer is backed into a dock, or forcibly hit by a blunt object, with RAD closure in the open position.

A handle on the rear bow should be used to move the system. If the handle is not used, rivets could fatigue over time. As a result, the RAD can fall onto the roadway and potentially cause a crash.

Aero Industries will supply a repair kit at no cost to owners of affected vehicles. According to the recall report, the repair kit includes instructions, nuts and bolts, drill bit and Allen wrench for the repair. The repair is expected to take up to one hour.

Owners of affected vehicles can contact Aero Industries at 800-535-7563. This recall is part of a previous recall from Aero Industries in August.

Virtual 5K run to generate money for St. Christopher Fund

Running in a local 5K can often be a difficult task for a truck driver. All of the time spent on the highways makes it tough to find the time for such events.

The Truckin’ Runners Facebook Group, however, has created a 5-kilometer run specifically tailored toward the life of a truck driver. And it’s for a good cause.

The group started out small in 2010, says Jeff Clark, an OOIDA member and a runner from Kewaunee, Wis., but now has 911 members.

Truckin’ Runners will have its third annual Virtual 5K run/walk from Oct. 24-30. Money generated from the fundraisers will benefit the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund.

What makes the race unique is that a runner can be anywhere, and they can run whenever is convenient for them during the week. A person can run in a park, on a treadmill, or in a local 5K race. All they have to do is record the race on their smartphone and turn in the results.

Clark said the first two virtual races had about 30 participants, but he’s expecting more this year since the group has grown.

While the group will recognize the top finishers, Clark said the most important goal is to encourage truck drivers to be active. The typical times are anywhere from 20 minutes to more than an hour.

“We just want everyone to do something every day,” Clark said. “The point of the group has always been to encourage everyone to do whatever they can.”

You can watch a video that explains the race, and more details can be found here.

The St. Christopher Fund is a charity that helps semi-truck drivers with medical problems that have occurred within the last two years, which have led to financial hardship. According to the St. Christopher website, the charity has provided more than $1.3 million to more than 1,600 truckers in need.

U.S. DOT: NAFTA freight takes a huge hit in July

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in July trucks moved nearly 65 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Rail freight was the only mode to experience an increase year-to-date.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by nearly 10 percent compared with June when freight was up more than 3 percent from the previous month. July marks the largest month-to-month decrease for the year.

Compared to July 2015, freight was down 10 percent, the largest year-to-year decrease in 2016. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for more than $54 billion of the $83.7 billion of imports and exports in July. Rail came in second with nearly $13 billion.

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow because of plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $83.725 billion, down nearly $9 billion from the previous month and down more than $9 billion from July 2015.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at 26.9 percent, a larger drop than June’s 15.6 percent decrease. Trucks had an 8.8 percent decrease, the second lowest decline next to air freight at 6.4 percent.
 
Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.7 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 5.5 percent compared with June 2015. Of the $41.3 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.

Freightliner, Western Star trucks recalled for faulty axles

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling several Freightliner and Western Star trucks due to a defect with axle hubs, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, various model year 2014-2017 trucks equipped with Conmet aluminum non-high-capacity hubs are affected. These vehicles specify a front axle weight limit that may be greater than that of the hub capacity, according to NHTSA. The wheel could potentially separate from the axle, resulting in a crash.

Trucks affected by the recall include (all 2014-2017 models):

  • Freightliner 108SD
  • Freightliner 114SD
  • Freightliner Business Class M2
  • Freightliner Cascadia
  • Freightliner Coronado
  • Western Star 4700
  • Western Star 4800
  • Western Star 5700

Affected trucks will have the front axle hubs replaced for free. Recalls are expected to begin Oct. 27. Contact DTNA customer service with recall number FL-718 at 800-745-8000 for any questions.

Trucker Buddy announces new board members

Trucker Buddy International recently announced the addition of three new board members for fiscal year 2016.

The board’s newly elected board members are Henry Albert, Scott Grenerth and Andrew Mitrisin. In addition, Linda Caffee was elected president, while Brad Williamson was named vice president, and Kate Miller accepted the position of treasurer.

Elisabeth Barna, K.C. Brau, Mark Reddig and Steve Sichterman are leaving the board after completing eight-year terms.

“We want to thank K.C., Mark, Elisabeth and Steve for eight tremendous years of service to Trucker Buddy,” Executive Director Randy Schwartzenburg said. “K.C. was such a tremendous president, working tirelessly behind the scenes promoting Trucker Buddy and conducting Trucker Buddy programs.”

Caffee and Albert have both been active in Trucker Buddy and both have earned the Citizen Driver Awards. They are members of the Trucking Solutions Group, Run Team Smart and are members of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

Grenerth is the director of regulatory affairs for OOIDA and has been active in Trucker Buddy.

Mitrisin is the communication specialist for the American Trucking Associations.

“Due to the leadership of all four outgoing board members, Trucker Buddy is in better position for the future,” Schwartzenburg said. “The new board members have begun their new terms. We are excited to have them on the leadership team, each bringing a unique skill set to help Trucker Buddy in our upcoming opportunities.”

Trucker Buddy International is an independent, nonprofit organization that helps educate schoolchildren and introduces educators to the trucking industry. After an extensive screening process, professional truck drivers are matched with a class and are directed by a teacher. Via a pen-pal relationship, drivers share news about their travels with their assigned class while students write letters and send pictures to their classroom driver.

Since 1992, Trucker Buddy International has helped educate more than a million schoolchildren. The Trucker Buddy program is funded entirely by sponsorships and donations.

CRST acquires California-based Gardner Trucking

CRST International recently announced its acquisition of Gardner Trucking of Ontario, Calif., according to a press release.

Gardner Trucking was founded in 1989 and is considered one of the largest truckload carriers in California. The California-based trucking company provides specialized regional truckload services, logistics, drayage and warehouse services for bulk and commodity end-to-end markets.

With facilities in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Texas, Gardner services the western part of the country. Customers are mostly those in the paper/packaging, food/beverage, wood products and metal/plastic container industries.

Tom Lanting, current president of Gardner Trucking, will maintain his role in the company. The largest acquisition for CRST, Gardner is expected to bring in $400 million in revenue for CRST with its more than 2,400 drivers and 500 non-driver personnel.

DAT Solutions: No day off for van, reefer rates

The number of load posts on DAT MembersEdge dropped 13 percent and truck posts fell 15 percent for the week ending Sept. 10 – not bad, considering that most businesses were closed for the Labor Day holiday. A four-day week is 20 percent shorter than a five-day week, so you’d expect a 20 percent decline in all load board activity.

To understand the impact on load-to-truck ratios, let’s look at the three big equipment types last week:

  • Van L/T ratio: 3.2. That’s down 0.4 percent, basically unchanged from last week when the ratio was the highest since early July.
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 6. Down 9 percent but a very strong number for this time of year.
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 12.2. That’s up 21 percent, a big increase even though rates fell by a couple of cents.

Here’s a closer look at the latest trends in the spot market:

Van rates hold: The national average van rate held on to last week’s gains and was unchanged at $1.66/mile. Demand for trucks was up, and there weren’t a lot of big price changes on the top 100 van lanes.

Better in Texas: Texas volumes are improving and rates were up on most major outbound lanes from Dallas. Average outbound: $1.55/mile, up 3 cents. Dallas-Houston paid an average of $2.20/mile, a penny better than the previous week.

Top van markets by region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.03/mile, down 2 cents
  • Midwest: Chicago, $1.99/mile, down 2 cents
  • Southeast: Charlotte, $1.92/mile, down 3 cents
  • Northeast: Allentown, Pa., $2.01/mile, down 3 cents

Prices in Chicago, Columbus, Seattle, and Philadelphia are all up from where they were a month ago.

Reefer lanes with gains: The national average spot market rate for reefers gained a penny to $1.93/mile compared to the previous week. Reefer volumes held up during the Labor Day week. Of the top 72 reefer lanes, 35 paid better while rates slipped lower on 32 lanes.

North is up: Demand for reefers was strongest up north. Chicago, Elizabeth, N.J., and Grand Rapids, Mich., were numbers 1, 2, and 3 for reefer load posts on MembersEdge.

Key reefer lanes: Several major reefer lanes remained solid last week:

  • Disappointing apple volumes had been hurting prices in Grand Rapids but rates there improved last week. The average Grand Rapids-Madison rate rose 29 cents to an average of $2.75/mile.
  • Chicago-Kansas City improved by 19 cents to $2.21/mile.
  • Sacramento averaged $2.39/mile outbound, up 10 cents. Sacramento-Denver surged another 24 cents to $2.35/mile.
  • Elizabeth, N.J.-Boston was down 17 cents to $3.37/mile. That might sound high but tolls and traffic can erode your margin. Plus it’s hard to find a load out of Boston.

Diesel prices: The national average price of diesel was $2.40/gallon, down 1 cent from 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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

Freight tonnage in July reaches all-time high thanks to trucking and rail

Official freight numbers for July are in. The index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals freight was down for all modes except rail carloads and trucking, but the latter two were enough to raise the overall index to an all-time high.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for July increased by 1.6 percent to 124.6. July’s TSI replaced the former all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014.

The July index is 31.6 percent above the low set during the recession in June 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went up relatively sharply to 141.1 from 136.9, an increase of more than 3 percent. However, numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 2.1 percent in July to 134.3 from 137.1 in June. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s growth lines up with monthly increases in the mining, utility and manufacturing sectors. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose 0.7 percent in June.

July’s freight TSI increase is the fourth consecutive monthly increase, the first time to happen since December 2014, which perhaps not coincidentally was the previous all-time high. The index grew by 4 percent from March to July, the largest four-month increase since February 2013 when the index went up 5 percent.

DAT Solutions: Spot rates show some life

We don’t make predictions here but when the number of load posts on DAT MembersEdge jumps 8 percent and truck posts drop 3 percent, it was a probably a good week to make money on the spot truckload freight market.

That’s how the week of Sept. 3 ended, with load-to-truck ratios finally picking up steam and spot TL rates on the rise. Here’s a closer look at the latest trends in the spot market:

Van ratio hits a high: The van L/T ratio was 3.2, up 16 percent compared to the previous week. That’s the highest ratio for vans this year.

Van rate jumps: The national average van rate finally showed life. The new average is $1.66/mile, up 6 cents. That includes a 2-cent hike in the average fuel surcharge.

Lanes with gains: 57 of the top 100 van lanes were up last week, and the ones that were down weren’t down by much. The biggest gains were on southbound lanes: Charlotte up 6 cents to $1.94/mile, Atlanta up 4 cents to $1.87/mile, and Memphis up 4 cents to $1.86/mile.

Mighty Midwest: In the Midwest, a 4 percent increase in van freight volume fueled an 8-cent-per-mile boost on outbound lanes originating in Chicago (to $1.99/mile). Rates out of Columbus added an average of 6 cents to $1.90/mile.

Reefer ready? The number of reefer load posts increased 11 percent last week while capacity declined 2 percent. That boosted the reefer L/T ratio 14 percent to 6.6, its highest point since early January. The national average spot market rate for reefers edged up 3 cents to $1.92/mile compared to the previous week, including a 1-cent increase in the fuel surcharge.

Better out West: In California, average outbound rates increased 5 cents in Los Angeles ($2.46/mile). Idaho potato harvests led to higher volumes in the Twin Falls market but outbound rates slipped leading up to the Labor Day weekend.

Key reefer lanes: Several major reefer lanes remained solid last week:

  • Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla.: $2.84/mile, up 6 cents
  • Elizabeth, N.J.-Boston: $3.55/mile, down 3 cents
  • Chicago outbound: $2.35/mile, up 14 cents

Falling flat: The number of flatbed load posts was steady while truck posts increased 4 percent. That pushed the load-to-truck ratio up 4 percent to 10.1 loads per truck. The national average flatbed rate was up a penny (due to the fuel surcharge) at $1.91/mile.

Diesel prices: The national average price of diesel was $2.41/gallon, unchanged from 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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

September proving big for truck shows across the country

As summer begins to wind down, truck shows this month continue to go strong. September shows will span from Oklahoma to New Jersey. Popular gatherings include the Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show and Guilty By Association Truck Show.

Dodge County Fairgrounds in Kasson, Minn., will kick things off this month with the Big Iron Classic Sept. 9-10. According to the website, the Big Iron Classic is “the largest ‘Working Class’ truck show in the Midwest for semi-trucks and trailers and one of the largest contributors of toys to local charities.” In addition to showing off hundreds of trucks, the Big Iron Classic will also collect toys for charity, review new technology, and include a truck pull competition. For more information visit BigIronClassic.com.

Further east on Sept. 10, Denton, Md., will be hosting the Eastern Shore Large Cars show. Plenty of trucks will be on display, but truckers can also take advantage of a Department of Transportation Q&A hosted by BayCom and Wilson Transportation Services. Representatives for the two companies will answer questions regarding regulations, e-logs and other trucking-related issues. Visit Facebook.com/ESLargeCars or email eslc@comcast.net.

The following weekend will feature three truck shows. Starting in Tonkawa, Okla., at Wilkins Oklahoma Truck Supply on Sept. 16-18 is the Wilkins Busted Knuckle Classic. Friday night will get the event started with a convoy through the city followed by a light show. Saturday will be packed with events, including the truck show, prize giveaways and Chad Smith performing live music for the “Party on the Prairie.” Go to Stores.WilkinsChrome.com to find out more.

Truckers farther north can catch the Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show in St. Ignace, Mich., on Sept. 15-18. Light shows, truck show, silent auctions, dunk tanks and more can be experienced at this year’s show. Check out live music from Brian Lorente and The Usual Suspects and attend a meet-and-greet with OOIDA Life Member Alex Debogorski of “Ice Road Truckers.” For more information, including last year’s winners, visit NastShowTrucks.org.

On the East Coast in Englishtown, N.J., the U.S. Diesel Truckin’ Nationals will take place on Sept. 17 at Raceway Park. With gates opening at 9 a.m. and the final event ending at 10 p.m., showgoers will get more than half a day’s worth of entertainment, which includes diesel pickup races, big rig races and a monster truck show. Tickets for adults are $30, and kids under 12 get in for $10. Every ticket is a pit pass. Visit USDieselNationals.com for more details.

Closing out truck shows for the month of September will be the Chrome Shop Mafia at 4 State Trucks in Joplin, Mo., on Sept. 23-24 for the annual Guilty By Association Truck Show. Ending the month with a bang, GBATS will feature fireworks, Big Rig Burnouts, Bounty Hunter Show Truck live demo, live music by Tony Justice, swap meet, Special Olympics Convoy and more. Truckers can also score deals at the on-site store. For more information, go to ChromeShopMafia.com.

Trucking industry experiences another monthly job increase in August

Transportation jobs experienced its third monthly gain this year in August, including the fourth increase in trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector gained nearly 15,000 jobs in August, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net loss of nearly 3,000 jobs, down from more than 17,000 in July.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 3,400 jobs in August after the industry gained 1,700 in July and lost 6,300 in June. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss of 4,400 jobs. August’s gain was the largest monthly increase since last December when the trucking subsector gained 5,300 jobs.

Warehousing and storage subsector experienced the largest increase with 4,300 jobs added to the economy, followed by couriers and messengers with 4,000 more jobs. “Support activities for transportation” and water transport were the only subsectors to lose jobs, with a total loss of 1,200 jobs between the two.

Last year, 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.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.50 for August – a 13-cent increase from July. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 12 cents to $21.20. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.73, 3 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.4 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 7.1 percent from 6.3 percent last August. The overall unemployment rate for the country was little changed at 4.9 percent for the third consecutive month. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or gone relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed changed little at 2 million, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the unemployed.

‘Band Together’ campaign extended to Sept. 9 at TA and Petro locations

The TravelCenters of America’s annual “Band Together” fundraising campaign for the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund will be extended until Sept. 9, a spokesman for the company said on Thursday. The fundraiser was originally scheduled to run through August.

As part of the campaign, guests and employees at TA and Petro Stopping Centers are invited to make donations to the St. Christopher Fund, which is a nonprofit organization that helps truck drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship. A $1 donation earns a commemorative wristband, and those who donate $5 receive a St. Christopher Fund keychain.

Donna Kennedy, executive director of the St. Christopher Fund, said additional “Band Together” fundraisers took place in August at Coffee Cup Fuel Stops and Sapp Bros. Travel Centers.

The “Band Together” campaign is crucial to the charity’s mission, Kennedy said.

“It’s huge,” she said. “It’s our biggest fundraiser. Without Band Together, we wouldn’t be here to be able to keep helping the drivers. We’ve given more than $1.3 million to more than 1,600 drivers since 2007, and that has been through these truckers making donations and buying these bands. We really appreciate their support, and we really appreciate all the truck stops that do the fundraising for us. They give 100 percent back to the St. Christopher Fund. It’s really amazing.”

According to the St. Christopher Fund website, the money generated helps with such costs as rent and mortgage, utilities, medical costs and insurance for truck drivers in need.

Truckers in need of help can apply here.

Form 2290 deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 31

OOIDA’s Permits and Licensing Department is giving truck owners a heads up: The clock is ticking when it comes to paying that federal highway use tax for heavy vehicles. It’s the $550 fee you pay each year when you file an IRS Form 2290. 

The tax year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. The balance due shown on the Form 2290 must be paid in full by the due date of the return. For trucks and other taxable vehicles in use during July, the Form 2290 and payment are due on Aug. 31.

Fleets with 25 or more vehicles must pay online with the IRS. Smaller fleets still have the option of paying by mailed check or money order or online. However, at this point, it’s a good idea to e-file in order to guarantee that the form is accepted before the Wednesday, Aug. 31 deadline. 
 
“For a service fee, OOIDA Permits and Licensing Department offers members the convenience and speed of filing the Form 2290s online,” says Cathy Koncilia of OOIDA’s Business Services Department. “Or you can e-file yourself online at ooida2290.com.”

State governments are required to receive proof of payment of the federal heavy-vehicle use tax as a condition of vehicle registration. In general, the federal heavy-vehicle use tax applies to trucks, truck tractors and buses with a gross taxable weight of 55,000 pounds or more.

First day at GATS a good one for the St. Christopher Fund

The St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund received $105,000 from Blue Tiger USA and TA Petro Thursday, Aug. 25, at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.
 
This year, TravelCenters of America, operator of TA and Petro Stopping Centers, teamed up with Blue Tiger USA for a fundraiser promotion. The fundraiser directed $10 from every Blue Tiger Bluetooth Elite headset sold at TravelCenter locations to the SCF. The results far exceeded the original goal. On Thursday afternoon, Blue Tiger President Fieras Saah and Vice President of Marketing Tyler Gillespie presented a check for $105,000 to the St. Christopher Fund.

“Professional drivers directly support the United States economy, and it’s really amazing what the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund has done to support them. TravelCenters of America stepped in to help support this organization without any hesitation. We could not be more proud to partner with TA and Petro Stopping Centers to give back to some of the hardworking people who keep America running,” said Saah.

Tom Liutkus, president of the board of directors of the St. Christopher Fund, accepted the contribution, along with several other board directors and executives.

Liutkus is vice president of marketing and public relations for TA Petro, which has a long history of being a major supporter of the St. Christopher Fund. Since 2010, TA’s “Band Together for SCF” annual campaigns and other fundraisers have generated more than $1.7 million in donations to help with financial support when drivers are off the road due to medical issues.

On Thursday afternoon, Luitkus also accepted a $100,000 donation from the National Association of Independent Truckers, a group that has been a strong supporter of the St. Christopher Fund.

Love’s Travel Stops donates $25,000 to Louisiana flood relief efforts

After floods in Louisiana claimed at least 10 lives and damaged tens of thousands of homes, Love’s Travel Stops has stepped up the plate with a helping hand. Love’s recently donated $25,000 to the Salvation Army for relief efforts.

Many Love’s employees and customers were affected by the historic flooding in Louisiana. As pointed out in a blog posted by Love’s, an employee at the Port Allen location had family in the affected area. Port Allen received approximately two feet of rain within three days.

Love’s in Duson was under curfew and nearby Interstate 10 was shut down for a period of time. At least two Love’s employees lost their homes.

Canteens from The Salvation Army are going out each day in affected communities to help anyone who needs a hot meal, something to drink or somebody to talk to. The Salvation Army has prepared more than 78,000 meals, 87,700 drinks, 15,600 snacks, 9,300 food boxes, 8,100 clean-up kits and 8,000 comfort kits for those in need so far.

DAT Solutions: Van rates to rebound?

Four weeks ago, the average van rate on the DAT MembersEdge load board was $1.64/mile.

It ended last week at $1.60.

A gradual decline in July and August isn’t unusual on the spot truckload freight market, but typically rates start to climb as we head toward September.

It looks like we may be getting there.

The number of van load posts increased 1 percent and truck posts stayed the same last week, which yielded a slight increase in the load-to-truck ratio from 2.5 to 2.6 loads per truck.

That’s good news, an indication that spot van rates may soon be on the rise.

Let’s look at the overall trendlines from the week ending Aug. 20:

Louisiana loads: Flooding in Louisiana led to higher rates on lanes heading into the New Orleans market, which includes Baton Rouge. Van loads from Dallas to New Orleans paid 18 cents better last week at an average of $1.79/mile. Houston to New Orleans also added 16 cents to $2.10/mile.

FEMA lanes: Rate and volume increases were even more dramatic on lanes into the Shreveport market, which includes Alexandria. Ensler Field outside Alexandria is one of the staging areas for FEMA.

Capacity up, loads down: Accounting for all three equipment types, the total number of load posts on DAT MembersEdge fell 1 percent last week as truck posts held steady.

L/T ratios steady: The overall load-to-truck ratio stayed at 4.2 loads per truck. Ratios went up slightly for vans (2.6) and reefers (5.3), and down for flatbeds (10.2). Load-to-truck ratios measure the number of loads posted for each available truck on the network.

Fuel up: Diesel prices jumped up 6 cents to $2.37/gallon as a national average.

National average spot TL rates:

  • Van: Down 1 cent to $1.60/mile
  • Reefer: Down 1 cent to $1.89/mile
  • Flatbed: Unchanged at $1.92/mile

Van trends: Chicago took over the top spot for load posts on DAT MembersEdge last week, which pushed Atlanta down to No. 2. Key lanes by region:

  • Columbus-Buffalo, $2.67/mile, up 10 cents
  • Los Angeles-Phoenix, $2.58/mile, down 2 cents
  • Dallas-Houston, $2.17/mile, up 2 cents
  • Atlanta-Lakeland, $2.36/mile, down 5 cents
  • Philadelphia-Boston, $3.13/mile, down 7 cents

Reefer trends: Reefer freight continued its downward turn, typical for the season. Key markets by region:

  • Los Angeles, $2.40/mile, down 4 cents
  • Grand Rapids, Mich., $2.75/mile, up 7 cents
  • Dallas, $1.70/mile, up 4 cents
  • Atlanta, $2.24/mile, down 6 cents
  • Philadelphia, $2.17/mile, down 3 cents.

Flatbeds down: Flatbed load posts declined 4 percent last week while truck posts increased 4 percent. That caused the load-to-truck ratio to fall from 11 to 10.2 flatbed loads per truck.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

U.S. DOT: Truck freight in June down year-to-date

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in June trucks moved more than 65 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Air freight was the only mode to experience an increase year-to-date.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by more than 3 percent compared with May when freight was down less than 1 percent from the previous month. June marks the first increase after two consecutive decreases in April and May.

Compared to June 2015, freight was down 6.4 percent. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for more than $60 billion of the $92.7 billion of imports and exports in June. Rail came in second with more than $14 billion. 

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow because of plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $92.671 billion, up nearly $2 billion from the previous month and down more than $6 billion from June 2015.

Vessel freight experienced the steepest decline at 19.7 percent, a smaller drop than May’s 30.7 percent decrease. Trucks had a 5.8 percent decrease, the second lowest decline next to rail at 4.4 percent.
 
More than 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.8 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 5.5 percent compared with June 2015. Of the $44.5 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 70.8 percent of the loads.

Bestpass launches two new departments addressing owner-operator needs

Bestpass recently announced two new departments in its operation. An Owner-Operator Customer Service team and a Fulfillment Center will now be available at the single-source toll payment company.

Focusing on the needs of owner-operators, the Owner-Operator Customer Service team will include staff from the sales, customer service and finance teams. The collaboration service will provide continuous support from the moment of signing up.

The Fulfillment Center will primarily address all matters dealing with the transponders. Services include transponder inventory; shipping and handling; and associated account fulfillment processes, including the strategic deployment plans that Bestpass develops for its fleet customers.

Bestpass currently holds 3,400 accounts with more than 230,000 active transponders. For more information, visit Bestpass.com.

Navistar recalls nearly 4,000 ProStars over faulty fuse terminals

Navistar is recalling nearly 4,000 2014-2017 International ProStar trucks, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Affected trucks have an electrical issue with the battery fuse terminals.

ProStars manufactured from June 11, 2013, to May 19, 2016, may have an issue with fuse terminals. According to NHTSA, “the battery mounted cube fuse terminal connection on certain ProStar model trucks built with the battery box mounted between the frame rails may possibly break resulting in loss of power to the cab.” 

Vibrations at the battery cable and terminal interface are the likely cause of the cube fuse terminal failure. Cab lights may flicker or gauges may become erratic before cube fuse failure.

The recall was first discovered in March with several more reports received by May. Navistar officially declared the recall in July 18, and it was recently made official by NHTSA. Affected trucks will have the cube fuse replaced with a chassis-mounted power distribution module (PDM) inside the battery box. PDMs are not subject to the same vibrations.

Customers affected by the recall should be receiving a letter from Navistar around Sept. 16. Owners can contact NHTSA at 888-327-4236 or visit SaferCar.gov.

Aero Industries recalling hundreds of trailer tarps

Aero Industries has recalled approximately 746 Conestoga XP trailer tarps. Affected tarps could have a rivet failure, causing the rear aerodynamic device (RAD) to fail, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Affected tarps include those manufactured from Oct. 15, 2014, to Jan. 19, 2016. According to NHTSA, “the issue is the weakening or failure of the rivets holding the RAD to the rear bow of the Conestoga curtain that appears to be caused by damage to or misuse of the product.”

There have been 44 reports of rivets being sheared off the hinges. In one case, the entire RAD fell off the rear bow. If enough rivets fail, the curtain clamp will be weakened. When all rivets fail, the RAD can fall off the Conestoga.

NHTSA cannot quite pinpoint the exact cause of the defect. The agency has three theories:
Damage caused by an accident or misuse;
Driver error that causes the back of the trailer to hit a dock or other structure; or
Fatigued rivets due to improper operation of the Conestoga. Possible use of the RAD as a handle rather than the handle on the rear bow, causing greater pressure on the rivets.

Aero Industries will issue a repair kit to replace certain rivets with higher strength bolts and nuts for affected tarps. Recall letters are slated to be released between now and Sept. 30. Owners can call Aero at 800-535-7563.

Goodyear brings its Total Solution to GATS

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will bring its Total Solution for owner-operators and small- to mid-size fleets to the Great American Trucking Show, which will take place Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 25-27, in Dallas, Texas, at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

The Goodyear Total Solution of products, a nationwide network, services and fleet management tools is designed to help owner-operators and small- to mid-size fleets lower their operating costs.

“The Goodyear Total Solution will be on display inside Goodyear’s GATS booth (No. 14077),” said Jose Martinez, digital and solutions manager for Goodyear. Highlights will include Goodyear services, such as the 24/7 Goodyear-Fleet HQ Emergency Roadside Service program, which helps utility trucks that have been immobilized by road hazards return to service quickly.

“The Goodyear-Fleet HQ Emergency Roadside Service program has put more than 1.1 million trucks back on the road, with a current, average roll-time of two hours and 11 minutes,” said Martinez.

GATS attendees also will have the opportunity to enroll in the Goodyear Smart Fleet program at Goodyear’s show booth. The Goodyear Smart Fleet program is Goodyear’s national account program for owner-operators and small- to mid-size fleets. There’s no cost to join.

Benefits of membership include:

  • Access to premium Goodyear-brand truck tires, retreads and technologies;
  • Online, published pricing on new Goodyear tires, retreads and services – honored by participating Goodyear commercial tire dealers;
  • Goodyear-Fleet HQ Emergency Roadside Service. “Goodyear Smart Fleet members do not have to pay a dispatch fee for road service calls,” said Martinez.
  • Customized tire performance and service activity reporting, and more.

Owner-operators and small- to mid-size fleet owners who sign up for the Goodyear Smart Fleet program at the Goodyear booth during GATS will be automatically entered into a drawing for their choice of two select steer tires. Available choices include the Marathon LHS, the Fuel Max RSA or the Goodyear G399A. (Visit the Goodyear booth at GATS for additional terms and conditions.)

Show-goers who attend the four “Partners In Business” seminars during GATS also will be eligible to enter the Goodyear steer tire drawing. “Partners in Business” seminars will take place on Friday, Aug. 26, from 11 a.m. to noon and 1-2 p.m., and on Saturday, Aug. 27, 1:30-2:30 p.m. and 3:30-4:30 p.m.

DAT Solutions: An up and down week

Typically, spot truckload rates go down in July and up again in August. But that cycle is out of sync this year.

The number of available loads on the spot truckload freight market fell another 6.2 percent during the week ending Aug. 13, sinking load-to-truck ratios and rates across all three equipment types on the MembersEdge load board.

Before we look at the trends, some truckers are getting loads from FEMA this week to bring emergency supplies to the flood zones in Louisiana. That can be dangerous work, and it’s difficult to find a load out, so please be careful out there. 

Capacity up, loads down: The 6.2 percent drop in freight availability was countered by a 3 percent increase in the number of trucks posted on MembersEdge last week.

More capacity hurts L/T ratios: The van ratio fell 7 percent to 2.5 loads per truck; the reefer ratio dropped 6 percent to 5; and the flatbed ratio was down 14 percent to 11. Load-to-truck ratios measure the number of loads posted for each available truck on the network.

Fuel surcharges down: Diesel prices dipped a penny last week with the national average retail price down to $2.31/gallon. The average fuel surcharge also fell 1 cent.

National average spot TL rates:

  • Van: Down 3 cents to $1.61/mile, including a 1-cent decline in the fuel surcharge
  • Reefer: Also lost 3 cents to $1.90/mile
  • Flatbed: Edged down 1 cent to $1.92/mile

Reefer trends: Reefer freight is in its typical lull between spring and fall harvests, with 41 of the top 72 reefer lanes in some sort of decline last week. The high-dollar market in each region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.44/mile, down 4 cents
  • Midwest: Grand Rapids, Mich., $2.64/mile, up 15 cents
  • South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.70/mile, down 5 cents
  • Southeast: Atlanta, $2.30/mile, unchanged
  • Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.22/mile, down 2 cents.

Van trends: The top five markets for load posts on DAT MembersEdge are Atlanta; Chicago; Elizabeth, N.J.; Dallas; and Indianapolis. Forty three of the top 100 van lanes saw prices go up last week, but most of the increases were small.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

Kenworth to end production of its T660

Kenworth announced Tuesday, Aug. 16, that it will sunset its T660 by year-end after 10 years of production, and is now offering customers a “last call” opportunity to order from the final production allotment of 500 T660s.
 
“The Kenworth T660 has been a fantastic truck for our customers with more than 60,000 T660s sold since its introduction in 2007,” said Jason Skoog, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing. “Due to its popularity, we continued to offer the T660 after introducing the award-winning T680 four years ago.”
 
When it entered the Class 8 market, the T660 became the latest evolution of Kenworth’s aerodynamic product line taking the reins from the Kenworth T600 – the industry’s first truly aerodynamic truck that debuted in 1985.  
 
Truck operators interested in ordering the Kenworth T660 may contact their Kenworth dealer for more information. The T660 is standard with the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 455-hp and 1,650 lb-ft of torque. The T660 is available as a day cab or in 38-inch, 62-inch, 72-inch and 86-inch AeroCab sleeper configurations.

It’s Form 2290 time; anything new you should know? Yes.

OOIDA’s Permits and Licensing Department is giving truck owners a heads up: The clock is ticking when it comes to paying that federal highway use tax for heavy vehicles. It’s the $550 fee you pay each year when you file an IRS Form 2290. 

The tax year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. The balance due shown on the Form 2290 must be paid in full by the due date of the return. For trucks and other taxable vehicles in use during July, the Form 2290 and payment are due on Aug. 31. State governments are required to receive proof of payment of the federal heavy vehicle use tax as a condition of vehicle registration.

Fleets with 25 or more vehicles must pay online with the IRS. Smaller fleets still have the option of paying by mailed check or money order or online.

You need to know about some important changes.

You can no longer just drive to nearest IRS office to process your Form 2290. That’s changing. OOIDA’s Cathy Koncilia of the Business Services Department says if you want to visit the IRS now, most offices require an appointment.

But there’s one more thing that’s new, says Koncilia. “You must have an Employer Identification Number to e-file. You cannot use your Social Security number.

“For a service fee, OOIDA Permits and Licensing Department offers members the convenience and speed of filing the Form 2290s online,” said Koncilia. “If you need help getting an EIN, call OOIDA at 800-444-5791, and we will show you how to apply for one online.” 

In general, the federal heavy vehicle use tax applies to trucks, truck tractors and buses with a gross taxable weight of 55,000 pounds or more.

Bendix announces permanent remedy kit for recalled spring brake valves

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems announced Monday, Aug. 15, that a no-cost permanent remedy kit is now available to enable repair of Bendix SR-5 spring brake valves identified in a voluntary safety recall campaign. Since June, more than 200,000 trailers made by a number of manufacturers have been recalled due an issue with the brake valves.

Bendix is directing affected vehicle owners to work through their vehicle OEM or an authorized Bendix parts outlet – depending on how each OEM has elected to administer the recall – to obtain this remedy kit, known as Bendix part No. K140496.

On May 10, 2016, Bendix notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the start of a voluntary safety recall campaign involving the Bendix SR-5 spring brake valve, which is sold outright and is also included in Bendixantilock braking kits for trailers. The recall was assigned number 16E045.

This recall includes all Bendix SR-5 trailer spring brake valves manufactured between Jan. 1, 2014, and March 4, 2016. The SR-5 is a trailer-only product, so no powered vehicles (tractors) are affected. This issue potentially affects any trailer that uses this valve. According to Bendix, this action does not affect SR-5 spring brake valves manufactured prior to or after the stated dates.

Approximately 200,000 SR-5 valves are covered. These valves were made available through vehicle OEMs and the aftermarket. As part of the reporting requirements, OEMs will indicate which of the trailers they manufactured – identified by year and model number – that are part of the total number of trailers containing valves reported by Bendix as a part of this voluntary action.

Bendix told Land Line late last month that under a combination of a unique set of circumstances, it is possible (though not probable) for an internal leakage to develop in the SR-5 unit, resulting in slow-to-apply spring brakes when parking the trailer. According to Monday’s press statement, the leak is heard or observed at the supply (red) gladhand when uncoupled from the tractor – or, if coupled, from the exhaust of the park control valve (BendixMV-3 dash control valve). Bendix emphasizes that this issue does not affect the tractor brakes.

In a press release on Monday, Aug. 15, Bendix states that as remedy kits are shipped into the marketplace, vehicle owners should follow the instructions provided in direct communications from their OEM or Bendix in the coming weeks. Bendix Product Action Center representatives are available to assist vehicle owners with questions about this voluntary recall Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, toll-free at 877-345-9526, or by email at SR5campaign@Bendix.com.

Information is also available at the company’s online Product Action Center under the Services & Support tab on Bendix.com. According to Bendix’s press statement, applicable information on the recall is available and refreshed often.

DAT Solutions: Freight takes a dip

Shippers kicked off the month in “summer” mode as the number of available loads on DAT MembersEdge fell 5 percent during the week ending Aug. 6.

Truck posts held steady, though, and van and flatbed load-to-truck ratios dipped while demand was up slightly for reefers:

  • Van L/T ratio: 2.7 loads per truck (down 2 percent)
  • Reefer: 5.3 (up 4 percent)
  • Flatbed: 12.8 (down 11 percent)

The national average diesel price fell 3 cents to $2.32 per gallon compared with the previous week, which led to a 1-cent fuel surcharge loss.

National average rates:

  • Van: $1.64 per mile. Unchanged. A 1-cent drop in the line-haul rate was offset by a 1-cent increase in the fuel surcharge.
  • Reefer: $1.93 per mile. Unchanged but riding a positive trend toward fall freight season.
  • Flatbed: $1.93 per mile. Up a penny.

Vans on hold: The top 100 van lanes were mostly steady last week. The national average van rate was $1.64 per mile, above where it was in June and only a penny off the four-week high. 

Memphis moves: While most spot van rate changes were slight, the big increases occurred on a handful of lanes known for retail traffic. Almost every major outbound lane from Memphis paid slightly better last week, as freight volume made it the No. 3 market for load posts on DAT MembersEdge.

Down South:Atlanta and Dallas were the No. 1 and 2 markets for van freight on MembersEdge but they’re also No. 2 and 3 for van posts. The competition helped push van rates down in both markets: Atlanta fell 4 cents to $1.87 per mile; Dallas dropped 2 cents to $1.55 per mile.

Reefers in demand: Demand for reefer trucks was up as the back-to-school grocery season and late summer harvests both picked up steam.

Hotter up North: Northern reefer-freight markets are showing strength. Rates jumped 14 cents to $1.80 per mile out of Elizabeth, N.J., last week as fruit and vegetable harvests in rural New Jersey and Pennsylvania contributed to an increase in demand. Elsewhere, regional markets with the highest average rates compared to the previous week:

  • Southeast: Atlanta, $2.29 per mile, up 3 cents
  • West: Los Angeles, $2.48 per mile, up 2 cents
  • Midwest: Green Bay, $2.47 per mile, up 2 cents
  • South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.74 per mile, down 3 cents
  • Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.29 per mile, up 2 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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

Over 9,000 more trailers recalled over parking brake issue

Another round of manufacturers are recalling trailers due to an issue with Bendix spring valves. More than 9,000 Manac, Polar Tank, Heil and Hyundai trailers are affected in this latest notice, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

On June 8, NHTSA sent out a recall notice regarding an issue with nearly 195,000 Bendix SR-5 trailer spring brake valves. According to NHTSA, brake valves were improperly machined without a radius on the internal check valve seat, causing a delay of application of the spring brakes while parking.

Bendix’s public relations firm reached out to Land Line via email on July 29, and offered their own description of the problem: “Under a combination of a unique set of circumstances, it is possible (though not probable) for an internal leakage to develop in the SR-5 unit, resulting in slow-to-apply spring brakes when parking the trailer.”

On Tuesday, Aug. 9, NHTSA sent out a recall notice with specific makes and models of trailers affected by the recall. Affected trailers include:

  • 2016 Manac flatbed trailers
  • 2017-2018 Manac van trailers
  • 2014-2016 Polar Tank DOT 406 tank trailers
  • 2014-2016 Polar Tank DOT 407 tank trailers
  • 2014-2016 Polar Tank DOT 412 tank trailers
  • 2014-2015 Polar Tank MC 331 tank trailers
  • 2014-2016 Polar Tank non-code tank trailers
  • 2014-2016 Heil crude trailers
  • 2014-2016 Heil dry bulk trailers
  • 2014-2016 Heil flatbed trailers
  • 2014-2016 Heil petroleum pull trailers
  • 2004-2016 Hyundai Translead chassis
  • 2004-2016 Hyundai Translead containers
  • 2004-2016 Hyundai Translead van reefer trailers
  • 2004-2016 Hyundai Translead van trailers

The SR-5 valve is a reservoir-mounted trailer valve that can control four spring brake actuators during parking or emergency applications, a NHTSA safety recall report explains. A trailer will have an audible air leak from the dash mounted park control valve or red gladhand when it is disconnected, prior to decoupling when a slow-to-park situation occurs. This leakage will continue until the trailer reservoirs and spring brake chambers are depleted of air pressure.

In July, approximately 10 manufacturers recalled a total of more than 30,000 trailers over the same issue.

Remedies for this recall are still under development. Expected recall dates vary by manufacturer. Owners of potentially affected trailers can contact NHTSA at 888-327-4236. NHTSA recall number for the original Bendix equipment recall is 16E-045.

Freight tonnage in June increases slightly for trucking

Official freight numbers for June are in. The index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals freight was up for all freight modes except water and rail intermodal freight.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for June increased by 0.6 percent to 122.3. June’s TSI is a 1.1 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.7 set in December 2014.

The June index is 29.1 percent above the low set during the recession in June 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went up slightly to 136.6 from 136.2, an increase of less than 1 percent. However, numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 1.5 percent in June to 137.2 from 139.3 in May. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s growth lines up with monthly increases in the mining, utility and manufacturing sectors. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose 0.6 percent in June.

June’s freight TSI increase is the fourth month-to-month increase for the year. Although edging higher, the TSI index for June is barely below January’s level of 122.5. February and March’s decreases were only the third back-to-back monthly decreases since December 2013. In all three cases, the next month represented an increase of 1.2 percent or more, including three of the four largest increases in that period.

‘Pork rind nation’ gets behind the St. Christopher Fund

Southern Recipe (famous for its pork rind snacks) is teaming up with the St. Christopher Fund, a charitable organization that promotes trucker health and helps truckers sidelined with medical issues. Your first reaction might be “Pork rinds? Trucker health? That seems like kind of an oxymoron.”

Here’s why it is not. Many snack munchers are quick to assume pork rinds are lard-soaked, deep-fried pigskin junk food that could not possibly be have any nutritional value. A couple of years ago, Men’s Health Magazine torpedoed that assumption with an article that points out that pork rinds are in a group of “vilified foods that have been unjustly convicted” and “deserve to be pardoned.” According to the article, a 1-ounce serving of pork rinds has 0 carbs, 9 grams of fat (43 percent unsaturated), and 17 grams of protein.

Right now (and through Sept. 15) Southern Recipe pork rind folks are honoring the more than 3.5 million hard-working truck drivers in our country who travel nearly 400 billion miles each year. The company has launched its Fifth Annual Truck Driver Appreciation campaign.

Go to the website and earn a chance to win a cash prize of $1,000 – while also helping the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund to earn a $2,000 donation.  

From Aug. 1 to Sept. 15, truck drivers and consumers may visit PorkRinds.com where – aside from neat facts and recipes from the website of the “pork rind nation” – they will be asked to answer one truck driving and/or pork rind-related trivia question daily. With each visit, consumers will work together to help move the Southern Recipe “truck” across the country via an interactive map. When the truck driver reaches his destination, a total of $2,000 will be donated to SCF. 

“Our goal is to support America’s truck drivers in every way we can. This year, we’re honored to partner with Southern Recipe and celebrate these road warriors in a big way,” said Shannon Currier, director of philanthropy and development at SCF.

Mark Singleton, vice president of sales and marketing at Rudolph Foods Company, says working with St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund is the snack makers’ way of showing appreciation for heavy-duty truckers (and heavy-duty snackers) everywhere.

Two truck stop chains join TA’s ‘Band Together for SCF’ fundraiser

TravelCenters of America’s annual fundraising campaign for the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund began Aug. 1 and will run at participating TA and Petro locations through Aug. 31. The campaign – which began in 2010 – is known as “Band Together for SCF.”

This year, that phrase means more than truckers and TA and Petro employees banding together. Coffee Cup Fuel Stops and Sapp Brothers truck stops have joined the fundraising efforts.

As part of the campaign, guests and employees at TA and Petro Stopping Centers will be invited to make donations, which may be made at participating TA and Petro restaurants, travel stores, fuel buildings and truck service facilities. All of the money generated will go to the St. Christopher Fund. 

If you are trucking through the Upper Great Plains, a special promotion has been extended through the end of August at each location of a Coffee Cup Fuel Stop. Eight fuel stops have joined the effort to raise funds for the St. Christopher Fund through the Band Together campaign. Coffee Cup Fuel Stops are located in Summit, N.D., Burbank, S.D., Plankinton, S.D., Steele, N.D., Hot Springs, S.D., Vivian, S.D., Moorcroft, Wyo., Hartford, S.D.

Sapp Bros. has joined the fundraising efforts, too, for the month of August. Sapp Bros. offers 16 travel centers from as far east as Clearfield, Penn., to Salt Lake City, Utah in the West.

St. Christopher Fund is a nonprofit organization that helps truck drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship. The organization has provided more than $1.3 million to 1,575 truck drivers since its inception in 2007. The money helps with such costs as rent and mortgage, utilities, medical costs and insurance. 

The TA and Petro annual campaign contribution is the largest single donation the St. Christopher Fund receives each year. Last year, the campaign generated $315,331 for the charity.

Trucking industry experiences largest monthly job increase of the year

Transportation jobs experienced only its second monthly gain this year in July, including the third increase in trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector gained nearly 12,000 jobs in July, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net loss of more than 17,000 jobs, down from 29,000 in June.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 1,700 jobs in July after the industry lost 6,300 in June and 2,400 in May. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss of 7,800 jobs. July’s gain was the largest monthly increase since last December when the trucking subsector gained 5,300 jobs.

Transit and ground transportation subsector experienced the largest increase with more than 4,000 jobs added to the economy, followed by warehousing and storage at 2,600 more jobs. Pipeline, water and rail transport were the only subsectors to lose jobs, with a total loss of 800 jobs between all three.

Last year, 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. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.33 for July – a 2-cent increase from June. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 4 cents to $21.00. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.69, 8 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.6 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 7.5 percent from 6.9 percent last July. The overall unemployment rate for the country was little changed at 4.9 percent, after the first increase since April 2011 the previous month. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or went relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed changed little to 2 million, accounting for approximately one quarter of the unemployed.

Daimler Trucks cuts more than 100 jobs at North Carolina facility

As orders for Class 6-8 vehicles continue to decline, Daimler Trucks North America has been experiencing a drop in production. DTNA recently announced another round of layoffs at a North Carolina facility.

Approximately 115 workers are affected by the workforce reduction at the Gastonia, N.C., components and logistics facility, according to David Giroux, director of corporate communications for DTNA. Earlier this summer, 180 workers were impacted by a separate reduction at the same facility.

Reductions are expected to take effect on Aug. 12. In January, nearly 1,000 workers were laid off at DTNA’s Cleveland, N.C., Freightliner plant. DTNA declined to comment on any future adjustments to workforces.

According to Giroux, DTNA’s layoffs this year have been a response to decreasing orders which have led to a reduction in its build rate. Workforce adjustments are expected to be temporary as the company weathers the storm. Workers affected by the adjustments will have the opportunity to return to work once the economic environment allows for a higher build rate.

DAT Solutions: Summer break? Rates stay solid

Lazy days of summer? Not quite.

The number of available loads on the DAT MembersEdge load board gained 4 percent during the week ending July 30 while truck posts fell 5 percent, bumping up load-to-truck ratios for all equipment types:

  • Van L/T ratio: 2.8 (up 11 percent)
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 5.1 percent (up 18 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 14.4 percent (up 5 percent)

Opportunities are out there. Here’s what you need to know about where to find them:

National average rates: The national average spot truckload rate for van freight dipped 1 cent to $1.64/mile compared to the previous week, which is still 2 cents higher than the national average in June. The reefer rate was down 3 cents to $1.93/mile; that’s 4 cents below the June average but, by comparison, there was a 10-cent drop between June and July averages last year. For flatbeds, the national average rate picked up a penny to $1.92/mile, 4 cents below the June average.

Diesel down again: The national average price of diesel declined another 3 cents to $2.35/gallon. Because spot rates are all-in rates and include a surcharge portion, lower fuel prices can chip away at rates.

Van rates split: On the DAT MembersEdge top 100 van lanes, 44 had higher rates compared to the previous week and 44 were lower. The rest were unchanged.

Markets to watch:

  • Columbus ($1.80/mile, up 5 cents): Columbus-Buffalo paid 16 cents better last week at $2.01/mile, which is well above the average for the year on that lane. Columbus-Atlanta also added 11 cents to 1.64/mile. 
  • Dallas ($1.58/mile, unchanged): Still the No. 2 market on DAT MembersEdge for van load posts behind Atlanta, but also No. 3 for truck posts. That means there’s more competition, which keeps rates from rising.

Reefers hot and cold: Reefer rates lost ground in California last week, led by Los Angeles down 5 cents to $2.46/mile and Fresno off 2 cents to $2.02/mile. However, major Midwest markets like Grand Rapids picked up the pace: the average rate jumped 20 cents last week, likely because of cucumber and squash harvests.

Flat activity: Most major flatbed markets were down but one bucked that trend: Raleigh, N.C., where construction activity fueled demand. The average spot rate was up 14 cents last week to an average of $2.54/mile. The lane from Raleigh to Tampa gained 35 cents in the past month to $2.55/mile.

Flatbed lanes with gains:

  • Roanoke-Baltimore surged to $3.93/mile. That’s $1.18 higher than last month.
  • Savannah-Charlotte recovered 38 cents to $2.55/mile.
  • Cleveland-Roanoke spiked 36 cents and paid $2.50/mile on average.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

Kansas Turnpike Authority accepting Nationalpass transponders

Truckers driving through Kansas can now convert their K-Tag to a multistate transponder. The Kansas Turnpike Authority has announced the tolling agency will now accept Nationalpass transponders.

Created by TransCore, the new national interoperable electronic tolling device is currently in use in 20 states. TransCore was also the manufacturer of the K-Tag. States using Nationalpass include:

  • California
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

KTA also accepts Bestpass and is currently in the testing phase with PrePass Plus. For more information about Nationalpass and to sign up, visit Nationalpass.net.

TA and Petro launches St. Christopher Fund campaign in August

TravelCenters of America’s annual fundraising campaign for the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund begins Aug. 1.

The St. Christopher campaign, which started in 2010, will run at participating TA and Petro locations through Aug. 31. St. Christopher Fund is a nonprofit organization that helps truck drivers whose medical problems have led to financial hardship.

As part of the campaign, guests and employees at TA and Petro Stopping Centers will be invited to make donations. Those who donate a $1 will receive a commemorative wristband, while those who donate $5 will receive a St. Christopher Fund keychain.

Donations may be made at participating TA and Petro restaurants, travel stores, fuel buildings and truck service facilities. All of the money generated will go to the St. Christopher Fund.

“It’s always a great feeling helping St. Christopher Fund raise money for truck drivers in need,” Tom O’Brien, president and CEO of TravelCenters said in a press release. “Seeing how our customers come together to help their fellow drivers in need is an amazing example of why we’ve all come to love and respect the truck driving community. Our team is proud to play a role in making that happen and telling others about it.”

According to the St. Christopher Fund website, the organization has provided more than $1.3 million to 1,575 truck drivers since its inception in 2007. The money helps with such costs as rent and mortgage, utilities, medical costs and insurance.

The TA and Petro annual campaign contribution is the largest single donation the St. Christopher Fund receives each year. Last year, the campaign generated $315,331 for the charity.

“We cannot thank the donors and TA and Petro employees enough for all they do to make this campaign so successful,” Donna Kennedy, executive director of the St. Christopher Fund. “We are truly grateful.”

Truckers in need can apply for funds here.

U.S. DOT: Second consecutive increase in NAFTA truck freight in May

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in May trucks moved 66 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. For the second consecutive month, trucking was the only mode to experience an increase when compared to the previous year.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased a small fraction of a percent compared with April when freight was also down less than 1 percent from the previous month. May marks the second consecutive decrease after two consecutive increases in February and March.

Compared to May 2015, freight was down 3.1 percent. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for more than $59 billion of the $89.8 billion of imports and exports in May. Rail came in second with more than $14 billion. 

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow because of plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $89.8 billion, down $540 million from the previous month and down nearly $3 billion from May 2015.

Vessel freight experienced the steepest decline at 30.7 percent, a larger drop than April’s 26.4 percent decrease. Trucks had a 1.3 percent increase, the only increase among the five modes.

More than 61 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.6 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 0.1 percent compared with May 2015. Of the $43.9 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 71.2 percent of the loads.

Fitzgerald Glider Kits acquires two Peterbilt dealerships in Virginia

Tommy Fitzgerald Jr. and Nick Bresaw of Fitzgerald Glider Kits have bought two Peterbilt dealerships in southwest Virginia, according to a press release. 

Formerly Performance Peterbilt of Bristol, the two dealerships acquired by Fitzgerald are located at 33392 Lee Highway in Glade Spring, Va. and 220 Kelly Road in Fancy Gap, Va. The dealerships will now be called Fitzgerald Peterbilt.

Performance Peterbilt of Bristol, LLC was founded in 2002. The company offers sales, parts, service and contract maintenance to the TriCities region, which encompasses company headquarters in Virginia.

Massive recall affects more than 30,000 trailers with parking brake issue

Trailer manufacturers are recalling tens of thousands of trailers due to an issue with Bendix spring valves. Approximately 10 manufacturers have recalled a total of more than 30,000 trailers in response to an equipment recall Bendix announced in June.

On June 8, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent out a recall notice regarding an issue with nearly 195,000 Bendix SR-5 trailer spring brake valves. According to NHTSA, brake valves were improperly machined without a radius on the internal check valve seat, causing a delay of application of the spring brakes while parking.

More than a month later, NHTSA has sent out a recall notice with specific makes and models of trailers affected by the recall. Affected trailers include:

  • Brenner liquid tank, 2015-2017
  • Cheetah Bridgemaster chassis trailers, 2015-2016
  • Cheetah curtainside flatbed trailers, 2016
  • Cheetah extendable chassis trailers, 2014-2016
  • Cheetah flatbed trailers, 2015
  • Cheetah gooseneck chassis trailers, 2014-2016
  • Cheetah straight frame chassis trailers, 2015-2016
  • Fontaine Revolution, 2015-2017
  • Great Dane flatbed trailers, 2015-2017
  • Great Dane reefer trailers, 2015-2017
  • Great Dane van trailers, 2015-2017
  • Hackney beverage trailers, 2014-2016
  • Kidron refrigerated trailers, 2014-2016
  • Transcraft platform trailers, 2015-2017
  • Utility dry van trailers. 2014-2016
  • Utility flatbed trailers, 2014-2016
  • Utility refrigerated trailers, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer DT6, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer HG4000, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer HG6000, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer HG8000, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer TG5000, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer TG7000, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer TG9000, 2014-2015
  • Vermeer TR620, 2015-2016
  • Vermeer TR626, 2015-2016
  • Vermeer WC2300XL, 2014-2016
  • Vermeer WC2500XL, 2015-2016
  • Wabash National van trailers, 2015-2017
  • Wilson CD-1080, 2015
  • Wilson DWH-550, 2015

The SR-5 valve is a reservoir-mounted trailer valve that can control four spring brake actuators during parking or emergency applications, a NHTSA safety recall report explains. A trailer will have an audible air leak from the dash mounted park control valve or red gladhand when it is disconnected, prior to decoupling when a slow-to-park situation occurs. This leakage will continue until the trailer reservoirs and spring brake chambers are depleted of air pressure.

Remedies for this recall are still under development. Expected recall dates vary by manufacturer. Owners of potentially affected trailers can contact NHTSA at 888-327-4236. NHTSA recall number for the original Bendix equipment recall is 16E-045.

Nearly 200 Mack and Volvo 2013 trucks recalled for steer axle issue

Mack Trucks and Volvo Trucks North America are recalling 2013 model year Pinnacle (CXU) and VNL/VNM trucks, respectively. The 193 trucks affected by the recall have an issue with the front steer axles, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Affected trucks are equipped with Meritor FF967 non-drive front steer axles that may have been incorrectly heat treated. Axles that have not been heat treated correctly may fracture, increasing the risk of a crash, according to NHTSA.

Both Mack and Volvo owners will be notified. Dealers will check axles for specific heat code serial numbers and replace them free of charge if necessary. Recalls are expected to begin July 29.

Mack owners can call 800-866-1177 with recall number SC0404 with any questions. Volvo owners can call 800-528-6586 with recall number RVXX1605.

DAT Solutions: Reefer rate tops $2

It was a hot week for refrigerated carriers.

The average spot truckload rate for reefer freight surged 5 cents to $2.02/mile during the week ending July 9 and topped $2 for the first time since October 2015, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

Available loads of all types fell 19 percent, and truck posts were down 22 percent compared to the previous week – as expected when you compare a four-day workweek to a five-day workweek.

As a result we saw an increase in load-to-truck ratios:

  • Reefer L/T ratio: 6.5 (up 1 percent compared to last week after a sharp rise in June)
  • Van L/T ratio: 3.5 (the highest ratio yet this year, up 6 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 15.6 (down 1 percent)

National average spot truckload rates surged compared to the previous week:

  • Van: $1.70/mile, up 8 cents
  • Reefer: $2.02/mile, up 1 cent 
  • Flatbed: $1.85/mile, down 10 cents

Major-market indicators: This is still a transition period for produce, with the focus shifting north. The average Chicago outbound rate was up 6 cents to $2.12/mile, and load counts there were down less than you’d expect for a four-day workweek. Atlanta ($2.37/mile, down 11 cents) and Lakeland, Fla. ($1.56/mile, down 12 cents), both fell.

Lanes with gains:

  • Sacramento-Portland, Ore.: $3.13/mile, up 13 cents
  • Green Bay-Joliet: $2.84/mile, up 9 cents
  • Dallas-Phoenix: $1.30/mile, up 13 cents

Reefer rates and volumes continue to decline at markets in Arizona and Texas that share a border with Mexico. Example: McAllen fell 6 cents to $1.75/mile.

Vans rates jump: Spot van rates typically drop after July 4 but not last week as the average rate climbed higher than June averages. Some truckers may have taken an extended holiday, which made it harder for shippers and brokers to find trucks. Or it could be an improving freight market. Next week’s numbers should tell us more.

Volumes lower: Van load posts dropped 19 percent and truck posts declined 24 percent - in line with expectations for a holiday week.

Hot-lanta: Atlanta remains the No. 1 market for spot van load posts on DAT MembersEdge; the average outbound rate was $2.04/mile. Dallas moved into the No. 2 spot (average rate: $1.59/mile), with Dallas-Houston up 7 cents to $2.30/mile.

Northern climbs: Outbound rates in Philadelphia and Allentown, Pa., saw some of the biggest rate increases last week. The lane from Allentown to Boston was up an average of 14 cents to $3.24/mile.

Trending down: At $1.92/mile, the average Memphis rate slipped 4 cents. That market is closely tied to retail, so it’s not surprising to see rates slide right after the end of the quarter.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

Judge approves $13.5 million settlement for misclassified drivers

Nearly four years of a court battle could be nearing a close for hundreds of drivers embroiled in a lawsuit against Exel Direct. A U.S. District Court judge in Northern California has approved of a preliminary settlement of $13.5 million to the plaintiffs for allegations of misclassification as independent contractors, according to court documents.

In a lawsuit originally filed in August 2012, 386 drivers for Exel Direct claimed the company misclassified them as independent contractors in addition to:

  • Failure to pay minimum wage
  • Failure to pay overtime
  • Failure to provide off-duty meal periods
  • Failure to provide off-duty rest periods
  • Unlawful deductions from wages
  • Cost of physical examinations
  • Coerced purchases
  • Reimbursement of business expenses
  • Failure to keep accurate payroll records
  • Failure to furnish accurate wage statements
  • Waiting time penalties
  • Unfair competition

According to the lawsuit, prospective drivers for Exel Direct were required to obtain a business license proving they were a LLC and sign an “Independent Truckman’s Agreement.” Applicants had to undergo drug and alcohol testing at their expense and agree to future testing at the company’s discretion throughout employment.

Despite requests for Spanish translations, contracts were provided in English only and were not open to negotiations. The one-year contract remained in effect year-to-year unless otherwise terminated.

Drivers also had to purchase or lease vehicles from a third party through Exel Direct. Costs of leased vehicles were deducted from paychecks. Exel Direct required control and exclusive use of any equipment, including the vehicles. Two weeks of training were also mandated, which discussed how to drive a vehicle, what speed to drive, what to discuss with customers, etc.

