Rss

This week, we’re following TuSimple Holdings Inc.’s $1.1 billion IPO as well as merger prospects for Tula Technology, which makes cylinder-skipping engine controls that dramatically reduce planet-warming greenhouse gases.

Was this forwarded to you? Subscribe here.

Safe at home

TuSimple’s (NASDAQ: TSP) big news this week was, of course, its initial public offering as it became the first autonomous trucking software developer to go public. With enough money in the bank to get the company to its purpose-built Level 4 high-autonomy Class 8 truck with Navistar (NYSE: NAV) in 2024, the next thing to watch is how it gets there.

If all goes as planned, TuSimple will test its trucks with no safety driver in Arizona late in the fourth quarter. We talked with Jim Mullen, the former head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), who joined TuSimple as chief risk officer last October and now is chief administrative officer.

FREIGHTWAVES: How have you influenced the safety discussion at TuSimple?

MULLEN: “When [Chief Technology Officer] Xioadi [Hou] and his algorithm team go through things like disengagements and how the AI [artificial intelligence] ought to react to certain scenarios, I think that’s where I’ve brought some value to the organization.”

FREIGHTWAVES: What is the hardest thing you’ve encountered?

MULLEN: “Our AI can operate within the rules of the road and do everything that an operator of a truck ought to do very, very well. Where we’re still working on some issues is [the edge cases]. What ought we do if we’re in the right lane and another vehicle, or another tractor trailer, starts to deviate into our lane. So should we take the shoulder? Do we just bias as far as we can in the right lane? Do you get off the throttle? Do you brake?”

FREIGHTWAVES: How do you assess the competition in AV software technology?

MULLEN: “Our truthful answer is we think that we’re the leader. We think that our camera vision of a thousand meters allows us to do things that the competitors can’t. Our competitors, at least to my knowledge, haven’t shown that. I did see some of the competitors’ stuff when I was at the DOT. So, my view [is] if we’re not the leader, we’re certainly in the forefront.”

TuSimple’s public debut (Photo: TuSimple)

What’s next for Tula Technology?

Beside the impressive reduction in two major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, what should we make of this week’s announcement by Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) and privately held Tula Technology? 

First, there is the fact that 13-year-old Tula’s cylinder-deactivation engine technology has been attracting attention for more than a decade. GM Ventures was an early backer. So were Sequoia Capital, Sigma Partners and Khosla Ventures. The Tier 1 supplier formerly known as Delphi invested in 2015.

So, even if the commercial vehicle space is just learning of the company’s capabilities, Tula is well known. And now that it is talking deals for its diesel Dynamic Skip Fire (dDSF) cylinder deactivation technology with more than 20 global truck makers, the prospects of a merger are growing.

“It’s fair to say that we see exit activities from private ownership as one way where we can continue to accelerate our growth and partnership with key companies that can bring more to the party than Tula could muster on our own,” CEO Scott Bailey told me this week.

But a blank check special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger is unlikely, and not just because SPACs are drawing increasing scrutiny from regulators.

“We’ve been approached by SPACs,” Bailey said. “The typical SPAC model really wants to generate an opportunity for people to continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the company to, for example, build a battery plant. And Tula, as a controls company, that model just really doesn’t fit.”

Tula Technology’s cylinder-skipping breakthrough. (Photo: General Motors)

Possible suitors

Just thinking out loud here. But possible suitors would have to include Cummins, which is always on the lookout for strategic acquisitions. And the Columbus, Indiana-based engine maker is going to be doing diesel powertrains for a long time because many of its customers are outsourcing diesel engines — many to Cummins — to focus on electric powertrains.

Tula is paying attention to the embracing of electrification. Half of its 60-person team is working on controls for electric motors. So there is a chance the two units could be split up in a sale.

BorgWarner Inc. (NYSE: BWA) paid $3.3 billion for the legacy businesses of Delphi, called Delphi Technologies, last year. While BorgWarner is planning to sell off some traditional internal combustion technologies, including some that came with the Delphi merger, it is keeping parts that will help it grow as an electric powertrain player.

Power management company Eaton Corp. (NYSE: ETN) also should be in the mix. It has been active in M&A and has plenty of cash. Dana Inc. (NYSE: DAN) would be a maybe because it has less financial flexibility. 

But my best guess is Cummins, which just spent two years in an exclusive tie-up with Tula and knows it better than anyone with the possible exception of GM, which has Dynamic Skip Fire in more than a million vehicles. For a relatively small early investment, GM got the milk without buying the cow.

Cummins is cagey about whether and when it would adopt Tula’s dDSF after testing on its X-15  high-efficiency six-cylinder engine. Is a bigger deal coming?

If not Cummins, whom am I missing? Let me know at aadler@freightwaves.com.

HR calling

In the personnel files this week … 

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) CEO John O’Leary is taking Caley Edgerly off the bus. Edgerly, president and CEO of subsidiary Thomas Built Buses, takes over as  general manager, operations planning and quality at the DTNA mothership. Edgerly joined Daimler in 1994 as a quality engineer at Detroit Diesel Corp.

DTNA also named Marcela Barreiro as president and CEO of Daimler Trucks Mexico, the first woman to lead the operation. A 13-year veteran of Daimler Trucks Mexico, Barreiro most recently led human resources for the 8,000-member workforce covering two truck manufacturing plants and five other locations in the country.  

Travel plaza operator and fuel supplier Pilot Company is casting a wide net for its National Hiring Day on April 27. It is looking to hire 5,000 people with virtual meet-and-greets across North America. Pilot has jobs available in retail, food service, professional driving and corporate roles.

Transport this

Somehow, it’s hard to imagine tough-guy actor Jason Statham trading in his BMW for Udelv’s Transporter, a role he played in a movie trilogy of the same name in the 2000s.

Udelv Transporter autonomous electric delivery vehicle. (Photo: Udelv)
The first Transporter — actor Jason Statham (Copyright: 20th Century Fox)

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading.

Alan

Rss


#kt-adv-heading_e05c5e-76, #kt-adv-heading_e05c5e-76 .wp-block-kadence-advancedheading {font-size:20px;font-weight:400;font-family:Montserrat;}

To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.

Rss

Featured Truck of the Week Multi-coloured Kenworth

Today’s truck is a cool Kenworth from the Big Rig Truck Show. Each week Bruce picks a cool truck from the many truck shows he attends. Hearing about them is one thing, seeing them is another. Check out this cool ride!

Check out the video on this featured truck by clicking here

This episode is sponsored by C.A.T. Transport offering flexible work options, pet friendly programs, and is one of the Best Managed Carriers in Canada. Learn more at www.cat.ca  or call 1-800-363-5313

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics.

Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com  , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

 

Rss

New margin targets for J.B. Hunt

J.B. Hunt Transport Services (NASDAQ: JBHT) updated operating income margin targets for each of its five divisions during its first-quarter earnings call Thursday evening.

The company slightly lowered its intermodal margin target to a range of 10%-12% from the prior range of 11%-13%. The dedicated segment’s margin target was raised by 100 basis points on each end to 12%-14%. Targets were reiterated in brokerage (4%-6%) and final mile (4%-8%). The margin target for the truck division was lowered to 8%-10% (from 8%-12%) as the division continues to transition to a more asset-light model.

The Lowell, Arkansas-based company reported first-quarter earnings of $1.37 per share after the market close, 19 cents ahead of the consensus estimate and up 23 cents year-over-year on an adjusted basis. The first-quarter 2020 result included $24 million in one-time expenses – COVID-related bonuses, an accrual related to its revenue division with BNSF Railway (Berkshire Hathaway, NYSE: BRK.B) and equity-comp expense for executive retirements.

Table: J.B. Hunt’s key performance indicators – Consolidated

Intermodal target trimmed, backdrop likely improves in 2021

The division’s operating margin has hovered just north of 9% for the last two years as it has contended with several hurdles including arbitration expenses to settle a dispute on its BNSF contract, significant service headwinds due to precision scheduled railroading initiatives and pandemic-related port congestion.

Management said the revised intermodal target assumes some improvement in rail service but noted that velocity on the railroads is unlikely to reach the levels seen in recent years.

Rail service was an issue again during the first quarter. Since the beginning of March, J.B. Hunt has issued more than a dozen service advisories to customers. On Tuesday, the company posted a service notice explaining “container availability will remain extremely constrained throughout the country for the next two weeks.”

Poor weather contributed to a 3% year-over-year decline in intermodal volumes with 25,000 load opportunities being negatively impacted during February. Across the U.S. Class I railroads, intermodal traffic was up 13% year-over-year with J.B. Hunt’s partners BNSF recording a 19% jump and Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) posting an 8% increase.

J.B. Hunt has struggled with load counts recently as container turns have declined. The primary culprits have been poor rail service and equipment getting stuck at customer facilities due to labor issues with dockworkers. During the quarter, loads per container dropped roughly 13% year-over-year.

In response, management has raised capital expenditure plans for 2021 by 40% to $1.25 billion. The company now plans to add 12,000 containers this year to its current fleet size of almost 100,000 boxes.

Excluding fuel surcharges, revenue per load increased 6%, but operating income fell by a similar amount, excluding one-time costs from the year-ago quarter. The weather impact to operating income was estimated to be a $17 million hit for the division.

Looking forward, management expects to grow the intermodal segment at a faster pace than the industry average. Loads were up by 3% and 4% in January and March, respectively, but 16% lower in February due to the disruption. Intermodal contracts are expected to reprice toward the high end of the prior guidance range of high-single-digit to low-double-digit rate increases.

Table: J.B. Hunt’s key performance indicators – Intermodal

Dedicated margin target ticks higher

Dedicated revenue increased 7% year-over-year as loads increased by a similar amount. Revenue per truck per week was up 6%. Management said that it booked dedicated service for 380 trucks during the quarter. The company added 1,300 contracted trucks in the division in 2020 and plans to add 800 to 1,000 revenue-producing trucks per year moving forward.

The operating ratio deteriorated 180 bps to 87.2%, within the increased target range, as improved productivity was offset by wage inflation. Management called out difficulties with driver recruitment multiple times on the call.

Table: J.B. Hunt’s key performance indicators – Dedicated

Brokerage sees consecutive quarters of profitability

While the original guidance called for the brokerage segment to not achieve sustained profitability until the second half of 2021, the division posted its second consecutive quarterly profit. Brokerage revenue increased 57% year-over-year with higher revenue per load accounting for the increase. Total loads were down 1% but truckload volumes increased 10%. Management said the volume decline was primarily due to the loss of a less-than-truckload customer.

Higher spot and contractual rates resulted in a gross-profit-margin improvement of 280 bps to 12.4%. Favorable spot market conditions led to contractual volumes accounting for only 35% of revenue compared to 54% a year ago.

Brokerage revenue on digital freight platform, Marketplace for J.B. Hunt 360, increased 53% year-over-year to $359 million.

Management expects to hit the long-term margin goal through increased scale and productivity gains, noting that the division saw volumes increase as the quarter progressed. Another tailwind will be the wind down of investment in the segment.

Table: J.B. Hunt’s key performance indicators – Brokerage

The truck and final-mile segments saw robust revenue growth and profitability improvements. Revenue per loaded mile, excluding fuel surcharges, increased 28% year-over-year in the truck segment, with contractual rates up 14%.

Table: J.B. Hunt’s key performance indicators – Final Mile and Truck

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

Rss

[caption caption="Meera Joshi battled app-based ridesharing companies while chair and CEO of New York City"][/caption]A New York City taxi regulator who pioneered the use of data tools to weed out unsafe drivers and devised a pay protection program for drivers working for app-based services is the Biden administration’s nominee to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Meera Joshi, who...

Rss

[caption caption="Meera Joshi battled app-based ridesharing companies while chair and CEO of New York City"][/caption]A New York City taxi regulator who pioneered the use of data tools to weed out unsafe drivers and devised a pay protection program for drivers working for app-based services is the Biden administration’s nominee to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Meera Joshi, who...

Rss

[caption caption="Meera Joshi battled app-based ridesharing companies while chair and CEO of New York City"][/caption]A New York City taxi regulator who pioneered the use of data tools to weed out unsafe drivers and devised a pay protection program for drivers working for app-based services is the Biden administration’s nominee to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Meera Joshi, who...

Rss

[caption caption="Short-haul loads can be unprofitable for brokers due to fixed costs associated with securing capacity and the difficulty to carve out margin on a smaller invoice. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]Short-haul truckload broker Torch Logistics has closed a $3.5 million seed funding round from a group of supply chain-focused investors to capitalize...

Rss

Driving Steel With Rims Transport

Why not become an owner operator with a company that cares? We talk with an owner operator with Rims Transport about why he believes this a great place to build a business. Owner operator Louis offers tips on being successful on the road with a career that has spanned decades. RIMS Transport who is looking for owner operators and drivers to work cross border operations out of Hamilton Ontario. You can learn more about the opportunities at www.rimstransport.com

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics.

Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com  , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

 

Rss

Tug boats try to move a big green container ship stuck in the mud.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of FreightWaves or its affiliates.

By Shruti D. Engstrom, John N. Ellison and Luke E. Debevec

The blockage of the Suez Canal by the Ever Given has given rise to trade and supply chain disruptions for businesses that depend on shipments through the canal. 

Policyholders should look to their insurance to determine if they have coverage for these types of losses. Businesses should also carefully review their contracts with suppliers and related vendors to determine if they have available insurance through those contracts, indemnification protection through those contracts, or indemnification obligations because of those contracts.  

Taking proactive steps is the key to securing recovery for these losses.

Read your policies and vendor contracts

The first step is to locate and carefully read the applicable policies or vendor contracts.  The insurance policies most likely to respond to supply chain disruptions or loss of cargo include trade disruption coverage, contingent business interruption coverage or cargo insurance.  

Look to your company’s political risk insurance policies for trade disruption coverage, which provides protection from loss of earnings or extra expenses incurred as a result of supply chain disruption.   

Review your company’s property insurance policies for contingent business interruption coverage, which will provide similar protection due to property damage to the Ever Given.  

Coverage for cargo can also be found in cargo insurance policies or policies offering inland marine coverage and provides protection for damaged or lost cargo.

Because policies with these types of coverages often have different names, reviewing all of your company’s insurance policies is the best way to determine potential coverage.  

This is important because the wordings and coverages can sometimes be complex. The complexity, however, should not be a deterrent.  A close reading of your company’s policies will likely reveal the provisions under which coverage exists and give you a good foundation for discussion with the company’s broker or the insurance company.

Similarly, contracts with suppliers or other such vendors are another source of potential recovery.  Vendor contracts likely contain indemnification provisions and insurance procurement provisions.  

Check these contracts carefully for potential coverage options or potential obligations to customers.

Be aware of policy deadlines

Give notice as soon as possible to avoid any pushback from your insurer on timing.  There is no harm in giving notice, but the failure to do so can essentially put an end to your claim.  

Your company’s notice should include all known losses and a catchall provision for losses that you may discover after giving notice. If necessary, provide updates as needed but do not delay in giving notice.  If your vendor agreements provide indemnification or insurance protection, notify the vendor as well.

In addition to prompt notice, keep track of policy deadlines.  

Policies may require proofs of loss within a certain amount of time, or clauses that require that a suit be filed within a certain amount of time. Keep all of your options on the table and preserve all of your rights by meeting deadlines or securing extensions of time from your insurance company.

Quantify the claim

It is important to gather and preserve information that quantifies the effects of the Suez Canal disruption on your business, such as lost profits and extra expenses. This information will likely involve business accounting, so it is important to have the right team in place to quantify the claim.  

Insurance companies hire accountants and other independent experts to assess claims, so consider seeking outside help on this issue — particularly if your claim is big enough or your company does not have adequate internal resources. The more evidence you collect to quantify your claim, the better.  

Claim quantification also involves communicating with your insurance company and responding to requests for information. Respond promptly to these requests, but make sure to document these communications and track the information requests and responses provided by your company. 

Stay on your insurance company’s radar 

In addition to responding promptly to your insurance company, make sure it responds promptly to you. For instance, write letters to demand information on the status of your claim as well as details and explanations of coverage positions, and follow up on those requests.  

Do not blindly accept coverage delays or denials, but ensure that your insurance company knows that you are invested in your claim and expect responsiveness. 

If needed, engage your broker or an attorney to challenge insurance company delays or denials.  

John N. Ellison, Luke E. Debevec and Shruti D. Engstrom are insurance coverage attorneys at Reed Smith LLP and regularly represent policyholders and their captives in insurance and reinsurance coverage disputes. 

Rss

[caption caption="A 44 percent increase in e-commerce sales brought two new parcel carriers to the 2020 rankings of the Top 50 Trucking Companies. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]The fastest-growing US trucking companies last year weren’t necessarily ‘trucking’ companies, but ground parcel carriers, according to research by SJ Consulting Group. Regional parcel carriers LaserShip and OnTrac led the fastest growing companies on the JOC.com Top...

Rss

Los Angeles

The flood of imports into the Port of Los Angeles is relentless. More records were set in March. And volumes are expected to remain at peak levels — with container ships to remain stuck at anchor — until June.

“I would describe this as the port version of March Madness,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka during a press conference on Wednesday. He described last month’s import flows as “remarkable” and a “once-in-a-lifetime event.”

Los Angeles port director
Port of LA’s Gene Seroka (Photo: Port of LA)

Los Angeles handled 957,599 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in March, up 113% year on year — the highest March number in the port’s history. “If those containers were placed end to end they’d stretch from Los Angeles to New York and halfway back across the country,” Seroka said.

“That’s a big number for a peak month like September or October. But we’ve never seen volume like this in the first half of the year.”

Loaded inbound containers totaled 490,115 TEUs, up 122% year on year, the highest monthly import tally since October. Loaded outbound containers totaled 122,899 TEUS, up 1% year on year. Outbound empty containers totaled 344,585 TEUs, up 219% year on year.

Ships at anchor down, but still high

There have been a lot of headlines about the “parking lot” of container ships at anchor in San Pedro Bay, awaiting berths in Los Angeles and Long Beach. According to the Los Angeles Signal data platform, average time at anchor as of Wednesday was still eight days. That’s higher than seven- to 7.5-day anchorage times reported in January and February.

Seroka said that there were 20 ships at anchor on Wednesday, which he compared to the single-day peak of 40 on Feb. 1 and surmised, “The number has been cut in half.”

Looking at the data more broadly, the improvement is not nearly so substantial.

Daily anchorage counts from the Marine Exchange of Southern California show that the year-to-date average is 29.6 ships at anchorage per day. That average was exceeded as recently as April 2. The average for April to date is 24.1 ships per day — 18.5% lower than the year-to-date average — which is good progress, but well short of “cut in half.”

Los Angeles anchorages
(Chart: American Shipper based on data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California)

“We want to get that to zero ships,” said Seroka. “The goal is to clear out the anchorages and have the ships come straight to berth. In the interim, we’ve probably got another really strong six weeks of digging to do.” He said he expects “to see vessels at anchor probably through the end of May or beginning of June.”

Good news, bad news on land side

Despite stubbornly high anchorage waits off Los Angeles, Seroka pointed to improvements in landside metrics.

The number of labor shifts was up 13% in March versus the four-year average. In the terminals, container dwell time last month was 3.8 days, down from a high of five days in February. Outside the terminals, street dwell time — the waiting time at warehouses — fell to 6.8 days from a high of 7.6 days in February.

The challenge, Seroka explained, is that the 6.8 days of street dwell time “compares to the model created for chassis provision of 3.5 days. Every additional day that containers sit waiting for warehouse space means we theoretically need an additional 3,000 chassis.”

The rail situation is an even bigger problem. “Rail dwell time is up to nearly 11 days, which is extremely high for us,” he acknowledged. “The rapid succession of vessel calls, the inclement weather across the country and the one-way trade surge make it difficult to get rail cars, engine power and crews back to Los Angeles fast enough.

“One of our largest terminals reported to me this morning that from once having 9,000 rail units on the ground waiting to move, that number is down to 4,000.”

Empty containers versus exports

Rail data is showing a highly unusual shift in westbound volumes to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Loaded inbound rail containers, including 20-, 40- and 45-foot units (SONAR: IRAILINTL.LAX), have usually been around double the volume of empty rail containers arriving at the Southern California ports (SONAR: IRAILINTE.LAX).

container data
(Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

But this year, volumes of loaded and empty rail containers have converged. And this month, empty rail containers inbound to Los Angeles/Long Beach have actually exceeded inbound containers laden with export cargo — an extremely rare event.

container data
(Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

“The madness continues with the empties,” said Seroka, referring to outbound empty container volumes loaded on ships in Los Angeles in March.

Last month saw the highest-ever number of empties loaded on ships in Los Angeles. The four-to-one gap between empty export containers and full export containers “is the highest gap we’ve seen in recent times,” he added.

Asked why this was occurring, he responded, “It’s quicker [for ocean carriers] to get the empties onto the ships and to the next point of origin in Asia to recycle them and have them come back as imports than it would be for the additional transit time to reach U.S. exporters here and then deliver exports to Asia consignees on the other side of the Pacific.

“So, they’re trying to cut down the transit time and catch up on the massive orders for imports and the next round to come to the U.S.”

Higher imports equals higher empties

The trend in empty rail containers to Los Angeles/Long Beach implies that carriers are moving some boxes out empty at the expense of some U.S. exports. However, another dataset shows that most of the increase in empties is due to the increase in U.S. imports. The pattern remains: The more boxes that come into Southern California full of cargo from Asia, the more boxes available to turn around quickly and send back to Asia empty.

American Shipper analyzed the combined monthly volumes of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for imports, exports and empties from January 2018 through last month.

Los Angeles Long Beach data
(Chart: American Shipper based on data from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach)

The trend line for exports is generally flat, extending well before the onset of COVID and the subsequent import surge, and is not reverse-correlated with empties. But the trend line for empties is highly correlated with imports. In other words, it looks like most of the rise and fall of empties is due to the rise and fall of imports.

Even so, the data does suggest some substitution of outbound empties for export boxes, which concurs with the inbound-to-California rail data and reports from U.S. exporters.

Comparing Q1 2021 to the more normal Q1 2019 (Q1 2020 was heavily skewed by COVID), export volumes through Los Angeles/Long Beach fell 10%. At the same time, empties totaled 69% of import volumes in Q1 2021, up from 62% in Q1 2019. 

A different pattern in 2021

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the combined Los Angeles/Long Beach throughput data is what didn’t happen this year. In February-March in 2018, 2019 and 2020, import volumes fell significantly, as they traditionally do at that time following Chinese New Year (the effect was heightened in 2020 by COVID lockdowns).

In fact, exports actually briefly exceeded empties in both March 2018 and March 2020 as empties were pulled down in unison with the seasonal drop in imports.

Los Angeles Long Beach data
(Chart: American Shipper based on data from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach)

This year, the pattern is very different. The first-quarter import drop was minimal and imports began rising again in March. As a result, the gap between exports and empties didn’t close as usual.

As Seroka put it: “I have not witnessed a sustained import surge of this magnitude in all of my years in the industry.”

Click for more articles by Greg Miller 

Demand boom on collision course with ocean transport ceiling

Could America’s historic import crunch get even worse?

California’s port pileup leaves old records in the dust

New video shows massive scope of California box-ship traffic jam

Still a lot of ships at anchor off Los Angeles/Long Beach: the view offshore on Wednesday (Photo: Marine Exchange of Southern California)

Rss

[caption caption="A 44 percent increase in e-commerce sales brought two new parcel carriers to the 2020 rankings of the Top 50 Trucking Companies. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]The fastest-growing US trucking companies last year weren’t necessarily ‘trucking’ companies, but ground parcel carriers, according to research by SJ Consulting Group. Regional parcel carriers LaserShip and OnTrac led the fastest growing companies on the JOC.com Top...

Rss

[caption caption="A 44 percent increase in e-commerce sales brought two new parcel carriers to the 2020 rankings of the Top 50 Trucking Companies. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]The fastest-growing US trucking companies last year weren’t necessarily ‘trucking’ companies, but ground parcel carriers, according to research by SJ Consulting Group. Regional parcel carriers LaserShip and OnTrac led the fastest growing companies on the JOC.com Top...

Rss

[caption caption="A 44 percent increase in e-commerce sales brought two new parcel carriers to the 2020 rankings of the Top 50 Trucking Companies. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]The fastest-growing US trucking companies last year weren’t necessarily ‘trucking’ companies, but ground parcel carriers, according to research by SJ Consulting Group. Regional parcel carriers LaserShip and OnTrac led the fastest growing companies on the JOC.com Top...

Rss

TuSimple, the first autonomous vehicle software maker to go public, raised $1.36 billion at $40 per share, slightly above the high end of its estimate. Shares begin trading Thursday on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol TSP.

TuSimple has a valuation of $8.49 billion based on 212 million registered shares.

Prior to its initial public offering (IPO), the San Diego-based startup privately raised $800 million over five years. Most of that came in recent months as it pulled in investments by major fleets, railroads and truck manufacturers Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV) and its German parent TRATON Group (OTC: TRATF)

TuSimple confidentially filed its prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in December. With the commission’s blessing, the company made its plans public in March.TuSimple executives ring the bell to open NASDAQ trading Thursday.

Passing on SPACing

TuSimple passed on riding the wave of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) — shell companies that raise money in an IPO and have two years to identify a merger target — to take the traditional IPO route. 

It may be a wise move. SPACs are coming under increasing scrutiny over how much their sponsors charge in the so-called “promote” — as much as 20% of the new companies’ shares — and liability protection for business projections disallowed in a traditional IPO.

TuSimple had a valuation of $7.85 billion based on the midpoint of a $35 to $39 share price range announced April 7. It generated $1.8 million in revenue from autonomous freight runs  with 50 Level 4 autonomous trucks in the American Southwest. All of its trucks have a safety driver on board. But it plans to go “driver out” this year.

TuSimple lost $178 million in 2020 on a proforma basis.

China questions

Sun Dreams Inc., an affiliate of Chinese online media firm Sina Corp., is TuSimple’s largest shareholder. Its 20% stake brought scrutiny by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The committee is required to investigate any investment by a foreign entity that exceeds 10% ownership to determine if it raises national security concerns.

Sun Dreams sold 6.76 million shares, worth about $270 million. Sina has two seats on TuSimple’s board of directors.

Self-driving truck software competitor Plus may face similar scrutiny should it decide to go public. Plus reportedly has been in discussions with unnamed SPACs about a reverse merger, according to Bloomberg. Plus has significant Chinese investment and a joint venture with China state-owned First Auto Works.

The Information reported this week that China’s Didi Chuxing quietly purchased another autonomous startup, Aurora Innovation, for $1 billion in 2017. But the sale was aborted after CFIUS investigated. Aurora, led by self-driving software pioneer Chris Urmson, is worth a reported $10 billion today. 

Attracting investors

TuSimple’s latest private Series E funding round totaled $546 million. That included $363 million in direct investment, $50 million from a convertible loan and $183 million from warrants in private company stock exercised by Navistar and TRATON.

Navistar owns 5% of TuSimple. TRATON owns  2% to 3%. Together, they own 15,782,220 shares. 

TuSimple and Navistar are targeting 2024 to produce the first Level 4 — high-autonomy — truck for commercialization. They have 570 nonbinding orders.

TuSimple’s stable of investors includes major carriers United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS),  Schneider National (NYSE: SNDR), Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN) and U.S. Xpress (NYSE: USX). Class 1 railways CN (NYSE: CNI) and Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP), tire maker Goodyear (NASDAQ: GT) and chipmaker Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) also are investors.

Founders control decisions

Executive Chairman Mo Chen and Chief Technology Officer Xiaodi Hou founded TuSimple in 2015. Both were born in China. Chen holds Canadian and American citizenship. Hou is an American citizen. The two own 62.5% of the voting stock, which gives them decision-making power over practically any company decision.

Chen and Hou’s Class B shares carry 10 votes compared to one vote for Class A shares… If Chen or Hou sells any Class B shares, they convert to Class A shares with one vote.

TuSimple has 800 employees, 600 in the U.S. and 200 in Europe and China, where it operates 20 autonomous trucks.

TuSimple seeks to raise up to $1.5B in IPO stock sale

Self-driving truck startup TuSimple files for public ownership

VectoIQ, U.S. XPress leaders included on TuSimple executive advisory board

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Rss

The Daily Dash is a quick look at what’s happening in the freight ecosystem. In today’s edition, we highlight truck makers’ warning about the semiconductor shortage, big executive news at Yellow Corp. and more.