Several more allegations, including the demand that drivers speak English during deliveries, were mentioned in the lawsuit.

A fairness hearing for the $13.5 million settlement is scheduled for Dec. 9.

Freight tonnage in May decreases slightly for trucking

Official freight numbers for May are in. The index, which measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles, reveals freight was up for all freight modes except trucking and air freight.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for May increased by 0.2 percent to 121.8. May’s TSI is a 1.5 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.7 set in December 2014.

The May index is 28.6 percent above the low set during the recession in May 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went down to 136.1 from 137.2, a decrease of less than 1 percent. However, numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage increase of 2.7 percent in May to 139 from 135.3 in April. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s growth lines up with monthly increases in personal income, personal consumption and imports of goods. In addition to higher employment, May also experienced a slight increase in the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing index, suggesting accelerating manufacturing growth, according to BTS.

May’s freight TSI increase is the third month-to-month increase for the year. Although edging higher, the TSI index for May is below January’s level of 122.6. February and March’s decreases were only the third back-to-back monthly decreases since December 2013. In all three cases, the next month represented an increase of 1.2 percent or more, including three of the four largest increases in that period.

Navistar trucks affected by Cummins recall regarding ECMs

Navistar is recalling five models of trucks, including ProStar, due to an issue with Cummins engines equipped with certain engine control modules, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Volvo recalled 129 VNL trucks in June for the same issue.

More specifically, certain 2017 International ProStar, LoneStar, PayStar, HX and 9900 trucks with Cummins ISX15L engines equipped with certain ECMs are being recalled. Approximately 1,191 trucks are affected.

These ECMs may experience an internal electrical short that can cause a fuse to blow, resulting in an unexpected engine stall without the ability to restart the engine, according to NHTSA.

Owners will be notified by Cummins and have the ECM replaced for free. The recall is expected to begin Aug. 19, 2016. For more information call Cummins at 800-343-7357 or call Navistar at 331-332-1590.

NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 16V-453.

Explaining the FMCSA’s new registration system

Starting Sept. 30, 2016, The FMCSA’s new online system called the Unified Registration System, or URS, will be the means of getting a U.S. DOT number and registering your operating authority, adding or updating registration(s).

If you own a trucking business, you’ve probably been hearing about it. The new registration system does away with a lot of paperwork, requires regulated trucking businesses register online, and eliminates the old MC number, FF or MX number.

According to OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Scott Grenerth, “In one sentence, the URS is a single, online federal information system that businesses use to register and update their information” with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

It’s common to get URS mixed up with another registration program called UCR. Grenerth explains that the URS and the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) are not the same thing. They sound similar, but they are different.

“The URS is the FMCSA’s new online system,” says Grenerth. “It’s different from UCR, which is not part of the FMCSA. The UCR program is a federally mandated, annual state-administered registration program. The UCR’s sole purpose is, well, to just collect money from trucking entities and distribute it to participating states.”

The URS rule applies to all interstate motor carriers (including private and for-hire passenger and property motor carriers), freight forwarders, brokers, intermodal equipment providers (IEPs), hazardous materials safety permit (HMSP) applicants/holders, and cargo tank manufacturing and repair facilities under FMCSA’s jurisdiction. Mexican-domiciled carriers conducting long-haul operations are exempt.

The URS will require online registration for all filers, will use only the U.S. DOT number as a sole identifier, will impose a new fee schedule, and will keep a record on financial responsibility and your BOC-3. It replaces multiple forms and the registration functions of several systems such as the Licensing and Insurance System and the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).

It is designed to simplify the process of registering, to reduce paperwork and errors, and to make it possible to electronically screen all applications to identify high-risk carriers, including potential reincarnated carriers.

FHWA first announced the plans for such a system back in 1996. When trucking got its own agency within the administration, the agency inherited the task of developing the URS plan. Through the years, it’s been rough path, but FMCSA issued the final rule for the Unified Registration System on Aug. 23, 2013.

URS requirements are being rolled out in a phased approach. The online registration application was available for first-time applicants on Dec. 12, 2015. All applicants will begin using URS for registrations and changes starting Sept. 30, 2016. Enforcement for existing “entities” is effective Dec. 31, 2016.

The requirement for electronic filing of the Form BOC-3, designation of process agent, comes into effect on Sept. 30, 2016. However, companies already registered with FMCSA as of that date will not be required to comply until Dec. 21, 2016.

According to the overview webpage on the agency’s website, FMCSA will also begin issuing a separate and distinct safety registration, consistent with the URS final rule and new statutory requirements. Existing registered carriers with an active U.S. DOT number (who are not under an operations out-of-service order or who have not had their operating authority registration revoked) will hold safety registration when the URS is fully implemented.

All brand new applications for registration received on or after Sept. 30, 2016, will incur a $300 registration fee for each distinct registration type – including safety registration and each requested operating authority registration. A new application for registration and fees will be required if an applicant’s registration has been revoked (but the applicant will retain the same U.S. DOT number).

No fees will be required for businesses that are already registered and are simply filing a biennial update or a name/address/form of business change.
After Sept. 30, 2016, applicants seeking reinstatement of a suspended registration must pay a reinstatement fee of $10 for each request for reinstatement after that date.
OOIDA’s Grenerth says there have been some changes to the schedule for the URS roll-out and advises carriers and regulated entities to get familiar with the outreach material and FAQs provided by FMCSA on its website. There’s also a printout version of a UCR brochure, says Grenerth, and a glossary and a “need-to-know” flyer.

For more information on the URS or assistance, contact OOIDA’s Business Services - Permits and Licensing Department at 800-444-5791.

Trucking job losses in June largest in more than a year

Transportation jobs experienced its fifth monthly loss in June, including the fourth decrease in trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector lost more than 9,000 jobs in June, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net loss of more than 29,000 jobs.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of approximately 6,300 jobs in June after the industry lost 2,400 in May and gained 700 in April. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss of 9,500 jobs. June’s loss was the largest monthly decline since last March when the trucking subsector lost 6,800 jobs.

Trucking experienced the largest decrease with 3,000 fewer jobs, followed by “transit and ground passenger transportation” with a decrease of 6,000. After two consecutive months of the largest decrease, the warehousing and storage subsector saw the largest increase with 4,700 more jobs in June, reducing the net loss for the transportation sector.

Last year, 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. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.29 for June – a 21-cent increase from May. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 19 cents to $21.07. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.61, 2 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.6 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.7 percent from 6.9 percent last June. The overall unemployment rate for the country was up 0.2 percentage points to 4.9 percent, first increase since April 2011. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or went relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed changed little to 2 million, accounting for approximately one quarter of the unemployed.

DAT Solutions: A predictable rise in rates

With shippers rushing to move van and reefer loads before the end of the second quarter and the start of the July 4th weekend, the number of loads on the spot truckload market jumped 10 percent, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

Available truck capacity increased 5 percent, which pushed load-to-truck ratios up for vans and reefers:

  • Van L/T ratio: 3.4 (up 19 percent)
  • Reefer L/T ratio: 6.4 (up 12 percent)
  • Flatbed L/T ratio: 15.7 (down 11 percent)

Predictably, national average spot truckload rates were up compared to the previous week:

  • Van: $1.62/mile, up a penny
  • Reefer: $1.97/mile, up 1 cent 
  • Flatbed: $1.95/mile, unchanged for the third week in a row

Vans volumes slower: Van load posts spiked last week but volumes weren’t as strong as they were in the week before Memorial Day, which is disappointing.

Silver lining: Van volumes have improved and the van load-to-truck ratio was higher in June than it was a year ago, the first such gain in 2016. So there’s some good news.

Southern comforts: Atlanta, Charlotte, and Memphis were the top three markets for van load posts on DAT MembersEdge for the week, and load-to-truck ratios in those markets were well above the national average.

  • Atlanta averaged $2.01/mile, up 8 cents
  • Charlotte to Allentown averaged $2.62/mile, up 3 cents
  • Atlanta to Columbus rates went up 17 cents last week to an average of $1.75/mile (the backhaul was also up 6 cents to $1.57/mile)
  • Trending the other way: Memphis to Columbus was down 14 cents to $1.94/mile; Charlotte to Chicago lost 10 cents to an average of $1.59/mile

Reefers: Hotter, higher: At $1.97, the national reefer rate was 8 cents higher in June than it was in May, and that’s the third straight month of rate increases. California and the Southeast are the hottest areas for reefer loads, and rates rose in both regions last week.

Top lanes: Generally, rates were mixed but a few reefer lanes stood out:

  • Dallas-Houston: $2.45/mile, up 7 cents
  • Atlanta-Lakeland, Fla.: $3.01/mile, up 25 cents
  • Ontario, Calif.-Phoenix: $3.06/mile, up 9 cents
  • Philadelphia-Miami: $1.83/mile, up 24 cents. Outbound rates were also up 9 cents in Miami (still 12 percent below Miami rates of a month ago)

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

Cummins recall affecting Volvo VNLs

The Cummins recall of more than 5,400 ISX12 and ISX15 engines involves 129 Volvo truck owners with 2017 Volvo VNLs.

Volvo is the first heavy-truck manufacturer identified to be part of the Cummins recall of more than 5,000 ISX12 and ISX15 engines. The recall will specifically address a defect with the engine control module that may develop an internal electrical short circuit, possibly resulting in the engine stalling without warning, according to the NHTSA recall notice.

The Volvo trucks specifically affected by the recall have either the Cummins ISX12 or Cummins ISX15 engines and were manufactured between March 15 and April 20.

Cummins will be notifying the owners of the trucks, and dealers will replace the existing ECM with a new one, free of charge. The recall is expected to start July 7, according to the NHTSA recall.

Owners may contact Cummins customer service at 800-343-7357 or Volvo customer service at 800-528-6586. Volvo’s number for this recall is RVXX1604.

New Love’s in Oklahoma includes more than 60 parking spaces

Truckers travelling through Oklahoma on U.S. Highway 412 have another option to add to their list of places to park and rest. Love’s Travel Stops has announced a new location in Enid, Okla.

Located at 42nd Street off of Highway 412, the new Love’s Travel Stop will feature more than 60 truck parking spaces. This marks the third Love’s opening in Oklahoma this year and 70th overall in the state.

The 8,000 square-foot facility is open 24/7. The new Love’s features 63 truck-parking spaces, five showers, RFID cardless fueling, Cat scales and other driver services. Customers can also enjoy gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, a Carl’s Jr. restaurant and more.

For more information, visit Loves.com.

DAT Solutions: Steady into summer

By itself, a week with 12 percent fewer trucks on the spot market should would appear to be good for rates.

Unfortunately, the number of load posts dropped 14 percent during the week ending Saturday, June 18, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

Together, that did little to move spot rates as a national average:

  • Van: $1.61/mile. Same as last week.
  • Reefer: $1.96/mile. Up 2 cents including a 1-cent increase in the fuel surcharge.
  • Flatbed: $1.95/mile. Also up 2 cents because of a seasonal increase in demand.

Load-to-truck ratios remain strong relative to earlier in 2016 but failed to keep up the momentum of the previous week:

  • Van L/T ratio: 2.7 loads per truck, down 12 percent
  • Reefer: 5.3, down 11 percent
  • Flatbed: 18.2, down 10 percent

California dreamin’: While reefer rates and volumes were mostly flat nationwide, California is cooking. Three of the top five markets for reefer load posts were Los Angeles (No. 2); Fresno (4); and Ontario (5).

Fresno reefer volumes soared in the past two weeks and the average outbound rate remains solid at 2.20/mile. Two of the better-paying lanes in the country were out of Sacramento:

  • Sacramento to Portland, $2.97/mile, up 28 cents
  • Sacramento to Salt Lake City, $2.73/mile, up 19 cents

Florida falling: Rates are dropping as harvests shift north. Lakeland, Fla., outbound fell 9 cents to an average of $1.62/mile; Lakeland-to-Chicago was the Southeast region’s low reefer lane at $1.42/mile, a 22-cent fall.

Van L/T ratio still strong: At 2.7, the van load-to-truck ratio fell 12 percent but still hit its second highest mark of the year. Van load posts were down 2.9 percent last week while truck posts were up 10 percent.

Mixed picture in the Northeast: The high number of van loads heading to the Northeast gave the region trucks to spare. Buffalo outbound rates took the biggest hit despite strong volumes. One example: Buffalo to Allentown, Pa., dropped 17 cents to $2.28/mile.

Flats rising: The number of available flatbed loads dropped 1.8 percent following a spike the previous week. Capacity added 9.7 percent, which dropped the flatbed load-to-truck ratio to 18.2 loads per truck.

Several markets and lanes made big gains:

  • Raleigh, N.C.: $2.50/mile, up 17 cents. Raleigh to Baltimore picked up 54 cents to $3.29/mile.
  • Harrisburg, Pa.: $3.03/mile, a 22-cent rise. Harrisburg to Springfield, Ill., was 35 cents higher at $3.33/mile.
  • Rock Island, Ill.: $2.23/mile, up 11 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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

U.S. DOT: Slight increase in NAFTA truck freight in April

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in April trucks moved nearly 67 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Trucking was the only mode to experience an increase when compared to April 2015.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased a small fraction of a percent compared with March when freight went up 7.6 percent from the previous month. April marks the first decrease after two consecutive increases in February and March.

Compared to April 2015, freight was down 3.2 percent. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for more than $60 billion of the $90.4 billion of imports and exports in April. Rail came in second with more than $14 billion.

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $90.4 billion, down $82 million from the previous month and down nearly $3 billion from April 2015.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at 30.5 percent, a smaller drop than March’s 33.2 percent decrease. Trucks had a 0.8 percent increase, the only increase among the five modes.

Nearly 61 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 17 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 0.1 percent compared with April 2015. Of the $44.5 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 73 percent of the loads.

Cummins recalling more than 5,000 engines for ECM issues

Cummins is recalling approximately 5,400 ISX12 and ISX15 engines, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. An issue with the engine control module can short circuit.

ISX12 and ISX15 engines manufactured March 7, 2016, through April 12, 2016, are affected. Part number for the ISX12 is 4358814 and the ISX15 numbers are 5317106 and 4358814. Affected engines may short circuit and blow a fuse, resulting in the engine stalling without warning. The engine cannot be restarted until the ECM and fuse are replaced.

Owners will be notified by Cummins, and the ECM will be replaced with a new one for free. Recalls are scheduled to begin July 7. Any questions can be directed to Cummins customer service at 800-343-7357. The NHTSA campaign number for this recall is 16E-047.

Trucker Path adds 1,000 locations to parking info app

To help drivers with the truck parking epidemic, Trucker Path Pro has added 1,000 locations to the trip-planning app.

The addition gives Trucker Path Pro users information on parking availability at more than 27,000 locations along the National Highway System. Fueled by the users using crowdsourcing technology, the app provides real-time information from more than 400,000 drivers who use the application.

Truckers can use Trucker Path Pro to find truck parking availability by time of day and day of week. Real-time fuel pricing information is also available.

The free download is available on iOS and Android devices.

Summertime fun at truck events across America in July

Summer officially kicks off on June 20, and you know what that means: festivals, barbeques and truck shows. July is loaded with great truck events, including the Walcott Truckers Jamboree, Expedite Expo, Pride and Polish, the Keystone Diesel Truck Nationals and more.

Shows start midway through the month with the Fitzgerald Glider Kits show on July 14-16 at the Fitzgerald Glider Kits facility in Crossville, Tenn. Part of the Pride and Polish circuit, the show will include Truck Beauty competitions, fireworks, food, a childrens’ area and more. Details can be found at PrideAndPolish.com. Land Line Magazine is a media partner of the show.

Also running July 14-16 is the Walcott Truckers Jamboree at the Iowa 80 Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa. Occurring annually since 1979, the jamboree features an antique truck display, truck beauty contest, more than 175 exhibits, the Iowa Pork Chop Cookout, carnival games, live music and more. For more info, visit Iowa80Truckstop.com or call 563-284-6961.

Those interested or involved in expediting or truckers in general who will be further southeast during that weekend may consider the Expedite Expo which runs July 15-16 at the Lexington Center in Lexington, Ky. Learn all about the newest expedite trucking industry news, equipment, career opportunities and products. Go to ExpediteExpo.com or call 859-746-2046 for more details.

In between the Walcott Truckers Jamboree and Expedite Expo lies another truck show to attend. On July 16, the Kosciusko County Truck Show and Shine will take place at the Kosciusko Fairgrounds in Warsaw, Ind. Last year’s show included wide variety of trucks, and this year’s show is expected to do the same. Want more information? Call Kristen at 574-551-1657 or email at kmessmore1@gmail.com.

Headed northeast, the Keystone Diesel Truck Nationals is slated for July 23 at the Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pa. More than just a truck show, the Keystone Diesel Truck Nationals will feature diesel drag racing, Xtreme Diesel Performance car crusher, monster truck rides, music, a kid zone and a 300 mph jet dragster. More info can be found at MapleGroveRaceway.com.

Two shows will wrap up the July 2016 truck show festivities. Running July 29-31, the Color and Chrome Fantasy Truck Show will be held in Champion, Neb. Visit CCFTruckShow.com for more information.

That same weekend will also feature the Top Gun Large Car Shootout at the Rantoul National Aviation Center in Rantoul, Ill. Kiddie pedal pull, parade of lights, car and rat rod show, music by Nickel & Dimes, a beer garden and more will all be there. A list of more events can be seen at TopGunLargeCarShootout.com.

Don’t forget to visit the Industry Calendar at LandLineMag.com for an updated list of upcoming shows.

Love’s opens locations in Arizona and Virginia, adds 161 parking spaces

Two new Love’s Travel Stops have opened in Meadowview, Va., and in Tolleson, Ariz.

The location in Meadowview, Va., will include 72 parking spaces off of Interstate 81. In Tolleson, Ariz., near the Phoenix area, the new Love’s will feature 89 parking spaces off of Interstate 10. Together, the new locations will add 161 truck parking spaces.

Each location will also include RFID cardless fueling, Love’s Truck Tire Care centers, Cat Scales, gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items and name-brand electronics.

The Meadowview location will have Subway and McDonald’s restaurants as well as five showers. In Tolleson, seven showers, a Subway and Carl’s Jr. restaurants will be included.

For more information about Love’s Travel Stops, visit Loves.com.

Stoughton recalls 1,200 trailers with faulty pivot bolts

Stoughton Trailers is recalling approximately 1,200 model year 2014 trailers, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Affected vehicles have pivot bolts in the suspension that may fail.

More specifically, AHV, AVW, AVXW and ZGPVW 2014 Stoughton trailers are affected. These trailers are equipped with certain SAF-Holland-brand CBX Trailer Suspension Air Ride Axle Systems. Trailer suspensions have pivot bolts that may fail, potentially resulting in the separation of the suspension and attached axle from the trailer.

Owners will be notified by Stoughton. SAF-Holland-approved repair shops will replace the pivot bolts at no charge. Drivers with questions can call Stoughton customer service at 608-873-2555 with recall number 14V-268.

Bendix recalls nearly 195,000 trailer spring brake valves

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems notified the National Highway Traffic Administration on June 8 that it is recalling nearly 195,000 spring brake valves. According to NHTSA documents, if there is a delay of the spring brake application, the trailer may roll away after being decoupled.

More specifically, SR-5 trailer spring brake valves manufactured Jan. 1, 2004, to March 4, 2016, are affected by the recall. Valves were improperly machined without a radius on the internal check valve seat, causing a delay of application of the spring brakes while parking. 

According to a NHTSA recall document, Bendix has not yet developed a remedy for the problem. Therefore, a notification schedule has not been submitted as of press time.

The SR-5 valve is a reservoir-mounted trailer valve that can control four spring brake actuators during parking or emergency applications, a NHTSA safety recall report explains. A trailer will have an audible air leak from the dash mounted park control valve or red glad hand when it is disconnected, prior to decoupling when a slow-to-park situation occurs. This leakage will continue until the trailer reservoirs and spring brake chambers are depleted of air pressure.

Truckers who have questions about this defect should contact Bendix at 877-345-9526. NHTSA can also be contacted at 888-327-4236. Ask about NHTSA campaign number 16E-045.

Nearly 100 parking spaces at new Love’s location in Oregon

More parking spaces are available for truckers driving in northern Oregon. Love’s Travel Stops has opened a new location in Boardman, Ore., along Interstate 84, Exit 159.

Now the third Love’s location in Oregon, the Boardman Love’s will feature 95 parking spaces for trucks. Open 24/7, the 11,000-square-foot facility will also include seven showers, a Love’s Truck Tire Care facility, RFID cardless fueling, Cat scales and other driver services. Gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, and a Carl’s Jr. with a Green Burrito restaurant can also be found at the new location.

For more information about Love’s Travel Stops, visit Loves.com.

Freight tonnage in April experiences slight increase for trucking

Official freight numbers for April are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was down for all freight modes except trucking and pipeline, which was enough for a net increase.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for April increased by 1.3 percent to 121.1. April’s TSI is a 2 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014.

The April index is 27.9 percent above the low set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight went up to 137 from 134.6, a nearly 2 percent increase. However, numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 2.1 percent in April to 134.8 from 137.6 in March. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s growth lines up with monthly increases in housing starts and industry production. Mining production and employment fell in April. The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Index declined, but numbers indicate slow but positive manufacturing growth, according to BTS.

April’s freight TSI increase is the largest month-to-month increase since March 2014. Although above February levels, the TSI index for April is still below 10 of 12 months of last year. February and March’s decreases were only the third back-to-back monthly decreases since December 2013. In all three cases, the next month represented an increase of 1.2 percent or more, including three of the four largest increases in that period.

Trucking industry suffers another month of job losses

Transportation jobs experienced its fourth monthly loss in May, including the third decrease in trucking jobs.

The overall transportation sector lost 500 jobs in May, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the year, the transportation and warehousing sector has a net loss of 20,000 jobs.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of approximately 2,400 jobs in May after the industry gained 700 in April and lost another 2,400 in March. Year-to-date, the trucking subsector has a net loss of more than 3,000 jobs.

For the second straight month, warehousing and storage subsector experienced the largest increase with 3,000 more jobs, followed by air transportation with an increase of 1,200. “Support activities for transportation” experienced the largest loss with 2,700 jobs eliminated from the economy.

Last year, 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. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.03 for May – a 6-cent increase from April. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 9 cents to $20.83. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.59, 5 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6 percent from 7 percent last May. The overall unemployment rate for the country was down 0.3 percentage points to 4.7 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 178,000 compared with the previous month, to around 1.9 million.

DAT Solutions: Fuel pumps up spot rates

Nearly every market showed signs of improvement as the number of spot truckload freight posts was up 8.5 percent and available capacity was steady during the week ending May 28, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

Load-to-truck ratios highlight the trendlines:

  • Van L/T ratio: 1.9 loads per truck (up 16 percent)
  • Reefer: 4.1 (up 25 percent)
  • Flatbed: 14.2 (down 8 percent)

Let’s take a closer look:

Fuel price pressure: The national average diesel price rose another 2.5 cents to $2.38/gallon. That’s the national average. The average on the West Coast is $2.65/gallon, up 5 cents.

National average rates:

  • Van: $1.54/mile. Up a penny because of an increase in the fuel surcharge.
  • Reefer: $1.87/mile. No change.
  • Flatbed: $1.92/mile. Up 1 cent due to the fuel surcharge.

19 percent more reefer loads: The number of spot reefer loads increased 19 percent and available capacity fell 5 percent. The national average rate was unchanged despite a seasonal increase in demand.

Flatbed markets heat up: Flatbed load availability was virtually unchanged while capacity increased 8 percent last week. Every region has at least one hot market:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.40/mile, up 6 cents
  • Midwest: Rock Island, Ill., $2.23/mile, up 11 cents
  • South Central: Fort Worth, Texas, $2.04/mile, unchanged
  • Southeast: Raleigh, N.C., $2.50/mile, up 17 cents
  • Northeast: Harrisburg, Pa., $3.33/mile, up 35 cents

Van trends: Demand for vans increased 16 percent while capacity held steady last week.

Signs of life (van edition): Van markets that have been sluggish lately are starting to pick up:

  • Chicago, up 4 cents to $1.74/mile
  • Columbus, Ohio, up 5 cents to $1.68/mile
  • Philadelphia, up 5 cents to $1.49/mile
  • Charlotte, up 3 cents to $1.82/mile

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

FedEx adds 400,000 employees with acquisition of TNT Express

FedEx now has nearly 400,000 employees worldwide and revenues of $58 billion a year.

The Memphis, Tenn.-based company grew substantially last week when it acquired the European parcel delivery powerhouse TNT Express for nearly $5 billion.

Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx spoke about the merger in a press release.

“The timing of this historic event is important, particularly in the current market environment where global e-commerce is growing at double-digit rates,” Smith said. “Adding TNT’s capabilities to our existing world-class suite of services, including GENCO and the recently relaunched FedEx CrossBorder, will further expand the ability of FedEx to support business connections around the world.”

FedEx is now in a virtual dead heat with UPS in terms of revenues, although UPS has about 40,000 more employees.

U.S. DOT: NAFTA freight up month-to-month, down year-to-year

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in March trucks moved more than 67 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Freight movement was down in all five modes.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 7.6 percent compared with February when freight went up 2 percent from the previous month. March marks the second consecutive month-to-month increase and the largest month-to-month percentage increase since March 2015 when freight was up 12.1 percent.

Compared to March 2015, freight was down 5.8 percent. Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for more than $60 billion of the $90.5 billion of imports and exports in March. Rail came in second with more than $14 billion. 

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $90.5 billion, up $6.4 billion from the previous month and down $5.6 billion from March 2015.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at 33.2 percent, a smaller drop than February’s 35.6 percent decrease. Trucks had a 1.1 percent decrease, the smallest decline among the five modes.

More than 62 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 17 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 2.6 percent compared with March 2015. Of the $44.1 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 72 percent of the loads.

Love’s opens new location in Sidney, Neb., with an IHOP

Truckers driving through western Nebraska now have another location to park and rest. And eat pancakes. Love’s Travel Stops has opened a new location in Sidney, Neb., off of Exit 59 on Interstate 80. Love’s announced last week that for the first time, an IHOP (International House of Pancakes) Express, open 24/7, will also be available. 

The new Love’s will feature 88 parking spaces for trucks, a Love’s Truck Tire Care center, Cat Scales, RFID cardless fueling, as well as gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift merchandise, name-brand electronics and more. 

A 68-room Comfort Inn & Suites will open near the travel stop later this year. Truckers with a valid CDL will be eligible for room discounts. 

For more information about Love’s Travel Stops locations, visit loves.com.

DAT Solutions: Signs that spot rates will rise

Spot truckload freight volume and available capacity both fell during the week ending May 21, reported DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board.

However, load-to-truck ratios increased and diesel prices are up sharply – an indication that spot truckload rates may pick up soon.

Let’s take a look at the latest trends:

Loads, capacity down: The number of spot market load posts fell another 4 percent due to a 6 percent drop in flatbed load volume. The number of posted van loads was steady while reefer load posts were up 2 percent.

Tighter capacity helps L/T ratios: Fewer truck posts compared to the previous week helped boost load-to-truck ratios. The van ratio gained 1 percent, to 1.7 loads per truck; the reefer ratio increased 18 percent to 3.3; and the flatbed ratio was up 5 percent to 15.4. Load-to-truck ratios measure the number of loads posted for each available truck on the DAT network.

Fuel surcharges up: Diesel priceswere up sharply last week with the national average retail price gaining 6 cents to $2.36/gallon. Expect an increase in the average fuel surcharge this week—and a corresponding rise in spot rates.

National average spot TL rates:

  • Van: Down 1 cent to $1.53/mile
  • Reefer: Down a penny to $1.87/mile
  • Flatbed: Unchanged at $1.91/mile for the third week in a row

Reefer trends: Rates rose on more than half of the highest-volume lanes. The high-dollar market in each region:

  • West: Los Angeles, $2.41/mile, unchanged
  • Midwest: Grand Rapids, Mich., $2.39/mile, up 2 cents
  • South Central: McAllen, Texas, $1.88/mile, down 1 cent
  • Southeast: Miami, $2.06/mile, unchanged
  • Northeast: Philadelphia, $2.16/mile, down 9 cents

Atlanta and Lakeland, Fla., are still No. 1 and 2 for reefer load posts on DAT MembersEdge, though volumes slipped a bit in Central Florida.

Van trends: Volume was up in Houston, the country’s No. 2 market for van load posts on DAT MembersEdge, after Atlanta. Chicago’s average outbound rate was down 2 cents to $1.71/mile, and rail competition is killing the lane from Chicago to L.A.: the average spot van rate lost another 14 cents to just $1.05/mile.

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.

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

June calendar: A variety of trucks shows nationwide

Start clearing that calendar because the month of June is a busy one for truck shows across America. Some must-see shows, including Shell Rotella SuperRigs, are just around the corner.

Huron, S.D., will be kicking off June shows with the Wheel Jam Truck Show on June 3-5. Like many shows, Wheel Jam is more than just trucks. Classic cars, motorcycles and stock cars will also be featured. This year will also include a virtual truck driving sequence, battle of the bands, and parade. For more information, visit WheelJamTruckShow.com or call Scot Marone at 605-354-2809 or Doug Flowers at 605-354-1324.

If you’re in or near Pennsylvania on that same weekend, consider going to the Paul Riggle & Sons show at their facility in Apollo, Pa., at 601 Marco Road. Slated for June 4, Riggle & Sons is a show for those who love all types of vehicles, including classic cars and trucks. For more information call 724-727-7505.

The following week will feature one of the bigger shows of the year: the 34th annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs show. SuperRigs will be held June 9-11 at the Joplin Convention and Trade Center in Joplin, Mo. Beauty contests (for trucks), street parties, parades, entertainment and more will make SuperRigs another exciting show this year. More details can be found at Shell.com/Rotella/SuperRigs.

That same weekend, June 10-11, the Oak Grove Truckers Jamboree will be taking place at the Oak Grove Petro in…you guessed it…Oak Grove, Mo. Last year’s show featured race cars, trucks, poker and live music. More information about this year’s show can be found at OakGrovePetro.com or by calling 816-690-4455.

Those toward the Northeast will have a chance to catch the Western Pennsylvania Pride and Shine Spring Show on June 10-12 at the Stoneboro Fair Grounds in Stoneboro, Pa. With six competition categories for both semi and pickup trucks, expect plenty of show-quality vehicles. Also expect some not-so-show-quality pickups with the Ugliest Truck category. Visit WPaPrideAndShine.com for more information.

On the third weekend of June, stop by Humboldt, Neb., on June 18 for the Down Home Truck Show. With nearly a dozen show classes being judged, all types of trucks will be lined up in the downtown square showing their goods. The children, ages 4-9, can get in on the action with a kids pedal pull. Head over to Facebook.com/DownHomeTruckShow for more information.

That same weekend further east in Ashland, Ohio, the Ohio Vintage Truck Jamboree will take place June 18-19 at the Ashland County Fairgrounds. Convoys, light shows, truck pulls, raffle drawing and much more will be featured this year. A drop and hook competition will be available to the first 20 signed up exhibitors. Participants needing a hotel should book soon as the Wayne County Fairgrounds will be holding a large event the same weekend. More details can be found at OhVinTrkJam.com.

The final weekend of June will include two shows, the first taking place in Houston, Texas. On June 24-26, the George R. Brown Convention Center will be hosting the Texas Trucking Show. The heavy-duty aftermarket trade show will feature a variety of exhibitors displaying their latest offerings. Several seminars will be available and will include topics ranging from hazardous materials violations to factoring. For more info visit TexasTruckingShow.com.

The Transport for Christ Truck Rally, June 25-26, will be at the Lebanon Valley Expo Center in Lebanon, Pa. Call 717-426-9977, email tfcio@TransportForChrist.org or visit TransportForChrist.org for details.

FMCSA issues safety advisory for MC330 and MC331 tankers

Nearly two weeks after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a safety advisory affecting certain tankers, the federal agency has issued another safety advisory that affects tanker drivers. This time the advisory is in regards to pressure relief devices (PRD).

The latest FMCSA advisory comes after a recent crash involving an MC330 tanker truck equipped with Fisher Controls model H282 PRD manufactured by Emerson Process Management Regulator Technologies. In 2013 and 2014, Emerson Process Management Regulator Technologies recalled Fisher Control PRD models H732, H832, H282, H882, H5112, and H8112.

FMCSA is advising all owners and operators of MC330 or MC331 cargo tank trucks to inspect the vehicle’s PRDs for Fisher Control model numbers affected by the above recalls. Trucks with a recalled PRD should be taken out of hazardous materials transportation service immediately and have the PRD removed and replaced. Failure to do so will be considered a violation of safety regulations.

According to FMCSA, PRDs are an integral part of the safety mechanisms for U.S. Department of Transportation specification cargo tank motor vehicles and are vital to ensuring the safety of hazardous materials transportation by highway.

For more information or questions, contact Paul Bomgardner, Chief, Hazardous Materials Division, at 202-493-0027, or by email at paul.bomgardner@dot.gov.

Western Star introduces Extreme Duty Offroad package

Western Star has announced its new Extreme Duty (XD) Offroad package and MBT-40 Transformer chassis. The package is designed for extremely rugged environments.

Available for 4900 and 6900 models, the XD Offroad package offers safety and comfort while providing drivers with a low cost per ton product for off-road trucks. The 6900 XD is available in 6x4 and 6x6 configurations. XD Offroad packages will be available for other models in the future.

The 6900 XD Offroad, also known as the Multi-Body Transformer, can change from one body application to another. The truck uses a Palfinger G68 hook-lift with a lifting capacity of 68,000 pounds. Western Star engineered the truck to replace the need for multiple pieces of off-road equipment on a job site.

For more information, go to WesternStarTrucks.com.

Freight tonnage numbers for March reveal another slow month

Official freight numbers for March are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was down for all freight modes except air.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for March decreased by 0.9 percent to 120. March’s TSI is a 2.8 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.5 set in November 2014.

The February index is 26.7 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight decreased by 0.6 points to 134.7 from 135.3, a drop of less than 1 percent. However, American Trucking Associations’ numbers reveal a tonnage decrease of 4.5 percent in March to 137.6 from 144 in February. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s drop lines up with monthly decreases in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index. Manufacturing activity and high inventories showed signs of decline.

The decrease was driven by continued weakness in the mining (including oil and gas well drilling and servicing), utility and manufacturing sectors of the economy. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index declined 0.6 percent in March, its second consecutive monthly decline.

Strick to recall 2005-2009 van trailers for faulty rear impact guard

Strick Trailer is recalling certain single-axle 28-foot van trailers for a rear-impact guard issue, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document.

More specifically, 2005-2009 van trailers manufactured July 25, 2004, to Feb. 3, 2009, and equipped with rear-impact guards using gussets 55997 and 55998 are affected. Gussets on affected trucks can increase the chances of injury during a crash, thereby violating Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 223, “Rear Impact Guards.”

In March 2014, Strick discovered that the gussets may not have been verified using prescribed test procedures, according to the NHTSA document. Tests conducted in April 2014 confirmed that the gussets violated FMVSS 223.

Owners will be notified by Strick to have reinforcements installed to the rear-impact guards at no cost. For more information, contact Strick’s customer service at 260-692-6121. The recall will begin on June 17.

XPO under attack by U.S. and European unions over ‘anti-worker actions’

Just over six months after acquiring Con-way, Employee and union leaders assembled outside an XPO Logistics shareholder meeting in Greenwich, Conn., to demand that CEO Bradley Jacobs address several concerns. In an email statement, XPO is calling it a Teamster’s publicity stunt.

XPO employees in the U.S. and Europe are upset about anti-worker actions and abuses, according to a Teamsters news release. Union leaders are claiming XPO is “mismanaging the integration of its new businesses, leading to operational and financial risks.”

“There were concerns about the company growing too fast and not being able to manage the company providing service for the workers,” said Galen Munroe, senior communications coordinator for Teamsters, during a press conference.

After acquiring Con-way, unions say port and rail drivers have experienced wage theft totaling more than $200 million as a result of their being misclassified as independent contractors. In January, a lawsuit was filed against XPO for misclassifying port drivers. The suit claimed the companies did not pay minimum wage, provide meal/rest breaks, reimburse business expenses, or pay overtime/double time wages, and committed other labor law violations. In total, the lawsuit claims violations of 10 separate labor laws.

“XPO has lost every case at every investigation by any governmental agency,” Munroe said. “They have lost every one of them and found that the workers are misclassified. What their business model has been is to negotiate a settlement and pay those drivers, but they never fix the problem.”

XPO also agreed to delay any layoffs in France for at least 18 months after acquiring Norbert Dentressangle SA last April. Union leaders claim that XPO did not honor that agreement.

“This company is not really interested in growing,” said Greg Alden, Teamsters’ freight division representative. “They are very interested in getting rid of the people there and using subcontractors.”

Earlier this year, XPO cut 190 non-driver jobs in its LTL operations. Approximately one week later, the logistics company shut down seven truck terminals in “remote areas,” according to an XPO statement.

In an interview with Bloomberg last September, Jacobs said that drivers were “very important” and XPO intended to keep all the drivers. In the U.S., all layoffs have affected administrative, management and executive offices. No known driver layoffs have occurred to date.

To date, Jacobs has declined to meet with union leaders.

The 1.4 million-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 75,000 freight members, including nearly 200 at XPO.

XPO sent Land Line the following statement:

This was obviously a publicity stunt by the Teamsters. We have excellent relationships with our employees and the owner-operators who serve our customers. Our drivers and the owner-operators we do business with are aware that we pay them more than their union counterparts in other companies. The Teamsters will have to look elsewhere for a way to solve their declining membership problem.

FMCSA issues safety advisory for Trailers Y Tanques De Aluminio tankers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a safety advisory mandating the owners of certain tankers manufactured by Trailers Y Tanques De Aluminio (TYTAL) cease all operations using the cargo tank, according to a FMCSA press release.

TYTAL, USDOT No. 2164338, CT-12407, cargo tank vehicles with a capacity of 8,400, 8,717 and 10,500 gallons are in need of immediate repairs. The 10,500-gallon tanker has inadequate venting capacity of pressure relief systems and inadequate accident damage protection. The other two tankers have inadequate accident damage protection as well.

Affected TYTAL tankers are unauthorized, according to the FMCSA, until repairs and testing have been completed. Effective June 1, enforcement and fines will be given to owners and drivers operating any of the above tankers that have not made necessary repairs.

Owners and operators opting not to continue to use these tanks in hazardous materials service must immediately remove, obliterate or cover the specification plate that identifies the vehicle as a DOT specification cargo tank. The specification plate must remain out of sight until the necessary repairs are completed.

A full list of affected vehicles needing repair can be found here.

TYTAL has notified known customers, and repairs have begun free of charge. More information about the defect can be found by calling 011-52-828-269-0030, emailing CustomerService@tytal.com.mx or visiting tytal.com.mx/en/. Paul Bomgardner, chief of Hazardous Materials Division, may also be contacted at 202-493-0027 or paul.bomgardner@dot.gov.

DAT Solutions: Southbound and up! Spot rates jump

Load volume continued to increase last week, and rates are responding.

Truckload rates on the spot market jumped sharply for all three equipment types during the first week of May, says DAT Solutions, which operates the MembersEdge load board. The number of loads posted on DAT boards was up 5.1 percent compared to the previous week.

This goes to 11: The number of posted reefer loads increased 11 percent, and the national average spot reefer rate was up 11 cents to a national average of $1.90/mile.

Florida producing: Outbound reefer volumes and rates surged in Florida:
Lakeland was up 29 cents to an average of $1.91/mile.
Miami added 23 cents to an average of $2.32/mile.
The lane from Miami to Atlanta paid an average of 38 cents better last week at $2.18/mile.
Hot lane: Miami-to-Baltimore jumped 41 cents to an average of $2.62/mile.

Vans in demand: Van load posts rose 11 percent and pushed the van load-to-truck ratio up 11 percent to 1.8 loads per truck.

Van rate jumps 7 cents: The national average spot van rate was $1.57/mile, a 7-cent increase including a 2-cent rise in the average fuel surcharge.

Look South: The top five van markets on DAT MembersEdge were Atlanta, Houston, Charlotte, Greenville, S.C., and Lakeland. The No. 2 market, Houston, averaged $1.49/mile, up 5 cents, with rates up on all major outbound lanes and trucks in short supply.

Flats hold steady: Flatbed load volume was unchanged while capacity increased 12 percent from the previous week. That led to an 11 percent decline in the load-to-truck ratio to 18.8 flatbed loads per truck. The national average flatbed rate added 1 cent to $1.91 a mile.

Fuel surcharge: Diesel prices inched up a half cent to $2.27/gallon as a national average. A steady increase in diesel prices added 2 cents per mile to the average fuel surcharge and gave spot rates an extra boost. 

Get the latest rate trends at DAT.com/Trendlines or join the conversation on Twitter with @LoadBoards. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com, and listen in each Wednesday to Land Line Now for more talk about where to find profitable freight.

Department of Labor reports job increases for transportation sector

Transportation jobs experienced the first gain in 2016, including the first increase in trucking jobs since January.

The overall transportation sector gained nearly 9,000 jobs in April, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. From January through March, more than 28,000 jobs have been eliminated from the transportation and warehousing sector.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 700 jobs in April after the industry lost 2,400 in March and 600 in February. Approximately 1,500 trucking jobs were added in January, leaving a net loss of 800 for the year.

Warehousing and storage subsector experienced the largest increase with 6,500 more jobs, followed by couriers and messengers with an increase of 2,500. Rail transport and “support activities for transportation” experienced the only losses with 3,700 and 1,600 fewer jobs in April, respectively.

Last year, 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. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.10 for April, a 2-cent increase from March. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 3 cents to $20.93. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.53, 8 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 6.8 percent from 6.1 percent last April. The overall unemployment rate for the country was mostly unchanged at 5 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 150,000 compared with the previous month to around 2.1 million.

Paccar Parts opens $32 million distribution center

Paccar Parts has opened a new $32 million, 160,000-square-foot distribution center in Renton, Wash., according to a news release. The center will service dealers in the Northwestern U.S. and Western Canada. 

The Renton distribution center includes a 15,000-square-foot small-parts mezzanine with state-of-the-art equipment. A 125 percent increase in capacity of parts is expected at the new facility, with the storage of more than 39,000 different parts. 

A 50-person training room and interactive “Paccar Parts Experience” will also be featured. The interactive feature demonstrates Paccar Parts distribution network, products and services to visitors. Featuring a 3-D model of the distribution center, the Paccar Parts Experience demonstrates the efficiencies and innovative technologies that provide superior levels of customer service.

U.S. DOT: Trucks moving more than 67 percent of NAFTA freight

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in February trucks moved more than 67 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Freight movement was down in three of five modes.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 2 percent compared with January when freight went down nearly 5 percent from the previous month. February marks the first month-to-month increase since last October. All modes carried less freight when compared with February 2015 except for trucks and rail.

Year-to-year, NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $57 billion of the $84 billion of imports and exports in February. Rail came in second with more than $13 billion. 

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $84 billion, up $1.6 billion from the previous month and down $1.7 billion from February 2015.

Vessel freight experienced the steepest decline at 41 percent, a steeper drop than January’s 37.3 percent decrease. Together, all modes are down 2 percent from last year.

Nearly 62 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at nearly 17 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 2 percent compared with February 2015. Of the $41.4 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 74 percent of the loads.

DAT Solutions: A Southeastern shift

The national average reefer rate was unchanged during the week ending April 26 despite some promising signs that demand would increase soon.

Nationally, the number of reefer load posts increased just 1 percent and average spot truckload rates have yet to make a seasonal jump, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board.

Let’s take a closer look at the good, the bad, and a tip of the week in the spot market:

The good
So far this spring, imported produce from Mexico has dominated reefer demand, with solid opportunities for hauls from along the southern border. Now the focus is shifting to the Southeast. Reefer volume is up in Florida, Georgia peaches have started to ship, and produce is ripening elsewhere along the coast.

The top three markets for reefer load posts on DAT MembersEdge are Miami, Atlanta, and Lakeland, Fla., with several sharp increases on key lanes: Miami to Elizabeth, N.J., surged 31 cents and paid an average of $1.76 a mile, Miami to Boston rose 30 cents to $1.97 a mile, and Lakeland to Baltimore was up 25 cents to $1.81 a mile.

Nationally, the reefer load-to-truck ratio was unchanged, holding at 2.6 loads per truck. The national average reefer rate held steady at $1.78 per mile. 

The bad
The van market is still trying to find some traction. The van load-to-truck ratio was unchanged compared to the previous week, rounding to 1.4 loads per truck on 4 percent lower volume. The national average van rate was also unchanged at $1.50 a mile. 

Regionally, van rates weakened or remained the same in several key markets including Atlanta (unchanged at $1.64), Charlotte (down 2 cents to $1.74), Los Angeles ($1.83, unchanged), and Chicago (down 1 cent to $1.75). 

The rising price of fuel has done little to move the needle on spot rates. The national average diesel price rose 4 cents to $2.20 a gallon, building on a 3-cent gain the previous week.

The takeaway
If you haul reefer freight, you’ll have no trouble finding a load out of Miami, where the load-to-truck ratio is roughly 7. But the average rate from Miami to Atlanta is still low at $1.41. You’ll want to negotiate hard on the southbound leg, from Atlanta to Miami, which averaged $2.06 last week.

Another option is to build a tri-haul out of Miami. Tune in every Wednesday at 6 Central Time to Sirius XM’s Road Dog Channel and OOIDA’s Land Line Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT. This week, he talked with Peggy Dorf about opportunities on the MembersEdge load board to increase revenue by adding a third leg to your route. Look for more information about load availability and rates at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network)

Truck show dates make May a busy calendar month

Truck show season is underway and May’s calendar features events across the country featuring some of the industry’s most eye-catching trucks. Check Land Line’s Industry Calendar periodically for updated information.

If you are near Earlville, Iowa, on May 6-7, swing by the Midwest Pride in Your Ride Truck and Tractor Show. Pride in Your Ride will feature show trucks, antique farm tractors, a truck pull, truck drag racing and more. The event will take place at the Tri-State Raceway. For more information, visit MidwestPrideInYourRide.org.

One day after the Pride in Your Ride Show, the Make-A-Wish foundation in Philadelphia will be hosting its 27th annual Mother’s Day Truck Convoy. From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 8 at Burle Industries off of Route 23 in Lancaster more than 300 trucks will be participating in a convoy that will leave at 1:30 p.m. sharp. Other activities include live music, BBQ, games, auctions and more. Visit the website by clicking here for details.

On May 12-14, Kenly 95 Petro in Kenly, N.C., will be hosting the 5th annual East Coast Truckers Jamboree. The “Gear’d Up” show will feature motorcycles, cars and street trucks in addition to the big rigs. Live music includes John Berry on Friday and Jim Quick and the Coastline Band on Thursday. Go to Kenly95.com for additional information.

The American Truck Historical Society is planning its National Convention on May 26-28 at the Oregon State Fair and Expo Center in Salem, Ore. Last year’s show featured a variety of trucks, both antique and new. Everything from old-school pickup trucks to B-model Macks to Marmons and everything in between can be seen. Visit ATHS.org for more information.

FMCSA reports 830 trucks affected by Volvo recall still not fixed

Approximately 830 Volvo 2016-2017 VNL, VNX and VNM trucks subjected to the large scale steering recall are unaccounted for, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. On Tuesday, the agency issued a recall update with a reminder that these vehicles should not be operated “as they pose an imminent hazard and are to be immediately ordered out-of-service by federal and state roadside safety inspectors.”

On March 31, Land Line reported Volvo recalling nearly 20,000 trucks because of a substantial defect with the steering. The defect is so significant that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has urged owners to take affected vehicles out of service as soon as possible or face penalties.

Some trucks may be missing a roll pin on the steering shafts, potentially disconnecting the lower steering shaft from the junction block. Additionally, the bolt connecting the upper steering shaft to the lower steering shaft may not have been properly tightened. Both situations can cause the steering shaft to separate.

On March 25, nearly 14,000 affected trucks had been fixed or taken out of service, approximately three-fourths of all trucks affected by the recall. 

Volvo Trucks North America spokesperson John Mies confirmed to Land Line that the company will reimburse customers for “reasonable towing and/or rental expenses.”

Any drivers wanting to make a claim must submit it in writing to Volvo Group North America LLC, Attn: Steering Shaft Recall, 7900 National Service Road, Greensboro, N.C. 27409. Make sure the affected vehicle’s VIN is included as well as supporting documents justifying the amount being requested. An itemized breakdown of each expense must be included.

Repairs to affected trucks can only be done by someone authorized by Volvo Trucks. To find the nearest shop, drivers should call Volvo’s customer support line at 877-800-4945.

Owners can call Volvo at 877-800-4945 and choose option No. 1. Volvo’s recall numbers for this campaign are RVXX1602 and RVXX1603. This recall supersedes safety recall 15V-786.

WABCO acquires Laydone Composites Ltd.

WABCO, a component provider for OEMs, has recently acquired Laydon Composites Ltd. (LCL), a manufacturer of aerodynamic devices for heavy-duty trucks and trailers, according to a news release.

LCL, based in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, generated approximately $25 million (Canadian dollars) last year. The company has been around for more than 30 years.

WABCO’s acquisition will give worldwide access to LCL products. In a symbiotic relationship, WABCO in turn will be able to expand its North American market access through LCL’s pre-established relationships.

LCL’s collapsible air fairings improve air flow over tractor cabs, reducing fuel usage as much as 12 percent. For trailers, LCL’s patented, SmartWay Elite certified TrailerSkirt and nose fairings reduce air drag for a combined 9 percent fuel savings and lower CO2 emissions.

For more information about WABCO products visit the company website.

Love’s opens new location in Davenport, Fla.

Love’s Travel Stops has opened a new location in central Florida. Drivers will now have a new place to stop at along Interstate 4 and U.S. Highway 27 in Davenport, Fla.

Davenport’s new Love’s location is the fourth Love’s Travel Stop in Florida since 2014. Including the 69 truck-parking spaces in Davenport, Love’s has added 373 truck-parking spaces in Florida. Love’s other newer travel stops in Florida are in Fort Pierce, Fort Myers and Mossy Head. Love’s operates 12 travel stops in the state.

The Davenport Love’s features seven showers, a Love’s Truck Tire Care facility, RFID cardless fueling and CAT scales. Customers can also enjoy gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, an Arby’s restaurant and more.

DAT Solutions: When will spot rates get better?

Spot truckload rates declined across all equipment types during the week ending April 16, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board. The number of posted trucks increased 4.5 percent, and the number of available loads fell 6.4 percent compared to the previous week.

However, demand was up in major markets, a signal that spot rates may rebound.

Good news
The number of available loads last week fell 6 percent for vans, 1 percent for reefers, and 9 percent for flatbeds and average spot rates dipped accordingly. The national average van rate fell 3 cents to $1.50 per mile, marking the third straight week of declines.

The reefer rate was down 2 cents at $1.78 per mile despite the fact that volumes were up in almost every major reefer market. And the average flatbed rate fell 1 cent to $1.91 per mile.

Where’s the good news? Use your load board to drill down to specific lanes.

For instance, while reefer demand has been generally softer than expected, the average rate for reefer loads was $2.02 a mile from Nogales, Ariz., to Dallas, up 13 cents compared to the week before last. Nogales-Tucson has been the top market for load posts on DAT MembersEdge in the past two weeks, with 10.6 available loads per truck.

Two of the biggest van rate increases were on low-paying lanes: Chicago to Los Angeles was up 15 cents to $1.25 a mile, and Denver to Oklahoma City gained 11 cents to $1.10 a mile. Demand is finally starting to drive rates up, albeit slowly.

Better news
National average flatbed rates are up 5 cents a mile so far in April, with increases in the 9-cent range in high-volume lanes.

Regionally, demand is strong and rates are holding up well in the Southeast, including lanes originating in Atlanta, Roanoke, and Savannah. Leading lanes include Tampa outbound, up 8 cents to an average of $1.91 a mile, and Memphis, up 14 cents to $2.46.

Memphis-to-Dallas added 8 cents and is up 22 cents for the month to $2.29 a mile. An added bonus: You end up in Texas, where you can usually find a load out of Dallas, Fort Worth, or Houston.

What to watch
The gap between contract rates and spot rates is expanding. In the van market, the average spread between contract and spot rates is 36 cents during the month of April.

One factor is the declining price of fuel. Spot rates are “all in” rates; they theoretically combine a line-haul portion and a fuel surcharge. This rolled-up rate has fallen much more sharply than the fuel surcharge has dropped for carriers hauling freight under contract.

Another reason is that shippers have less exception freight to move. In other words, they’re just not producing more than they planned for.

Look for the latest load availability and rate information at MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to Land Line Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Mark Montague for details on spot truckload rates.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

New truck show planned for September 2017 in Atlanta

The North American Commercial Vehicle Show is set to debut Sept. 25-29, 2017 in Atlanta.

The show, which will be focused on the commercial fleet and heavy-truck market, will consist of more than 300,000 square feet of exhibition space.

According to a news release, the NACV Show will allow suppliers, commercial vehicle OEMs and the supply chain to meet with and address the needs of the North American commercial vehicle industry audience. The show will be held on alternating years from the Deutsche Messe-hosted show in Hannover, Germany.

The NACV Show will be organized and managed jointly by Hannover Fairs USA and Newcom Business Media.

“The new North American Commercial Vehicle Show is a perfect fit with Deutsche Messe’s commercial vehicle events portfolio,” said Larry Turner, the President and CEO of Hannover Fairs USA. “Hannover Fairs USA and Newcom are uniquely positioned to develop and organize this new event while working with the industry to guarantee the needs of all participants are met.”

The NACV Show will specifically target North American-based commercial fleet owners, owner operators, commercial and light commercial vehicle dealers, distributors, repair shops, truck manufacturers and the commercial vehicle trade media, according to a news release.

“We look forward to working with Hannover Fairs USA to leverage Deutsche Messe and Newcom’s commercial vehicle event expertise, experience and sales network to gain a strong position in the United State with major manufacturers and pertinent industry associations,” said Joe Glionna, the Vice President and General Manager of the NewCom Business Media.

In late March, the American Trucking Associations announced plans to explore development of a new commercial vehicle event. ATA, along with the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association division of the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, said it had entered into an agreement with Messe Frankfurt to develop a new, biennial North American based truck and transportation event that also would take place in odd numbered years.

No further details have been released.

WisDOT begins electronic credential pilot program

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is seeking drivers to participate in a pilot program regarding electronic credentials. WisDOT wants participants to go paperless with certain documents to assess time saved and the convenience of updating credentials.

Already in progress and ending on Sept. 30, participation is informal and voluntary. Drivers who wish to participate are encouraged to have electronic forms of the following documents:

  • IRP cab card or intrastate vehicle certificate of registration
  • Trailer vehicle certificate or registration
  • IFTA license
  • Lease agreement, if lessee is providing IFTA or IRP
  • Authority documents
  • Certificate of insurance
  • Hazmat Registration Certificate
  • Non-hazmat bills of lading

Electronic documents not supported by the pilot program:

  • CDL
  • Federal Medical Examiner Certificate
  • Hazmat shipping papers and related required documents
  • Hazardous material guidebook
  • Emergency response guidebook
  • FMCSA regulations handbook
  • Canadian operating authority
  • Any other paperwork not listed as included

Documents can be presented in a pdf file on a tablet, smartphone or a computer. Law enforcement may request a driver to send the file to an email address. Personal websites with electronic credentials are also acceptable. Drivers must show paper documents to law enforcement if requested, regardless of availability of electronic documents.

Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota are also participating in the program, along with some law enforcement agencies in Illinois. Other states may be added during the pilot.

After the pilot date, a final report will include results and recommend laws and procedure changes needed to implement electronic credentials as a substitute for paper documents.

For more information about the pilot program, including a handbook and roadside brochure, visit the WisDOT website.

NHTSA investigates Freightliner Cascadias for wiper motor failure

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into a possible defect with 2015-2016 Freightliner Cascadias. Affected trucks may have an issue with wiper motors.

According to a document from NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation, the agency has received field reports indicating a possible wiper motor failure on Cascadia trucks. Wiper motors may occasionally cease to operate, leading to reduced visibility when wipers are needed.

Field reports reveal that multiple trucks are experiencing the same issue, and motor failures occur multiple times within the same vehicle. Approximately 5,000 trucks may be affected.

NHTSA has opened a preliminary evaluation. The investigation will determine the severity and scope of the defect and issue a recall if warranted.

Ryder donates $25,000 to Women In Trucking scholarship

Ryder System’s Ryder Charitable Foundation has donated $25,000 to the Women In Trucking Foundation, according to a press release.

The Ryder Charitable Foundation supports causes related to expertise, innovation, safety and community collaboration. The WIT Foundation provides student scholarships to women interested in the transportation industry.

In March, five women received the Ryder/WIT Foundation Scholarship to begin work on a career in trucking. Each recipient was awarded $1,500 for tuition and fees to a technical school of their choice. The winners are as follows:

  • Corinna Carter – enrolled at the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tenn.
  • Heather Dodson – enrolled at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Md.
  • Wanda Lee-Ann Edwards van Muijen – enrolled at Professional Transport Driver Training School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Susan Murphy – enrolled at Midwest Technical Institute in Springfield, Mo.
  • Shanna Waters – enrolled at Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, Ga.

For more information about the Ryder Charitable Foundation, visit its website. More information about the WIT Foundation can be found by clicking here

DAT Solutions: Flatbed market makes steady gains

After a flurry of activity to end March, spot truckload freight volume settled back down 1 percent nationally while the number of truck posts jumped 6.2 percent during the week ending April 9, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board.

A swell of flatbed loads and better rates contrasted with downward trends for van and reefer freight. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers:

The Good
The national average flatbed load-to-truck ratio was 23.5, meaning there were 23.5 available flatbed loads for every truck posted on the DAT load board network last week. The load-to-truck ratio is a real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.

The flatbed ratio has been climbing steadily all year, from an average of 8.7 in January to 10.4 in February to 17.5 in March, up slightly compared to March 2015 when the ratio was 16.3.

Flatbed rates gained 1 cent to a national average of $1.92 per mile. Hot markets included Jacksonville (up 18 cents to an average of $2.45 a mile), Phoenix (also up 18 cents to $1.75), Reno (a 19-cent gain to $2.26), and Harrisburg, Pa. (31 cents higher at $2.96).

The Bad
On the other hand, van and refrigerated spot truckload rates remain soft. Average rates trended down on 63 of the top 100 van lanes – not a great week, although most adjustments were small. Van load posts fell 13 percent and truck posts increased 7 percent; the van load-to-truck ratio fell slightly to 1.6.

The national average van rate dropped 4 cents compared with the previous week to $1.53. Looking at the past 30 days, average van rates rose in three markets: Atlanta, Houston, and Stockton, Calif.

Reefer demand is undergoing a regional shift as produce season winds down in Florida. Texas was home to four of the top eight markets for reefer load posts on MembersEdge, and harvests in the Coachella and Imperial Valleys of California have produced stronger demand and better outbound rates in markets like Ontario.

The reefer load-to-truck ratio fell to 2.6 last week and the national average spot reefer rate dropped 2 cents to $1.80 per mile.

The Takeaway
In a reefer rate environment like this, use your load board to maximize your revenue. Our reefer trihaul of the Week is Chicago-Atlanta, a 1,432-mile roundtrip that would pay an average of $1.68 a mile: $2,406 total or roughly $800 a day.

So look for a load from Atlanta to another market with lots of reefer loads to Chicago, like Charleston, W.V., (with a 6.8 load-to-truck ratio, there’s a shortage of trucks there). Take the trihaul from Chicago to Atlanta to Charleston and back to Chicago, and you’ll end up with $3,640 instead of $2,406.

Since it can be hard to find a load from Charleston to Chicago, look at different combinations and line up your lane and load up before you leave Atlanta.

Look for the latest load availability and rate information at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to Land Line Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Mark Montague for details on spot truckload rates.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

Slow month for trucking leads to lower overall freight tonnage in February

Official freight numbers for February are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was up for air freight, water and rail carloads. However, significant declines in truck and pipeline freight brought down the overall index.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for February decreased by 0.7 percent to 122.2. February’s TSI is a 1.2 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.7 set in November 2014.

The February index is 29 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking freight decreased by nearly two points to 135.8 from 137.5, a 1.2 percent drop. However, American Trucking Associations’ numbers reveal a tonnage increase of 7.2 percent in February. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership.

According to the DOT, TSI’s drop lines up with monthly decreases in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index. Manufacturing activity and high inventories showed signs of decline.

Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in tons and ton-miles. This information is used to measure the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry.

Ritchie Bros. plan massive five-day Edmonton auction

On Tuesday, April 26, which is day one of Ritchie Bros. biggest Canadian auction, a vintage 1965 and a 1970 Chevrolet El Camino will sell with all proceeds going to charity. Through Saturday, April 30, bidders will see trucks, trailers, pickups, RVs, automobiles, heavy equipment of all types, and even boats.

For weeks, the Ritchie Bros. crew in Edmonton, Alberta, has been working hard getting everything lined up and ready for the thousands of bidders expected come auction time in April.

With just two weeks until the auction begins, equipment still arrives daily to the massive site located just outside Alberta’s capital.

The Edmonton auction in April is traditionally the company's largest Canadian auction of the year, and this year is the biggest yet. On April 26-30, 2016, Ritchie Bros. will sell more than 10,000 items in Edmonton, including more than 260 truck tractors and more than 1,000 trailers, plus hundreds of excavators, compactors, loaders, dozers and more.

Every item will be sold with no reserve prices or minimum bids.

For a detailed list of all equipment in the auction, including high-res photos of the items, visit rbauction.com/Edmonton. Interested buyers can bid in person at the auction site, online in real time, or by proxy.

Truckers Against Trafficking has new partners in Kansas

A new partnership between the Kansas Attorney General, the state’s motor carriers association, and Truckers Against Trafficking aims to combat sex trafficking in the Sunflower State by raising awareness of the issue.

The partnership between Attorney General Derek Schmidt, the Kansas Motor Carriers Association, and TAT is part of an effort to build coalitions between law enforcement and the trucking industry to help identify and thwart human trafficking, according to Esther Goetsch, TAT’s coalition build specialist.

“Our mission is to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking industry to combat human trafficking as part of their everyday jobs,” Goetsch said via email. “We do this through our trucking specific training materials, through partnering with law enforcement to facilitate the investigation of human trafficking, and through marshaling the resources of the trucking industry to combat these crimes.”  

The partnership is part of a joint training operation for state law enforcement, which was hosted by Schmidt’s office in Topeka on Thursday, April 7.

“Through this new partnership, we will continue to train local law enforcement and educate the trucking industry about the signs of human trafficking and how to report it,” Schmidt said in a statement. “By combining forces with the trucking industry, we hope to raise awareness of sex trafficking that occurs along our Kansas roads and highways.”

According to Goetsch, the coalition builds are designed to create strategies for trucking and law enforcement to come together in this effort. The group works to train law enforcement, professional drivers and truck stop and travel plaza employees with training materials to help identify cases of human trafficking.

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides a hotline as well as extensive data sets on human trafficking in the United States, reported 5,544 cases of human trafficking in the U.S. in 2015. Of those, more than 4,600 of the victims were women and more than 1,600 of the total victims were under the age of 18. The vast majority of all cases were involved in sex trafficking.

Tom Whitaker, executive director of the KMCA, said his organization got involved to help make connections between trucking companies, the Kansas Highway Patrol, and travel plaza owners and managers to ensure that “if they see something, they make the call to law enforcement or the Human Trafficking Hotline.”

“This collaboration means that Kansas is not only taking an active role in the fight against human trafficking but we are also providing education to the eyes and ears of our highways,” Whitaker said. “KMCA is also in a unique position as we provide CMV registration and it gives us the opportunity to reach drivers and companies that may not be members to help distribute vital information on what to do if that company or driver suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking.”

Goetsch thanked the motor carriers association and the attorney general for their partnership.

“We hope that through these meetings, more drivers and truck stop and travel plaza employees will be trained and that law enforcement will be able to use this industry more effectively as they go after traffickers who are exploiting victims and legitimate businesses for criminal gain,” she said.

The public can also assist by reporting suspicious activity to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s hotline at 888-3737-888.

Coffee Cup Fuel Stops fundraising for St. Christopher Fund

If you are trucking through the Upper Great Plains, a special promotion is happening during April at each location of a Coffee Cup Fuel Stop. All of the Coffee Cup stops have joined the effort to raise money for the St. Christopher Fund through the Band Together campaign, which was started by the TravelCenters of America.

Wristbands are now available for $1. All donations go to help truckers in need of financial assistance due to medical problems.

TA Petro does their Band Together during August, and Sapp Bros. will do Band Together in August as well.

Coffee Cup Fuel Stops are located in Steele, N.D., Burbank, S.D., Hartford, S.D., Hot Springs, S.D., Plankinton, S.D., Summit, S.D., Vivian, S.D., and Moorcroft, Wyo.

DAT Solutions: Spot market rates end Q1 with a flourish

The end of March is the end of a fiscal term, when shippers scour the spot market for trucks to help them move freight out the door before they have to close their books for the quarter.

Spot truckload freight volume was up 11 percent nationally while the number of truck posts dipped 5.5 percent during the week ending April 2, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board.

Van and flatbed rates responded with increases while the average refrigerated rate stayed put, a perfect setup for the good, the bad, and the takeaway of the week in the spot market:

The good
The national average van load-to-truck ratio was 1.9, meaning there were 1.9 available van loads for every truck posted on the DAT load board network. The good news is that van rates are climbing in the most popular lanes, especially in the Southeast and South Central regions.

Outbound rates each rose a penny in Charlotte (to average of $1.82 a mile), Atlanta ($1.73), and Dallas ($1.52). Greenville, S.C., had a load-to-truck ratio of 2.6 – well above the national average of 1.9, which means Greenville was a great place to find loads.

Rates were way up in both directions between Dallas and Houston, a 480-mile roundtrip that produced an average of $1.97 a mile. Dallas to Houston was the higher-paying lane, but for some reason there were more loads and a higher load-to-truck ratio going from Houston to Dallas.

As a national average, the spot van rate was up 1 cent to $1.57 per mile.

The bad
Refrigerated spot truckload rates out of McAllen, Texas, fell 5 cents to an average of $1.80 per mile. Until a few weeks ago, McAllen, on the Mexican border in the Rio Grande Valley, was the top source of reefer load posts on DAT MembersEdge. Now it’s No. 5, after Atlanta, Los Angeles, Tucson and Dallas.

It’s an indicator that produce harvest activity is shifting north to areas like Central California, where Fresno was up 7 cents to an average of $1.86 per mile.

It’s also important to note that Easter was early this year, so there was a big push to get fresh food into supermarkets and restaurants earlier in March instead of April. So reefer rates are trending up, but it’s a gradual increase, nothing dramatic.

The reefer load-to-truck ratio was 3.2 last week, a 5 percent improvement. As a national average, the spot reefer rate was unchanged at $1.58 per mile.

The takeaway
If you ever needed proof that March is a month of transition, look no further than month-over-month and year-over-year freight volumes at DAT.com/TrendLines. The total number of spot market loads posted in March was 42 percent higher compared to February—yet still 28 percent lower compared to March 2015.

As always, use your load board to maximize your revenue. Our van TriHaul of the Week involves Memphis-Indianapolis, a 932-mile roundtrip that would pay an average of $1.68 a mile ($1,561 total). Adding a third leg on the return trip from Memphis could boost your average to $2 a mile for total revenue of $1,929. If it works with your schedule, you could increase your average by 33 cents a mile and add between $350 and $400 in revenue.

Look for the latest load availability and rate information at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to Land Line Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Mark Montague for details on spot truckload rates.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

Navistar reaches settlement with SEC over allegation of misleading investors

The maker of International trucks has reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations the Illinois-based company misled its investors about technology it developed to meet emissions standards.

Lisle, Ill.-based Navistar will pay the SEC $7.5 million. The company didn’t admit or deny any findings in the SEC’s order.

“We believe that it was time to put this matter behind us and that this settlement was in the best interests of Navistar and its stockholders,” said Lyndi McMillan, a spokeswoman for Navistar. “Settling this matter will avoid the expense and distraction of a potential dispute with the SEC and allow us to continue or focus on building and sustaining momentum on behalf of our shareholders.”

In a matter unrelated to the settlement, the SEC has filed a complaint in federal court in Illinois alleging that former Navistar CEO Daniel Ustian misled investors by not fully disclosing difficulties obtaining EPA certification to meet emissions standards for 2010.

“When public companies and top executives discuss important regulatory developments with investors, they must tell the whole truth,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC division of enforcement, according to a news release.

In 2015, Navistar was served with a $300 million lawsuit by EPA for International diesel truck engines that allegedly didn’t meet federal emissions standards while using the company’s patented Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or EGR emissions system.

The EGR system was proprietary technology developed by Navistar for International trucks and buses, which the company believed would help give it a leg up while all diesel competitors used selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, technology. After enough regulatory emissions issues, Navistar abandoned EGR and embraced SCR in July 2012.

Navistar spent an estimated $700 million on the failed technology.

One week after the filing of the EPA suit last year, the California Air Resources Board announced it had fined Navistar $250,000 after the company failed to properly demonstrate that its diesel particulate filter system met in-use compliance requirements. CARB said about 200 International’s DPX Catalyzed Soot Filter Systems were sold in California before the error was discovered.

Department of Labor: Trucking loses 2,400 jobs in March

Transportation jobs suffered its third monthly loss in 2016, including the second consecutive monthly job loss in the trucking subsector.

The overall transportation sector lost more than 2,000 jobs in March, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both January and February this year have experienced job losses.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of approximately 2,400 jobs in March after the industry lost 600 in February and gained more than 1,000 in January. March marks the largest job loss in the trucking subsector since this past September when trucking lost 4,000 jobs.

Trucking jobs had the second-largest decrease with 2,400 jobs eliminated from to the economy, only behind rail transport with a loss of 2,800 jobs. Truck and rail job losses offset a large gain from the transit and ground passenger transport subsector, which experienced an increase of more than 3,000.

Last year, 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. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.06 for March, a 2-cent decrease from February. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased a penny to $20.94. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.43, 7 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.3 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.2 percent from 8.1 percent last March. The overall unemployment rate for the country was mostly unchanged at 5 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was also unchanged compared with the previous month at around 2.2 million, where it has remained since last June. However, that number has decreased by 334,000 in the past 12 months.

DAT Solutions: Go where the loads are

In trucking, you don’t always know where the work will take you. That’s part of the appeal. 

But staying in business requires knowing (and going) where the freight is. Here are a few basic rules to help you build more profitable routes, plus some real-world routing strategies using the MembersEdge load board from the week ending Saturday, March 26. 

Plan every trip as a roundup

If you’re starting from a place with above-average outbound rates, you can turn a so-so roundtrip into a really good one. For example, let’s compare loads out of Memphis going to Chicago and Columbus. 

The load to Columbus pays 12 cents more per mile and has about 50 more loaded miles. But Chicago has more loads available coming back to Memphis, and the average rate is 30 cents higher on the return trip. 

The roundtrip average for Memphis-Chicago-Memphis is $1.60 per mile while Columbus pays $1.51. But Memphis-Columbus-Memphis gives you 100 more loaded miles and $70 more for the two-day trip. 

Both roundtrips are good, but Chicago is better. You make almost the same money in two days, there are more loads to choose from, and you’ll save about $35 in fuel and put 100 fewer miles on your truck. 

Super-size it

Why settle for a roundtrip when you can add a third profitable leg on the route? 

If you’re based in Columbus, you might decide to go to Memphis because you know the return trip is good. Or you could take a load to Chicago first, and then take another load from Chicago to Memphis. That’s a tri-haul. 

You can go home the same way: one load from Memphis to Chicago, and a second load from Chicago to Columbus. 

Instead of leaving Columbus for a 1,200-mile roundtrip with two loads, now you have a 1,800-mile trip with four loads. That adds about 50 percent more loaded miles, and the rate per mile is higher: You average $1.88 instead of $1.51. 

You’ll add a day or a day and a half to your trip, but it’s worth it if the schedule works. After that detour to Chicago, you’ll come away with almost $3,300 instead of $1,800. That could be a good week. 

Go where the loads are going to be

You can get valuable clues about where the competition is – and isn’t – by looking at DAT’s free online Trendlines. You’ll see Hot State Maps showing the relative number of loads posted versus trucks by equipment type, and a separate set of regional maps showing the going rates in the region’s major cities. A ratio of 3 posted loads or more to every posted truck usually indicates a competitive advantage for truckers. 

Look for the latest load availability and rate information at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to Land Line Now this week, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Ralph Galantine for more details on spot truckload rates. 

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

Kenworth again offers $1,000 savings to OOIDA members

Kenworth and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association have teamed up for the 14th year in a row to provide a $1,000 savings to OOIDA members on qualifying purchases of new Kenworth sleeper trucks during 2016.

Featured eligible Kenworth trucks are the Kenworth T680 or T880 with a 52-inch or 76-inch factory-installed sleeper. The program also includes Kenworth T660, T800 and W900 glider kits equipped with a 72-inch or 86-inch factory-installed sleeper. Both new stock and special order vehicles qualify. Buyers must show their OOIDA membership card to their Kenworth dealer at time of purchase in 2016.

Limit for a single customer is three qualifying Kenworth trucks per year. Other limitations apply on the Kenworth rebate program. For more information about the rebate, visit the KW discount page on OOIDA.com or call OOIDA at 800-444-5791.

OOIDA, an advocacy group for owner-operators and independent truck drivers, currently has more than 152,000 members. OOIDA’s website is OOIDA.com.

Kenworth’s home page is at Kenworth.com. Kenworth is a Paccar company.

Pureflow Technologies founder Charles Ekstam dies at 71

Charles (Charlie) L. Ekstam died of cancer Feb. 11 at his home in Fort Myers, Fla. He was 71. Ekstam was well-known in the diesel engine industry for the AirDog Fuel Preporator products he invented and patented.

Ekstam’s wife, Dora Serrano, remains at the head of their company, PureFlow Technologies Inc., as president. The company is located in Jefferson City, Mo.

The AirDog Fuel Preporator lineup of diesel fuel air separation systems were a direct result of Ekstam’s own experiences as a 14-year owner-operator with four trucks.

Since the introduction of the original AirDog Fuel Preporator in 1993, Ekstam continued to refine and perfect a wide range of fuel separator systems. In 2002 the AirDog line was introduced with applications in pickup trucks as well as medium- and heavy-duty product lines. During the past two years, the company has seen the rollout of the Champ product line, featuring the AirDog Champ I and Champ II.

Ekstam’s vision was to have a full range of fuel separation systems for all diesel engines. The AirDog Fuel Preporator lineup covers virtually all diesel engines including Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit, Paccar, Volvo, and Mack as well as all diesel pickups. 

U.S. DOT: NAFTA freight in January down year-to-year, month-to-month

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in January trucks moved more than 66 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Freight movement was down in all modes, but trucking showed the least decline.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by nearly 5 percent compared with December when freight went down nearly 2 percent from the previous month. All modes carried less freight when compared with January 2015.

NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $55 billion of the $82.43 billion of imports and exports in January. Rail came in second with nearly $13 billion. 

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $82.43 billion, down more than $4 billion from the previous month and down nearly $7 billion from January 2015.

Vessel freight experienced the steepest decline at 37.3 percent, a steeper drop than December’s 29.9 percent decrease. Trucks experienced the smallest decline with a drop of only 1.5 percent. Across all modes, there was a 7.7 percent decrease when compared with the previous year.

More than 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.9 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 1.8 percent compared with January 2015. Of the $40.5 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 72 percent of the loads.

NHTSA investigating certain Marmon-Herrington axles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation looking into certain Marmon-Herrington axles, according to NHTSA documents. The investigation was prompted by a recall that was issued last September.

NHTSA is looking further into a defect with Marmon-Herrington MT14, MT17, MT22, R17 and R22 drive axles installed as original equipment in certain heavy-duty trucks. If the hex nuts are not tightened to specification, the driveshaft may disconnect from the drive axle, resulting in a loss of propulsion and increasing the risk of a crash.

Last September, Marmon-Herrington recalled more than 500 of the axles for loose hex nuts. In January, approximately 40 Freightliner 108SD, 114SD, M2 trucks and Western Star 4900 trucks were recalled for the same defect.

NHTSA’s latest investigation into the matter seeks to obtain a complete purchaser list from Marmon-Herrington. Companies who purchased the axles will be notified of the defect. Safety recalls will be conducted where appropriate.

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DAT Solutions: Van rates, volume up in Southeast

With more consumer goods moving through key regional hubs, spot truckload van freight volume was up 7 percent nationally while the number of truck posts was unchanged during the week ending March 19, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board.

With spring in the air, let’s take a closer look at the good, the bad, and the takeaway of the week in the spot van market:

The Good
Some of the strongest van rates were in the Southeast, and in particular on lanes that connect Charlotte, Memphis and Atlanta. In Memphis, the average outbound rate gained 4 cents to $1.85 a mile while the rate from Atlanta was up 3 cents to $1.60. You could book a Charlotte-Atlanta-Charlotte round trip at an average of $1.96 a mile, a 6-cent increase compared to the previous week.

Other markets improved as well: Los Angeles, up 6 cents to $1.89 on higher port traffic; Chicago, up 2 cents to $1.75; Dallas, up 1 cent to $1.51; and Philadelphia, where the Philly-to-Boston lane paid $3.09, a 14-cent bump.

The national average van load-to-truck ratio was 1.6, meaning there were 1.6 available van loads for every truck posted on the DAT load board network.

The Bad
As a national average, the spot van rate was $1.58 per mile, up 3 cents. But a penny of that was fuel surcharge: The price of diesel gained 2 cents to $2.12 a gallon and has increased 10 cents over the past two weeks. If you take fuel out of the equation, the line-haul portion of the spot van rate averaged $1.43 last week, still 13 percent lower than the same period in 2015.

The Takeaway
Seasonal transitions can produce lanes where the rate looks solid one way and shaky on the return.

For instance, the average rate from Memphis to Atlanta picked up 16 cents to $1.96 a mile for the week. The return leg, though, was $1.44, for a roundtrip average of $1.70. It’s a 760-mile roundtrip, which doesn’t give you a great average per day.
 
The takeaway? If you’re based in Memphis and want to take a load to Atlanta, your ultimate destination is Memphis. You might want to look for a tri-haul to fill out that second day and boost your revenue.

Look for the latest load availability and rate information at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to Land Line Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Mark Montague for more details on spot truckload rates.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

Plagued by employee-contractor legal disputes, drayage carrier files bankruptcy

A major port drayage trucking company has filed for bankruptcy after losing several legal battles over its ability to designate professional truck drivers as independent contractors.

Total Transportation Services Inc., also known as Premium Transportation Services Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in Delaware on Monday, March 14.

TTSI is one of several large port drayage trucking companies that have been burned by battles over the practice of classifying drayage truck drivers as independent contractors. Many drivers have won legal claims that they were misclassified as independent drivers even while being made to wear company uniforms, drive company trucks, take specific break times, and adhere to other measures typically required of employees.

TTSI had about 140 independent contractor truck drivers who mostly owned their own trucks.

According to court documents, the company blamed “downward pricing pressure from some of its major clients over the past year.” Legal expenses related to driver classification also hurt TTSI’s ability to meet its obligations, the company said.

TTSI lost 14 lawsuits in California state court and nearly a dozen claims of misclassification cases heard by the California Labor Commission. The company lost $3.5 million in awards and damages to drivers and spent $4 million more in legal fees.

TTSI and other major port drayage carriers have come under increasing scrutiny from labor bodies and as a result of protests launched by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and associated worker organizations.

Yearly value of NAFTA truck freight down first time in six years

After several years of increasing numbers, NAFTA truck freight value for 2015 went down when compared with the previous year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a subdivision of the U.S. Department of Transportation. This marks the first year-to-year decrease since 2009.

All five modes – truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air – carried less freight by value last year. NAFTA freight for 2015 was valued at $1.1 trillion dollars, a loss of more than $86 billion from 2014, or a decrease of 7 percent.

Trucks experienced the smallest year-to-year decrease at 0.4 percent. Pipeline freight suffered the largest decrease at 39.4 percent. Significant decreases in the price of crude oil were a major factor in the declines of the dollar value, according to the report. Petroleum-related commodity values decreased by 40 percent in 2015. Comparatively, the value of other freight dropped by 0.9 percent.

More than 64 percent of NAFTA freight was hauled by trucks last year, a 2.2 percent increase from 2005. Rail carried the second most at 14.9 percent. Trucks carried 58.3 percent of Canadian freight and 70.9 percent of freight coming out of Mexico.

Love’s Travel Stops opens three locations, adds 227 truck-parking spaces

Love’s opened its doors for business today in three new locations in Texas, Kansas and Missouri. The three new sites add 227 additional parking spaces for truck drivers.

The new locations are:

  • The Love’s in Midland, Texas, located along Interstate 20; 
  • A new store in Scott City, Kan., on U.S. Highway 83; and 
  • A new store in Sikeston, Mo., along U.S. Highway 60 and U.S. Highway 61/62.

The Midland location includes 107 truck-parking spaces, a Love’s Truck Tire Care center and Subway, Chester’s Chicken and Godfather’s Pizza restaurants.

An 81-room Suburban Extended Stay will open adjacent to the travel stop in Midland this summer. Professional drivers with a valid commercial driver’s license will be eligible for discounted room rates.

The Scott City location includes a Sonic Drive-In, complete with indoor seating, a drive-through and drive-in stalls, as well as 53 truck-parking spaces.

The Sikeston location is home to Love’s first Dunkin’ Donuts. It also includes a Chester’s Chicken restaurant and 67 truck-parking spaces.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores has more than 370 locations in 40 states. For more information about Love’s locations, visit Loves.com.

DAT Solutions: Flatbed Volume Rises 4 percent

There are two seasons in some parts of the country: winter and road construction season.

The transition to warmer days has brought an increase in flatbed freight on the spot market, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board.

Flatbed freight volume rose 4 percent and available capacity declined 5 percent during the week ending March 12. This pushed the load-to-truck ratio up 9 percent to 16.1, which means there were 16.1 flatbed loads for every flatbed truck posted on DAT load boards. Let’s take a closer look:

The Good
Flatbed volume is surging in the Sun Belt and rates are up as well. Outbound freight from Reno jumped 19 cents to $2.26 a mile, and Phoenix gained 18 cents to $1.75.

The flatbed market is especially strong in the Southeast, but not in the markets you would expect. For instance, flatbed load-to-truck ratios are soaring in Alabama and Arkansas. And rates are skyrocketing in Raleigh: After a down month, four major lanes out of Raleigh had double-digit increases last week. Jacksonville, Fla., rose 18 cents to $2.45.

In the Northeast, outbound loads from Harrisburg, Pa., saw a 31-cent gain to $2.96 on average. Flatbed rates rose 8 cents per mile outbound from Pittsburgh to $1.89.

The Bad
Recent steel plant shutdowns have hurt prices on popular lanes in the Midwest. The average rate out of Rock Island, Ill., was down 26 cents to $2.13 a mile, and Cleveland outbound dropped 2 cents to $1.99.

The Takeaway
The flatbed market is still developing. While the national average flatbed rate fell 1 cent to $1.82 per mile, rates rose on 44 of the top 72 flatbed lanes. With rates and demand firming up lane-by-lane, look for the latest load availability and rate information at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to LandLine Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Mark Montague for more details on spot truckload rates.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

DTNA recalls Freightliner chassis over steering issues

Daimler Trucks of North America is recalling certain Freightliner Custom Chassis XCPs because of a steering issue, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, model year 2014-16 Freightliner Custom Chassis XCPs manufactured from April 26, 2013, through Dec. 15, 2014. The power steering fluid temperature may exceed the hose material ratings on some rear engine chassis built with certain 18,000-pound and 20,000-pound load-capacity front axles used in motor home applications. Steering in either direction at low speeds could become difficult as a result.

DTNA will notify owners and will replace the power steering hose with a hose that has a higher temperature rating, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on April 26. Owners may contact DTNA customer service at 800-745-8000. DTNA’s recall number for this campaign is FL-702.

Trinity Health takes control of its supply chain with XPO

XPO Logistics recently announced plans to team up with Trinity Health to build supply distribution centers in Fort Wayne, Ind., for the 21-state hospital system, according to an XPO press release.

Trinity’s deal with XPO gives the hospital system control over its supply chain. XPO will receive $26 million over 10 years to run the distribution center. According to The Wall Street Journal, hospital chains across the nation have begun taking over their supply chain rather than contracting it out to individual facilities.

The Fort Wayne facility is the first of four distribution centers planned for Trinity Health. Approximately 75 jobs are expected to be created in Indiana. Fort Wayne’s strategic location puts the facility two hours from Indianapolis and three hours from Chicago, Detroit, Columbus and Cincinnati.

Several Mack Trucks models recalled for power train/steering issue

Mack Trucks is recalling certain models in two separate issues filed with the National Highway Safety Administration, according to NHTSA documents.

The first recall affects Mack Granite and Mack Terrapro trucks model year 2016-2017. The affected trucks may be missing a roll pin to secure the upper steering yoke to the steering shaft. A complete loss of steering may occur, increasing the chances of a crash.

A separate recall affects Mack Granite, Pinnacle CHU, Pinnacle CXU, Terrapro LEU, Terrapro MRU and Titan TD trucks model year 2012-2015 and Mack LR trucks model year 2015. In affected trucks, the cap nut that retains the interaxle driveshaft yoke to the rear axle input shaft may loosen. The driveshaft can possibly disconnect as a result.

Mack will notify owners and replace any parts free of charge. The first recall affecting only Granite and Terrapro trucks is expected to begin on March 11. The other recall is slated for April 15. Owners may contact Mack customer service at 610-709-2131. Recall number for 2016-2017 Granite/Terrapro issues is SC0400. Number for the other recall is SC0399.

Weigh My Truck app now accepting Comdata Card payments

Users of Cat Scale’s Weigh My Truck app will now be able to use their Comdata card for payments, according to a Cat Scale press release.

Weigh My Truck allows drivers to weigh and pay straight from their smartphone. The weight is displayed on the smartphone without the driver needing to leave the truck. A PDF copy of the scale ticket or text file of the weight information can be sent to up to five email addresses. Hard-copy scale tickets can still be printed and picked up at the fuel desk.

Truckers can sign up, provide an email address, enter truck identification, and select a payment method. Payment methods include PayPal, EFS and now Comdata.

Once a driver is signed up, simply open the app and confirm the Cat Scale location. Once the truck identification has been confirmed and the weighmaster has ensured the truck is positioned correctly, the weigh ticket will be sent to the email addresses provided.

More information about the new Weigh My Truckapp can be found online at WeighMyTruck.com. Weigh My Truck is available on the Google Play Store and also the Apple App Store.

Daimler Euro trucks to feature Wabco air disc brakes

Wabco has begun delivery of its Maxx air disc brakes to Daimler AG, according to a Wabco press release. Daimler’s European heavy-duty trucks – including Actros, Antos and Arocs models – will now be equipped with Wabco single-piston air disc brakes.

New to the European line of Daimler trucks, Wabco has been supplying Maxxus air disc brakes to Daimler Trucks North America since 2012. Maxxus brakes are based on Maxx single-piston technology.

European Daimler trucks will be produced with Maxx 22 brakes on the front axle and the new Maxx 22L brakes on the rear axle. The Maxx 22L brakes feature an optimized rear-axle design that requires less brake torque than air disc brakes for front axles and are 7 percent lighter than the Maxx 22 model.

For more information about Wabco products, visit Wabco-Auto.com.

DAT Solutions: Be ready for shift in reefer traffic

Spring has sprung on the spot freight market.

The number of available loads was up 12 percent during the week ending March 5, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board. With capacity down 1.9 percent for the week, the national load-to-truck ratio rose to 3.5 loads per truck, meaning there were 3.5 loads for every truck posted. 

More good news: national average van, reefer, and flatbed freight rates all gained compared to the previous week. And with warmer days upon us, the refrigerated freight market is heating up—but not in all the places you’re used to. Let’s take a closer look:

The good
The number of reefer load posts was up 10 percent as a national average while truck posts fell 2 percent. The increased demand for trucks put the reefer load-to-truck ratio at 3.1 (up 12 percent) and helped send the national average rate up a penny to $1.80 per mile.

As you’d expect in March, rates are firming up in the Midwest. Reefer loads out of Green Bay paid an average of 6 cents more per mile ($2.51), and—in a nice surprise—average outbound rates from Chicago paid $2.07, up 4 cents. The load-to-truck ratio for vans in Chicago is still way below the national ratio, but lane rates rose 5 cents from Chicago to Dallas and 3 cents from Chicago to L.A.
 
The bad 
In central California, rates are just now starting to inch up from Fresno (average outbound rate: $1.78, up 1 cent) but the season is not expected to be very good. Heavy rain interfered with planting in December and January, which is reducing harvests of vegetables and berries. When California crops don’t do well, expect to see more reefer loads available along the U.S. border with Mexico.

The takeaway
If you pull reefers, expect to find more of your loads originating at the borders and ports. The #1 market for reefer load posts on DAT MembersEdge has been McAllen, Texas, another hot spot for fruit and vegetables coming across the border. Average outbound loads from McAllen paid $1.80 a mile last week, down a penny, but volume is building.

Increased food imports also mean there’s greater demand for reefers at ports like Miami and Savannah, with an ever-larger portion of the reefer freight in those markets originating from Chile and neighboring countries. Other ports that bear foreign fruit include East Coast docks at Philadelphia/Wilmington, and NY/Newark, as well as Los Angeles/Long Beach. 

The shift toward the ports also will affect seasonal rate spikes. The early rush in Florida won’t be as great, and the typical June boom in reefer rates may be muted, as well. It’s something to watch as we get deeper into Spring.


(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

Overall freight tonnage went up in January, including trucking

Official freight numbers for January are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was up for rail intermodal and pipeline freight, but decreased for truck freight. Revisions to December’s TSI resulted in a slight monthly increase in December, changed from a decrease with the preliminary numbers.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for January increased by 0.5 percent to 122.2, despite severe winter weather. January’s TSI is a 1.3 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.8 set in November 2014.

The January index is 29 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Rail intermodal and pipeline freight experienced significant gains. Trucking freight increased just slightly. However, American Trucking Associations’ numbers reveal a tonnage decrease of 1.4 percent in January. Air, rail carloads, and water all experienced decreases this January, according to BTS.

According to the DOT, TSI’s increase lines up with monthly increases in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index, personal income and employment. Manufacturing and high inventories showed signs of decline.

Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in tons and ton-miles. This information is used to measure the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry.

Department of Labor: Trucking industry lost jobs in February

Jobs in the transportation industry started the year with a significant loss, and the situation did not improve much in February with another net loss. That includes the trucking subsector, which experienced a gain during January’s large job decline within the transportation industry.

The overall transportation sector lost more than 5,000 jobs in February, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both January and February this year have experienced job losses.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of approximately 600 jobs after the industry gained more than 1,000 in January and more than 5,000 in December. February marks the largest job loss in the trucking subsector since this past September when trucking lost 4,000 jobs.

Warehousing and Storage jobs had the largest increase with more than 2,000 jobs added to the economy. The Couriers and Messengers subsector was the largest contributor to the net transport industry net loss with 4,000 jobs eliminated.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.20 for February, a 6-cent increase from January. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased a penny to $21.00. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.35, 3 cents lower from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.6 percent from 7.7 percent last February. The overall unemployment rate for the country was unchanged at 4.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was also unchanged compared with the previous month at around 2.2 million, where it has remained since last June. However, that number has decreased by 512,000 in the past 12 months.

Volvo recalling more trucks over problems with ball joints

Volvo is recalling certain VNL, VNM and VT trucks with model years ranging from 2009 to 2016. The recall is due to an issue with front suspension ball joints and is an extension of another recall, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, certain 2009-2010 VT and 2016 VNL and VNM trucks are included in the recall. Affected trucks are equipped with USK non-greasable drag links that may experience corrosion of the ball joints due to the seals being compromised, possibly resulting in accelerated wear and failure of the ball joint. Separation of the socket may occur, resulting in loss of steering and increasing the chances of a crash.

This recall is an extension of a previous recall from October 2015. In the October recall, only 2009-2015 VN trucks were affected. More than 8,000 vehicles were recalled.

Owners of affected vehicles will be contacted by Volvo and will have the drag links replaced for free. Volvo is expected to begin the recall on April 15. For more information, call 800-528-6586 with recall number RVXX1601.

Goodyear revamps truck tire website for optimal search capabilities

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. has overhauled its commercial tire website that allows fleets to find the best possible Goodyear Tire Solution. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops can all access the new website.

Tailored to the information provided by the business, GoodyearTruckTires.com provides optimal products, services, business solutions and nationwide Goodyear network to fleets. A “My Solutions Finder” tool directs users to the nearest Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Network Dealer.

Tire selection is user-friendly and user-specific with a function that searches for products by application, vocation, name, size technologies and SmartWay verification. A fuel savings calculator has been updated for more detailed information. Users can also request a sales follow-up from Goodyear.

Businesses of all sizes – including owner-operators and small- to mid-size fleets – will have the ability to access the Goodyear Smart Fleet portal where they can enroll in the program. Vocations ranging from long haul to tanker to logging and oil field can be searched to find the appropriate tires.

Howes Lubricator and SAGE trucking schools offering $1,000 scholarships

Howes Lubricator and SAGE Truck Driving Schools have teamed up again for the Howes Truckers of Tomorrow Scholarship Program. Scholarships will be awarded throughout the year.

One student at each of the SAGE schools’ 25 locations nationwide will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Applicants must meet all trucking industry qualifications and show a need for financial assistance.

“We want to lend a hand to as many people as possible,” Rob Howes, president of Howes Lubricator, said in a news release. “So we are spreading out the funds in order to help numerous students all year long.”

According to its website, SAGE provides comprehensive CDL training courses, as well as basic, advanced and specialized tractor-trailer training. Since 1920, Howes Lubricator has been producing additives for the trucking industry.

For more information, visit SageSchools.com, HowesLube.com, or call 800-GET-HOWES.

U.S. DOT: NAFTA freight down every month in 2015

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in December trucks moved more than 63 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Freight movement was down in all modes, but trucking showed the least decline.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by nearly 2 percent when compared with November when freight went down nearly 9 percent from the previous month. All modes carried less freight when compared with December 2014.

NAFTA freight was down every month in 2015.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $55 billion of the $86.7 billion of imports and exports in December. Rail came in second with a contribution of more than $13 billion. 

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $86.7 billion, down more than $1 billion from the previous month and down more than $9 billion from December 2014.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at nearly 47.4 percent, a steeper drop than November’s 43 percent decrease. Trucks experienced the smallest decline with a drop of only 3.1 percent. Across all modes, there was a 1.6 percent decrease when compared with the previous year.

Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.9 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 2.4 percent compared with December 2014. Of the $41.7 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 70 percent of the loads.

Bike Week March 4-13 in Ormond Beach: Truckers must ‘fuel and go’ at Love’s

At Love’s Travel Stop in Ormond Beach, Fla., truckers will have to fuel up and keep on rolling March 4-13 during Bike Week. This year is the 75th anniversary of the event.

Long-term parking won’t be available at this Love’s at I-95/U.S. Highway 1 during this time.

Thousands of motorcyclists will converge on the Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach area Friday, March 4, for the start of the annual biker event known as Bike Week. Daytona Harley Davidson, located next door to the Love’s in Ormond Beach, is a major participant of the annual motorcycle event and rally, which causes unusually high traffic volume in and around the area.

In past years, the increased traffic volumes for truckers waiting to fuel – combined with the significant influx of cars, trucks and motorcycles – has caused severe traffic jams, forcing state police to close the exit. Love’s wants to provide the necessary fueling for professional drivers. In order to ensure that it is still available, Love’s is asking drivers to continue moving in and out at that exit.

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla. The chain has more than 200 locations in more than 30 states.

For more information, visit the Love’s website or Facebook page.

Goodyear announces three finalists for Highway Hero award

A trucker who pulled an injured man from a burning car, another who rescued a fellow trucker who was ejected following a crash, and another who used his truck and tanker to shield an injured motorcycle cop from oncoming traffic following a crash are the finalists for 33rd annual Goodyear Highway Hero Award.

The winner will be announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., next month. The award honors professional truckers who put themselves in harm’s way to help others.

The three finalists are:

Mark Cavanagh, Hillsville, Va. Cavanagh was driving his truck through Pennsylvania when he saw another tractor-trailer drive off the road and roll down a hill. The truck’s driver was ejected from the rig and was hanging from its mirror bracket by a belt. Cavanagh stopped his truck, descended the hill, cut the injured driver’s belt, and pulled him away from the damaged truck. He then helped the driver back to the road.

Dorian Cole, Los Angeles, Calif.
Cole was driving through the Sylmar section of Los Angeles when he saw a Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer collide with another motorcyclist. The impact from the collision caused the officer to hit a concrete divider. To protect the injured officer from oncoming traffic, Cole positioned his tanker truck across several highway lanes. This also gave paramedics unimpeded access to the officer. Cole received a commendation from the Los Angeles City Council for his efforts.

Julian Kaczor, Utica, N.Y. Kaczor was driving through Jacksonville, Fla., when a car drove past him at a high rate of speed, nearly clipping his truck. The car crashed into a construction barrier and began to emit smoke. Kaczor ran to the car as it became engulfed in flames, which he tried to extinguish. As the fire intensified, he forced the car’s driver-side door open, pulled the injured driver out of the vehicle, and dragged him to safety.

The winner is selected by a pool of trucking industry journalists and will receive a special ring, a cash award and a congratulatory trophy. Each of the other finalists will receive a cash prize and other items.

Ritchie Bros. sells $172 million in equipment at Orlando sale

Bidders registered for the Ritchie Bros. sale in Orlando, Fla., last week, set a new site record. In just five days, Ritchie Bros. sold a record 10,700-plus items for more than $172 million.

This year’s unreserved auction attracted more than 9,850 bidders from 79 countries. Out-of-state buyers purchased $137 million of equipment (80 percent), including $40 million purchased by out-of-country buyers (23 percent).

Bidders participated in the auction in person, online in real time, and by proxy. Online buyers purchased more than $64 million of equipment (38 percent). All items were sold without minimum bids or reserve prices.

“This is not just a U.S. auction; this is a global event with participation from around the world,” said Terry Dolan, Ritchie Bros. president (USA & Latin America). “People travel from across the globe to attend this auction, and thousands more participate online from as far away as Belgium, Costa Rica, Colombia, Vietnam and more.”

Ritchie Bros. sold equipment and trucks from all the top manufacturers, including Caterpillar, Volvo, John Deere, Komatsu, Terex, Grove, JLG, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Freightliner, International and more. Equipment sold included more than 500 truck-tractors and about 390 trailers.

Stoughton recalls hopper trailers over structural problems

Stoughton Trailers has recalled certain grain hopper trailers due to a structural issue, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, certain 2009-2010 Grain Hopper Trailers manufactured Dec. 17, 2007, to Dec. 1, 2009, are affected. Trailers being recalled have an incorrectly positioned panel in the hopper assembly or the lower part of the cargo area of the trailer.

The panel can potentially separate, resulting in cargo spilling out of the trailer. Affected trailers may also have a major structural failure. The defective panels increase the risk of a crash.

Owners of affected trailers will be notified by Stoughton. Dealers will reinforce the hopper connections free of charge. Notification schedules are yet to be announced. For more questions, contact Stoughton customer service at 608-873-2555.

Fitzgerald and Team Penske partner for 2016 NASCAR Xfinity series

Team Penske announced today it has partnered with Fitzgerald Glider Kits to sponsor the No. 22 Ford Mustang in select 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series races this season.
 
You’ll see the Fitzgerald logo on the side of the No. 22 Ford in events at Bristol Motor Speedway in April, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July, Darlington Raceway in September, and Dover International Speedway in October. In addition, Fitzgerald will be an associate sponsor of the team for the balance of the season.
 
The official unveiling of the No. 22 Fitzgerald Ford Mustang livery will be made in mid-March at the company’s corporate headquarters in central Tennessee during a special event for employees and local media.
 
“Fitzgerald Glider Kits is a family run business,” said founder Tommy Fitzgerald Sr. “The family and I have always been huge fans of NASCAR, and it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to see our family name on the side of one of these amazing machines. We feel that our partnership with a team as prestigious as Team Penske has increased our odds of seeing our family name in Victory Lane.”
 
“We are excited to welcome Fitzgerald to Team Penske as a new partner in 2016,” said Roger Penske. “Fitzgerald is a family run business that has made a name for itself and has become established as an industry leader.”  

The 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series season will begin at Daytona International Speedway this Saturday, Feb. 20.
 
Fitzgerald Glider Kits was founded in 1989, by Tommy Fitzgerald Sr. and his brother, Ricky Fitzgerald. Today, the company is also co-owned with Tommy’s sons, Robert and Tommy Jr, along with friend Nick Bresaw. Fitzgerald’s specializes in installing pre-emission engines into new Class 8 trucks to create a more fuel-efficient rig that requires less maintenance and yields less downtime. Based in central Tennessee, Fitzgerald Glider Kits produces more than 4,000 trucks per year, and offers various models of the Peterbilt, Kenworth, Freightliner, and Western Star brands. For more information, visit FitzgeraldGliderKits.com.

Daimler Trucks lays off 1,250 more workers in North Carolina plants

A little more than a month after Daimler Trucks North America laid off nearly 1,000 workers at its Cleveland, N.C., Freightliner plant, the company has announced another series of layoffs that will affect two North Carolina plants, including the Cleveland location.

Approximately 550 employees at the Cleveland plant and 700 employees at the Mt. Holly plant are affected by the layoff, according to David Giroux, DTNA director of corporate communications. Employees will report to their last day of work on Friday, Feb. 19.

The recent layoff in Cleveland, N.C., is in addition to the more than 900 workers affected by a layoff in January.

Per Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (WARN), employees must be notified in advance of layoffs. Scheduled to go into effect on April 16, affected employees will receive pay at their current rate instead of the notice period. Workers will be able to seek other employment while receiving WARN payments.

Nearly a third of the workforce at Mt. Holly is affected by the layoff. About a quarter of the Cleveland workforce will lose their jobs. Mt. Holly operations will be reduced to two full shifts per day rather than three. Cleveland operations will slow down to one full shift per day.

Giroux stated that the decision to layoff plant workers is in response to reduced orders and build rates. DTNA expects the Class 6-8 market in North America to diminish by 10 percent this year. Americas Commercial Transportation Research recently announced that Class 8 truck supply continued to increase at a faster rate than demand for the fifth consecutive month and the 11th time in 13 months in January.

Related stories:
Freightliner plant in North Carolina to lay off nearly 1,000 workers

Trucks only mode to experience increased freight tonnage in December

Official freight numbers for December 2015 are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was down for all modes in December, except for trucking.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Freight Transportation Services Index for December decreased by 0.4 percent to 121. December’s TSI is a 2.3 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.8 set in November 2014.

The December index is 27.8 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking tonnage went up by 1 percent. Air, rail, water and pipeline freight all experienced decreases this past December.

According to the DOT, decreases may have stemmed from weak mining, utility and manufacturing industries; decreases in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index and the Institute of Supply Management Manufacturing Index; and decreasing housing starts.

Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in tons and ton-miles. This information is used to measure the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry.

Bridgestone recalling thousands of Firestone trailer tires

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations will be recalling nearly 36,000 trailer tires, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Potential tread separation is the root cause of the recall.

More specifically, certain Firestone FS561 replacement tires used on trailers, size 255/70R22.5 that were manufactured from Jan. 25, 2015, to Jan. 27, 2016, are affected. Tires subjected to the recall may experience possible tread separation or detachment due to scrubbing during use.

Bridgestone will notify owners affected by the recall that dealers will replace the tires for free. Notification schedule is still pending. For more information, contact Bridgestone at 800-847-3272.

XPO shuts down seven truck terminals

One week after announcing it’s laying off 190 employees, XPO Logistics has shut down seven terminals, XPO confirmed to Land Line.

As part of continuing efforts to reduce costs through consolidations after acquiring Con-way, XPO has closed seven truck terminals in “remote areas,” XPO said in a statement. XPO pointed out that it will not be exiting any markets. Operations at the small terminals that were shut down will be consolidated to larger nearby locations.

When asked which terminals were shut down, XPO declined to disclose specific locations.

XPO claims the move will result in faster transit times. All less-than-truckload customers will continue business as usual with the logistics company.

Last week, XPO laid off approximately 190 employees. The majority of layoffs involved non-sales positions, with 160 of those jobs eliminated. Of those job cuts, the majority were in administrative, management and back office functions.

Less than 1 percent of the LTL workforce in North America was affected, according to the press release. Approximately another 30 positions were cut as a result of redundancies from the acquisition of Con-way.

Department of Labor: Truck sector keeps adding jobs

After experiencing the largest job gain in more than two years in December, the transportation industry in January lost more jobs in a single month than in any month during the past five years. Jobs for truckers continue to grow.

The overall transportation sector lost more than 20,000 jobs in January, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of more than 1,000 jobs after the industry gained more than 5,000 in December and more than 2,000 in November. Truck and pipeline transportation were the only sectors with a job increase. Approximately 100 jobs were added in the pipeline subsector. Couriers and messengers took a huge hit with a job loss of more than 14,000.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.14 for January, a 7-cent increase from December. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 7 cents to $20.95. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.39, 12 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent last January. The overall unemployment rate for the country was dropped slightly from 5 to 4.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was unchanged compared with the previous month at 2.1 million. However, that number has decreased by 687,000 in the past 12 months.

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BP to lay off 7,000 employees after damaging fourth quarter

After fourth-quarter results tanked more than 90 percent, BP has announced that it will eliminate approximately 7,000 jobs, according to a BP press release. Shareholders are expected to keep the dividend.

Profit results for 2015 plunged by 51 percent to $5.9 billion compared with 2014’s report of $12.1 billion. Fourth quarter results for 2015 were $196 million, down 91 percent when compared to the $2.2 billion reported in the fourth quarter in 2014.

Despite the steep plummet reflected in the fourth quarter results, stockholders are expected to receive dividends. According to BP, a dividend of 10 cents per ordinary share for the quarter will be payable in March.

Negative fourth-quarter results came to no surprise as oil prices have also experienced a dramatic fall. Both WTI and Brent crude oil hit 12-year lows in January as prices steadily declined in the weeks and months preceding 2016. Oil prices increased briefly in the last week of January before decreasing again on Feb. 1.

BP did not go into detail as to which employees will be affected by the massive layoff. According to the press release, 4,000 staff and contractors in the upstream sector and 3,000 in the downstream sector will be affected. The upstream sector includes the search for, recovery and production of crude oil and natural gas. Downstream sector jobs include refining of crude oil and the marketing and distribution of products derived from crude oil.

CVSA officer explains inspections in new OOIDA video

If you are a professional truck driver, and you drive long enough, you are going to get pulled over for a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection. It doesn’t matter if you are new to driving or if you have been pulling loads for years, eventually you will get pulled over for an inspection.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has created a video of a CVSA inspection and asked a Missouri Department of Transportation CVSA inspector to explain what he is doing while providing answers to the five most commonly asked questions:

  • What triggers an inspection?
  • Why do some drivers get inspected more often than others?
  • Who does the inspection?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What’s the difference between a Level-1, Level-2 and a Level-3 inspection?

Other topics covered include CVSA decals, common problems found during an inspection, which violation will not place a vehicle out of service, and more.

The CVSA inspector and former Missouri Highway Patrol officer will guide you through the inspection from the point of view of law enforcement, providing drivers with the insight needed to comply with inspection regulations. Watch as the CVSA inspector gives OOIDA Senior Member and Association tour truck driver Jon Osburn a mock inspection.

The CVSA inspection video is free and runs approximately 25 minutes.

The video is part of OOIDA’s Online Business Education and can be found at OOIDAOnlineEducation.com. Just click the link, go to the “Education” tab and find the “CVSA Inspections – Level I, II, and III Inspections” class. The video will also soon be available on OOIDA’s Business Education YouTube page.

While visiting the Online Business Education website, check out other classes addressing a variety of topics including taxes, costs of operations, drug and alcohol regulations, insurance, load boards, and hours of service.

Caterpillar to shut down five plants, 670 jobs affected

As part of global restructuring and cost reduction efforts announced last September, Caterpillar Inc. has announced that it will close five plants. The closures will eliminate approximately 670 jobs, according to a Caterpillar statement. Facility consolidations, closures and job cuts will affect workforces in seven states and China.

The Caterpillar plant in East Peoria, Ill., will consolidate manufacturing operations to other facilities and outside suppliers. The change in operations, which will begin this year and end in late 2018, will affect 230 jobs. An additional 120 employees will be placed on an indefinite layoff due to low demand for mining products. Both office and production positions are affected by the move.

Caterpillar’s facility in Prentice, Wis., will move production to facilities in LaGrange, Ga., and Victoria, Texas. Approximately 220 jobs in Prentice will be eliminated. Employment in the Georgia and Texas facilities is not expected to be affected. The Prentice facility transition is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Facilities in Santa Fe, N.M., and Thomasville, Ga., will also be closed. The Santa Fe facility expects about 50 jobs to be affected by the closure. Caterpillar estimates that approximately 200 jobs will be impacted at the Thomasville facility. However, operations for the two facilities will be consolidated into the facility located at Pontiac, Ill. Approximately 160 jobs will be added to the Pontiac plan as a result.

Operations at a plant in Tongzhou, Jiangsu province, in China will move to the facility in Aurora, Ill. Although 40 jobs at the China plant will be affected, there is no expected impact in employment at the Aurora location.

Other consolidation and transfer efforts are planned, but are not expected to affect employment. The recent closures and layoffs are estimated to lower operating costs amid “challenging marketplace conditions,” according to a Caterpillar statement.

Issue with service brakes prompts recall of Vanguard van trailers

Vanguard National Trailer Corp. is recalling certain 2014-2015 dry freight van trailers due to issues with the service brakes, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document.

More specifically, Vanguard dry freight van trailers manufactured from Nov. 22, 2013, to Nov. 12, 2014, that are equipped with certain Haldex Life Seal Type 30/30 Long Stroke Air Brake Actuators are affected. According to the NHTSA document, affected vehicles may experience brake drag due to an improperly seated diaphragm in the brake chamber. Wheel end fires may occur as a result of brake drag.

Owners of affected vehicles will be notified by Vanguard, who will replace the actuators free of charge. Recalls are expected to begin in February. For more information, contact Vanguard customer service at 888-253-3008 with the recall number 15E-017.

Love’s opens new location in Holcomb, Kan.

Truckers driving through western Kansas will have more rest area options. Love’s Travel Stops has opened its fifth location in Kansas in the city of Holcomb at the intersection of U.S. Highway 400/50 and North Big Lowe Road.

Like most Love’s Travel Stops, the location in Holcomb, Kan., includes gourmet coffee, an expanded fountain drink selection, fresh fruit, and gift items for professional drivers. Two showers, 36 truck parking spaces, RFID cardless fueling and Cat Scales are also featured at the Holcomb truck stop.

Holcomb is also home to the third Sonic Drive-In in a Love’s travel stop. The Sonic Drive-In at Love’s features seated tables for those with vehicles too large for the drive-in. Love’s in Holcomb will also include a Subway restaurant.

For more information about Love’s locations, visit Loves.com.

XPO cuts 190 non-driver jobs in its LTL operations

XPO Logistics has cut approximately 190 jobs as part of its previously announced synergy plans in its less-than-truckload acquisition from Con-way, according to a press release.

The majority of layoffs involved non-sales positions, with 160 of those jobs eliminated. Of those job cuts, the majority were in administrative, management and back office functions. Less than 1 percent of the LTL workforce in North America was affected, according to the press release. Approximately another 30 positions were cut as a result of redundancies from the acquisition of Con-way.

XPO expects to save more than $20 million in annual costs from the job cuts. Since XPO acquired Con-way last October, the logistics corporation has earned about $50 million of expected annualized savings.

In an interview with Bloomberg last September, XPO CEO Bradley Jacobs said that drivers were “very important” and XPO intended to keep all the drivers. To date, the majority of layoffs have occurred in the administrative, management and executive offices.

Lucas Oil launches stock car racing app

Truckers into stock car racing may have the ability to keep up with coverage no matter where they are. MAVTV and Lucas Oil have teamed up to launch LucasOilRacingTV, an app covering stock car racing and six Super Cup Stock Car Series (SCSCS) events.

MAVTV coverage includes the SCSCS series opener from Columbus Motor Speedway in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, June 18; followed by a doubleheader on July 9 from Jennerstown Speedway in Jennerstown, Pa., before revisiting Jennerstown Speedway on Aug. 27.

The SCSCS season points finale will be held at Motordrome Speedway in Smithton, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 17. Each MAVTV/SCSCS show will be 30 minutes long. Air dates and times will be announced at a later date.

In its ninth season, SCSCS is a reformulation of the Late Model Hooters Cup Series. SCSCS teams campaign steel-bodied, 600hp, V8 Chevrolets and Fords on quarter and half-mile asphalt tracks across the Midwest.

For more information, visit mavtv.com.

DOT: NAFTA freight dropped $8 billion in November

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in November trucks moved more than 66 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by nearly 9 percent when compared with October when freight went up nearly 4 percent from the previous month. All modes carried less freight when compared with November 2014.

Trucks were responsible for more than $58 billion of the $88.2 billion of imports and exports in November. Rail came in second with a contribution of more than $13 billion.

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow due to plummeting crude oil prices, according to BTS. Freight totaled $88.2 billion, down more than $8 billion from the previous month and down more than $8 billion from November 2014.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at nearly 43.2 percent, an improvement compared to October’s 52 percent decrease. Trucks experienced the lowest decline with a drop of only 0.4 percent. Across all modes, there was an 8.4 percent decrease when compared with the previous year.

More than 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.3 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 1.9 percent compared with November 2014. Of the $43 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 72 percent of the loads.

Year-to-date, NAFTA freight has been down every month in 2015.

APHIS adjusts fees for Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection program

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has amended its old user fee regulations by adding new categories and adjusting current charges. In order to minimize pest risks, vessels, trucks, railroad cars, aircraft, and international passengers arriving at ports in the customs territory of the United States are provided quarantine and inspection services. The fees are to recoup the cost of that service.

As of Dec. 28, 2015, the agency also adjusted or removed the fee caps associated with commercial trucks, commercial vessels and commercial railcars. For commercial trucks with a transponder, the final rule increases fees from $105 to $301.67 a year, and commercial trucks without a transponder from $5.25 to $7.55 per crossing.

“If imported cargo needs to be treated to minimize pest risks, the APHIS will charge a fee for that, too,” says Dale Watkins of OOIDA’s Business Services Department.

The fee is for treatment services to remove invasive animal or plant pests that have been found in cargo shipments. The fee, which is scheduled to be phased in over five years, starts out at $47 the first year, before reaching $237 by the fifth year. The agency has published the new fees on its website here.

In a press release announcing the publishing of the final rule, the agency says the new fees are designed to recoup the costs of conducting Agricultural Quarantine Inspections at U.S. ports of entry. The release states that the fee adjustment is based on an independent evaluation by an outside accounting firm and that the fees were also subject to an economic analysis.

“Under the new fee schedule, the U.S. Government will recover approximately $113 million more in revenue each year, providing total estimated annual revenue of $748 million on over $2.7 trillion in commercial goods and tens of millions of air and sea passengers entering the United States each year. This increase will ensure the financial stability of the AQI program, while minimizing the impact of fee changes on the U.S. economy and small businesses,” the release stated.

The agency used data from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to determine that approximately 91 percent of trucks use transponders rather than pay a per-crossing fee.  

Editor-in-Chief Sandi Soendker contributed to this report.

Meritor launches latest version of Toolbox diagnostics software

Meritor Wabco has announced the latest version of its Toolbox software. Toolbox is a PC-based diagnostic software that expedites vehicle diagnosis, increases uptime, and optimizes work for technicians.

Toolbox 12 includes support for anti-lock braking systems, electronic braking systems and hydraulic power brakes. OnGuard Active diagnostics, aftermarket electronic control unit programming updates, and an improved quick-start guide are also part of the latest Toolbox software.

For a limited time, customers who possess a Toolbox 11 license can upgrade to Toolbox 12 for $99. New Toolbox customers can purchase Toolbox 12 at a base price of $299. Discounts can be added for volume purchases.

The program’s basic functions include the following:

  • Static displays (ECU numbers) and dynamic displays (RPMs) for a system being tested;
  • Displays for active and stored system faults as well as appropriate repair instructions;
  • Activation of components to verify system integrity, correct component operation, and installation wiring;
  • Direct digital access to product maintenance manuals; and
  • Aftermarket ECU programming updates.

For more information, visit Meritor’s website at MeritorWabco.com or call Meritor’s OnTrac tech support center at 866-OnTrac1 (866-668-7221).

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Love’s Travel Stops opens new location in eastern Nebraska

Truckers traveling through Nebraska will another place to stop for fuel, parking and food. Love’s Travel Stops has opened a new location in Valley, Neb., near Highway 64 and Highway 275.

The newest location in Nebraska features five showers, 67 truck parking spaces, RFID cardless fueling and Cat Scales. Gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, a Subway restaurant and other amenities are also available.

For more information, visit Loves.com.

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Daimler Trucks invests millions in South Carolina facilities

Daimler Trucks of North America will be investing millions in facility expansion and operation improvements in Gaffney, S.C., according to a DTNA press release.

Specifically, more than $22 million will be invested in Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. The investment will also drive implementation of a new line-side delivery process, which will use nearly 60 percent more component kitting.

Daimler representatives explained that the kitting process is a just-in-time parts delivery process in which parts are pulled per vehicle VIN or engine number and placed on a cart. This cart is then delivered to the plant. Once the engine, for example, is launched, the kit or cart with all of the serial specific parts follows the engine. This will not only free up space around the line, but also virtually eliminates the possibility of the wrong part being installed, according to the release.

Money from the investment will fund the construction of a new logistics center for Freightliner Custom Chassis. Expansions of the office building, employee parking lot, completed chassis parking and load/delivery operations will also be a part of the investment.

Expansions include a 25 percent increase in personal work stations; an increase in the training room capacity from 25 to 100; the amount of available team work space doubled; and an increase in the cafeteria capacity from 15 to 119.

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U.S. Xpress increases pay for safe drivers

Effective March 1, solo drivers for U.S. Xpress with clean records will have their base mileage pay increased by 13.5 percent.

The pay raise will apply to drivers who have a clean record the past 12 months, according to a press release. Over-the-road solo drivers must not have been in a crash or received a traffic ticket, including CSA violations.

This is the first pay raise for U.S. Xpress truckers since August 2014 when driver pay went up 13 percent across the board.

U.S. Xpress claims that a safe driver with five years of experience can make more than $70,000 total compensation with the new pay increase. A safe driver who becomes a training adviser for the company’s academy could earn more than $110,000, according to U.S. Xpress.

Finalists for TWNA Technical Achievement Award announced

The top five finalists for the 2015 Truck Writers of North America Technical Achievement Award have been announced. The award recognizes products and services that exhibit technical innovation within the trucking industry.