The High Five

1. The world’s leading manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks and truck engines have warned the Biden administration that a severe shortage of semiconductors is hindering their ability to produce enough trucks to meet freight demand. John Gallagher from Washington


2. Forward Air announced that it added 11 final-mile terminal locations during the first quarter of 2021. The Monday press release said of the new “Forward Final Mile” additions, eight were established in existing less-than-truckload facilities. Todd Maiden’s report


3. A two-year collaboration on cylinder deactivation between engine maker Cummins Inc. and engine controls technology startup Tula Technology cut nitrogen-oxide (NOx) emissions by a whopping 74% while reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) by 5%, according to a technical paper. Alan Adler from Detroit


4. Less-than-truckload carrier Yellow Corp. announced the departure of COO T.J. O’Connor and Chief Network Officer Scott Ware. Darrel Harris, who was brought on board in November to head the company’s strategic initiatives, will take over as president. Todd Maiden with the story


5. The Teamsters are calling it a strike, but an action at a Universal Logistics facility in Compton, California, is more of a protest by workers who want their jobs back. Though the protest was small, it’s another battle in the ongoing California labor wars. John Kingston’s story


Five more to check out

Lawsuit seeks to preserve employment freedom for independent workers

Battery Resourcers raises $20M for sustainable battery ecosystem

Grab to secure $4.5B in new funding from $39.5B SPAC merger

Fire weather danger still scorching Southwest

DOE/EIA diesel price declines for third consecutive week

Rss

Volvo Trucks North America customer Quality Custom Distribution (QCD), a national food service logistics supplier, will deploy 14 Volvo VNR Electric models in its Southern California last-mile delivery routes. For Volvo Trucks the deal represent the largest single purchasing commitment of electric trucks to date.

Volvo Trucks will deliver the Class 8 battery-electric trucks to QCD over the next two years beginning this fall.

“Earlier this month, we delivered QCD’s first VNR Electric to be used in its first-class distribution and logistics services,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America. “With this exceptional commitment to deploy an additional 14 Volvo VNR Electric trucks, we are pleased that QCD has chosen to continue its longtime partnership with our organization to achieve its sustainable freight transportation goals.”

The 14 leased Volvo VNR Electric trucks and supporting charging equipment are being funded in large part by a grant awarded to Volvo Financial Services (VFS) from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee’s (MSRC), which is a committee of California’s largest transportation and clean air agencies and stakeholders.

Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, QCD recently took delivery of its first Volvo VNR Electric. With this additional order, QCD’s total fleet of VNR Electric trucks will reach 15 by the end of 2022. QCD, a Golden State Foods (GSF) company, provides custom distribution services to thousands of America’s most iconic restaurants and currently operates a fleet of 700 Class 8 tractors, more than half of which are Volvo VNR and VNL models. GSF is one of the world’s largest diversified suppliers to the food service and retail industries.

Volvo Trucks began taking customer orders for its VNR Electric model last December and has multiple customer deliveries scheduled throughout 2021.

Rss

Traffic backup on snowy Wyoming highway.

Old Man Winter isn’t done with the Rockies quite yet, even though it’s mid-April. Periods of heavy snow and gusty winds will slam the region over the next two days.

Snowstorms aren’t unusual this time of year, but shippers and carriers should expect some minor to moderate supply chain disruptions due to the wintry conditions. Truckers will have to chain up.

The storm system, which began Tuesday night, will continue to dump accumulating snow mostly in the central and northern Rockies of Colorado, Wyoming and northeastern Utah, as well as the Plains in eastern Colorado and western portions of South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. Major cities in the potential impact zone include Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Denver, affecting travel on sections of Interstates 25, 70 and 80. Smaller cities in the storm’s path include Laramie and Riverton, Wyoming; Rapid City, South Dakota; Scottsbluff, Nebraska; as well as Goodland, Kansas.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for many of the high elevations in Wyoming. Subranges in the Rockies, like the Snowy Mountains, Laramie Range, Green Mountains, Rattlesnake Range and the Salt River Range, could see up to 12 inches of total snowfall, with isolated spots of up to 24 inches. Some high elevations west of Denver could see up to 10 inches of snow, while 4 to 8 inches could pile up in many low elevations and Plains locations.


Related: States with the strictest chain laws


Winds gust will reach 35 to 40 mph at times in some places, reducing visibility due to blowing snow. The combination of snow and wind could cause issues for any trees that have already leafed out, which may result in scattered power outages and road closures due to downed branches.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

You might also like:

Trucker a Highway Angel for helping couple after spinout

Logistics groups ready to help during potentially busy hurricane season

Sandstorm, winds blamed for container ship fiasco in Suez Canal

Reddit

Make your coupling a smooth as a baby's bottom 👌

Rss

[caption caption="Freight invoice auditing is traditionally handled in-house by shippers or farmed out to third parties such as freight audit and payment providers, or supply chain consultants. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]OpenEnvoy said Tuesday it has snagged a $6.5 million seed round from a group of venture capital investors to expand its automated freight...

Rss

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced that the Freightliner eCascadia and Freightliner eM2 are now available to order. The eCascadia

The post Daimler Trucks North America Opens Order Books for Industry-Leading All-Electric Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 appeared first on NextTruck Blog & Industry News - Trucker Information.

Reddit

I really need to stop pulling off miracles. It's becoming expected

Reddit

New rig, new gig. First time in this side of the truck driving industry.

Rss

The Daily Dash is a quick look at what’s happening in the freight ecosystem. In today’s edition, we highlight Amazon’s borrowing of FedEx’s approach to deal with union discussions, two developments with an eye toward driverless deliveries, and more.

The High Five

1. There is no love lost between Jeff Bezos and Fred Smith, given the unpleasant breakup of their companies’ shipping marriage in 2019. Yet in decisively thwarting efforts to organize 5,800 workers at Amazon.com Inc.’s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse, Bezos took a page from the FedEx Corp. founder’s anti-union playbook.

Mark Solomon’s analysis


2. Autonomous middle- and last-mile electric delivery vehicle maker Udelv is partnering with software maker Mobileye on a new system to enable round-the-clock use of Udelv’s driverless Transporter automated delivery vehicle.

Alan Adler’s story


3. Alec MacGillis is the first author to defragment the many moving parts that make Amazon such a complex creature and that conflict consumers who have some knowledge of the company’s modus operandi but spend their money on its site anyway.

Mark Solomon’s Q&A


4. Self-driving truck technology developer Plus will work with Europe’s IVECO to install autonomous software in trucks in China, Europe and elsewhere.

Alan Adler’s report


5. The coronavirus pandemic delivered a heavy hit last year to commercial trade at the United States-Mexico border crossing in El Paso, Texas — but there is reason for optimism in 2021.

Noi Mahoney’s Borderlands roundup


Five more to check out

SONAR: Another slow week for tender volumes

Sustainability expert: ‘We don’t really have a good plan’

Weather report: Snowy week ahead for Rockies truckers

AskWaves: What does negative net zero carbon mean?

Guest column: Overcoming today’s challenges in fleet telematics

Rss

Kenworth’s new medium duty trucks feature an array of in-cab enhancements including increased cabin space, a completely re-designed interior, and

The post New Kenworth Medium Duty Trucks Feature Larger, Driver-Friendly Cab appeared first on NextTruck Blog & Industry News - Trucker Information.

Reddit

Looks like I'm avoiding the scales again

Reddit

Tiller? I barely knew her!

Rss

[caption caption="Access to working capital and freight factoring options has become a key issue for small businesses that are often overlooked by larger, risk-averse lenders. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]Finance lender eCapital on Tuesday said it has consolidated eight acquisitions made over the past four years into a single entity as it seeks to capitalize...

Rss

Smoke from wildfires across the sky.

The threat for wildfires keeps blazing across the Southwest as the ground remains parched.

Much of the region, including the Mojave Desert, has been under “extreme” or “exceptional” drought for several months. These are the worst two categories issued by the U.S. Drought Monitor, and fires of different sizes continue to burn.

Many of the fires have been contained. But the drought, combined with very dry air and gusty winds, will make it easy for new fires to start over the next few days. Also, new and existing fires could spread out of control because of the wind.

The National Weather Service has posted red flag warnings for southern Nevada (including Las Vegas), southeastern California, southern Utah and northwestern Arizona. These places could see the strongest winds, with gusts exceeding 50 mph at times. Relative humidity will be very low, at 15% or less in most areas.


Related: Grass fire smoke shuts down North Dakota highway


Fire weather watches have been posted for the rest of northern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado. These areas, also in a drought, may be prone to strong winds and an elevated fire risk this week.

If fires get too close to highways, there’s potential for closures, and smoke could reduce visibility for drivers. This would impact sections of Interstates 15 and 40, in addition to major U.S. highways in the region, such as 89, 93, 95, 160, 491 and 550.

Truckers can do their part in preventing fires by not parking in grassy areas, and by not dragging chains that could send sparks into grassy/wooded areas.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

You might also like:

Trucker a Highway Angel for helping couple after spinout

Logistics groups ready to help during potentially busy hurricane season

Sandstorm, winds blamed for container ship fiasco in Suez Canal

Rss

With access to all Volvo Trucks parameter updates, customers can now optimize their vehicles’ operations without limitations. Parameter updates can

The post Unlimited Parameter Updates Now Available to Customers Through Volvo Trucks’ Remote Programming Service appeared first on NextTruck Blog & Industry News - Trucker Information.

Rss

Cognitive Testing with DriverCheck

We talk with Chris Wilkinson of DriverCheck about cognitive testing and how it can help make the workplace safer. Learn why this is a great way to help your employees stay productive longer. DriverCheck is a leader in drug and alcohol, cognitive, and workplace testing helping employers have a safe workplace for their staff. Learn how DriverCheck can help you be safe at www.drivercheck.ca

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics.

Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com  , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

 

Reddit

Would you run it? Steer tire on a 26’ biz truck. Not very deep.

Rss

A container ship docked at the Port of Montreal, where longshoremen are set to begin a partial strike.

Longshoremen at the Port of Montreal are set to begin a partial strike on Tuesday after their employers moved to suspend guaranteed minimum pay in response to an 11% plunge in cargo volumes.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 375 stopped short of calling a full-blown strike at Canada’s second busiest port. Longshoremen won’t work overtime on weekdays or at all on the weekends, but will handle containers related to the pandemic and provide grain offloading services.  

The union’s move came after the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) announced it will suspend providing a guaranteed base pay for longshoremen and will instead compensate them for the actual hours worked. The MEA, in a statement, characterized it as a cost-cutting move in response to the drop in cargo volumes “caused by the uncertainty and anxiety triggered by the labor-relations situation.”

The continued discord between the MEA and longshoremen isn’t much of a surprise. A seven-month truce between the two sides ended in March with little to show for it apart from a contract offer that longshoremen overwhelmingly rejected. 

The two sides agreed to a truce after a series of limited strikes culminating with a 12-day walkout at the port in 2020.

Port of Halifax bracing for another strike in Montreal

The Port of Halifax along with terminal operators and CN (NYSE: CNI) railway have been monitoring developments in Montreal and preparing for the possibility of another strike, said Halifax Port Authority spokesperson Lane Farguson. 

“We’re continuing to do what we can to prepare,” Farguson told FreightWaves.

Halifax, Canada’s fourth busiest port, saw a surge of diversions during the 2020 strike. While industry groups have reported that diversions to Halifax have been happening for weeks, Farguson said the port has yet to see any significant impacts. 

Farguson noted that while there’s no evidence yet of a Montreal-related surge, the port has continued to see robust volumes in cargo related to COVID demand. 

If the strike brings another rush on Halifax, Farguson said the port and its partners will do their best to accommodate it — but will prioritize regularly scheduled services. 

“It’s important to understand that supply chains weren’t designed to handle that level of strain,” Farguson said, referring to COVID-related demand combined with a major labor disruption.

Pressure mounts on feds to avert strike

With a full strike becoming increasingly likely in Montreal, pressure is mounting on the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step in to avert another costly disruption.

“We must prevent a repeat of last summer,” Dennis Darby, president and CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters association said in a statement.

The association, which represents over 2,500 companies, said its members have already spent millions of dollars to divert cargo to Halifax. Darby said that a full strike would be damaging and called on Trudeau’s government to intervene.

“As governments are investing billions of dollars to restart the economy, it doesn’t make any sense to allow a slowdown of operations at the Port of Montreal,” said Darby. “This is why we need the federal government to intervene.”

Trudeau’s government has been reluctant to take steps beyond helping mediate during past labor disputes. One notable exception: when the government used back-to-work legislation to end 2018’s Canada Post strike. 

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Nate Tabak

Rss

Story by: Grace Sharkey at FreightWaves     Country music star Wynonna Judd will headline the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund (SCF) first virtual concert, an event the charity hopes to make an annual affair. Country music stars, including John Schneider, Billy Dean, Lindsay Lawler and Heath Sanders also will be part of the  “Highway […]

The post Wynonna Judd headlines ‘Highway to Hope’ virtual concert to help out of work truckers appeared first on iTrucker | Transforming Trucking.

Rss

A white Air Canada jet with blue tail taxis in front of large aircraft hangar.

The government of Canada on Monday agreed to a bailout package for Air Canada (TSX: AC), the nation’s largest airline, that includes a combination of low-interest loans and equity. The move comes one year after the U.S. came to the aid of domestic airlines facing a catastrophic loss of business because of the coronavirus pandemic and months of pleading from industry and labor for help to preserve the aviation sector.

The government will take a CA$500 million ($386.2 million) stake in Air Canada through a stock purchase and make a revolving line of credit available, Air Canada announced. The arrangement will allow Air Canada to access up to CA$5.9 billion in liquidity. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra announced that there would be no additional layoffs permitted as part of the deal. 

“Air Canada entered the pandemic more than a year ago with one of the global airline industry’s strongest balance sheets relative to its size. We have since raised an additional $6.8 billion in liquidity from our own resources to sustain us through the pandemic, as air traffic ground to a virtual halt in Canada and internationally,” CEO Michael Rousseau said in a statement. 

The new loan facility “provides a significant layer of insurance for Air Canada, it enables us to better resolve customer refunds of non-refundable tickets, maintain our workforce and re-enter regional markets. Most importantly, this program provides additional liquidity, if required, to rebuild our business to the benefit of all stakeholders and to remain a significant contributor to the Canadian economy through its recovery and for the long term,” he explained.

Air Canada lost CA$2 billion last year, with an operating loss of CA$3.8 billion.

Canada is struggling with a third wave of COVID infections involving new strains and could soon surpass the U.S. daily infection rate. This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that Americans avoid travel to Canada.

In January, Air Canada and other airlines further reduced passenger operations and furloughed workers when the federal and provincial governments implemented restrictive quarantine measures.  

The government’s $1.5 billion revolving credit facility is secured by Air Canada’s loyalty program. Another $2.5 billion line of credit is unsecured. 

As part of the financial package, Air Canada issued 14.5 million warrants, exercisable for the purchase of an equal number of Air Canada shares. 

As a condition of the aid, Air Canada has agreed to refund customers who had flights canceled last year because of the COVID outbreak. It also will resume service to nearly all regional communities where service was suspended because of COVID, including through interline agreements with third-party carriers. It is also restricted from issuing dividends, buying back shares and raising senior executive compensation. And it will follow through on its commitment to purchase 33 Airbus A220 aircraft manufactured in Quebec and complete its existing order of 40 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. 

Pilots and other labor groups had loudly complained that the Canadian government was ignoring the aviation sector when other countries were propping up carriers during the worst financial crisis in aviation history.

Despite restrictions on air travel, Air Canada has been very busy operating passenger aircraft as auxiliary freighters.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Air Canada suspends routes as COVID restrictions bite travel

Who is the king of cargo-only passenger flights?

Rss

Self-driving truck technology developer Plus will work with Europe’s IVECO to install autonomous software in trucks in China, Europe and elsewhere.

Because of existing partnerships, startup electric truck maker Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ: NKLA) could eventually find itself involved as an add-on to the understanding between Plus and United Kingdom-based CNH Industrial N.V. (NYSE: CNHI). But not right away. And maybe not at all.

IVECO is Nikola’s joint venture partner. The two use IVECO’s S-WAY heavy-duty truck as the basis of the Nikola Tre battery-electric Class 8 truck. It is intended for assembly at Nikola’s plant under construction in Coolidge, Arizona, in the fourth quarter. Prototype production for Europe and export to the U.S. is underway at a plant in Ulm, Germany.

Plus also is a joint venture partner with China’s state-owned First Auto Works (FAW). CNHI and FAW are in talks that could lead to the sale of IVECO to FAW. Bloomberg reported in late March that FAW is preparing  a potential bid for the IVECO truck and bus business. 

CNHI earlier considered splitting off IVECO as a separate business unit. That plan may reemerge as the impact of the pandemic lessens.

“Our JV with FAW continues as usual,” Shawn Kerrigan, Plus co-founder and chief operating officer, told FreightWaves. “We’re currently laser-focused on getting ready to start mass production of our jointly developed intelligent trucks this quarter.”

10,000 preorders

Plus has about 5,000 nonbinding preorders to install its autonomous technology in China and 5,000 non-binding preorders in the U.S., where the technology would be retrofitted on existing trucks.

IVECO and Plus will integrate IVECO’s latest-generation S-WAY with the PlusDrive full-stack autonomous driving system under the terms of the nonbinding memorandum of understanding. They also will explore using IVECO’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine system to power the jointly developed autonomous trucks.

LNG-powered S-WAY trucks reduce carbon emissions and reduce empty truck weight, which increases payload capacity. 

The Nikola Tre battery-electric truck is not part of the MOU, Kerrigan said.

“We are thrilled to partner with IVECO, who shares our vision for a safer and more sustainable future through autonomous trucks,” Kerrigan said in a press release. “IVECO’s global footprint in over 160 countries will enable us to accelerate our commercial deployment and magnify the impact of our autonomous driving technology.”

Plus recently added $220 million to a $200 million fundraising round announced in February. It targeted the proceeds for global expansion.

“The partnership with Plus represents an excellent opportunity to accelerate the development of the highest levels of automation for heavy trucks,” said Marco Liccardo, IVECO chief technology officer. 

“Plus’s technology leadership, non-linear thinking, and established relationships with the same key component suppliers make it the perfect partner for our acceleration towards fully driverless trucks.”

Self-driving trucks: A 10 billion-mile test case for Plus

Plus money: Autonomous technology startup adds $220M to recent capital raise

Chinese investors join $200M funding round for autonomous startup Plus

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Reddit

Pennsylvania State Trooper warns driver attempting to nap on turnpike shoulder of the presence of a serial killer targeting sleeping truckers. United States. August, 1953. Photographer Ralph Morse.

Rss

Trucking in Houston with TNC Radio

TNC Radio’s Shelley Johnson and Tom Kelley are Bruce’s guest on the podcast talking about their new radio station in the Houston Texas area helping truckers navigate through the area and offering programs for the trucking community. Listen to this entertaining chat as three media personalities talk trucking and radio. You can learn more about TNC Radio at www.tncradio.live

This episode is sponsored by Bison Transport with many opportunities for truck drivers in their fleet across Canada. You can learn more about Bison and the opportunities available http://fuelyourjourney.ca/  or call 1-800-527-5781 #fuelyourjourney @BisonTransport

This episode is also sponsored by Chrome Supply Warehouse offering custom parts for trucks and many specials for truckers. You can learn more at www.chromesupplywarehouse.com

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics.

Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com  , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

 

Rss

Tractor-trailers on a snowy Colorado highway.

Old Man Winter will hang around the Rockies this week, dumping heavy snow in some spots. Winds will be whipping, too, making travel a bit dicey for drivers who are deadheading (hauling empty trailers) or carrying light loads.

The worst conditions will likely happen Tuesday and Wednesday, mainly from west of Denver in Colorado to southern Idaho, western Wyoming, southern Montana and eastern Nevada. Total snow amounts will depend on exact location and elevation, but some areas could see up to 12 inches while other locations get only a few inches.

Wind gusts could exceed 40 mph at times, with periods of blowing snow and reduced visibility.

The National Weather Service had not issued any winter weather alerts as of early Monday, but this could change. Truckers will have to be ready to chain up in the impacted areas. Snow showers could linger in some parts of the Rockies later in the week.


Related: States with the strictest chain laws


Other notable weather this week

Drivers will also hit wintry weather Monday in the northern Plains. Look for snowy and slushy roads from eastern Montana to North Dakota and northern Minnesota, including areas along the U.S.-Canada border.

Beginning Tuesday, watch out for periods of potentially heavy rain and strong or severe thunderstorms in portions of the South and Plains. Some storms may produce flash flooding, hail and gusty winds.

“Exceptional drought” continues to parch the Southwest and Four Corners region. With little rain in sight this week, and the chance for gusty winds in some places, the risk of wildfires remains elevated. Smoke from existing or new fires may interfere with driving.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

You might also like:

Logistics groups ready to help during potentially busy hurricane season

NOAA forms first partnership with offshore wind developer

Sandstorm, winds blamed for container ship fiasco in Suez Canal

Rss

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: El Paso border crossing looks to rebound in 2021; logistics firm expands with Dallas shipping hub; Suddath acquires Texas-based Daryl Flood Inc.; and $2 million of meth hidden in shipment of rugs.

El Paso border commercial crossing looks to rebound in 2021

The coronavirus pandemic delivered a heavy hit last year to commercial trade at the United States-Mexico border crossing in El Paso, Texas.

Trade at the Port of El Paso fell 62% to $29.2 billion during 2020, compared to $76.6 billion during the same period in 2019, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 2020, the El Paso port of entry handled 286,434 commercial trucks, compared to 792,441 during the same period in 2019.

Matt Silver, co-founder and CEO of Forager, said while COVID-19 caused unprecedented disruption last year in El Paso, there is reason for optimism that trade will rebound in 2021.

“The semiconductor chip shortage has had an impact on all supply chains, I imagine that is affecting volumes out of El Paso,” Silver said. “Rates have been lower in the last 30 days in El Paso then they have been compared to the last 60 to 90 days before that.”

Forager is a Chicago-based FreightTech firm. Forager launched SCOUT — the company’s cross-border booking and pricing platform — in October 2019. The company also recently launched a cross-border load board.

“I think it’s some sense of a little bit of normalcy coming back to volume shipping. As the U.S. keeps opening up, there’s more volume coming out of El Paso going into the U.S., and so rates going into that market are going to be cheaper,” Silver said. “I think that it’s a result of just more consumption in the U.S, the country opening back up again and a lot of volume coming out of Juárez and Chihuahua, Mexico.”

Looking at the Lane Signal application available on the FreightWaves SONAR platform, a median-cost carrier should be fetching around $1.30 a mile moving from El Paso to Houston.

As of Friday, El Paso’s Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI.ELP) is up slightly year-over-year. El Paso’s headhaul index (HAUL.ELP) has fallen more than 40% since last week, suggesting a tightening of capacity in the market.

El Paso’s outbound tender volumes have dropped about 21% since last week (SONAR: OTVI.ELP). To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.

Juárez, just across the border from El Paso, has around 300 maquiladoras —  export factories in Mexico run by foreign companies — employing around 340,000 workers. 

The factories make everything from automotive parts and electronics to food and beverage products, which are mostly shipped to the U.S. using commercial trucks.

The coronavirus pandemic was tied to several outbreaks among workers at maquiladoras in Juárez.

Commercial trucks accounted for $22.4 billion worth of shipping activity in El Paso during 2020, compared to $65.3 billion during the same period in 2019.

“Coming into the summer I think there are a couple of beverage shippers that ship out of the El Paso area and so we’ll start to see even more volume come out,” Silver said.

The city of El Paso owns three of the four international bridge crossings with Mexico and collects southbound tolls at them. The fourth facility, the Bridge of the Americas, is owned by the U.S. government. 

The El Paso bridges’ top three imports for February were:

— Passenger vehicles, $193 million.

— Commercial vehicles, $111 million.

— Windshield wipers, electric light parts, $28 million.

The top exports during February were:

— Liquefied natural gas, other petroleum gases, $399 million.

— Medical instruments, $43 million.

— Gasoline, $39 million.

Logistics firm expands with Dallas shipping hub

Gulf Relay, a Mississippi-based third-party logistics company, is expanding in Texas.

Gulf Relay is leasing more than 350,000 square feet of distribution space at the Crossroads Trade Center 1 at 1221 E. Centre Park Blvd. in DeSoto, a suburb of Dallas.

The new location will more than double the company’s Texas shipping facilities. Gulf Relay also has a facility about 35 miles away in the Dallas suburb of Coppell.

“Gulf Relay is laser-focused on executing as a seamless integrated element of our customers’ supply chain through services and technology,” Scott Fleener, Gulf Relay’s chief supply chain officer, said in a statement. 

Based in Clinton, Mississippi, Gulf Relay has more than 700,000 square feet of warehouse and logistics operations. The company has 212 truck drivers and operates 228 power units, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 

Suddath acquires Texas-based Daryl Flood Inc.

The Suddath Cos. recently announced the acquisition of Daryl Flood Inc.

Daryl Flood Inc. (DFI) is a moving and logistics company based in Coppell.

DFI has 15 locations in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee and Florida. The company has around 1 million square feet of warehouse space around the country.

The sale includes all of DFI’s operating companies, including Daryl Flood Relocation Inc., Daryl Flood International Inc., Dependable Relocation Services Inc., Daryl Flood Workplace Services Inc., Daryl Flood Logistics Inc. and VERSA Relocation Inc.  

Jacksonville, Florida-based The Suddath Cos. is a global transportation, relocation management and logistics company, serving 180 countries with 2,000 employees around the world.

$2M worth of meth hidden in shipment of rugs

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville, Kentucky recently found 243 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in rugs.

CBP agents examining an air cargo shipment at the UPS Worldport facility that had originated in Mexico and was destined for Hong Kong discovered a white crystal substance concealed within foil bags in the shipment.

The powder tested positive methamphetamine, with a street value of  $2.16 million.

Borderlands is sponsored by Forager. More information on Forager’s offerings can be found at: https://www.foragerscs.com/.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

More articles by Noi Mahoney

Canadian construction firm picked for $1B Mexico-Canada rail link project

Odyssey Logistics expands into Laredo

Samsara launches data report to show fleets how they stack up

Reddit

Flying J Latta, SC 50% of a parking empty and he parked at a scale

Rss

Negative net-zero carbon. The phrase sounds redundant or oxymoronic. But it is a real thing. You can have less than net-zero carbon emissions if you capture and use emissions that otherwise would be released as greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

Traditional natural gas moved through pipelines comes from deep underground wells. It is often part of making petroleum.Therefore, even though natural gas burns cleaner and produces fewer emissions than oil, it is a fossil fuel.

Renewable natural gas (RNG), or biogas, is derived from organic waste material found in food and farm animal waste, garden and lawn clippings, and plant-based material. The most common source of biogas is the naturally occurring biological breakdown of organic waste at facilities such as wastewater treatment plants and landfills.

In their decomposed state, these materials create methane gas. RNG also can be made from degradable carbon sources like paper, cardboard and wood.

California research

Feedstocks for biogas are practically everywhere. In California, the most climate conscious of states, so much waste is available that more than 20% of the state’s residential gas needs could be met with RNG, according to a University of California Davis study.

California Air Resources Board (CARB) data shows that the average “carbon intensity” of all renewable natural gas vehicle fuel in the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program was negative for the first time in program history.

Dairy and swine gas, which has a negative 300 carbon intensity (CI), captures methane emitted by cow and hog manure and diverts it into fuel “actually reducing global warming,” according to Cliff Gladstein, president of Gladstein, Neandross & Associates, a clean transportation consulting firm.

RNG made up nearly 90% of all natural gas vehicle fuel in the low carbon fuel program and consumed in California in the first half of 2020, up from around 77% in 2019, according to CARB data.

Calculating the negative

“Renewable natural gas is basically taking what would have been emissions coming out of landfills and dairy farms, like methane just spewing off,” Thomas Healy, CEO of startup hybrid driveline maker Hyliion Holdings, told FreightWaves. 

Even as evidence shows the benefits of biogas, which Hyliion plans to use to create electricity to power its Class 8 Hypertruck ERX, California is focused on battery-electric trucks to combat the transportation part of its pollution problem. The electric grid source of power for zero-emission trucks can be dirtier than RNG.

“As opposed to letting it just go off into the atmosphere, you capture it and then you put it in the truck to drive the truck off of it,” Healy said. 