Nominations are submitted by TWNA members. A Technical Achievement Award committee at TWNA, a panel of editors for trucking industry publications, ranks components each year to come up five finalists.

Finalists for the 2015 TWNA Technical Achievement Award are:

  • Detroit Assurance safety system from Daimler Trucks North America 
  • Eaton Procision 7-speed medium-duty automated manual transmission
  • Meritor WABCO SmartTrac automatic trailer lift axle control system
  • Phillips Industries Lite-Sentry trailer-chassis light monitoring system
  • Silver Eagle Manufacturing T-Dolly adjustable trailer converter dolly

Other nominees for the award include Volvo Trucks Adaptive Loading 6x2 liftable axle; Trucker Path navigational assistance and load sourcing app; Thermo King ThermoLite Solar Panels; and the Rotavan RG-3 swiveling kingpin.

The winner will be announced during the Industry Awards Luncheon at the Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition on March 2, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Last year’s winner was Aperia Technology’s Halo automatic tire inflation system.

Incorrect size rims on some Pete 388s prompts recall

Paccar is recalling specific 2015 Peterbilt 388 trucks, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document. 

Specifically, trucks equipped with Michelin MN295/60 R22.5 XZA front tires and 8.25-inch wheels and were certified to a gross axle weight rating (GAWR) greater than the maximum 12,350 pounds. 

Affected vehicles do not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard requirements. Because of the incorrect size rims, tires are susceptible to fail if the truck exceeds the load rating, increasing the chances of a crash.

Owners will be notified by Paccar, who will replace the wheels and re-program the maximum vehicle speed to the correct settings, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin Jan. 29. Owners may contact Paccar customer service at 940-591-4000. Paccar’s recall number is 1115Q.

In December, Land Line reported Paccar was recalling nearly 2,000 Peterbilt trucks for a similar issue, necessitating reprogramming of the speed limiter. Model years ranging from 2009 to 2016 were affected. Those trucks include:

  • 2010 Peterbilt 335 
  • 2010, 2012, 2015-2016 Peterbilt 337 
  • 2009-2010 Peterbilt 340 
  • 2011-2016 Peterbilt 348 
  • 2009, 2011-2016 Peterbilt 365 
  • 2009, 2012-2013 Peterbilt 386 
  • 2009-2015 Peterbilt 388 
  • 2015-2016 Peterbilt 389 
  • 2015 Peterbilt 567
Lawsuit filed against XPO for misclassification of port drivers

XPO Logistics, the Connecticut-based corporation that bought Con-way last year, is facing a class action lawsuit claiming three of its trucking subsidiaries misclassified drivers as independent contractors, according to Los Angeles Superior Court documents. At least one other trucking company – Intermodal Container Services Inc. – is also part of the lawsuit.

The court documents reveal the defendants to be Harbor Rail Transport, Pacer Cartage Inc., PDS Transportation Inc. and Intermodal Container Services Inc. One plaintiff is named on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated.

The suit claims the companies did not pay minimum wage, provide meal/rest breaks, reimburse business expenses, pay overtime/double time wages and committed other labor law violations. In total, the lawsuit claims violations of 10 separate labor laws.

This past November, Land Line reported that port drivers conducted a five-day strike and picket at XPO Logistics. The strike was over misclassification of drivers. At the time of the report, approximately $60 million for 550 claims against various companies were pending.

Last September, XPO announced it would acquire Con-way for $3 billion, sending shockwaves across Wall Street. XPO Logistics began in 1989 as Express-1 Expedited Solutions and was purchased by Segmentz in 2004. XPO completed its first acquisition in 2008 with Concert Group Logistics for $9 million in cash and the issuance of 4.8 million shares of XPO stock. Since then, XPO has acquired nearly 20 companies, with six of those in 2013 alone.

Neither XPO nor the attorney for the plaintiff could be reached for comment.

Freight tonnage decreased in November

Official freight numbers for November 2015 are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was down for all modes in November.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Freight Transportation Services Index for November decreased by 1 percent to 122.3. November’s TSI is a 1.1 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.7 set in November 2014.

The November index is 29.1 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking tonnage went down by 0.9 percent. Air, rail, water and pipeline freight also experienced decreases this past November.

According to the DOT, decreases may have stemmed from weak mining and manufacturing industries, decreases in the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index and the Institute of Supply Management Manufacturing Index, as well as increased inventory to sales ratios.

Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in tons and ton-miles. This information is used to measure the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry.

Freightliner and Western Star trucks recalled for drive axle issue

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling specific 2015-2016 Freightliner and Western Star trucks, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document. The recall is because of an issue with the axle assembly.

Specifically, trucks equipped with Marmon-Herrington drive axles are affected. Axle assemblies have hex nuts on the flange yoke that may not have been properly tightened. The defect can result in the driveshaft disconnecting from the drive axle, creating a loss of propulsion and increasing the risk of a crash.

Affected vehicles include:

  • 2015-2016 Freightliner 108SD
  • 2015-2016 Freightliner 114SD
  • 2015-2016 Freightliner Business Class M2
  • 2015-2016 Western Star 4900

Owners will be notified by DTNA, who will inspect the hex nuts and tighten them free of charge. The recall is expected to begin Feb. 16. Owners may contact DTNA customer service at 800-745-8000. DTNA’s recall number is FL-699.

Vanguard Trailers issues two recalls for axle issues

Vanguard National Trailer Corp. is recalling certain van and reefer trailers for an axle issue that has resulted in recalls for three other trailer companies, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Affected models include 2015-2016 Vanguard CIMC dry freight and refrigerated trailers equipped with Meritor EX225L2 or EX225L+ axles. The affected axle assemblies have caliper bolts that may not have been properly tightened, allowing the caliper mounting bolts to back out and the caliper to detach from the axle flange.

Vanguard also issued a recall for SAF-Holland tapered axles, part numbers 24790745090, 24790175090 and 24790165090. In the affected axles, the wheel end may separate from the axle due to an out-of-specification material thickness on the spindle.

On Thursday, Land Line reported on a Great Dane recall for the same Meritor axle defect. Less than three weeks ago, VT Hackney issued a recall for its Kidron refrigerated trailers for the same issue. Just four days prior to the VT Hackney recall, Wabash issued a recall for several of its trailers over Meritor axles.

Owners of affected trailers will be notified by Vanguard. Caliper bolts will be inspected and tightened as needed, free of charge. For more questions about the recall, contact Vanguard at 219-253-2000 or Meritor at 866-668-7221. Vanguard's number for the Meritor axle recall is 15E083. The number for the SAF-Holland axle recall is 15E-080.

DOT: Trucks moved 67 percent of NAFTA freight in October

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that in October trucks moved more than 67 percent of all the international freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by nearly 4 percent when compared with September when freight went up less than 1 percent from the previous month. All modes carried less freight when compared with October 2014.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $65 billion of the $96.6 billion of imports and exports in October. Rail came in second with a contribution of nearly $14 billion.

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow, according to BTS. Freight totaled $96.6 billion, up more than $3 billion from the previous month and down nearly $12 billion from October 2014.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at nearly 52 percent, a steeper drop than September’s 42 percent decrease. Trucks experienced the lowest decline with a drop of only 2 percent. Across all modes, there was a 10.7 percent decrease when compared with the previous year.

More than 61 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.4 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 1.5 percent compared with October 2014. Of the $48.9 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 73 percent of the loads.

Year-to-date, NAFTA freight has been down every month in 2015.

Mack OKs use of renewable diesel in all its engines

Following extensive truck and engine testing, Mack Trucks has signed off on the use of renewable diesel fuel in all Mackengines. In a press release, Mack states that renewable diesel fuel delivers performance similar to diesel refined from petroleum, but with several additional customer benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas and particulate emissions, as well as decreased maintenance costs.
 
Similar to conventional biodiesel, renewable diesel fuel is derived from biomass feedstocks, including animal fats and oils. However, unlike biodiesel, renewable diesel fuel is produced using a different process and maintains physical properties and performance similar to petroleum diesel.

Renewable diesel fuel offers several environmental benefits to customers, including reducing particulate matter. A life cycle analysis of renewable diesel fuel conducted by the California Air Resources Board also demonstrated reductions in greenhouse gases by 15 to 80 percent, depending on feedstock source used.

According to Mack Trucks, customers can also save money with renewable diesel fuel, as it requires fewer maintenance costs compared with other alternative fuels.

Freightliner plant in North Carolina to lay off nearly 1,000 workers

As truck sales are expected to weaken in 2016, manufacturing plants are trimming down. Employees at Daimler Trucks North America’s Cleveland, N.C., Freightliner plant are the latest to take a hit, with nearly 1,000 workers to be laid off.

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the official notice date of DTNA’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) was on Jan. 4. Although it will go into full effect on March 5, affected employees’ last day of work will be Friday, Jan. 8, according to David Giroux, DTNA director of corporate communications and public relations.

“Employees will receive payment in lieu of the notice period at each employee’s regular rate of pay, and employees are free to seek and accept other employment during the notice period without jeopardizing their entitlement to the WARN period payment or benefits,” Giroux told Land Line in a statement.

The layoff is expected to be temporary. DTNA’s decision to lay off workers stems from a reduction in orders. A slowdown in truck orders has resulted in a reduced build rate.

The Cleveland plant manufactures heavy-duty Freightliner and Western Star trucks. Before the layoff, the plant employed 3,100 workers. Giroux noted that DTNA is reducing output by one-third at the Cleveland plant as the company is preparing for a weaker truck market in 2016.

In December, Mack and Volvo laid off a total of more than 1,000 workers at their plants in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. A Mack spokesperson told Land Line that the Class 8 truck market is cyclical and experienced its peak in 2015.

The United Automobile Workers Local 3520, which represents union workers at the plant, declined to comment.

Trucking industry gains most jobs since 2013 in December

December experienced the largest job gain in more than two years for the transportation industry. The trucking subsector received the most jobs in six months.

The overall transportation sector gained more than 23,000 jobs in December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the largest increase since November 2013 when more than 30,000 jobs were added to the economy.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of more than 5,000 jobs after the industry gained more than 2,000 in November and 400 in October. December’s increase is the most since last June when 7,400 jobs were added. September was only the second month of 2015 in which the trucking industry lost jobs. Nearly 7,000 truck transportation jobs were lost in March.

Couriers and messengers experienced the largest job gain with more than 15,000 added. “Support activities for transportation” had the largest drop in employment with nearly 2,000 positions exiting the economy.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.99 for December, a 2-cent decrease from November. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 6 cents to $20.73. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.24, a penny lower from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent last December. The overall unemployment rate for the country stayed stagnant at 5 percent for the third month in a row. The number of long-term unemployed saw little change compared with the previous month at 2.1 million. However, that number has decreased by 687,000 in the past 12 months.

DAT’s load board network shows gain in spot van and reefer freight

Van and reefer capacity demand went up significantly to end 2015 and begin the new year, according to DAT Solutions. Based on information from DAT’s network of load boards, average spot market rates were up for two of three modes of trucking.

Average van rates nationwide remained stagnant at $1.71 per mile. Van load posts increased 27 percent, with truck posts decreasing 28 percent. The load-to-truck ratio for Dec. 27 to Jan. 2 was 3.4, a 77 percent surge when compared to the previous week.

Reefer rates went up 2 cents to $1.95. Load posts increased 40 percent while trucks posts decreased 24 percent. Load-to-truck ratio for reefers also experienced a large increase of 83 percent, bringing it to 9.6 loads for every truck posted.

Flatbed rates increased by a penny to $1.92. Load posts were up 7.8 percent and truck posts down 29 percent. Nationwide, the flatbed load-to-truck ratio was 11.4, an increase of 51 percent.

Month-to-month, there was very little change in spot rates for December. Compared with December 2014, rates were down 16-18 percent last month. Load-to-truck ratios were up 13 to 18 percent in December when compared with the previous month, but were down 43 to 53 percent over the last 12 months.

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.

Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.

(Editor’s note: This analysis is provided by DAT Solutions and breaks down the rates and trends on the company’s network of load boards. For complete national and regional reports on spot rates and demand, visit dat.com/Trendlines. DAT Trendlines is a weekly report on spot market freight availability, truck capacity, and rates.)

Cummins’ engine lineup EPA-certified for 2017

Cummins Inc. announced this week that it received certification for its complete lineup of on-highway diesel and natural gas engines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, meeting both the current EPA regulations and the second step in greenhouse gas and fuel-efficiency standards which take effect in January 2017.

According to the company, fuel efficiency is improved across the commercial vehicle engine lineup from 5.0 liters to 15 liters. Spokesman Amy Boerger said efficiency improvements implemented in the 2016 ISX15 400 hp-to-475 hp ratings will provide customers with fuel economy gains over the 2013 ISX15, ranging from 2.5 percent on the base engine up to 7.5 percent with a SmartAdvantage Powertrain with ADEPT (SmartCoast) features.

Throughout 2014 and 2015, Cummins implemented efficiency enhancements that enable its engines to meet EPA 2016 and GHG 2017 requirements. Exhaust tailpipe emissions are monitored, a particulate matter sensor has been implemented, and electronic controls have been enhanced to interact with the diesel exhaust fluid quality sensor implemented by original equipment manufacturers on DEF tanks. 

Three months to MATS; free online registration is open now

If you are planning on going to the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville March 31-April 2, you can register now at no cost. Every attendee must register individually for the show. Here’s how you do it.

You can register online for free prior to Feb. 29. After that you can still register online for a fee of $10 or purchase a ticket at the door for $10. 

Each registration will allow one badge to be printed onsite. The badge is good for all three days of the show. Those who register by Feb. 29 will have their badges mailed at the end of February or the first week of March. If you register after that date, you’ll need to bring a printout of your registration confirmation email with you to the show, and then exchange it for a badge when you get there.

MATS is the largest annual heavy-duty trucking industry event in the world. It happens each year at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. According to show management, the show attracts attendees and exhibitors from throughout the United States and abroad. Last year, it set records with 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space, as well as 81,768 attendees from 50 states and 74 countries. Truckers converged on the show, along with 1,064 exhibitors from 43 states and 14 countries.

Covering the event were 224 media professionals from all over the globe. OOIDA media covered the show from beginning to end with Sirius XM satellite radio broadcasts on “Land Line Now” and with the award-winning “Pork Chop Diaries” written by Land Line Magazine staff on the scene.

For information on show hours, parking, off-site tractor-trailer parking, directions and more, cruise the website at truckingshow.com. Watch Land Line for event news and entertainment announcements.

Calling all high school seniors: OOIDA scholarship deadline set for Feb. 1

The deadline for the 2016 OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship Program is fast approaching. All applications from students must be turned in by Feb. 1, 2016. Children, grandchildren and legal dependents of OOIDA members are eligible for the scholarships.

Founded in 1998, the OOIDA Scholarship Fund awards five scholarships every year: one $2,000 scholarship and four $1,000 scholarships. Students must submit an application, a 500-word essay on the topic indicated on the application, and transcripts from high school or an institution of higher learning.

Winners will be notified by letter after the spring meeting of the OOIDA Board of Directors in 2016. Tax-deductible donations to the OOIDA Scholarship Fund can be sent to OOIDA Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 1000, Grain Valley, Mo., 64029.

For more information, contact Andrew King at 816-229-5791, ext. 1133 or by email to Andrew_King@ooida.com.

Kidron trailers also affected by Meritor axle recall

Another trailer manufacturer is recalling certain trailers upon discovering a defect with Meritor axles, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. The same recall was issued by Wabash a week ago.

VT Hackney is recalling affected Kidron refrigerated trailers model year 2015. Affected trailers are equipped with Meritor EX225L2 or EX225L+ axles. The affected axle assemblies have caliper bolts that may not have been properly tightened, allowing the caliper mounting bolts to back out and the caliper to detach from the axle flange.

Last week, Land Line reported on a Wabash van trailer recall involving Meritor EX225L2, EX225L+ and Bendix ADB22X axles with the same issue with caliper bolts. In October, Meritor and Bendix issued a general recall for the axles.

Owners of Kidron trailers can call VT Hackney at 800-763-0700. Any drivers with vehicles equipped with Meritor EX225L2, EX225L+ and Bendix ADB22X axles can contact Meritor at 866-668-7221.

Trailer orders experience large gains in November

Trailer orders for November were up 18 percent month-to-month and 10 percent year-to-year, according to Americas Commercial Transportation Research.

Sales of trailers are doing better than tractors. ACT Research reported earlier this month that Class 5-8 vehicle orders were down 26 percent month-to-month and down 37 percent year-to-year. Those numbers are consistent with Volvo’s and Mack’s move to lay off workers at their manufacturing plants as demand for new vehicles have weekend.

“Although the trailer market continues at a solid pace, the tractor market has registered a noticeable slowdown in orders. And considered in tandem, this disconnect is somewhat disconcerting,” said Frank Maly in a press release, director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT.

ACT Research noted that dry vans made up the bulk of November’s increase in orders. Dry van orders were up nearly 50 percent month-to-month and more than 30 percent year-to-year.

IRS lowers business mileage for 2016

On Dec. 17, the IRS announced that it has lowered the standard mileage reimbursement and deduction rate to 54 cents per mile in 2016. This allowance is down from 57.5 cents per mile in 2015.

Small-business truckers traveling in their personal vehicles should take note of the change and keep records for business miles associated with parts pickup and other business trips. Another example, when you are driving to get a DOT physical, be sure to keep mileage records.

Click here for details from the IRS news release.

Wabash recalling van trailers for axle defect

Wabash National Corp. is recalling van trailers model year 2013-2015, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document. The recall is due to an issue with the service brakes.

Specifically, Wabash van trailers equipped with Meritor EX225L2, EX225L+ and Bendix ADB22X axles are affected. Axle assemblies have brake caliper mounting bolts that may not have been properly tightened. The defect can result in the caliper detaching from the axle flange, affecting braking performance and increasing the risk of a crash.

Owners will be notified by Wabash, who will inspect caliper bolts and tighten them free of charge. The recall is expected to begin Jan. 15. Owners may contact Wabash customer service at 765-771-5404.

Mack to lay off about 400 workers, 200 more laid off at Volvo

Approximately 400 workers at the Lehigh Valley Mack plant in Lower Macungie Township, Pa., will be laid off in January, a Mack spokesperson confirmed to Land Line. Over at the Volvo plant in Hagerstown, Md., about 200 more will be laid off. Volvo is the parent company of Mack Trucks.

According to Mack spokesperson Christopher Heffner, the layoffs will take effect beginning Jan. 25. Affected employees will be offered outplacement support. Bargaining unit employees will not be offered a severance package. However, those employees will receive benefits based on the collective bargaining agreement. With the exception of probationary employees, workers affected by the layoff will be eligible for job recalls.

Volvo spokesperson John Mies told Land Line that layoffs at the Hagerstown manufacturing facility will go into effect sometime in the first quarter next year, as early as late-January. Terms of the layoffs are similar to those of the Lehigh Valley layoffs.

“The Class 8 heavy-duty truck market is cyclical, and we said several months ago that 2015 would be the peak year,” Heffner told Land Line. “We regret having to take this action, but we must adapt to market demand.”

Mies gave a similar explanation for the Volvo plant layoffs.

Orders for Class 8 trucks were classified as “weak” in November, according to Americas Commercial Transportation Research. Unfavorable supply and demand were attributed to strong capacity additions and a weak industrial economy.

In a “truck deliveries” report dated Dec. 17, Volvo revealed that North American deliveries for Mack trucks in November decreased 6 percent compared with November 2014. Heavy-duty truck deliveries for the month fell 11 percent. Year-to-date, deliveries increased 8 percent compared with last November.

Heffner noted that 2016 projections estimate a 10 percent drop for Mack.

All Mack trucks built for North America and export are assembled at the Lehigh Valley manufacturing facility, according to a press release. Just one month ago, the plant celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Two weeks ago, Land Line reported that Volvo would lay off more than 700 workers at its New River Valley plant in Dublin, Va. The New River Valley plant is Volvo’s largest truck manufacturing facility in the world.

Strick recalls more than 2,000 trailers

Strick Trailers is recalling more than 2,000 trailers for issues with rear-impact guards, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Dry freight van trailers manufactured by Strick Trailers with model years 1998-2005 are affected by the recall. Rear-impact guards of affected trailers may not be strong enough to prevent a vehicle from traveling under a trailer in the event of a crash. This defect is in direct violation of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 223 titled “Rear Impact Guards.”

Strick will notify owners and install reinforcements to the rear-impact guards, free of charge. Recalls are slated for January 2016. Strick Trailers customers can contact the company at 704-436-2590.

UCR: no fee changes for 2016

The Unified Carrier Registration board will make no changes for the 2016 fee schedule, and enforcement for non-payment begins Jan. 1, 2016. That’s the news from OOIDA General Vice President Woody Chambers, Eddyville, Ky., who serves on the UCR board representing owner-operator carriers.
 
OOIDA Life Member Monte Wiederhold, Lebanon, Ohio, also serves on the UCR board. Both attended the meeting of the UCR Board Dec. 8-9, in San Diego. 
 
In a new development, the UCR is in the process of incorporating and has a contract with Dave Lazarides to serve as executive director. Lazarides has served in a number of regulatory capacities, including director of information for the Illinois Commerce Commission’s Transportation Bureau. He is a former vice president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
 
As a bit of background, the Unified Carrier Registration program is a federally mandated, annual state-administered registration program. It was created by federal legislation, replacing the former system for registering the operators of vehicles engaged in interstate travel. The former system, the Single State Registration System or SSRS, was repealed Jan. 1, 2007. The UCR applies not only to for-hire motor carriers, but to all carriers. That means exempt, private fleets, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies too, unless they also operate as a carrier.
 
OOIDA’s Chambers reports that the UCR registration for 2016 opened Oct. 1 and is now due. For 0-2 vehicles, the amount due is $76; for 3-5 vehicles the fee is $227; for 6-20 the fee is $452; for 21-100 vehicles the fee is $1,576. In the larger fleet category, the fee for 101-1000 is $7,511. For 1001 or more vehicles, the fee is $73,346.
 
All states must enforce registration compliance, and fines are hefty.
 
The following 41 states currently participate: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
 
If you live in a state that does not participate, you may choose another as your base state for purposes of accepting the payment. For example, if you live in Oregon, don’t send your fee to Oregon. They do not participate in the UCR; however, they do enforce the UCR requirements.
 
If you are a member of OOIDA and have questions or need assistance paying your UCR fee, call the Permitting and Licensing Department at OOIDA’s Business Services Department at 800-444-5791.

Latest lawsuit filed against Pilot Flying J includes salty language

The attorney for an Alabama trucking company that is suing Pilot Flying J over its fuel rebate scam says the language he used in his petition may be offensive to some. But it’s also necessary to showcase the contempt he alleges the perpetrators had for the victims of the scheme.

The petition begins with some strong language, stating “F*** them early, F*** them often,” a quote attributed to a recording made by an FBI informant of Pilot’s vice president for sales. The entire document, which was filed in the Circuit Court of Mobile County on Nov. 24, can be read here.

“It is unusual and you hate to put that in a document, but I felt like the unvarnished truth needs to be told about what they’ve done,” attorney Stephen Tunstall told Land Line. “To not have included that would be to dilute or cover up the rawness not only of what they have done but their attitude regarding their customers.”

Pilot agreed to pay $92 million in fines and accept responsibility for the criminal conduct of employees in exchange for an agreement with federal prosecutors to avoid prosecution. The agreement does not prevent individual employees of the company from being prosecuted, however. The Knoxville, Tenn.-based travel plaza chain also agreed to an $85 million restitution plan to more than 5,000 rebate customers.

Seven companies, including Wright Transportation, opted out of that settlement and filed suit. Three of those seven companies settled with Pilot in the spring of 2015. Three of the remaining four were dismissed without prejudice due to lack of jurisdiction by the federal court in eastern Kentucky. Wright Transportation’s case was transferred to federal court in Alabama, where the company ultimately filed a motion to dismiss the suit at the federal level and to refile it with the state court.

Tunstall said the company is seeking “all that the law allows” in terms of redress of damages, including the amount of monies owed to Wright, as well as punitive damages. The suit names company owner Jimmy Haslam, former vice president Mark Hazelwood, former vice president of sales John Freeman, and former national director of sales Brian Mosher. Haslam has denied any involvement or knowledge of the scheme.

A Pilot Flying J spokesperson said the Alabama case is only one of several unsettled issues that the company will continue to work to resolve.

The complaint alleges that Wright Transportation had been involved in the rebate program since 2007. The lawsuit alleges that Pilot targeted smaller trucking companies like Wright Transportation for the rebate program, only to cook the books in order to skim some of the discount monies for itself and to pay lavish bonuses and benefits to its officers, managers and employees, including Haslam. Tunstall said it’s difficult to get a true accounting of how much money Wright and other companies may be owed.

“They tried to identify mom-and-pop companies because they felt like they wouldn’t be sophisticated enough to identify or figure it out. Then they would laugh and make fun of their own customers about it.”

Wright Transportation was one of several trucking companies to file suit against the chain and its owner Jimmy Haslam after a 2013 raid by the FBI and the IRS. The raid exposed what law enforcement officials alleged was a scam involving fuel rebates paid to trucking companies that had the company’s fuel cards.

“Wright Transportation is a family-owned company, they’re salt of the Earth, and they work hard,” he said. “They didn’t deserve this. They’re a longtime, faithful customer of Pilot and they deserved to be treated better than this.”

Navistar to recall 15,000 ProStar trucks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation has concluded an investigation of Navistar ProStars. The verdict: a recall of 15,000 trucks.

According to ODI documents, 2012-2013 Navistar ProStar trucks have accelerator pedals that do not return completely to an idle position after being depressed, increasing engine speed. The defect also prevents the engine brake from activating.

ODI opened the investigation on April 17 after receiving more than 1,000 complaints. More than 200,000 trucks were part of the investigation. Drivers’ complaints ranged from needing to apply more pressure to the brake pedal to pulling the accelerator pedal back from underneath with his or her foot. No crashes, property damage, injuries or fatalities were reported.

More than 70 percent of the claims involved manual transmission trucks. ODI investigators drove several affected ProStars, including automatic transmission trucks. ODI found that automatic transmission ProStars did not reach engine speeds high enough to compromise safety. Manual transmission ProStars reached speeds of more than 2,300 RPMs while at rest. The discrepancy was because of the differing architecture between the two transmissions, the ODI report noted.

Navistar has acknowledged the issue and plans to issue a recall. The recall number is 15V-776. Only manual transmission 2012-2013 ProStars are affected. Navistar will recalibrate the engine electronic control module to remedy the situation. Drivers can check for recall updates at SaferCar.gov.

Freight Transportation Services Index increased in October

The official freight numbers are in from October. While the index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles ticked up for trucking, water and pipeline, freight shipments were down for rail and air.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Freight Transportation Services Index for October increased by 0.4 percent to 123.2. October’s TSI is 0.2 percent below the all-time high of 123.5 set in November 2014.

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

Trucking, waterborne freight and pipeline all increased in October. Rail carload, rail intermodal and air freight all decreased. TSI’s increase comes alongside increases in employment and personal income. However, there were decreases in housing starts, Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index and the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Index, sending mixed signals on the economy and indicating slower growth, according to the BTS press release.

Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in tons and ton-miles. This information is used to measure the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry.

Amazon purchases thousands of trailers to keep up with demand

Amazon has purchased thousands of trailers emblazoned with the Amazon logo to ship products between warehouses, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to Land Line.

Shipments with the newly acquired trailers will be used to transport products from fulfillment centers to sort centers. Third-party trucking companies will be used to haul the trailers. Amazon will continue to use its current partnerships to deliver the products to homes and businesses.

At an event announcing the trailers on Dec. 4 in Chicago, employees at an Amazon fulfillment center packed 2,000 care packages for soldiers stationed overseas during the holidays. Amazon has delivered more than 12 million packages to Army Post Office and Fleet Post Office addresses since 2010.

Tech news site Re/code surmised that Amazon is going trailer-only to avoid registering as a commercial trucking company, thereby not paying the costs of insurance and liability risks. Currently, Amazon Flex hires drivers to use their personal vehicles to make one-hour deliveries in cities where the service is available. Amazon Flex drivers work in much the same way Uber operates.

Amazon is preparing for higher demand as the e-commerce titan continues to grow. Third-quarter sales were up 23 percent to $25.4 billion. The company also announced plans for three new fulfillment centers: one in Fall River, Mass., and two near Columbus, Ohio. More than 100,000 jobs were created for the holiday season, according to an Amazon press release.

Trucking industry adds more jobs in November, most since July

November marked the return of net job gains for the transportation sector after October’s loss of jobs that was preceded by eight months of increases. The trucking subsector experienced a healthy injection of jobs.

The overall transportation sector gained more than 6,000 jobs in November, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest increase since August when more than 7,000 jobs were added to the economy.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of more than 2,000 jobs after the industry gained 400 in October and lost 4,000 in September. November’s increase of 2,300 is the most since July when 2,800 jobs were added. September was only the second month of 2015 in which the trucking industry lost jobs. Nearly 7,000 truck transportation jobs were lost in March.

“Support activities for transportation” experienced the largest job gain with more than 6,000 eliminated. Couriers and messengers had the largest drop in employment with nearly 3,000 positions exiting the economy.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.01 for November, a 7-cent increase from October. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 5 cents to $20.80. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.25, 4 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.3 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 6.8 percent from 6 percent last November. The overall unemployment rate for the country stayed stagnant at 5 percent. The unemployment rate for August through November is the lowest since April 2008 and is considered to be “full employment.” The number of long-term unemployed saw little change compared with the previous month at 2.1 million. However, that number has decreased by 772,000 in the past 12 months.

Volvo to lay off more than 700 workers at Virginia assembly plant

More than 700 production workers will be laid off at Volvo’s New River Valley assembly plant in Dublin, Va., The Associated Press reports. The layoffs are a result of declining demand.

Layoffs will begin in February and span three weeks. Commercial truck customers have successfully upgraded their fleets, significantly reducing the demand, a Volvo spokesperson told the AP.

Virginia’s assembly plant is Volvo’s largest truck manufacturing facility in the world, according to Volvo’s website. The plant is 1.6-million square feet on top of nearly 300 acres. In September, Volvo announced it will invest $38.1 million into the New River Valley plant for upgrades and a new Customer Experience Center. Last June, the company announced a $69 million investment in the plant for state-of-the-art equipment, processes and plan redesign.

Average van and reefer spot rates are up nationwide

Two leading load boards agreed on the movement of average spot market rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight last week. Spot rates are up for van and reefer freight, while flatbed loads are showing no signs of improvement.

Van rates were up 12 cents to $1.86 per mile, according to Truckstop.com. DAT Solutions van rates went up a penny to $1.71, creating a significant gap between the two load boards. Two weeks ago, DAT and Truckstop.com indicated the same van rates.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com also increased by 12 cents to $2.13. Over at DAT, reefer rates were up a penny to $1.94, establishing another large discrepancy between the two load boards. Reefer rates between Truckstop.com and DAT were just 1 cent apart two weeks ago.

Flatbed rates went down 2 cents from the previous week to $1.85, according to Truckstop.com. DAT is reporting unchanged rates for flatbed rates at $1.92, leaving a 7-cent gap. Last week, 5 cents separated Truckstop.com’s flatbed rates from DAT’s.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability decreased by 31.4 percent, and truck supply went down by 35.1 percent in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, load-to-truck ratios were up for two of three modes, with reefer freight experiencing the only decrease.

Truckstop.com has placed the Market Demand Index (MDI) at 10.9, a 0.4-point increase from the previous week. The MDI is a comparison of available loads to available trucks posted on the load board. The higher the MDI, the better the chances that the power rests with the carriers and vice versa; currently, 10 represents an even market. This time last year, the MDI was 18.1, or 39.7 percent higher than today.

Werner announces pay raise for company drivers

More than 1,400 company drivers for Werner Enterprise are expected to receive a significant pay raise starting Jan. 1.

The Omaha-based truckload transportation and logistics provider announced on Nov. 30 that it would be giving its 48-state solo van company drivers in the One-Way Truckload Van fleet an average raise of $5,000. The announcement comes after a Nov. 3 announcement that the company would be giving a $10,000 raise for its owner-operators, the largest per-mile increase in its history.

“We consistently review compensation packages to see where improvements can and should be made,” Werner’s president and COO Derek Leathers said in the release. “Pay increases are one piece of our multifaceted approach to attract and retain the best in the industry and make Werner the employer of choice.”

Founded in 1956, Werner is a transportation and logistics company that operates worldwide. More information can be found at werner.com.

Paccar recall: truck tires incompatible with speed limiters

Paccar is recalling nearly 2,000 Peterbilt trucks due to Michelin tires with a speed rating less than the vehicle is governed to, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Nine Peterbilt models with model years ranging from 2009 to 2016 are affected.

Affected vehicles are equipped with Michelin 295/60R22.5 XZA-2 front tires. Higher speeds, tire load, road temperatures and other factors increase the chances of premature tire failure. Trucks affected by the recall include:

  • 2010 Peterbilt 335
  • 2010, 2012, 2015-2016 Peterbilt 337
  • 2009-2010 Peterbilt 340
  • 2011-2016 – Peterbilt 348
  • 2009, 2011-2016 Peterbilt 365
  • 2009, 2012-2013 Peterbilt 386
  • 2009-2015 Peterbilt 388
  • 2015-2016 Peterbilt 389
  • 2015 Peterbilt 567


Owners of affected trucks will be notified by Peterbilt. Dealers will reprogram the engine’s vehicle speed parameters to limit the maximum vehicle speed to the tire speed rating. Drivers can contact Peterbilt at 940-591-4000 with recall number 1115P.

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum expansion will add space for 60 trucks

The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum in Walcott, Iowa, is undergoing an expansion that will nearly double the size of its exhibit hall and the number of classic trucks on display.

The museum is in the midst of a 26,400-square-foot expansion that will add space for approximately 60 additional tractors to be displayed, according to Heather DeBaillie, the museum’s marketing manager.

“For anybody that’s been here, the museum is going to extend almost all the way to the side road now, instead of having a long driveway,” she said.

DeBaillie said the expansion was prompted by the fact that the current museum space showcases a little less than half of the museum’s collection of rare and vintage tractors. Bill Moon, who founded the Iowa 80 Truck Stop at Walcott, began collecting trucks in the 1970s. The museum’s mission is to restore and preserve antique trucks and trucking artifacts so that the history of trucking may be shared with the general public.

“The Moon family (the proprietors of the museum) really want to share that collection with the public,” she said. “It doesn’t do any good when they’re just sitting in a shed somewhere.

Among the new trucks that will be displayed are an “all-stainless” tractor and a vintage Coca-Cola delivery truck, complete with more than 4,000 glass bottles of the soft drink.

DeBaillie said the goal is to have the expansion complete in the spring, in time for it to be open during the Iowa 80 Truck Stop’s summer touring season, which is highlighted by the Trucker’s Jamboree in July.

DOT: Trucks moved 66 percent of the NAFTA freight in September

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that in September trucks moved nearly 66 percent of all the international freight with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by nearly 1 percent when compared with August when freight went down less than 1 percent. All modes carried less freight when compared with September 2014.

Trucks were responsible for more than $61 billion of the $93.2 billion of imports and exports in September. Rail came in second with a contribution of more than $13 billion.

Vessel and pipeline freight when compared with last year contributed to the yearly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow, according to BTS. Freight totaled $93.2 billion, up more than $800 million from the previous month and down $9 billion from September 2014.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at nearly 42 percent, a steeper drop than August’s 33 percent decrease. Trucks experienced the lowest decline with a drop of only 0.1 percent. Across all modes, there was an 8.8 percent decrease when compared with the previous year.

Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.1 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 0.2 percent compared with September 2014. Of the $45 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 73 percent of the loads.

Year-to-date, NAFTA freight has been down every month this year.

New Love’s in Albuquerque offers Fast-Fill CNG pumps

Truckers using compressed natural gas engines along Interstate 40 now have another fueling station. Love’s Travel Stops has opened its sixth Fast-Fill CNG station on I-40 in Albuquerque, N.M.

The newest Love’s in New Mexico off of Exit 149 is the sixth location along the 1,000-mile stretch of I-40 between Albuquerque and West Memphis, Ark., with Fast-Fill CNG stations. Fast-Fill stations fuel up Class 8 CNG trucks at the same rate as diesel pumps. A 100-gallon equivalent tank can be filled in 10 minutes or less.

Love’s is the fourth facility in Albuquerque to offer CNG and the seventh in the state.

Other Love’s Fast-Fill CNG stations along I-40 include West Memphis; Webbers Falls, Okla.; two locations in Oklahoma City; and Amarillo, Texas. A location in Williams, Ariz., will soon offer Fast-Fill CNG pumps as well.

Albuquerque’s latest Love’s location will also feature gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, name-brand electronics and Carl’s Jr. and Green Burrito restaurants. Seven showers, 65 parking spaces, RFID cardless fueling, CAT scales and a Truck Tire Care center will also be available.

FedEx, Trees for Troops to deliver 18,000 Christmas trees

Some service members stationed overseas will be receiving a present to give their military base a more holiday vibe. FedEx and the Christmas Spirit Foundation have partnered up another year to deliver Christmas trees to military personnel around the world.

Launched in 2005, Trees for Troops will be sending out more than 18,000 real Christmas trees to service members and their families. Every branch in the military will be covered at more than 65 bases.

In its 11th year, Trees for Troops has delivered more than 157,000 live Christmas trees to service members in 17 countries.

FedEx volunteers prepared 200 trees on Nov. 17 during the initiative’s official kickoff in Thorntown, Ind. The Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association donated the trees, which will be delivered to military personnel in the Middle East and South Pacific by FedEx Express.

For more information or to make a donation, visit TreesForTroops.org.

Average spot rates for freight make slight decline

Two leading load boards are mostly in agreement of the movement of rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight last week. Rates are mostly down, indicating a return to declining rates after one week of modest improvements.

Van rates were up 3 cents to $1.70, according to Truckstop.com. DAT Solutions van rates went down 2 cents to $1.70, bringing the two load boards in agreement after several weeks of a widening gap.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com dropped a penny to $1.93. Over at DAT, reefer rates were down 2 cents to $1.92, keeping the two load boards close in range. Reefer rates between Truckstop.com and DAT are typically close to one another.

Flatbed rates went down a penny from the previous week to $1.90, according to Truckstop.com. DAT is reporting a 2-cent drop for flatbed rates to $1.95, closing the gap between the two load boards. Last week, 6 cents separated Truckstop.com’s flatbed rates from DAT’s.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability decreased by 4.2 percent, and truck supply went up by 2.7 percent in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, load-to-truck ratios were down for two of three modes, with reefer freight experiencing the only increase.

Truckstop.com has placed the Market Demand Index (MDI) at 8.3, a 0.6-point decrease from the previous week. The MDI is a comparison of available loads to available trucks posted on the load board. The higher the MDI, the better the chances that the power rests with the carriers and vice versa; currently, 10 represents an even market. This time last year, the MDI was 16.4, or 49.3 percent higher than today.

TA agrees to buy Quaker Steak & Lube

TravelCenters of America says it has agreed to buy the restaurant chain Quaker Steak & Lube for $25 million. Quaker, which is currently in bankruptcy proceedings, has more than 50 locations in 16 states, many in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Quaker Steak’s website says the restaurant’s name is a play on the motor oil company, and the restaurants are known for their automotive decor and their famous chicken wings.

In a statement from TA, the truck stop chain says it will convert some of its existing Country Pride restaurants into Quakers while expanding the franchise and stand-alone restaurants over time. The deal is subject to bankruptcy court approval.

Fontaine recalls more than 500 flatbed trailers

After nearly 7,000 fifth wheel recalls earlier this year, Fontaine has issued another set of recalls for a different piece of equipment. Fontaine is recalling more than 500 flatbed trailers, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Fontaine Revolution flatbed trailers model years 2014 to 2016 are affected by the latest recall. According to federal documents, affected trailers have welds that may crack. The welding cracks are where the structural support member attaches to the frame hanger.

If the welds were to crack, the structural support member might separate from the frame hanger resulting in a failure of the slider box. Potential crashes could occur as a result.

Fontaine will notify owners and inspect the trailers. Crack repairs and other necessary reinforcing will be done by the company free of charge if needed. Drivers can contact Fontaine at 205-485-1300 with the recall name “Slider Enhancement.”

Back in September, Fontaine had to recall nearly 7,000 Ultra LT fifth wheels. A defect in the fifth wheels resulted in a trailer disconnecting from the tractor. In January 2014, a trailer disconnected from a 2012 International ProStar using the Ultra LT fifth wheel, striking two vehicles and killing both drivers.

Freight Transportation Services Index increased in September

The official freight numbers are in from September. While the index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles ticked up for trucking, air and pipeline, freight shipments were down for rail and water.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Freight Transportation Services Index for September increased by 0.2 percent to 123.4. September’s TSI is 0.1 percent below the all-time high of 123.5 set in November 2014. After adjustments, August’s then record-high was reduced to 123.2.

The September index is 30.3 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Trucking, air freight and pipeline all increased in September. Rail carload, rail intermodal and waterborne freight all decreased. TSI’s increase comes alongside increases in employment, personal income and housing.

Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in tons and ton-miles. This information is used to measure the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry.

Werner announces pay increases for owner-operators

Omaha-based Werner Enterprises has announced its largest per mile increase for owner-operators in the company’s history. The pay raise, says the Nebraska mega-carrier, could earn drivers thousands of dollars more each year.

Solo van drivers in all 48 states of Werner’s operation will now earn the equivalent of a $10,000 a year pay increase, according to a press release. Effective on Nov. 3, approximately a third of Werner’s owner-operator fleet will be affected.

Werner also announced increases in regional routes and dedicated opportunities for owner-operators. Owner-operators can also earn a special interest rate as low as 7.99 percent for low-mileage truck purchases.

Founded in 1956, Werner is a transportation and logistics company that operates worldwide. More information can be found at werner.com.

Celadon offers guaranteed weekly pay with WageLock program

Celadon Trucking has officially launched its new WageLock program. Company drivers can earn up to $1,000 a week, regardless of miles logged.

Effective Nov. 4, WageLock is a program that rewards good drivers and ensures they get paid for their good work, even in times of low available miles, according to Celadon’s website.

Company drivers in the U.S. who operate dry van, temp control and Osborn OTR are eligible. Students and rookie/experienced refresher drivers are also eligible. Lease-purchase drivers are not eligible for the program.

Exact payout is based on a driver’s Driver Scorecard status. The range is anywhere between $490 and $1,000 a week. WageLock is supplemental to earnings up to the specified weekly amount, allowing drivers to earn more than the WageLock level they qualify for.

A solo driver can earn a WageLock payout of $900 a week. If a qualified solo driver earns only $825 for the week, a WageLock adjustment of $75 will be added to the paycheck. Solo drivers can still earn more than $900 each week. WageLock only guarantees that the driver earns the minimum $900 when uncontrollable circumstances in the industry limit miles.

Van and reefer rates reveal signs of improvement; flatbed rates decline

Two leading load boards reveal varying numbers for the movement of rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight last week. Rates are mostly up or unchanged, indicating the first week of improvements relative to the prior week after four consecutive weeks of decline.

Van rates remained unchanged at $1.67 after the first increase in several weeks, according to Truckstop.com. DAT Solutions van rates went up a penny to $1.72, widening the gap between the two load boards.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com increased by 3 cents to $1.94. Over at DAT, reefer rates were stagnant at $1.94, leaving the two load boards in agreement with refrigerated freight. Reefer rates between Truckstop.com and DAT are typically close to one another.

Flatbed rates went down a penny from the previous week to $1.91, according to Truckstop.com. DAT is reporting a 3-cent drop for flatbed rates to $1.97, closing the gap between the two load boards. Last week, 8 cents separated Truckstop.com’s flatbed rates from DAT’s.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability decreased by 5 percent, and truck supply went up by 1.1 percent in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, load-to-truck ratios were up for two of three modes, with flatbed freight experiencing the only decline.

Truckstop.com has placed the Market Demand Index (MDI) at 8.9, a 0.6-point decrease from the previous week. The MDI is a comparison of available loads to available trucks posted on the load board. The higher the MDI, the better the chances that the power rests with the carriers and vice versa; currently, 10 represents an even market. This time last year, the MDI was 16.1, 44.6 percent higher than today.

New England DOTs will share traffic info with crowdsourced nav app

Department of Transportation agencies in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont have announced their participation in a free smartphone app that allows users to share traffic data to inform each other of current roadway conditions.

The MaineDOT, New Hampshire DOT and Vermont Agency of Transportation, also known as Tri-State, has teamed up with a crowdsourced app called Waze to share data. Originally a way for motorists to inform one another, the three state DOTs have stepped in to include additional information.

They will provide Waze with information ranging from road sensor feeds to information about closures, construction and other traffic-related events. Waze will in turn provide those three state agencies with incident and road closure reports the app receives from its users. Waze’s goal is to have more accurate and up-to-date information with the collaboration of transportation agencies and those on the road in real time.

According to a press release, this is the first time Waze has had three states collectively join motorists in its data-sharing app. To download the app and for more information, visit waze.com.

Trucking jobs increase, overall transportation industry takes a hit

October marked the first month of net job losses for the transportation sector after eight months of job gains. The trucking industry was one of the few exceptions, making a modest job gain.

The overall transportation sector lost more than 2,000 jobs in October, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the first loss since January when the industry lost nearly 9,000 jobs.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a slight increase of 400 jobs after the industry lost 4,000 in September and gained 700 in August. September was only the second month of 2015 in which the trucking industry lost jobs. Nearly 7,000 truck transportation jobs were lost in March.

“Support activities for transportation” experienced the largest job loss with more than 7,000 eliminated. Warehousing and storage jobs received a relatively large hike in jobs with more than 5,000 injected into the economy. Air transportation also had a relatively large gain of 2,000 jobs.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.93 for October, a 12-cent increase from September. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 4 cents to $20.71. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.20, 9 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 6.7 percent from 6.4 percent last October. The overall unemployment rate for the country stayed stagnant at 5 percent. The unemployment rate for August through October is the lowest since April 2008 and is considered to be “full employment.” The number of long-term unemployed saw little change compared with the previous month at 2.1 million. However, that number has decreased by 748,000 in the past 12 months.

Average spot rates still struggling to increase

Two leading load boards reveal varying numbers for the movement of rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight last week. Rates are mostly down or unchanged, indicating a fourth consecutive week of no significant improvements.

Van rates increased by 3 cents to $1.67 after several weeks of declines, according to Truckstop.com. DAT Solutions van rates dropped a penny to $1.71, closing a widening gap between the two load boards.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com were unchanged at $1.91. Over at DAT, reefer rates went down a penny to $1.94. Over the past several weeks, reefer rates between the two load boards have remained relatively close together.

Flatbed rates went down 2 cents from the previous week to $1.92, according to Truckstop.com. DAT is reporting no changes for flatbed rates at $2, the third consecutive week at that price.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability increased by 1.2 percent, and truck supply went down by 2.4 percent, indicating an advantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, load-to-truck ratios were up for two of three modes, with flatbed freight experiencing the only decline.

Truckstop.com has placed the Market Demand Index (MDI) at 9.46, a 0.33-point increase from the previous week. The MDI is a comparison of available loads to available trucks posted on the load board. The higher the MDI, the better the chances that the power rests with the carriers and vice versa; currently, 10 represents an even market. This time last year, the MDI was 16.2.

Takata receives record-breaking penalty from NHTSA for recalled airbags

For the second time this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has handed down a record-breaking civil penalty. Takata will have to pay as much $200 million for its role in a massive recall resulting in defective airbags, surpassing a record set by Fiat Chrysler earlier this year.

NHTSA sent Takata two orders earlier this week: One imposes the largest civil penalty in NHTSA’s history and the other implements the administration’s authority to speed up the repair process. The orders put recalls that pose the greatest risk to safety on top of the repair list and sets deadlines for potential recalls in the future due to Takata’s airbags.

Takata must pay $70 million in cash, according to NHTSA documents. Another $60 million must be paid if Takata fails to eliminate phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate-based airbag inflators by the deadline outlined in the order. Takata will also be slapped with an additional $70 million fine if NHTSA discovers other violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

NHTSA will have oversight of Takata over the next five years. An independent monitor selected by the agency will assess, track and report Takata’s compliance with the orders. The monitor will also oversee the Coordinated Remedy Program, which prioritizes the remedies according to greatest risk factor.

For the first time in NHTSA’s history, the agency is exercising its authority to accelerate repairs on affected vehicles. NHTSA was granted that authority in the 2000 TREAD Act. Replacements must be available for affected customers by March 2016. Remedies must be provided by the end of 2019.

Back in May, Daimler trucks were added to the list of more than 7 million vehicles with faulty Takata airbags. Official recall documents reveal that Takata airbags are susceptible to ejecting shards of metal fragments once activated. Metal projectiles could lead to injury and death. Six deaths have been blamed on the airbag defect.

During an investigation, NHTSA found that Takata failed to notify the agency of the defect within five days of the manufacturer discovering the defect. Takata also failed to produce complete and accurate data.

In July, Fiat Chrysler received the largest penalty from NHTSA at the time. Fiat Chrysler had to pay up to $105 million in civil penalties due to defective suspension parts and Jeeps that were susceptible to catching on fire. Similar to Takata’s fine, Fiat Chrysler had to pay $70 million in cash and faced up to $35 million in additional penalties if the manufacturer failed to meet performance requirements or committed additional violations.

Locked transmission leads to recall of several International trucks

Several 2016 International Prostar and Transtar trucks have been recalled due to an issue that may mechanically lock up the transmission. The faulty transmission is the same issue reported on several Freightliners and Western Stars last month.

Certain Prostar and Transtar trucks manufactured in early January are being called back for issues with their Eaton Fuller FR 10-speed manual transmissions. When shifting from reverse to neutral, the reverse gear may stay engaged. When the transmission shift lever is moved from reverse to a forward gear position, the transmission may mechanically lock because both the reverse gear and forward gear are simultaneously engaged.

Trucks that experience the transmission lock may move backward despite being shifted out of reverse into neutral.

Navistar will notify owners and inspect the transmissions. Any repairs done on affected vehicles will be free of charge. Owners may contact Navistar customer service at 800-343-7357 with the recall number 15516. Recalls are expected to begin on Nov. 30.

In October, several Freightliner 108SD, 114SD, Cascadia and Business Class M2 trucks were recalled for the same transmission problem. Western Star 4700s also reported experienced the locked transmissions.

TA and Petro offer free meals to trucker veterans Nov. 11

TravelCenters of America, operator of TA and Petro Stopping Centers-branded travel centers, invites all truck drivers who are also veterans of the U.S. armed services to enjoy a complimentary meal on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, at any participating TA or Petro sit-down restaurant across the U.S.

A press release says the annual tradition is a way of honoring and thanking those who served.

The complimentary meals (up to $15 each) are available to all CDL holders who show proof of military service. Proof of service includes the following: U.S. Uniform Services Retired ID card; Veterans Organization card; photograph in uniform; DD214; or Citation or Commendation.

XPO Logistics officially closes deal to acquire Con-way

More than a month after XPO announced its plan to acquire Con-way for $3 billion, the logistics company has confirmed that it is a done deal, according to an XPO press release. The deal makes XPO the second largest less-than-truckload provider in North America.

According to the press release, all Con-way operations – Con-way Freight, Menlo Logistics, Con-way Truckload and Con-way Multimodal – are under XPO’s global brand. XPO CEO Bradley Jacobs will issue new financial targets during the company’s third quarter earnings release on Nov. 4.

Back in early-October, The Wall Street Journal reported that XPO would consider selling Con-way’s truckload unit. According to the Journal, three offers for Con-way’s truckload unit have been made to XPO. Jacobs has not made a decision as to whether or not sell the unit if the big transaction is successful.

Approximately $632 million in annual revenue, or around 11 percent of Con-way’s overall revenue, would be lost in the sale of the truckload unit. Because of several acquisitions over the past few years, investors have been concerned over the debt taken on by XPO.

Stocks for XPO dropped as much as 36 percent since the acquisition was announced on Sept. 9. As of noon CDT on Oct. 30, XPO stock was up nearly 5 percent to $27.24 when compared to the day’s opening price, up 20 percent from its low on Sept. 28 and down nearly 50 percent from the May 28 high of $50.56.

Closing of the deal was not met without resistance. Just one day after news of the deal broke, Moody’s Investors Service announced that XPO’s ratings would be under review for a possible downgrade. At the time, XPO had a rating of B1, which is considered a “high credit risk,” according to Moody’s website.

In related news, several law firms representing Con-way investors have reportedly launched an investigation into the fairness of the sale of Con-way. Con-way Director of Corporate Communication Gary Frantz had no comment.

DOT reports on U.S.-NAFTA trade flow declines

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that in August trucks moved nearly 64 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by less than 1 percent when compared with July when freight went down more than 6 percent. All modes carried less freight when compared with August 2014.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $60 billion of the $92.4 billion of imports and exports in August. Rail came in second with a contribution of more than $14 billion.

Vessel and pipeline freight continue to suffer the most when compared to last year, contributing to the monthly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow, according to BTS. Freight totaled $92.4 billion, down more than $500 million from the previous month and down more than $8 billion from August 2014.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at more than 33 percent, a slight improvement from the 35 percent drop in July. Trucks experienced the lowest decline with a drop of only 1.8 percent. Across all modes, there was an 8.1 percent decrease when compared with the previous year.

Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.8 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 1.4 percent compared with August 2014. Of the $44.5 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.

Year-to-date, NAFTA freight has been down every month this year.

No improvements for average spot market freight rates for third week

Two leading load boards show no improvements for the movement of rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight last week. Rates are down or unchanged across the board for all three modes for the third consecutive week.

Van rates dropped a penny to $1.64 after a 4-cent drop the previous week, according to Truckstop.com. DAT Solutions van rates remained unchanged at $1.72, keeping up with a trend of a widening gap between the two load boards.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com were also down a penny to $1.94. Over at DAT, reefer rates were stagnant at $1.95. Over the past several weeks, reefer rates between the two load boards have remained relatively close together.

Flatbed rates went down a penny from the previous week to $1.94, according to Truckstop.com. DAT is reporting no changes for flatbed rates at $2.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability decreased by 5 percent, and truck supply went down by 0.1 percent, indicating a disadvantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, load-to-truck ratios were down anywhere from 4.2 percent to 11.1 percent across all modes.

Truckstop.com has placed the Market Demand Index (MDI) at 9.1, a 0.5-point decrease from the previous week. The MDI is a comparison of available loads to available trucks posted on the load board. The higher the MDI, the better the chances that the power rests with the carriers and vice versa; currently, 10 represents an even market. This time last year, the MDI was 16.3.

NTSB: Passenger car tire registration and recalls are ‘inefficient’

According to a new report, the National Transportation Safety Board has found that the registration and recall system for tires is “ineffective.” NTSB found “insufficient guidance” by the auto industry on the risks of tire aging.

NTSB’s report comes after the agency investigated two fatal crashes that involved tire tread separation in a passenger vehicle. In 2013, 539 people were killed in tire-related crashes in passenger vehicles, according to the report. Approximately 33,000 tire-related crashes causing 19,000 injuries occur each year.

Among the many conclusions reached, NTSB found that manufacturers’ registration process was ineffective. Customer contact information was not compiled accurately, resulting in complications when notifying affected customers of any recalls.

The report found some success within the recall system. More than 75 percent of all recalled vehicles have been serviced. However, NTSB found the rate specific to tire recalls can be as low as 20 percent.

Johnston re-elected to ninth term as OOIDA president

During the Board Meeting in Grain Valley, Mo., this past week, Jim Johnston was re-elected president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, a position he has held since 1975.

Raised in the Midwest, Johnston became a driver and then owner-operator after serving in the U.S. Navy. His driving career continued for 13 years until the oil embargoes of the early 1970s and subsequent trucking shutdowns created the need for truckers to organize in order to effectively communicate with lawmakers. He was elected in 1975 as OOIDA’s third president and gave up his truck to focus on the mission full time.

Johnston has been an outspoken champion for the rights and wellbeing of all professional truckers, leading legal challenges against many state governments and regulatory bodies. He has also taken on major motor carriers in court for violations in truth-in-leasing regulations and other alleged abuses of small business truckers’ rights. Dozens of OOIDA’s cases have been successful. Some of these cases are still in litigation and others in the planning stages.

His concerns with areas of commercial vehicle safety has led to his inclusion in numerous research forums. He has served on research panels of the National Academy of Science Transportation Board, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Government Accountability Office and others dealing with various aspects of trucking operations.

He has served on the National Motor Carrier Advisory Committee to the U.S. Department of Transportation and was a member of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Senior Strategic Advisory Committee. He is a former member of the ITS America Commercial Vehicle Operations Policy Subcommittee, on which he served as chairman of the committee’s Data Privacy and Control Task Force. He was instrumental in the early development of Professional Truck Driver Institute of America and has served on numerous task forces.

He continues to be regularly consulted by the administration, congressional leaders and the DOT on regulatory issues affecting the trucking industry. On Oct. 6, 2015, he was honored for his leadership and dedication to the industry on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Bill Shuster. Shuster heads up the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Johnston also currently serves as CEO of OOIDA and the Association’s subsidiaries. He was re-elected president on Saturday, Oct. 24, and sworn in by the OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. Johnston has served eight five-year terms and now begins his ninth term.

Volvo recalls several 2016 VNs due to faulty ECMs

One day after Cummins recalled Mack trucks equipped with its ISL G natural gas engine, Volvo Trucks North America has issued a recall of several new VNs due to an issue with the engine control module.

Certain 2016 Volvo VN trucks manufactured on Aug. 13, 2015, are affected by the recall. In affected trucks, Cummins engines have an ECM that may short circuit, resulting in a blown fuse. The defect can leave the engine stalling without warning.

On Oct. 26, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a recall of more than 3,000 Mack trucks. Certain Mack trucks with Cummins ISL G natural gas engines had a defect in the oil supply line, increasing the risk of a fire.

Owners of affected vehicles will be notified by Cummins. As of press time, there is no notification schedule. Cummins will replace the faulty engine control module for free. Drivers can contact Cummins at 800-343-7357, with the recall number C1698. Volvo can also be contacted with questions at 800-528-6586, with recall number RVXX1511.

Wabash rolls out its first line of truck bodies

Wabash National, widely known for its trailers, has added a new operation to its business. The Lafayette, Ind.-based company has recently introduced its new line of truck bodies.

After 30 years in the trucking equipment industry, Wabash debuted its first line of high-performance dry and refrigerated truck bodies at the International Foodservice Distributors Association Distribution Solutions Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. According to a press release, the new truck bodies are designed to reduce maintenance costs, enhance productivity and maximize the life of equipment.

Refrigerated bodies claim a 25 percent improvement in thermal efficiency when compared to more conventional designs. Wabash reefer bodies are built with a patent-pending composite panel and use state-of-the-art bonding assembly technology.

Dry truck bodies are built with Wabash’s DuraPlate composite panels. Trailer grade components and designs yield added performance and longevity, according to Wabash.

Increasing regulations within the trucking industry were considered when designing the bodies. A rear underride guard compliant with U.S. and Canadian standards is one of the features in the new line of truck bodies.

Dry and reefer freight truck bodies will be available for Class 6, 7 and 8 chassis. For more information, visit WabashTruckBodies.com.

OOIDA Board Member Jim Mathews voted as Director Emeritus

OOIDA Life Member Jim Mathews, who resigned his position as member of the OOIDA Board of Directors in April 2014 because of his health, received a surprise phone call late Saturday evening. In the last bit of board business conducted at last week’s fall meeting, Mathews was unanimously voted in as Director Emeritus.

President and CEO Jim Johnston commended Mathews for his longtime service to the board and to the Association. As Johnston announced that the Colorado owner-operator would be receiving a plaque and a letter, he was interrupted.