“The pollution that would have come in off of that landfill or dairy farm was way worse than the emissions that’s going to come out of our tailpipe.So, from that standpoint, it actually can be below zero in terms of carbon emissions”

RNG potential

Biogas typically consists of methane and carbon dioxide with traces of other elements. Biogas is cleaned and conditioned to remove or reduce non-methane elements to produce RNG. It is processed so it’s interchangeable with traditional pipeline-quality natural gas and can be delivered via the nation’s pipeline infrastructure.

“The EPA actually did a really interesting study where they found that if you captured all that methane coming off of those RNG capture potential areas, you could run about 200,000 trucks on purely renewable natural gas every year,” Healy said.

There are about 175,000 natural gas-powered trucks and buses on U.S. roads today. Most are commercial vehicles in the refuse, transit, and medium- and heavy-duty truck markets.

Growth in carbon-neutral RNG spotlights debate on electric versus renewable-powered trucks

Hyliion finds partner to build natural gas fueling stations

Anheuser-Busch pits renewable natural gas-chugging against climate change

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Reddit

Ol girl was looking pretty haggard. Got that a bit closer to bring fixed.

Rss

The growing acceptance of hydrogen as a transportation fuel for long-haul trucking comes with a big question. Where does the hydrogen come from?

Just like grid electricity created by smoke-belching coal power plants reduces the environmental benefit of battery-powered vehicles, hydrogen fuel’s value in reducing the warming of the planet is tied to the color assigned to its carbon intensity.

Hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the world. But harnessing it for use as an energy source is where the difficulty lies. Hydrogen is a carrier, not a source, of energy, said Alex Haynes, head of business development at Petrofac, which designs, builds and maintains energy infrastructure.

Energy to produce hydrogen comes from multiple sources, including solar, electricity, hydro, nuclear power and natural gas. The specifics of the production process, including the energy source it uses, determine the color assigned.

Green means go

Green hydrogen is the cleanest option. It is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules, a process called electrolysis.The hydrogen can be used to make electricity. Oxygen is vented into the atmosphere, typically as harmless water vapor.

Electrolysis is electricity-intensive. And the cost of electricity is what makes hydrogen fuel so expensive, more than $16 a kilogram (just over a quart), according to a 2019 study. When the electricity is powered by renewable sources, such as solar or wind, CO2 ceases to be a byproduct.

This is why Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ: NKLA) sees its recent deal with Arizona Power for deeply discounted electricity as a breakthrough to its plans to build hydrogen fueling stations. Nikola plans to produce Class 8 hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks in 2023. 

Blue and gray

Blue hydrogen is produced when natural gas is split into hydrogen and CO2 either by steam methane reforming (SMR) or autothermal Reforming (ATR) with the CO2 captured and stored. Capturing the greenhouse gases mitigates the environmental impacts on the planet. The “capturing” is done through a process called carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS).  

Gray hydrogen is made using a similar process to blue hydrogen — SMR or ATR is used to split natural gas into hydrogen and CO2. But the CO2 is released into the atmosphere.

Pink and yellow

Pink hydrogen is made via electrolysis using nuclear energy as its power source.  

Yellow hydrogen is a solar-exclusive output of electrolysis. Green hydrogen, by contrast, can use a combination of renewable sources.

Transitional future

The future of hydrogen is a transition from gray, through blue, to green hydrogen, Haynes said. Green hydrogen is still mostly an ideal. Carbon capture through blue hydrogen is likely for the next three decades, he said.

“There is great potential in both the blue and green hydrogen, and both will play an important role in energy transition,” Haynes said. 

Nikola plans a network of 700 hydrogen stations by 2028. That might be ambitious, especially if it hopes to use green hydrogen as the fuel. Pablo Koziner, Nikola president of energy commercialization, said making green hydrogen in one location cheaply and trucking it to other high-cost energy markets is likely. 

But if a zero-emission fuel cell truck is doing the hauling, it is a minimal carbon setback.

“I am more interested in the carbon intensity than I am in the color of the hydrogen,” Koziner told FreightWaves.

Hyliion Holdings Corp. (NYSE: HYLN) is also looking at hydrogen as a future fuel source. It is focused on launching an electric hybrid Class 8 truck that uses renewable natural gas for power.

“From my end, [I am] still a strong believer in fuel cells and hydrogen,” Hyliion CEO Thomas Healy told FreightWaves. “The question is when will [hydrogen] make sense? Hydrogen needs to decrease from $16 per kilogram to $2 or $3. Stations need to be built out. And then we need to start making green hydrogen, not gray hydrogen or dirty hydrogen.”

Cummins sees $400M in revenue from making hydrogen in 2025

Green Hydrogen: The future of fuel?

Nikola will truck hydrogen to stations when electricity costs too much

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Rss

The Stockout is sponsored by Echo Global Logistics. Trust the experts at Echo Global Logistics for all your freight transportation and CPG shipping needs. Whether you are a Fortune 100 CPG company or a specialty food manufacturer, Echo has solutions to fit your needs. With their dedicated team as well as EchoShip, a self-service shipping portal allowing you to quote, book, ship, and track – Echo has you covered. Technology at your fingertips and experts by your side 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To find out how Echo can simplify your transportation management, visit www.echo.com/cpg today.

In this inaugural episode of The Stockout, Mike Baudendistel explains why FreightWaves is launching a show focused on consumer packaged goods, or CPG. 

The Stockout will work in tandem with its FreightWaves Communities newsletter, and Baudendistel discusses recent articles written for that newsletter. Topics include major CPG industry themes like adapting to post-COVID lifestyles, substitution of animal-based products for plant-based ones, inflation in ingredients and packaging, rising freight costs, and of course,  stockouts. 

In addition, Baudendistel gives a rundown of the news which this week includes shortages of single-serving ketchup packets, the continued absence of certain McCormick spices from shelves, and a reefer market so tight that carriers are rejecting nearly half of all tenders. 

Visit our sponsor, Echo Global Logistics

Sign up for The Stockout newsletter

Rss

Transmission is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics. Most automakers rely on “just-in-time” manufacturing to optimize production. That model requires precise coordination throughout every link in the global supply chain. And that’s where AIT Worldwide Logistics comes in. AIT’s automotive logistics professionals are the experts at developing resilient, scalable solutions for OEM and Tier 1 supply chains across Asia, Europe, and North America. AIT has the expertise, technology, and carrier connections to achieve your production goals — just-in-time. To learn more, visit https://www.aitworldwide.com/automotive-logistics

In the debut episode of Transmission, Sebastian Blanco and Grace Sharkey shift into first gear as they introduce a few of the topics the show will cover, including the automotive supply chain, electrification and autonomous vehicles.

Transmission exists in conjunction with the FreightWaves Communities newsletter, which you can subscribe to here

Blanco dives into the shift by large auto manufacturers into the EV space, while Sharkey explains how this is putting pressure on suppliers to implement sustainability initiatives as well.

Sharkey is a writer for FreightWaves who focuses on the intricacies of supply chain. 

Blanco is a freelance writer who has covered the automotive industry for over a decade. He focuses on advanced powertrains and autonomous vehicles.

Visit our sponsor, AIT Worldwide Logistics, here!

Follow AIT Worldwide Logistics on LinkedIn

Rss

[caption caption="This year’s hurricane season could compound the disruption from port congestion, capacity shortages, and the still-present pandemic. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com (Hurricane Harvey, 2017, Houston)."][/caption]US shippers and transportation providers need to start preparing now for a potentially destructive 2021 hurricane season along the East and Gulf coasts, according to digital freight marketplace Convoy....

Rss

There is no love lost between Jeff Bezos and Fred Smith, given the unpleasant break- up of their companies’ shipping marriage in 2019. Yet in decisively thwarting efforts to organize 5,800 workers at Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Bessemer, Alabama warehouse, Bezos took a page right from the FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) founder’s anti-union playbook.

Other than about 5,000 unionized pilots that came over after FedEx acquired the old Flying Tiger Line cargo airline in 1988, and a smattering of workers at its FedEx Freight LTL unit, FedEx has remained non-union for its 50-year history. Smith and Co. have beaten back multiple organizing efforts by persuading FedEx workers that wages, benefits, working conditions and an open-door relationship makes third-party bargaining units irrelevant. 

Amazon followed a similar strategy in Bessemer, where the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers Union (RWDSU) made the most serious effort to organize Amazon’s workers in its 27-year history. 

Amazon, which opened the warehouse in March 2020, paid the workers more than $15 an hour to start, almost twice the minimum wage. It offered good health insurance, a 401K plan, and opportunities for advancement.

With Bessemer being its first warehouse in Alabama, Amazon sought to show, or at least convey the impression, that it considered the workers more than just disposable assets. That’s an issue that has plagued the warehouse labor relations for decades until surging demand for e-commerce fulfillment flipped the script.

Amazon’s goal was to appeal to the workers’ collective common sense. The implied message was: What would union dues give you that the status quo couldn’t? Amazon hammered home the message every chance it got. It seemed to resonate with a workforce that sees the free-market pendulum swinging in its favor as demand for warehouse workers, and the prevailing wage to keep and attract them, continues to rise. 

“This particular union can’t give us anything that Amazon does not already offer,” LaVonette Stokes, a Bessemer worker who voted against unionizing said in an NPR story published Friday. “There are a [lot] of people who never have issues.” 

In the end, the company won big. Of the 2,536 workers who voted, 1,738 cast ballots against unionizing. The wide margin was surprising in light of the union’s aggressive campaign and pro-labor momentum that had built up in recent weeks. The pro-union sentiment included support from President Joe Biden, a near-unprecedented act from a sitting president.

“I knew the union was going to lose, but I didn’t think it would lose that badly,” said Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. That a union election of such historical significance would draw less than half the eligible voters spoke volumes about the rank-and-file’s apparent lack of energy to be organized, Bronfenbenner said. The seeming ennui, Bronfenbrenner said, “is on the union.”

After the tally was made public, both sides retreated to their corners with their expected reactions. The union said it would file objections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) charging Amazon interfered with a free and fair election, and will demand a hearing to determine if the results should be set aside because Amazon “created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of reprisals and thus interfered with the employees’ freedom of choice.” The union said it would continue its efforts to organize the warehouse.

Amazon assumed the mantle of generosity in its statement. The company, it said, “didn’t win — our employees made the choice to vote against joining a union.” Workers, it added, “are the heart and soul of Amazon, and we’ve always worked hard to listen to them, take their feedback, make continuous improvements, and invest heavily to offer great pay and benefits in a safe and inclusive workplace. We’re not perfect, but we’re proud of our team and what we offer, and will keep working to get better every day.” The tally was made public around mid-day, and Amazon shares rose more than 2% on the session.

No one knows how Amazon would have reacted had the vote gone the other way. What is known is Amazon has a need for speed, and pivots fast. Its operations might have been severely compromised by the emergence of bargaining units with the freedom to organize without the federal government standing in its way, as is called for under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). 

Bezos, like FedEx’s Smith, plays for keeps. More than a decade ago, FedEx faced the possibility that it would be re-classified as a trucking company under the National Labor Relations Act, and would no longer be governed by the Railway Labor Act (RLA), labor law that applies only to railroads and airlines. The RLA disallows terminal-by-terminal organizing and, most importantly, makes it very difficult for unions to strike. Smith, furious over the potential impact on his company, pulled out all the lobbying stops, going so far as to threaten to cancel contracts to buy dozens of Boeing freighters if the reclassification took place. It never did.

Alec MacGillis, a reporter for investigative publication ProPublica and the author of a new book on Amazon’s impact on society, said the retail workers union faced various obstacles, including anti-union policies from the Trump administration that put labor in general on the back foot. 

“The odds were long going into this, given the ground rules of today’s labor laws and Amazon’s aggressive resistance and well-honed tactics,” MacGillis said. “It’s too early to say,whether this represents a lasting setback to worker activism at the warehouses or will come to be seen as a first step in a broader rise of opposition against the company and its treatment of workers.”

Rss

container rates

Container-shipping spot rates keep bouncing around at stratospheric heights — and show zero signs of sliding back to earth. On some trade lanes, they’re still ascending. Case in point: The formerly sleepy Europe-U.S. trans-Atlantic route just spiked.

With fallout from the Ever Given accident in the Suez Canal expected to cut container and vessel availability, the “when will this end?” chatter is starting to fixate less on the second half of 2021 and more on 2022.  

This is the season — in a normal year — when rates moderate. While different freight indices offer different numbers, the trend lines are all the same: either up or steady at the peak. The weekly composite Drewry World Container Index, released Thursday, rose 1% this week, to $4,910 per forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU). It’s now up 221% year-on-year. The weekly Shanghai Containerized Freight Index, released Friday, rose another 2.6% week-on-week.

The Freightos Baltic Daily Index global composite (SONAR: FBXD.GLBL) stood at $4,260 per FEU on Thursday, hovering at or near the all-time high set in February. It is around quadruple normal levels for this time of year.

spot container freight rates data
(Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

Trans-Atlantic surge

In the U.S. markets, the biggest rate move this month is in the westbound trans-Atlantic trade.

The Freightos assessment of this route (SONAR: FBXD.ENEA) shows rates surging by almost 50% between March 31 and Thursday, to $3,254 per FEU.

spot container freight rates data
(Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

Judy Levine, head of research at Freightos, attributed the spike to “strong demand and scarce capacity.”

On April 1, Hapag-Lloyd announced a booking suspension on eight sailings leaving Northern Europe for the U.S. in the first half of this month due to “an overbooking situation.”

Levine also speculated that the recent disruption of services through the Suez Canal could be having ripple effects on the trans-Atlantic.

Asia-US rates peaking yet again

In the much larger Asia-U.S. trade, Freightos put the rate to the East Coast (SONAR: FBXD.CNAE) at $6,239 per day as of Thursday, a new all-time high topping the previous record set in early February.

The Asia-West Coast rate (SONAR: FBXD.CNAW) was at $5,052 per FEU, just below the new high hit on Wednesday.

spot container freight rates data
(Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

In the Drewry weekly indices, the latest assessment from Shanghai to New York (SONAR: WCI.SHANYC) is even higher than Freightos’ — at $6,705 per FEU. Drewry assessed the Shanghai-to-Los Angeles spot rate (SONAR: WCI.SHALAX) at $4,202 per FEU.

spot container freight rates data
(Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

Many U.S.-based cargo shippers also move considerable volumes on the Asia-Europe route. However painful Asia-U.S. rates are, the Drewry indices highlight how much more painful the situation is for Asia-Europe shipments.

The spot rate for Asia cargoes to North Europe is now up 396% year-on-year, with rates to the Mediterranean up 317%. In contrast, Drewry estimates that rates from Shanghai to New York and Los Angeles are up 133% and 153% year-on-year, respectively.

What’s next?

The current rate boom has defied the predictions. In mid-2020, multiple commentators thought demand would peak in August or September and fall off in the fourth quarter. It didn’t. Then came fears that winter COVID lockdowns would hamstring consumers. That didn’t happen either. Analysts also speculated last year that rates were due to a one-off restocking event after the initial lockdowns in Europe and the U.S. in spring 2020. But even now, stores are still restocking and inventories are still low.

U.K.-based consultancy Drewry said in a research note on Friday, “Using history as the only guide, the smart bet would be to think that the market will cool down quickly. But these are not normal times. We argue that carriers are set up nicely for at least another two very profitable years [2021 and 2022].”

According to Drewry, the two drivers of stratospheric rates — the COVID-propelled shift to goods consumption and supply chain disruptions — “are stubbornly refusing to go away. The timeline for a ‘return to normal’ keeps getting pushed back.” Drewry predicts port congestion and equipment shortages will persist through 2021 and carriers will lock in profits into 2022 via higher annual contract rates signed this year. “Things might not be so easy for carriers post-2022,” said the consultancy.

For shippers who’d once hoped for rate relief in Q4 2020, a forecast for market conditions getting tougher for carriers — and thus better for cargo owners — in 2023 is a frightening prospect. Click for more articles by Greg Miller 

US ports, shippers face major fallout from Suez Canal chaos

Demand boom on collision course with ocean transport ceiling

Could America’s historic import crunch get even worse?

Ocean carriers hold all the cards in contract talks with shippers

Deutsche Bank on import bonanza: ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’

Rss

It’s been a busy month for Josh Asbury, vice president of 3PL and Broker at HubTran.

Making the rounds this past month announcing HubTran’s latest product, Lights-Out Processing, Asbury is excited to divulge yet another monumental move for the back-office automation platform.

HubTran announced earlier this month plans to consolidate with carrier payments platform TriumphPay, in an ambitious effort to form a fully integrated payments network for the entire transportation industry.

Both companies are eager for the deal to close and for the opportunity to combine their respective expertise –  TriumphPay’s efficient payment platform with HubTran’s back-office automation experience with third-party logistics (3PL) providers and brokers.

The $97 million acquisition’s ultimate goal is to provide a confluent payment experience for brokers, carriers and factors. Asbury said having the two companies work together just makes sense.

He spoke with FreightWaves’ Timothy Dooner and Michael Vincent on the popular simulcasted podcast, WHAT THE TRUCK?!?

“This is going to materially advance the ability to create a seamless payment experience and enhanced service for our factoring customers, while also making things much better for brokers and carriers,” Asbury said.

He makes the case that an all-encompassing payment network will make the flow of invoice and payment data seamless, and ultimately result in cost reductions, risk mitigation and improved speed of service for carriers.

“Together, TriumphPay and HubTran will be uniquely positioned to provide the tools to the factoring industry that empower them to create meaningful process and technology improvements into their operations,” Asbury said.

He describes the initial response from HubTran’s broker customers as “ecstatic.” He added that factors are becoming increasingly more excited, too, as they read more into the details.

The HubTran/TriumphPay deal is awaiting regulatory approval and is expected to be finalized in Q2, as reported earlier by FreightWaves. Asbury advises customers to stay tuned for updates but affirms that things are “business as usual” for the time being.

However, Asbury doesn’t want the acquisition to overshadow the release of Lights-Out Processing.

HubTran’s latest product for 3PLs and brokers automatically indexes documents, extracts relevant data, and validates this information and documentation against load details and customer-specific billing requirements, the company said. Lights-Out Processing means just that — it processes invoices instantaneously, and automatically settles the load in the TMS without human intervention.

“This technology provides a completely hands-off, fully automated processing of invoices for freight forwarders, brokers and 3PLs,” Asbury said. In terms of incorporating TriumphPay’s scale and technology, he added, “Our broker customers will be able to do a more comprehensive job of validating … where payments are supposed to go.”

Rss

Story by: Nate Tabak, Border and North America Correspondent at FreightWaves   The ruling cites the possibility that drugs were planted while an off-duty dump truck driver assisted a broken-down trucker in the US   An off-duty truck driver caught at the U.S.-Canada border with 13 bricks of heroin in a car was found not […]

The post Judge acquits trucker caught with 13 bricks of heroin at Canadian border appeared first on iTrucker | Transforming Trucking.

Reddit

When the stars align perfectly...

Rss

Featured Truck of the Week Black 5700 Western Star

Today’s truck is a cool Western Star from the fan club member Manolis from Montreal Quebec. Each week Bruce picks a cool truck from the many truck shows he attends or from trucks sent in by fan club members. Hearing about them is one thing, seeing them is another. Check out this cool ride!

Check out the video on this featured truck by clicking here

This episode is sponsored by Groupe Trans West is looking for professional teams to operate out of their Mississauga terminal with excellent employment benefits between Toronto Ontario and California. Find out more at www.groupetranswest.com  or call recruiter Mike Hahn at 416-606-8296

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics. Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com   , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

 

Rss

Story by: John Kingston at FreightWaves     Trucking industry comes together with insurance-focused groups to fight two vexing problems of fraud   A three-member coalition that includes the American Trucking Associations (ATA) has come together to combat both towing fraud and staged accidents that are costing the trucking industry millions. The ATA joined with […]

The post Towing fraud, staged accidents targeted by new coalition that includes ATA appeared first on iTrucker | Transforming Trucking.

Rss

Al Clutterbuck Talks About City Drivers and the Technology Behind their Success

Bruce chats with city technology expert Al Clutterbuck about the precision required to keep Rosedale’s fleet operating successfully. Rosedale Transport offers career opportunities for truck drivers with their large network. You can learn more at www.rosedalegroup.com

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics. Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com   , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

Rss

Truck Driver Training with Ontario Truck Driving School

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a truck driver training instructor? Bruce chats with the team at Ontario Truck Driving School about instructing and who makes a good instructor. Ontario Truck Driving School has a number of courses to help you be successful when starting a career in transportation from heavy equipment to over the road trucking. You can learn more about starting your career at www.otds.com

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics.

Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com  , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com

 

Rss

 Story by: Nate Tabak, Border and North America Correspondent at Freightwaves   Companies can take steps to ensure hackers don’t deliver knockout punch   In a theme that has played out countless times in science fiction, from “Terminator” to “Star Trek,” the very technology that helps realize some of humanity’s loftiest ambitions can also be […]

The post Amid cyberattacks, how does the supply chain stay resilient? appeared first on iTrucker | Transforming Trucking.

Rss

Hello, Transmission members!

You know that your corner of the automotive industry isn’t exactly niche anymore when mainstream media outlets start encroaching on the topic. That’s the case today, as exemplified by an NPR segment Thursday morning discussing electric vehicle battery components.

That’s as good a place as any to start the newsletter, since the sourcing of advanced vehicle components is only going to get more and more important — in other words, more and more newsworthy — as the world’s vehicle manufacturers crank up their electric vehicle production.

Biden administration takes semiconductor shortage seriously

President Joe Biden is hosting a meeting next week to talk about the recent semiconductor supply chain issues and how they have disrupted automotive factories across the country. One of the attendees, Reuters reports, will be the CEO of Intel, Pat Gelsinger, who joins a list that includes other chipmaker and automotive executives, Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and one of the president’s top economic aides, Brian Deese.

The guest list shows how serious the administration is taking the chip issue, which has affected car plants around the world in various ways since late 2020. The shortage has resulted in reduced supply on dealer lots — as well as a rise in prices for popular models — and automakers are coming up with creative solutions when possible. Some plants are simply pausing or slowing production, but Ford is building some F-150 trucks and Edge SUVs in North America without some of the parts that require semiconductor chips. The plan is to install these components at a later date, once the chip supply is back to normal.

When that will be, exactly, is a big unknown right now. At least plans are being developed to make more chips in America moving forward. Gelsinger said last month that Intel will build two new chip plants in Arizona at a cost of $20 billion. There was also a call for $50 billion in government support for the domestic chip industry in the Biden administration’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan that was announced last week. These moves won’t fix the shortage in the short term, but at least some action is being taken.

Tier 1 automotive supplier avoids line-down debacle via AIT’s speedy transborder solution (SPONSORED)

In Q3 2020, a leading automotive supplier involved in the production of a highly anticipated SUV realized it needed to ship a mold overnight from the United States to Mexico. Find out how AIT’s automotive logistics experts quickly devised a seamless transborder solution — and saved the customer from production shutdown. Learn more.

Daimler EV plans

Daimler’s first all-electric trucks are the “longest-range commercial battery-electric vehicles in customer hands in North America today,” the company said in a statement. The range for these trucks is 230 miles for the medium-duty eM2 and 250 miles for the Class 8 eCascadia tractor.

The trucks that customers are using now are part of a 38-vehicle test fleet that Daimler is running with the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. These pilot vehicles have driven almost 750,000 collective miles as they were used for things like drayage, regional and local pickup and delivery, and food and beverage delivery, Daimler said. All of these miles gave the company plenty of data to use as it gets ready to start production of actual consumer vehicles in late 2022. That data isn’t limited to battery performance or electric motor wear and tear, but also things like what the drivers themselves like and dislike about the electric trucks.

With production still a ways off, who knows if the chip shortage will affect these particular Daimler trucks? But we also don’t know what supply chain hiccups might exist a year from now. We’re just one moment away from everyone learning the name of another boath, like the MSC Ariane, which according to Twitter is never a good thing. Just think of all of the famous boats you can name, and then realize why you know them. The direct global shipping delays caused by the Ever Given’s recent episode in the Suez Canal are coming to an end, thanks to around 140 ships passing through the canal in the days after the stuck ship was released, but the effects will still be felt as some ships decided to sail around Africa instead of wait to go through the canal. And it’s a long way until the end of 2022.

Interested in more information on EVs and sustainability efforts?

FreightWaves’ Net-Zero Carbon Summit on Earth Day!

The climate is changing. Higher temperatures, more intense and frequent natural disasters, and rising sea levels are among the many challenges that climate change poses. 

The transportation sector has recognized its role and is paving the way for a more sustainable future. From fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals to hydrogen-powered aircraft and battery-electric trucks, sustainable transportation technologies are advancing every day. 

Tune in to the Net-Zero Carbon Summit on Thursday, April 22, to hear industry experts discuss strategies to decarbonize the transportation sector!

Industry speakers will include:

  • Angie Slaughter, vice president of sustainability procurement at Anheuser-Busch.
  • Chris Richter, founder and chief executive officer at FloorFound.
  • Pablo Koziner, president of Nikola Energy.
  • Josh Raglin, chief sustainability officer at Norfolk Southern.

Click here to register for this FREE event!

In other automotive news:

Want to read our old newsletters, check out our archives here.

Reddit

Late night deliveries at Home Depot this week

Rss

Only nine months ago, Tom Fogarty joined Bestpass as CEO via Zoom, bringing with him 11 years of fintech leadership experience from another fast-growth company that eventually combined with a division of Moody’s.  

During a recent Fuller Speed Ahead, FreightWaves President George Abernathy interviewed Fogarty about his aspirations for growth and innovation at Bestpass ⁠— the Albany, New York-based comprehensive payment platform provider and leader in toll management solutions.

Bestpass runs the gamut in terms of offering better discounts, fewer violations and instant registrations to its 13,000 fleet customers, including 70 top 100 fleets and thousands of owner-operators driving all classes of trucks. With nearly 700,000 of its transponders on the highways and processing over $1 billion in tolling, the company is doing very well, but Fogarty is helping it chart a more “planful approach” to its growth. 

“You have to take a step back from the pressures of the day to decipher how to build a business at scale and make it seamless for our partners, the tolling authorities and our customers,” said Fogarty. “Innovation every day is a theme we talk about, whether you’re in accounting, customer service or technology. I want folks to be challenging the status quo.”

Fogarty’s first initiative was a product-lead focus based on customer needs, which led to expanding the product team, tripling the capacity on the development side and growing the Bestpass team 25% — from 90 to 115 employees.

While half of Fogarty’s efforts to scale center on innovation, the other half have been about ensuring integrity. “We’ve got to have the same accuracy moving money around that a bank would have, so that requires constant updates and upgrades. Working with our providers, there’s a lot of back-office changes that are going in the toll network and staying on top of that and building a system that’s nimble enough to move as they move.”

Bestpass works with nearly 50 tolling authorities, which provide 100% coverage of all major U S. toll roads and some coverage into Canada. Its most recent network additions were the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, which connects Wellesley Island, N.Y., with Hill Island, Ontario, and the Southern Connector in South Carolina. However, Fogarty said that Bestpass has a vision beyond toll. 

“The ability to go with a single transponder coast to coast, provider to provider and make sure that the billing is accurate is really key,” said Fogarty. “But we have our eyes on providing value beyond toll. We do some of that today in violation management citations. But if it’s on wheels and it needs to make payments, ultimately we want to be able to support that. In today’s world, that means tolling into road usage, charges, mileage-based charges, expanding into ferries, truck washes, fast food and fuel stations.”

One of the reasons Fogarty believes Bestpass can transform from good to great is due to the business’ favorable market tailwinds. Tolling, as well as public-private partnerships, have the power to make changes in infrastructure and traffic bottlenecks, while trucking fleets recently proved their ability to reroute supply chains to maintain a decent economy during the pandemic. 

“Even now with the challenges of distributing the vaccine, fleets are taking a lead and I’m both thrilled by the reaction and follow-through by our truck fleet partners, but also the role that we’ve had in making sure that we enable it and simplify that whole equation.”

Fogarty has managed to implement these growth initiatives and outcomes without ever meeting most of his team face-to-face. In five or six weeks, depending on the COVID-19 case numbers in Albany, as well as vaccination saturation, he hopes to maintain a regular office presence. 

“The hybrid model makes sense, but it has felt a little bit like one arm behind the back at times in terms of really being able to get to know everybody and inspire a culture of moving from good to great,” he said. “I’ve got to get people back in the office for our culture of collaboration and innovation, but not a five-day week. We’ve proven we can be productive while we’re collaborating on a remote basis. It’s a recruiting advantage for us as we move forward.”