“Hold on! Let’s call him!” was the animated response from many in the room. The group’s deep respect and affection for Mathews was evident.

“Why don’t we do it right now?” Treasurer Bill Rode of Eagle, Idaho, had his phone out of his pocket in a flash and rang up the number in Greeley, Colo., where Jim lives with his wife Cory. Rode put the call on speaker as it was ringing.

The boardroom speakers picked up the conversation, and all could hear as Mathews answered the phone. The brief, chatty call between an old friend and more than two dozen board members, board wives and others brought good news to Mathews regarding the special honor just bestowed on him.

Board members also inquired about his ranch. The Mathews ranch was heavily damaged by flooding in September of 2013, a disaster that struck more than 4,500 square miles across the state’s front range. Jim says they are still recovering from it.

Jim Mathews has been an OOIDA member since 1990. He says he started out at 13 helping neighbors in his hometown in Colorado. At 15, he went to work for a dairy farmer driving a 1941 Ford. The first semi that Jim drove was a 1962 Peterbilt cabover with a 270 Cummins with a 10-speed with 4th and 10th gears reversed.

Several years ago, the Land Line staff persuaded Jim to write about the “wild and woolly” days driving in the Rocky Mountains, a career that he says has left him with a lifetime of beautiful memories and white-knuckle experiences. “What’s your altitude, driver” was published in November 2010.

The OOIDA Board met in Grain Valley Oct. 21-25, at the Association’s national headquarters. The organization now has six members retired from the Board who are honored with the distinction of Director Emeritus. In addition to Jim, they are Ralph Fries, Escondido, Calif.; Fred Barnes, Kansas City, Mo.; Don Phipps, Ames, Iowa; Charles P. Parfrey, Spokane, Wash.; and John Taylor, Cross Junction, Va.

Cummins recalls Macks with ISL G natural gas engines

More than 3,000 Mack trucks with Cummins Westport ISL G natural gas-powered engines have been recalled due to an issue with the oil supply line, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety recall report.

Exclusive to Mack trucks with the ISL G engine, the turbocharger oil supply line may come into contact with the turbocharger inlet elbow, the OEM clear air intake clamp, or the air fuel control tube, resulting in an oil leak. Oil leaks close to the engine exhaust manifold increase the risk of a fire, according to the report.

Back in June, Cummins Westport received customer reports of the equipment defect and began an investigation that lasted through September. On Friday, Sept. 23, Cummins Westport stopped shipments of the engines. Two days later, shipments of the engine with improvements to the defect began.

Owners of affected Mack tracks will be notified no later than Nov. 30 as the recall is expected to begin Nov. 20. Drivers can call Cummins Westport at 800-343-7357. Cummins Westport’s number for this recall is C1673.

Trucker Buddy adds three new members to Board of Directors

After a unanimous vote, three trucking industry professionals have been appointed to Trucker Buddy International’s Board of Directors. Linda Caffee, Dirk Kupar and Randy Obermeyer are the new board members.

Caffee is an owner-operator driving for Landstar Express and is a team driver with her husband, Bob. In addition to being a Trucker Buddy Ambassador, Caffee has also been involved with Team RunSmart, Women in Trucking, Trucking Solutions Group and the St. Christopher’s Fund.

Kupar is president of TruckRight, a Canadian company that recruits, trains and retains truck drivers. An automated compliance system keeps track of driver’s compliance files for both the driver and carriers.

Obermeyer has worked at Batesville Logistics for more than five years. Batesville has more drivers involved with Trucker Buddy than any other fleet as a percentage.

Love’s breaks record by raising $2.15 million for Children’s Miracle Network

After a nationwide five-week store campaign, Love’s Travel Stops has raised $2.15 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This year’s campaign raised more money than all previous years in Love’s 17-year history with CMN Hospitals.

Five weeks of bake sales, golf tournaments, cookouts, 5k runs, rummage sales and other events have resulted in record-breaking contributions for the hospitals. Love’s Travel Stops employees at more than 350 stores in 40 states came together for the campaign.

Miracle Balloons were sold for donations in addition to several events from Aug. 25 to Sept. 30. In addition to Love’s staff, family members of employees also stepped up to the plate and volunteered their time and energy to exceed the goal of $2.1 million.

Love’s has raised more than $14 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since 1998. Nearly 100 of the 170 CMN Hospitals throughout North America benefit from Love’s annual campaign.

Spot market rates drop for second consecutive week

Two leading load boards are in complete agreement for the movement of rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight last week. Rates are down across the board for all three modes for the second consecutive week.

Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and Truckstop.com reveals decreased rates for reefers, flatbeds and vans.

Van rates dropped another 4 cents to $1.65 after a 4-cent drop the previous week, according to Truckstop.com. DAT van rates dropped a penny to $1.72, further separating rates between the two load boards.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com were also down 4 cents to $1.91. Over at DAT, reefer rates dropped a cent to $1.95. Over the past several weeks, reefer rates between the two load boards have remained relatively close together.

Flatbed rates went down a penny from the previous week to $1.95, according to Truckstop.com. DAT is also reporting a 1-cent drop to $2 for flatbed rates.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability decreased by 3.7 percent, and truck supply went up by 0.8 percent, indicating a disadvantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, load-to-truck ratios were down anywhere from 2.4 percent to 9.8 percent across all modes.

Truckstop.com has placed the Market Demand Index (MDI) at 9.6, a 0.4-point decrease from the previous week. The MDI is a comparison of available loads to available trucks posted on the load board. The higher the MDI, the better the chances that the power rests with the carriers and vice versa; currently, 10 represents an even market. This time last year, the MDI was 17.4.

Pilot Flying J CEO reclaims stake in company from partner

James Haslam, CEO of Pilot Flying J, has claimed a higher stake in the truck stop by buying out the shares of CVC Capital Partners, according to The Wall Street Journal.

CVC Capital invested in Pilot Flying J back in 2008, according to a Pilot Flying J press release dated Sept. 30, 2008. The transaction coincided with Marathon Petroleum Co.’s sale of their stake in the travel centers.

CVC Capital acquired a 47.5 percent interest in Pilot Flying J in 2008 and has since sold much of that stake back to the Haslam family. The latest buyout allows the Haslams to reclaim CVC Capitals’s remaining stakes.

According to a Moody’s Investors Service report, CVC currently has about a 9 percent stake in the company. Before the recent buyout, CVC’s stake was down to 18 percent from the original 47.5 percent. CVC Capital earned more than four times what it initially invested, according to The Wall Street Journal.

When reached for comment, Pilot Flying J Spokesperson Anne LeZotte gave Land Line the following statement:

“Over the years, Pilot, now Pilot Flying J, has had multiple partnerships which began with the expectation of the partner exiting at some point. That time has come in Pilot Flying J's partnership with CVC, which has been a very satisfying relationship since 2008.”

Freight Transportation Services Index hits record high in August

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Freight Transportation Services Index for August increased by 0.2 percent to 123.5. August’s TSI is an all-time high, breaking the previous record of 123.4 set in November 2014.

The August index is 30.4 percent above the low during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.

Rail carload, aviation and pipeline freight all decreased in August, with waterborne freight unchanged from July. However, significant increases in trucking and rail intermodal freight were enough to offset the decreases and result in a net gain. TSI’s increase comes alongside increases in employment, personal income and housing.

Freight Transportation Services Index measures month-to-month changes in freight shipments in tons and ton-miles. This information is used to measure the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry.

Average spot market rates fall for all three modes

Two leading load boards are in complete agreement for the movement of rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight last week. Rates are down across the board for all three modes.

Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and Truckstop.com reveals decreased rates for reefers, flatbeds and vans.

Van rates dropped 4 cents to $1.69 after three weeks of a stagnant rate of $1.73, according to Truckstop.com. DAT van rates dropped a penny to $1.73, further separating rates between the two load boards.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com were down 7 cents to $1.95. Over at DAT, reefer rates dropped 5 cents to $1.96. Over the past several weeks, reefer rates between the two load boards have remained relatively close together.

Flatbed rates went down 2 cents from the previous week to $1.96, according to Truckstop.com. DAT is also reporting a 2-cent drop to $2.01 for flatbed rates. Between the two load boards, flatbeds have consistently displayed the greatest disparity of the three modes, with this week revealing a 5-cent gap, keeping the gap unchanged compared to the previous week.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability decreased by 9.1 percent, and truck supply went up by 4.6 percent, indicating a disadvantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, load-to-truck ratios were down anywhere from 8 percent to 19 percent across all modes.

Truckstop.com has placed the Market Demand Index (MDI) at 10, a 1.5-point decrease from the previous week. The MDI is a comparison of available loads to available trucks posted on the load board. The higher the MDI, the better the chances that the power rests with the carriers and vice versa; currently, 10 represents an even market. This time last year, the MDI was 19.

Faulty fifth wheel connectors, steering issues prompts truck recalls

According to Oct. 13 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents, nearly 10,000 trucks are being recalled for a fifth wheel issue. Nearly 6,000 Freightliners and 4,000 Internationals could have faulty Fontaine Ultra LT Fifth Wheel connectors. The locking mechanism on the fifth wheel may fail to operate.

It is unclear if the nearly 10,000 trucks in the latest recall include the original 6,800 fifth wheels recalled in September, but a representative at a Navistar service center told Land Line that the latest recall likely falls under the umbrella of the original Fontaine recall with some additions.

NHTSA campaign number for Freightliners is 15V-616 and Daimler Trucks North America recall number is FL-692. For Internationals, campaign number is 15V-607.

Affected vehicles include:

  • International Lonestar 2012-2014
  • International Prostar 2011-2014
  • International Transtar 2011-2013
  • Freightliner Business Class M2 2011-2014
  • Freightliner Cascadia 2011-2014
  • Freightliner Columbia Glider 2011-2014
  • Freightliner Coronado 2011-2014


In a separate recall, more than 9,000 Freightliners may have a defect with the steering. If the steering arm bolts are not properly tightened, the steering arm may separate from the knuckle, causing a loss of steering. Campaign number 15V-613 with DTNA recall number FL-691.

Affected Freightliners include:

  • 108SD 2016
  • 114SD 2016
  • 122SD 2016
  • Business Class M2 2016
  • Cascadia 2016
  • Columbia Glider 2016
  • Coronado Glider 2016


The last recall announced includes several Freightliners and Western Stars that are being called back for issues with their Eaton Fuller FR 10-speed manual transmissions. When shifting from reverse to neutral, the reverse gear may stay engaged. When the transmission shift lever is moved from reverse to a forward gear position, the transmission may mechanically lock because both the reverse gear and forward gear are simultaneously engaged.

Campaign number 15V-617, DTNA recall number FL-693.

Trucks listed with faulty transmissions are:

  • Freightliner 108SD 2015-2016
  • Freightliner 114SD 2015-2016
  • Freightliner Business Class M2 2015-2016
  • Freightliner Cascadia 2015-2016
  • Western Star 4700 2015-2016


Notifications will be sent out to all drivers who own an affected truck. Owners of affected Freightliners and Western Stars should call Daimler Trucks North America with any questions at 800-745-8000. International owners can call Navistar at 800-448-7825. Those with fifth wheel recalls can also call Fontaine at 844-597-7393.

Thermo King acquires Celtrak

Another acquisition has been announced: Thermo King has taken over Celtrak, according to a press release.

A spokesperson for Thermo King could not disclose the amount of the sale, but did confirm that the acquisition is official and has been completed.

Thermo King and Celtrak have been partners since 2005. The two companies launched TracKing telematics solutions, which is only available through the Thermo King dealer network. Celtrak was established in 2000 and is based in Galway, Ireland. The company provides telematics products and services for customers in more than 30 countries and in 10 different languages. Celtrak develops and customizes integrated vehicle tracking and fleet management solutions.

Direct interstate routes and new truck stop available at JFK International

Good news for truck drivers picking up or delivering cargo at JFK International Airport: New York City’s Department of Transportation has given the green light to combination vehicles with 53-foot trailers to use all interstate-highway direct routes to JFK.

The new direct route to JFK’s air cargo facilities provides access across the George Washington Bridge on Interstate 95 from points west and south of New York City and via the New England Thruway on I-95 from points north and east. The route then connects to the Whitestone Bridge and onto the Van Wyck Expressway on Interstate 678 directly into JFK.

Additionally, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has opened New York City’s first truck stop at the airport. Food, fuel and truck parking will be available for all trucks.

For more information about the truck stop, visit airportplazas.com. The 2015 NYCDOT route map can be downloaded at trucknyc.info. Questions and concerns can be emailed to freightplanning@panynj.gov.

Celadon assumes ownership of Tango Transport, driver lay-offs ahead

Celadon Group Inc. has recently announced that it has purchased assets of Louisiana-based Tango Transport, according to a press release. The new acquisition puts Tango Transport ownership in the hands of Celadon.

Few details are known at this point as both Celadon and Tango Transport representatives have been unavailable for comment. Other than a few forward-looking statements, no other information was revealed in the release.

One thing is certain: Tango Transport employees are going to be receiving some pink slips. Louisiana Workforce Commission spokesperson Aaron Caffarel told Land Line that Tango Transport submitted a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) on Sept. 30, the day the announcement was made.

In the WARN, Tango noted that 80 jobs in Louisiana will be terminated. Caffarel said that another WARN will be issued and completed by Oct. 14. The next wave of layoffs will be nationwide and include 399 drivers and 139 administrative positions.

Celadon Group was established in 1985 and currently has more than 4,000 associates worldwide, according to its website. The company operates both transport and logistics in North America. With revenue of more than $600 million, Celadon provides long-haul and regional full-truckload freight.

Tango Transport began operations in 1991 as a father-and-son team. Operating a terminal in Shreveport, La., Tango carries dry goods for companies that include General Motors, FedEx, Walmart, J.M. Smucker, Academy Sports and several more.

Daimler Trucks offers new after-treatment system warranty coverage

Daimler Trucks North America has announced a new option under its Select Limited Warranty coverage offered through its used truck network, SelecTrucks. The new warranty will cover the after-treatment system on both Detroit and Cummins engines.

Used Freightliner and Western Star trucks are eligible for the new warranty. Any Freightliner or Western Star service center in the U.S. or Canada will be able to complete any repairs under the warranty.

System components including the diesel oxidation catalyst, the selective catalyst reduction, and both the doser injector and the diesel exhaust fluid injector are covered under the ATS warranty. Temperature and pressure sensors are also included.

A key feature included in this warranty is coverage for the failure of the diesel particulate filter, which could potentially cost customers up to $2,500. The cost to replace an entire ATS, without this warranty, could easily exceed $10,000, according to a DTNA press release.

Spot market rates show no improvement for fourth consecutive week

Two leading load boards indicated another week void of improvements for the movement of rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight last week. Rates are either down or unchanged for most modes.

Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and Truckstop.com reveals mostly decreased or unchanged rates for reefers, flatbeds and vans.

Van rates remained stagnant at $1.73 for the third consecutive week, according to Truckstop.com. DAT van rates dropped a penny to $1.74, bringing the two load boards closer to agreement for van rates.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com were down 2 cents to $2.02. Over at DAT, reefer rates remained unchanged at $2.01. Over the past several weeks, reefer rates between the two load boards have remained relatively close together.

Flatbed rates went up a penny from the previous week to $1.98, according to Truckstop.com. DAT is reporting no change at $2.03 for flatbed rates. Between the two load boards, flatbeds have consistently displayed the greatest disparity of the three modes, with this week revealing a 5-cent gap, closing the gap by a penny compared to the previous week.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability increased by 2.45 percent, and truck supply went down by 2.38 percent, indicating a small advantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, load-to-truck ratios for were up anywhere from 9 percent to 14 percent across all modes.

Truckstop.com has placed the Market Demand Index (MDI) at 11.1, a 1 percent increase from the previous week. The MDI is a comparison of available loads to available trucks posted on the load board. The higher the MDI, the better the chances that the power rests with the carriers and vice versa; currently, 10 represents an even market.

Vis-à-vis WV v. VW

The state of West Virginia is suing Volkswagen, saying the company violated the state’s consumer protection law by advertising “clean diesel” cars.

The Environmental Protection Agency has accused Volkswagen of installing a device in its diesel cars that fools inspectors when they’re testing for emissions. The rest of the time, the device allegedly allows the cars to put out emissions of up to 40 times the allowable level.

The West Virginia lawsuit says nearly 2,700 diesel-powered Volkswagen vehicles are registered in the state. The suit seeks a $5,000 penalty for each violation and a refund for consumers.

OOIDA recognizes drivers for safe driving records

OOIDA recognizes drivers for safe driving records
OOIDA recently announced honorees in the Association’s Safe Driving Award program. The following drivers have been recognized by the Association for truck driving excellence:

  • Daniel J. Piper of LaSalle, Ill., has been recognized for 40 years of safe, accident-free driving.
  • Gregg A. Neal of Manvel, Texas, has been recognized for 30 years of safe, accident-free driving.
  • Gene A. Gingrich of Shartlesville, Pa., has been recognized for 26 years of safe, accident-free driving.
  • Roy E. Harris of Spokane, Wash., has been recognized for 26 years of safe, accident-free driving.
  • Jack K. Schriver of Channelview, Texas, has been recognized for 20 years of safe, accident-free driving.
  • Tony Smith of Indianapolis, Ind., has been recognized for 20 years of safe, accident-free driving.
  • Rodney Folkerts of Chehalis, Wash., has been recognized for 15 years of safe, accident-free driving.
  • Andrea Folkerts of Chehalis, Wash., has been recognized for 10 years of safe, accident-free driving.
  • Brian D. Vannoy of Warner Robins, Ga., has been recognized for five years of safe, accident-free driving.
  • Steven V. Bennett of Norristown, Pa., has been recognized for one year of safe, accident-free driving.


The OOIDA Safe Driving Award Program is designed to recognize and reward OOIDA members for their safe, accident-free years while operating a commercial vehicle. Safe driving awards are available to all eligible OOIDA members who qualify based on the number of years for which the member has operated a commercial vehicle without being involved in a preventable accident.

The program is sponsored by Shell Rotella.

Trucking industry lost 4,000 jobs in September

September marked the eighth consecutive month of job gains for the transportation sector. However, after a slight job increase in August, the truck transportation subsector lost jobs in September.

The transportation sector gained more than 3,000 jobs in September, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the lowest monthly growth since January when the industry lost nearly 9,000 jobs.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a loss of 4,000 jobs after the industry gained 700 in August and nearly 3,000 in July. September is only the second month of 2015 in which the trucking industry lost jobs. Nearly 7,000 truck transportation jobs were lost in March.

Trucks experienced the largest job loss with transit and ground passenger transportation losing the second most with more than 1,000 jobs eliminated from the workforce. Couriers and messengers received the largest injection of jobs with an increase of 3,000.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.86 for September, an 8-cent increase from August. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 4 cents to $20.64. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.09, unchanged from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 5.8 percent from 6.8 percent last September. The overall unemployment rate for the country stayed stagnant at 5.1 percent. According to The Washington Post, the unemployment rate for August and September is the lowest since April 2008 and is considered to be “full employment.” The number of long-term unemployed saw little change compared with the previous month at 2.1 million. However, that number has decreased by 847,000 in the past 12 months.

Sleep test? You have the right to choose your own

So what happens if your DOT examiner requires you to have a sleep test?

Normally, you’ll get a temporary medical card allowing you enough time for testing. They may request you visit a hospital or sleep lab for a full overnight sleep test, which can range from $800 to $1,500 or more. It will also cost you a couple of days off the road.

Even though your DOT examiner may refer you to a sleep test provider – you have the right to choose your own. Do you have to go to a sleep lab? No, you can take the test anywhere you can get a night’s sleep.

OOIDA members now have a discount for Phoenix Sleep Solutions – a home sleep study that meets the objectives of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and is considerably cheaper. A Phoenix home sleep study is $250. The cost of the CPAP, power adapter and compliance monitoring is $650. You can take the test where you choose and on your own schedule – even if you are on the road.

Got questions? Call OOIDA Membership Department at 800-444-5791.

Average spot market freight rates experience slight decline

Two leading load boards were in agreement on the movement of rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight last week. Rates are down for two of three modes, similar to the week prior.

Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and Truckstop.com reveals decreases for reefers and flatbeds, while vans remained unchanged.

Van rates remained stagnant at $1.73, according to Truckstop.com. DAT van rates were also unchanged at $1.75, leaving the two load boards fairly close in their price analysis.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com were down 3 cents to $2.04. Similarly over at DAT, reefer rates dipped 2 cents to $2.01. Over the past several weeks, reefer rates between the two load boards have remained relatively close together.

Flatbed rates dropped 2 cents from the previous week to $1.97, according to Truckstop.com. DAT is reporting a 1-cent decline to $2.03 for flatbed rates. Between the two load boards, flatbeds have consistently displayed the greatest disparity of the three modes, with this week revealing a 6-cent gap.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load decreased by 2.72 percent, but truck supply went down by 3.08 percent, indicating a relatively small advantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, load-to-truck ratios for were up for vans, down for reefers, and unchanged for flatbeds.

Truckstop.com has placed the Market Demand Index (MDI) at 11, a 3.8 percent increase from the previous week. The MDI is a comparison of available loads to available trucks posted on the load board. The higher the MDI, the better the chances that the power rests with the carriers and vice versa; currently, 10 represents an even market.

Free flu shot, thanks to the St. Christopher Fund

With support from OOIDA and Con-way, the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund has made arrangements with two major health retail businesses for a free flu shot program for CDL holders.

SCF has teamed up with Walgreens for CDL holders presenting the voucher to get a free flu shot at any of their locations. Those vouchers are available now. SCF has also teamed up with The Little Clinic, located inside select Kroger, King Soopers, JayC, Dillons and Fry’s Stores, to provide trivalent flu shots for truckers with a voucher. Those vouchers will be available Oct. 8.

No appointment is necessary. You don’t need to be an OOIDA member.

All you need is your CDL and a special voucher. Where do you get a voucher? They are available at the OOIDA tour truck, now on the road. The next stop for pilot Jon Osburn and the Spirit is the TA Knoxville West in Tennessee on Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

The truck will be on the move this fall, with stops at the Petro in Kenly, N.C., Oct. 3-6. Then on to Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas and Oklahoma. Click here for the schedule.

The charge for the flu shots is paid for by the St. Christopher Fund, thanks to donations from OOIDA, Con-way, Walgreens and The Little Clinic.

If you don’t cross paths with Jon and the OOIDA truck in your trucking travels, you can email contact@truckersfund.org and the St. Christopher Fund will send you one.

Commerce report from July: Truck freight experienced minor decrease

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that in July trucks moved nearly 64 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by more than 6 percent when compared with June when freight went up nearly 7 percent. All modes, except for air, carried less freight when compared with last July.

Vessel and pipeline freight continue to suffer when compared to last year, contributing to the monthly decline in U.S.-NAFTA trade flow, according to BTS. Freight totaled $93 billion, down more than $6 billion from the previous month and down more than $8 billion from July 2014.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at nearly 35 percent, a slight improvement from the 40 percent drop in June. Air freight experienced the only net gain over the past 12 months with a 3.4 percent increase. Trucks had the smallest loss at less than 1 percent.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $60 billion of the $93 billion of imports and exports in July. Rail came in second with a contribution of nearly $13 billion.

Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 14.3 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 0.8 percent compared with July 2014. Of the $45.5 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 70 percent of the loads.

TravelCenters presents check of $315,331 to St. Christopher Fund for truckers

TravelCenters of America, operator of the TA and Petro Stopping Centers, has announced another record-setting annual campaign donation to the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund. As a result of customer and employee donations received during its annual “Band Together for SCF” campaign, TravelCenters presented a check for $315,331 to the SCF.

Each year TravelCenters goal is to exceed the previous year's donations to the SCF. By rallying customers and employees around the single cause of helping professional drivers who are suffering financial hardship due to medical problems, TravelCenters has worked to help raise more than $1.7 million since 2010 for the Fund.

The Band Together for SCF campaign, which ran during August at 256 TA and Petro Stopping Centers locations nationwide, invited customers and employees to make $1 and $5 donations. Those making a $1 donation received a commemorative wristband and those making a $5 donation received an SCF keychain. One hundred percent of all donations have gone to the SCF. During the campaign, SCF also received a generous contribution of $2,500 from vendor partner, Bell Gaming.

President and CEO of TravelCenters Tom O’Brien thanked customers, employees and vendors who contributed this year.

How much did 9/11 affect cost of northern cross-border trucking?

Statistics Canada released a report in July that shows that since Sept. 11, 2001, the cost of trucking goods across the border between the U.S. and Canada has increased from .3 percent of the value of goods shipped to .6 percent. 

The study pointed to the obvious, the implementation of new security measures designed to prevent illegal shipments at border crossing points.

“From 1994 to 2000, it cost, on average, 16 percent more to move goods across the Canada-U.S. border by truck than to move the same goods the same distance domestically,” the Canadian report states. “After 2000, the premium paid to cross the border rose steadily to 25 percent in 2005 and remained at about that level until 2009.”

Statistics Canada said the study resulted from data collected by Statistic Canada’s Trucking Commodity origin and Destination Survey.

“Costs measured by this study are only part of the total cost of shipping goods across the border,” Statistics Canada said in a summary of the study posted online. “Institutional costs borne directly by exporting firms for matters such as customs administration have been estimated to be as great or greater than the costs passed on to them by freight carriers.”

Canada’s plan to build the Gordie Howe International Bridge is aimed in part at adding faster, cheaper shipping alternatives for such exports.

The billion-dollar project calls for a six-lane bridge between Windsor and Detroit complete with a $250 millionU.S. Customs plaza that Canada has agreed to fund. The bridge is scheduled to open by 2020.

According to the CBC, the U.S. and Canada have the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world – measuring at $870 billion in 2014. An estimated $2.4 billion in goods and services cross the U.S.-Canada border every day.

Ritchie Bros. conducts its largest-ever Texas auction

At its auction this week in Fort Worth, Richie Bros. sold more than $70 million of equipment and trucks, a record for the industrial auctioneer’s Texas auctions. The two-day unreserved public auction on Wednesday and Thursday also set a new Texas record for online sales, attracting bidders from 55 countries.

Approximately 70 percent of the equipment was purchased by out-of-state buyers from as far away as Germany, Thailand and Kuwait. According to Friday’s press release, the transportation crowd was out in particularly large numbers and were very active in their bidding for the large selection of late model trucks, trailers and cranes in this sale.

More than 3,775 equipment items were sold in the auction, including more than 500 trailers, 425 truck-tractors, plus many excavators, backhoes, cranes, boom lifts, dump trucks, as well as equipment for the agriculture and oil and gas sectors.

Ritchie Bros. will conduct 90-plus more live unreserved auctions in 2015, including three in Texas: in El Paso on Nov. 4, in Houston on Nov. 11-12, and in Fort Worth on Dec. 2-3. Full auction and equipment information can be found online at rbauction.com.  

Established in 1958, Ritchie Bros. is the world's largest seller of used equipment for the construction, transportation, agriculture, material handling, energy, mining, forestry, marine and other industries.

Per diem rate changes to $63 starting Oct. 1.

Officials with the Internal Revenue Service changed the transportation workers’ special standard per diem rate to $63 starting Oct. 1. That is an increase from the current $59 per diem rate. Outside continental U.S is $68 per day also effective Oct. 1

So that means truckers can declare a $59 per diem for January through September 2015. The new rate of $63 for 2016 commences Oct. 1, 2015.

Some truckers are unsure when they can use the “overnight” rule and deduct the per diem amount. In past issues of Land Line Magazine, Howard Abrams of PBS Tax and Bookkeeping Service included the following Q&A on the topic in his “Tax Tips” column.

Q: I’m not sure when I can deduct expenses for meals and lodging under the “overnight” rule. Is there a general rule of thumb?

A: In order to deduct your travel expenses, you, as the taxpayer, must be away from your home residence or tax home longer than what would constitute your ordinary work day. You must be away from your home long enough that you cannot complete the trip without sufficient sleep or rest.

The rest period must be long enough to require adequate lodging, such as an overnight stay at a motel or in your truck. A short duration of rest, such as a quick nap at a rest stop, does not qualify your travel expenses as deductions because it does not satisfy the overnight rule.

However, it is not necessary that you, as the taxpayer, be away for more than 24 hours in order to meet the overnight rule.

An example of meeting the overnight rule would be if you were traveling on business and you rent a room to sleep or rest during a layover. An example of not meeting the overnight rule would be if you were traveling several hundred miles and needed to stop to rest for an hour.

If you have no regular place of business and you do not maintain a fixed home, you may not deduct any travel expenses. A trucker who lives in his or her truck during the entire course of the year cannot deduct per diem meals.

Abrams also cautioned that truckers could encounter problems related to their expenses and per diem payments, depending on how their carriers handle their business. Per diem payments are subject to income and employment tax if a carrier reimburses a trucker in excess of the federal per diem rate, which is $63 per day. This is so if the trucker is not being reimbursed for actual expenses.

XPO, Con-way deal faces a roadblock with credit rating review

XPO Logistics’ plan to acquire Con-way for $3 billion may not be a sure thing. One day after news of the deal broke, Moody’s Investors Service announced that XPO’s ratings would be under review for a possible downgrade. XPO has a current rating of B1, which is considered a “high credit risk,” according to Moody’s website.

Moody’s announcement was a direct response to XPO’s plans to acquire Con-way, which would be the second multibillion-dollar acquisition for XPO this year. Back in April, XPO bought Norbert Dentressangle, a European transport and logistics company, for $3.5 billion.

Moody’s review questions XPO’s ability to integrate both Con-way and Norbert Dentressangle without burying itself in excessive debt. Currently, four classes of ratings are under review, all of which are already at a high-risk B1 rating. XPO’s outlook, currently ranked as “stable,” will also be under review.

A document dated Sept. 17 on Moody’s website suggests that XPO’s plan to acquire Con-way is “credit negative.” A similar document dated April 28 declared the same “credit negative” status for the Norbert Dentressangle acquisition. XPO announced plans to purchase Norbert on April 27 and officially completed the deal on June 8, according to XPO’s website.

Relatively new to the game, XPO Logistics began in 1989 as Express-1 Expedited Solutions and was purchased by Segmentz in 2004. XPO completed its first acquisition in 2008 with Concert Group Logistics for $9 million in cash and the issuance of 4.8 million shares of XPO stock. Since then, XPO has acquired nearly 20 companies, with six of those in 2013 alone.

According to the New York Stock Exchange, XPO’s stock has been steadily increasing since 2010. XPO stock reached its peak in May at $50.56 a share. Since then, the price has plummeted more than 40 percent. At press time, XPO stock was priced at $29.21, nearly 6 percent lower than the opening price for the day.

SuperRigs 2016 will take place June 9-11 in Joplin, Mo.

Shell Rotella has announced that its SuperRigs truck show for 2016 will be held June 9-11 in Joplin, Mo. Still early in the planning stages, more information (including theme and events) will be announced in the coming months.

The truck beauty contest offers awards for 18 working trucks. Drivers of 12 trucks will have their ride featured in the SuperRigs calendar.

At the 2015 SuperRigs, more than 70 trucks competed for more than $25,000 in cash and prizes.

For more information, check out the website.

Little change in weekly average spot market rates for freight

Two leading load boards were in agreement on the movement of rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight this week. Rates remained mostly unchanged from the previous week, after a slight increase.

Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and Truckstop.com reveals stagnant rate when compared to the previous week, with one load board reporting minor decreases for two modes.

Van rates remained stagnant at $1.77, according to Truckstop.com. DAT van rates were down a penny to $1.77, leaving no room for argument on the status of van rates.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com were also unchanged, maintaining a price of $2.10. Similarly over at DAT, reefer rates did not move from the previous week’s price of $2.04. Over the past several weeks, reefer rates between the two load boards have remained relatively close together.

Flatbed rates of $1.93 did not budge from the previous week, according to Truckstop.com. DAT is reporting a 1-cent decline for flatbed rates. Despite the consistent decline, rates vary greatly between the two load boards with Truckstop.com reporting flatbed rates at $1.93, a 10-cent difference.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability decreased by 9 percent, but truck availability went down by 12 percent, indicating a relatively small advantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, load-to-truck ratios for all three modes were up for the week ending Sept. 12.

Based on both DAT and Truckstop.com reports, load availability in Indiana appears to be strong, with Arkansas and South Dakota also showing higher availability. Numbers for Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut indicate a weaker market for load availability. South Dakota replaced Ohio in the strong market category. Ohio still remains a strong market relative to the rest of the country.

Volvo recalls nearly 4,000 trucks for brake and steering defects

Volvo is recalling nearly 4,000 VNL, VNM and VAH trucks, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Faulty service brakes in VNL and VNM models and defective steering draglinks in VAH models are the focus of the recall.

VNL and VNM Volvo trucks from 2012 to 2015 have experienced issues with brake handles. Trailer hand brake handles may not return to the off position due to being restricted by the cut out in the trim panel. Service brakes may drag and cause the wheel end to overheat, potentially resulting in a fire or tire blowout.

VAH trucks model year 2012-2016 with a sealed draglink are affected by Volvo’s recent recall. The draglink ball socket boot may be damaged due to the angle of the ball stud, resulting in contaminates entering and corroding the ball socket. Corrosion could cause the separation of the ball joint from the socket. Consequentially, a loss of steering can result and potentially lead to a crash.

Owners and dealers will be notified by Volvo. All repairs will be made free of charge and are expected to begin on Oct. 13. Drivers with affected vehicles can call Volvo customer service at 800-528-6586 with recall number RVXX1503. Owners can also contact NHTSA’s Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit safercar.gov.

Goodyear’s Smart Fleet program offers truckers deals and services

Truckers are always looking for ways to reduce costs for their operation. Goodyear’s Smart Fleet Business Solutions Manager Jose Martinez and Business Solutions Specialist Dustin Lancy spoke with Land Line about the benefits of the Smart Fleet program.

The Smart Fleet program gives truck drivers an opportunity to save money on tires, tire-related services and take advantage of a 24/7 roadside service. Here are some of the perks of Goodyear’s Smart Fleet program:

  • National account with Goodyear
  • Published prices
  • Savings on new tires, retreads and tire-related services
  • 24/7 roadside service with no dispatch fee
  • Network with more than 2,200 dealers
  • No cost or fees


Drivers who sign up with Smart Fleet can access the reduced published prices on its website. With the prices readily available, there is no need for members to negotiate with participating dealers. Simply mention your Smart Fleet membership and reap the benefits of discounted pricing.

“It’s a win-win situation for all parties,” Martinez explained. “Dealers benefit also because their commissions are significantly higher than the commissions on regular accounts. The dealers don’t even see the pricing. That’s between us and the Goodyear Smart Fleet members.”

With more than 2,000 dealers participating in the program, members will always have help no matter where they are in the country.

“Those 2,200-plus dealers help us lower response time even when the small guy breaks down in the middle of nowhere,” Martinez said. “We will have somebody not that far.”

Smart Fleet also features new benefits every season. For example, the upcoming fall benefits will include specials on Goodyear’s LHS and LHD long-haul Fuel Max tire and LHD Fuel Max retreads.

There is also a mail-in rebate for new members’ first purchase that includes $25 off of up to 10 tires, saving as much as $250. OOIDA members enjoy even more savings with a $50 rebate on up to 10 tires, saving up to $500.

Smart Fleet members can also download the RoadService app for quick and easy assistance. Customer service for roadside service is available 24/7 by calling 888-888-8687. Drivers who have questions about the program can also call that number from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday. In the future, both roadside service and general customer service will be available any time and any day.

Want to know more? Visit Smart Fleet’s website.

Craig Transportation reaches preliminary settlement with leased operators

A settlement in a class-action between an Ohio trucking company and a group of 27 leased owner-operators is awaiting final approval from a federal judge.

Attorneys for Craig Transportation Company of Perrysburg, Ohio, and those representing drivers who say the company violated the terms of its lease agreements with owner-operators have agreed to a preliminary settlement in which Craig Transportation agrees to pay $75,000 to drivers in the class.

A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29 to determine the fairness of the settlement. If approved, the preliminary settlement will become final.

According to court documents filed in U.S. District Court of Ohio, all owner-operators who worked with Craig were required to sign lease agreements stipulating that the company would pay its leased operators a certain percentage of the linehaul revenue, including pick-up and stop-off charges.

Beginning on or around March 18, 2013, Craig began charging its largest customer, Schuetz Container, a “trailer surcharge” in the amount of $25 per run. Schuetz refused to pay any amount over the linehaul charges to which it had previously agreed. As a result, Craig implemented the surcharge but reduced the linehaul charge, causing leased drivers to be paid at a reduced rate.

Plaintiffs Leo Preston and Jerry Picklesimer filed the class action on June 27, 2014, claiming CTC violated the terms of their leases with owner-operators as well as a claim for unjust enrichment.

The settlement defines the class members as “all persons who were independent owner-operator contractors with Craig Transportation” who signed the lease agreements on or prior to March 18, 2013, and who transported loads for Schuetz between March 18, 2013, and June 27, 2014.

The agreement calls for no claims process and for all members of the class to receive settlement funds via check.

For its part, Craig Transportation denied all charges of wrongdoing or liability, according to the settlement.

Goodyear’s Highway Hero Award accepting nominations through Nov. 29

In addition to driving the economy, truckers are also known for performing acts of heroism while on the job. Each year, Goodyear recognizes these men and women with its annual Highway Hero Award. Nominations for the 33rd Highway Hero Award are being accepted now through Nov. 29.

Anyone can nominate a trucker who has performed a heroic act in the last year by going to GoodyearTruckTires.com. The following criteria must be met:

  • Must be a full-time truck driver;
  • Must reside in the U.S. or Canada;
  • The heroic incident must have happened in the U.S. or Canada;
  • Nominee’s truck must have had 12 wheels or more at the time of the incident;
  • Nominee must have been on the job – or on the way to and from work, in his or her truck – at the time of the incident; and
  • Incident must have taken place between Nov. 16, 2014, and Nov. 16, 2015.


The latest Highway Hero Award was awarded to OOIDA Member Clinton Blackburn of Morehead, Ky. Blackburn rescued a law enforcement official who was being strangled by a prisoner he was transporting. Ivan Vasovic, the Highway Hero for the previous year, rescued a fellow truck driver from a burning tanker truck that was hanging over the side of a freeway overpass.

Other past Highway Hero Award winners include a truck driver who rescued a family of six from a crushed minivan, a driver who saved a woman from a gun-wielding attacker (OOIDA Member Mike Schiotis), and a driver who pulled an elderly man from a car before it was destroyed by an oncoming train (OOIDA Life Member Tilden E. Curl Jr.).

A list of previous winners can be viewed at the website.

After Nov. 29, eligible Highway Hero Award candidates will be narrowed down to three finalists. A panel of trucking industry judges will then select the winner of the 33rd Goodyear Highway Hero Award.

The official announcement of the 33rd Highway Hero will take place next March during the 2016 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.

Transportation Service Index: Truck freight increased in July

The Freight Transportation Service Index increased by 0.6 percent in July to 122.8 from 121.9 in June. June experienced a decrease that appears to occur every other month starting in January, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Truck, air and rail carloads freight increases made up for decreases in water, pipeline and rail intermodal in July compared with the previous month. In June, decreases in truck, water and rail intermodal freight resulted in a net loss for the index.

July was the fourth month of the year to have a month-to-month increase in the index. The index has fluctuated from a net loss and a net gain each month. TSI has gone up 29.7 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6.

Trucking freight increased in July for the second time this year with the first increase occurring in May. Freight for trucks decreased for three consecutive months leading up to May.

Freight shipments are up 0.2 percent from July 2014, up 14.8 percent from five years ago, and up 9.8 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.

Fontaine recalls nearly 7,000 Ultra LT fifth wheels

Nearly three months after an investigation was launched, Fontaine will be recalling nearly 7,000 Ultra LT fifth wheels. Locking mechanisms on the fifth wheels are susceptible to fail after coupling, which can result in a trailer disconnecting from the tractor.

Fontaine is recalling certain Ultra LT Fifth Wheel connectors, part number SLTPL4000, manufactured July 29, 2009, to May 27, 2013.

According to an Office of Defects Investigation document, Fontaine’s Ultra LT fifth wheel may be susceptible to becoming partially closed during a trailer coupling process. Drivers who conduct a pull test to determine whether or not the lock is properly coupled to the king pin could be led to believe all components are in place when they are not. 

Fontaine issued a Technical Service Bulletin about the condition on March 1, 2011. Technical Service Bulletins, or TSBs, recommend the best way to repair a vehicle’s possible defect that has been identified by the manufacturer. Unlike a recall, dealers are not obligated to call in vehicles, and repairs are not required to be free of charge.

After an ODI investigation was launched on April 15, 2011, more than 2,000 Freightliners and a few hundred Paccar, Volvo and Mack trucks were recalled. An equipment recall was not issued by Fontaine.

One year later, Fontaine sent out another TSB concerning another issue with the Ultra LT fifth wheel. As explained in the ODI document, “the operating lever in the fifth wheel could become bent to such a degree that the locking mechanism would not extend completely across the throat of the fifth wheel or seat fully behind the locking jaw.” Trailers could disconnect from the tractor as a result.

Fontaine discontinued production of the Ultra LT fifth wheel shortly after.

In January 2014, a trailer disconnected from a 2012 International ProStar using the Ultra LT fifth wheel, striking two vehicles and killing both drivers.

Fontaine will notify owners and dealers and replace the defective part with an Ultra NT model for free. Owners can contact Fontaine at 844-597-7393. Those affected by the recall may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 or visit safercar.gov.

XPO Logistics acquires Con-way for $3 billion

In a move that led to many stockbrokers scurrying late Wednesday afternoon, XPO Logistics officially announced that it will acquire Con-way for $3 billion. All of Con-way’s operations – Con-way Freight, Menlo Logistics, Con-way Truckload and Con-way Multimodal – were acquired and will be rebranded as XPO Logistics.

The recent acquisition will make XPO the second-largest less-than-truckload provider in North America.

The deal equates to $47.60 per share for Con-way. At the close of the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 9, Con-way shares were priced at $35.53. At noon (CDT) on Sept. 10, stock value increased by 33.75 percent to $47.53. Conversely, XPO stocks fell 13.45 percent to $29.43 in the same time frame.

According to Con-way’s website, experienced drivers can earn anywhere between $0.38 and $0.44 per mile based on how many miles a driver has under his or her belt. On Thursday, an XPO spokesperson declined to comment on what the acquisition would do to driver pay rates.

According to a press release, Douglas Stotlar, Con-way’s president and chief executive officer, will serve in a non-executive advisory capacity during a transition period. Con-way’s management will not be part of the joint company.

XPO expects the acquisition to begin positively affecting earnings per share within the first 12 months. This will be made possible by XPO’s expectation of increasing annual operating profit of Con-way from $40 million to $210 million over the next two years via cost savings and operational improvements.

Fortune 500 company Con-way currently has 582 locations, approximately 30,000 employees, and more than 36,000 customers. In 2015, Con-way reached revenue of $5.7 billion and earned $528 million earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Average spot market rates increased with fuel prices last week

The picture for spot rates this past week was clear as two leading load boards were in agreement on the movement of rates for van, reefer and flatbed freight. Rates are showing signs of improvement, perhaps not coincidentally, during a period of fuel prices also climbing.

Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and Truckstop.com reveals an increase in rates for van and reefer freight and a decrease for flatbeds.

Van rates went up 3 cents to $1.78, according to DAT. Truckstop.com van rates also increased by 3 cents to $1.77. This is the first increase in van rates for either load board in nearly a month.

Reefer rates at DAT went up a penny to $2.04. Over at Truckstop.com, reefer rates increased by 4 cents to $2.10. That follows several weeks of the two boards’ rates remaining fairly close together.

Flatbed rates went down two cents to $2.04, according to DAT. Truckstop.com is reporting a 1-cent decline for flatbed rates. Despite the consistent decline, rates vary greatly between the two load boards with Truckstop.com reporting flatbed rates at $1.93, an 11-cent difference.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability remained unchanged and truck availability went down by 1 percent, indicating a relatively small advantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, load-to-truck ratios for all three modes were up for the week ending Sept. 5.

Based on both DAT and Truckstop.com reports, load availability in Indiana appears to be strong, with Arkansas and Ohio also showing higher availability. Numbers for Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut indicate a weaker market for load availability. Ohio replaced Pennsylvania in the strong market category, whereas Massachusetts replaced New Hampshire in the weaker markets. Pennsylvania and New Hampshire still remain strong and weak, respectively, relative to the rest of the country.

Truckstop.com has placed the Market Demand Index (MDI) at 10.34, a 2 percent increase from the previous week. The MDI is a comparison of available loads to available trucks posted on the load board. The higher the MDI, the better the chances that the power rests with the carriers and vice versa; currently, 10 represents an even market.

August gained 700 trucking jobs, lowest unemployment rate in seven years

August marked the seventh consecutive month of job gains for the transportation sector. After a modest job increase in July, the truck transportation subsector had a slight increase of jobs in August.

The transportation sector gained more than 7,000 jobs in August, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a small gain of only 700 jobs after the industry gained nearly 3,000 in July and more than 7,000 in June. Nearly 7,000 truck transportation jobs were lost in March, the only monthly decrease for the year, leaving a net gain for jobs for the year to date.

Trucks had the second-smallest increase within the transportation sector, next to pipeline transportation, which received 200 additional jobs. Rail transportation had the largest job increase of more than 2,000. Only two subsectors experienced losses in August: Water transportation and Warehousing/storage both lost 1,000 jobs.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.80 for August, unchanged from July. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 3 cents to $20.70. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.09, an 8-cent increase. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.3 percent from 7.6 percent last August. The overall unemployment rate for the country went down to 5.1 percent. According to The Washington Post, the current unemployment rate is the lowest since April 2008 and is considered to be “full employment.” The number of long-term unemployed saw little change compared with the previous month at 2.2 million. However, that number has decreased by 779,000 in the past 12 months.

Two OOIDA members win Goodyear tires at GATS

Tim Wolfe, OOIDA member from Conway, S.C., and John Smircich, member from Lowell, Ark., won sets of brand new steer tires at the Great American Trucking Show last week in Dallas. The giveaway was part of the Goodyear Smart Fleet Sweepstakes.

Wolfe and Smircich qualified for the sweepstakes by signing up for the Goodyear Smart Fleet program at GATS, and both won a set of two Goodyear Fuel Max LHS steer tires.

The Smart Fleet program gives owner-operators, as well as small to mid-size fleets, access to benefits that traditionally were reserved for Goodyear national account fleets. OOIDA is a partner in the program.

New Love’s in Lubbock provides more parking off I-27

Truckers driving through Lubbock, Texas, will have a new option for parking, fuel, shopping and more. Love’s Travel Stops has opened a new location off of Interstate 27 at Exit 8.

Seven showers, 70 parking spaces, a tire care center, RFID cardless fueling, CAT scales and other driver services will be available. The new Love’s in Lubbock features Chester’s and Subway restaurants, a game room, gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items, name-brand electronics and more.

Love’s locations throughout the nation are raising money for local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals now through Sept. 30. Paper balloons are being sold for $1, $5 or $20. Over the past 17 years, Love’s has raised more than $17 million to help sick and injured children. Drivers can also earn up to five points with their My Love Rewards cards at all locations.

For more information about Love’s locations and services, visit loves.com.

Spot freight rates already starting to weaken after week of improvement

Two leading load boards show varying spot rates from last week, but indicate weakening prices compared to the previous week’s signs of improvement.

Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and Truckstop.com reveals some flatbed rates decreasing, but they differ on the direction of rates of reefers and vans.

Van rates remained unchanged at $1.74, according to Truckstop.com. DAT van rates dropped a penny to $1.75. Average spot rates for vans have not increased for either load board in the past three weeks.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com went up a penny to $2.06. Over at DAT, reefer rates went down a penny to $2.03. Although reefer rates have shown major swings at Truckstop.com in the past several weeks, prices at both load boards have remained fairly close in the last two weeks.

Flatbed rates went down a penny to $1.94, according to Truckstop.com. DAT is also reporting a 1-cent decline for flatbed rates. Despite the consistent decline, rates vary greatly between the two load boards with DAT reporting flatbed rates at $2.06, a 12-cent difference.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability decreased by 1 percent and truck availability went down by 2 percent, indicating a relatively small advantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, van load-to-truck ratios are unchanged, reefer ratios are up and flatbed ratios are down.

Based on both DAT and Truckstop.com reports, load availability in Arkansas appears to be strong, with Indiana and Pennsylvania also showing higher availability. Numbers for Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut indicate a weaker market for load availability. Indiana and Pennsylvania replaced Texas and North Carolina in the strong market category, whereas the weaker markets remained relatively uniform when compared with the previous week.

Truckstop.com has placed the Market Demand Index (MDI) at 10.1, a 1 percent increase from the previous week. The MDI is a comparison of available loads to available trucks posted on the load board. The higher the MDI, the better the chances that the power rests with the carriers and vice versa; currently, 10 represents an even market.

Class action lawsuit alleges California trucking company underpaid drivers

A California truck driver is suing Conner Logistics for not meeting requirements under his status as a non-exempt employee, including minimum wages, overtime wages, accurate wage statements and meal and rest periods required by California law. The complaint has become a class action lawsuit.

According to the complaint, from May 2014 to September 2014 Ubaldo Figueroa drove intrastate for Conner while not using any independent discretion, judgment or management decisions. He was classified as a non-exempt employee upon hire. Figueroa claims that he was paid by piece-rate. The complaint accuses Conner of failing to pay Figueroa a minimum wage for compensable time.

Figueroa also claims that Conner did not pay federal overtime wages for time worked after 40 hours in a given week. Conner also did not pay Figueroa for rest and meal breaks.

The lawsuit asserts that Conner did not correctly record all time worked, including time spent during pre- and post-trip inspections and time spent waiting on loads. When those unrecorded times were applied, the driver pay was below minimum wage. At times, such lost compensable time would put drivers past 40 hours in a workweek, thereby making them eligible for federal overtime pay.

According to California law, “hours worked” is defined as “the time during which an employee is subject to the control of an employer, and includes all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so.”

In addition to violating wage laws, the complaint also alleges that Conner violated California unfair competition laws by underpaying its employees.

The complaint is seeking no more than $75,000 for Figueroa and less than $5 million collectively for those filing under the class action status.

According to court documents, Conner has working partnerships with Airborne Express, DHL Express, OnTrac, FedEx Critical Inventory Logistics and several other companies.

I-55 rest area in Missouri to reopen for truck parking only

A rest area off of Interstate 55 North in Fruitland, Mo., will reopen as a truck parking-only facility sometime in the next week, a Missouri Department of Transportation administrator told Land Line.

After an electrical fire destroyed a building at the facility on mile marker 108 this past November, the rest area has undergone some minor restructuring. As of Aug. 31, the rest area will be closed temporarily as crews completely demolish and remove the damaged building and install vault toilets.

Before the fire, the rest area had full amenities for general public use. According to Paul Loftin, MoDOT’s administrator for rest area maintenance contracts statewide, the state was left to decide whether it was cost effective to rebuild the facility for general public.

“It was determined to go ahead and take all the existing structures out and convert that over to truck-only parking rather than having the full amenities there on site,” Loftin told Land Line.

The new rest area will include a concrete vault toilet structure and parking spaces for 12 trucks. The goal is to have parking available by Labor Day weekend. The toilet structure may not be available until shortly after.

Loftin noted that there are future plans to add more spaces to the rest area, but that decision is ultimately determined by available funding.

MoDOT has converted several areas into truck-only parking in recent years.

“Within the past three or four years we have converted other rest area locations that were getting very outdated and were going to cost an extreme amount of money to be able to hook up to a sanitary sewer system,” Loftin said.

For environmental reasons, sewage lagoons were closed and converted to truck-only parking lots. Old waste fields have also been converted to lots for truck parking.

In approximately one month, resurfacing of I-55 in Missouri will occur near the Fruitland rest area, including the rest area ramp and lots. More parking spaces are not expected. Loftin noted that if more spaces are to be created from the resurfacing, it would not be more than two or three.

OOIDA Foundation announces commemorative rifle sweepstakes

The OOIDA Foundation is now offering truckers a chance to win a custom-design, limited edition “American Trucker” Henry rifle. Entries will be accepted beginning Tuesday, Sept. 1, through Dec. 31, 2015.

There’s no purchase necessary to enter, although a donation to the Foundation would be welcomed to support its research, education and scholarship activities.

Donated by an OOIDA Board Member, the customized Henry Golden Boy .22-caliber commemorative rifle has been detailed by the Historical Armory in Fort Collins, Colo. 

This limited-edition rifle features detailed engraving on both sides of the American walnut forearm, with “The American Trucker” on the right side and “Coast to Coast” in the banner on the left side.

The left side of the American walnut buttstock is engraved with the OOIDA logo, while the right side displays an intricate piece of artwork that depicts the theme of the American Trucker.
The rifle is individually numbered 73 of 1,000 to commemorate OOIDA’s founding in 1973.

You can click here for more information on the OOIDA Foundation and to locate the rules of the sweepstakes as well as a link to enter.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Foundation Inc. (OOFI) is a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit incorporation. The Foundation’s mission is to fight for the rights of all truckers through research and education, which is exclusively from the viewpoint of the small-business owner and professional truck driver as opposed to a large carrier or shareholder whose interests and concerns are often at conflict with the small-business entrepreneur and blue-collar worker.

Mack joins other OEMs in opting out of 2016 MATS

Chris Heffner, public relations manager for Mack Trucks, said this week that Mack Trucks will join several other major truck manufacturers in their decision to skip the Mid-America Trucking Show in 2016.

“With other truck makers already announcing their plans not to attend next year, Mack was concerned about how that reduced attendance could impact our return on investment based on our participation in the show,” he said.

“We haven’t made any decisions about our participation at MATS in the future. We’ll definitely base that on our strategic planning that we do internally here, and we’ll be sure to communicate that at the appropriate time.”

Daimler Trucks North America confirmed in May that it will not attend MATS in 2016. DTNA intends to return to the MATS in 2017 and attend the show every other year thereafter. Navistar has announced it will go to a biennial schedule. And in July Volvo Trucks North America Manager of Public Affairs Avery Vise said that MATS is an important event and, while they plan to opt out next year, the truck maker intends to participate in 2017.  

Although Mack didn’t specify, the reason the other OEMs are skipping MATS every other year is that they are planning to head overseas next year to the International Motor Show (IAA) event in Germany. The huge commercial vehicle show is held in Hannover during even-numbered years.

The Mid-America Trucking Show happens in the spring of every year and producers call it the largest annual heavy-duty industry event in the world. Held in Louisville, the show attracts 70,000 attendees and more than 1,000 exhibitors from the U.S. and abroad.

Show producers say MATS has a contract with the City of Louisville and the Kentucky Exposition Center through 2020, so the show will continue on an annual basis as scheduled.  

“The MATS 2016 schedule will not change,” said Adam Weckman, spokesman for Exhibit Management Associates. “It’s on for March 31 through April 2, 2016, and we’re excited to see the sales season kick off at such a strong and positive pace.”

Freightliner introduces two new options for Cascadia models

Freightliner will be rolling out two new options for its Cascadia and Cascadia Evolution models. The Bose Ride System II truck suspension and SmarTire Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) from Bendix CVS are currently in production.

Bose Ride is reported to have reduced fatigue and pain. Through sensors and an electromagnetic motor, the system counteracts shaking and jarring typical in trucks. Introduced earlier this year, Bose Ride allows drivers to customize their ride with the Ride Control selector.

With a dash display, TPMS allows drivers to check real-time status of pressure and temperature. This is made possible with a wheel-mounted sensor. A deviation value is captured to show if a tire is over- or under-inflated.

Those attending the Great American Trucking Show can obtain more information at Freightliner’s display at booth No. 12113. More information can also be found at FreightlinerTrucks.com.

Commerce report from June: Trucks moved 65 percent of all freight

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that in June trucks moved 65 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. 

The value of freight hauled across the borders is the highest this year, with a nearly 7 percent increase when compared to May. All modes, except for trucks, carried less freight when compared with last June.

Although numbers are down for most modes when compared to last June, U.S.-NAFTA trade flow improved when compared to the month before, according to BTS. Freight totaled $99 billion, up more than $6 billion from the previous month but down nearly $4 billion from June 2014.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at 40 percent, a slight improvement from the 45.4 percent drop in May. Truck freight experienced the only net gain over the past 12 months with a 5.1 percent increase.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $65 billion of the $99 billion of imports and exports in June. Rail came in second with a contribution of nearly $15 billion. 

Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.2 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 4.4 percent compared with June 2014. Of the $47.1 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 70 percent of the loads.

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 Truckstop.com 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. Truckstop.com van rates remained unchanged at $1.74.

DAT reefer rates were unchanged at $2.04. With a significant deviation from DAT’s numbers, Truckstop.com 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, Truckstop.com shows a 3-cent decrease to $1.95, building on the previous week’s gap between the two reported rates.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com 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 Truckstop.com 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.

Load boards reporting spot rate decline across all modes

Two leading load boards are in agreement this week: Average spot rates for all modes went down last week. Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and Truckstop.com reveal varied rates for reefer, van and flatbed rates.

Van rates went down 2 cents to $1.76, according to Truckstop.com. DAT also reports a 2-cent decrease for van rates $1.77, and load-to-truck ratios decreased by 1.2 percent to 1.8 loads per truck.

Reefer rates at Truckstop.com had a significant decrease of 6 cents to $1.98. DAT reefer rates show a more modest decline of only a penny to $2.04.

Truckstop.com is reporting a 3-cent decrease to $1.98 for flatbed rates. DAT reveals a larger decrease of 8 cents to $2.07.

Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability decreased by 4 percent and truck availability increased by 3 percent, indicating a relatively small disadvantage for truckers seeking loads in comparison to the previous week. According to DAT, van and reefer load-to-truck ratios had a small decline, whereas flatbed ratios slightly increased.

Based on both DAT and truckstop.com 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 previous week.

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 safercar.gov.

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 chromeshopmafia.com. 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 goodyeartrucktires.com/smartfleet 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.

American Central Transport increasing pay for drivers

American Central Transport (ACT) recently announced that it will be increasing pay for both company drivers and owner-operators.

Owner-operators who add Lytx DriveCams to their truck can earn an additional 2 cents per mile. A hazmat endorsement can earn owner-operators $1.05 per loaded mile, while drivers without hazmat credentials will receive 99 cents per loaded mile. Empty miles will be paid at a rate of 90 cents in addition to fuel surcharge. All of these changes go into effect on Aug. 24.

Company drivers will receive a 2-cent-per-mile increase effective Aug. 24. This bump in pay is in addition to a 1-cent increase company drivers received earlier this year. Not including fuel bonuses, a maximum of 52 cents per mile can be earned with the 7 percent increases.

Drivers for engineered and dedicated lanes will receive a $0.01 per mile pay increase.

Spot market reports show drop in van rates

Two leading load boards agree van rates dipped this past week. Analysis of rates provided by DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, and Truckstop.com reveal varied rates for reefers and flatbeds.

Van rates went down 3 cents to $1.79, and load-to-truck ratios increased by 11 percent to 1.9 loads per truck, according to DAT. Truckstop.com has a 1-cent decrease to $1.77.

DAT reefer rates were significantly reduced by 8 cents to $2.05. Comparatively, rates dropped a penny to $2.03 at Truckstop.com.

Flatbed rates increased by 2 cents to $2.15, based on DAT stats. With a significant difference in rates, Truckstop.com is reporting a 2-cent decrease to $2.03.

According to DAT, reefer and van load-to-truck ratios increased by around 10 percent, whereas flatbed ratios dropped 15 percent. Across all modes, Truckstop.com shows that load availability increased by 2 percent and truck availability decreased by 1 percent, indicating an advantage for truckers seeking loads.

Based on both DAT and truckstop.com 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.