Rss

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: FreightWaves SONAR for Enterprise Fleets

DETAILS: Zach Strickland of FreightWaves, known as the Sultan of SONAR, discusses how enterprise fleets can utilize some of the most basic data on the platform. 

SPEAKER: Strickland is interviewed by Michael Vincent of FreightWaves. Among other roles, Vincent is the co-host of the popular podcast WHAT THE TRUCK?!?, found on the most popular podcast platforms and on FreightWavesTV. He also is going to be hosting a new show.

BIO: Strickland curates the weekly market update and is one of FreightWaves’ market experts. With a degree in finance, Strickland spent the early part of his career in banking before transitioning to transportation in various roles and segments, including both truckload and LTL. He has more than 13 years of transportation experience, specializing in data, pricing and analytics.

KEY QUOTES FROM STRICKLAND:

“The name of the game for carriers is maintaining utilization with as big a margin as the market can handle.”

(On the pandemic): “We had an explosive amount of freight coming out of certain parts of the country, totally destabilizing the truckload network.”

“We’re going to see these supply chains, with all this disorganization, a lot of shippers are now looking at alternative ways of making sure that their inventory levels are stable and supply is available when consumer demand does have these spikes. So that means they are going to spread things out a little more evenly and not necessarily rely on the traditional pattern of looking at Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Allentown to keep their inventories in these longer haul patterns. You’re going to have to make sure you’re covering some of these regional areas out in the rural markets.” 

“Tender rejections are coming down and that means a shipper needs to rely less on the spot market for utilization. It’s not a dramatic change. Capacity is still relatively tight.”

Rss

Peterbilt Motors Company is proud to introduce an EV Operating Cost Calculator for prospective Peterbilt electric vehicle customers. Hosted within the Peterbilt.com

The post PETERBILT LAUNCHES EV OPERATING COST CALCULATOR appeared first on NextTruck Blog & Industry News - Trucker Information.

Rss

[caption caption="AV developers such as TuSimple are reaching out to potential customers and suppliers to form partnerships. Photo credit: TuSimple."][/caption]Autonomous Class 8 truck developer TuSimple hopes to raise $1.2 to $1.3 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) launched Wednesday, building on a slew of partnerships and investments in the global company....

Rss

Transportation management systems (TMS) provider MercuryGate International Inc.’s acquisition of logistics software company Cheetah Software Systems rounds out MercuryGate’s portfolio by integrating Cheetah’s strong final-mile logistics technology capabilities, MercuryGate’s co-founder said Wednesday.

The transaction, which was completed March 31 but not disclosed until Tuesday, will provide MercuryGate with “street-level” planning software that will embed with the company’s well-established TMS, said Steve Blough, who is also MercuryGate’s chief innovation officer. Cary, North Carolina-based MercuryGate had for years been one of the few TMSs to include a parcel optimization application to accompany its LTL and truckload functions. 

TMSs allow shippers, third-party logistics providers and their partners to manage an array of functions from load planning to delivery to modal selection. With a TMS, users can compare routes, carriers and modal options to generate the most bang for their transportation budget.

Cheetah, based in Westlake Village, California, enables MercuryGate to extend its customers’ delivery experience to the “street level,” Blough said in a telephone interview Wednesday. MercuryGate had in-house last-mile capabilities, but they didn’t match those of Cheetah, Blough said. With the Cheetah system, “we can now handle all aspects” of customers’ moves, he said.

The explosive growth of e-commerce fulfillment has put a premium on user-friendly technology that can navigate the increasingly complex delivery process linking retailer, carrier, logistics provider and the end customer. The last-mile segment can be frustrating to choreograph because it involves knowledge of the local carrier market, an ability to change routings on the fly, and the capability of handling returns. 

The pressure is amplified by the elevated delivery demands of end customers used to receiving their shipments quickly and hassle-free, and to track shipments’ status in real time from start to finish. Third-party providers, in particular, have been flummoxed by the peculiarities of the last-mile segment, with some unwilling to participate because they haven’t cracked the profit-making code. Most 3PLs are being pushed hard by their retailer customers to develop solutions because retailers can’t afford to stay out of the category.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Both companies are privately held. MercuryGate was acquired in 2018 by private equity firm Summit Partners for a rumored $390 million.

Rss

The sell-off of electric vehicle startup stocks has been as brutal as their frothy days of only a few months ago.

Hyliion Holdings is one of the hardest-hit young companies. But it is pushing ahead with its plans for a natural gas-electric hybrid truck capable of emitting less than net-zero carbon. Its share price has fallen from nearly $55 just before it went public in October to close Wednesday at $10.86.

On Wednesday, Hyliion said it has created a Hypertruck Innovation Council of fleets, logistics and transportation companies to test its prototype Class 8 Hypertruck ERX.

Hyliion does not make trucks. It develops hybrid driveline systems that can be swapped into any major manufacturer’s tractors. Hyliion is using Peterbilt Model 579s for its Hypertruck test models. 

The future for hybrids is in question as most of the trucking industry focuses on zero-emission battery-electric trucks. And interest is growing in hydrogen fuel cells for long-haul trucking. Kenworth Truck Co. said recently it would halt work on a natural-gas electric Class 8 T680 by the end of the year. It delivered two of the trucks for fleet testing.

Familiar players on council

The innovation council includes Agility Logistics, American Natural Gas, Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD), GreenPath Logistics, NFI Industries, Penske Truck Leasing, Ruan Transportation Management Systems, Ryder System Inc., (NYSE: R) Schneider National (NYSE: SNDR), Wegmans Food Markets and Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN).

Agility preordered 1,000 Hypertruck ERXs last June. American Natural Gas is working with Hyliion on additional natural gas fueling stations. It also preordered 250 Hypertruck ERX units. Penske and Wegmans use Hyliion’s first product, a hybrid-electric powertrain that boosts the efficiency and power of diesel and natural gas trucks.

NFI and Anheuser-Busch are new to Hyliion. But both are involved in zero-emission trucking demonstrations. NFI is running eCascadias from Daimler Trucks North America and Volvo VNR Electric demo units in California. Anheuser-Busch will be the first to test fuel cell heavy-duty trucks from Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ: NKLA) late this year. 

In aggregate, the council represents more than 100,000 Class 8 commercial trucks. 

‘Collective strengths’

“Now more than ever, fleets need efficient and affordable technologies that also address broader sustainability goals,” Hyliion founder and CEO Thomas Healy said in a press release. “Our collective strengths will help Hyliion unlock the potential for electrification technology while advancing our customers’ operations and the industry at-large.” 

The council members get first access to the Hypertruck ERX.

“With one of the largest dedicated fleets in the U.S., Anheuser-Busch is committed to leading the industry towards zero-emissions commercial transportation by improving the sustainability of our own logistics operations,” said Angie Slaughter, Anheuser-Busch vice president of sustainability and logistics procurement.

When fueled with renewable natural gas  (RNG), the Hypertruck ERX can provide net-negative carbon emissions to commercial fleets. Unlike natural gas, which is a fossil fuel, RNG comes from agricultural and dairy waste.

Hyliion picks Peterbilt as test chassis for Hypertruck ERX

Agility preorders 1,000 Hyliion hybrid-electric trucks

Kenworth delivers first — and last — natural gas electric hybrid trucks

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Rss

Olympian Christine DeBruin on Women Behind the Wheel

Olympian Bobsledder Christine DeBruin talks about the importance of women pursuing their passions even if in a dangerous sport like bobsledding or driving a tractor trailer. Bison Transport has many opportunities for truck drivers in their fleet across Canada. You can learn more about Bison and the opportunities available http://fuelyourjourney.ca/ or call 1-800-527-5781 #fuelyourjourney @BisonTransport

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics. Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com   , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

Rss

[caption caption="Investors have plunged capital into startups tackling the digitization of US-Mexico cross border logistics and finance over the past two years. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]On Wednesday, cross-border digital freight broker Nuvocargo landed a $12 million funding round to build out its logistics platform for shippers moving cargo between the US...

Rss

A photograph of two parked tank cars inside a building.

Railcar manufacturer Greenbrier (NYSE: GBX) is eyeing improving market conditions in the second half of this year, which the company hopes will boost production rates and sales levels at the end of its fiscal year 2021 and into 2022.

Greenbrier on Tuesday reported a net loss of $9.1 million, or 28 cents per share, in the second quarter of its 2021 fiscal year, compared with a net loss of $10 million, or 30 cents per share, in the first quarter of the 2021 fiscal year (see below).

Greenbrier CEO Bill Furman pointed to several U.S. economic indicators that reflect a growing optimism for the second half of 2021, such as a revised forecast for gross domestic product growth, strong consumer demand boosted, federal stimulus measures and low interest rates. Meanwhile, the federal infrastructure bill shows support for infrastructure spending in 2022 and beyond. 

Furthermore, North American rail traffic is also increasing, particularly for grain and intermodal, which in turn is presenting growth opportunities for boxcars and cars that carry certain chemicals and agricultural products. 

“We reactivated a number of North American production lines in March and several of our production lines are already booked well into or through fiscal 2022,” Furman said during Greenbrier’s earnings call with investors. “The inquiry rate for new manufacturing business has picked up dramatically. We expect the continued high rate of commercial activity to continue in April, May and beyond, consistent with our earlier forecasts that the second half of calendar 2021 would be the time of a V-shaped recovery.” 

The company has a $2.5 billion order backlog of about 24,900 units, which Greenbrier said supports continuous production lines.

Greenbrier also received 3,800 railcar orders in the quarter and another 1,700 orders worth approximately $190 million came in after the quarter closed in March. Combined, that equals about 5,500 car orders worth about $630 million in the span of four months.

In addition to announcing its quarterly results on Tuesday, Greenbrier said it completed the formation of GBX Leasing, a subsidiary that will own and manage a portfolio of leased railcars built primarily by Greenbrier. The arrangement entails GBX Leasing acquiring approximately $200 million per annum of newly built and leased railcars from Greenbrier.

“GBX Leasing creates a new annuity stream of tax-advantaged cash flows while reducing Greenbrier’s exposure to the new railcar order and delivery cycle,” Furman said in a release. “From a commercial standpoint, it is a strong complement to our integrated business model of railcar manufacturing and services that further enhances our distribution strategies to direct customers, operating lessors, industrial shippers and syndication partners. We expect that the joint venture will help Greenbrier continue to grow its diversified customer portfolio with a focus on industrial shipper customers and small batch production to leverage long-standing customer relationships and capabilities gained through the acquisition of ARI.”

Second-quarter financial results

Although Greenbrier still encountered an overall net loss between the first and second quarters, the second quarter saw a narrowing of that loss.

(Greenbrier)

The extreme winter weather and weak demand environment dampened Greenbrier’s second-quarter revenue, which was down to $295.6 million compared with $403 million in the first quarter. Greenbrier’s second fiscal quarter ended Feb. 28.

(Greenbrier)

“We believe that our Q2 just completed in February will be the most challenging quarter of our fiscal year, particularly affected by very bad weather in North America. There’s good reason to be optimistic as vaccines expand in the United States,” Furman said. “Vaccinations will bolster already accelerating infection and mortality rates and allow America to turn the corner on the pandemic at last.”

However, “globally, we are prepared for the pandemic to take a longer course toward resolution,” he added. 

Double-digit volume increases for grain and intermodal loadings helped drive the quarter’s year-to-date rail velocity down by nearly 6% compared with the same period in 2020. This translates into a decrease of about 2 miles per hour.

The lower velocity comes as more North American railcars are coming out of storage, with in-storage numbers falling by more than 148,000 units from the 2020 peak storage level. More new cars could also be built amid higher scrap prices and tax benefits for the construction of new, more efficient and environmentally friendly equipment, Furman said.

Subscribe to FreightWaves’ e-newsletters and get the latest insights on freight right in your inbox.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

Rss

Mack customers can now make unlimited parameter updates through the Mack®Over The Air (OTA) remote programming solution, improving uptime and simplifying the

The post Mack Improves Uptime Through Unlimited Parameter Updates with Mack® Over The Air (OTA) appeared first on NextTruck Blog & Industry News - Trucker Information.

Rss

Women in Trucking founder, Ellen Voie, talks at the Enterprise Fleet Summit.

This fireside chat recap is from FreightWaves’ Enterprise Fleet Summit

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Women in trucking

DETAILS: Ellen Voie, president and CEO of the Women In Trucking Association (WIT), and Laura Roan Hays, chairwoman of the board at WIT and branch manager at Great Dane, chat about the history of WIT and its future goals.

SPEAKER: Voie, president and CEO at WIT

BIO: Voie founded WIT in March 2007 to promote the employment of women in the trucking industry, to remove obstacles that might keep them from succeeding and to celebrate the successes of its members. Voie is an internationally recognized speaker and authority on gender diversity and inclusion for women working in nontraditional careers in transportation.

KEY QUOTES FROM VOIE

“When I started Women in Trucking, nobody ever separated data by gender. Nobody had safety statistics, nobody had any data that was related to gender, so we do that.”

“The association is a dues-based member association. But, the foundation is a charitable organization, which means that they survive on donations. … The foundation is there to provide scholarship tuition grants to students who are pursuing careers in transportation.”

“I want people to look back and say that I was a disruptor. I want people to say, ‘Ellen made us look at the world differently and see what the world can become when we actually advance women in nontraditional careers such as supply chains.’”

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Alyssa Sporrer.

Why women are increasingly interested in driving trucks

Women In Trucking empowers Girl Scouts with Transportation Badge

73 honored as Top Women to Watch in Transportation

Daily Infographic: Women in Transportation

Rss

Story by: John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent at FreightWaves   15 million infrastructure jobs created or saved over 10 years, study estimates   Commercial truck driver jobs are forecast to make some of the biggest gains if the Biden administration’s infrastructure package can get through Congress without major revisions, according to a report analyzing the plan. […]

The post Trucking jobs account for 20% of Biden’s administration infrastructure plan appeared first on iTrucker | Transforming Trucking.

Rss

Improving Cash Flow With Government Programs for Truckers With Mason Warr

Bruce chats with tax expert Mason Warr of COS Accounting about how owner operators can recover lost income through Government programs such as the Retention Credit. This credit is an important cashflow generator that has a limited timeframe to collect but can be very lucrative for owner operators. Warr outlines who and how to claim it and has a special offer for listeners through COS Accounting. Learn how to claim your credit and COS Accounting at https://cosaccounting.com/employee-retention-credit/

This episode is sponsored by C.A.T. Transport offering flexible work options, pet friendly programs, and is one of the Best Managed Carriers in Canada. Learn more at www.cat.ca  or call 1-800-363-5313

DriverCheck is a leader in drug and alcohol, cognitive, and workplace testing helping employers have a safe workplace for their staff. Learn how DriverCheck can help you be safe at www.drivercheck.ca

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics. Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com   , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

Rss

Self-driven or autonomous vehicles have been a staple of science fiction since the early part of the 20th century. Today, advances in technology have brought autonomous vehicles to life. In the commercial trucking sector, these autonomous vehicles have the potential to forever change the industry. Will those changes be positive, or will the impacts of self-driven trucks threaten the American trucking workforce? How will autonomous trucks shape the trucking insurance industry? While the answers to these questions are not easy to come by, industry analysts and regulatory agencies are already preparing for a future where autonomous vehicles dominate American roadways.

Autonomous Truck Technology

Autonomous vehicles harness the power of computers and a suite of cameras, sensors, and Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers to navigate roadways. Vehicle developers have partnered with manufacturers and suppliers to create a wide range of test platforms capable of autonomous operation. The concept of vehicles that can operate without human input has been dreamed about for decades. Those dreams are quickly becoming a reality. While these vehicles continue to demonstrate their abilities in testing environments, it is unclear when they will be ready to take on real-world responsibilities in transporting goods on American highways. The gold standard of autonomous driving has been developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE); its “Level 4” standard means that no human interaction is required during the operation of these vehicles under most road conditions.

One of the major concerns surrounding autonomous trucks is their safety and the potential liabilities truck owners may face if autonomous vehicles are involved in collisions. The trucking insurance sector is scrambling to develop solutions to these risk exposures, but much work needs to be done to protect owners and operators against liabilities.

Impacts to Trucking Industry Workers

When any new automation technology is introduced, questions about how it will impact the American workforce arise. For autonomous commercial vehicles, regulatory agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have already begun to discuss the potential impacts to truck drivers. The FMCSA’s Office of Analysis, Research, and Technology presented information on autonomous vehicles during its annual update in March 2021.

Much of the concern is centered on worker displacements and whether the widespread adoption of automated vehicle technologies will threaten the livelihoods of drivers. As an essential part of the U.S. economy, truck drivers are alarmed by the prospect of being replaced in favor of self-driving trucks. The FMCSA, along with agencies like the Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Transportation, suggest that trucking companies begin to prepare for the arrival of autonomous vehicles by:

  • Identifying opportunities where human workforces can be shifted.
  • Exploring training opportunities for drivers displaced by autonomous trucks.
  • Researching new jobs and job classes that may be created through the adoption of autonomous vehicles.

Safety of Autonomous Vehicles

In testing environments, autonomous vehicles have demonstrated capabilities that rival human-operated vehicles. Despite rigorous testing, concerns about safety remain. The FMCSA has been evaluating its role in safety and enforcement of autonomous vehicles since 2017. Among its findings, regulatory factors that must be addressed include:

  • Cyber security of vehicles and their computer operating systems
  • Vehicle licensing
  • Hours of operation standards
  • Roadside inspections
  • Enforcement of operational violations

No formal proposals have been published by the agency, but it is clear that the regulatory environment must shift to account for unforeseen liabilities presented by self-driven vehicles. If an autonomous vehicle is involved in a collision, who is liable, especially when there is no driver? Trucking insurance coverage will also have to adapt to the new operational environment, protecting trucking companies and their employees against liability risks. The future of trucking may hinge on autonomous vehicles, and as the technology is refined, it will have far-reaching impacts on the trucking industry.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!

The post How Will Autonomous Vehicles Impact the Trucking Industry? appeared first on Western Truck Insurance Services.

Rss

A Consolidated tractor and twin trailers. (Photo: Gary Morton Collection)

The early years

Consolidated Freightways, also known as CF, was founded in 1929 by Leland James in Portland, Oregon. James combined four short-haul companies located in Portland into one trucking firm. Once these companies were combined, James focused on expanding their reach. At the time, trucking in the West was a fledgling industry. The lack of industrial expansion to the West at this point made any sort of progress difficult to achieve. Because of this, James focused primarily on establishing CF as a force in Portland and surrounding areas. Only after he achieved considerable success did he consider broadening the company’s horizons.

Soon after the company was founded, the Great Depression devastated many of the industries and people of the United States. Competition was fierce, and rates were low as a result. While many companies went under, unable to stay afloat in such desperate conditions, companies like CF were large enough to wait out the lean times. Occasionally, CF even benefited by picking up customers that had been dropped by other carriers that could not withstand the Depression. CF’s biggest competitor at the time was the railroad, which was often slow and unpredictable. In 1935, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), which had regulated the railroads since the late 1880s, began to regulate the growing trucking industry as well.

A Consolidated Freightways patch from the Dale Branch Collection.

ICC regulation, World War II and acquisitions 

Following regulation of the trucking industry by the ICC, Consolidated proved itself a force to be reckoned with. Its routes encompassed Washington, Oregon and California, no small feat considering the challenges presented by the lack of infrastructure in the West. 

More opportunities for growth arrived during World War II. The railroads that had previously been responsible for much of the nation’s interstate transportation were carrying war supplies and troops. Trucking companies were able to step up and fill the gaps left by the railroads, and CF seized the chance. By the end of the war, Consolidated Freightways had added dozens of new terminals throughout the western United States and had extended its service as far east as Chicago. 

Men at work on a Consolidated Freightways dock. (Photo colorized by J.D. Murphey)
Men at work on a Consolidated Freightways dock. (Photo colorized by G.D. Murphey)

By 1950, CF’s revenues stood at $24 million, and the company was operating 1,600 pieces of freight equipment. Because the ICC regulated the routes that trucking companies could run (as well as the rates they could charge), the easiest way for companies to grow was through acquisition. Consolidated Freightways began an aggressive acquisition strategy, and by the end of the 1950s, it had acquired 53 former competitors.

A 1954 Freightliner brochure. (Image: Freightliner.com)
A 1954 Freightliner brochure. (Image: Freightliner.com)

Becoming a manufacturer  

The 1950s also saw CF’s expansion into manufacturing. Immediately following World War II, James founded Freightliner Corporation in order to supply Consolidated Freightways with lighter, larger and more sophisticated trucks and trailers to ensure that it remained on the cutting edge of the competitive industry. Initially, Freightliner only built trucks for Consolidated, but in 1951, it signed an agreement with White Motor Corporation in Ohio, allowing the equipment to be sold in dealerships. The partnership continued for 25 years. After Freightliner’s business was solidly established, James’ successor, Jack Snead, added other manufacturing interests to the family of companies. Transicold Corporation manufactured railway components, and Technic-Glas Corporation manufactured glass fiber products. These manufacturing endeavors, coupled with the expanded truck lines, doubled Consolidated’s sales while Snead was at the helm. In 1959 Consolidated hit $146 million in revenue, making it the largest common carrier in the United States. At the time, the company had grown to employ nearly 11,000 people and operated 13,800 pieces of equipment in 34 states as well as Canada. This success was misleading, however, as the company learned in the 1960s.

A different Consolidated Freightways patch. (Courtesy: Dale Branch Collection)

Trials and successes during the 1960s

While the family of companies had grown, leadership had failed to integrate them effectively. This, combined with an economic recession, led to a $2.7 million loss at the end of 1960. Snead, previously considered to be immensely successful, was asked to step down, and William G. White was named president and chairman of Consolidated Freight. 

White learned quickly that integration of Consolidated’s acquisitions had not been a priority. He immediately set out to integrate the companies, focusing on coordinated control from headquarters, as well as service. Traffic routes were defined, and terminals were consolidated. White also decided on a concerted effort to make Consolidated a leader in the less than truckload (LTL) segment of freight movement; before it had only been a participant. 

A Consolidated Freightways tractor-trailer, and its driver in the company uniform of the time. 
(Photo colorized by G.D. Murphey)
A Consolidated Freightways tractor-trailer, and its driver in the company uniform of the time.
(Photo colorized by G.D. Murphey)

White also sold off several of the company’s subsidiaries that were more trouble than they were worth, including a small parcel company that was meant to compete directly with UPS. As a result of these actions, Consolidated’s revenues increased at an average of 15% per year, and in 1969, its sales had reached $451 million.

Challenges define the 1970s

The company faced more challenges in the 1970s, especially when the Middle East oil embargo threatened trucking companies as gasoline and diesel prices soared. Consolidated’s Freightliner endeavor was also challenged, as the industry began to emphasize fuel-efficient equipment. There was also a new federal mandate regarding braking systems that disrupted normal sales cycles. In 1977, Freightliner severed its ties with White Motor Corporation and began looking to build relationships with dealers and agents. Unfortunately, Freightliner could not compete with the likes of Mack and International Harvester, which manufactured more affordable equipment. CF sold Freightliner to Daimler-Benz in 1981.

Trucking deregulation brings many changes

After several years of mounting pressure, the trucking industry was deregulated by Congressional legislation that was signed by President Carter. This ended 45 years of ICC regulation of the trucking industry. Particularly in the years just after deregulation, some trucking company executives saw freedom from onerous ICC regulatory oversight; others saw the potential of heightened competition and declining margins. 

A Consolidated Freightways tractor with twin trailers and another trailer in the background. 
(Photo: Gary Morton Collection)
A Consolidated Freightways tractor with twin trailers and another trailer in the background.
(Photo: Gary Morton Collection)

Rather than cling to the manufacturing companies under CF’s umbrella, the company elected to abandon those companies altogether. Consolidated then created four regional trucking companies to specialize in overnight delivery. 

These companies were founded as unaffiliated spin-off companies and eventually became Con-Way Freight. The four companies were collectively generating $600 million in sales by the early 1990s, and CF MotorFreight, the company’s long-haul business, was also doing well. While over 50% of trucking companies went out of business in the eight years following deregulation, Consolidated’s renewed focus and efforts to reshape its trucking endeavors allowed it to not only survive, but thrive, just as it had done during the Great Depression.

A CF AirFreight DC-8 aircraft. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
A CF AirFreight DC-8 aircraft. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Air freight causes major issues

However, in 1989, Consolidated made a misstep that proved to be quite costly. It had been operating CF AirFreight, its own air freight forwarding company for some time. Company management thought that purchasing another strong air freight forwarder could bolster the performance of CF AirFreight. The company purchased Emery Air Freight Corporation, an industry leader at the time. Unfortunately, Emery’s own subsidiary, Purolator Courier Corporation, was deeply troubled by debt. At the time of the acquisition, the companies together were losing nearly $1 million per day, leaving Consolidated with a $41 million loss in 1990 and $614 million in debt. The CEO responsible for the acquisition, Larry Scott, was removed and replaced by Donald Moffitt. Moffitt and Roger Curry, Emery’s CEO, set out to undo the damage that had been done by revamping Emery’s overnight service and removing it from competition with other parcel companies. By 1995, Emery had quite a comeback and was the air freight industry’s most profitable firm, to the relief of Consolidated Freightways.

A Consolidated Freightways tractor-trailer next to a CF trailer. (Photo: Craig Wendt Collection)
A Consolidated Freightways tractor-trailer next to a CF trailer. (Photo: Craig Wendt Collection)

More issues in the 1990s

The 1990s also generated challenges. The price wars that started with deregulation continued to decrease margins, until CF was operating on profit margins of only 1.5%.  A strike by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union in 1994 lasted 24 days and drastically affected the company’s annual revenues. 

Freight analysts began to question if the LTL industry could survive, calling the price wars suicidal and expressing concern about competition from smaller, non-union regional carriers. Rate discounting took a heavy toll on CF’s long-haul business, which achieved profitability only once between 1992 and 1996. 

A Consolidated Freightways sign. (Photo: Craig Wendt Collection)
A Consolidated Freightways sign. (Photo: Craig Wendt Collection)

Corporate changes

The company’s management decided to spin-off CF Motorfreight and four other long-haul subsidiaries in 1996, renaming the grouping Consolidated Freightways Corporation. The remaining companies, Con-way Transportation, Emery Worldwide and Menlo Logistics, were rebranded CNF Transportation. 

The “new” Consolidated Freightways emerged from the rebranding with very little debt, and once again, could focus on its LTL offerings and expertise. In 1997, the company innovated further by adding a third-party logistics company, Redwood Logistics, to its family of companies. The company remained profitable until 1999, when poor decisions relating to customers and in technology resulted in profit of only $2.7 million (compared to the previous year’s $26.8 million). 

An XPO Logistics tractor-trailer. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)
An XPO Logistics tractor and twin trailers. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The end of the line

Restructuring attempts helped a bit in 2000, but by 2001, the company was struggling again and reported a loss of $104.3 million. Try as it might, the company could not regain the ground that it had lost. Consolidated Freightways Corporation filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and closed its doors. The spin-off company, CNF Transportation, rebranded itself under the name Con-way, and remained in business until 2015, when it was acquired by XPO Logistics.

A third Consolidated Freightways patch. (Dale Branch Collection)
A third Consolidated Freightways patch. (Dale Branch Collection)

Rss

This week, we’re following TuSimple Holdings Inc.’s $1.1 billion IPO as well as merger prospects for Tula Technology, which makes cylinder-skipping engine controls that dramatically reduce planet-warming greenhouse gases.

Was this forwarded to you? Subscribe here.

Safe at home

TuSimple’s (NASDAQ: TSP) big news this week was, of course, its initial public offering as it became the first autonomous trucking software developer to go public. With enough money in the bank to get the company to its purpose-built Level 4 high-autonomy Class 8 truck with Navistar (NYSE: NAV) in 2024, the next thing to watch is how it gets there.

If all goes as planned, TuSimple will test its trucks with no safety driver in Arizona late in the fourth quarter. We talked with Jim Mullen, the former head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), who joined TuSimple as chief risk officer last October and now is chief administrative officer.

FREIGHTWAVES: How have you influenced the safety discussion at TuSimple?

MULLEN: “When [Chief Technology Officer] Xioadi [Hou] and his algorithm team go through things like disengagements and how the AI [artificial intelligence] ought to react to certain scenarios, I think that’s where I’ve brought some value to the organization.”