Hornady Transportation merges with Daseke Inc.

For the second time in nearly a month, a carrier has merged with Daseke Inc. Hornady Transportation has announced its merger with Daseke. Bulldog Hiway Express announced its merger in early July.

Based in Monroeville, Ala., Hornady has a fleet of 230 late-model tractors and 325 flatbed trailers. Hauling material for the building products and steel industries, Hornady operates mostly east of the Rocky Mountains. With a terminal in Birmingham, the company was founded in 1928 by G.E. Hornady. Chris Hornady is currently running the company and is the third generation of leadership.

Daseke is the largest owner of flatbed, open-deck and specialty trucking capacity in North America with more than 3,000 tractors and 6,000 trailers. Smokey Point Distributing, E.W. Wylie, J. Grady Randolph, Central Oregon Truck Co., Lone Star Transportation and the Boyd companies have also merged with Daseke.

Mack offers new prepaid maintenance plans

Mack has recently announced a new option to purchase prepaid preventive maintenance plans. The maintenance plans are based on the revised service intervals.

Mack models 2011 and newer powered by MP7, MP8 or MP10 engines are eligible for the new maintenance plans. Three different plans are available. Everything from oil changes to 74-point inspections to exhaust aftertreatment system services are available in the various plans.

Customers will get present-day parts and labor rates when purchasing the prepaid maintenance plan. In addition, the duration of the maintenance plan can be customized to the purchaser’s needs. Mack Premium Maintenance Plan owners can quickly schedule maintenance by contacting Mack’s 24/7 service and support network, Mack OneCall.

The new service intervals for engine oil and filter changes, announced in March, increased by 10,000 miles to 45,000 miles for long haul; 35,000 miles for regional haul; and 25,000 miles for heavy haul. Service intervals for diesel particulate filters have been extended to 400,000 miles for long- and regional-haul applications from 250,000 miles.

Prepaid maintenance plans can be purchased through any Mack dealership in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit MackTrucks.com.

More trucking jobs added in July, wages up in transportation industry

July marked the sixth consecutive month of job gains for the transportation sector. After a significant job increase in June, the truck transportation subsector had a modest increase of jobs in July.

The transportation sector gained more than 14,000 jobs in July, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector experienced moderate gains of nearly 3,000 jobs after the industry gained more than 7,000 in June and nearly 9,000 in May. Nearly 7,000 truck transportation jobs were lost in March, the only monthly decrease for the year, leaving a net gain for jobs for the year to date.

Trucks had the second-largest increase within the transportation sector. Transit and ground passenger transportation had an increase of more than 3,000. Only two subsectors experienced losses in July: Water and rail transportation lost 600 and 300 jobs, respectively.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.80 for July, up 8 cents from June, the first month-to-month increase since February. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 11 cents to $20.77. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $24.99, a 5-cent increase. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.1 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.9 percent from 7.7 percent last July. The overall unemployment rate for the country remained unchanged at 5.3 percent. The number of long-term unemployed also saw little change compared with the previous month at 2.2 million. However, that number has decreased by 986,000 in the past 12 months.

New Goodyear Tire and Service Centers in Washington and Virginia

Good news for trucks on either side of the country. Goodyear has opened two new Commercial Tire and Service Centers: one in Washington State and one in Virginia.

Seattle, Wash., and Chesapeake, Va., join several other locations that have recently opened new Commercial Tire and Service Centers across the nation. Dearborn, Mich., Montgomery, Ala., and Garland, Texas, also have new Goodyear centers.

The new centers will include new Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly truck tires, including Goodyear retreads. Goodyear Fleet HQ 24/7 Emergency Roadside Service will also be available at the new locations, as will tire balancing and other services.

Seattle’s new Commercial Tire and Service Center is located at 9426 8th Ave. South. Chesapeake’s new location can be found at 3912 Holland Blvd.

Celadon agrees to pay $200K to settle EEOC lawsuit

Celadon Trucking Services Inc. will pay $200,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Indianapolis-based trucking carrier was sued by the EEOC on behalf of 23 former Celadon applicants, who will receive monetary damages as a result of the suit, the agency announced Tuesday, Aug. 4.

The EEOC initially filed a complaint against Celadon in February 2012, alleging unlawful employment practices under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The complaint states that Celadon violated the ADA by maintaining policies and practices which subjected applicants to pre-offer disability-related inquiries and examinations. The inquiries and examinations were made by Celadon despite the fact that the applicants had not yet been offered jobs. According to the EEOC, at least two of the applicants were denied jobs based on their disabilities, despite the fact that both applicants were fully qualified to drive trucks.

The inquiries and examinations occurred during driver orientation programs, and included vision and hearing screenings, blood and urine tests, blood pressure checks and other cardiovascular examinations. In addition, applicants were also requested to provide medical histories and lists of medications they had been prescribed.

Some of the applicants were rejected for being hard of hearing, while another was reportedly not hired due to being on blood thinner medication, according to the complaint filed by EEOC.

“These inquiries proximately and legally resulted in tangible harm to qualified applicants who met the standards for truck drivers set forth by the Department of Transportation/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, including rejection for hire based on information obtained from these impermissible pre-offer disability-related inquiries,” attorneys for the EEOC wrote in the complaint.

Along with the monetary damages, the settlement requires that the company train its management employees on disability discrimination, post a notice of non-discrimination at its work site, submit annual reports detailing its compliance with the decree, and furnish other non-monetary relief, including inviting qualified class members to attend the company's driver orientation program. The terms of the consent decree last for five years.

The agreement also requires Celadon to “cease reporting false information on the DAC and/or HireRight reports” and to request the removal of all false information about the 23 members of the class that the company supplied to those websites.

August marks one month of falling average spot market rates

For the fourth consecutive week, spot rate averages for freight were down across the board for the week ending Saturday, Aug. 1. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down a penny to $1.82. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.23, unchanged from the previous week. Rates for the month of July were down 2.7 percent from the previous month and declined 11 percent since July 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 6.25 percent to 1.7 loads per truck. For the first time this year, no states have a load-to-truck ratio of 5.5 or greater. 

Reefer rates were reduced by 2 cents to $2.13. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.63, unchanged compared to the week prior. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.54. Compared with July 2014, reefer rates are down 9 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up 2 percent to 4.2 loads per truck. Three states – New Mexico, Arizona and Delaware – have a ratio of 12 or more, one more than the previous week.

Flatbed rates declined by a penny to $2.13. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.29, a steep decline of 63 cents from the week before. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.89. Rates are down 2.7 percent for the month and 12 percent in the past 12 months. There were 14.5 loads per truck for flatbeds, an increase of 10 percent from the previous week. Only 14 states have a load-to-truck ratio of 18 or more, slightly less than half the amount from the prior week. Most of the states that dropped below 18 loads were east of the Mississippi River.

Truck Tank offers opportunity for entrepreneurs to sell their ideas at GATS

Truckers with a great idea will have an opportunity to pitch their business plan and win money toward an investment. Commercial Fleet Financing Inc. will be hosting Truck Tank at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) in Dallas. Texas.

Taking a cue from “Shark Tank” – a television show where entrepreneurs sell their ideas to investors – Truck Tank will feature a hand-selected panel of industry investors. Transportation entrepreneurs can pitch an invention or idea that benefits the industry to the panel.

The winner of Truck Tank will be awarded at least $5,000 in investments from Commercial Fleet Financial and one year of business coaching from Bethany Williams. Host of “Home Made Money” on CFFNation, Williams is an executive, coach and author of several books, including “CEO of You” and “Live Your Dreams.”

The contest will be held on Aug. 28 at 1-3 p.m. in the Recruiting Pavilion. For more information on how to register for Truck Tank, visit cffnation.com/trucktank/.

Located at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, GATS is scheduled for Aug. 27-29. Admission is free if registration is done online. Otherwise, tickers will be $10 at the door. Truck beauty competitions, education seminars and live entertainment will be available all weekend within 500,000 feet of exhibit space.

For more information and ticket pre-order for GATS, visit truckshow.com.

Women In Trucking plan expo next month in Dallas

The event that Women In Trucking is calling Accelerate! Conference and Expo is on the industry’s calendar next month. The event is planned for Sept. 20-22 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas.

Educational sessions include a look at transportation and the U.S. economy with Lee Klaskow, senior analyst with Bloomberg Research. Race car driver Jennifer Jo Cobb will be the keynote speaker. Her topic is “setting and Reaching Goals through Adversity.” An additional keynote speech comes from Daphne Jefferson, deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Association. She plans to provide insights on today’s regulatory and legislative issues and FMCSA’s position.

Registration is $450 (WIT members) and $495 for non-members. For more information, go to WomeninTrucking.org.

NHTSA hands out $35 million fine to Forest River Inc.

Just one week after handing Fiat Chrysler the administration’s largest fine to date, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has dished out another stiff penalty. Forest River Inc. will have to pay a civil penalty of $35 million for violations of the Safety Act.

Forest River Inc., located in Elkhart, Ind., is a large manufacturer of RVs, pontoons, cargo trailers, and other recreational vehicles. It’s parent organization is Berkshire Hathaway.

According to documents filed by the Office of Defects Investigation, the civil penalty consists of a cash penalty of $5 million and stipulated penalties. Forest River must retain an independent monitor for audits of compliance. Additionally, several performance obligations must be met, including an in-house consultant and remedies for past noncompliance.

If audits reveal failure to resolve issues outlined in the Consent Order, Forest River will have to pay portions of the stipulated civil penalties.

Opened last September and closed last Saturday, the ODI investigation found that Forest River violated the following Safety Act regulations:

  • Failed to submit accurate early warning reports.
  • Failed to file certain field communications or reports of Canadian safety campaigns.
  • Did not provide copies of notices, bulletins and other communications as required.
  • Failed to file certain quarterly recall reports in a timely manner.
  • Sent notices to dealers without required information.
  • Failed to submit communications to manufacturers, dealers, owners and purchasers directly related to a defect or noncompliance.
  • Failed to notify vehicle owners and dealers of defects and noncompliance.
  • Did not timely notify NHTSA of safety-related defects within five days.
  • Failed to conduct timely recalls for Recalls 15V-080 and 15V-156.
  • Failed to respond to NHTSA’s Oct. 2, 2014, Special Order by the deadline.


ODI documents reveal that Recall No. 15V-080 applied to 2014 Rockwood and Flagstaff recreational vehicles equipped with the Chill Chaser option. Excessive foam insulation and loose wiring could touch the Chill Chaser heating element, increasing the risk of a fire. Recall No. 15V-156 dealt with 20014 Palomino SolAire trailers. Affected vehicles were built without an exterior furnace vent. Exhaust fumes could be vented inside the trailer, and heat buildup could cause a fire.

In the Special Order mentioned in the above violations, NHTSA warned Forest River that failure to respond fully or truthfully could lead to a referral to the Department of Justice for civil actions. The Special Order informed Forest Rivers that it could be subject to penalties up to $7,000 per day, up to a maximum penalty of $35 million. Falsifying or withholding information can also lead to a criminal penalty of a fine and/or imprisonment of up to 15 years.

UPS purchases Coyote Logistics for $1.8 billion

UPS has recently announced that it will acquire truckload freight brokerage company Coyote Logistics for $1.8 billion. Coyote CEO Jeff Silver will continue to lead the company as a UPS subsidiary.

Pending customary conditions and regulatory approvals, closing expected in less than 30 days. The new addition to UPS is expected to add to earnings in 2016.

Coyote Logistics was founded in 2006 and headquartered in Chicago. More than 6,000 loads per day are arranged for transport. Arrangements are made within its network of more than 35,000 trucking companies. In 2014, the company reported annual revenue of $2.1 billion.

UPS and Coyote are no strangers to one another. During the holiday season, UPS supplements its fleet with contract transport providers to meet demand. Coyote is one of the companies that UPS has relied on for such support.

New TA Truck Service opens in Columbia, S.C.

Truckers near Columbia, S.C., needing repairs will now have more options. TravelCenters of America has announced a new TA Truck Service facility located at 7400 Wilson Blvd. off of Exit 71 in Interstate 20.

Open 24/7 year round, the new truck service repair facility will feature two service bays. Trained ASE- and TIA-certified technicians will be available at the Columbia location as they are throughout the TA Truck Service network.

Drivers can take advantage of many services provided by the service, including light-duty repair, brakes, electrical, alignment, air conditioning, preventive maintenance, inspections and RoadSquad emergency road call services. Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental and Samson tires are also available.

For more information on TravelCenters, TA, and Petro Stopping Centers, visit www.ta-petro.com.

Commerce report from May: Lowest May values in four years

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that in May trucks moved more than 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. 

The value of freight hauled across the borders was the lowest May value since 2011. All modes carried less freight when compared with last May.

Reduced value of mineral fuels led to a decrease in May 2015 U.S.-NAFTA trade flow as it has for previous months, according to BTS. Freight totaled $92.7 billion, down more than $600 million from the previous month.

Pipeline freight experienced the steepest decline at 45.4 percent, while air freight had the smallest decline at 2.4 percent. Truck freight was down 5.9 percent, the second-smallest decrease.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $60 billion of the $93.3 billion of imports and exports in May. Rail came in second with a contribution of nearly $15 billion. 

Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.9 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 5.3 percent compared with May 2014. Of the $43.8 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.

Citizen Driver Award accepting nominations through September

Given everything that they do, truckers deserve to be recognized for their hard work. The TA and Petro Citizen Driver Award does just that, and anybody can nominate a trucker for the award. Nominations are being accepted now until Sept. 30.

A panel of judges composed of trucking professionals will focus on the following criteria when reviewing nominees: citizenship, safety, health and wellness, community and leadership. Qualifications are not limited to the above criteria.

In December, judges will choose the finalists and honorees. Distinguished finalists and honorees will each receive recognition and a package of various goods and services. Some will be selected to have their favorite TA and Petro location named after them, including plaques, name banners and a dedication ceremony. Winners will be announced at the 2016 Mid-America Truck Show.

To nominate a trucker for the Citizen Driver Award, visit the website.

Honorees for 2015 included:

  • OOIDA Life Member Rick Ash of Lakewood, Colo.
  • Gary Buchs of Colfax, Ill.
  • OOIDA Life Member Robert Fernald of Westbrook, Maine.
  • OOIDA Life Member Sandy Long of Marceline, Mo.
  • OOIDA Member Michael Sheeds of Bandera, Texas.
Average spot rates continue to decline for all three modes

For the third consecutive week, spot rate averages for freight were down across the board for the week ending Saturday, July 25. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down 2 cents to $1.83. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.23, 9 cents lower from the previous week. Rates for the month of June were up 1.1 percent from the previous month and declined 10 percent since June 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 1.7 percent to 1.6 loads per truck. Arkansas was the only state to have a ratio of 5.5 or greater. 

Reefer rates were reduced by 2 cents to $2.15. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.63, a relatively large slide of 13 cents compared to the week prior. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.54. Compared with June 2014, reefer rates are down 8.6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up 5.3 percent to 4.1 loads per truck. Two states, New Mexico and Arkansas, have ratios of 12 or more.

Flatbed rates declined by a penny to $2.14. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.92. Phoenix marked a low rate of $2.01. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 9.9 percent in the past 12 months. There were 13.2 loads per truck for flatbeds, an increase of 14 percent from the previous week. Slightly less than half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

Fiat Chrysler receives harshest penalty on record by NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has had its hands tied with massive recalls this year, and now the administration is laying down the law. NHTSA has handed Fiat Chrysler Automobile its harshest penalty in the administration’s history.

According to a NHTSA press release, Fiat Chrysler will be required to submit to rigorous federal oversight, buy back defective vehicles from owners, and pay a $105 million civil penalty. The penalties are in response to 23 safety recalls that affected more than 11 million vehicles.

In a public hearing earlier this month, Fiat Chrysler admitted to violating the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. More specifically, the auto manufacturer violated effective and timely recall remedies, notification to owners and dealers, and notification to NHTSA.

More than half a million vehicles with defective suspension parts can be sold back to Fiat Chrysler. Owners of Jeeps that are susceptible to catching on fire will be able to trade in their vehicles for above-market value. Owners who do not wish to trade in their vehicle will receive a financial incentive to get their vehicle repaired. Eligible owners will be notified.

Fiat Chrysler will also be under the probing eye of federal regulators for the next three years. The company must hire an independent monitor approved by NHTSA.

The civil penalty includes a $70 million cash penalty, another $20 million to meet performance requirements, and $15 million if the independent monitor discovers additional violations. The previous record was set in January when Honda was given a $70 million civil penalty.

More than one million Chrysler vehicles recalled over vulnerable software

Just days after Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., introduced the SPY Car Act, Chrysler has filed a recall that affects 1.4 million vehicles. Software systems in affected vehicles are vulnerable to hacking.

Identified as early as January 2014, the defect can allow a third party to penetrate the software security and possibly control parts of the vehicle system. Certain models of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles from 2013 to 2015 are part of the recall. Owners of affected vehicles will be notified and mailed a USB drive that will update the software and eliminate the vulnerability. The software update can also be downloaded onto a personal USB drive by visiting driveuconnect.com/software-update/.

Back in January 2004, FCA US LLC – formerly Chrysler Group LLC – identified the security breach through a penetration test. FCA US immediately began working on solutions and improvements to the issue.

On July 14, an FCA US committee approved of a measure to provide affected customers with an extended warranty program to provide free software updated. The following day, the company contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a Technical Service Bulletin. Single market testing was successfully complete on July 23, leading to the recent nationwide recall.

Chrysler vehicles affected are:

  • 2015 Chrysler 200
  • 2015 Chrysler 300
  • 2015 Dodge Challenger
  • 2015 Dodge Charger
  • 2014-2015 Dodge Durango
  • 2013-2015 Dodge Viper
  • 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee
  • 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2013-2015 Ram 1500, 2500, 3500, 4500 and 5500


To date, no real-world system hacks have occurred. Only systems in a research setting are known to have been breached.

Owners can contact Chrysler customer service at 800-853-1403. The recall number is R40.

On July 23, Land Line reported on a new bill introduced to the Senate titled the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act, or SPY Car Act. The bill addresses the issue of hackers gaining access to motor vehicle computer systems. SPY Car Act will require manufacturers to set and apply safety standards to ensure vehicle systems cannot be compromised. In consultation with the Federal Trade Commission, NHTSA will regulate and enforce the SPY Care Act if signed into law.

New Love’s Travel Stop opens in Knightstown, Ind.

Drivers going through Indiana on Interstate 70 will have a new location to stop at. Love’s Travel Stops has announced its latest opening in Knightstown, Ind., off of Exit 115 on I-70.

Love’s newest travel stop will off gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items and name-brand electronics. Restaurants include a McDonald’s and Subway.

For truckers, Knightstown’s Love’s will feature seven showers, 89 parking spaces, RFID cardless fueling and Cat scales.

Drivers can earn up to five points with their “My Love Rewards” loyalty cards at all Love’s locations for a limited time.

Average rates and load-to-truck ratios are down for all three modes

For the second consecutive week, spot rate averages for freight were down across the board for the week ending Saturday, July 18. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down 2 cents to $1.85. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.32, 2 cents lower from the previous week. Rates for the month of June were up 1.1 percent from the previous month and declined 10 percent since June 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 16 percent to 1.7 loads per truck. Arkansas was the only state to have a ratio of 5.5 or greater. 

Reefer rates were reduced by 2 cents to $2.17. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.79. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.62. Compared with June 2014, reefer rates are down 8.6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down 21 percent to 3.9 loads per truck. Two states, New Mexico and Arkansas, have ratios of 12 or more.

Flatbed rates declined by a penny to $2.15. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.92. Phoenix marked a low rate of $2.01. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 9.9 percent in the past 12 months. There were 11.6 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 18 percent from the previous week. Slightly less than half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

CARB announces $250,000 Navistar fine over DPF verification

The dog days of summer have not been kind to truck-making giant Navistar.

One week after the Environmental Protection Agency filed a civil lawsuit seeking $300 million in fines and penalties, the California Air Resources Board announced it will fine the Lisle, Ill.-based manufacturer of International trucks.

Navistar failed to properly demonstrate the emissions compliance of one of the company’s diesel particulate filter systems, according to Todd Sax, recently named CARB’s Enforcement Chief.

“Companies that are in the business of providing pollution control technology for vehicles must make sure that their products actually do what they say they will do,” Sax said, according to a CARB news release. “Navistar sold diesel particulate filters in California without proper testing at specified intervals, in violation of our air quality laws.

“To their credit, once they were notified of these infractions, they took prompt action and cooperated fully with ARB.”

California’s Verification Procedure requires diesel particulate filters to be tested for compliance after a specific number of units are sold or leased in the state market. The testing results are required to be submitted to CARB’s executive officer after each phase of testing.

CARB says Navistar failed to follow the in-use compliance requirements of the Verification Procedure for International’s DPX Catalyzed Soot Filter System.

“The company had sold more than 200 in California, with many installed on school buses in the San Diego County region, which should have triggered the required testing,” CARB’s news release states.

Navistar agreed to follow all required testing and verification procedures and paid $187,000 to the state’s Air Pollution Control fund to support air quality research. The company also paid $62,500 to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to clean up school bus fleets throughout California.

The settlement announcement comes shortly after the EPA filed a civil lawsuit seeking $300 million. In that case, EPA alleges Navistar mislabeled some model year engines as being 2009 model year when the air quality organization said they should have been labeled as 2010, and should have met 2010 emissions standards.

EPA sues Navistar for $300 million in penalties

Navistar’s decision years ago to meet ever-stringent emissions standards by using Advanced Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or EGR, continues to bite the truck-making giant.

After spending a reported $700 million on its now failed emissions technology systems, Navistar could face at least $300 million in legal penalties from the federal government. The company says it will fight the allegations.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency filed a civil lawsuit seeking $300 million in penalties. The EPA claims Navistar made International trucks with 7,750 engines that didn’t meet 2010 federal emissions standards.

According to the Springfield News-Sun, Navistar completed 7,750 trucks in 2010. The company classified the trucks’ engines as 2009 model year engines because it began assembling them in 2009. The EPA reportedly say in the civil complaint the trucks didn’t meet 2010 federal emissions standards.

“Because (Navistar) completed manufacturing and assembling processes for the subject engines in 2010 … each and every engine was ‘produced’ in 2010 and is therefore not a model 2009 engine,” the complaint said, according to the News-Sun.

While the rest of the trucking industry met recent federal truck emissions standards by using selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, Navistar gambled that its EGR systems would improve enough to meet the regulations.

They never did, and the company exhausted emissions credits it had built up and sometimes bought. International finally abandoned the exclusive use of EGR in 2012 following the ousting of former company CEO Daniel Ustian.

The Lisle, Ill.-based truck manufacturer typically remains quiet on legal allegations. A company spokesman, however, struck back at the EPA’s claim.

“We dispute these allegations,” Steve Schrier, Navistar spokesman, told Land Line Monday.

“We believe our 2010 engine transition was appropriate, and we intend to aggressively defend our position going forward.”

“Beyond this, we don’t comment on pending litigation.”

In 2012, Navistar announced it was ceasing production of 15-liter MaxxForce diesel engines for Class 8 trucks and halting the production of all EGR-only technology in other Class 8 engines. The Environmental Protection Agency had previously notified Navistar it could be fined up to $285 million for selling back-dated engines during the 2010 engine transition and Navistar’s inability to meet federal NOx emissions standards.

Navistar is no stranger to legal battles.

In December 2014, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered that 13 of 14 civil lawsuits brought against Navistar for MaxxForce engines would be consolidated into one case.

The consolidated lawsuits say Navistar’s use of Advanced Exhaust Gas Recirculation emission control system, or EGR, was defective and resulted in repeated engine failures and frequent repairs and downtime.

The consolidated lawsuits all claim the MaxxForce engines with EGR were defective, and suffered “repeated failures and fault warnings, resulting in costly and time-consuming repairs,” court documents say. Together, they will be adjudicated in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois, near both the Lisle, Ill. headquarters of Navistar and many plaintiffs.

Average spot market rates down for all three modes

Spot rate averages for freight were down across the board for the week ending Saturday, July 11. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down 2 cents to $1.87. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.35, unchanged from the previous week. Rates for the month of June were up 1.1 percent from the previous month and declined 10 percent since June 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 17 percent to 2.0 loads per truck. Arkansas was the only state to have a ratio of 5.5 or greater.

Reefer rates were reduced by 3 cents to $2.19. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.75. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.82. Compared with June 2014, reefer rates are down 8.6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down 22 percent to 5.0 loads per truck. Two states, New Mexico and Arkansas, have ratios of 12 or more.

Flatbed rates declined by 2 cents to $2.16. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.92. Phoenix marked a low rate of $2.01. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 9.9 percent in the past 12 months. There were 14.2 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 15 percent from the previous week. Slightly less than half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

Goodyear opens three new Commercial Tire and Service Centers

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. has opened three Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers. The centers are located in Michigan, Alabama and Texas.

New Dunlop, Kelly and Goodyear brand medium truck tires will be available at the new Commercial Tire and Service Centers. Goodyear retreads will also be available. Services available include Goodyear-Fleet HQ 24/7 Emergency Roadside Service and tire balancing.

Locations of the new centers include Dearborn, Mich.; Montgomery, Ala.; and Garland, Texas. The Montgomery location is an 18,000-square-foot-center with four service bays. The 24,000-square-foot location in Dearborn includes two service bays. Garland will feature two bays in a 14,000-square-foot location.

More than 40,000 people attended Walcott Truckers Jamboree

Last weekend’s Walcott Truckers Jamboree at the World’s Largest Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa, was a huge success. Nearly 41,000 people attended the 36th annual truck show.

According to a press release, attendees came from all over North America, including 21 different states and three Canadian provinces. A Super Truck Beauty Contest, pork chop cookout, Trucker Olympics, carnival games and free concerts were among the more than 150 exhibits at the show. The truck beauty contest attracted 67 contestants. More than 150 vehicles were shown during the antique truck display.

Special to this year’s show, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association received its brand-new tour truck from Western Star Truck Sales Inc. OOIDA’s tour truck driver Jon Osburn accepted the keys to a new 5700XE truck while retiring the former “Spirit of the American Trucker” tour truck. The new “Spirit” truck features a distinctive blue paint job emblazoned with Western Star’s Phantom Graphic package.

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum also celebrated the 100th birthday of its 1915 Mack AB during the Walcott Truckers Jamboree.

Next year’s show will take place July 14-16, 2016. For a complete list of this year’s Super Truck Beauty Contest winners, check out Walcott’s website.

Trucks help boost freight in May

The Freight Transportation Service Index increased by 0.8 percent in May to 122.7 from 121.7 in April. April saw a decrease that was preceded by the only month-to-month increase for the year in March, and May experienced a return to a rise in the index, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Air, rail carloads and rail intermodal freight decreased in May compared with the previous month. However, truck and waterborne freight experienced large increases, bringing the index to a net gain.

May was only the second month of the year to have a month-to-month increase in the index. March freight rose by 1.4 percent. TSI has gone up 29.6 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6.

Trucking freight received its first monthly increase after three consecutive months of declines.

Freight shipments are up 1.7 percent from March 2014, up 15.4 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.

Reefer and van average spot rates slightly up, flatbed down a penny

Spot rate averages for freight went up for two of three modes for the week ending Saturday, July 4. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went up 2 cents to $1.89. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.35, 12 cents higher than the previous week. Rates for the month of June were up 1.1 percent from the previous month and declined 10 percent since June 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 5.4 percent to 2.4 loads per truck. Arkansas was the only state to have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, down from three states from the previous week.

Reefer rates went up a penny to $2.22. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.75. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.82. Compared with June 2014, reefer rates are down 8.6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up 4.8 percent to 6.4 loads per truck. Two states – New Mexico and Arkansas – have ratios of 12 or more, two fewer from the week prior.

Flatbed rates declined by a penny to $2.18. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.92, a 44-cent increase when compared to the previous two weeks. Phoenix marked a low rate of $2.01, 10 cents higher than the previous week. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 9.9 percent in the past 12 months. There were 16.6 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 13 percent from the previous week. Slightly less than half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

Bulldog Hiway Express merges with Daseke Inc.

Truck load and intermodal carrier Bulldog Hiway Express has announced that it will be merging with trucking company Daseke Inc. Bulldog President and CEO Phil Byrd will join the Daseke board.

Operating throughout the United States and Canada, Bulldog handles dedicated and for-hire, open-deck operations, intermodal port deliveries and heavy hauls with loads reaching 180,000 pounds, according to a press release. The company works largely with the automotive industry and the wind, solar and nuclear power energy industry.

Based in Charleston, S.C., the company was founded in 1959 and currently has hundreds of power units and more than 400 trailers. Bulldog also operates terminals in Savannah, Ga., and Mobile, Ala.

Bulldog joins a growing list of other companies that have joined forces with Daseke, including Point Distributing, E.W. Wylie, J. Grady Randolph, Central Oregon Truck Co. and Lone Star Transportation. Daseke is the second-largest open-deck/specialty carrier in North America with more than 2,800 tractors and more than 5,800 open-deck trailers.

Another strong month for transport jobs in June

June marked the fifth consecutive month of job gains for the transportation sector. After a significant job increase in May, truck transportation – a subsector – had another large injection of jobs in June.

The transportation sector gained more than 17,000 jobs in June, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a significant gain of more than 7,000 jobs after the industry gained nearly 9,000 in May and 2,000 in April. Nearly 7,000 truck transportation jobs were lost in March, the only monthly decrease for the year, leaving a net gain for jobs for the year to date.

With the truck transport exhibiting the highest gains, only one subsector, pipeline transportation, had a decrease in the job market for June with 200 fewer jobs.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.72 for June, down 7 cents from May. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 4 cents to $20.63. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were unchanged at $24.95. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.0 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.9 percent from 7.5 percent last June. The overall unemployment rate for the country decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.3 percent. The number of long-term unemployed went down by 381,000 to 2.1 million in June when compared with May, and has decreased by 955,000 in the past 12 months.

Truck Check Up makes its debut at Boss Shop’s Grand Island location

Truck Check Up, an interactive, fuel-island based truck diagnostics station, is making its debut at Boss Shops, beginning with an open house event on July 8 and 9 at the Boss Shop Grand Island, Neb., location.  

TCU, which was introduced in March 2015 during the Mid-American Truck Show, is designed for use in heavy-duty trucks (Class 7-8). While fueling, drivers can connect a cable to their truck’s diagnostic port to start the scanning process. In just under one minute, TCU scans the entire tractor/trailer for diagnostic fault code information and provides a comprehensive vehicle health report.

Drivers can then purchase a printed Vehicle Health Report that provides of summary of issues found and actions required.  

Kenworth offers new 76-inch mid-roof sleeper

Truckers in the market for a new, lighter vehicle without sacrificing sleeper space may want to look into a Kenworth T680 or T880. Kenworth has announced that a 76-inch mid-roof sleeper is available for order with the two models.

With liquid bulk tankers, flatbed haulers and other loads notorious for heavy weights in mind, Kenworth’s new mid-sleeper offers a 100-pound weight reduction when compared with its 76-inch high-roof sleeper.

In addition to potential load increases with the weight savings, Kenworth also claims the mid-sleeper has less aerodynamic drag, resulting in a potential 5 percent fuel economy savings for certain applications.

The 76-inch mid-roof sleeper includes 6 1/2 feet of headroom, liftable lower bunk, optional upper bunk for team drivers, and side storage towers. The 12.9-liter Paccar MX-13 engine is standard with both the T680 and T880.

Chevron sweepstakes offers chance to win 2015 Ford F-250

Chevron Products Company has recently announced the 2015 Delo Pick-Up Your Truck Sweepstakes. Chevron is the maker of Delo oils, lubricants and coolants.

Running from July 1 to August 31, participants have the chance to win a 2015 Ford F-250 SRW 4x4 Crew Cab XLT diesel truck. Other prizes will also be awarded, including 10 first prize packages containing a Delo tool tote, Delo tool kit, Delo bobble head, Delo USB drive and a $50 Visa gift card.

The 2015 Delo Pick-Up Your Truck Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada who have reached the age of majority in their state, province or territory at the commencement of the sweepstakes on July 1, 2015. No purchase required to participate in the sweepstakes.

The sweepstakes can be accessed through Delo’s website or Facebook page.

Minor changes for average spot freight rates

Spot rate averages for freight failed to increase for the week ending Saturday, June 27. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down a penny to $1.87. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.23. Rates for the month of May were down 0.5 percent from the previous month and declined 6.6 percent since May 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 11.6 percent to 2.3 loads per truck. Three states – Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates also went down 1 cent to $2.21. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.75, 3 cents higher than the previous week. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.82. Compared with May 2014, reefer rates are down 6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up 21 percent to 6.1 loads per truck. Four states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates remained stagnant at $2.19. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.48, unchanged when compared to the previous two weeks. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.91. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 7.2 percent in the past 12 months. There were 19.0 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 7.9 percent from the previous week. Half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

Navistar and GM to build medium-duty trucks

The business publication Forbes reports that industry sources think Navistar and General Motors are about to announce that they’ll partner to build Class 4 through 6 medium-duty trucks.

GM built medium-duty trucks for many years before its bankruptcy in 2009.

Navistar, the parent company of International Trucks, already makes medium-duty trucks but has been in a cost-cutting mode in recent years.

Apex Capital launches free load board

After gathering feedback from truckers, brokers and shippers, Apex Capital Corp has launched a new load board, NextLOAD.com, that offers free unlimited searching and free load posting.

Carriers and drivers can create free accounts to search for loads by city or state, equipment type, load size and date. With a 10-second refresh time, users will quickly find the newest and most relevant loads. NextLOAD.com users can also create filters with alerts that let them know when the loads they are looking for are posted.

Founded in 1995, Apex Capital Corp is a full-service freight factor that specializes in small to medium-sized trucking companies. Apex is a sponsor of OOIDA’s Business Education online series.

Band Together for SCF campaign now available for Natso members

The Band Together for SCF campaign was created in 2010. The idea was simple: to offer wristbands for $1 for one month and inform customers about the St. Christopher Trucker Development & Relief Fund, a not-for-profit designed to benefit truck drivers in need. 

The first year was a huge success. With the help of SCF’s founding participant, TravelCenters of America, the effort raised $211,125.  Each subsequent year has been more and more successful, raising a total of $1,268,085 to date and allowing the fund to help more than 1,200 drivers in need.

The 2015 Band Together for SCF is now open to any travel center operator who is a member of Natso, the national association representing truck stops and travel plazas. Each participating Natso member will be in charge of running their campaign, and assistance on how to get started is available. 

One of the first truck stops to step up is Sapp Bros. Travel Centers. Sapp Bros. recently announced it will host its first fundraising efforts for the St. Christopher Fund. Starting Aug. 1, die-cut donation cards will be available. Gray cards will be offered for a $1 donation, and gold cards will be a $5 donation. The fundraiser will run through Aug. 31 at all Sapp Bros. Travel Centers.

TravelCenter of Americas campaign will also run throughout the month of August. Tom Liutkus, vice president of marketing and public relations at TA and SCF Board president, said: “TA initially got involved with the SCF with the hopes of furthering the only organization we found that is exclusively devoted to helping professional truck drivers in need.  We’ve been able to do that successfully and we encourage other trucks stops to do the same.”

Drivers can donate $1 or more at TA and Petro sites and receive a commemorative wristband. The money goes to help truckers with financial hardships due to a medical condition. TravelCenters of America has provided support to the St. Christopher Fund since 2010 through its annual campaign plus through smaller collection efforts at tradeshows and employee events throughout the year. To date, TravelCenters has helped raise more than $1.4 million for the charity, which provides financial support to professional drivers without other means to fund prescription medications, living expenses and medical procedures.

Donations to the St. Christopher Fund can also be made directly at truckersfund.org.

Daimler acquires a share of Seattle-based company Zonar Systems

Daimler Trucks has recently invested in American electronic fleet management company Zonar Systems Inc. According to a press release, Daimler acquired a minority stake in the company.

The Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) long-term partnership with Zonar is part of a shared pursuit of “optimal transport logistics through intelligent connectivity.”

Since DTNA did not buy the company outright, Zonar will maintain its operations independently. DTNA President and CEO Martin Daum will hold a seat on the supervisory board to ensure the two companies’ shared vision is realized.

Although the purchased market share is a new development, the relationship between the two companies is not. Zonar and DTNA have been in a partnership for five years. Detroit Connect and Virtual Technician remote diagnostics systems have been developed as a result.

Commerce report from April: Freight down for all modes except air

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that in April trucks moved more than 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. 

The dollar value of freight hauled across the borders was the lowest April value since 2012. All modes except air carried less freight when compared with last April.

Reduced value of mineral fuels led to a decrease in April 2015 U.S.-NAFTA trade flow as it has for previous months, according to BTS. Freight totaled $93.3 billion, down less than $3 billion from the previous month.

Only air freight experienced an increase in commodity value when compared with April 2014. Air freight had a growth at a rate of 3.0 percent. Truck and rail freight had the smallest decline at 0.9 percent. Pipeline freight decreased by 44.9 percent, the largest slide in April.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $60 billion of the $93.3 billion of imports and exports in April. Rail came in at second with a contribution of nearly $15 billion. 

Nearly 60 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.9 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 0.3 percent compared with April 2014. Of the $44.5 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 70 percent of the loads.

Chicago Skyway up for sale: Report

Looking to buy a toll road? The long-term lease of the Chicago Skyway has gone up for sale, according to Reuters. The news agency reports that Spanish toll road investor Ferrovial and Australian investor Macquarie are offering their stakes in the toll road for sale to the highest bidder.

Ferrovial is the parent company of Cintra.

Cintra and Macquarie leased the 8-mile toll road in 2005, paying the city of Chicago $1.83 billion for the right to collect tolls and maintain the roadway through 2104.

The Chicago Skyway was profitable in 2014 with revenue exceeding expenses by about $8 million.

Free hazmat transportation safety seminar on Aug. 11-12

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is hosting a free two-day hazmat Transportation Safety Multimodal Seminar on August 11 and 12 in New Orleans, La., at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Representatives from various Department of Transportation agencies and the United States Coast Guard will provide informational presentations regarding modal hazmat requirements and will be on hand to answer individual questions both days.  Presentations on the fundamentals of the 49 CFR, general hazmat transportation, transportation training & security, and legal updates and reviews as well as other modes will be provided.

To register, visit the website

Small drop across the board for average spot freight rates

Spot rate averages for freight dropped slightly for all three modes for the week ending Saturday, June 20. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went down 2 cents to $1.88. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.15. Rates for the month of May were down 0.5 percent from the previous month and declined 6.6 percent since May 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 15 percent to 2 loads per truck. Three states – Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates dropped a penny to $2.22. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.72, four cents lower than the previous week. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates at $1.82. Compared with May 2014, reefer rates are down 6 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down 7.8 percent to 5 loads per truck. Four states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates also declined by a penny to $2.19. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.48, unchanged when compared to the previous two weeks. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.91. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month, but are down 7.2 percent in the past 12 months. There were 20.6 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 23 percent from the previous week. Half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

More than 10,000 veterans acquire CDL through skills test waiver program

Military personnel, both former and active, have been taking advantage of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Military Skills Test Waiver Program. To date, more than 10,000 veterans and active duty personnel have enrolled in the program.

Established in 2011, the waiver program helped approximately 6,000 former military personnel obtain a civilian CDL. In the last 12 months alone, approximately 4,000 more military service members are licensed to operate a commercial vehicle thanks to the program.

The FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Program allows for active duty or recently detached veterans who have at least two years of safe driving experience with a military truck or bus to waive the skills test necessary for acquiring a commercial driver’s license. By allowing the waiver, veterans can more smoothly transition to being civilian drivers while lowering costs for both the driver and state licensing agencies.

Alaska became the 50th state to participate in the program on June 27, 2014.

In addition to a one-year extension for all states, Virginia has rolled out an initiative to recognize state-issued Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificates acquired due to “limb impairment” as an equivalent to the federally-issued SPE. The SPE will allow these drivers to obtain an interstate commercial driver’s license. FMCSA is encouraging other states to adopt a similar equivalency program for SPEs.

Veteran and active military personnel can apply for the waiver program at FMCSA’s website.

Minimizer to live stream ChampTruck races on July 3-4

Trucks will be lining up at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on July 3-4 for the Meritor ChampTruck World Series and fans can watch it from the comfort of their home or even their own truck. Minimizer will be live streaming the race at minimizerracing.com.

Fans can log on to the website to watch the races during the Fourth of July weekend. Free tickets are also available on the website, while supplies last.

The Meritor ChampTruck World Series features Class 8 tractors with commercially available diesel engines. Renowned stunt driver, truck racer and OOIDA Member Mike Ryan has said that tractor racing has a big following in Europe, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. Check out Land Line Staff Writer Greg Grisolano’s interview with Ryan here.

According to its website, ChampTruck will hold 10 races that will crown a champion at an event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Nov. 1. Much like NASCAR, drivers will earn points in each of the races. Racing began on April 24 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park.

For more information and event schedules, visit the Meritor ChampTruck World Series website.

OOIDA to receive new tour truck at Walcott next month

The 36th annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree is slated for July 9-11 at the Iowa 80 Truckstop off of Exit 284 on I-80 in Walcott, Iowa.

Festivities begin at 10 a.m. on July 9 and exhibits will be open until 7 p.m. Spectators can marvel at a variety of Super Truck Beauty Contest participants until 9 p.m on Thursday and Friday and until 5 p.m. on Saturday. The Trucker Olympics will also be held throughout the weekend in the early afternoon hours.

In between checking out the Olympics and sweet rides, show goers can enjoy other exhibits plus the Iowa Pork Chop Cook-Out. Concerts will be performed by Lindsay Lawler, The Josh Abbott Band, and Natalie Stovall and The Drive. Carnival games and fireworks will also be part of the show.

This year, OOIDA will retire its current red, white and blue-themed “Spirit of the American Trucker” tour truck. On July 11 at Walcott, Western Star Truck Sales Inc. will present “Spirit” driver Jon Osburn with a new 5700XE truck. The new “Spirit” truck will feature a distinctive blue paint job emblazoned with Western Star’s Phantom Graphic package.

For more information, visit Walcott’s website or call 563-284-6961.

Texas surpasses California in spot reefer freight for first time

Texas has ousted California as the state with the highest spot reefer freight volume, according to industry analyst Mark Montague, DAT Solutions. This is the first time the Lone Star State has surpassed the Golden State in reefer freight volume during this time of year.

Texas had more reefer freight than the second- and third-place states combined. A combination of weather, innovative production and location has given Texas an advantage over the past several weeks.

Montague says more fruits and vegetables are being grown in the Rio Grande Valley. Cattle and meat packing industries in the western region of Texas added more reefer freight.

In addition to a boom in fruits and vegetables, Mexico has had a significant increase in its imports. Texas border towns such as El Paso and Laredo have become more accessible due to new highways and bridges in Mexico, taking business away from Nogales, Ariz. Reefer freight being inspected in Texas has a shorter trip to the Midwest and East Coast than it would from Arizona, Montague points out.

“Mexico, unlike the United States, is investing in its infrastructure,” Montague told Land Line. “They have spent many billions of dollars to build a new highway from the Pacific Coast of Mexico – which is their produce-growing region – to near Laredo, including one of the highest suspension bridges in the Western hemisphere.”

With reefer freight being a hot commodity in Texas, van freight availability in the Longhorn State is also on the rise. Montague mentions that since refrigerated freight pays more, truckers with a reefer trailer are putting their dry vans to the side. A map from DAT Solutions reveals that the Southern states with high reefer load-to-truck ratios – Arizona to Alabama – also have high load-to-truck ratios for van freights.

Another of California’s problems may be beyond its control: drought. According to the California Department of Water Resources, three consecutive years of unusually dry conditions have drained California’s three main water sources. The Sierra Nevada snowpack is at 14 percent normal levels, the two biggest reservoirs are at below 40 percent capacity, and aquifer levels have also declined. As a result, produce growth has dramatically decreased.

The USDA reported on June 14 that 85 percent of California’s topsoil moisture is rated short or very short, with 90 percent of subsoil moisture conditions rated short or very short.

Speaking of weather-related freight issues, Tropical Storm Bill struck parts of Texas earlier this week. Could the storm potentially have a negative impact on Texas’ crops? Montague doesn’t think so. In fact, he believes the opposite may occur.

“The meat-producing parts of Texas will probably have beneficial impact on grass, foliage, hay and the types of crops that livestock consume,” Montague said. “Severe weather hits a relatively small scope, and then you’ve got rain that goes all the way up to Dallas and Oklahoma.”

Montague cited severe weather in Colorado earlier this year, which resulted in an unusually high snowpack. Following the high levels of precipitation, the state began to see an increase in plant growth. Typically, severe weather in the warmer months does not affect freight trends. Outside of extreme cases like Hurricane Katrina, the effects are relatively minor.

Numbers indicating that Texas leads reefer freight volumes stems from DAT Solutions load board data and does not necessarily indicate that Texas is producing more refrigerated goods, Montague pointed out to Land Line. Produce delivery is often given to contract drivers and will not be reflected in DAT’s numbers.

Fontaine fifth wheels undergoing defect investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a Preliminary Evaluation for approximately 6,000 Fontaine fifth wheels. A possible defect has already resulted in one fatal crash that killed two drivers.

According to an Office of Defects Investigation document, Fontaine’s Ultra LT fifth wheel may be susceptible to becoming partially closed during a trailer coupling process. Drivers who conduct a pull test to determine whether or not the lock is properly coupled to the king pin could be led to believe all components are in place when they are not.

Fontaine issued a Technical Service Bulletin about the condition on March 1, 2011. Technical Service Bulletins, or TSBs, recommend the best way to repair a vehicle’s possible defect that has been identified by the manufacturer. Unlike a recall, dealers are not obligated to call in vehicles, and repairs are not required to be free of charge.

After an ODI investigation was launched on April 15, 2011, more than 2,000 Freightliners and a few hundred Paccar, Volvo and Mack trucks were recalled. An equipment recall was not issued by Fontaine.

One year later, Fontaine sent out another TSB concerning another issue with the Ultra LT fifth wheel. As explained in the ODI document, “the operating lever in the fifth wheel could become bent to such a degree that the locking mechanism would not extend completely across the throat of the fifth wheel or seat fully behind the locking jaw.” Trailers could disconnect from the tractor as a result.

Fontaine discontinued production of the Ultra LT fifth wheel shortly after.

In January 2014, a trailer disconnected from a 2012 International ProStar using the Ultra LT fifth wheel, striking two vehicles and killing both drivers.

Average spot freight rates mostly unchanged

Spot rate averages for freight remained the same for two of three modes for the week ending Saturday, June 13. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates were unchanged at $1.90. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.15. Rates for the month of May were down 0.5 percent from the previous month and declined 6.6 percent since May 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 21 percent to 2.4 loads per truck. Three states – Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates also remained stagnant at $2.23. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.76, 6 cents higher than the previous week. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.89. Compared with May 2014, reefer rates are down 6.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down 25 percent to 5.5 loads per truck. Four states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates went up a penny to $2.20. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.48, unchanged when compared to the previous week. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.91. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month but are down 7.2 percent in the last 12 months. There were 26.7 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 11 percent from the previous week. Half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

What’s on your OOIDA business education playlist?

Since the OOIDA Foundation began making its business education classes available online, nearly 72,000 trucking viewers have expanded their business savvy by taking an OOIDA class on YouTube.

Andrew King, a researcher with the OOIDA Foundation, says that not all of those 72,000 are watching on their computer. Many are viewing the 20- to 30-minute programs via the latest trend, tablets. And here’s an interesting fact: As many as 30 percent have watched on their smartphone.

Since 2006, OOIDA has been involved with business education efforts that include educational classes for the small-business owner and the professional truck driver. During the past several years, the classes have been available online.

Dozens of classes are yours for the clicking – from buying equipment, costs of operations, truck insurance, getting your broker authority, pros and cons of per diem, new entrant safety audits, driver health, lifestyles, and law on the road. A list of the classes is available at ooidaonlineeducation.com.

The classes are free, thanks to sponsors like Road Law, Trucker Tax Service, Arrow Truck Sales, Howes Lubricator, DAT Solutions, Tire Retread and Repair Information Bureau, Taxation Solutions Inc., Find Truck Service, Team CME, AIA and Phoenix Sleep Solutions. Land Line Magazine is a sponsor, too, along with “Land Line Now” trucking radio.

The series does more than offer tips; it teaches.

“For a variety of different reasons, a vast majority of businesses fail within the first year of operating,” says OOIDA’s Tom Gann, host of the online programming.  

“If you are thinking about entering the trucking industry, switching from a company driver to an owner-operator, or just wanting to be a more successful business person,” says Gann, “we encourage you to check out our educational classes.”

Some are tailored to truckers who are leased to a motor carrier, some to owner-operators with their own authority. Some of the classes are general industry topics suitable for all professional drivers. Gann says the classes are also popular with the spouses or partners who are running the business back home.

Gann says among the most popular are the hours-of-service classes, a three-part series on dealing with the IRS, and the three-part series on load boards. Coming soon is a free five-part series that discusses the new CDL medical certification process.

This series is designed to help drivers understand and prepare for a DOT physical exam under the new rules.

  • Part 1 will be an overview of what it takes to get your medical certification card;
  • Part 2 will be a discussion of what you need to do to be prepared for the exam;
  • Part 3 will help you understand what you are going to be asked and, more importantly, point out why they are asking;
  • Part 4 will talk about the actual exam and how your medical history will be tied to the results;
  • Part 5 will cover the good and the bad. This part will tell you what’s next if you pass the exam and what you can do if you don’t pass.


You can find all of the OOIDA online education programs at ooidaonlineeducation.com or view many of the programs on our YouTube Channel by searching for OOIDA Business Education within YouTube.

Wyakin Warrior Foundation receives $50,000 donation from Meritor

Meritor Inc. recently announced that it will make a $50,000 donation to the Wyakin Warrior Foundation, according to a press release. The contribution aligns with Meritor’s 100-year tradition of supporting the United States military.

Based in Boise, Idaho, the Wyakin Warrior Foundation provides mentoring and financial assistance to veterans pursuing a degree. It costs $25,000 per veteran for the 60-month Wyakin Warrior program. Veterans enrolled in the program will receive education and financial assistance, attend monthly professional development seminars, build job skills, and acquire certification or a degree. All of the elements in the program will help participants in job placement.

According to the press release, more than 52,000 military personnel have been injured since 9/11. Veterans who have been the most severely injured are the prime focus of the foundation as they face the most difficulty in building a quality civilian life. The foundation is supporting 26 such veterans.

Staff Sgt. George Nickel of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 321st Engineer Battalion has completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology and is working toward a master’s degree to be completed next year. Nickel is currently the foundation’s Student and Veteran Affairs director and plans to become a social worker for veterans.

In February 2007, Nickels suffered a traumatic brain injury and eight serious fractures after being the lone survivor of a February 2007 attack on his vehicle in Iraq. Nickels was unable to return to the military or a civilian job and spent time eight months in jail after drinking heavily. After taking advantage of the Wyakin Warriors Foundation, Nickels was able to turn his life around.

In January, Meritor launched its “Shoes for Soldiers” campaign, which earmarked a percentage of its remanufactured brake shoe sales to the Wyakin Warrior Foundation. Meritor’s $50,000 contribution includes a $20,000 match from the Meritor Trust Fund.

Meritor, Inc. is a leading global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets.

OOIDA members stand tall at 33rd Annual SuperRigs

Kiegan Nelson of Richfield, Wis., captured Best of Show honors with a 1985 Peterbilt 359 and 2014 Mac trailer, owned by OOIDA Member Vinnie Diorio, at the 33rd annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition held June 11-13 at Retama Park in Selma, Texas.

He was awarded $10,000 from Shell Rotella and $5,000 from Mac trailers. The winning truck also captured first place in the People’s Choice category, which is voted on by competitors and attendees during the event.

“It was an amazing experience to compete against all these trucks, and to come out on top is a great feeling,” said Nelson. “There were a lot of cool trucks here, and to take home the top title is incredibly surreal.”

OOIDA Member Phil Miller of Amargosa Valley, Nev., won Best of Show first runner-up, and $4,000 from Shell Rotella and $3,000 from Mac Trailer with his 2010 Peterbilt 389. He also won for Best Engine. Marciano Esparza Sandoval of Salinas, Calif. was awarded Best of Show second runner-up, plus $2,000 from Shell Rotella and $2,000 from Mac Trailer for his 1991 Peterbilt 379, owned by Ramon “Lil Ray” Rodriguez, a Land Line reader.

The Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition is the premier truck beauty contest for actively working trucks. Owner-operator truckers from across the United States and Canada compete for cash and prizes valued at approximately $25,000. Twelve drivers were also selected to have their truck featured in the 2016 Shell Rotella SuperRigscalendar.

First-place winners also included Bobby Delon of Von Ormy, Texas, in the Tractor/Trailer Division for his 2004 Peterbilt 379; Billy Griffin of Irving, Texas, in the Tractor Division with a 2011 Peterbilt 389; and OOIDA Member Daniel Snow and his wife Phyllis of Harrison, Ark., who won in the Classic Division with their 1996 Freightliner Classic XL. The Most Hardworking Trucker award went to OOIDA Senior Member Paul Rissler, of California, Mo., who drives a 1996 Peterbilt 379. All award winners also received MyMilesMatter points and a case of Shell Rotella engine oil. 

Hardworking truckers who couldn’t attend Rotella SuperRigs can enter the Shell Rotella Virtual SuperRigs contest through July 3 on Instagram. Just upload a picture of your rig on Instagram between now and July 3 with @ShellRotellaT and the hashtag #VSR2015Contest in the post for chance to win the grand prize of $500.

More than 100,000 Kenworth trucks recalled

Eleven models of Kenworth trucks from 2011-2016 have been recalled due to a water leak in the wiper motor, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

More than 100,000 Kenworth trucks manufactured from November 2010 to April 2015 are affected. A recall investigation found that water was getting into the windshield wiper motor, causing the intermittent setting to fail. Visibility during weather with precipitation could be reduced and increase the chance of a crash. Corrosion and electrical shorts are also possible with the water leak, increasing the risk of a fire.

The following 2011-2016 Kenworth models have been affected:

  • 963 
  • C500 
  • C540 
  • C550 
  • T270 
  • T370 
  • T440 
  • T470 
  • T680 
  • T800 
  • W900


Notifications have not been scheduled as Paccar is still working on a solution to the issue. Owners can contact Kenworth customer service at 425-828-5000. The recall number is 15KWF. Owners can also call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 or visit safercar.gov.

Due Aug. 31: Form 2290 reminder

The IRS is no longer mailing out reminders for the Form 2290, so OOIDA’s Permits and Licensing Department is giving truck owners a heads up – it’s time to think about the federal highway use tax for heavy vehicles, also known as the HUT or HVUT tax. It’s that $550 fee you pay each year when you file an IRS Form 2290.

The tax year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. The balance due shown on the Form 2290 must be paid in full by the due date of the return. For trucks and other taxable vehicles in use during July, the Form 2290 and payment are due on Aug. 31. State governments are required to receive proof of payment of the federal heavy vehicle use tax as a condition of vehicle registration.

Fleets with 25 or more vehicles must pay online with the IRS. Smaller fleets still have the option of paying by check or money order, either mailed or walked into an IRS office. A lot of IRS offices no longer take those payments anymore, so it’s a good idea to call your local IRS offices before making a trip there to pay.

Although you can make this payment yourself, the Business Services staff at the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association provides a service for members to help them get the tax paid.

“For a service fee, OOIDA Permits and Licensing Department offers members the convenience and speed of filing the Form 2290s online,” said OOIDA’s Cathy Koncilia. 

Koncilia says the IRS is no longer mailing out reminders for the 2290.

In general, the federal heavy vehicle use tax applies to trucks, truck tractors and buses with a gross taxable weight of 55,000 pounds or more.

There is a change this year in computing tax when a vehicle is purchased from a private seller during the tax period. Call OOIDA Permits and Licensing staff or see page 5 of the Form 2290 instructions for details.  

Largest decline since January 2014 for April freight

The Freight Transportation Service Index decreased by 1.8 percent in April to 120.4 from 122.9 in March. April experienced a return to declines after March saw the only month-to-month increase for the year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Air and waterborne freight increased in April when compared with the previous month. However, truck and pipeline freight experienced large declines, bringing the index to a net loss.

April was the largest monthly decrease since last January when the index went down 2.5 percent. TSI has gone up 27.2 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6. Trucking freight received its third consecutive decline in the index.

Freight shipments are down 1.7 percent from March 2014, up 13.2 percent from five years ago, and up 6.5 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.

TravelCenters of America plans August fundraiser for truckers

The 2015 Band Together for the St. Christopher Fund campaign is scheduled to run during the month of August. Drivers can donate $1 or more at TA and Petro sites and receive a commemorative wristband. The money goes to help truckers with financial hardships due to a medical condition.

TravelCenters of America has provided support to the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund since 2010 through its annual campaign plus through smaller collection efforts at tradeshows and employee events throughout the year. To date, TravelCenters has helped raise more than $1.4 million for the charity that provides financial support to professional drivers without other means to fund prescription medications, living expenses and medical procedures.

Donations to the St. Christopher Fund can also be made directly at truckersfund.org

Average spot freight rates are up for all three modes

Spot rate averages for freight were up for all three modes for the week ending Saturday, June 6. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates increased by 5 cents to $1.90 after four weeks at $1.85. Los Angeles and Atlanta experienced rates as high as $2.17. Rates for the month of May were down 0.5 percent from the previous month and declined 6.6 percent since May 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 20 percent to 3.0 loads per truck. Three states – Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates went up 4 cents to $2.23. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.70, 5 cents higher than the previous week. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.86. Compared with May 2014, reefer rates are down 6.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios rose 39 percent to 7.3 loads per truck. Four states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates went up a penny to $2.19. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.48, unchanged when compared to the previous week. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.91. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month but are down 7.2 percent in the last 12 months. There were 30.0 loads per truck for flatbeds, an increase of 31 percent from the previous week. Half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

Shell Rotella’s SuperRigs races into Texas this weekend

The 33rd Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck competition will be racing into Retama Park in Selma, Texas, June 11-13 with this year’s theme of “Thoroughbreds of Trucking.” Shell Rotella SuperRigs contestants and attendees will be able to see some of the best looking working trucks during the day and enjoy horse racing in the evening on Friday and Saturday nights. The racetrack, which hosts Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred Horse racing, is located near San Antonio, immediately off of I-35 at Exit 174-A. All Shell Rotella SuperRigs events are free and open to the public.

The Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition is the premier truck beauty contest for actively working trucks. Hard-working owner-operators from across the United States and Canada will compete for cash and prizes in excess of $25,000. Twelve drivers will be selected to have their trucks featured in the 2016 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar. All entrants will be awarded with a gift package valued at more than $50, while supplies last.

This year’s Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck competition will also feature fun, interactive and entertaining events for drivers and their families each day and night including games, classic car clubs, BBQ cook-off, a vendor area and the Shell Rotella Road Show. Game competitions will take place in the “Cool Zone” and will include the Corn Hole Toss competition on Saturday, as well as the Shell Rotella Truck Yard contest, which will challenge contestants to a remote control tractor-trailer race.

On Thursday evening, attendees will be treated to the annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck light show, followed by a free live country music concert featuring Texas musician Phil Pritchett and his British Invasion hits.

The BBQ cook-off will begin on Friday, where avid BBQ enthusiasts and grillers will compete for the honor of the best barbecue at the 2015 Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck competition. Contestants’ dishes will also serve as a free BBQ lunch to both attendees and contestants alike. Shell Rotella SuperRigs attendees can spend Friday night at the annual truck parade on the Retama Park race track, followed by a fireworks show and a country concert performed by Phil Pritchett.

Check out Pritchett performing on the Shell Rotella Facebook page.

Shell Rotella SuperRigs judging will conclude at 12 p.m. on Saturday and the awards ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Judging for the BBQ cook-off will be held on Saturday afternoon, as well.

Shell Rotella SuperRigs highlights: 

  • San Antonio-based Texas Chrome Shop will display some of the custom working rigs they have created and will be available to greet attendees.
  • National Tractor Pullers Association champions Larry and Adam Koester and their Shell Rotella mini-modified tractors will attend and greet Shell Rotella SuperRigs attendees.
  • The Shell Rotella Road Show will be on-site, allowing spectators the opportunity to participate and engage in interactive programs, and learn more about the protection and support that they can expect from the entire Shell Rotella line of products.

Trucks entered in the Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck competition will be judged by industry professionals who work for major trucking publications or broadcast companies. Judges score the rigs on exterior appearance, design, detail/finish, originality and workmanship. In total, 24 working trucks receive awards for categories such as Best of Show, Tractor, Tractor-Trailer Combination and Classic.

Judging will take place between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, June 11-12, and between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday, June 13. Land Line Magazine Managing Editor Jami Jones is back judging again this year. Judging takes about 20 minutes and contestants do not need to be present to win. The awards ceremony will take place at 2:30 pm on Saturday, June 13.

The vendor pavilion area will feature a variety of vendors, presenting contestants the opportunity to learn more about their products. Vendors in attendance include MAC Trailer, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Big Idaho Potato Truck, Texas Chrome Shop and more.

For updates about the Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck competition and Shell Rotella products, visit Rotella.com and follow Shell Rotella on Facebook at Facebook.com/ShellRotella, on Twitter at Twitter.com/ShellRotella and Instagram at Instagram.com/ShellRotellaT. The social media hashtag for the event is #SuperRigs.

Significant gains in May for truck and transport jobs

May marked the fourth consecutive month of job gains for the transportation sector. After suffering a significant job loss in March and minor gains in April, truck transportation – a subsector – had significant gains in May.

The transportation sector gained more than 13,000 jobs in April, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a significant gain of nearly 9,000 jobs after the industry lost nearly 7,000 jobs In March. Nearly 2,000 truck transportation jobs were added in April.

Truck transport exhibited the highest gains with an addition of nearly 9,000 jobs. Only three of 10 subsectors showed losses with “support activities for transportation” losing the most with 1,100 fewer jobs.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.84 for May, up 8 cents from April. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 10 cents to $20.76. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased 8 cents to $24.96. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.3 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 7.0 percent from 8.2 percent last May. The overall unemployment rate for the country made little change at 5.5 percent. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for May, but has decreased by 849,000 in the past 12 months.

Average spot freight rates reveal minor changes

Spot rate averages for freight were up, down and unchanged for the three modes for the week ending Saturday, May 30. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates remained stagnant at $1.85 for the fourth consecutive week. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.09, also unchanged from the previous week. Rates for the month of May were down 0.5 percent from the previous month and declined 6.6 percent since May 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 5.5 percent to 2.5 loads per truck. Three states – Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, three fewer than the previous week.

Reefer rates went up a penny to $2.19. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.65, unchanged from the previous week. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.83. Compared with May 2014, reefer rates are down 6.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios fell 12.5 percent to 5.2 loads per truck. Four states have ratios of 12 or more, two fewer than the week prior.

Flatbed rates dropped a penny to $2.18. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.48, a 50-cent drop when compared to the previous week. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.91. Rates are up 0.5 percent for the month but are down 7.2 percent in the last 12 months. There were 22.9 loads per truck for flatbeds, an increase of 17 percent from the previous week. Half of all states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

Two new CNG stations open in Texas

Two new compressed natural gas (CNG) stations have opened in Texas, according to amp Trillium, a joint venture between Trillium CNG and ampCNG.

The new stations are located off Interstate 20 in Brock, Texas, and I-10 in Kerrville, Texas. Open to the public, the stations will service all CNG vehicles. Three Class 8 trucks are able to fuel simultaneously at 10-12 diesel gallon equivalents per minute.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are 832 public CNG stations and only 73 liquefied natural gas (LNG) stations in the U.S. at the present time. 

In a 2013 report, natural gas engine engineering company Westport projected that approximately 150 LNG stations would be needed to cover all of the major interstate trucking routes at 300-mile intervals. Back in March, Shell opened new LNG lanes at two TravelCenters of America locations.

Commerce report from March: First month-to-month increase since October

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that in March trucks moved more than 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. 

Freight totaled $96.1 billion, the first increase when compared to the previous month since last October and the largest total since last November, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Freight flows are down 5.3 percent when compared with March 2014.

Three of five modes experienced an increase in commodity value when compared with March 2014. Air freight had the highest growth at a rate of 6 percent. Rail increased by 1.5 percent and truck cargo increased 0.9 percent. Pipeline and vessel freight decreased by 41.6 and 30.3 percent, respectively, leading to the net value loss compared with a year ago.

Trucks were responsible for $61.5 billion of the $85.7 billion of imports and exports in March. Rail came in at second with a contribution of more than $14 billion.

More than 58 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.7 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 15.7 percent compared with March 2014. Of the $45.2 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 70 percent of the loads.

Stemco-ATDynamics claims GreenTail is patent infringement

Stemco, an EnPro Industries company, has announced that its subsidiary ATDynamics filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction against Ridge Corp. in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on May 19, 2015.

ATDynamics has asked the court to enjoin Ridge Corp. from making or selling the GreenTail aerodynamic device on the basis that the GreenTail infringes on at least 30 claims from Stemco-ATDynamics’ extensive patent portfolio. Those patents include TrailerTail products.

“We invest substantial resources into developing innovative and effective drag-reducing technologies for our customers,” said Bob Montgomery, vice president of the Innovative Tire & Mileage Solutions Group for Stemco.  

Stemco-ATDynamics has engaged attorneys Timothy Carroll and Kourtney Merrill of Perkins Coie to handle the case.

Average freight spot rates starting to show minor improvement

Spot rate averages for freight were up slightly for two of three modes for the week ending Saturday, May 23. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates remained stagnant at $1.85 for the third consecutive week. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.09, 5 cents higher than the previous week. Rates for the month of April were down 3.6 percent from the previous month and declined 7.5 percent since April 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 2.6 percent to 2.3 loads per truck. Six states have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates went up a penny to $2.18. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.65, reclaiming its price edge from Lakeland, Fla., from the previous week. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.83. Compared with April 2014, reefer rates are down 7.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios remained unchanged at 6.0 loads per truck. Six states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates also went up a penny to $2.19. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.77. Rates are down 0.9 percent for the month and 7.3 percent in the last 12 months. There were 19.6 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 0.7 percent from the previous week. More than half of states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

Daimler trucks added to Takata airbag recall list

Daimler Truck North America has been added to the laundry list of manufacturers affected by the Takata airbag recall. Daimler Trucks claims the number of affected trucks is small.

As of press time, the scope of Daimler trucks to be recalled – including model and number of units – is unknown. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document names Daimler Trucks North America as one of eight manufacturers that installed 7.7 million Takata airbags. The document notes that although Takata knows the number sold to each manufacturer, the company is unaware how many were installed in vehicles sold and registered in the United States.

Daimler’s recall notice was the second of four notices regarding the Takata airbags. The first recall included more than 17 million vehicles. Since then the number of vehicles affected has doubled to 34 million.

Official recall documents reveal that Takata airbags are susceptible to ejecting shards of metal fragments once activated. Metal projectiles could lead to injury and death. Six deaths have been blamed on the airbag defect.

Drivers who suspect their vehicle may be subject to the recall should visit safercar.gov to check VINs for possible recalls. Owners can also call the National Highway Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.

Mack employees to join Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom

In honor of fallen soldiers this Memorial Day weekend, Mack Trucks employees will team up with the 28th annual Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom rally, which will culminate in Washington, D.C., May 22-24.

Each year during the Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of thousands of motorcycles make the journey to the nation’s capital from all across the United States. Established in 1987, the rally was started to bring more attention to the Rolling Thunder’s call to find more POW/MIAs in past conflicts. The rally has grown from approximately 2,500 in 1988 to more than 500,000 in 2013.

Employees from the Mack Customer Center, which is located in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, will go to Mack’s powertrain plant in Hagerstown, Md., for a special ceremony. Attendees will travel by truck and motorcycle. From there, Mack employees will join the Ride for Freedom rally.

A Mack Pinnacle Axle Forward Rawhide Edition will be used for the tribute truck. The truck features custom graphics celebrating each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, elements of the American flag, and the motto, “A Beacon of Hope to All.”

Continental Tire named tire sponsor for ChampTruck racing series

Continental Tire has been named the official tire sponsor of the Meritor ChampTruck series. ChampTruck is a competitive truck racing event, founded by OOIDA Member and stunt driver Mike Ryan and his partners.

All trucks in this year’s ChampTruck series will use the Continental HSR2 tread pattern. Continental Tire research and development engineers teamed up with ChampTruck drivers to test tires best suited for racing, Continental Tire Director of Marketing Alex Chmiel said in a press release.

The Meritor ChampTruck World Series features Class 8 tractors with commercially available diesel engines. Ryan has said that tractor racing has a big following in Europe, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. Check out Land Line Staff Writer Greg Grisolano’s interview with Ryan here.

According to its website, ChampTruck will hold 10 races that will crown a champion at an event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Nov. 1. Much like NASCAR, drivers will earn points in each of the races. Racing began on April 24 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park.

For more information and event schedules, visit the Meritor ChampTruck World Series website.

Power Service Products to build new 100,000-square-foot facility

Diesel fuel additives manufacturer Power Service Products has announced plans to build an additional 100,000-square-foot bulk storage and blending facility, according to a press release. The decision was based on increased customer demand.

Power Service Products’ manufacturing and storage facilities, testing and research laboratory, and corporate offices are all located on a 42-acre site in Weatherford, Texas. Completion of the announced facility is slated for March 2016.

Power Service Products has been around since 1956 and is third generation family- and veteran-owned. Products are available at truck stops and automotive retailers across the country.

Average freight spot rates at a standstill

Spot rate averages for freight were mostly unchanged for the week ending Saturday, May 16. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates remained stagnant at $1.85. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.04, reclaiming its top spot for high rates from Atlanta. Rates for the month of April were down 3.6 percent from the previous month and declined 7.5 percent since April 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 13.9 percent to 2.4 loads per truck. Six states have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates went up a penny to $2.17, the only increase for the week. Lakeland, Fla., rates were as high as $2.56, surpassing typically higher rates in Green Bay. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.78. Compared with April 2014, reefer rates are down 7.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 1.9 percent to 6.0 loads per truck. Six states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates went unchanged at $2.18. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.77. Rates are down 0.9 percent for the month and 7.3 percent in the last 12 months. There were 19.8 loads per truck for flatbeds, a decrease of 4.0 percent from the previous week. More than half of states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

Run For The Wall riders are D.C. bound

Three large groups of motorcyclists were eastbound on different highways in New Mexico Friday, May 15, on day 3 of the annual Run for the Wall.

More than 700 bikers are riding from California to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., to honor all military veterans – and especially those who were killed in action or are missing.

OOIDA Member David Talley says when his group rolled into Gallup, N.M., on Thursday, the town turned out.

“We got off and paraded through town and went all the way up to Red Rock, and it’s a 15-mile trip,” Talley said. “And there were flags about every 100 feet. It was awesome.”

The bikers expect to reach Washington next Friday, May 22, and will be joined by other riders for a procession called “Rolling Thunder.” 

Improving weather yields positive March results for all freight

The Freight Transportation Service Index increased by 1.7 percent in March to 122.9 from 120.9 in February. March marks the first increase after three consecutive months of decreases, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

TSI’s growth of 0.2 percent for the first quarter of 2015 was the smallest quarterly increase since the third quarter of 2012, not counting the decline in the second quarter of 2014. Unusual extreme weather in parts of the country is partly responsible for lack of significant growth.

Despite a minor quarterly increase, March was the largest monthly increase since last July. TSI has gone up 29.9 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6. Trucking freight received its second consecutive decline in the index.

Freight shipments are up 1.7 percent from March 2014, up 16.7 percent from five years ago, and increased by 9.5 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.

Make-A-Wish convoy raises more than $300,000

Hundreds of truckers showed up in Lancaster, Pa., on Mother’s Day for the 26th annual Make-A-Wish Mother’s Day Truck Convoy. A total of 380 trucks drove in and raised more than $300,000 for the Philadelphia, Northern Delaware and Susquehanna Valley chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

With 45 more trucks than last year’s convoy, participants brought in enough donations to grant wishes for approximately 30 children. Since truckers have until June 15 to turn in their pledges, the exact amount raised is to be determined.

Back in 1990, a 12-year-old named Matt wished to ride in a truck and speak with his sister on a CB radio. Approximately 40 trucks showed up to grant Matt his wish. In a press release sent out before this year’s convoy, Make-A-Wish expected more than 250 trucks to participate.

In addition to raising money and awareness, approximately 100 Make-A-Wish children rode along in the convoy. Pictures of children who have been helped by the charity were used to decorate many of the trucks. Approximately 6,000 spectators were spread across the route that ran 28 miles.

This year’s convoy was sponsored by RoadPro, which donated $20,000 to the foundation.

Signs of improvement for latest average spot market freight rates

Spot rate averages for freight went up for two of three modes for the week ending Saturday, May 9. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates suffered the only loss at a 1-cent decline to $1.85. Atlanta experienced rates as high as $2.07, surpassing the typically higher rates in Los Angeles. Rates for the month of April were down 3.6 percent from the previous month and declined 7.5 percent since April 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased 12 percent to 2.8 loads per truck. Six states have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates went up 4 cents to $2.16, after staying at $2.12 for three weeks. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.55. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.80, and a 12-cent decrease from the previous week. Compared with April 2014, reefer rates are down 7.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 6.2 percent to 5.9 loads per truck. Six states have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the week prior.

Flatbed rates went up a penny to $2.18. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.77. Rates are down 0.9 percent for the month and 7.3 percent in the last 12 months. There were 20.6 loads per truck for flatbeds, a slight decrease from 20.8 the previous week. More than half of states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

Daimler will skip MATS in 2016

Daimler Trucks North America will not attend the Mid-America Trucking Show in 2016. Dave Giroux, head of corporate communications and public relations, confirmed this week that DTNA intends to return to the MATS in 2017 and attend the show every other year thereafter. 

The show is the largest annual heavy-duty trucking event in the world. It’s held every spring at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville.

Giroux stated by email to Land Line that DTNA expects to engage in an ongoing dialogue with MATS show management and industry leaders to discuss how to further supplement the show with additional activities for the collective benefit of original equipment manufacturers, suppliers and customers.

DTNA is the parent company of Freightliner and Western Star trucks and Detroit Diesel.

Trucking jobs increase after a month of huge losses

April marked the third consecutive month of job gains for the transportation sector. After suffering a significant job loss in March, truck transportation – a subsector – had some gains in April.

The transportation sector gained more than 15,000 jobs in April, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector showed a relatively moderate gain of nearly 2,000 jobs after the industry lost nearly 7,000 jobs the month prior. Approximately 2,600 truck transportation jobs were added in February. Trucking jobs gained a moderate amount compared to other subsectors in the transportation and warehousing subsector.

The “support activities for transportation” exhibited the highest gains with an addition of nearly 5,000 jobs. Only two subsectors showed losses with “transit and ground passenger transportation” losing 400 jobs and water transportation losing 100 jobs.

April’s transportation job gain is much larger than March, which saw a gain of 9,500. February had a gain of 18,500, the largest increase in more than a year.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.76 for April, down 8 cents from March. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 10 cents to $20.66. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased 3 cents to $24.87. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.1 percent from 8.0 percent last April. The overall unemployment rate for the country made little change at 5.4 percent. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for April, but has decreased by 888,000 in the past 12 months.

2015 truck shows are on the calendar

There are many upcoming truck shows, and Land Line has gathered up some of them for 2015.

Make sure to bookmark Land Line’s Industry Calendar for new shows and updates. Is the list missing a show? Contact Kerry Evans-Spillman at Kerry_Evans-Spillman@landlinemag.com

May
28-30 American Truck Historical Society National Convention & Antique Truck Show,
 York Expo Center, York, Pa. For more information, visit aths.org or call 816-891-9900.

June
5-7 Wheel Jam,
 Huron, SD. For more info go to wheeljamtruckshow.com or call Scot Marone at 605-354-2809 or Doug Flowers at 605-354-1324.

11-13 Shell Rotella SuperRigs, Retama Park, Selma, Texas. For more information, visit rotella.com.

19-21 NAST Great Lakes Truck Show
, Dundee, Mich. For more information, visit nastshowtrucks.org.

20 Down Home Truck Show,
 Humboldt, Neb. For more information, call Susie Shupp at 402-414-7021 or email jimshupp@hotmail.com.

20-21 ATHS Ohio Vintage Truck Jamboree,
 Ashland County Fairgrounds, Ashland, Ohio. For more information, call Bill Peters at 330-682-1707 or visit ohvintrkjam.com.

July
9-11 Walcott Truckers Jamboree,
 Iowa 80 Truckstop, Walcott, Iowa. For more information, visit iowa80truckstop.com or call 563-284-6961.

17-18 Fitzgerald Glider Kits,
 Crossville, Tenn. For more information, visit truckshow.com.

23-25 Southern West Virginia Class 8 Beauty Truck Show,
 Princeton Church of God, Princeton, W.V. For more information, call Robert Rosner at 304-960-9503.

24-25 Expedite Expo,
 Roberts Convention Centre, Wilmington, Ohio. For more information, visit expediteexpo.com.

31-Aug. 2 Color and Chrome Fantasy Truck Show, Ogallala, Neb. For more information, visit ccftruckshow.com.

August
6-9 Brockway Truck Show,
 Courtland, N.Y. For more information, visit brockwaytrucks.org.

14-16 NAST Eau Claire Big Truck Show,
 Eau Claire, Wis. For more information, visit nastshowtrucks.org.

27-29 Great American Trucking Show,
 Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas, Texas. For more information, visit gatsonline.com.

September
11-13 Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show
, St. Ignace, Mich. For more information, visit nastshowtrucks.org.

20-22 Women In Trucking’s Accelerate! Conference & Expo, Hilton Anatole, Dallas, Texas. For more information, visit womenintrucking.org.

Davenport Transport joins Lone Star Transportation

Two more companies within the trucking industry have merged. Davenport Transport and Rigging has joined Lone Star Transportation LLC, according to a Daseke press release. Daseke is the parent company of Lone Star Transportation.

Lone Star President and CEO Tex Robbins in the press release called Davenport one of the premier super-heavy transport companies in the country. David and Donnie Davenport have a combined 80 years of industry experience. Davenport Transport and Rigging began as Dave Davenport and Sons Trucking Co., which was started by their father in 1971.

Davenport will continue to operate super-heavy transport from its facility in Angleton, Texas. Beyond that, the terms of the merger were not announced.

Lone Star specializes in time-sensitive transportation of aerospace parts, renewable energy, building and construction materials, oil and gas equipment, and heavy equipment. More than 1,500 open-deck trailers and 500 tractors are driven by owner-operators.

Average spot market freight rates still declining

Spot rate averages failed to increase for all three freight modes for the week ending Saturday, May 2. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates dropped a penny to $1.86. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.07, unchanged from the previous week. Rates for the month of April were down 3.6 percent from the previous month and declined 7.5 percent since April 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased 2.8 percent to 2.5 loads per truck. Six states have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, one fewer than the week prior.

Reefer rates remained stagnant at $2.12 for the third consecutive week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.54, a 17-cent decrease from the previous week. Elizabeth, N.J., had the low rates of $1.92. Compared with April 2014, reefer rates are down 7.0 percent. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 5.4 percent to 5.5 loads per truck. Six states have ratios of 12 or more, less than half the number of states the previous week.

Flatbed rates went down 2 cents to $2.17. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.77. Rates are down 0.9 percent for the month 7.3 percent in the last 12 months. There were 20.8 loads per truck for flatbeds, a slight increase from 20.7 the previous week. More than half of states in the contiguous U.S. have ratios of 18 or higher.

Chevron Delo announces April 2015 Million Mile Club inductees

Delo engine oil manufacturer Chevron Products Company has announced the newest additions to the Chevron Delo sponsored Red Eye Radio Million Mile Club.

The Red Eye Radio Million Mile Club honors truck drivers in the United States and Canada with 1 million miles of accident-free driving. Each new member of the Million Mile Club will receive a personalized jacket provided by Chevron Delo, a membership card and a gift from participating sponsors.

The inductees for April 2015 are:

  • OOIDA Member Perry Adams, owner-operator, Vilas, N.C.
  • OOIDA Member Henry (Bud) Beck, Beck Transport, Romeo, Mich.
  • OOIDA Member Charles Johns, Long Haul Trucking, Oxford, Ala.
  • OOIDA Member Garrick Pitts, owner-operator, Conway, Ark.
  • Rochelle Gray, Frito Lay, Combine, Texas
  • Eduardo Velarde, Con-way Truckload, El Paso, Texas
  • Edgar Boyle, Pace Transportation, Plattsmouth, Neb.
  • Stephanie Klang, Con-way Truckload, Diamond, Mo.

Drivers can apply for the Million Mile Club at ChevronDelo.com/promotions.

Carlisle Truck Nationals featuring monster trucks on August 7-9

Heavy-duty, light-duty, dump trucks, even monster trucks. They can all be found Aug. 7-9 at this year’s Carlisle Truck Nationals at Carlisle Fairgrounds in Carlisle, Pa.

After a one-year hiatus, the monster truck and compact car-destroying Megasaurus is expected to return this year. Also returning is Megasaurus’ nemesis, Transaurus. A Mega Metal Monster Showdown looks to be in the making. Feeding times for the Monster trucks are slated for once on Friday and twice on Saturday.

Hall of Fame Monster Truck Competitor Diehl Wilson will be driving Virginia Giant, another legendary Monster truck. Also featured is Raminator, named the “World’s Fastest Monster Truck” by Guinness World Records.

The Big Rig Show and Shine is Aug. 8. Judging will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Proud owners will be displaying glistening and polished trucks while competing for top prizes. Other truck events include burnouts, high/low truck battle, low truck limbo, and a drop and drag contest.

In addition to the trucking events, showgoers can take advantage of the family entertainment at the Phantom Fun Zone, pedal karts, scavenger hunts and more. There will also be the swap meet and midway.

For more information, visit the website or call 717-243-7855.

UPS to add more LNG trucks to its fleet

UPS Freight has recently stated that it will add 64 liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractors to its fleet. Currently, UPS has more than 2,500 natural gas vehicles in its fleet.

Based in Harrisburg, Pa., the new LNG tractors will replace older generation diesel-powered trucks. The LNG trucks will be used for less-than-truckload routes. UPS expects the tractors to travel 600 miles per tank.

According to a press release, UPS has nearly 5,500 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles worldwide. Vehicles include all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, compressed natural gas (CNG), LNG, propane, biomethane and lightweight fuel-saving composite body vehicles.

On April 3, Land Line reported that UPS would deploy 1,400 CNG trucks over the next year. UPS will also build 15 CNG fueling stations for the new trucks. Of the 15 new stations, 12 will be in the natural gas vehicle deployment areas. The remaining three will replace existing CNG stations with more equipment of a higher capacity.

UPS expects to log more than 350 million miles per year with its alternative fuel vehicles with the added fleet. The company has a goal of reaching 1 billion miles by the end of 2017.

Another week of decline for average spot market freight rates

Spot rate averages failed to increase for all three freight modes for the week ending Saturday, April 25. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates dropped two cents to $1.87. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.10, 4 cents lower than last week. Rates for the month of March were up 2.7 percent from the previous month and declined 7.2 percent since March 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased 12 percent to 2.6 loads per truck. Seven states – six on the East Coast – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates remained stagnant at $2.12. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.71, a 1-cent decrease from the previous week. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.72, unchanged from the previous week. Compared with March 2014, reefer rates are down 4.4 percent. Load-to-truck ratios were also unchanged from the previous week at 5.9. Fourteen states have ratios of 12 or more, with seven states west of the Mississippi River.

Flatbed rates went down a penny to $2.19. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.98. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.77. Rates are up 2.8 percent for the month, but down 3.5 percent in the last 12 months. There were 20.7 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 1.5 percent decrease from the previous week. Twenty-one states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher, unchanged from the previous week.

Truckers Against Trafficking receives award for public awareness

Truckers Against Trafficking has been awarded the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness, the organization recently announced. The award was part of the annual Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Awards at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Bill Brady, a trucker for Lodestar, accepted the award on behalf of TAT. With 18 years of experience, Brady has been working with TAT since 2012. Representatives from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the American Trucking Associations, the Truckload Carriers Association, and the National Association of Truck Stop Operators were in attendance.

Every year, the Caucus sponsors awards around National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to honor crime victims and those who serve them for outstanding efforts in victim advocacy, allied professional advocacy, public policy and public awareness.

Krista Sohm of Meritor becomes Trucker Buddy’s newest board member

Trucker Buddy International’s Board of Directors has recently announced Meritor’s Marketing and Communications Vice President Krista Sohm as its newest board member. Sohm was elected with a unanimous vote.

Sohm has 25 years of industry experience, according to a press release. Meritor has supported Trucker Buddy for more than 15 years. Contributions from the Meritor Trust have been made to the organization in addition to volunteer work from its employees.

“Krista is recognized for her ability to create and implement innovative ideas. We look forward to the contribution she will bring to our board in helping us advance Trucker Buddy’s mission of enabling schoolchildren to understand the importance of the trucking industry in our everyday lives,” Trucker Buddy International Executive Director Randy Schwartzenburg said in a press release.

Trucker Buddy International is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that helps educate schoolchildren and introduce educators to the trucking industry. Truckers sign up to become pen pals with children in grades K-8. The relationships allow truckers to become a mentors and educators to the children.

Commerce report from February: Truck and plane freight up from last year

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that in February, trucks moved more than 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. 

The dollar value of freight hauled across the borders was the lowest February value since 2011. However, trucks managed to carry more freight when compared with February 2014.

Reduced value of mineral fuels led to a decrease in February 2015 U.S.-NAFTA trade flow as it has for previous months, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Freight totaled $85.7 billion, the fourth consecutive month of decreasing freight flows when compared with the previous month.

Two of five modes experienced an increase in commodity value when compared with February 2014. Air freight had the highest growth at a rate of 4.5 percent. Truck cargo increased 0.9 percent. Rail, pipeline and vessel freight decreased by 6.2, 22.8 and 29.0 percent, respectively, leading to the net value loss for the month.

Trucks were responsible for more than $54 billion of the $85.7 billion of imports and exports in February. Rail came in at second with a contribution of more than $12 billion.

More than 57 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 14.6 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 0.2 percent compared with February 2014. Of the $40.6 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.

Make-A-Wish Mother’s Day Convoy to be held May 10 in Lancaster, Pa.

Celebrating its 26th year of raising awareness and funds for the Make-A-Wish foundation, the Mother’s Day Truck Convoy is slated for Sunday, May 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Burle Industries at 1000 New Holland Avenue in Lancaster, Pa. will host the event.

Back in 1990, a 12-year-old named Matt wished to ride in a truck and speak with his sister on a CB radio. Approximately 40 trucks showed up to grant Matt his wish. This year, more than 250 trucks are expected to participate in the Mother’s Day Convoy.

Food and drinks, including chicken BBQ, will be served while patrons enjoy live music, games, Obie the Clown and a live auction. This year’s auction includes such items as hand-made quilts, a music box, paintings and items hand-carved by Carl Wade, one of the convoy drivers.

For drivers wishing to participate in the convoy or for more information, call the Lancaster office at 717-283-4872 or visit the website here.

Kenworth offers $1,000 rebate on Icon 900 for OOIDA members

Introduced at the Mid-America Trucking Show, the new Kenworth Icon 900 is a customized limited edition truck recognizing the W900L’s timeless, classic style. Kenworth has announced that OOIDA members are now eligible for a $1,000 rebate on qualifying purchases of the Icon 900.

The truck will be available with a 72- or 86-inch sleeper and an engine with muscle up to 600 hp. Some other truck features include:

  • Unique chrome hood badge
  • Stainless steel fender guards
  • Upgraded headlights
  • Headlamp covers
  • LED panel lights mounted under cab and sleeper panels
  • High-back leather seats with limited edition embroidering
  • Leather sofa bed matching the seats
  • Chrome dash surrounds and door pads


Truckers wanting to purchase the Icon 900 and receive the rebate must show their OOIDA membership to their Kenworth dealer. There is a limit of three qualifying trucks for the rebate in one year. Contact a Kenworth dealer for more details.

Average spot market rates drop for all freight modes

Spot rate averages went down for all three freight modes for the week ending Saturday, April 18. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates dropped 2 cents to $1.89. Los Angeles experienced rates as high as $2.14, also 2 cents lower than last week. Rates for the month of March were up 2.7 percent from the previous month and declined 7.2 percent since March 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased 6.6 percent to 2.9 loads per truck. Seven states – six on the East Coast – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates decreased by 3 cents to $2.12 after rates remained at $2.15 since March 21. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.72, a 1-cent decrease from the previous week. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.72, a 3-cent increase. Compared with March 2014, reefer rates are down 4.4 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down by 7.3 percent to 5.9 from 6.3 in the previous week. Fourteen states have ratios of 12 or more, with seven states west of the Mississippi River.

Flatbed rates went down 3 cents to $2.20. This marks the first decline in rates after five weeks of increases. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.59. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.71. Rates are up 2.8 percent for the month, but down 3.5 percent in the last 12 months. There were 21.1 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 5.4 percent decrease from the last week. Twenty-one states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher, unchanged from the previous week.

Ritchie Bros. to hold largest Canadian auction April 28- May 1

Ritchie Bros. to hold largest Canadian auction April 28- May 1
Auctioneer company Ritchie Bros. will be holding its largest ever Canadian auction in Edmonton, Alberta, April 28 to May 1. The unreserved auction will feature more than 8,000 equipment items and trucks.

Items being auctioned off include 225-plus crawler tractors, 235-plus excavators, 210-plus compactors, 85-plus wheel loaders, 95-plus articulated dump trucks, 200-plus truck tractors, 560 trailers, 50-plus agricultural tractors, real estate and more. May 1 will feature oil and gas equipment. All items will go to the highest bidder regardless of closing price.

All items being auctioned off can be seen at rbauction.com/Edmonton.

General auction schedule:

  • Day One (Tuesday, April 28) – 200-plus truck tractors, 120 flatbed trucks, 110 dump trucks, 50-plus service trucks, 60-plus boom trucks, 35-plus water trucks, 30-plus vacuum trucks, 340-plus pickup trucks and more. 
  • Day Two (Wednesday, April 29) – 95-plus articulated dump trucks, 85-plus wheel loaders, 65-plus motor graders, 70-plus multi-terrain loaders, 40-plus motor scrapers, 50-plus skid steer loaders, 25-plus loader backhoes, 125-plus dump trailers, 65-plus lowboys, 25-plus hiboys, 20-plus log trailers and more. 
  • Day Three (Thursday, April 30) – 225-plus crawler tractors, 285-plus boom lifts, 140-plus scissorlifts, 120-plus telescopic forklifts, 45-plus forklifts, 30-plus cranes and more. 
  • Day Four (Friday, May 1) – 235-plus excavators, 210-plus compactors, as well as oil and gas, drilling, forestry and other equipment. 


Specific equipment highlights include:

  • 30-plus Kenworth T800 truck tractors 
  • 35 Caterpillar D6T LGP crawler tractors 
  • 25-plus Caterpillar D8T crawler tractors 
  • 15 Volvo A40F 6x6 articulated dump trucks 
  • 15 2014 Caterpillar 299D XPS multi-terrain loaders 
  • Seven Caterpillar 14M VHP motor graders 
  • Four 2011 Caterpillar 740B 6x6 articulated dump trucks 
  • Four 2015 Freightliner 122SD tri-drive truck tractors 
  • Three 2013 Caterpillar 627H motor scrapers 
  • Two unused Komatsu WA270-7 wheel loaders 
  • Two Link-Belt HTC86100 100-ton 8x4x4 hydraulic truck cranes 
  • An unused 2014 Caterpillar 320EL hydraulic excavator 
  • A 2011 Bauer BG20H foundation drill

 

Kenworth T880 is ATD Commercial Truck of Year

The Kenworth T880 vocational truck with the Paccar MX-13 engine has been named 2015 Commercial Truck of the Year by the American Truck Dealers.

This year’s ATD Truck of the Year competition focused on the vocational and heavy haul/severe duty truck category. During the competition, a panel of judges consisting of industry experts conducted test drives and evaluated each truck entry in key categories, which included innovation, design, safety, driver ergonomics and comfort.

The Kenworth T880 is for vocational customers who require a durable truck for demanding dump, mixer, heavy haul, oilfield, logging and refuse applications. KW says customers can expect longer service intervals, increased uptime, lower operating costs and high resale value. The T880 is available in daycab, 52-inch sleeper and the just announced 76-inch mid-roof sleeper configurations.

The T880 is standard with the Paccar MX-13 engine rated up to 500 hp and 1,850 lb-ft. of torque. The T880 can be ordered with a 116.5-inch BBC hood optimized for the Paccar MX-13 engine and providing enhanced visibility, or with the standard 122.5-inch BBC hood.

The T880 also includes an air-assisted hydraulic clutch, complex reflector headlamps, and lightweight, factory-installed lift axles.

The judges, a panel of select journalists, selected the winners. Land Line Magazine Field Editor Suzanne Stempinski was on the judging panel.

Con-way teams up with Truckers Against Trafficking

Another trucking company has joined the ranks of several government agencies, associations and companies to become part of Truckers Against Trafficking. Con-way Inc. has recently announced its partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking in an effort to curb human trafficking.

With a mission “to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and travel plaza industry to combat domestic sex trafficking,” TAT coordinates with government agencies and trucking companies by supplying them with the tools needed to put a stop to human trafficking.

Con-way’s announcement comes shortly after one of its drivers, Kevin Kimmel, received the Harriet Tubman Award from TAT for recognizing that a young woman was being held captive at a truck stop in Virginia. Kimmel’s vigilance and subsequent actions contacting authorities led to the woman’s freedom and the arrest of her captors.

“Something about the situation just didn’t feel right to me,” said Kimmel in a press release. “I called the police figuring that if I was wrong, I’d be putting a damper on someone’s vacation for 15 minutes, but if I was right, I’d maybe be making a big difference in that girl's life.”

Con-way joins the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and more than 100 companies registered with Truckers Against Trafficking, including 32 other state trucking associations and more than 100,000 individual trained employees. Individual drivers and companies can register by going to TAT’s website and clicking “TAT Trained.”

In a statement provided by Con-way, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia said, “Human trafficking crimes cannot be solved without people like Mr. Kimmel providing critically important tips to law enforcement, and awareness programs like Truckers Against Trafficking are very beneficial in providing education to truck drivers and bringing awareness to this national issue.”

New Love’s along I-40 in Arizona includes 91 parking spaces

Love’s Travel Stop has opened a new location in Williams, Ariz, which includes 91 parking spaces for trucks.

Located off of Exit 163 on Interstate 40, the new Love’s location will include several amenities. The 12,000-square-foot facility will include gourmet coffee, electronics, gift merchandise, and Subway and Carl’s restaurants.

Some of the services provided at the 24/7 travel stop include seven showers, Love’s Truck Tire Care center, RFID cardless fueling, CAT scales and more. Later this year the new location will feature Fast-Fill compressed natural gas.

For a limited time, professional drivers can earn up to five points with their “My Love Rewards” loyalty cards at all Love’s locations. 

OOIDA members eligible for $1,000 rebate on Peterbilt trucks

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association members can now receive a $1,000 rebate on qualifying Peterbilt trucks through Peterbilt dealerships. The offer is valid through 2015.

Truckers can purchase up to three tractors under the rebate program. Delivery must be taken this year. Rebates must be requested within 30 days of taking delivery. OOIDA members must be in good standing for at least 90 days before taking delivery to be eligible.

Truck models eligible for the rebate are:

  • Model 579 with a 72-, 78- or 80-inch sleeper
  • Model 389 with a 72-, 78- or 80-inch sleeper
  • Model 587 with a factory-installed sleeper
Brenner Tank trailer manufacturer to be featured on ‘How It’s Made’

Brenner brand tank trailers and the people who make them will be featured on an upcoming episode of the documentary television series “How It’s Made.” Brenner tankers are manufactured by Wabash National Corporation, headquartered in Lafayette, Ind.

The episode, highlighting step-by-step how Wabash’s Brenner Tank trailers are made, will air at 9 p.m. EST on Thursday, April 9, on the Science Channel in the United States, and on the Discovery Channel in Canada.

The segment was filmed at Brenner’s manufacturing operations in Fond du Lac, Wis. The company has been in operation for more than 100 years.

The “How It’s Made” series, which shows how raw materials are transformed into final products, first aired in 2001.

Service brake defect prompts Daimler truck recall

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document, Daimler Trucks North America LLC has recalled more than 2,000 Freightliner and Western Star trucks. The recalled vehicles have a service brake defect.

Certain Freightliner and Western Star trucks manufactured Oct. 6, 2014, to Feb. 16, 2015, that are equipped with Haldex Life Seal brake chambers are affected. Vehicles affected may experience brake drag due to an improperly seated diaphragm in the brake chamber. While the truck is traveling at highway speeds, the defect may cause loss of control of the vehicle.

Models affected include:

  • 2015 Freightliner 108SD
  • 2015 Freightliner 114SD
  • 2015 Freightliner 122SD
  • 2015 Freightliner Business Class M2
  • 2015 Freightliner Cascadia
  • 2015 Freightliner Coronado
  • 2015 Western Star 4700
  • 2015 Western Star 4900


Daimler Trucks North America will notify customers and will replace the brake chambers free of charge. Daimler’s number for this recall is FL676, and the recall is expected to begin May 25, 2015. Drivers who own one of the recalled models can contact Daimler Trucks North America customer service at 800-385-4357.

Owners can also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit safercar.gov.

IdleAir opens location in South Carolina, plans another in Nuevo Laredo

IdleAir, an alternative to APUs and idling engines during rest periods, has announced a new location at the Flying J in Latta, S.C. A new location in Mexico and future construction plans have also been announced.

Flying J in Latta, S.C., is now equipped with IdleAir Station Modules. The new location is the second solar-PV powered truck stop by IdleAir. Fitted into the cab window with an adapter, the Service Module allows drivers to have heating, cooling, standard electric inside and outside the cab, satellite TV, Internet and more without using an APU or idling the engine. A color touch-screen control, heating/cooling vent, electrical outlets, and telecommunication ports are part of the hookup. Window adapters are $5.

An expanded, overnight 12-hour discount is available for Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association members.

Convoy Solutions LLC, the parent company of IdleAir, has also broken ground for a location in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. This will be IdleAir’s first operation outside the United States. IdleAir will be building terminals with Covenant Transport at their headquarters and national training facility in Chattanooga, Tenn.

For more information on locations, prices and other details, visit idleair.com.

Trucking industry lost nearly 7,000 jobs in March, most in two years

After the biggest net gain in more than a year in February, transportation employment for March continued to grow. Despite overall growth for the industry, truck transportation – a subsector – received a relatively significant loss in jobs.

The transportation sector gained 9,500 jobs in March, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector received a loss of 6,800 jobs, the first loss since August 2014 (down 800) and the largest since March 2013 (down 6,900). Approximately 2,600 truck transportation jobs were added in February. Trucking jobs lost the most in the transportation and warehousing sector, with most subsectors receiving gains.

“Support activities for transportation” received the largest gain with 8,400 jobs added, followed by transit and ground passenger transportation with an additional 3,500 jobs. Scenic and sightseeing transportation experienced the second largest loss with 500 jobs eliminated from the subsector.

March’s transportation job gain is nearly half of the gain from February, which saw a gain of 18,500, the largest increase in more than a year. January lost nearly 9,000 jobs, the largest loss in almost a year.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.91 for March, up two cents from February. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 4 cents to $20.81. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased 7 cents to $24.86. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.1 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 8.1 percent from 9.2 percent last March. The overall unemployment rate for the country made little change at 5.5 percent. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for March, but has decreased by 1.1 million in the past 12 months.

UPS and Raven add alternative fuel trucks to fleets

UPS and Raven Transport both announced this week that they will be adding more alternative fuel trucks to their fleets. Raven will inject 115 liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks into the company, and UPS will deploy 1,400 compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks over the next year.

In addition to its 1,400 new CNG trucks, UPS will also build 15 CNG fueling stations for the new trucks, according to a press release. Of the 15 new stations, 12 will be in the natural gas vehicle deployment areas. The remaining three will replace existing CNG stations with more equipment of a higher capacity.

With a current fleet of 5,088 alternative fuel vehicles, UPS’s new addition will be nearly a 30 percent increase. UPS expects to log in more than 350 million miles per year with its alternative fuel vehicles with the added fleet. The company has a goal of reaching 1 billion miles the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, Raven Transport will add 115 Peterbilt Model 579s to its portfolio. Each truck will be equipped with sleepers and will be powered by LNG. Trucks were purchased from Rush Truck Center of Jacksonville, Fla.

To help support the demand, Clean Energy will open natural gas fueling stations for trucks in Atlanta, Ga.; Birmingham, Ala.; Theodore, Ala.; and Pearl, Miss. Currently, Clean Energy has stations in Albany, Ga.; Valdosta, Ga.; Houston Baytown, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; and Jacksonville, Fla.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are 817 public CNG stations and only 70 LNG stations in the U.S. as of press time.

In a 2013 report, natural gas engine engineering company Westport determined that LNG is more suitable for long-haul trucks. Conversely, CNG is a better fit for smaller commercial vehicles and more local or regional heavy-duty trucks.

Westport also projected that approximately 150 LNG stations would be needed to cover all of the major interstate trucking routes at 300-mile intervals.

Commerce report from January: Trucks moved 60 percent of freight

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that in January, trucks moved more than 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest.

The dollar value of freight hauled across the borders by U.S., Canadian and Mexican truckers in January was more than 1 percent less than a year earlier.

Reduced value of mineral fuels led to a decrease in January 2015 U.S.-NAFTA trade flow, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Freight totaled $89.3 billion, the third consecutive month of decreasing freight flows when compared with the previous month.

Three of five modes experienced an increase in commodity value when compared with January 2014. Rail freight had the highest growth at a rate of 4.8 percent. Truck cargo increased 3.6 percent and air freight went up 1.3 percent. Vessel freight experienced a decline of 21.8 percent and pipeline freight went down 22.5 percent, resulting in the net loss for all cargo in January.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $55.6 billion of the $89.3 billion of imports and exports in January. Rail came in at second with a contribution of $9 billion. When compared to January 2014, truck and rail contributions were not enough for an increase due to significant losses from vessel and pipeline freight.

Approximately 55 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15.7 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 9.4 percent for 2014. Of the $41.2 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 70.8 percent of the loads.

Check tire while fueling with Love’s TirePass

Ensuring proper tire inflation is important as well as time-consuming. Love’s Travel Stops has found a way to kill two birds with one stone by offering TirePass, a tire-inflation service offered while fueling up.

Once drivers pull into one of the 10 locations currently offering TirePass, they can enter the “TirePass Inflation & Fuel Express Lane.” A callbox is then used to alert an attendant that service is needed. While the trucker begins fueling up, a tire technician will hook all tractor and trailer tires up to the automatic inflator.

In addition to inflating tires, the TirePass service will record the tread depth using a digital tire tread depth gauge. Once completed, drivers can go to the fuel desk to receive a full report on the condition of their tires.

Love’s claims the TirePass service reduces downtime, increases fuel efficiency, extends tire life, and improves safety.

TirePass is currently available at 10 locations, but Love’s plans to have the service available at all Love’s Truck Tire Care centers, according to Love’s Spokesperson Kealey Dorian.

Internet Truckstop has changed its name to Truckstop.com

Online freight-matching service Internet Truckstop is now Truckstop.com.

In conjunction with a new logo and brand identity, Truckstop.com will be a part of the larger entity Internet Truckstop Group. Also within the group are uDrove, Real Time Freight, ITS Financial Services, D&S Factors and Roady’s Truck Stops.

According to a press release, the only visible changes will be the name and the “fresh coat of paint.” Chief Marketing Officer Brent Hutto described the beginning of the company 20 years ago as “just a load board” that has grown much larger in the past two decades.

Espar is now Eberspaecher

Espar, the German vehicle technology company, will assume the name of its parent company Eberspaecher, the company recently announced. Celebrating its 150 year anniversary, Eberspaecher has decided to bring Espar under its namesake.

Established in 1973, Espar was the North American subsidiary of Eberspaecher specializing in compact fuel-operated heaters. Eberspaecher develops and supplies exhaust technology, vehicle heating and air conditioning systems.

 “Espar” will still be used as a legal business entity.

Average spot market rates reveal improvement for flatbeds

Flatbed freight rates increased while van and reefer rates showed little or no change for the week ending Saturday, March 21. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates remained stagnant at $1.94 for the second consecutive week. Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.11. Rates for the month of February were down 2.6 percent from the previous month and declined 5.1 percent since February 2014. Load-to-truck ratios decreased 16 percent to 2.9 loads per truck. Only three states – Idaho, Maine and Vermont – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates dropped a penny to $2.15 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.80. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.70. Compared with February 2014, reefer rates are down 3.7 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down by 19 percent to7.8 from 9.6 in the previous week. Thirteen states have ratios of 12 or more, with seven states West of the Mississippi River and the remaining six towards the northeast.

Flatbed rates increased 3 cents to $2.18. This marks the second consecutive week of higher rates after several weeks of unchanged rates. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.65. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.69. Rates are down 3.6 percent for the month and 3.2 percent in the last 12 months. There were 16.4 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 10 percent increase from the last week. Eleven states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher, unchanged from the previous week.

Biodiesel imports declined 36 percent in 2014

Biodiesel and renewable diesel imports went down 36 percent last year, despite achieving record levels just the previous year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The EIA has identified two driving forces behind the decline.

Hesitation of proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) targets for 2015 and the lack of a surge of imports from Argentina late in the year have been considered by the EIA as reasons for the decline in 2014 volumes.

As defined by the EIA, RFS “requires EPA to set annual requirements for the renewable content of liquid fuels that may differ from a set of targets specified by law.”

Under the 2014 RFS projections, obligations for biomass-based diesel were expected to remain unchanged from 2013. However, advanced biofuels were projected to decrease to 2.2 billion gallons from 2.75 billion gallons the previous year.

Last year’s RFS targets proposal was released in November 2013. Targets for 2015 have yet to be released. Insecurities stemming from last year’s low projections and this year’s lack of projections have caused problems for refiners to meet RFS targets.

A major contributor to 2013’s record volumes was Argentina. In response to a European Union five-year tariff for selling biodiesel in the EU below cost, Argentina exported oil typically destined for Europe to the United States, according to Bloomberg. Argentine biodiesel imports fell 57 percent the following year.

In a late-January article in Bloomberg, biodiesel makers had issues with the Environmental Protection Agency allowing imports from Argentina. Complaints about imports came as the government failed to comply with laws that encourage domestic production.

Additionally, tax credits for biodiesel usage have been inconsistent. A $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit expired at the end of 2013. The tax was not reinstated until the end of 2014. Higher prices kept the blending and production of domestic biodiesel economically feasible, thus reducing the need for imported fuels.

According to the EIA, demand for alternative diesel fuels has been increasing since 2012, largely due to raising RFS targets and biodiesel tax credits.

J. J. Keller mushers dominate 2015 Iditarod

Dallas Seavey, age 28, has won the 2015 Iditarod, and his father, Mitch Seavey, age 55, has captured second place. Both are sponsored by James and Rosanne Keller, representing J.J. Keller & Associates.

According to a J.J. Keller press statement, Dallas Seavey used his unique training regimen and group of Iditarod veteran dogs to win the 43rd annual Iditarod Alaskan sled dog race on Wednesday, March 18, at 4:13 a.m. local time. He finished in 8 days, 18 hours, 13 minutes and 6 seconds with 10 dogs.

They competed in temperatures as cold as minus 45 F and winds gusts of over 40 mph with many windblown trails and periods of heavy snow, overcoming frostbite to beat out 78 other registered mushers. Due to snow conditions, this year’s route started in Fairbanks, Alaska. The revised route added around 600 miles of river ice.

Mitch Seavey, in his 22nd Iditarod, came in second place. He finished at 8:22 a.m. Wednesday morning. He finished in 8 days, 22 hours, 22 minutes and 56 seconds with 10 dogs.

Both Kellers were at the finish line.

After meeting Dallas Seavey in Seward, Alaska, in 2006, James and Rosanne Keller created the J.J. Keller Extreme Transportation Solutions sponsorship to celebrate one of the original forms of transportation and to salute trucking professionals who dedicate themselves to transporting needed goods.

Navistar and Women in Trucking’s 2015 Influential Woman in Trucking

President and CEO of Rihm Kenworth Kari Rihm has been named Navistar and Women In Trucking Association’s 2015 Influential Woman in Trucking. Rihm received the award during a recent ceremony at the Truckload Carriers Association annual meeting.

Rihm took over her husband’s business, Rihm Kenworth, after his death in 2010. Rihm Kenworth has been in the family in St. Paul, Minn., since 1932. In keeping with family tradition and entrepreneurship, Rihm, her two children and some employees took the three dealerships and expanded to five dealerships. In the last four years, Rihm Kenworth has won the Kenworth Truck Company Medium Duty Truck Dealer of the Year three times.

Currently, Rihm Kenworth is the only woman-owned Kenworth dealer in the United States. Certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise Network Council, Rihm’s business has been named a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Magazine Family Business Honoree in 2013. Her business also received a National Association of Women-Owned Businesses local chapter Pioneer Award in 2014, and was honored with a 2015 nomination for American Truck Dealers Association Dealer of the Year.

The Influential Woman in Trucking award honors women “who make or influence key decisions, have a proven record of responsibility, and mentor and serve as a role model to other women” in the trucking industry. The award was initiated in 2010 by WIT and Navistar to recognize women leaders in the trucking industry and to entice more women to enter and advance in the industry.

Trucking freight index down first time in over 6 months

The Freight Transportation Service Index for January decreased by 0.2 percent from December to 122.9. January marks the second consecutive month of decreases, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Rail carloads, rail intermodal and pipeline were the only modes to experience some growth in January. Production, orders and inventory all decreased for January. TSI has gone up 29.9 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6.

Trucking freight received its first decline in the index since June 2014.

Freight shipments are down 0.2 percent from January 2014, up 19.0 percent from five years ago, and increased by 7.6 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.

SuperRigs to be held June 11-13 in Selma, Texas

Circle June 11-13 on the calendar and head over to Selma, Texas. The 33rd Shell Rotella SuperRigs is slated for those days at Retama Park in Selma. This year’s theme is “Thoroughbreds of Trucking.”

In addition to glistening, working trucks, show goers can also catch some horse racing on Friday evening and Saturday night. Located approximately 20 miles northeast of San Antonio off of Exit 174-A on I-35, the racetrack hosts quarter horse and thoroughbred racing.

Twelve drivers will compete for a chance to be featured in the 2016 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar. More than $25,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to truckers during the truck beauty contest. Valued at more than $50, entrants will receive a gift package.

Judging will take place between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, June 11 and 12, and between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday, June 13. Land Line Magazine Managing Editor Jami Jones will be back judging again this year.

Country musician Phil Pritchett will be performing for the crowd on Thursday, June 11. Friday night will include the truck parade on the race track followed by a fireworks display and another performance by Phil Pritchett. Games, classic cars, a barbecue cook-off, the Rotella Road Show and other events will also be held.

For updates, visit rotella.com or follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/ShellRotella and on Twitter at Twitter.com/ShellRotella.

Van and reefer spot freight rates on the rise

Flatbed freight rates dropped slightly as van and reefer rates continue a trend of increases for the week ending Saturday, March 7. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates received a relatively large gain of 6 cents to $1.94. Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.12. Rates for the month of February were down 2.6 percent from the previous month and declined 5.1 percent since February 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased 16 percent to 3.7 loads per truck. Only three states – Idaho, Maine and Vermont – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week.

Reefer rates also experienced a large gain of 5 cents to $2.16 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $3.05, 42 cents higher than the previous week. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.66. Compared with February 2014, reefer rates are down 3.7 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up by 15 percent to 11 from 9.5 in the previous week. Only seven states west of the Mississippi have ratios of 12 or more, unchanged from the previous week but still much fewer than weeks prior.

Flatbed rates dropped a penny to $2.12. With the exception of a $2.13 the previous week, flatbed rates have stayed stagnant at $2.12 since the week ending Feb. 14. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.41. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.81. Rates are down 3.6 percent for the month and 3.2 percent in the last 12 months. There were 14.0 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 12 percent increase from the last week. Eleven states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher, unchanged from the previous week.

Con-way Truckload joins charity to send free coffee to troops overseas

Con-way Truckload and military charity Holy Joe’s Cafe have teamed up to provide coffee to soldiers at military bases in the United States. Con-way Truckload is now a transportation sponsor of the charity.

Offering its services free of charge, Con-way will transport thousands of pounds of coffee to military bases. Coffee is also donated from suppliers.

Con-way began moving coffee for military charity Holy Joe’s Cafe last June. Transporting more than a dozen shipments, the donated service was valued at more than $50,000. This year, Con-way plans to increase the amount of shipments. Each truckload carries approximately 400,000 to 500,000 Keurig K-Cups along with a pallet of Keurig coffeemakers.

Once shipments arrive at various military bases, the coffee is sent to deployed troops. Soldiers in the Middle East are the main focus, with military personnel in 35 other countries also being delivered Keurig coffee.

Served by military chaplains at overseas bases, troops will have the opportunity to have conversations dealing with a variety of issues they may have to cope with while deployed. More than 150 military chaplains participate in this program.

For more information about Holy Joe’s Cafe and its services, visit their Facebook page.

Mack Trucks calendar contest accepting submissions

It may be March 2015, but it is not too early to start thinking about 2016 calendars. Mack Trucks announced this week that Mack owners now have the opportunity to see their truck in next year’s calendar.

Mack owners can submit photos to nominate their trucks at Mack Trucks' official Facebook page. Trucks being entered in the contest must be in current commercial operation. Any Mack model and year is eligible.

Fans of the Facebook page will vote on six trucks to be featured in the 2016 calendar. Currently, the Facebook page has more than 100,000 fans. Trucks that win the contest will receive a professional photo shoot that will be used in their spot for the calendar.

Mack is currently accepting submissions. All entries must be received by May 31.

Red Eye Radio Million Mile Club inductees announced

Chevron Products Co. has announced the most recent inductees to the Chevron Delo-sponsored Red Eye Radio Million Mile Club.

For 23 years, the Million Mile Club has been honoring U.S. and Canadian truckers who have logged in 1 million miles of driving without an accident. New members will receive a personalized Million Mile Club jacket, a membership card and a gift from other sponsors involved with the exclusive club.

Qualified drivers can apply to be among the next group of inductees by going to ChevronDelo.com/promotions.

Below are the February 2015 Million Mile Club inductees:

  • Ed Davis, Con-way Truckload, Yoakum, Texas
  • Jeff Gabel, Caledonia Haulers, Viola, Wis.
  • Kelvin Wartick, St. Cloud, Minn.
  • Wayne Chambers, Frito Lay, Lewisville, Texas
  • Ken Brennstuhl, Owner Operator, Unionville, Tenn.
  • Maude Bradley, H&M Trucking, Pleasant Plains, Ill.
  • Walter Salyers, Owner Operator, Springfield, Ohio
  • Raw Dawson, DC Express, McClure, Ohio
Transport jobs see biggest increase in more than a year

After the largest net loss in nearly a year in January, transportation jobs experienced the largest net gain in more than a year industry-wide for February. Truck transportation – a subsector – received moderate growth. The transportation sector gained 18,500 jobs in February, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Truck transportation subsector jobs received a relatively modest gain of 2,600 jobs, for a total of more than 1.4 million jobs. Approximately 2,400 truck transportation jobs were added in January. Trucking jobs gained the third most in the transportation and warehousing sector, with most subsectors receiving minimal gains. Couriers and messengers received the largest gain with 12,300 jobs added, followed by warehousing and storage with an additional 3,900 jobs. In January, couriers and messengers received the largest loss with 14,100 jobs eliminated from the workforce.

February’s transportation job gain is a significant increase from January, which saw a loss of 8,600. December gained more than 3,000 jobs. Last month marked the largest gain since November 2013 when the transportation sector was injected with 30,500 more jobs. 

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.94 for February, up 10 cents from January. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased 3 cents to $20.68. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased 3 cents to $24.78. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 7.7 percent from 10.2 percent last February. The overall unemployment rate for the country made little change at 5.7 percent. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for February, but has decreased by 1.1 million in the past 12 months.

Mercedes-Benz Vans to open plant in South Carolina

Charleston, S.C., will soon be receiving an injection of German engineering as Mercedes-Benz Vans has announced plans to open a new plant in the city. Construction is slated to begin in 2016.

At a cost of half a billion dollars, the new plant will manufacture Sprinter vehicles for North America. Expected to take up more than 200 acres, the facility will include a new body shop, paint shop and assembly line. More than 1,300 jobs will be created, making Mercedes-Benz one of the largest industrial employers in the region.

Mercedes-Benz Vans’ decision to set up shop in the United States was a fairly easy one. According to a press release, North America has a thriving van market. Vans manufactured in Germany face high U.S. import duties. Additionally, vehicles must be disassembled before being shipped over. A plant in the U.S. eliminates both of these cost burdens.

CRST International acquires Pegasus Transportation

CRST International Inc. recently acquired Pegasus Transportation Inc. The purchase was made with CRST cash reserves.

“The acquisition of Pegasus will allow CRST to expand its temperature controlled operations nationwide footprint through their expanded customer base.” said Group President Mike Gannon. “For CRST and Pegasus it means improved fleet utilization and increased operating efficiencies. We look forward to working with the Pegasus employees and customers.”

CRST International’s annual revenue exceeds $1.5 billion, and it currently employs more than 7,000 company drivers, independent contractors and office personnel across the United States. CRST has acquired three other transportation companies in the last two years: Specialized Transportation, Allied Special Products and Besl Transfer Co.

Average spot rates increase slightly for all categories

Spot rates for truck freight continue to show signs of improvement for the week ending Saturday, Feb. 28. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went up by a penny to $1.88. Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.13. Rates for the month of February were down 3.1 percent from the previous month and declined 5.1 percent since February 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased 19.5 percent to 3.2 loads per truck. Only three states – Idaho, Maine and Vermont – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, one fewer than the previous week as the North and South Dakotas drop off and Maine steps in.

Reefer rates increased by 1 cent to $2.11 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.63. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.57. Compared with February 2014, reefer rates are down 3.7 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up by 21 percent to 9.5 from 7.9 in the previous week. Only seven states west of the Mississippi have ratios of 12 or more. In previous weeks, the majority of states west of the Mississippi had higher than usual rates.

Flatbed rates also went up a penny to $2.13. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.41. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.81. Rates are down 3.6 percent for the month and 3.2 percent in the last 12 months. There were 12.4 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 9.0 percent increase from the last week. Eleven states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher, seven fewer than the previous week.

U.S. Department of Commerce: trucks still moving most freight

The dollar value of freight hauled across the borders by U.S., Canadian and Mexican truckers in December was more than 9 percent greater than a year earlier. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which also says trucks moved 60 percent of all the international freight, with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest.

Reduced value of mineral fuels led to a decrease in December 2014 U.S.-NAFTA trade flow, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Freight totaled $95.8 billion, the second consecutive month of decreasing freight flows when compared with the previous month.