FREIGHTWAVES: What is the hardest thing you’ve encountered?

MULLEN: “Our AI can operate within the rules of the road and do everything that an operator of a truck ought to do very, very well. Where we’re still working on some issues is [the edge cases]. What ought we do if we’re in the right lane and another vehicle, or another tractor trailer, starts to deviate into our lane. So should we take the shoulder? Do we just bias as far as we can in the right lane? Do you get off the throttle? Do you brake?”

FREIGHTWAVES: How do you assess the competition in AV software technology?

MULLEN: “Our truthful answer is we think that we’re the leader. We think that our camera vision of a thousand meters allows us to do things that the competitors can’t. Our competitors, at least to my knowledge, haven’t shown that. I did see some of the competitors’ stuff when I was at the DOT. So, my view [is] if we’re not the leader, we’re certainly in the forefront.”

TuSimple’s public debut (Photo: TuSimple)

What’s next for Tula Technology?

Beside the impressive reduction in two major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, what should we make of this week’s announcement by Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) and privately held Tula Technology? 

First, there is the fact that 13-year-old Tula’s cylinder-deactivation engine technology has been attracting attention for more than a decade. GM Ventures was an early backer. So were Sequoia Capital, Sigma Partners and Khosla Ventures. The Tier 1 supplier formerly known as Delphi invested in 2015.

So, even if the commercial vehicle space is just learning of the company’s capabilities, Tula is well known. And now that it is talking deals for its diesel Dynamic Skip Fire (dDSF) cylinder deactivation technology with more than 20 global truck makers, the prospects of a merger are growing.

“It’s fair to say that we see exit activities from private ownership as one way where we can continue to accelerate our growth and partnership with key companies that can bring more to the party than Tula could muster on our own,” CEO Scott Bailey told me this week.

But a blank check special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger is unlikely, and not just because SPACs are drawing increasing scrutiny from regulators.

“We’ve been approached by SPACs,” Bailey said. “The typical SPAC model really wants to generate an opportunity for people to continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the company to, for example, build a battery plant. And Tula, as a controls company, that model just really doesn’t fit.”

Tula Technology’s cylinder-skipping breakthrough. (Photo: General Motors)

Possible suitors

Just thinking out loud here. But possible suitors would have to include Cummins, which is always on the lookout for strategic acquisitions. And the Columbus, Indiana-based engine maker is going to be doing diesel powertrains for a long time because many of its customers are outsourcing diesel engines — many to Cummins — to focus on electric powertrains.

Tula is paying attention to the embracing of electrification. Half of its 60-person team is working on controls for electric motors. So there is a chance the two units could be split up in a sale.

BorgWarner Inc. (NYSE: BWA) paid $3.3 billion for the legacy businesses of Delphi, called Delphi Technologies, last year. While BorgWarner is planning to sell off some traditional internal combustion technologies, including some that came with the Delphi merger, it is keeping parts that will help it grow as an electric powertrain player.

Power management company Eaton Corp. (NYSE: ETN) also should be in the mix. It has been active in M&A and has plenty of cash. Dana Inc. (NYSE: DAN) would be a maybe because it has less financial flexibility. 

But my best guess is Cummins, which just spent two years in an exclusive tie-up with Tula and knows it better than anyone with the possible exception of GM, which has Dynamic Skip Fire in more than a million vehicles. For a relatively small early investment, GM got the milk without buying the cow.

Cummins is cagey about whether and when it would adopt Tula’s dDSF after testing on its X-15  high-efficiency six-cylinder engine. Is a bigger deal coming?

If not Cummins, whom am I missing? Let me know at aadler@freightwaves.com.

HR calling

In the personnel files this week … 

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) CEO John O’Leary is taking Caley Edgerly off the bus. Edgerly, president and CEO of subsidiary Thomas Built Buses, takes over as  general manager, operations planning and quality at the DTNA mothership. Edgerly joined Daimler in 1994 as a quality engineer at Detroit Diesel Corp.

DTNA also named Marcela Barreiro as president and CEO of Daimler Trucks Mexico, the first woman to lead the operation. A 13-year veteran of Daimler Trucks Mexico, Barreiro most recently led human resources for the 8,000-member workforce covering two truck manufacturing plants and five other locations in the country.  

Travel plaza operator and fuel supplier Pilot Company is casting a wide net for its National Hiring Day on April 27. It is looking to hire 5,000 people with virtual meet-and-greets across North America. Pilot has jobs available in retail, food service, professional driving and corporate roles.

Transport this

Somehow, it’s hard to imagine tough-guy actor Jason Statham trading in his BMW for Udelv’s Transporter, a role he played in a movie trilogy of the same name in the 2000s.

Udelv Transporter autonomous electric delivery vehicle. (Photo: Udelv)
The first Transporter — actor Jason Statham (Copyright: 20th Century Fox)

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading.

Alan

Image post
Reddit

Who wants to play a game? This is my preload, currently in the bay being reworked. How many things can you spot wrong with it?

Rss


#kt-adv-heading_e05c5e-76, #kt-adv-heading_e05c5e-76 .wp-block-kadence-advancedheading {font-size:20px;font-weight:400;font-family:Montserrat;}

To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.

Rss

Featured Truck of the Week Multi-coloured Kenworth

Today’s truck is a cool Kenworth from the Big Rig Truck Show. Each week Bruce picks a cool truck from the many truck shows he attends. Hearing about them is one thing, seeing them is another. Check out this cool ride!

Check out the video on this featured truck by clicking here

This episode is sponsored by C.A.T. Transport offering flexible work options, pet friendly programs, and is one of the Best Managed Carriers in Canada. Learn more at www.cat.ca  or call 1-800-363-5313

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics.

Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com  , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

 

Rss

By: iTrucker  / Mario Pawlowski / iTrucker.com     Update: 8 people are dead after shooting at the FedEx facility, multiply wounded. According to the police.   INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Multiple victims are reported after shots were fired at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, according to the police. The incident occurred at 8900 Mirabel Rd near Indianapolis International Airport, where […]

The post 8 people are dead after shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis (Updated) appeared first on iTrucker | Transforming Trucking.

Image post
Reddit

Passengers need cup holders too, driver gets spice holder.

Rss

New margin targets for J.B. Hunt

J.B. Hunt Transport Services (NASDAQ: JBHT) updated operating income margin targets for each of its five divisions during its first-quarter earnings call Thursday evening.

The company slightly lowered its intermodal margin target to a range of 10%-12% from the prior range of 11%-13%. The dedicated segment’s margin target was raised by 100 basis points on each end to 12%-14%. Targets were reiterated in brokerage (4%-6%) and final mile (4%-8%). The margin target for the truck division was lowered to 8%-10% (from 8%-12%) as the division continues to transition to a more asset-light model.

The Lowell, Arkansas-based company reported first-quarter earnings of $1.37 per share after the market close, 19 cents ahead of the consensus estimate and up 23 cents year-over-year on an adjusted basis. The first-quarter 2020 result included $24 million in one-time expenses – COVID-related bonuses, an accrual related to its revenue division with BNSF Railway (Berkshire Hathaway, NYSE: BRK.B) and equity-comp expense for executive retirements.

Table: J.B. Hunt’s key performance indicators – Consolidated

Intermodal target trimmed, backdrop likely improves in 2021

The division’s operating margin has hovered just north of 9% for the last two years as it has contended with several hurdles including arbitration expenses to settle a dispute on its BNSF contract, significant service headwinds due to precision scheduled railroading initiatives and pandemic-related port congestion.

Management said the revised intermodal target assumes some improvement in rail service but noted that velocity on the railroads is unlikely to reach the levels seen in recent years.

Rail service was an issue again during the first quarter. Since the beginning of March, J.B. Hunt has issued more than a dozen service advisories to customers. On Tuesday, the company posted a service notice explaining “container availability will remain extremely constrained throughout the country for the next two weeks.”

Poor weather contributed to a 3% year-over-year decline in intermodal volumes with 25,000 load opportunities being negatively impacted during February. Across the U.S. Class I railroads, intermodal traffic was up 13% year-over-year with J.B. Hunt’s partners BNSF recording a 19% jump and Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) posting an 8% increase.

J.B. Hunt has struggled with load counts recently as container turns have declined. The primary culprits have been poor rail service and equipment getting stuck at customer facilities due to labor issues with dockworkers. During the quarter, loads per container dropped roughly 13% year-over-year.

In response, management has raised capital expenditure plans for 2021 by 40% to $1.25 billion. The company now plans to add 12,000 containers this year to its current fleet size of almost 100,000 boxes.

Excluding fuel surcharges, revenue per load increased 6%, but operating income fell by a similar amount, excluding one-time costs from the year-ago quarter. The weather impact to operating income was estimated to be a $17 million hit for the division.

Looking forward, management expects to grow the intermodal segment at a faster pace than the industry average. Loads were up by 3% and 4% in January and March, respectively, but 16% lower in February due to the disruption. Intermodal contracts are expected to reprice toward the high end of the prior guidance range of high-single-digit to low-double-digit rate increases.

Table: J.B. Hunt’s key performance indicators – Intermodal

Dedicated margin target ticks higher

Dedicated revenue increased 7% year-over-year as loads increased by a similar amount. Revenue per truck per week was up 6%. Management said that it booked dedicated service for 380 trucks during the quarter. The company added 1,300 contracted trucks in the division in 2020 and plans to add 800 to 1,000 revenue-producing trucks per year moving forward.

The operating ratio deteriorated 180 bps to 87.2%, within the increased target range, as improved productivity was offset by wage inflation. Management called out difficulties with driver recruitment multiple times on the call.

Table: J.B. Hunt’s key performance indicators – Dedicated

Brokerage sees consecutive quarters of profitability

While the original guidance called for the brokerage segment to not achieve sustained profitability until the second half of 2021, the division posted its second consecutive quarterly profit. Brokerage revenue increased 57% year-over-year with higher revenue per load accounting for the increase. Total loads were down 1% but truckload volumes increased 10%. Management said the volume decline was primarily due to the loss of a less-than-truckload customer.

Higher spot and contractual rates resulted in a gross-profit-margin improvement of 280 bps to 12.4%. Favorable spot market conditions led to contractual volumes accounting for only 35% of revenue compared to 54% a year ago.

Brokerage revenue on digital freight platform, Marketplace for J.B. Hunt 360, increased 53% year-over-year to $359 million.

Management expects to hit the long-term margin goal through increased scale and productivity gains, noting that the division saw volumes increase as the quarter progressed. Another tailwind will be the wind down of investment in the segment.

Table: J.B. Hunt’s key performance indicators – Brokerage

The truck and final-mile segments saw robust revenue growth and profitability improvements. Revenue per loaded mile, excluding fuel surcharges, increased 28% year-over-year in the truck segment, with contractual rates up 14%.

Table: J.B. Hunt’s key performance indicators – Final Mile and Truck

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

Image post
Reddit

Not the best thing in the world...not worst either

Image post
Reddit

So the Iowa 80 truck museum is pretty cool. Anyone drive one of these bad boys?

Rss

[caption caption="Meera Joshi battled app-based ridesharing companies while chair and CEO of New York City"][/caption]A New York City taxi regulator who pioneered the use of data tools to weed out unsafe drivers and devised a pay protection program for drivers working for app-based services is the Biden administration’s nominee to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Meera Joshi, who...

Rss

[caption caption="Meera Joshi battled app-based ridesharing companies while chair and CEO of New York City"][/caption]A New York City taxi regulator who pioneered the use of data tools to weed out unsafe drivers and devised a pay protection program for drivers working for app-based services is the Biden administration’s nominee to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Meera Joshi, who...

Rss

[caption caption="Meera Joshi battled app-based ridesharing companies while chair and CEO of New York City"][/caption]A New York City taxi regulator who pioneered the use of data tools to weed out unsafe drivers and devised a pay protection program for drivers working for app-based services is the Biden administration’s nominee to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Meera Joshi, who...

Rss

[caption caption="Short-haul loads can be unprofitable for brokers due to fixed costs associated with securing capacity and the difficulty to carve out margin on a smaller invoice. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]Short-haul truckload broker Torch Logistics has closed a $3.5 million seed funding round from a group of supply chain-focused investors to capitalize...

Rss

Driving Steel With Rims Transport

Why not become an owner operator with a company that cares? We talk with an owner operator with Rims Transport about why he believes this a great place to build a business. Owner operator Louis offers tips on being successful on the road with a career that has spanned decades. RIMS Transport who is looking for owner operators and drivers to work cross border operations out of Hamilton Ontario. You can learn more about the opportunities at www.rimstransport.com

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics.

Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com  , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

 

Rss

Tug boats try to move a big green container ship stuck in the mud.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of FreightWaves or its affiliates.

By Shruti D. Engstrom, John N. Ellison and Luke E. Debevec

The blockage of the Suez Canal by the Ever Given has given rise to trade and supply chain disruptions for businesses that depend on shipments through the canal. 

Policyholders should look to their insurance to determine if they have coverage for these types of losses. Businesses should also carefully review their contracts with suppliers and related vendors to determine if they have available insurance through those contracts, indemnification protection through those contracts, or indemnification obligations because of those contracts.  

Taking proactive steps is the key to securing recovery for these losses.

Read your policies and vendor contracts

The first step is to locate and carefully read the applicable policies or vendor contracts.  The insurance policies most likely to respond to supply chain disruptions or loss of cargo include trade disruption coverage, contingent business interruption coverage or cargo insurance.  

Look to your company’s political risk insurance policies for trade disruption coverage, which provides protection from loss of earnings or extra expenses incurred as a result of supply chain disruption.   

Review your company’s property insurance policies for contingent business interruption coverage, which will provide similar protection due to property damage to the Ever Given.  

Coverage for cargo can also be found in cargo insurance policies or policies offering inland marine coverage and provides protection for damaged or lost cargo.

Because policies with these types of coverages often have different names, reviewing all of your company’s insurance policies is the best way to determine potential coverage.  

This is important because the wordings and coverages can sometimes be complex. The complexity, however, should not be a deterrent.  A close reading of your company’s policies will likely reveal the provisions under which coverage exists and give you a good foundation for discussion with the company’s broker or the insurance company.

Similarly, contracts with suppliers or other such vendors are another source of potential recovery.  Vendor contracts likely contain indemnification provisions and insurance procurement provisions.  

Check these contracts carefully for potential coverage options or potential obligations to customers.

Be aware of policy deadlines

Give notice as soon as possible to avoid any pushback from your insurer on timing.  There is no harm in giving notice, but the failure to do so can essentially put an end to your claim.  

Your company’s notice should include all known losses and a catchall provision for losses that you may discover after giving notice. If necessary, provide updates as needed but do not delay in giving notice.  If your vendor agreements provide indemnification or insurance protection, notify the vendor as well.

In addition to prompt notice, keep track of policy deadlines.  

Policies may require proofs of loss within a certain amount of time, or clauses that require that a suit be filed within a certain amount of time. Keep all of your options on the table and preserve all of your rights by meeting deadlines or securing extensions of time from your insurance company.

Quantify the claim

It is important to gather and preserve information that quantifies the effects of the Suez Canal disruption on your business, such as lost profits and extra expenses. This information will likely involve business accounting, so it is important to have the right team in place to quantify the claim.  

Insurance companies hire accountants and other independent experts to assess claims, so consider seeking outside help on this issue — particularly if your claim is big enough or your company does not have adequate internal resources. The more evidence you collect to quantify your claim, the better.  

Claim quantification also involves communicating with your insurance company and responding to requests for information. Respond promptly to these requests, but make sure to document these communications and track the information requests and responses provided by your company. 

Stay on your insurance company’s radar 

In addition to responding promptly to your insurance company, make sure it responds promptly to you. For instance, write letters to demand information on the status of your claim as well as details and explanations of coverage positions, and follow up on those requests.  

Do not blindly accept coverage delays or denials, but ensure that your insurance company knows that you are invested in your claim and expect responsiveness. 

If needed, engage your broker or an attorney to challenge insurance company delays or denials.  

John N. Ellison, Luke E. Debevec and Shruti D. Engstrom are insurance coverage attorneys at Reed Smith LLP and regularly represent policyholders and their captives in insurance and reinsurance coverage disputes. 

Rss

[caption caption="A 44 percent increase in e-commerce sales brought two new parcel carriers to the 2020 rankings of the Top 50 Trucking Companies. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]The fastest-growing US trucking companies last year weren’t necessarily ‘trucking’ companies, but ground parcel carriers, according to research by SJ Consulting Group. Regional parcel carriers LaserShip and OnTrac led the fastest growing companies on the JOC.com Top...

Rss

Los Angeles

The flood of imports into the Port of Los Angeles is relentless. More records were set in March. And volumes are expected to remain at peak levels — with container ships to remain stuck at anchor — until June.

“I would describe this as the port version of March Madness,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka during a press conference on Wednesday. He described last month’s import flows as “remarkable” and a “once-in-a-lifetime event.”

Los Angeles port director
Port of LA’s Gene Seroka (Photo: Port of LA)

Los Angeles handled 957,599 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in March, up 113% year on year — the highest March number in the port’s history. “If those containers were placed end to end they’d stretch from Los Angeles to New York and halfway back across the country,” Seroka said.

“That’s a big number for a peak month like September or October. But we’ve never seen volume like this in the first half of the year.”

Loaded inbound containers totaled 490,115 TEUs, up 122% year on year, the highest monthly import tally since October. Loaded outbound containers totaled 122,899 TEUS, up 1% year on year. Outbound empty containers totaled 344,585 TEUs, up 219% year on year.

Ships at anchor down, but still high

There have been a lot of headlines about the “parking lot” of container ships at anchor in San Pedro Bay, awaiting berths in Los Angeles and Long Beach. According to the Los Angeles Signal data platform, average time at anchor as of Wednesday was still eight days. That’s higher than seven- to 7.5-day anchorage times reported in January and February.

Seroka said that there were 20 ships at anchor on Wednesday, which he compared to the single-day peak of 40 on Feb. 1 and surmised, “The number has been cut in half.”

Looking at the data more broadly, the improvement is not nearly so substantial.

Daily anchorage counts from the Marine Exchange of Southern California show that the year-to-date average is 29.6 ships at anchorage per day. That average was exceeded as recently as April 2. The average for April to date is 24.1 ships per day — 18.5% lower than the year-to-date average — which is good progress, but well short of “cut in half.”

Los Angeles anchorages
(Chart: American Shipper based on data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California)

“We want to get that to zero ships,” said Seroka. “The goal is to clear out the anchorages and have the ships come straight to berth. In the interim, we’ve probably got another really strong six weeks of digging to do.” He said he expects “to see vessels at anchor probably through the end of May or beginning of June.”

Good news, bad news on land side

Despite stubbornly high anchorage waits off Los Angeles, Seroka pointed to improvements in landside metrics.

The number of labor shifts was up 13% in March versus the four-year average. In the terminals, container dwell time last month was 3.8 days, down from a high of five days in February. Outside the terminals, street dwell time — the waiting time at warehouses — fell to 6.8 days from a high of 7.6 days in February.

The challenge, Seroka explained, is that the 6.8 days of street dwell time “compares to the model created for chassis provision of 3.5 days. Every additional day that containers sit waiting for warehouse space means we theoretically need an additional 3,000 chassis.”

The rail situation is an even bigger problem. “Rail dwell time is up to nearly 11 days, which is extremely high for us,” he acknowledged. “The rapid succession of vessel calls, the inclement weather across the country and the one-way trade surge make it difficult to get rail cars, engine power and crews back to Los Angeles fast enough.

“One of our largest terminals reported to me this morning that from once having 9,000 rail units on the ground waiting to move, that number is down to 4,000.”

Empty containers versus exports

Rail data is showing a highly unusual shift in westbound volumes to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Loaded inbound rail containers, including 20-, 40- and 45-foot units (SONAR: IRAILINTL.LAX), have usually been around double the volume of empty rail containers arriving at the Southern California ports (SONAR: IRAILINTE.LAX).

container data
(Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

But this year, volumes of loaded and empty rail containers have converged. And this month, empty rail containers inbound to Los Angeles/Long Beach have actually exceeded inbound containers laden with export cargo — an extremely rare event.

container data
(Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

“The madness continues with the empties,” said Seroka, referring to outbound empty container volumes loaded on ships in Los Angeles in March.

Last month saw the highest-ever number of empties loaded on ships in Los Angeles. The four-to-one gap between empty export containers and full export containers “is the highest gap we’ve seen in recent times,” he added.

Asked why this was occurring, he responded, “It’s quicker [for ocean carriers] to get the empties onto the ships and to the next point of origin in Asia to recycle them and have them come back as imports than it would be for the additional transit time to reach U.S. exporters here and then deliver exports to Asia consignees on the other side of the Pacific.

“So, they’re trying to cut down the transit time and catch up on the massive orders for imports and the next round to come to the U.S.”

Higher imports equals higher empties

The trend in empty rail containers to Los Angeles/Long Beach implies that carriers are moving some boxes out empty at the expense of some U.S. exports. However, another dataset shows that most of the increase in empties is due to the increase in U.S. imports. The pattern remains: The more boxes that come into Southern California full of cargo from Asia, the more boxes available to turn around quickly and send back to Asia empty.

American Shipper analyzed the combined monthly volumes of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for imports, exports and empties from January 2018 through last month.

Los Angeles Long Beach data
(Chart: American Shipper based on data from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach)

The trend line for exports is generally flat, extending well before the onset of COVID and the subsequent import surge, and is not reverse-correlated with empties. But the trend line for empties is highly correlated with imports. In other words, it looks like most of the rise and fall of empties is due to the rise and fall of imports.

Even so, the data does suggest some substitution of outbound empties for export boxes, which concurs with the inbound-to-California rail data and reports from U.S. exporters.

Comparing Q1 2021 to the more normal Q1 2019 (Q1 2020 was heavily skewed by COVID), export volumes through Los Angeles/Long Beach fell 10%. At the same time, empties totaled 69% of import volumes in Q1 2021, up from 62% in Q1 2019. 

A different pattern in 2021

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the combined Los Angeles/Long Beach throughput data is what didn’t happen this year. In February-March in 2018, 2019 and 2020, import volumes fell significantly, as they traditionally do at that time following Chinese New Year (the effect was heightened in 2020 by COVID lockdowns).

In fact, exports actually briefly exceeded empties in both March 2018 and March 2020 as empties were pulled down in unison with the seasonal drop in imports.

Los Angeles Long Beach data
(Chart: American Shipper based on data from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach)

This year, the pattern is very different. The first-quarter import drop was minimal and imports began rising again in March. As a result, the gap between exports and empties didn’t close as usual.

As Seroka put it: “I have not witnessed a sustained import surge of this magnitude in all of my years in the industry.”

Click for more articles by Greg Miller 

Demand boom on collision course with ocean transport ceiling

Could America’s historic import crunch get even worse?

California’s port pileup leaves old records in the dust

New video shows massive scope of California box-ship traffic jam

Still a lot of ships at anchor off Los Angeles/Long Beach: the view offshore on Wednesday (Photo: Marine Exchange of Southern California)

Rss

[caption caption="A 44 percent increase in e-commerce sales brought two new parcel carriers to the 2020 rankings of the Top 50 Trucking Companies. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]The fastest-growing US trucking companies last year weren’t necessarily ‘trucking’ companies, but ground parcel carriers, according to research by SJ Consulting Group. Regional parcel carriers LaserShip and OnTrac led the fastest growing companies on the JOC.com Top...

Rss

[caption caption="A 44 percent increase in e-commerce sales brought two new parcel carriers to the 2020 rankings of the Top 50 Trucking Companies. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]The fastest-growing US trucking companies last year weren’t necessarily ‘trucking’ companies, but ground parcel carriers, according to research by SJ Consulting Group. Regional parcel carriers LaserShip and OnTrac led the fastest growing companies on the JOC.com Top...

Rss

[caption caption="A 44 percent increase in e-commerce sales brought two new parcel carriers to the 2020 rankings of the Top 50 Trucking Companies. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]The fastest-growing US trucking companies last year weren’t necessarily ‘trucking’ companies, but ground parcel carriers, according to research by SJ Consulting Group. Regional parcel carriers LaserShip and OnTrac led the fastest growing companies on the JOC.com Top...

Rss

TuSimple, the first autonomous vehicle software maker to go public, raised $1.36 billion at $40 per share, slightly above the high end of its estimate. Shares begin trading Thursday on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol TSP.

TuSimple has a valuation of $8.49 billion based on 212 million registered shares.

Prior to its initial public offering (IPO), the San Diego-based startup privately raised $800 million over five years. Most of that came in recent months as it pulled in investments by major fleets, railroads and truck manufacturers Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV) and its German parent TRATON Group (OTC: TRATF)

TuSimple confidentially filed its prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in December. With the commission’s blessing, the company made its plans public in March.TuSimple executives ring the bell to open NASDAQ trading Thursday.

Passing on SPACing

TuSimple passed on riding the wave of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) — shell companies that raise money in an IPO and have two years to identify a merger target — to take the traditional IPO route. 

It may be a wise move. SPACs are coming under increasing scrutiny over how much their sponsors charge in the so-called “promote” — as much as 20% of the new companies’ shares — and liability protection for business projections disallowed in a traditional IPO.

TuSimple had a valuation of $7.85 billion based on the midpoint of a $35 to $39 share price range announced April 7. It generated $1.8 million in revenue from autonomous freight runs  with 50 Level 4 autonomous trucks in the American Southwest. All of its trucks have a safety driver on board. But it plans to go “driver out” this year.

TuSimple lost $178 million in 2020 on a proforma basis.

China questions

Sun Dreams Inc., an affiliate of Chinese online media firm Sina Corp., is TuSimple’s largest shareholder. Its 20% stake brought scrutiny by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The committee is required to investigate any investment by a foreign entity that exceeds 10% ownership to determine if it raises national security concerns.

Sun Dreams sold 6.76 million shares, worth about $270 million. Sina has two seats on TuSimple’s board of directors.

Self-driving truck software competitor Plus may face similar scrutiny should it decide to go public. Plus reportedly has been in discussions with unnamed SPACs about a reverse merger, according to Bloomberg. Plus has significant Chinese investment and a joint venture with China state-owned First Auto Works.

The Information reported this week that China’s Didi Chuxing quietly purchased another autonomous startup, Aurora Innovation, for $1 billion in 2017. But the sale was aborted after CFIUS investigated. Aurora, led by self-driving software pioneer Chris Urmson, is worth a reported $10 billion today. 

Attracting investors

TuSimple’s latest private Series E funding round totaled $546 million. That included $363 million in direct investment, $50 million from a convertible loan and $183 million from warrants in private company stock exercised by Navistar and TRATON.

Navistar owns 5% of TuSimple. TRATON owns  2% to 3%. Together, they own 15,782,220 shares. 

TuSimple and Navistar are targeting 2024 to produce the first Level 4 — high-autonomy — truck for commercialization. They have 570 nonbinding orders.

TuSimple’s stable of investors includes major carriers United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS),  Schneider National (NYSE: SNDR), Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN) and U.S. Xpress (NYSE: USX). Class 1 railways CN (NYSE: CNI) and Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP), tire maker Goodyear (NASDAQ: GT) and chipmaker Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) also are investors.

Founders control decisions

Executive Chairman Mo Chen and Chief Technology Officer Xiaodi Hou founded TuSimple in 2015. Both were born in China. Chen holds Canadian and American citizenship. Hou is an American citizen. The two own 62.5% of the voting stock, which gives them decision-making power over practically any company decision.

Chen and Hou’s Class B shares carry 10 votes compared to one vote for Class A shares… If Chen or Hou sells any Class B shares, they convert to Class A shares with one vote.

TuSimple has 800 employees, 600 in the U.S. and 200 in Europe and China, where it operates 20 autonomous trucks.

TuSimple seeks to raise up to $1.5B in IPO stock sale

Self-driving truck startup TuSimple files for public ownership

VectoIQ, U.S. XPress leaders included on TuSimple executive advisory board

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Rss

The Daily Dash is a quick look at what’s happening in the freight ecosystem. In today’s edition, we highlight truck makers’ warning about the semiconductor shortage, big executive news at Yellow Corp. and more.

The High Five

1. The world’s leading manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks and truck engines have warned the Biden administration that a severe shortage of semiconductors is hindering their ability to produce enough trucks to meet freight demand. John Gallagher from Washington


2. Forward Air announced that it added 11 final-mile terminal locations during the first quarter of 2021. The Monday press release said of the new “Forward Final Mile” additions, eight were established in existing less-than-truckload facilities. Todd Maiden’s report


3. A two-year collaboration on cylinder deactivation between engine maker Cummins Inc. and engine controls technology startup Tula Technology cut nitrogen-oxide (NOx) emissions by a whopping 74% while reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) by 5%, according to a technical paper. Alan Adler from Detroit


4. Less-than-truckload carrier Yellow Corp. announced the departure of COO T.J. O’Connor and Chief Network Officer Scott Ware. Darrel Harris, who was brought on board in November to head the company’s strategic initiatives, will take over as president. Todd Maiden with the story


5. The Teamsters are calling it a strike, but an action at a Universal Logistics facility in Compton, California, is more of a protest by workers who want their jobs back. Though the protest was small, it’s another battle in the ongoing California labor wars. John Kingston’s story


Five more to check out

Lawsuit seeks to preserve employment freedom for independent workers

Battery Resourcers raises $20M for sustainable battery ecosystem

Grab to secure $4.5B in new funding from $39.5B SPAC merger

Fire weather danger still scorching Southwest

DOE/EIA diesel price declines for third consecutive week

Rss

Volvo Trucks North America customer Quality Custom Distribution (QCD), a national food service logistics supplier, will deploy 14 Volvo VNR Electric models in its Southern California last-mile delivery routes. For Volvo Trucks the deal represent the largest single purchasing commitment of electric trucks to date.

Volvo Trucks will deliver the Class 8 battery-electric trucks to QCD over the next two years beginning this fall.

“Earlier this month, we delivered QCD’s first VNR Electric to be used in its first-class distribution and logistics services,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America. “With this exceptional commitment to deploy an additional 14 Volvo VNR Electric trucks, we are pleased that QCD has chosen to continue its longtime partnership with our organization to achieve its sustainable freight transportation goals.”

The 14 leased Volvo VNR Electric trucks and supporting charging equipment are being funded in large part by a grant awarded to Volvo Financial Services (VFS) from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee’s (MSRC), which is a committee of California’s largest transportation and clean air agencies and stakeholders.

Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, QCD recently took delivery of its first Volvo VNR Electric. With this additional order, QCD’s total fleet of VNR Electric trucks will reach 15 by the end of 2022. QCD, a Golden State Foods (GSF) company, provides custom distribution services to thousands of America’s most iconic restaurants and currently operates a fleet of 700 Class 8 tractors, more than half of which are Volvo VNR and VNL models. GSF is one of the world’s largest diversified suppliers to the food service and retail industries.

Volvo Trucks began taking customer orders for its VNR Electric model last December and has multiple customer deliveries scheduled throughout 2021.

Rss

Traffic backup on snowy Wyoming highway.

Old Man Winter isn’t done with the Rockies quite yet, even though it’s mid-April. Periods of heavy snow and gusty winds will slam the region over the next two days.

Snowstorms aren’t unusual this time of year, but shippers and carriers should expect some minor to moderate supply chain disruptions due to the wintry conditions. Truckers will have to chain up.

The storm system, which began Tuesday night, will continue to dump accumulating snow mostly in the central and northern Rockies of Colorado, Wyoming and northeastern Utah, as well as the Plains in eastern Colorado and western portions of South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. Major cities in the potential impact zone include Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Denver, affecting travel on sections of Interstates 25, 70 and 80. Smaller cities in the storm’s path include Laramie and Riverton, Wyoming; Rapid City, South Dakota; Scottsbluff, Nebraska; as well as Goodland, Kansas.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for many of the high elevations in Wyoming. Subranges in the Rockies, like the Snowy Mountains, Laramie Range, Green Mountains, Rattlesnake Range and the Salt River Range, could see up to 12 inches of total snowfall, with isolated spots of up to 24 inches. Some high elevations west of Denver could see up to 10 inches of snow, while 4 to 8 inches could pile up in many low elevations and Plains locations.


Related: States with the strictest chain laws


Winds gust will reach 35 to 40 mph at times in some places, reducing visibility due to blowing snow. The combination of snow and wind could cause issues for any trees that have already leafed out, which may result in scattered power outages and road closures due to downed branches.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

You might also like:

Trucker a Highway Angel for helping couple after spinout

Logistics groups ready to help during potentially busy hurricane season

Sandstorm, winds blamed for container ship fiasco in Suez Canal

Image post
Reddit

Make your coupling a smooth as a baby's bottom 👌

Rss

[caption caption="Freight invoice auditing is traditionally handled in-house by shippers or farmed out to third parties such as freight audit and payment providers, or supply chain consultants. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]OpenEnvoy said Tuesday it has snagged a $6.5 million seed round from a group of venture capital investors to expand its automated freight...

Rss

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced that the Freightliner eCascadia and Freightliner eM2 are now available to order. The eCascadia

The post Daimler Trucks North America Opens Order Books for Industry-Leading All-Electric Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 appeared first on NextTruck Blog & Industry News - Trucker Information.

Image post
Reddit

I really need to stop pulling off miracles. It's becoming expected

Image post
Reddit

New rig, new gig. First time in this side of the truck driving industry.

Rss

The Daily Dash is a quick look at what’s happening in the freight ecosystem. In today’s edition, we highlight Amazon’s borrowing of FedEx’s approach to deal with union discussions, two developments with an eye toward driverless deliveries, and more.

The High Five

1. There is no love lost between Jeff Bezos and Fred Smith, given the unpleasant breakup of their companies’ shipping marriage in 2019. Yet in decisively thwarting efforts to organize 5,800 workers at Amazon.com Inc.’s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse, Bezos took a page from the FedEx Corp. founder’s anti-union playbook.

Mark Solomon’s analysis


2. Autonomous middle- and last-mile electric delivery vehicle maker Udelv is partnering with software maker Mobileye on a new system to enable round-the-clock use of Udelv’s driverless Transporter automated delivery vehicle.

Alan Adler’s story


3. Alec MacGillis is the first author to defragment the many moving parts that make Amazon such a complex creature and that conflict consumers who have some knowledge of the company’s modus operandi but spend their money on its site anyway.

Mark Solomon’s Q&A


4. Self-driving truck technology developer Plus will work with Europe’s IVECO to install autonomous software in trucks in China, Europe and elsewhere.

Alan Adler’s report


5. The coronavirus pandemic delivered a heavy hit last year to commercial trade at the United States-Mexico border crossing in El Paso, Texas — but there is reason for optimism in 2021.

Noi Mahoney’s Borderlands roundup


Five more to check out

SONAR: Another slow week for tender volumes

Sustainability expert: ‘We don’t really have a good plan’

Weather report: Snowy week ahead for Rockies truckers

AskWaves: What does negative net zero carbon mean?

Guest column: Overcoming today’s challenges in fleet telematics

Rss

Kenworth’s new medium duty trucks feature an array of in-cab enhancements including increased cabin space, a completely re-designed interior, and

The post New Kenworth Medium Duty Trucks Feature Larger, Driver-Friendly Cab appeared first on NextTruck Blog & Industry News - Trucker Information.

Image post
Reddit

Looks like I'm avoiding the scales again

Image post
Reddit

Tiller? I barely knew her!

Rss

[caption caption="Access to working capital and freight factoring options has become a key issue for small businesses that are often overlooked by larger, risk-averse lenders. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]Finance lender eCapital on Tuesday said it has consolidated eight acquisitions made over the past four years into a single entity as it seeks to capitalize...

Rss

Smoke from wildfires across the sky.

The threat for wildfires keeps blazing across the Southwest as the ground remains parched.

Much of the region, including the Mojave Desert, has been under “extreme” or “exceptional” drought for several months. These are the worst two categories issued by the U.S. Drought Monitor, and fires of different sizes continue to burn.

Many of the fires have been contained. But the drought, combined with very dry air and gusty winds, will make it easy for new fires to start over the next few days. Also, new and existing fires could spread out of control because of the wind.

The National Weather Service has posted red flag warnings for southern Nevada (including Las Vegas), southeastern California, southern Utah and northwestern Arizona. These places could see the strongest winds, with gusts exceeding 50 mph at times. Relative humidity will be very low, at 15% or less in most areas.


Related: Grass fire smoke shuts down North Dakota highway


Fire weather watches have been posted for the rest of northern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado. These areas, also in a drought, may be prone to strong winds and an elevated fire risk this week.

If fires get too close to highways, there’s potential for closures, and smoke could reduce visibility for drivers. This would impact sections of Interstates 15 and 40, in addition to major U.S. highways in the region, such as 89, 93, 95, 160, 491 and 550.

Truckers can do their part in preventing fires by not parking in grassy areas, and by not dragging chains that could send sparks into grassy/wooded areas.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

You might also like:

Trucker a Highway Angel for helping couple after spinout

Logistics groups ready to help during potentially busy hurricane season

Sandstorm, winds blamed for container ship fiasco in Suez Canal

Rss

With access to all Volvo Trucks parameter updates, customers can now optimize their vehicles’ operations without limitations. Parameter updates can

The post Unlimited Parameter Updates Now Available to Customers Through Volvo Trucks’ Remote Programming Service appeared first on NextTruck Blog & Industry News - Trucker Information.

Rss

Cognitive Testing with DriverCheck

We talk with Chris Wilkinson of DriverCheck about cognitive testing and how it can help make the workplace safer. Learn why this is a great way to help your employees stay productive longer. DriverCheck is a leader in drug and alcohol, cognitive, and workplace testing helping employers have a safe workplace for their staff. Learn how DriverCheck can help you be safe at www.drivercheck.ca

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics.

Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com  , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

 

Image post
Reddit

Would you run it? Steer tire on a 26’ biz truck. Not very deep.

Rss

A container ship docked at the Port of Montreal, where longshoremen are set to begin a partial strike.

Longshoremen at the Port of Montreal are set to begin a partial strike on Tuesday after their employers moved to suspend guaranteed minimum pay in response to an 11% plunge in cargo volumes.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 375 stopped short of calling a full-blown strike at Canada’s second busiest port. Longshoremen won’t work overtime on weekdays or at all on the weekends, but will handle containers related to the pandemic and provide grain offloading services.  

The union’s move came after the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) announced it will suspend providing a guaranteed base pay for longshoremen and will instead compensate them for the actual hours worked. The MEA, in a statement, characterized it as a cost-cutting move in response to the drop in cargo volumes “caused by the uncertainty and anxiety triggered by the labor-relations situation.”

The continued discord between the MEA and longshoremen isn’t much of a surprise. A seven-month truce between the two sides ended in March with little to show for it apart from a contract offer that longshoremen overwhelmingly rejected. 

The two sides agreed to a truce after a series of limited strikes culminating with a 12-day walkout at the port in 2020.

Port of Halifax bracing for another strike in Montreal

The Port of Halifax along with terminal operators and CN (NYSE: CNI) railway have been monitoring developments in Montreal and preparing for the possibility of another strike, said Halifax Port Authority spokesperson Lane Farguson. 

“We’re continuing to do what we can to prepare,” Farguson told FreightWaves.

Halifax, Canada’s fourth busiest port, saw a surge of diversions during the 2020 strike. While industry groups have reported that diversions to Halifax have been happening for weeks, Farguson said the port has yet to see any significant impacts. 

Farguson noted that while there’s no evidence yet of a Montreal-related surge, the port has continued to see robust volumes in cargo related to COVID demand. 

If the strike brings another rush on Halifax, Farguson said the port and its partners will do their best to accommodate it — but will prioritize regularly scheduled services. 

“It’s important to understand that supply chains weren’t designed to handle that level of strain,” Farguson said, referring to COVID-related demand combined with a major labor disruption.

Pressure mounts on feds to avert strike

With a full strike becoming increasingly likely in Montreal, pressure is mounting on the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step in to avert another costly disruption.

“We must prevent a repeat of last summer,” Dennis Darby, president and CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters association said in a statement.

The association, which represents over 2,500 companies, said its members have already spent millions of dollars to divert cargo to Halifax. Darby said that a full strike would be damaging and called on Trudeau’s government to intervene.

“As governments are investing billions of dollars to restart the economy, it doesn’t make any sense to allow a slowdown of operations at the Port of Montreal,” said Darby. “This is why we need the federal government to intervene.”

Trudeau’s government has been reluctant to take steps beyond helping mediate during past labor disputes. One notable exception: when the government used back-to-work legislation to end 2018’s Canada Post strike. 

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Nate Tabak

Rss

Story by: Grace Sharkey at FreightWaves     Country music star Wynonna Judd will headline the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund (SCF) first virtual concert, an event the charity hopes to make an annual affair. Country music stars, including John Schneider, Billy Dean, Lindsay Lawler and Heath Sanders also will be part of the  “Highway […]

The post Wynonna Judd headlines ‘Highway to Hope’ virtual concert to help out of work truckers appeared first on iTrucker | Transforming Trucking.

Rss

A white Air Canada jet with blue tail taxis in front of large aircraft hangar.

The government of Canada on Monday agreed to a bailout package for Air Canada (TSX: AC), the nation’s largest airline, that includes a combination of low-interest loans and equity. The move comes one year after the U.S. came to the aid of domestic airlines facing a catastrophic loss of business because of the coronavirus pandemic and months of pleading from industry and labor for help to preserve the aviation sector.

The government will take a CA$500 million ($386.2 million) stake in Air Canada through a stock purchase and make a revolving line of credit available, Air Canada announced. The arrangement will allow Air Canada to access up to CA$5.9 billion in liquidity. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra announced that there would be no additional layoffs permitted as part of the deal. 

“Air Canada entered the pandemic more than a year ago with one of the global airline industry’s strongest balance sheets relative to its size. We have since raised an additional $6.8 billion in liquidity from our own resources to sustain us through the pandemic, as air traffic ground to a virtual halt in Canada and internationally,” CEO Michael Rousseau said in a statement. 

The new loan facility “provides a significant layer of insurance for Air Canada, it enables us to better resolve customer refunds of non-refundable tickets, maintain our workforce and re-enter regional markets. Most importantly, this program provides additional liquidity, if required, to rebuild our business to the benefit of all stakeholders and to remain a significant contributor to the Canadian economy through its recovery and for the long term,” he explained.

Air Canada lost CA$2 billion last year, with an operating loss of CA$3.8 billion.

Canada is struggling with a third wave of COVID infections involving new strains and could soon surpass the U.S. daily infection rate. This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that Americans avoid travel to Canada.

In January, Air Canada and other airlines further reduced passenger operations and furloughed workers when the federal and provincial governments implemented restrictive quarantine measures.  

The government’s $1.5 billion revolving credit facility is secured by Air Canada’s loyalty program. Another $2.5 billion line of credit is unsecured. 

As part of the financial package, Air Canada issued 14.5 million warrants, exercisable for the purchase of an equal number of Air Canada shares. 

As a condition of the aid, Air Canada has agreed to refund customers who had flights canceled last year because of the COVID outbreak. It also will resume service to nearly all regional communities where service was suspended because of COVID, including through interline agreements with third-party carriers. It is also restricted from issuing dividends, buying back shares and raising senior executive compensation. And it will follow through on its commitment to purchase 33 Airbus A220 aircraft manufactured in Quebec and complete its existing order of 40 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. 

Pilots and other labor groups had loudly complained that the Canadian government was ignoring the aviation sector when other countries were propping up carriers during the worst financial crisis in aviation history.

Despite restrictions on air travel, Air Canada has been very busy operating passenger aircraft as auxiliary freighters.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Air Canada suspends routes as COVID restrictions bite travel

Who is the king of cargo-only passenger flights?

Rss

Self-driving truck technology developer Plus will work with Europe’s IVECO to install autonomous software in trucks in China, Europe and elsewhere.

Because of existing partnerships, startup electric truck maker Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ: NKLA) could eventually find itself involved as an add-on to the understanding between Plus and United Kingdom-based CNH Industrial N.V. (NYSE: CNHI). But not right away. And maybe not at all.

IVECO is Nikola’s joint venture partner. The two use IVECO’s S-WAY heavy-duty truck as the basis of the Nikola Tre battery-electric Class 8 truck. It is intended for assembly at Nikola’s plant under construction in Coolidge, Arizona, in the fourth quarter. Prototype production for Europe and export to the U.S. is underway at a plant in Ulm, Germany.

Plus also is a joint venture partner with China’s state-owned First Auto Works (FAW). CNHI and FAW are in talks that could lead to the sale of IVECO to FAW. Bloomberg reported in late March that FAW is preparing  a potential bid for the IVECO truck and bus business. 

CNHI earlier considered splitting off IVECO as a separate business unit. That plan may reemerge as the impact of the pandemic lessens.

“Our JV with FAW continues as usual,” Shawn Kerrigan, Plus co-founder and chief operating officer, told FreightWaves. “We’re currently laser-focused on getting ready to start mass production of our jointly developed intelligent trucks this quarter.”

10,000 preorders

Plus has about 5,000 nonbinding preorders to install its autonomous technology in China and 5,000 non-binding preorders in the U.S., where the technology would be retrofitted on existing trucks.

IVECO and Plus will integrate IVECO’s latest-generation S-WAY with the PlusDrive full-stack autonomous driving system under the terms of the nonbinding memorandum of understanding. They also will explore using IVECO’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine system to power the jointly developed autonomous trucks.

LNG-powered S-WAY trucks reduce carbon emissions and reduce empty truck weight, which increases payload capacity. 

The Nikola Tre battery-electric truck is not part of the MOU, Kerrigan said.

“We are thrilled to partner with IVECO, who shares our vision for a safer and more sustainable future through autonomous trucks,” Kerrigan said in a press release. “IVECO’s global footprint in over 160 countries will enable us to accelerate our commercial deployment and magnify the impact of our autonomous driving technology.”

Plus recently added $220 million to a $200 million fundraising round announced in February. It targeted the proceeds for global expansion.

“The partnership with Plus represents an excellent opportunity to accelerate the development of the highest levels of automation for heavy trucks,” said Marco Liccardo, IVECO chief technology officer. 

“Plus’s technology leadership, non-linear thinking, and established relationships with the same key component suppliers make it the perfect partner for our acceleration towards fully driverless trucks.”

Self-driving trucks: A 10 billion-mile test case for Plus

Plus money: Autonomous technology startup adds $220M to recent capital raise

Chinese investors join $200M funding round for autonomous startup Plus

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Image post
Reddit

Pennsylvania State Trooper warns driver attempting to nap on turnpike shoulder of the presence of a serial killer targeting sleeping truckers. United States. August, 1953. Photographer Ralph Morse.

Rss

Trucking in Houston with TNC Radio

TNC Radio’s Shelley Johnson and Tom Kelley are Bruce’s guest on the podcast talking about their new radio station in the Houston Texas area helping truckers navigate through the area and offering programs for the trucking community. Listen to this entertaining chat as three media personalities talk trucking and radio. You can learn more about TNC Radio at www.tncradio.live

This episode is sponsored by Bison Transport with many opportunities for truck drivers in their fleet across Canada. You can learn more about Bison and the opportunities available http://fuelyourjourney.ca/  or call 1-800-527-5781 #fuelyourjourney @BisonTransport

This episode is also sponsored by Chrome Supply Warehouse offering custom parts for trucks and many specials for truckers. You can learn more at www.chromesupplywarehouse.com

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics.

Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com  , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

 

Rss

Tractor-trailers on a snowy Colorado highway.

Old Man Winter will hang around the Rockies this week, dumping heavy snow in some spots. Winds will be whipping, too, making travel a bit dicey for drivers who are deadheading (hauling empty trailers) or carrying light loads.

The worst conditions will likely happen Tuesday and Wednesday, mainly from west of Denver in Colorado to southern Idaho, western Wyoming, southern Montana and eastern Nevada. Total snow amounts will depend on exact location and elevation, but some areas could see up to 12 inches while other locations get only a few inches.

Wind gusts could exceed 40 mph at times, with periods of blowing snow and reduced visibility.

The National Weather Service had not issued any winter weather alerts as of early Monday, but this could change. Truckers will have to be ready to chain up in the impacted areas. Snow showers could linger in some parts of the Rockies later in the week.


Related: States with the strictest chain laws


Other notable weather this week

Drivers will also hit wintry weather Monday in the northern Plains. Look for snowy and slushy roads from eastern Montana to North Dakota and northern Minnesota, including areas along the U.S.-Canada border.

Beginning Tuesday, watch out for periods of potentially heavy rain and strong or severe thunderstorms in portions of the South and Plains. Some storms may produce flash flooding, hail and gusty winds.

“Exceptional drought” continues to parch the Southwest and Four Corners region. With little rain in sight this week, and the chance for gusty winds in some places, the risk of wildfires remains elevated. Smoke from existing or new fires may interfere with driving.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

You might also like:

Logistics groups ready to help during potentially busy hurricane season

NOAA forms first partnership with offshore wind developer

Sandstorm, winds blamed for container ship fiasco in Suez Canal

Rss

Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: El Paso border crossing looks to rebound in 2021; logistics firm expands with Dallas shipping hub; Suddath acquires Texas-based Daryl Flood Inc.; and $2 million of meth hidden in shipment of rugs.

El Paso border commercial crossing looks to rebound in 2021

The coronavirus pandemic delivered a heavy hit last year to commercial trade at the United States-Mexico border crossing in El Paso, Texas.

Trade at the Port of El Paso fell 62% to $29.2 billion during 2020, compared to $76.6 billion during the same period in 2019, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 2020, the El Paso port of entry handled 286,434 commercial trucks, compared to 792,441 during the same period in 2019.

Matt Silver, co-founder and CEO of Forager, said while COVID-19 caused unprecedented disruption last year in El Paso, there is reason for optimism that trade will rebound in 2021.

“The semiconductor chip shortage has had an impact on all supply chains, I imagine that is affecting volumes out of El Paso,” Silver said. “Rates have been lower in the last 30 days in El Paso then they have been compared to the last 60 to 90 days before that.”

Forager is a Chicago-based FreightTech firm. Forager launched SCOUT — the company’s cross-border booking and pricing platform — in October 2019. The company also recently launched a cross-border load board.

“I think it’s some sense of a little bit of normalcy coming back to volume shipping. As the U.S. keeps opening up, there’s more volume coming out of El Paso going into the U.S., and so rates going into that market are going to be cheaper,” Silver said. “I think that it’s a result of just more consumption in the U.S, the country opening back up again and a lot of volume coming out of Juárez and Chihuahua, Mexico.”

Looking at the Lane Signal application available on the FreightWaves SONAR platform, a median-cost carrier should be fetching around $1.30 a mile moving from El Paso to Houston.

As of Friday, El Paso’s Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI.ELP) is up slightly year-over-year. El Paso’s headhaul index (HAUL.ELP) has fallen more than 40% since last week, suggesting a tightening of capacity in the market.

El Paso’s outbound tender volumes have dropped about 21% since last week (SONAR: OTVI.ELP). To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.

Juárez, just across the border from El Paso, has around 300 maquiladoras —  export factories in Mexico run by foreign companies — employing around 340,000 workers. 

The factories make everything from automotive parts and electronics to food and beverage products, which are mostly shipped to the U.S. using commercial trucks.

The coronavirus pandemic was tied to several outbreaks among workers at maquiladoras in Juárez.

Commercial trucks accounted for $22.4 billion worth of shipping activity in El Paso during 2020, compared to $65.3 billion during the same period in 2019.

“Coming into the summer I think there are a couple of beverage shippers that ship out of the El Paso area and so we’ll start to see even more volume come out,” Silver said.

The city of El Paso owns three of the four international bridge crossings with Mexico and collects southbound tolls at them. The fourth facility, the Bridge of the Americas, is owned by the U.S. government. 

The El Paso bridges’ top three imports for February were:

— Passenger vehicles, $193 million.

— Commercial vehicles, $111 million.

— Windshield wipers, electric light parts, $28 million.

The top exports during February were:

— Liquefied natural gas, other petroleum gases, $399 million.

— Medical instruments, $43 million.

— Gasoline, $39 million.

Logistics firm expands with Dallas shipping hub

Gulf Relay, a Mississippi-based third-party logistics company, is expanding in Texas.

Gulf Relay is leasing more than 350,000 square feet of distribution space at the Crossroads Trade Center 1 at 1221 E. Centre Park Blvd. in DeSoto, a suburb of Dallas.

The new location will more than double the company’s Texas shipping facilities. Gulf Relay also has a facility about 35 miles away in the Dallas suburb of Coppell.

“Gulf Relay is laser-focused on executing as a seamless integrated element of our customers’ supply chain through services and technology,” Scott Fleener, Gulf Relay’s chief supply chain officer, said in a statement. 

Based in Clinton, Mississippi, Gulf Relay has more than 700,000 square feet of warehouse and logistics operations. The company has 212 truck drivers and operates 228 power units, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 

Suddath acquires Texas-based Daryl Flood Inc.

The Suddath Cos. recently announced the acquisition of Daryl Flood Inc.

Daryl Flood Inc. (DFI) is a moving and logistics company based in Coppell.

DFI has 15 locations in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee and Florida. The company has around 1 million square feet of warehouse space around the country.

The sale includes all of DFI’s operating companies, including Daryl Flood Relocation Inc., Daryl Flood International Inc., Dependable Relocation Services Inc., Daryl Flood Workplace Services Inc., Daryl Flood Logistics Inc. and VERSA Relocation Inc.  

Jacksonville, Florida-based The Suddath Cos. is a global transportation, relocation management and logistics company, serving 180 countries with 2,000 employees around the world.

$2M worth of meth hidden in shipment of rugs

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville, Kentucky recently found 243 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in rugs.

CBP agents examining an air cargo shipment at the UPS Worldport facility that had originated in Mexico and was destined for Hong Kong discovered a white crystal substance concealed within foil bags in the shipment.

The powder tested positive methamphetamine, with a street value of  $2.16 million.

Borderlands is sponsored by Forager. More information on Forager’s offerings can be found at: https://www.foragerscs.com/.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

More articles by Noi Mahoney

Canadian construction firm picked for $1B Mexico-Canada rail link project

Odyssey Logistics expands into Laredo

Samsara launches data report to show fleets how they stack up

Image post
Reddit

Flying J Latta, SC 50% of a parking empty and he parked at a scale

Rss

Negative net-zero carbon. The phrase sounds redundant or oxymoronic. But it is a real thing. You can have less than net-zero carbon emissions if you capture and use emissions that otherwise would be released as greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

Traditional natural gas moved through pipelines comes from deep underground wells. It is often part of making petroleum.Therefore, even though natural gas burns cleaner and produces fewer emissions than oil, it is a fossil fuel.

Renewable natural gas (RNG), or biogas, is derived from organic waste material found in food and farm animal waste, garden and lawn clippings, and plant-based material. The most common source of biogas is the naturally occurring biological breakdown of organic waste at facilities such as wastewater treatment plants and landfills.

In their decomposed state, these materials create methane gas. RNG also can be made from degradable carbon sources like paper, cardboard and wood.

California research

Feedstocks for biogas are practically everywhere. In California, the most climate conscious of states, so much waste is available that more than 20% of the state’s residential gas needs could be met with RNG, according to a University of California Davis study.

California Air Resources Board (CARB) data shows that the average “carbon intensity” of all renewable natural gas vehicle fuel in the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program was negative for the first time in program history.

Dairy and swine gas, which has a negative 300 carbon intensity (CI), captures methane emitted by cow and hog manure and diverts it into fuel “actually reducing global warming,” according to Cliff Gladstein, president of Gladstein, Neandross & Associates, a clean transportation consulting firm.

RNG made up nearly 90% of all natural gas vehicle fuel in the low carbon fuel program and consumed in California in the first half of 2020, up from around 77% in 2019, according to CARB data.

Calculating the negative

“Renewable natural gas is basically taking what would have been emissions coming out of landfills and dairy farms, like methane just spewing off,” Thomas Healy, CEO of startup hybrid driveline maker Hyliion Holdings, told FreightWaves. 

Even as evidence shows the benefits of biogas, which Hyliion plans to use to create electricity to power its Class 8 Hypertruck ERX, California is focused on battery-electric trucks to combat the transportation part of its pollution problem. The electric grid source of power for zero-emission trucks can be dirtier than RNG.

“As opposed to letting it just go off into the atmosphere, you capture it and then you put it in the truck to drive the truck off of it,” Healy said. 