Four of five modes experienced an increase in commodity value when compared with December 2013. Truck cargo had the highest growth at a rate of 9.3 percent. Rail freight increased 8.3 percent, air freight went up 6.3 percent and pipeline freight improved by 4.0 percent. Vessel freight experienced the only decrease from a year ago with a 22.6 percent reduction in value.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $3 billion of the $4.9 billion net increase from December 2013, the largest increase and offsetting losses from vessel freight. Rail came in at second with a $740 million increase. Trucks accounted for $28.4 billion of exports and $28.4 billion of imports.

More than 52 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 4.3 percent. Of the $42.8 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 67.5 percent of the loads.

First public access CNG station in northeast Florida opens

Diesel still reigns supreme, but natural gases continue to establish relevancy. Champion Brands Inc. and amp Trillium LLC have opened the first compressed natural gas station with public access in northeast Florida. The new fueling station will be located off of Highway 1 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Near the intersection of Interstates 295 and 95, the new CNG station will be open for heavy-duty trucks 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The station will use a public access card reader system.

Two dual hose dispensers will be available, allowing two trucks to fuel up simultaneously. Trillium CNG’s fast-fill hydraulic intensifier compressor will also be featured at the station.

Steve Josephs, director of engineering and co-founder of ampCNG, mentioned in a press release that the goal is to get more CNG trucks in the area and that the company has plans to open more CNG stations across the country this year.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are 811 public CNG stations and only 69 public liquefied natural gas, or LNG, stations in the U.S. as of press time.

In a 2013 report, natural gas engine engineering company Westport determined that LNG is more suitable for long-haul trucks. Conversely, CNG is a better fit for smaller commercial vehicles and more local or regional heavy-duty trucks.

Westport also projected that approximately 150 LNG stations would be needed to cover all of the major interstate trucking routes at 300-mile intervals.

Several fleets, including Dart, have invested in CNG tractors.

Spot market rates hold steady after nearly two months of decline

After seven weeks of declining prices, spot rates for truck freight leveled out or slightly increased for the week ending Saturday, Feb. 21. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Van rates went up by a penny to $1.87. Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.08. Rates for the month of January were down 6.7 percent from the previous month, but have remained stagnant since January 2014. Load-to-truck ratios increased 27 percent to 2.7 loads per truck. Only four states – Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week and keeping up with the seasonal trend.

Reefer rates remained stagnant at $2.10 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.63. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.57. Compared with January 2014, reefer rates are up 8.3 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up by 28 percent to 7.9 from 6.2 in the previous week. A large portion of the states west of the Mississippi River had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates were still at $2.12. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.29. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.57. Rates are down 3.5 percent for the month, but are up 5.7 percent in the last 12 months. There were 11.4 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 2.8 percent increase from the last week. Eighteen states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher.

Averitt Express donated $450,000 in 2014, $7 million total to children’s charity

Employees at Averitt Express donated $450,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2014. Last year’s contributions put the company’s donations at more than $7 million.

Founded in 1986, Averitt Cares for Kids has given nearly $7.5 million to various charities for children, including the Shriners Burn Institute and Ronald McDonald House. Weekly contributions from Averitt in 2014 went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Contributions by truckers and other Averitt employees are voluntary and out-of-pocket.

“With just a weekly donation of $1, our associates exemplify what can be achieved when people rally together for a good cause,” Averitt President and CEO Gary Sasser said in a press release.

Since 1990, Averitt Cares for Kids has donated $4.8 million to St. Jude. As a result, families of children battling cancer and other diseases do not have to pay for treatment at St. Jude, including travel, housing or food. Families are afforded the opportunity to focus on the sick child without having to carry the weight of financial burden.

In 2007, the Averitt Express Leukemia and Lymphoma Clinic at St. Jude was completed with the help of a $1.5 million endowment.

Aperia Technologies wins 2014 Technical Achievement Award

Truck Writers of North America has declared its recipient of the 2014 Technical Achievement Award during the Technology and Maintenance Council’s Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition in Nashville, and the winner is: Aperia Technologies’ Halo Tire Inflator.

Using the wheel’s rotation to propel an internal pump that preserves air pressure, Aperia’s Halo bolts onto an axle hub. In a press release, Aperia executives compared the mechanics to that of a self-winding watch.

Currently, Halo is available for driver and trailer axles. A steer axle version is under development.

Halo was one of five finalists in a pool that started with more than a dozen products. Dana’s Spicer AdvanTEK 40 tandem drive axles, Fontaine Fifth Wheel’s dual camera system, Peterson’s LumenX Series 7 LED, and Webb Wheel’s Vortex Unlimited vented brake drum were the other four finalists.

Finalists were chosen by the Truck Writers of North America’s Technical Achievement Award committee, including Paul Abelson of Road King and Land Line Magazine; John Baxter of Baxter TechWrite and technical director of Advance Diesel Concepts; Tom Berg of Heavy Duty Trucking and Construction Equipment; Peter Carter of Today’s Trucking; David Kolman of Fleet Maintenance Magazine and Road King; James Menzies of Truck News and Truck West; and Jim Park of Heavy Duty Trucking.

Ritchie Bros. auction sets records for site and online sales

It must have been like Disney World for heavy-duty gearheads and industrial buyers. Ritchie Bros., the world's largest industrial auctioneer, sold a record-breaking 10,500-plus equipment items and trucks at its premier global auction last week in Orlando, Fla. CEO Ravi Saligram says they sold more transportation section assets at this sale on Friday, Feb. 20, than any of the company’s previous Orlando auctions. A record 310 truck tractors were sold.

The five-day unreserved public auction attracted more than 9,300 onsite and online bidders from 81 countries and generated nearly $180 million in gross auction proceeds. 

Average spot market rates still going down

Spot rates for truck freight dropped for the seventh consecutive week for the week ending Saturday, Feb. 14. This is compared with the previous week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Rates dropped for all three categories for the third consecutive week.

Van rates declined by a penny to $1.86. Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.09. Rates for the month of January were down 6.7 percent from the previous month, but have remained stagnant since January 2014. Load-to-truck ratios went down 15 percent to 2.1 loads per truck. Only four states – Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater, unchanged from the previous week and keeping up with the seasonal trend.

Reefer rates lost 1 cent to $2.10 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.77. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.63. Compared with January 2014, reefer rates are up 8.3 percent. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 18 percent to 6.2 from 7.5 in the previous week. A large portion of the states west of the Mississippi River had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates dropped 2 cents to $2.12. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.29. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.57. Rates are down 3.5 percent for the month, but are up 5.7 percent in the last 12 months. There were 11.1 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 5.4 percent decrease from the last week. Eighteen states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher.

STEMCO acquires ATDynamics

STEMCO, a commercial vehicle parts manufacturer and distributor, has recently acquired ATDynamics, a designer and manufacturer of fuel-efficient technology for commercial vehicles.

ATDynamics will become a part of STEMCO’s Innovative Tire and Mileage Solutions group. ITMS is responsible for automatic tire inflation systems, including Aeris and Aeris SmartSense products.

ATDynamics is the company behind TrailerTail technology. Trucks equipped with TrailerTail reduce greenhouse emissions through aerodynamic design. STEMCO manufactures truck wheel end, braking and suspension components.

ATDynamics is based in California with a sales office in Tennessee. STEMCO is headquartered in Texas with manufacturing facilities in Georgia, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Canada and China.

Shell Rotella announces new nitrite-free coolant

Shell Lubricants announced the newest addition to its coolant product line: Shell Rotella Extended Life Coolant-Nitrite Free.

Also called Shell Rotella ELC-NF, the coolant will serve as a companion to Shell Rotella Ultra ELC. Both coolants are intended for trucks that are using nitrite-free engine antifreeze and coolant. Nitrite-free products yield better protection for aluminum components.

Shell Rotella ELC-NF can also be used in fleets with passenger cars and light-duty trucks. Extended life operation has been shown in medium- and heavy-duty diesel, gasoline, LNG and natural gas vehicles and engines.

According to a press release, extended life coolants are designed to go 600,000 on-highway miles or 12,000 hours in commercial applications.

Shell Rotella ELC-NF meets industry required ASTM D3306, D4985 and D6210 and TMCRP 329 and RP364 requirements. Shell Rotella ELC NF is also suitable for the following applications:

  • Detroit Diesel 93K217
  • Cummins Medium and Heavy Duty On-Road Engines
  • Mack Truck
  • Navistar MPAPS B-1 Type IIIA (formerly Int CEMS B-1)
  • Paccar
  • Volvo TSI 184-001
  • Ford WSS-M97B44D
  • GM 6277M
Ryder, Women in Trucking offer trucks spec’d for female drivers

In an effort to get more women on the road as professional drivers, the Women in Trucking Association, Ryder System Inc. and various original equipment manufacturers are currently offering trucks that are ergonomically designed specifically for female drivers, according to a press release.

Based on results from a study conducted last year, the modified trucks can have up to 16 unique specifications:

  • Height and placement of cab steps
  • Height and placement of cab grab handles
  • Seat width and armrest height
  • Adjustable foot pedal height (accelerator, brake, clutch)
  • Height of seatbelts (shoulder area)
  • Visibility of dash cluster/gauges
  • Integrated ladders for double bunk sleepers
  • Sleeper berth light switches on cab wall, not the ceiling
  • Electric/hydraulic hood lifting mechanism
  • Automated transmission shift lever placement/location
  • Access to the top of the dash
  • Security system for cab (personal protection while in sleeper berth)
  • Better access to the windshield
  • Better access to oil and coolant check and fill
  • 5th wheel pull pressure
  • Height and placement of catwalk steps and back of cab grab handles


“Class 8 trucks have typically been designed with the ‘average’ truck driver in mind,” Women in Trucking President and CEO Ellen Voie told Land Line. “In the past, this has been a male, and the average weight and height of a male is typically greater than their female partners.”

According to Scott Perry, Vice President of Supply Management and Global Fuel Products at Ryder, many of the specs have been integrated by the OEMs at no extra charge. However, other features such has automated fifth wheels and automated trailer landing gear will add to the cost of the truck. How much will vary by manufacturer.

Walmart joins in support for Truckers Against Trafficking

Walmart Logistics has been added to the list of government agencies and companies joining in the support for the Truckers Against Trafficking project.

Like many trucking companies across the country, Walmart will hold meetings with all of their private fleet drivers to educate them about human trafficking. An informational video will be produced for company drivers to view at their convenience. Trafficking awareness stickers will be placed on all company-owned trucks.

According to Walmart’s website, more than 7,200 drivers transport 53,500 trailers and 5,600 reefers in 6,000 tractors. Last year, approximately 700 million miles were driven by Walmart drivers.

In addition to educating drivers, Walmart has also donated $2,500 to support Truckers Against Trafficking.

On Monday, Land Line reported that Michigan State Police’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division recently joined Truckers Against Trafficking. Last month, the Virginia Trucking Association joined TAT shortly after a trucker’s keen eye aided in the arrest of a couple from Iowa who had kidnapped a young woman.

Walmart joins the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and more than 100 companies registered with Truckers Against Trafficking, including 32 other state trucking associations and more than 100,000 individual trained employees. Individual drivers and companies can register by going to TAT’s website and clicking “TAT Trained.”

First drop in freight service index in five months

The Freight Transportation Service Index for December decreased by 0.1 percent from November to 123.8. December marks the first decrease after five months of increases, falling just short of the all-time high of 123.9 in November, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Trucking, rail carloads and waterborne were the only modes to experience some growth in December. Although employment was up in December, inventory numbers were down, which directly affects freight. TSI has gone up 30.9 percent since April 2009, when the index was at a historic low of 94.6.

Freight shipments are up 4.2 percent from December 2013, 21.8 percent from five years ago, and 11.4 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.

Ritchie Bros. auctioning more than 10,000 heavy equipment items

Industrial auctioneer Ritchie Bros. will be selling more than 10,000 equipment items at its auction in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 16-20.

Everything from tractors to excavators to pickup trucks will be sold during the five-day auction. All items will be sold without minimum bids or reserve prices. Interested parties can bid on the equipment in person, online at rbauction.com, and through a representative.

Below is the auction schedule:

  • Day One (Feb. 16) – 275-plus boom lifts, 240-plus telescopic forklifts, 185-plus forklifts, 165-plus scissorlifts, 120-plus skid steer loaders, 100-plus multi-terrain loaders, as well as dumpers, brooms, utility vehicles and more.
  • Day Two (Feb. 17) – 250-plus wheel loaders, 190-plus loader backhoes, 105-plus motor graders, 95-plus articulated dump trucks, as well as trenchers, directional drills, forestry equipment, agricultural tractors, light towers, generator sets and more.
  • Day Three (Feb. 18) – 480-plus compactors, 215-plus crawler tractors, 55-plus cranes, as well as aggregate, environmental and agricultural equipment and more.
  • Day Four (Feb. 19) – 415-plus excavators, 190-plus van trucks, 85-plus mechanics trucks, 80-plus dump trucks, as well as water trucks, fuel and lube trucks, utility trucks, street sweepers and more.
  • Day Five (Feb. 20) – 300-plus truck tractors, 115-plus pickup trucks, 75-plus flatbed trucks, 65-plus lowboys, as well as hiboys, equipment trailers, automobiles and more.


For a complete and up-to-date list of items selling in the Orlando auction, visit rbauction.com/Orlando.

January marks first net job loss in nearly a year for transport sector

Indicative of a slower season typical for this time of year, transportation jobs experienced a loss industry-wide for January. Truck transportation – the subsector – did record some minimal growth. The transportation sector lost 8,600 jobs in January, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Truck transportation subsector jobs received a relatively modest gain of 2,400 jobs, for a total of more than 1.4 million jobs. More than 7,000 truck transportation jobs were added in December. Trucking jobs gained the most in the transportation and warehousing sector, with most subsectors receiving losses or minimal gains. Couriers and messengers lost 14,100 jobs, the largest decline in the sector. In December, couriers and messengers received the second-largest gain with a scant 700 jobs.

January’s transportation job loss is a significant decrease from December, which saw a gain of nearly 3,100. November gained nearly 17,000 jobs. Last month is the first time since February 2014 that the transportation sector as a whole experienced a net loss. 

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.79 for January, down 7 cents from December. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased by 8 cents to $20.66. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased by 12 cents to $24.75. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 7.5 percent from 10.0 percent last January. The overall unemployment rate for the country made little change at 5.7 percent. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for January, but has decreased by 828,000 in the past 12 months.

Have a cup of coffee with Daimler and Team Run Smart at Papa John’s

At the end of March, Daimler Trucks North America will be part of the party at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium parking lot at the 2015 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville. MATS, the trade show, is scheduled for March 26-28 – that’s Thursday, Friday and Saturday – but the festivities at Papa John’s run from Tuesday to Sunday morning.

For the party, DTNA will have a hospitality trailer on site where you can get a hot cup of coffee and meet the Team Run Smart Pros – Bob and Linda Caffee, Joey Slaughter, Jimmy Nevarez, Henry Albert and Jeff Clark. All are OOIDA members.

Albert’s truck will be on display, as well as the Caffees’ new Freightliner Cascadia (stop by and see if you can find all the hidden Mickey Mouses in their custom sleeper). Detroit Diesel will have its display trailer onsite, too, and engineers on hand to answer your questions. The Daimler trailer and Detroit Diesel trailer will be open Thursday 8:00-11:00 a.m. and 6:00-9:00 p.m. On Friday, they’ll be open 8:00-10:00 a.m. and 6:00-9:00 p.m.; on Saturday stop by 8:00-9:00 a.m. and 6:00-9:00 p.m.

TA and Petro will sponsor Papa John’s parking lot for MATS 2015

TravelCenters of America is once again the official sponsor of the Papa John’s parking lot this year during the Mid-America Trucking Show March 26-28 in Louisville, Ky. The events that take place at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium are a sideshow to the monster truck show planned at the Kentucky Expo Center the last week in March.

As a special treat for its UltraOne trucking customers, TA and Petro will have a temperature-controlled shower trailer. Showers are free for UltraOne platinum members; $3 for active UltraOne cardholders and $8 for non-UltraOne drivers. If you sign up for UltraOne, it’s only $5. The shower trailer offers eight showers per half-hour time slots and that includes cleaning time for the porters. You must be a CDL holder to use the showers.

TA and Petro Marketing Manager Joan O’Clair says per drivers’ requests last year, TravelCenters is extending the available shower times (earlier in the morning and later in the evening) to accommodate drivers’ schedules during the show. TravelCenters is also making the shower reservation process easier, by offering the option to reserve from out in the lot as well as in the TA and Petro booth No. 19156 in the Expo Center.

Spot market for truck freight continue to decline

Typical of the January season, spot rates for freight decreased or remained unchanged across the board for the fifth consecutive week for the week ending Saturday, Jan. 31. 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 $1.94. Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.08. Los Angeles dipped slightly below the national average for the first time this year. Rates for the month of January are down 3.7 percent from the previous month, but have remained stagnant since January 2014. Load-to-truck ratios went down 25 percent to 2.0 loads per truck. Only four states – Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont – have a ratio of 5.5 or greater. Compared with previous weeks, this is the fewest number of states having a higher ratio, indicative of the downward seasonal trend.

Reefer rates lost 3 cents to $2.24 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $2.81. Lakeland, Fla., had the low rates of $1.53. Compared with January 2014, reefer rates are up 8.7 percent. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 11 percent to 6.1 from 6.9 in the previous week. A large portion of the states west of the Mississippi River had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates were unchanged at $2.21. Harrisburg, Pa., had a high rate of $3.29. Phoenix marked a low rate of $1.57. Rates are down 3.5 percent for the month, but are up 5.7 percent in the last 12 months. There were 10.0 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 0.2 percent decrease from the last week resulting in no change of the ratio. Eighteen states across the country have a ratio of 18 or higher.

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 iowa80.com/blog/. 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 Health.org

Detroit Radiator has announced its official sponsorship of Truck Drivers Health.org.

Detroit Radiator will assist Truck Drivers Health.org 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 Health.org 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 truckdrivershealth.org.

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 macktrucks.com.

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 truckersfund.org 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 weighmytruck.com, 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.

Spot rates continue to drop with fuel surcharges

Declining fuel surcharges continue to lower spot rates for the week ending Jan. 10 compared with the prior week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Freight availability both made significant gains of 51 percent and 69 percent, respectively.

Van rates declined by 6 cents to $2.01. Los Angeles and Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.28 and $2.23, respectively. Rates for the month of December are up 7.2 percent from last year. Load-to-truck ratios went down 11 percent after a week of increases to 3.9 loads per truck. Several northwestern states – including Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana – had a load-to-truck ratio greater than 5.5. Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio no longer had a 5.5 or greater ratio.

Reefer rates lost 3 cents to $2.35 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $3.13, whereas Lakeland, Fla., had low rates of $1.94. Compared with last December, reefer rates are up 14 percent. Load-to-truck ratios decreased by 4.0 percent to 13.4 from 13.9 in the previous week. Most states west of the Mississippi River had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck. Ohio dropped out of the states surpassing 12 loads.

Flatbed rates went down 2 cents to $2.29. 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 16.5 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 28 percent decrease from the last week. Ohio and New York were among a handful of states with higher ratios of 18 loads per truck or more. Nevada and New Mexico – usually on the higher end – dipped below greater-than-average load ratios.

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.

Maverick increases pay for new and experienced drivers

Keeping up with the trend of higher wages, Maverick Transportation has announced increases to its pay scale for 2015, including pay for experience and larger mileage pay.

Experienced drivers with at least one year of over-the-road driving will start at a higher pay scale. Each year of experience can lead to a higher rate. Depending on which division the driver enters, average pay can range between $60,800 and $66,500.

New drivers entering Maverick’s student program will also receive increases for mileage. Drivers with a new Class A CDL can earn an average of $53,000 their starting year. This pay also applies to truckers with less than six months of experience. Average earnings of $57,500 will be paid to those with 6-12 months of experience.

Back in July 2014, Maverick offered new drivers its Pay for Performance program. Originally only available after several months, drivers’ pay could increase by 2 to 4 cents per mile as soon as they start driving on their own. Around the same time, Maverick celebrated the grand opening of its driver training center expansion, which added more than 13,000 square feet to the facility.

December good for trucking jobs, slow for transportation growth overall

Transportation jobs experienced slow growth industry-wide for December, but truck transportation had a strong month. The transportation sector only gained 3,100 jobs in December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Truck transportation subsector jobs received a large gain of 7,300 jobs, for a total of more than 1.4 million jobs. Only 3,000 truck transportation jobs were added in November. Trucking jobs gained the most in the transportation and warehousing sector, with most subsectors receiving losses or minimal gains. Air transportation lost 2,800 jobs, the largest decline in the sector. Couriers and messengers received the second-largest gain with a scant 700 jobs.

December’s transportation job addition is a significant decrease from November, which saw a gain of nearly 17,000. October gained more than 13,000 jobs, whereas September saw sluggish gains at just under 2,000 additions. December has been a slow month for the transportation industry the past two years with a net loss of 600 jobs in both 2013 and 2012.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.92 for December, up 2 cents from November. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $20.72. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries decreased by 5 cents to $24.57. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 1.7 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.1 percent from 8.4 percent last December. The overall unemployment rate for the country dropped to 5.8 percent, a 0.2 percent decrease from the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for December, but has decreased by 1.1 million in the past 12 months.

Con-way Freight employees vote ‘no union’ at Bakersfield terminal

In a union representation election conducted this week by the National Labor Relations Board, employees at Con-way Freight’s facility in Bakersfield, Calif., voted to reject representation by the Teamsters Union.

Con-way announced in a press release that the Bakersfield vote marks the fifth election defeat for the Teamsters, who have been attempting to organize employees at various Con-way Freight facilities for the past five months.

The Bakersfield vote follows previous Teamster defeats in elections at Con-way Freight facilities in Santa Fe Springs and San Fernando Valley, Calif., Manchester, N.H., and Harlingen, Texas. Earlier, the Teamsters withdrew a petition for a vote at Con-way Freight's facility in Irvine, Calif. Petitions often are withdrawn when a union believes it can’t capture enough votes to win.

According to a press release, Con-way Freight currently does not have a contract with the Teamsters Union at any of its nearly 300 locations in the U.S.

Con-Way Freight is a major less-than-truckload freight transportation company, a subsidiary of Con-way Inc.

Peterbilt’s 75th anniversary show: One for the records

In mid-December, Peterbilt customers, enthusiasts and employees past and present came by the thousands to Stockton, Calif., to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Peterbilt Motors Co.

The trucks lined up four wide from one end of the San Joaquin Fairgrounds to the other – 351 Peterbilt trucks in all.According to the truck manufacturer, it was the largest collection of Peterbilt trucks ever assembled, and likely the largest collection of a single brand of vehicle ever gathered in one place.

“It was impressive beyond words. The turnout exceeded even my high expectations. With the exception of two or three, every model of Peterbilt ever manufactured was represented here – from the first chassis in 1939 to the latest Model 579,” said Rick McClerkin, who created and organized the event for his love of Peterbilt trucks.

McClerkin, a former employee of Coast Counties Peterbilt in San Jose, Calif., and owner of Roadway Antique Trucks, said the event also helped raise more than $42,000 for charities. Among the fundraising activities was a raffle for a Peterbilt Model 359 that raised more than $8,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and an auction for donated truck accessories that raised approximately $22,000 for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

In addition to the display of trucks, a peoples’ choice truck beauty contest and a Peterbilt history presentation, more than 120 current and retired Peterbilt employees and their families caught up and reminisced during a special luncheon.

Also on display was the Peterbilt anniversary tour trailer that has visited more than 100 Peterbilt dealerships throughout North America this year, attracting tens of thousands of visitors. The trailer is a custom-built, double-expandable 53-foot trailer with Peterbilt memorabilia, interactive displays, a history wall display, a Paccar MX-13 engine, and cab and sleeper cutaways of Peterbilt’s new Models 579 and 567.

The peoples’ choice truck beauty contest at the show gave awards in four categories: Antique Cabover Bobtail, Antique Conventional Bobtail (1990 and older), Contemporary Bobtail (1991 and newer) and Combo (truck and trailer). The winners are:

Antique Cabover Bobtail
First place
– Wayne Newhouse, 1955 Peterbilt Model 350
Second place – Donald Bourgeois, 1971 Peterbilt Model 282
Third place – George Van Dyke, Peterbilt Model 352


Antique Conventional Bobtail
First place
– Juan Gonzalez, 1957 Model 351
Second place – Jessie Maggini, 1962 Peterbilt Model 351
Third place – Fremont Fire Department Local 1689, 1939 S100 Fire Truck


Contemporary Bobtail
First place
– Guy Schrno, 1998 Peterbilt Model 379
Second place – Forrestt Noble, 2013 Peterbilt Model 389
Third place – Michael Dusi, 2013 Peterbilt Model 389


Combo
First place
– Ray Rodriguez, 2015 Peterbilt Model 389
Second place – Chris Hasty, 2008 Peterbilt Model 389
Third place – Jerry Mies, 2013 Peterbilt Model 389

Fuel surcharges affect van spot rates; reefers and flatbeds go up

Declining fuel surcharges resulted in a small drop for vans for spot rates for the week ending Jan. 3 compared with the prior week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Reefers and flatbeds had a small gain.

Van rates dropped a penny to $2.07. Los Angeles and Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.42 and $2.31, respectively. Rates for the month of December are up 7.2 percent from last year. Load-to-truck ratios went up 30 percent after a week of decline to 4.3 loads per truck. Several states – including Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and New York – have a load-to-truck ratio greater than 5.5.

Reefer rates managed to increase 2 cents to $2.38 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $3.11, whereas Lakeland, Fla., had low rates of $2.02. Compared with last December, reefer rates are up 14 percent. Load-to-truck ratios increased by 37 percent to 13.9 from 10.2 in the previous week. Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, New York and several more states had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates went up a penny to $2.31. 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 22.9 loads per truck for flatbeds, a 24 percent increase from last week. As with reefer and van loads, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, and New York were among a handful of states with higher ratios of 18 loads per truck or more.

Shell Rotella 2015 SuperRigs calendars now available

There are only a few more days to cross off before everyone will need to replace their calendars. Kittens and landscapes with inspirational quotes are nice, but trucks are so much cooler. The 2015 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar is now available, featuring 12 of the coolest trucks on the road.

The 2007 Peterbilt 379 featured on the cover belongs to Jackie Lewis, Grayson, Ky. He has driven millions of miles throughout the Midwest over the last 35 years. In the 2014 SuperRigs competition, Lewis won third place in the tractor/trailer division with the 2007 Pete and 2007 Mac B-trains and was chosen for the cover.

Supplementing the truck photo featured each month is the story behind the truck and its owner.

The Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition is the premier truck beauty contest for actively working trucks. Owner/operator truckers from across the United States and Canada compete for cash and prizes each year.  

SuperRigs 2015 calendars can be purchased at rotella.com

ATD announces 2015 Commercial Truck of the Year nominees

Every year, truckers and their custom trucks receive awards from a wide range of competitions. It’s that time of year when the original equipment manufacturers go head-to-head. Three nominees for the 2015 Commercial Truck of the Year have been announced by the American Truck Dealers.

International’s WorkStar 7600, Kenworth’s T880 Vocational Truck with Paccar MX-13 Engine, and Peterbilt’s Model 567 have all received nods from an ATD panel.

A panel of judges will test drive and evaluate the trucks at Manheim San Francisco Bay on Jan. 19. Land Line Magazine Field Editor Suzanne Stempinski is on the judging panel.

Categories include innovation, design, safety, driver ergonomics and comfort. The winner will be announced on Saturday, Jan. 24, at the 2015 ATD Convention and Expo in San Francisco.

In addition to the award ceremony, the ATD convention will include keynote remarks from ATD Chairman and CEO of JX Enterprises Eric Jorgensen and Thomas Frey, executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute.

For more information on the convention, go to atdconvention.org. Images and profiles of the nominees can be viewed here.

Michelin offers new dealer locator app

Technology is allowing truckers to take care of business at their fingertips anywhere on the road. Michelin Americas Truck Tires is adding to that convenience with its upgraded dealer locator app.

Specifically designed to be used on the go, the new app offers drag and drop capabilities, type-ahead functionality, more search options, and one-click access to all key dealer information. Using Google Maps, drivers can search for dealer locations by address, city state and ZIP code or by latitude and longitude. From there, users can further drill down to dealers with specific products and services.

By searching “Michelin Truck,” you can find the free app on the iTunes App Store for iPhones and through the Google Play store for iOS and Android devices.

Dart increases driver wages, offers other perks

The Dart Network, a dry van carrier, announced a pay increase for its drivers. Truckers for Dart will receive anywhere from a 2-cent to 10-cent-per-mile increase.

Average wage increases will be 5 cents per mile. Owner-operators contracted with Dart will also receive a fuel adjustment and accessorial pay. Company drivers will receive a fuel bonus.

Dart is also offering sign-on bonuses for incoming drivers of any type. Owner-operators will receive a $5,000 signing bonus. Company drivers and owner-operators who do not own their own truck can receive a $3,000 bonus. Dart driver finishing program graduates are eligible to receive $1,500.

Freight Transportation Service Index maintains record high

The Freight Transportation Service Index for October increased by 0.3 percent from September to 121.8. October’s increase marks the fourth consecutive month of a rise in the index, making the 121.8 index an all-time high, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Employment and retail sales both increased in October, contributing to the TSI growth. Inventories reaching a historic high were also a factor. TSI has gone up 28.8 percent since April 2009, when the index was at 94.6.

Freight shipments are up 2.2 percent from last October, 23.9 percent from five years ago, and 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.

Freightliner Cascadias, other vehicles recalled for brake issues

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recalled 2,765 Freightliner Cascadias due to issues with the Meritor WABCO service brakes. Nearly 4,000 other vehicles with the same components are also being recalled.

Freightliner Cascadias manufactured July 22, 2013, to Oct. 13, 2014, that use the WABCO Quick Release Valves with Double Check manufactured Feb. 6, 2013, to April 19, 2014, may have a defective valve seat. Other vehicles with the Meritor WABCO Vehicle Control System using the same service brakes within the above manufactured date range are also affected. Due to improper seating, valves may adjust air pressure levels, which may affect the performance of the brakes.

Owners of affected Freightliners will be notified by Daimler. The recall is expected to begin Jan. 3, 2015. Owners may contact Daimler customer service at 800-745-8000. Daimler's number for this recall is FL-673.

Owners of other vehicles affected by the recall will be notified by Meritor WABCO. The recall is expected to begin Dec. 12, 2014. Owners may contact Meritor WABCO at 248-435-8001. Meritor WABCO's identification number for this recall is C15AA.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline can be reached at 888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to safercar.gov to check the recall status of any vehicle.

Howes Lubricator offering Sage Truck Driving School scholarships

Through its new program, the Howes Truckers of Tomorrow, Howes Lubricator Products is now offering scholarships for all 25 Sage Truck Driving Schools. Each scholarship is for $1,000. 

One student at each Sage location will receive the scholarship, which is available in 2015. Applicants must meet all trucking industry qualifications and demonstrate a financial need.

This will be the first year Howes has offered the scholarship. The maintenance and additive product company plans to continue the scholarship in ensuing years. With 25 locations, Sage provides one-on-one CDL training of entry-level commercial truck drivers and driver training.

For more details, call 800-438-4693.

Holland to hire 500 veterans

More and more trucking industry companies are hiring veterans each year. Time to add another to the list. Next-day transportation service Holland has announced that it will hire 500 veterans.

As part of its growth and expansion, the Michigan company has partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes and FASTPORT. Launched in 2011, Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. FASTPORT develops user-friendly technology to aid carriers in their hiring process.

“America is at a turning point with an estimated 1 million veterans returning home in the next five years,” said Scott Ware, president of Holland, in a press release. “Our business is expanding and job opportunities abound. Holland is proud to welcome home our veterans with great career prospects.”

Founded in Holland, Mich., in 1929, Holland provides next-day less-than-truckload shipments in the Central and Southeastern United States and Eastern Canada. Holland provides full-state regional delivery from 57 service centers in 12 states and two provinces: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, as well as Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

River States donates more than $5,000 to Toys for Tots

It is that time of year where the trucking industry shows its true spirit. River States Truck and Trailer has donated more than $5,000 to Toys for Tots.

River States’ donation for 2014 marks the 13th consecutive year that the heavy-duty truck distributor, which is based in Wisconsin, has supported Toys for Tots. The charity collects toys for underprivileged children across the country.

Throughout the year, River States collects donations from employees who want to wear jeans on Friday. This year, the employees at the La Crosse, Eau Claire and Roberts, Wis., locations gathered up more than $5,000. The money was used to purchase toys for children ages 3 months to 13 years.

Spot rates go up for all modalities during holiday season

Holiday demand increased rates across the board for the week ending Dec. 6 compared with the prior week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Flatbed rates remained stagnant.

Van rates went up 5 cents to $2.10. Los Angeles and Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.46 and $2.32, respectively. Rates for the month of November are up 9.6 percent from last year. Load-to-truck ratios went up 1.8 percent to 4.5 loads per truck. Several states – including Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and New York – have a load-to-truck ratio greater than 5.5.

Reefer rates received a 4-cent increase to $2.41 compared with the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $3.25, whereas a lower rate of $1.60 hit Lakeland, Fla. Compared with last November, reefer rates are up 17 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went up to 12.6 from 11.6 in the previous week. Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, New York and several more states had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates increased by 2 cents to $2.33, the first increase in several weeks. Harrisburg, Pa., had an exceptionally high rate of $3.96. Phoenix marked a low rate of $2.07. Rates are down 1.7 percent for the month, but are up 10 percent in the last 12 months. There were 18.2 loads per truck for flatbeds, an 8.9 percent increase from last week. As with reefer and van loads, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, and New York were among a handful of states with higher ratios of 18 loads per truck or more.

Trucks leading transport in 2012 Commodity Flow Survey

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau have released final estimates from the 2012 Commodity Flow Survey. Trucking continues to be the leading transportation modality.

Since the last survey in 2007, tonnage and ton-miles went down 9.9 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively. Value amount for commodities increased by 18.5 percent, but is not adjusted for inflation.

Trucking accounted for 73.1 percent of the value and 71.3 percent of the tonnage for shippers’ cargo. Overall, trucks shipped out 8.1 billion tons of goods valued at $10.1 trillion. Approximately 1.2 trillion ton-miles were traveled to transport the commodities.

Mixed freight led the commodities categories with the largest value of $1.4 trillion, followed by gasoline at $1.2 trillion and electronics and vehicles (including parts), both at $1.03 trillion. The manufacturing industry contributed the most tonnage at 4.2 billion tons, whereas the wholesale industry contributed the most value at $6.1 trillion.

The Commodity Flow Survey, conducted as a partnership of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, is the primary source of national and state-level data on domestic freight shipments in the United States. The CFS measures domestic freight shipments by American establishments in mining, manufacturing, wholesale, auxiliaries, and selected retail industries.

Transportation sector gains nearly 17,000 jobs in November

With the holiday season in full swing, transportation jobs are on the rise. The transportation sector gained 16,700 jobs in November, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Truck transportation subsectors jobs received a gain of 3,000 jobs, for a total of more than 1.4 million jobs. The only transportation subsector to gain more jobs was the couriers and messengers subsector at 4,700 additions.

November’s job addition is an increase from October, which saw a gain of 13,000. September saw sluggish gains at 5,000 additions. Although up from last month, November gains are half as much when much compared to last year. In November 2013, more than 30,000 transportation jobs were added.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.90 for November, down a penny from October. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $20.61. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased by 9 cents to $24.66. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up 2.1 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.0 percent from 9.0 percent last October. The overall unemployment rate for the country dropped to 5.8 percent in October, unchanged from last month which was the lowest rate since July 2008. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for November, but has decreased by 1.2 million in the past 12 months.

Van and reefer rates up, flatbed rates unchanged

Pre-Thanksgiving demand and bad weather increased van and reefer spot market rates for the week ending Nov. 29 when compared to the prior week, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. Flatbed rates remained stagnant.

Van rates went up two cents to $2.05. Los Angeles and Chicago experienced rates as high as $2.60 and $2.49, respectively. Rates are up 9.6 percent from last year. Load-to-truck ratios went up 21 percent to 4.4 loads per truck. Several states – including Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and New York – have a load-to-truck ratio greater than 5.5.

Reefer rates received a 3-cent increase to $2.37 compared to the previous week. Green Bay rates were as high as $3.24, whereas a lower rate of $1.66 hit Lakeland, Fla. Compared with last November, reefer rates are up 17 percent. Load-to-truck ratios went down to 11.6 from 12.6 in the previous week. Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, New York and several more states had ratios in excess of 12 loads per truck.

Flatbed rates remained at $2.31, stopping a steady decline from the previous weeks. Harrisburg, Pa., had an exceptionally high rate of $3.97. Meanwhile, $1.85 marked a low rate for Phoenix. Rates are down 1.7 percent for the month, but are up 10 percent in the last 12 months. There were 16.8 loads per truck for flatbeds, an increase in a month marked by decreases. As with reefer and van loads, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, and New York were among a handful of states with higher ratios of 18 loads per truck or more.

Texas carrier group donates $50,000 to Trucking Moves America Forward

The Texas Trucking Association Foundation announced that they will donate $50,000 to Trucking Moves America Forward over the next five years. Texas Trucking Association Foundation trustees voted to support TMAF in November.

“Trucking Moves America Forward is an educational tool that will not only further the understanding of our industry, but will also ignite a passion in others for what we do,” said TXTA President and CEO John D. Esparza in a press release.

TMAF was launched at the Mid-America Trucking Show back in March. According to its website, TMAF’s mission “is to establish a long-term industry-wide movement to create a positive image for the industry, to ensure that policymakers and the public understand the importance of the trucking industry to the nation’s economy, and to build the political and grassroots support necessary to strengthen and grow the industry in the future.”

Other financial contributors to TMAF include Pilot Flying J, Randall-Reilly, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Allied Committee for the Trucking Industry, Old Dominion Freight Lines and National Tank Truck Carriers.

Freightquote acquired by C.H. Robinson for $365 million

C.H. Robinson Worldwide, a Fortune 500 company offering third-party logistics, has acquired Freightquote.com for $365 million in cash, according to a press release.

C.H. Robinson will likely increase its existing revolving credit facility to finance the acquisition. Pending regulatory approval, the closing is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2015.

Tim Barton, founder and executive chairman of Freightquote, will serve as a consultant to Freightquote once the acquisition is complete. Barton founded the company in 1998, and the website was officially launched in 1999.

According to its website, Freightquote is the largest online U.S. freight shipping provider. Freightquote exceeds $600 million in annual revenue with more than 1 million shipments each year.

Founded in 1905, C.H. Robinson is one of the world’s largest third party logistics providers, with 2013 gross revenues of $12.8 billion, according to the company’s website. With a large focus on freight transport, the multibillion dollar company has offices across the globe.

NAFTA freight maintains healthy numbers

September was the seventh consecutive month for U.S.-NAFTA freight to exceed $100 billion with a freight flow of $102.2 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistic’s TransBorder Freight Data.

All five transportation modes reported more freight compared with September 2013. Truck freight saw the second largest increase at 8.6 percent following only pipeline freight, which grew by 21.0 percent. Truck freight contributed the most of the $7.8 billion increase from last year with $4.9 billion. Trucks accounted for $31.2 billion of exports and $30.1 billion of imports.

U.S.-Canada freight moved by trucks increased by 6.0 percent from last year. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 11.5 percent. Of the $44.9 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 67.6 percent of the loads.

Van and reefer rates are up, flatbed rates slightly down

Van, refrigerated and flatbed capacity increased by 4.5 percent while available freight rose by 2.7 percent for the week ending Nov. 15, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Load-to-truck ratios went up for van and reefer loads, whereas flatbed ratios experienced a decrease when compared to the previous week. Van ratios rose to 3.0, reefer went up to 9.8 loads per truck, and flatbed ratios fell 10 percent to 16.8.

In addition to load-to-truck numbers, rates went slightly down for van freight at $2.02 per mile, maintaining a rate above $2. Reefer rates remained the same at $2.31 per mile, and flatbed rates had a typical decline for the season at $2.32 per mile.

Van rates for Los Angeles to Phoenix are at  $3.11 per mile. Other routes for vans with typically strong rates include Columbus to Buffalo ($3.64 per mile), Atlanta to Orlando ($2.74 per mile) Philadelphia to Boston ($3.68) and Dallas to Houston ($2.54)

CalArk increases wages, offers more benefits

Arkansas-based CalArk is the latest motor carrier to announce a pay increase for its drivers. Company drivers will soon see their wages hiked up 3 cents per mile.

The increase is slated to kick in on Dec. 2, and individual truckers driving for CalArk can also receive a 2 cents-per-mile bonus when logging more than 11,250 authorized miles each month. Teams working for the carrier can also collect the bonus, but must drive 19,200 miles in a one-month period.

In addition to the pay increase and monthly bonuses, CalArk will also offer major medical coverage and prescription coverage. At a cost of $45 each week, the medical coverage will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

Navistar introduces global disaster relief truck

Weather and other disastrous events often highlight the need for more emergency response vehicles with improved efficiency. Navistar and Terranova GTS have teamed up to fulfill that need.

During the Aid and International Development Forum Disaster Relief Summit in Washington, D.C., the two companies revealed the International DuraStar Multi-Purpose Vehicle. Designed to aid in disaster relief, the emergency vehicle is equipped with a variety of tools capable of responding to various disaster situations.

"This state-of-the-art multipurpose vehicle provides a critical resource to aid disaster relief efforts around the world,” said Tom Clevinger, Navistar senior vice president, Global Truck and Bus, in a press release.

Equipped with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified microbiological water purifier, the truck can purify 5,000 gallons of drinking water each day. In the event of a fire, the vehicle includes firefighting capabilities. For medical aid, the multipurpose vehicle is equipped with a mobile medical unit.

Fastport receives Hiring Our Heroes award

Fastport has been awarded the 4th Annual Hiring Our Heroes Capital One Small Business Veteran and Military Spouse Employment Award, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced in a press release.

Fastport’s JobMaps is a smartphone app that matches drivers with a job best fit for them and near their hometown. JobMaps calculates a user’s response to job listings to find the perfect match. Reviews from past drivers of a particular job are also featured.

OOIDA recently partnered with Fastport to help military veterans find jobs in trucking. As part of the agreement, OOIDA will provide online education to help veterans learn how to become owner-operators, how to pass a safety audit and how to figure cost of operations.

The Capital One Award for Small Business Veteran and Military Spouse Employment is awarded to companies with fewer than 500 employees who demonstrate leadership in hiring veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses.

Hiring Our Heroes launched in March 2011 as a nationwide initiative to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vast network of state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, the goal is to create a movement across America in hundreds of communities where veterans and military families return every day.

See related story:

New campaign will help place military vets behind the wheel

Nussbaum increases driver pay, adds sign-on bonus

Truckers driving for Nussbaum Transportation will be bringing in the New Year on a high note. Drivers will be receiving a six percent pay increase effective on January 5, 2015, Nussbaum Director of HR/Safety Jeremy Stickling confirmed to Land Line.

With a base pay range from 42-52 cents per mile, the average pay at Nussbaum will be $63,000 per year. Weekly minimum guarantee is now $1,050 a week. The top 25 percent earning will be $68,000 per year, and the top 10 percent will be around $70,000 a year.

New hires who are employed by the first week of January will receive a $3,000 sign-on bonus. Other perks include a clean inspection bonus, years of service awards, personal finance class, holiday and vacation pay, 401k, insurance and more.

Freight Transportation Service Index reaches all-time high

The Freight Transportation Service Index for September increased by 0.3 percent from August to 121.5. September’s increase marks the third consecutive month of a rise in the index, making the 121.5 index an all-time high, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

With the exception of unchanged rail carloads numbers, all freight modes grew in September. The 2.3 percent third quarter increase is the highest growth since the fourth quarter of 2011 and is the only quarter this year to rise. TSI has gone up 28.5 percent since April 2009, when the index was at 94.6.

Freight shipments are up 4.2 percent from last September, 22.4 percent from five years ago, and 10.0 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.

Crete gives five vets inducted to Patriot Fleet new trucks

Crete Carrier Corp inducted five veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces into the Patriot Fleet last week during Veterans Day. Members of the special fleet each receive a customized Freightliner Cascadia wrapped with honorary military graphics.

Following a speech by Col. Chris Collins, Crete Carrier Corp. COO Tim Aschoff recognized the 11 current Patriot Fleet truckers. There are currently 15 trucks in the fleet with the new inductees. Keys to a new Cascadia were handed over to the five new members.

This year, Crete has received the American Legion Employer of Veterans Award and was winner for CivilianJobs.com’s Most Valuable Employers for Military list. Crete also received the Pro Patria Award from the Nebraska Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve and was a semifinalist for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award last year. 

New Love’s location opens in Columbus, Mississippi

Love’s Travel Stops has announced a new location in Columbus, Miss., with 52 parking spaces. Opening its doors on Thursday, Nov. 13, the new Love’s sits at U.S. Highway 82 and State Highway 50.

Chester’s Chicken restaurant, seven showers and Love’s Truck Tire Care center are all available to truckers around the clock. Additionally, gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift merchandise, RFID cardless fueling technology and CAT scales are also featured at the new Love’s location.

Transportation sector gains 13,000 jobs in October

As the economy strengthens, both gas prices and the unemployment rate are going down. The transportation sector gained 13,000 in October, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nearly 4,000 jobs were created specifically for the truck transportation subsector, for a total of more than 1.4 million jobs. October’s job addition is a major increase from September, which only saw a gain of 5,000. August received as many as 11,000 new jobs. In October 2013, only 4,800 transportation jobs were added.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.91 for October, up a penny from September. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees remained unchanged at $20.57. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls increased by 3 cents to $24.57. When compared to a year ago, average earnings have gone up 2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.4 percent from 9.5 percent last October. The overall unemployment rate for the country dropped to 5.8 percent in October, the lowest since July 2008. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for October, but has decreased by 1.1 million in the past 12 months.

Van spot rates remain steady for third straight week

Van, refrigerated and flatbed capacity decreased by 4.4 percent while available freight fell by 1.2 percent for the week ending Nov. 1, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Load-to-truck ratios remained steady for van and flatbed loads, whereas reefer ratios slightly increased when compared to the previous week. Van ratios remained at 2.6, reefer went up 1.8 percent to 7.8 loads per truck, and flatbed ratios stood at 17.9.

In addition to load-to-truck numbers, rates have remained static for van freight at $2.01 per penny, marking three straight weeks at that value. Reefer rates went down a penny to $2.26 per mile, and flatbed rates slid 1.3 percent to $2.35.

Van rates in Los Angeles have increased its already high rate to $2.37 per mile. Other cities with strong rates include Columbus, Ohio ($2.26 per mile), Atlanta ($2.03 per mile) and Buffalo ($2.11).

Forward Air acquires Multi-Modal

Central States Trucking Co., a subsidiary of Forward Air Corp., has acquired Multi-Modal Trucking Inc. and Multi-Modal Services Inc. for $5.75 million.

The purchase was made with Forward Air’s cash reserves. Last year, Multi-Modal generated $8.5 million in revenue. Multi-Modal will begin adding to earnings per share in 2015.

Based in Indianapolis, Ind., Multi-Modal provides intermodal drayage, devanning, transloading and warehousing services primarily within the Midwest region of the United States.

Pilot Flying J launches ‘Travel Well’ program

Launching a new brand identity, Pilot Flying J has announced its Travel Well program, a holiday journey leading up to Thanksgiving committed to improving life on the road for truckers. Upgrades to facilities and travel blogs from celebrities will be part of the program.

Travel Well on Nov. 1 will begin to promote the new program as well as food and facility upgrades at more than 650 locations. Pilot Flying J has invested $100 million in technology and amenities. Healthier and higher-quality food choices will be available at the PJ Fresh Marketplace, including handmade pizza.

Championing a healthier lifestyle, Pete Thomas from NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” has been tapped as a personal health advocate to help drivers meet their wellness goals. Reaching out to road warriors, NASCAR driver Michael Annett will focus on the best methods of making a pit stop at Pilot Flying J. Other blogs include family friendly traveling advice.

Travel Well will be featured through Pilot Flying J’s social media sites and official website

Pilot Flying J leasing diesel islands in Virginia

Pilot Flying J will be leasing the diesel islands at six locations in Virginia. The Pilot stores will be operated in connection with Speedway LLC. The six locations include:

  • Wytheville, Va. – Located off Interstates 81 and 77 at 1318 E. Lee Highway. Features Dunkin’ Donuts and Dairy Queen, as well as diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) at the pump and showers for professional drivers.
  • Toms Brook, Va. – Located off Interstate 81 at State Route 651 at 1014 Mt. Olive Road. Features Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway and Dairy Queen, as well as DEF at the pump and showers for professional drivers.
  • Raphine, Va. – Located off Interstates 81 and 64 at Exit 205 at 713 Oakland Circle. Features Dunkin’ Donuts and Wendy’s, as well as DEF at the pump and showers for professional drivers.
  • South Boston, Va. – Located off U.S. Highway 58 at 2190 Philpott Highway 58. Features Dunkin’ Donuts, as well as DEF at the pump and showers for professional drivers.
  • Disputanta, Va. – Located off Interstate 95 at Exit 47 at 4610 County Drive. Features Dunkin’ Donuts and Wendy’s, as well as DEF at the pump and showers for professional drivers.
  • Skippers, Va. – Located off State Route 629 at 781 Moores Ferry Road. Features Dunkin’ Donuts.
Mack Trucks reward OOIDA members for choosing Mack

Mack Trucks is offering a special incentive to active members of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association who purchase a new Mack truck model from a participating dealer between Oct. 22, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2015.

OOIDA members who make a qualifying purchase will receive a Mack Trucks Loyalty Reward card worth $1,500. This offer is available in the U.S. and Canada. 
 
As an added bonus, customers who finance their new truck with Mack Financial Services will receive an additional $500 on their card, for a total loyalty reward of $2,000. The loyalty reward cards are redeemable immediately and are valid through Dec. 31, 2016, at participating dealers. 

Qualifying vehicles include any new Mack Pinnacle, Granite or Titan either ordered or purchased from dealer inventory. The vehicles must be warranty registered between Oct. 22 and Dec. 31, 2015, to be eligible and a maximum of five loyalty reward cards are available per eligible purchaser. 

For additional information about the Mack Trucks Loyalty Reward program, please visit your local Mack Trucks dealer. For details on eligibility, call OOIDA at 800-444-5791 and ask for Trinette Rogers or Tammy Hodges.

Freight numbers for August remain strong

U.S.-NAFTA freight hit $100.6 billion in August, making it the sixth consecutive month to exceed $100 billion, according to TransBorder Freight Data.

With a $4.2 billion increase from last year, truck freight contributed the most with $1.9 billion. All five major modes of transportation – air, vessel, pipeline, rail and trucks – had better numbers in August compared with August 2013.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 59.6 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight in August 2014, accounting for $28.8 billion of imports and $31.2 billion of exports.

Spot market rates for week ending Oct. 18

Van, refrigerated and flatbed capacity increased by 5.6 percent while available freight decreased by 5.6 percent for the week ending Oct. 18, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Load-to-truck ratios decreased for all three equipment categories. Van ratios went down to 2.8 from 3.1, reefer went down 11 percent to 7.8 loads per truck, and flatbed ratios have decreased 8.6 percent to 21.9 loads per truck.

In addition to load-to-truck numbers, rates have also weakened. Van and flatbed rates both slipped 2 cents to $2.01 per mile while reefer rates decreased by a penny to $2.28 per mile.

Van rates in Los Angeles have been unusually high at $2.25 per mile. Other cities with strong rates include Columbus, Ohio ($2.31 per mile) and Buffalo ($2.40 per mile). Memphis rates went down 6 cents to $2.32.

Knight Transportation acquires Barr-Nunn

Trucking behemoth Knight Transportation has added another fleet to its portfolio. According to a news release, Knight has acquired dry van transportation company Barr-Nunn.

Purchased for $112.4 million by Knight, Barr-Nunn generated $119.8 million in total revenue in the last year. Headquartered near Des Moines, Iowa, Barr-Nunn has a fleet of approximately 550 trucks.

Barr-Nunn management, personnel, policies and culture will remain intact. In the news release, Knight assured driving associates, non-driving associates and customers that little change should be noticed after the transaction has been completed.

Specializing in expedited and service-sensitive marketplaces, Barr-Nunn operates mostly in eastern United States. Major manufacturers, consumer product companies, retailers and transportation and logistics providers are among Barr-Nunn’s customers. Leased facilities are located in Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Canada approves full length rear-mounted aerodynamic devices

Canada’s Ministers of Transportation and Highway Safety have approved the use of rear-mounted aerodynamic devices like ATDynamics’ full-length TrailerTails within all Canadian provinces.

An amendment to the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Memorandum of Understanding on Interprovincial Weights and Dimensions, the new law is a result of ATDynamics’ work with Canadian and cross-border fleets to update vehicle length exemptions and regulations. Efforts to change the standards have been going on for seven years.

“After considerable research on the effectiveness and safety of rear-mounted aerodynamic devices, in December 2013 Transport Canada revised regulations to facilitate the use of larger aerodynamic devices on the rear of trucks and trailers,” said the Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat in a press release.

Until legislation goes into full effect, ATDynamics hopes for each province to issue permits or defer enforcement, allowing the use of full length TrailerTails. Ontario has not enforced the older law prohibiting full length TrailerTails since Aug. 11.

Pilot Flying J offering free showers

Pilot Flying J will be offering free daily showers and extended shower credits to drivers. The offer is available to truckers who pump more than 500 gallons of fuel in one month.

Using their MyRewards account, drivers will receive one free shower credit a day after pumping 500 gallons of fuel. Once 500 gallons have been purchased, the shower credits will be given through the remainder of the month.

Truck drivers will also receive a 10-day expiration on shower credits before hitting the 500 gallon mark each month. This is an extension of the five-day expiration period.

As part of an initiative to improve the lives of professional drivers, Pilot Flying J has launched a $50 million project to remodel restrooms at every location. Another $50 million project to remodel showers should be completed by the end of the year.

Goodyear introduces new fuel-efficient drive tire

Goodyear has introduced the Fuel Max LHD G505D, a drive tire that the company calls the most fuel-efficient long-haul drive tire in North America.

Goodyear claims that compared to the Michelin X Line Energy D, the G505D saves $1,444 of fuel per year on average, compared to competitors. According to the news release, these numbers are based on a Class 8 tractor-trailer combination truck with 6.50 miles per gallon, traveling 120,000 miles in a year and diesel fuel price at $4 per gallon.

Fuel Max LHD G505D tires also include enhanced all-season traction, Goodyear’s Tredlock Technology, and penetration protectors that help resist stone drilling.

U.S. Postal Service could deliver groceries, too

The United States Postal Service wants to deliver a bottle of cold milk and a carton of eggs to your doorstep and do it in the wee hours of the morning while you sleep. According to the Washington Post, the agency filed a proposal with the Postal Regulatory Commission last week asking federal regulators to allow it to expand a grocery delivery pilot program it has going in San Francisco to other cities.

USPS says the way it would work is that the customer would order groceries through Amazon. Then postal workers wearing lighted hats would place insulated tote bags on your porch between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. and leave without ringing the doorbell. 

The postal service figures a two-year test in various cities could bring in $20 million. 

Carrier Transicold using the sun to power TRUs

With all of the rules and regulations controlling the use of auxiliary power units and transport refrigeration units, it was a matter of time for technology to adapt with a solution. Carrier Transicold has introduced Thin-Film Flexible Solar Panels, an accessory that charges TRUs with the power of sunlight, according to a press release.

Providing a battery charge to TRUs in an environmentally-friendly way, the solar panel mats can be placed on the roofs of trailers, truck bodies and refrigerated rail cars. With other devices drawing power from a TRU, the battery can quickly drain when the TRU is turned off. With solar panels, exposure to daylight delivers a continuous charge to the TRU battery, alleviating the issues that arise from a weak or dead battery.

Fuel efficiency can improve with the use of solar panels by reducing the need to run the TRU engine to charge the battery, Carrier Transicold notes in a news release.

Thin-Film Flexible Solar Panels are available in 26-by-41-inch panels for wide, flat roofs and 14-by-80-inch panels for narrow corrugated roofs.

For more information, visit www.carrier.com/tru-solar

NAFTA freight exceeds $100 billion for fifth straight month

U.S.-NAFTA freight hit $101.1 billion in July, the fifth consecutive month exceeding $100 billion according to TransBorder Freight Data.

With a $7.9 billion increase from last year, truck freight contributed the most with $4.7 billion. All five major modes of transportation – air, vessel, pipeline, rail and trucks – had better numbers in July when compared to July 2013.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily used mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 59.2 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight in July 2014, accounting for $29.3 billion of imports and $30.5 billion of exports.

Bridgestone donates $1 million to combat Ebola in West Africa

Bridgestone Group announced this week that it will donate $1 million towards battling the Ebola epidemic in parts of Africa. Money donated will go toward public awareness, delivery of in-home care supplies, improving medical treatment, and supporting orphaned children as a result of the epidemic.

Bridgestone Americas will give $500,000 to Samaritan’s Purse to aid efforts in Liberia, and Bridgestone Corp. will donate $500,000 to UNICEF’s work in Liberia and Nigeria.

“The current Ebola outbreak is unprecedented and requires an urgent global response. UNICEF is racing against time to control the spread of the disease among children and families,” said Caryl Stern, U.S. Fund for UNICEF president and CEO, in a news release.  “We greatly appreciate the donation from Bridgestone Group, which will help UNICEF expand its critical work in West Africa.”

Firestone Liberia, a Bridgestone Americas subsidiary, has had 71 people associated with the company contract Ebola since the virus started to spread in Liberia. The recent $1 million donation comes after Firestone Liberia implemented an emergency response program on its rubber farm and nearby communities.

“Our Firestone Liberia teammates and community have selflessly met the demands of this deadly outbreak, and we support them and the great work Samaritan’s Purse and UNICEF are doing in the region to help protect the citizens of Liberia and West Africa,” said Gary Garfield, CEO and president of Bridgestone Americas Inc. in a press release.  “We implore others to step up in taking on this fight against Ebola.”

Bridgestone Americas is based in Nashville, Tenn., and Bridgestone Corp. headquarters are located in Tokyo, Japan. The Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. first established a natural rubber production facility in Liberia, West Africa, in 1926.

Spot rates down for the week, still up from a year ago

Spot truckload load volume fell 3.5 percent while capacity was unchanged for the week ending Sept. 20, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards. 

Load-to-truck ratios also decreased for all three equipment categories. Van ratios went down 1.9 percent, reefer was down 3.1 percent, and flatbed ratios have decreased 5.6 percent.

In addition to load-to-truck numbers, rates have also weakened. Van and flatbed rates both slipped 2.4 percent, whereas reefer rates decreased by 1.3 percent.

Despite the week-to-week decline, numbers are still up when compared to a year ago. Spot market loads are up 44 percent and capacity is up 1.9 percent from August 2013. In relation to last year, rates for van, flatbed and reefers are up 8.7, 9.5 and 9.1 percent, respectively. According to DAT Solutions, the decline for the week is typical for this season.

Peterbilt introduces password-protected engine start

Peterbilt will be offering a new anti-theft system for Models 579 and 567 equipped with Paccar MX-13 engines. The added security will now include drivers entering a passcode to start the engine.

Passwords are keyed in through the menu control switch on the Driver Information Center – located within the driver instrumentation cluster – before starting the engine. The information center is a 5-inch, color LCD screen that provides information on vehicle and engine functions.

Upon entering the correct code, the engine must be started within six minutes. If the engine is not started within that timeframe, the code will need to be entered again. Codes can be changed, deactivated or activated at any Peterbilt dealership’s service department.

The anti-theft system is now in production and available for order.