“The pollution that would have come in off of that landfill or dairy farm was way worse than the emissions that’s going to come out of our tailpipe.So, from that standpoint, it actually can be below zero in terms of carbon emissions”

RNG potential

Biogas typically consists of methane and carbon dioxide with traces of other elements. Biogas is cleaned and conditioned to remove or reduce non-methane elements to produce RNG. It is processed so it’s interchangeable with traditional pipeline-quality natural gas and can be delivered via the nation’s pipeline infrastructure.

“The EPA actually did a really interesting study where they found that if you captured all that methane coming off of those RNG capture potential areas, you could run about 200,000 trucks on purely renewable natural gas every year,” Healy said.

There are about 175,000 natural gas-powered trucks and buses on U.S. roads today. Most are commercial vehicles in the refuse, transit, and medium- and heavy-duty truck markets.

Growth in carbon-neutral RNG spotlights debate on electric versus renewable-powered trucks

Hyliion finds partner to build natural gas fueling stations

Anheuser-Busch pits renewable natural gas-chugging against climate change

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Image post
Reddit

Ol girl was looking pretty haggard. Got that a bit closer to bring fixed.

Rss

The growing acceptance of hydrogen as a transportation fuel for long-haul trucking comes with a big question. Where does the hydrogen come from?

Just like grid electricity created by smoke-belching coal power plants reduces the environmental benefit of battery-powered vehicles, hydrogen fuel’s value in reducing the warming of the planet is tied to the color assigned to its carbon intensity.

Hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the world. But harnessing it for use as an energy source is where the difficulty lies. Hydrogen is a carrier, not a source, of energy, said Alex Haynes, head of business development at Petrofac, which designs, builds and maintains energy infrastructure.

Energy to produce hydrogen comes from multiple sources, including solar, electricity, hydro, nuclear power and natural gas. The specifics of the production process, including the energy source it uses, determine the color assigned.

Green means go

Green hydrogen is the cleanest option. It is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules, a process called electrolysis.The hydrogen can be used to make electricity. Oxygen is vented into the atmosphere, typically as harmless water vapor.

Electrolysis is electricity-intensive. And the cost of electricity is what makes hydrogen fuel so expensive, more than $16 a kilogram (just over a quart), according to a 2019 study. When the electricity is powered by renewable sources, such as solar or wind, CO2 ceases to be a byproduct.

This is why Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ: NKLA) sees its recent deal with Arizona Power for deeply discounted electricity as a breakthrough to its plans to build hydrogen fueling stations. Nikola plans to produce Class 8 hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks in 2023. 

Blue and gray

Blue hydrogen is produced when natural gas is split into hydrogen and CO2 either by steam methane reforming (SMR) or autothermal Reforming (ATR) with the CO2 captured and stored. Capturing the greenhouse gases mitigates the environmental impacts on the planet. The “capturing” is done through a process called carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS).  

Gray hydrogen is made using a similar process to blue hydrogen — SMR or ATR is used to split natural gas into hydrogen and CO2. But the CO2 is released into the atmosphere.

Pink and yellow

Pink hydrogen is made via electrolysis using nuclear energy as its power source.  

Yellow hydrogen is a solar-exclusive output of electrolysis. Green hydrogen, by contrast, can use a combination of renewable sources.

Transitional future

The future of hydrogen is a transition from gray, through blue, to green hydrogen, Haynes said. Green hydrogen is still mostly an ideal. Carbon capture through blue hydrogen is likely for the next three decades, he said.

“There is great potential in both the blue and green hydrogen, and both will play an important role in energy transition,” Haynes said. 

Nikola plans a network of 700 hydrogen stations by 2028. That might be ambitious, especially if it hopes to use green hydrogen as the fuel. Pablo Koziner, Nikola president of energy commercialization, said making green hydrogen in one location cheaply and trucking it to other high-cost energy markets is likely. 

But if a zero-emission fuel cell truck is doing the hauling, it is a minimal carbon setback.

“I am more interested in the carbon intensity than I am in the color of the hydrogen,” Koziner told FreightWaves.

Hyliion Holdings Corp. (NYSE: HYLN) is also looking at hydrogen as a future fuel source. It is focused on launching an electric hybrid Class 8 truck that uses renewable natural gas for power.

“From my end, [I am] still a strong believer in fuel cells and hydrogen,” Hyliion CEO Thomas Healy told FreightWaves. “The question is when will [hydrogen] make sense? Hydrogen needs to decrease from $16 per kilogram to $2 or $3. Stations need to be built out. And then we need to start making green hydrogen, not gray hydrogen or dirty hydrogen.”

Cummins sees $400M in revenue from making hydrogen in 2025

Green Hydrogen: The future of fuel?

Nikola will truck hydrogen to stations when electricity costs too much

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Rss

The Stockout is sponsored by Echo Global Logistics. Trust the experts at Echo Global Logistics for all your freight transportation and CPG shipping needs. Whether you are a Fortune 100 CPG company or a specialty food manufacturer, Echo has solutions to fit your needs. With their dedicated team as well as EchoShip, a self-service shipping portal allowing you to quote, book, ship, and track – Echo has you covered. Technology at your fingertips and experts by your side 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To find out how Echo can simplify your transportation management, visit www.echo.com/cpg today.

In this inaugural episode of The Stockout, Mike Baudendistel explains why FreightWaves is launching a show focused on consumer packaged goods, or CPG. 

The Stockout will work in tandem with its FreightWaves Communities newsletter, and Baudendistel discusses recent articles written for that newsletter. Topics include major CPG industry themes like adapting to post-COVID lifestyles, substitution of animal-based products for plant-based ones, inflation in ingredients and packaging, rising freight costs, and of course,  stockouts. 

In addition, Baudendistel gives a rundown of the news which this week includes shortages of single-serving ketchup packets, the continued absence of certain McCormick spices from shelves, and a reefer market so tight that carriers are rejecting nearly half of all tenders. 

Visit our sponsor, Echo Global Logistics

Sign up for The Stockout newsletter

Rss

Transmission is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics. Most automakers rely on “just-in-time” manufacturing to optimize production. That model requires precise coordination throughout every link in the global supply chain. And that’s where AIT Worldwide Logistics comes in. AIT’s automotive logistics professionals are the experts at developing resilient, scalable solutions for OEM and Tier 1 supply chains across Asia, Europe, and North America. AIT has the expertise, technology, and carrier connections to achieve your production goals — just-in-time. To learn more, visit https://www.aitworldwide.com/automotive-logistics

In the debut episode of Transmission, Sebastian Blanco and Grace Sharkey shift into first gear as they introduce a few of the topics the show will cover, including the automotive supply chain, electrification and autonomous vehicles.

Transmission exists in conjunction with the FreightWaves Communities newsletter, which you can subscribe to here

Blanco dives into the shift by large auto manufacturers into the EV space, while Sharkey explains how this is putting pressure on suppliers to implement sustainability initiatives as well.

Sharkey is a writer for FreightWaves who focuses on the intricacies of supply chain. 

Blanco is a freelance writer who has covered the automotive industry for over a decade. He focuses on advanced powertrains and autonomous vehicles.

Visit our sponsor, AIT Worldwide Logistics, here!

Follow AIT Worldwide Logistics on LinkedIn

Rss

[caption caption="This year’s hurricane season could compound the disruption from port congestion, capacity shortages, and the still-present pandemic. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com (Hurricane Harvey, 2017, Houston)."][/caption]US shippers and transportation providers need to start preparing now for a potentially destructive 2021 hurricane season along the East and Gulf coasts, according to digital freight marketplace Convoy....

Rss

There is no love lost between Jeff Bezos and Fred Smith, given the unpleasant break- up of their companies’ shipping marriage in 2019. Yet in decisively thwarting efforts to organize 5,800 workers at Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Bessemer, Alabama warehouse, Bezos took a page right from the FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) founder’s anti-union playbook.

Other than about 5,000 unionized pilots that came over after FedEx acquired the old Flying Tiger Line cargo airline in 1988, and a smattering of workers at its FedEx Freight LTL unit, FedEx has remained non-union for its 50-year history. Smith and Co. have beaten back multiple organizing efforts by persuading FedEx workers that wages, benefits, working conditions and an open-door relationship makes third-party bargaining units irrelevant. 

Amazon followed a similar strategy in Bessemer, where the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers Union (RWDSU) made the most serious effort to organize Amazon’s workers in its 27-year history. 

Amazon, which opened the warehouse in March 2020, paid the workers more than $15 an hour to start, almost twice the minimum wage. It offered good health insurance, a 401K plan, and opportunities for advancement.

With Bessemer being its first warehouse in Alabama, Amazon sought to show, or at least convey the impression, that it considered the workers more than just disposable assets. That’s an issue that has plagued the warehouse labor relations for decades until surging demand for e-commerce fulfillment flipped the script.

Amazon’s goal was to appeal to the workers’ collective common sense. The implied message was: What would union dues give you that the status quo couldn’t? Amazon hammered home the message every chance it got. It seemed to resonate with a workforce that sees the free-market pendulum swinging in its favor as demand for warehouse workers, and the prevailing wage to keep and attract them, continues to rise. 

“This particular union can’t give us anything that Amazon does not already offer,” LaVonette Stokes, a Bessemer worker who voted against unionizing said in an NPR story published Friday. “There are a [lot] of people who never have issues.” 

In the end, the company won big. Of the 2,536 workers who voted, 1,738 cast ballots against unionizing. The wide margin was surprising in light of the union’s aggressive campaign and pro-labor momentum that had built up in recent weeks. The pro-union sentiment included support from President Joe Biden, a near-unprecedented act from a sitting president.

“I knew the union was going to lose, but I didn’t think it would lose that badly,” said Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. That a union election of such historical significance would draw less than half the eligible voters spoke volumes about the rank-and-file’s apparent lack of energy to be organized, Bronfenbenner said. The seeming ennui, Bronfenbrenner said, “is on the union.”

After the tally was made public, both sides retreated to their corners with their expected reactions. The union said it would file objections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) charging Amazon interfered with a free and fair election, and will demand a hearing to determine if the results should be set aside because Amazon “created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of reprisals and thus interfered with the employees’ freedom of choice.” The union said it would continue its efforts to organize the warehouse.

Amazon assumed the mantle of generosity in its statement. The company, it said, “didn’t win — our employees made the choice to vote against joining a union.” Workers, it added, “are the heart and soul of Amazon, and we’ve always worked hard to listen to them, take their feedback, make continuous improvements, and invest heavily to offer great pay and benefits in a safe and inclusive workplace. We’re not perfect, but we’re proud of our team and what we offer, and will keep working to get better every day.” The tally was made public around mid-day, and Amazon shares rose more than 2% on the session.

No one knows how Amazon would have reacted had the vote gone the other way. What is known is Amazon has a need for speed, and pivots fast. Its operations might have been severely compromised by the emergence of bargaining units with the freedom to organize without the federal government standing in its way, as is called for under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). 

Bezos, like FedEx’s Smith, plays for keeps. More than a decade ago, FedEx faced the possibility that it would be re-classified as a trucking company under the National Labor Relations Act, and would no longer be governed by the Railway Labor Act (RLA), labor law that applies only to railroads and airlines. The RLA disallows terminal-by-terminal organizing and, most importantly, makes it very difficult for unions to strike. Smith, furious over the potential impact on his company, pulled out all the lobbying stops, going so far as to threaten to cancel contracts to buy dozens of Boeing freighters if the reclassification took place. It never did.

Alec MacGillis, a reporter for investigative publication ProPublica and the author of a new book on Amazon’s impact on society, said the retail workers union faced various obstacles, including anti-union policies from the Trump administration that put labor in general on the back foot. 

“The odds were long going into this, given the ground rules of today’s labor laws and Amazon’s aggressive resistance and well-honed tactics,” MacGillis said. “It’s too early to say,whether this represents a lasting setback to worker activism at the warehouses or will come to be seen as a first step in a broader rise of opposition against the company and its treatment of workers.”

Rss

container rates

Container-shipping spot rates keep bouncing around at stratospheric heights — and show zero signs of sliding back to earth. On some trade lanes, they’re still ascending. Case in point: The formerly sleepy Europe-U.S. trans-Atlantic route just spiked.

With fallout from the Ever Given accident in the Suez Canal expected to cut container and vessel availability, the “when will this end?” chatter is starting to fixate less on the second half of 2021 and more on 2022.  

This is the season — in a normal year — when rates moderate. While different freight indices offer different numbers, the trend lines are all the same: either up or steady at the peak. The weekly composite Drewry World Container Index, released Thursday, rose 1% this week, to $4,910 per forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU). It’s now up 221% year-on-year. The weekly Shanghai Containerized Freight Index, released Friday, rose another 2.6% week-on-week.

The Freightos Baltic Daily Index global composite (SONAR: FBXD.GLBL) stood at $4,260 per FEU on Thursday, hovering at or near the all-time high set in February. It is around quadruple normal levels for this time of year.

spot container freight rates data
(Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

Trans-Atlantic surge

In the U.S. markets, the biggest rate move this month is in the westbound trans-Atlantic trade.

The Freightos assessment of this route (SONAR: FBXD.ENEA) shows rates surging by almost 50% between March 31 and Thursday, to $3,254 per FEU.

spot container freight rates data
(Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

Judy Levine, head of research at Freightos, attributed the spike to “strong demand and scarce capacity.”

On April 1, Hapag-Lloyd announced a booking suspension on eight sailings leaving Northern Europe for the U.S. in the first half of this month due to “an overbooking situation.”

Levine also speculated that the recent disruption of services through the Suez Canal could be having ripple effects on the trans-Atlantic.

Asia-US rates peaking yet again

In the much larger Asia-U.S. trade, Freightos put the rate to the East Coast (SONAR: FBXD.CNAE) at $6,239 per day as of Thursday, a new all-time high topping the previous record set in early February.

The Asia-West Coast rate (SONAR: FBXD.CNAW) was at $5,052 per FEU, just below the new high hit on Wednesday.

spot container freight rates data
(Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

In the Drewry weekly indices, the latest assessment from Shanghai to New York (SONAR: WCI.SHANYC) is even higher than Freightos’ — at $6,705 per FEU. Drewry assessed the Shanghai-to-Los Angeles spot rate (SONAR: WCI.SHALAX) at $4,202 per FEU.

spot container freight rates data
(Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

Many U.S.-based cargo shippers also move considerable volumes on the Asia-Europe route. However painful Asia-U.S. rates are, the Drewry indices highlight how much more painful the situation is for Asia-Europe shipments.

The spot rate for Asia cargoes to North Europe is now up 396% year-on-year, with rates to the Mediterranean up 317%. In contrast, Drewry estimates that rates from Shanghai to New York and Los Angeles are up 133% and 153% year-on-year, respectively.

What’s next?

The current rate boom has defied the predictions. In mid-2020, multiple commentators thought demand would peak in August or September and fall off in the fourth quarter. It didn’t. Then came fears that winter COVID lockdowns would hamstring consumers. That didn’t happen either. Analysts also speculated last year that rates were due to a one-off restocking event after the initial lockdowns in Europe and the U.S. in spring 2020. But even now, stores are still restocking and inventories are still low.

U.K.-based consultancy Drewry said in a research note on Friday, “Using history as the only guide, the smart bet would be to think that the market will cool down quickly. But these are not normal times. We argue that carriers are set up nicely for at least another two very profitable years [2021 and 2022].”

According to Drewry, the two drivers of stratospheric rates — the COVID-propelled shift to goods consumption and supply chain disruptions — “are stubbornly refusing to go away. The timeline for a ‘return to normal’ keeps getting pushed back.” Drewry predicts port congestion and equipment shortages will persist through 2021 and carriers will lock in profits into 2022 via higher annual contract rates signed this year. “Things might not be so easy for carriers post-2022,” said the consultancy.

For shippers who’d once hoped for rate relief in Q4 2020, a forecast for market conditions getting tougher for carriers — and thus better for cargo owners — in 2023 is a frightening prospect. Click for more articles by Greg Miller 

US ports, shippers face major fallout from Suez Canal chaos

Demand boom on collision course with ocean transport ceiling

Could America’s historic import crunch get even worse?

Ocean carriers hold all the cards in contract talks with shippers

Deutsche Bank on import bonanza: ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’

Rss

It’s been a busy month for Josh Asbury, vice president of 3PL and Broker at HubTran.

Making the rounds this past month announcing HubTran’s latest product, Lights-Out Processing, Asbury is excited to divulge yet another monumental move for the back-office automation platform.

HubTran announced earlier this month plans to consolidate with carrier payments platform TriumphPay, in an ambitious effort to form a fully integrated payments network for the entire transportation industry.

Both companies are eager for the deal to close and for the opportunity to combine their respective expertise –  TriumphPay’s efficient payment platform with HubTran’s back-office automation experience with third-party logistics (3PL) providers and brokers.

The $97 million acquisition’s ultimate goal is to provide a confluent payment experience for brokers, carriers and factors. Asbury said having the two companies work together just makes sense.

He spoke with FreightWaves’ Timothy Dooner and Michael Vincent on the popular simulcasted podcast, WHAT THE TRUCK?!?

“This is going to materially advance the ability to create a seamless payment experience and enhanced service for our factoring customers, while also making things much better for brokers and carriers,” Asbury said.

He makes the case that an all-encompassing payment network will make the flow of invoice and payment data seamless, and ultimately result in cost reductions, risk mitigation and improved speed of service for carriers.

“Together, TriumphPay and HubTran will be uniquely positioned to provide the tools to the factoring industry that empower them to create meaningful process and technology improvements into their operations,” Asbury said.

He describes the initial response from HubTran’s broker customers as “ecstatic.” He added that factors are becoming increasingly more excited, too, as they read more into the details.

The HubTran/TriumphPay deal is awaiting regulatory approval and is expected to be finalized in Q2, as reported earlier by FreightWaves. Asbury advises customers to stay tuned for updates but affirms that things are “business as usual” for the time being.

However, Asbury doesn’t want the acquisition to overshadow the release of Lights-Out Processing.

HubTran’s latest product for 3PLs and brokers automatically indexes documents, extracts relevant data, and validates this information and documentation against load details and customer-specific billing requirements, the company said. Lights-Out Processing means just that — it processes invoices instantaneously, and automatically settles the load in the TMS without human intervention.

“This technology provides a completely hands-off, fully automated processing of invoices for freight forwarders, brokers and 3PLs,” Asbury said. In terms of incorporating TriumphPay’s scale and technology, he added, “Our broker customers will be able to do a more comprehensive job of validating … where payments are supposed to go.”

Rss

Story by: Nate Tabak, Border and North America Correspondent at FreightWaves   The ruling cites the possibility that drugs were planted while an off-duty dump truck driver assisted a broken-down trucker in the US   An off-duty truck driver caught at the U.S.-Canada border with 13 bricks of heroin in a car was found not […]

The post Judge acquits trucker caught with 13 bricks of heroin at Canadian border appeared first on iTrucker | Transforming Trucking.

Image post
Reddit

When the stars align perfectly...

Rss

Featured Truck of the Week Black 5700 Western Star

Today’s truck is a cool Western Star from the fan club member Manolis from Montreal Quebec. Each week Bruce picks a cool truck from the many truck shows he attends or from trucks sent in by fan club members. Hearing about them is one thing, seeing them is another. Check out this cool ride!

Check out the video on this featured truck by clicking here

This episode is sponsored by Groupe Trans West is looking for professional teams to operate out of their Mississauga terminal with excellent employment benefits between Toronto Ontario and California. Find out more at www.groupetranswest.com  or call recruiter Mike Hahn at 416-606-8296

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics. Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com   , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

 

Rss

Story by: John Kingston at FreightWaves     Trucking industry comes together with insurance-focused groups to fight two vexing problems of fraud   A three-member coalition that includes the American Trucking Associations (ATA) has come together to combat both towing fraud and staged accidents that are costing the trucking industry millions. The ATA joined with […]

The post Towing fraud, staged accidents targeted by new coalition that includes ATA appeared first on iTrucker | Transforming Trucking.

Rss

Al Clutterbuck Talks About City Drivers and the Technology Behind their Success

Bruce chats with city technology expert Al Clutterbuck about the precision required to keep Rosedale’s fleet operating successfully. Rosedale Transport offers career opportunities for truck drivers with their large network. You can learn more at www.rosedalegroup.com

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics. Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com   , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

Rss

Truck Driver Training with Ontario Truck Driving School

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a truck driver training instructor? Bruce chats with the team at Ontario Truck Driving School about instructing and who makes a good instructor. Ontario Truck Driving School has a number of courses to help you be successful when starting a career in transportation from heavy equipment to over the road trucking. You can learn more about starting your career at www.otds.com

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics.

Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com  , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com

 

Rss

 Story by: Nate Tabak, Border and North America Correspondent at Freightwaves   Companies can take steps to ensure hackers don’t deliver knockout punch   In a theme that has played out countless times in science fiction, from “Terminator” to “Star Trek,” the very technology that helps realize some of humanity’s loftiest ambitions can also be […]

The post Amid cyberattacks, how does the supply chain stay resilient? appeared first on iTrucker | Transforming Trucking.

Rss

Hello, Transmission members!

You know that your corner of the automotive industry isn’t exactly niche anymore when mainstream media outlets start encroaching on the topic. That’s the case today, as exemplified by an NPR segment Thursday morning discussing electric vehicle battery components.

That’s as good a place as any to start the newsletter, since the sourcing of advanced vehicle components is only going to get more and more important — in other words, more and more newsworthy — as the world’s vehicle manufacturers crank up their electric vehicle production.

Biden administration takes semiconductor shortage seriously

President Joe Biden is hosting a meeting next week to talk about the recent semiconductor supply chain issues and how they have disrupted automotive factories across the country. One of the attendees, Reuters reports, will be the CEO of Intel, Pat Gelsinger, who joins a list that includes other chipmaker and automotive executives, Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and one of the president’s top economic aides, Brian Deese.

The guest list shows how serious the administration is taking the chip issue, which has affected car plants around the world in various ways since late 2020. The shortage has resulted in reduced supply on dealer lots — as well as a rise in prices for popular models — and automakers are coming up with creative solutions when possible. Some plants are simply pausing or slowing production, but Ford is building some F-150 trucks and Edge SUVs in North America without some of the parts that require semiconductor chips. The plan is to install these components at a later date, once the chip supply is back to normal.

When that will be, exactly, is a big unknown right now. At least plans are being developed to make more chips in America moving forward. Gelsinger said last month that Intel will build two new chip plants in Arizona at a cost of $20 billion. There was also a call for $50 billion in government support for the domestic chip industry in the Biden administration’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan that was announced last week. These moves won’t fix the shortage in the short term, but at least some action is being taken.

Tier 1 automotive supplier avoids line-down debacle via AIT’s speedy transborder solution (SPONSORED)

In Q3 2020, a leading automotive supplier involved in the production of a highly anticipated SUV realized it needed to ship a mold overnight from the United States to Mexico. Find out how AIT’s automotive logistics experts quickly devised a seamless transborder solution — and saved the customer from production shutdown. Learn more.

Daimler EV plans

Daimler’s first all-electric trucks are the “longest-range commercial battery-electric vehicles in customer hands in North America today,” the company said in a statement. The range for these trucks is 230 miles for the medium-duty eM2 and 250 miles for the Class 8 eCascadia tractor.

The trucks that customers are using now are part of a 38-vehicle test fleet that Daimler is running with the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. These pilot vehicles have driven almost 750,000 collective miles as they were used for things like drayage, regional and local pickup and delivery, and food and beverage delivery, Daimler said. All of these miles gave the company plenty of data to use as it gets ready to start production of actual consumer vehicles in late 2022. That data isn’t limited to battery performance or electric motor wear and tear, but also things like what the drivers themselves like and dislike about the electric trucks.

With production still a ways off, who knows if the chip shortage will affect these particular Daimler trucks? But we also don’t know what supply chain hiccups might exist a year from now. We’re just one moment away from everyone learning the name of another boath, like the MSC Ariane, which according to Twitter is never a good thing. Just think of all of the famous boats you can name, and then realize why you know them. The direct global shipping delays caused by the Ever Given’s recent episode in the Suez Canal are coming to an end, thanks to around 140 ships passing through the canal in the days after the stuck ship was released, but the effects will still be felt as some ships decided to sail around Africa instead of wait to go through the canal. And it’s a long way until the end of 2022.

Interested in more information on EVs and sustainability efforts?

FreightWaves’ Net-Zero Carbon Summit on Earth Day!

The climate is changing. Higher temperatures, more intense and frequent natural disasters, and rising sea levels are among the many challenges that climate change poses. 

The transportation sector has recognized its role and is paving the way for a more sustainable future. From fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals to hydrogen-powered aircraft and battery-electric trucks, sustainable transportation technologies are advancing every day. 

Tune in to the Net-Zero Carbon Summit on Thursday, April 22, to hear industry experts discuss strategies to decarbonize the transportation sector!

Industry speakers will include:

  • Angie Slaughter, vice president of sustainability procurement at Anheuser-Busch.
  • Chris Richter, founder and chief executive officer at FloorFound.
  • Pablo Koziner, president of Nikola Energy.
  • Josh Raglin, chief sustainability officer at Norfolk Southern.

Click here to register for this FREE event!

In other automotive news:

Want to read our old newsletters, check out our archives here.

Image post
Reddit

Late night deliveries at Home Depot this week

Rss

Only nine months ago, Tom Fogarty joined Bestpass as CEO via Zoom, bringing with him 11 years of fintech leadership experience from another fast-growth company that eventually combined with a division of Moody’s.  

During a recent Fuller Speed Ahead, FreightWaves President George Abernathy interviewed Fogarty about his aspirations for growth and innovation at Bestpass ⁠— the Albany, New York-based comprehensive payment platform provider and leader in toll management solutions.

Bestpass runs the gamut in terms of offering better discounts, fewer violations and instant registrations to its 13,000 fleet customers, including 70 top 100 fleets and thousands of owner-operators driving all classes of trucks. With nearly 700,000 of its transponders on the highways and processing over $1 billion in tolling, the company is doing very well, but Fogarty is helping it chart a more “planful approach” to its growth. 

“You have to take a step back from the pressures of the day to decipher how to build a business at scale and make it seamless for our partners, the tolling authorities and our customers,” said Fogarty. “Innovation every day is a theme we talk about, whether you’re in accounting, customer service or technology. I want folks to be challenging the status quo.”

Fogarty’s first initiative was a product-lead focus based on customer needs, which led to expanding the product team, tripling the capacity on the development side and growing the Bestpass team 25% — from 90 to 115 employees.

While half of Fogarty’s efforts to scale center on innovation, the other half have been about ensuring integrity. “We’ve got to have the same accuracy moving money around that a bank would have, so that requires constant updates and upgrades. Working with our providers, there’s a lot of back-office changes that are going in the toll network and staying on top of that and building a system that’s nimble enough to move as they move.”

Bestpass works with nearly 50 tolling authorities, which provide 100% coverage of all major U S. toll roads and some coverage into Canada. Its most recent network additions were the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, which connects Wellesley Island, N.Y., with Hill Island, Ontario, and the Southern Connector in South Carolina. However, Fogarty said that Bestpass has a vision beyond toll. 

“The ability to go with a single transponder coast to coast, provider to provider and make sure that the billing is accurate is really key,” said Fogarty. “But we have our eyes on providing value beyond toll. We do some of that today in violation management citations. But if it’s on wheels and it needs to make payments, ultimately we want to be able to support that. In today’s world, that means tolling into road usage, charges, mileage-based charges, expanding into ferries, truck washes, fast food and fuel stations.”

One of the reasons Fogarty believes Bestpass can transform from good to great is due to the business’ favorable market tailwinds. Tolling, as well as public-private partnerships, have the power to make changes in infrastructure and traffic bottlenecks, while trucking fleets recently proved their ability to reroute supply chains to maintain a decent economy during the pandemic. 

“Even now with the challenges of distributing the vaccine, fleets are taking a lead and I’m both thrilled by the reaction and follow-through by our truck fleet partners, but also the role that we’ve had in making sure that we enable it and simplify that whole equation.”

Fogarty has managed to implement these growth initiatives and outcomes without ever meeting most of his team face-to-face. In five or six weeks, depending on the COVID-19 case numbers in Albany, as well as vaccination saturation, he hopes to maintain a regular office presence. 

“The hybrid model makes sense, but it has felt a little bit like one arm behind the back at times in terms of really being able to get to know everybody and inspire a culture of moving from good to great,” he said. “I’ve got to get people back in the office for our culture of collaboration and innovation, but not a five-day week. We’ve proven we can be productive while we’re collaborating on a remote basis. It’s a recruiting advantage for us as we move forward.”

Rss

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: FreightWaves SONAR for Enterprise Fleets

DETAILS: Zach Strickland of FreightWaves, known as the Sultan of SONAR, discusses how enterprise fleets can utilize some of the most basic data on the platform. 

SPEAKER: Strickland is interviewed by Michael Vincent of FreightWaves. Among other roles, Vincent is the co-host of the popular podcast WHAT THE TRUCK?!?, found on the most popular podcast platforms and on FreightWavesTV. He also is going to be hosting a new show.

BIO: Strickland curates the weekly market update and is one of FreightWaves’ market experts. With a degree in finance, Strickland spent the early part of his career in banking before transitioning to transportation in various roles and segments, including both truckload and LTL. He has more than 13 years of transportation experience, specializing in data, pricing and analytics.

KEY QUOTES FROM STRICKLAND:

“The name of the game for carriers is maintaining utilization with as big a margin as the market can handle.”

(On the pandemic): “We had an explosive amount of freight coming out of certain parts of the country, totally destabilizing the truckload network.”

“We’re going to see these supply chains, with all this disorganization, a lot of shippers are now looking at alternative ways of making sure that their inventory levels are stable and supply is available when consumer demand does have these spikes. So that means they are going to spread things out a little more evenly and not necessarily rely on the traditional pattern of looking at Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Allentown to keep their inventories in these longer haul patterns. You’re going to have to make sure you’re covering some of these regional areas out in the rural markets.” 

“Tender rejections are coming down and that means a shipper needs to rely less on the spot market for utilization. It’s not a dramatic change. Capacity is still relatively tight.”

Rss

Peterbilt Motors Company is proud to introduce an EV Operating Cost Calculator for prospective Peterbilt electric vehicle customers. Hosted within the Peterbilt.com

The post PETERBILT LAUNCHES EV OPERATING COST CALCULATOR appeared first on NextTruck Blog & Industry News - Trucker Information.

Rss

[caption caption="AV developers such as TuSimple are reaching out to potential customers and suppliers to form partnerships. Photo credit: TuSimple."][/caption]Autonomous Class 8 truck developer TuSimple hopes to raise $1.2 to $1.3 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) launched Wednesday, building on a slew of partnerships and investments in the global company....

Rss

Transportation management systems (TMS) provider MercuryGate International Inc.’s acquisition of logistics software company Cheetah Software Systems rounds out MercuryGate’s portfolio by integrating Cheetah’s strong final-mile logistics technology capabilities, MercuryGate’s co-founder said Wednesday.

The transaction, which was completed March 31 but not disclosed until Tuesday, will provide MercuryGate with “street-level” planning software that will embed with the company’s well-established TMS, said Steve Blough, who is also MercuryGate’s chief innovation officer. Cary, North Carolina-based MercuryGate had for years been one of the few TMSs to include a parcel optimization application to accompany its LTL and truckload functions. 

TMSs allow shippers, third-party logistics providers and their partners to manage an array of functions from load planning to delivery to modal selection. With a TMS, users can compare routes, carriers and modal options to generate the most bang for their transportation budget.

Cheetah, based in Westlake Village, California, enables MercuryGate to extend its customers’ delivery experience to the “street level,” Blough said in a telephone interview Wednesday. MercuryGate had in-house last-mile capabilities, but they didn’t match those of Cheetah, Blough said. With the Cheetah system, “we can now handle all aspects” of customers’ moves, he said.

The explosive growth of e-commerce fulfillment has put a premium on user-friendly technology that can navigate the increasingly complex delivery process linking retailer, carrier, logistics provider and the end customer. The last-mile segment can be frustrating to choreograph because it involves knowledge of the local carrier market, an ability to change routings on the fly, and the capability of handling returns. 

The pressure is amplified by the elevated delivery demands of end customers used to receiving their shipments quickly and hassle-free, and to track shipments’ status in real time from start to finish. Third-party providers, in particular, have been flummoxed by the peculiarities of the last-mile segment, with some unwilling to participate because they haven’t cracked the profit-making code. Most 3PLs are being pushed hard by their retailer customers to develop solutions because retailers can’t afford to stay out of the category.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Both companies are privately held. MercuryGate was acquired in 2018 by private equity firm Summit Partners for a rumored $390 million.

Rss

The sell-off of electric vehicle startup stocks has been as brutal as their frothy days of only a few months ago.

Hyliion Holdings is one of the hardest-hit young companies. But it is pushing ahead with its plans for a natural gas-electric hybrid truck capable of emitting less than net-zero carbon. Its share price has fallen from nearly $55 just before it went public in October to close Wednesday at $10.86.

On Wednesday, Hyliion said it has created a Hypertruck Innovation Council of fleets, logistics and transportation companies to test its prototype Class 8 Hypertruck ERX.

Hyliion does not make trucks. It develops hybrid driveline systems that can be swapped into any major manufacturer’s tractors. Hyliion is using Peterbilt Model 579s for its Hypertruck test models. 

The future for hybrids is in question as most of the trucking industry focuses on zero-emission battery-electric trucks. And interest is growing in hydrogen fuel cells for long-haul trucking. Kenworth Truck Co. said recently it would halt work on a natural-gas electric Class 8 T680 by the end of the year. It delivered two of the trucks for fleet testing.

Familiar players on council

The innovation council includes Agility Logistics, American Natural Gas, Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD), GreenPath Logistics, NFI Industries, Penske Truck Leasing, Ruan Transportation Management Systems, Ryder System Inc., (NYSE: R) Schneider National (NYSE: SNDR), Wegmans Food Markets and Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN).

Agility preordered 1,000 Hypertruck ERXs last June. American Natural Gas is working with Hyliion on additional natural gas fueling stations. It also preordered 250 Hypertruck ERX units. Penske and Wegmans use Hyliion’s first product, a hybrid-electric powertrain that boosts the efficiency and power of diesel and natural gas trucks.

NFI and Anheuser-Busch are new to Hyliion. But both are involved in zero-emission trucking demonstrations. NFI is running eCascadias from Daimler Trucks North America and Volvo VNR Electric demo units in California. Anheuser-Busch will be the first to test fuel cell heavy-duty trucks from Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ: NKLA) late this year. 

In aggregate, the council represents more than 100,000 Class 8 commercial trucks. 

‘Collective strengths’

“Now more than ever, fleets need efficient and affordable technologies that also address broader sustainability goals,” Hyliion founder and CEO Thomas Healy said in a press release. “Our collective strengths will help Hyliion unlock the potential for electrification technology while advancing our customers’ operations and the industry at-large.” 

The council members get first access to the Hypertruck ERX.

“With one of the largest dedicated fleets in the U.S., Anheuser-Busch is committed to leading the industry towards zero-emissions commercial transportation by improving the sustainability of our own logistics operations,” said Angie Slaughter, Anheuser-Busch vice president of sustainability and logistics procurement.

When fueled with renewable natural gas  (RNG), the Hypertruck ERX can provide net-negative carbon emissions to commercial fleets. Unlike natural gas, which is a fossil fuel, RNG comes from agricultural and dairy waste.

Hyliion picks Peterbilt as test chassis for Hypertruck ERX

Agility preorders 1,000 Hyliion hybrid-electric trucks

Kenworth delivers first — and last — natural gas electric hybrid trucks

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Rss

Olympian Christine DeBruin on Women Behind the Wheel

Olympian Bobsledder Christine DeBruin talks about the importance of women pursuing their passions even if in a dangerous sport like bobsledding or driving a tractor trailer. Bison Transport has many opportunities for truck drivers in their fleet across Canada. You can learn more about Bison and the opportunities available http://fuelyourjourney.ca/ or call 1-800-527-5781 #fuelyourjourney @BisonTransport

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics. Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com   , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

Rss

[caption caption="Investors have plunged capital into startups tackling the digitization of US-Mexico cross border logistics and finance over the past two years. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com."][/caption]On Wednesday, cross-border digital freight broker Nuvocargo landed a $12 million funding round to build out its logistics platform for shippers moving cargo between the US...

Rss

A photograph of two parked tank cars inside a building.

Railcar manufacturer Greenbrier (NYSE: GBX) is eyeing improving market conditions in the second half of this year, which the company hopes will boost production rates and sales levels at the end of its fiscal year 2021 and into 2022.

Greenbrier on Tuesday reported a net loss of $9.1 million, or 28 cents per share, in the second quarter of its 2021 fiscal year, compared with a net loss of $10 million, or 30 cents per share, in the first quarter of the 2021 fiscal year (see below).

Greenbrier CEO Bill Furman pointed to several U.S. economic indicators that reflect a growing optimism for the second half of 2021, such as a revised forecast for gross domestic product growth, strong consumer demand boosted, federal stimulus measures and low interest rates. Meanwhile, the federal infrastructure bill shows support for infrastructure spending in 2022 and beyond. 

Furthermore, North American rail traffic is also increasing, particularly for grain and intermodal, which in turn is presenting growth opportunities for boxcars and cars that carry certain chemicals and agricultural products. 

“We reactivated a number of North American production lines in March and several of our production lines are already booked well into or through fiscal 2022,” Furman said during Greenbrier’s earnings call with investors. “The inquiry rate for new manufacturing business has picked up dramatically. We expect the continued high rate of commercial activity to continue in April, May and beyond, consistent with our earlier forecasts that the second half of calendar 2021 would be the time of a V-shaped recovery.” 

The company has a $2.5 billion order backlog of about 24,900 units, which Greenbrier said supports continuous production lines.

Greenbrier also received 3,800 railcar orders in the quarter and another 1,700 orders worth approximately $190 million came in after the quarter closed in March. Combined, that equals about 5,500 car orders worth about $630 million in the span of four months.

In addition to announcing its quarterly results on Tuesday, Greenbrier said it completed the formation of GBX Leasing, a subsidiary that will own and manage a portfolio of leased railcars built primarily by Greenbrier. The arrangement entails GBX Leasing acquiring approximately $200 million per annum of newly built and leased railcars from Greenbrier.

“GBX Leasing creates a new annuity stream of tax-advantaged cash flows while reducing Greenbrier’s exposure to the new railcar order and delivery cycle,” Furman said in a release. “From a commercial standpoint, it is a strong complement to our integrated business model of railcar manufacturing and services that further enhances our distribution strategies to direct customers, operating lessors, industrial shippers and syndication partners. We expect that the joint venture will help Greenbrier continue to grow its diversified customer portfolio with a focus on industrial shipper customers and small batch production to leverage long-standing customer relationships and capabilities gained through the acquisition of ARI.”

Second-quarter financial results

Although Greenbrier still encountered an overall net loss between the first and second quarters, the second quarter saw a narrowing of that loss.

(Greenbrier)

The extreme winter weather and weak demand environment dampened Greenbrier’s second-quarter revenue, which was down to $295.6 million compared with $403 million in the first quarter. Greenbrier’s second fiscal quarter ended Feb. 28.

(Greenbrier)

“We believe that our Q2 just completed in February will be the most challenging quarter of our fiscal year, particularly affected by very bad weather in North America. There’s good reason to be optimistic as vaccines expand in the United States,” Furman said. “Vaccinations will bolster already accelerating infection and mortality rates and allow America to turn the corner on the pandemic at last.”

However, “globally, we are prepared for the pandemic to take a longer course toward resolution,” he added. 

Double-digit volume increases for grain and intermodal loadings helped drive the quarter’s year-to-date rail velocity down by nearly 6% compared with the same period in 2020. This translates into a decrease of about 2 miles per hour.

The lower velocity comes as more North American railcars are coming out of storage, with in-storage numbers falling by more than 148,000 units from the 2020 peak storage level. More new cars could also be built amid higher scrap prices and tax benefits for the construction of new, more efficient and environmentally friendly equipment, Furman said.

Subscribe to FreightWaves’ e-newsletters and get the latest insights on freight right in your inbox.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

Rss

Mack customers can now make unlimited parameter updates through the Mack®Over The Air (OTA) remote programming solution, improving uptime and simplifying the

The post Mack Improves Uptime Through Unlimited Parameter Updates with Mack® Over The Air (OTA) appeared first on NextTruck Blog & Industry News - Trucker Information.

Rss

Women in Trucking founder, Ellen Voie, talks at the Enterprise Fleet Summit.

This fireside chat recap is from FreightWaves’ Enterprise Fleet Summit

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Women in trucking

DETAILS: Ellen Voie, president and CEO of the Women In Trucking Association (WIT), and Laura Roan Hays, chairwoman of the board at WIT and branch manager at Great Dane, chat about the history of WIT and its future goals.

SPEAKER: Voie, president and CEO at WIT

BIO: Voie founded WIT in March 2007 to promote the employment of women in the trucking industry, to remove obstacles that might keep them from succeeding and to celebrate the successes of its members. Voie is an internationally recognized speaker and authority on gender diversity and inclusion for women working in nontraditional careers in transportation.

KEY QUOTES FROM VOIE

“When I started Women in Trucking, nobody ever separated data by gender. Nobody had safety statistics, nobody had any data that was related to gender, so we do that.”

“The association is a dues-based member association. But, the foundation is a charitable organization, which means that they survive on donations. … The foundation is there to provide scholarship tuition grants to students who are pursuing careers in transportation.”

“I want people to look back and say that I was a disruptor. I want people to say, ‘Ellen made us look at the world differently and see what the world can become when we actually advance women in nontraditional careers such as supply chains.’”

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Alyssa Sporrer.

Why women are increasingly interested in driving trucks

Women In Trucking empowers Girl Scouts with Transportation Badge

73 honored as Top Women to Watch in Transportation

Daily Infographic: Women in Transportation

Rss

Story by: John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent at FreightWaves   15 million infrastructure jobs created or saved over 10 years, study estimates   Commercial truck driver jobs are forecast to make some of the biggest gains if the Biden administration’s infrastructure package can get through Congress without major revisions, according to a report analyzing the plan. […]

The post Trucking jobs account for 20% of Biden’s administration infrastructure plan appeared first on iTrucker | Transforming Trucking.

Rss

Improving Cash Flow With Government Programs for Truckers With Mason Warr

Bruce chats with tax expert Mason Warr of COS Accounting about how owner operators can recover lost income through Government programs such as the Retention Credit. This credit is an important cashflow generator that has a limited timeframe to collect but can be very lucrative for owner operators. Warr outlines who and how to claim it and has a special offer for listeners through COS Accounting. Learn how to claim your credit and COS Accounting at https://cosaccounting.com/employee-retention-credit/

This episode is sponsored by C.A.T. Transport offering flexible work options, pet friendly programs, and is one of the Best Managed Carriers in Canada. Learn more at www.cat.ca  or call 1-800-363-5313

DriverCheck is a leader in drug and alcohol, cognitive, and workplace testing helping employers have a safe workplace for their staff. Learn how DriverCheck can help you be safe at www.drivercheck.ca

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.com

LISTEN TO LEAD PEDAL RADIO at www.LeadPedalRadio.com

The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers talks all things trucking for people in the transportation industry helping them improve their business and careers. Interviews with industry professionals and truck drivers, trucking information, and other features on the industry are meant to be helpful for truck drivers and those in transportation. The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers has main episodes released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with bonus material on other days. You can learn more about the host and show on our website and make sure to SUBSCRIBE to the show on your favourite podcast platform. www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

What does The Lead Pedal Podcast mean? The Lead (pronounced - Led) stands for acceleration or fast-track of your career or business. It is a play on words and we certainly are not here promoting speeding in the industry. We are hoping this information will help you become a professional driver faster than if you didn’t know about many of these topics. Are you enjoying the show? If so we would appreciate you leaving us a rating and review on iTunes or on your favourite podcast platform. The show is available at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com   , ITunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Tunein, iHeartradio, SoundCloud, and other popular podcast platforms. Thanks for listening

Join The Lead Pedal Podcast Fan Club where are loyal fans get first chance at specials, discounts on merchandise and much more.The club is free to join and you can learn more at www.theleadpedalpodcastfanclub.com 

Rss

Self-driven or autonomous vehicles have been a staple of science fiction since the early part of the 20th century. Today, advances in technology have brought autonomous vehicles to life. In the commercial trucking sector, these autonomous vehicles have the potential to forever change the industry. Will those changes be positive, or will the impacts of self-driven trucks threaten the American trucking workforce? How will autonomous trucks shape the trucking insurance industry? While the answers to these questions are not easy to come by, industry analysts and regulatory agencies are already preparing for a future where autonomous vehicles dominate American roadways.

Autonomous Truck Technology

Autonomous vehicles harness the power of computers and a suite of cameras, sensors, and Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers to navigate roadways. Vehicle developers have partnered with manufacturers and suppliers to create a wide range of test platforms capable of autonomous operation. The concept of vehicles that can operate without human input has been dreamed about for decades. Those dreams are quickly becoming a reality. While these vehicles continue to demonstrate their abilities in testing environments, it is unclear when they will be ready to take on real-world responsibilities in transporting goods on American highways. The gold standard of autonomous driving has been developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE); its “Level 4” standard means that no human interaction is required during the operation of these vehicles under most road conditions.

One of the major concerns surrounding autonomous trucks is their safety and the potential liabilities truck owners may face if autonomous vehicles are involved in collisions. The trucking insurance sector is scrambling to develop solutions to these risk exposures, but much work needs to be done to protect owners and operators against liabilities.

Impacts to Trucking Industry Workers

When any new automation technology is introduced, questions about how it will impact the American workforce arise. For autonomous commercial vehicles, regulatory agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have already begun to discuss the potential impacts to truck drivers. The FMCSA’s Office of Analysis, Research, and Technology presented information on autonomous vehicles during its annual update in March 2021.

Much of the concern is centered on worker displacements and whether the widespread adoption of automated vehicle technologies will threaten the livelihoods of drivers. As an essential part of the U.S. economy, truck drivers are alarmed by the prospect of being replaced in favor of self-driving trucks. The FMCSA, along with agencies like the Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Transportation, suggest that trucking companies begin to prepare for the arrival of autonomous vehicles by:

  • Identifying opportunities where human workforces can be shifted.
  • Exploring training opportunities for drivers displaced by autonomous trucks.
  • Researching new jobs and job classes that may be created through the adoption of autonomous vehicles.

Safety of Autonomous Vehicles

In testing environments, autonomous vehicles have demonstrated capabilities that rival human-operated vehicles. Despite rigorous testing, concerns about safety remain. The FMCSA has been evaluating its role in safety and enforcement of autonomous vehicles since 2017. Among its findings, regulatory factors that must be addressed include:

  • Cyber security of vehicles and their computer operating systems
  • Vehicle licensing
  • Hours of operation standards
  • Roadside inspections
  • Enforcement of operational violations

No formal proposals have been published by the agency, but it is clear that the regulatory environment must shift to account for unforeseen liabilities presented by self-driven vehicles. If an autonomous vehicle is involved in a collision, who is liable, especially when there is no driver? Trucking insurance coverage will also have to adapt to the new operational environment, protecting trucking companies and their employees against liability risks. The future of trucking may hinge on autonomous vehicles, and as the technology is refined, it will have far-reaching impacts on the trucking industry.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!

The post How Will Autonomous Vehicles Impact the Trucking Industry? appeared first on Western Truck Insurance Services.

Rss

A Consolidated tractor and twin trailers. (Photo: Gary Morton Collection)

The early years

Consolidated Freightways, also known as CF, was founded in 1929 by Leland James in Portland, Oregon. James combined four short-haul companies located in Portland into one trucking firm. Once these companies were combined, James focused on expanding their reach. At the time, trucking in the West was a fledgling industry. The lack of industrial expansion to the West at this point made any sort of progress difficult to achieve. Because of this, James focused primarily on establishing CF as a force in Portland and surrounding areas. Only after he achieved considerable success did he consider broadening the company’s horizons.

Soon after the company was founded, the Great Depression devastated many of the industries and people of the United States. Competition was fierce, and rates were low as a result. While many companies went under, unable to stay afloat in such desperate conditions, companies like CF were large enough to wait out the lean times. Occasionally, CF even benefited by picking up customers that had been dropped by other carriers that could not withstand the Depression. CF’s biggest competitor at the time was the railroad, which was often slow and unpredictable. In 1935, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), which had regulated the railroads since the late 1880s, began to regulate the growing trucking industry as well.

A Consolidated Freightways patch from the Dale Branch Collection.

ICC regulation, World War II and acquisitions 

Following regulation of the trucking industry by the ICC, Consolidated proved itself a force to be reckoned with. Its routes encompassed Washington, Oregon and California, no small feat considering the challenges presented by the lack of infrastructure in the West. 

More opportunities for growth arrived during World War II. The railroads that had previously been responsible for much of the nation’s interstate transportation were carrying war supplies and troops. Trucking companies were able to step up and fill the gaps left by the railroads, and CF seized the chance. By the end of the war, Consolidated Freightways had added dozens of new terminals throughout the western United States and had extended its service as far east as Chicago. 

Men at work on a Consolidated Freightways dock. (Photo colorized by J.D. Murphey)
Men at work on a Consolidated Freightways dock. (Photo colorized by G.D. Murphey)

By 1950, CF’s revenues stood at $24 million, and the company was operating 1,600 pieces of freight equipment. Because the ICC regulated the routes that trucking companies could run (as well as the rates they could charge), the easiest way for companies to grow was through acquisition. Consolidated Freightways began an aggressive acquisition strategy, and by the end of the 1950s, it had acquired 53 former competitors.

A 1954 Freightliner brochure. (Image: Freightliner.com)
A 1954 Freightliner brochure. (Image: Freightliner.com)

Becoming a manufacturer  

The 1950s also saw CF’s expansion into manufacturing. Immediately following World War II, James founded Freightliner Corporation in order to supply Consolidated Freightways with lighter, larger and more sophisticated trucks and trailers to ensure that it remained on the cutting edge of the competitive industry. Initially, Freightliner only built trucks for Consolidated, but in 1951, it signed an agreement with White Motor Corporation in Ohio, allowing the equipment to be sold in dealerships. The partnership continued for 25 years. After Freightliner’s business was solidly established, James’ successor, Jack Snead, added other manufacturing interests to the family of companies. Transicold Corporation manufactured railway components, and Technic-Glas Corporation manufactured glass fiber products. These manufacturing endeavors, coupled with the expanded truck lines, doubled Consolidated’s sales while Snead was at the helm. In 1959 Consolidated hit $146 million in revenue, making it the largest common carrier in the United States. At the time, the company had grown to employ nearly 11,000 people and operated 13,800 pieces of equipment in 34 states as well as Canada. This success was misleading, however, as the company learned in the 1960s.

A different Consolidated Freightways patch. (Courtesy: Dale Branch Collection)

Trials and successes during the 1960s

While the family of companies had grown, leadership had failed to integrate them effectively. This, combined with an economic recession, led to a $2.7 million loss at the end of 1960. Snead, previously considered to be immensely successful, was asked to step down, and William G. White was named president and chairman of Consolidated Freight. 

White learned quickly that integration of Consolidated’s acquisitions had not been a priority. He immediately set out to integrate the companies, focusing on coordinated control from headquarters, as well as service. Traffic routes were defined, and terminals were consolidated. White also decided on a concerted effort to make Consolidated a leader in the less than truckload (LTL) segment of freight movement; before it had only been a participant. 

A Consolidated Freightways tractor-trailer, and its driver in the company uniform of the time. 
(Photo colorized by G.D. Murphey)
A Consolidated Freightways tractor-trailer, and its driver in the company uniform of the time.
(Photo colorized by G.D. Murphey)

White also sold off several of the company’s subsidiaries that were more trouble than they were worth, including a small parcel company that was meant to compete directly with UPS. As a result of these actions, Consolidated’s revenues increased at an average of 15% per year, and in 1969, its sales had reached $451 million.

Challenges define the 1970s

The company faced more challenges in the 1970s, especially when the Middle East oil embargo threatened trucking companies as gasoline and diesel prices soared. Consolidated’s Freightliner endeavor was also challenged, as the industry began to emphasize fuel-efficient equipment. There was also a new federal mandate regarding braking systems that disrupted normal sales cycles. In 1977, Freightliner severed its ties with White Motor Corporation and began looking to build relationships with dealers and agents. Unfortunately, Freightliner could not compete with the likes of Mack and International Harvester, which manufactured more affordable equipment. CF sold Freightliner to Daimler-Benz in 1981.

Trucking deregulation brings many changes

After several years of mounting pressure, the trucking industry was deregulated by Congressional legislation that was signed by President Carter. This ended 45 years of ICC regulation of the trucking industry. Particularly in the years just after deregulation, some trucking company executives saw freedom from onerous ICC regulatory oversight; others saw the potential of heightened competition and declining margins. 

A Consolidated Freightways tractor with twin trailers and another trailer in the background. 
(Photo: Gary Morton Collection)
A Consolidated Freightways tractor with twin trailers and another trailer in the background.
(Photo: Gary Morton Collection)

Rather than cling to the manufacturing companies under CF’s umbrella, the company elected to abandon those companies altogether. Consolidated then created four regional trucking companies to specialize in overnight delivery. 

These companies were founded as unaffiliated spin-off companies and eventually became Con-Way Freight. The four companies were collectively generating $600 million in sales by the early 1990s, and CF MotorFreight, the company’s long-haul business, was also doing well. While over 50% of trucking companies went out of business in the eight years following deregulation, Consolidated’s renewed focus and efforts to reshape its trucking endeavors allowed it to not only survive, but thrive, just as it had done during the Great Depression.

A CF AirFreight DC-8 aircraft. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
A CF AirFreight DC-8 aircraft. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Air freight causes major issues

However, in 1989, Consolidated made a misstep that proved to be quite costly. It had been operating CF AirFreight, its own air freight forwarding company for some time. Company management thought that purchasing another strong air freight forwarder could bolster the performance of CF AirFreight. The company purchased Emery Air Freight Corporation, an industry leader at the time. Unfortunately, Emery’s own subsidiary, Purolator Courier Corporation, was deeply troubled by debt. At the time of the acquisition, the companies together were losing nearly $1 million per day, leaving Consolidated with a $41 million loss in 1990 and $614 million in debt. The CEO responsible for the acquisition, Larry Scott, was removed and replaced by Donald Moffitt. Moffitt and Roger Curry, Emery’s CEO, set out to undo the damage that had been done by revamping Emery’s overnight service and removing it from competition with other parcel companies. By 1995, Emery had quite a comeback and was the air freight industry’s most profitable firm, to the relief of Consolidated Freightways.

A Consolidated Freightways tractor-trailer next to a CF trailer. (Photo: Craig Wendt Collection)
A Consolidated Freightways tractor-trailer next to a CF trailer. (Photo: Craig Wendt Collection)

More issues in the 1990s

The 1990s also generated challenges. The price wars that started with deregulation continued to decrease margins, until CF was operating on profit margins of only 1.5%.  A strike by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union in 1994 lasted 24 days and drastically affected the company’s annual revenues. 

Freight analysts began to question if the LTL industry could survive, calling the price wars suicidal and expressing concern about competition from smaller, non-union regional carriers. Rate discounting took a heavy toll on CF’s long-haul business, which achieved profitability only once between 1992 and 1996. 

A Consolidated Freightways sign. (Photo: Craig Wendt Collection)
A Consolidated Freightways sign. (Photo: Craig Wendt Collection)

Corporate changes

The company’s management decided to spin-off CF Motorfreight and four other long-haul subsidiaries in 1996, renaming the grouping Consolidated Freightways Corporation. The remaining companies, Con-way Transportation, Emery Worldwide and Menlo Logistics, were rebranded CNF Transportation. 

The “new” Consolidated Freightways emerged from the rebranding with very little debt, and once again, could focus on its LTL offerings and expertise. In 1997, the company innovated further by adding a third-party logistics company, Redwood Logistics, to its family of companies. The company remained profitable until 1999, when poor decisions relating to customers and in technology resulted in profit of only $2.7 million (compared to the previous year’s $26.8 million). 

An XPO Logistics tractor-trailer. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)
An XPO Logistics tractor and twin trailers. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The end of the line

Restructuring attempts helped a bit in 2000, but by 2001, the company was struggling again and reported a loss of $104.3 million. Try as it might, the company could not regain the ground that it had lost. Consolidated Freightways Corporation filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and closed its doors. The spin-off company, CNF Transportation, rebranded itself under the name Con-way, and remained in business until 2015, when it was acquired by XPO Logistics.

A third Consolidated Freightways patch. (Dale Branch Collection)
A third Consolidated Freightways patch. (Dale Branch Collection)