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A photograph of containers at the Port of Jacksonville.A photograph of containers at the Port of Jacksonville.

Container and vehicle volumes at the port in Jacksonville, Florida, have been “strong” fiscal year-to-date, with vehicle volumes nearing pre-pandemic levels.

The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) is reporting that the port complex moved more than 1 million containers in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2021, which is 15% higher than what it moved during the same period in 2020. 

JAXPORT also moved 20% more vehicle volumes since the start of its fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2020. Vehicle volumes totaled nearly 492,000 units, putting the port on pace to surpass the 556,000 units moved in 2020 and signaling a return to pre-pandemic levels, the port said.

In contrast to the congestion at other U.S. ports, JAXPORT said it is offering shippers “a number of efficiencies, including berth and terminal fluidity, as well as two-way channel traffic with no delays at the sea buoy.”

“Jacksonville’s ease of doing business and our ability to maintain the free flow of cargo on both the waterside and landside make us an attractive option for shippers,” JAXPORT CEO Eric Green said in a release. “Our customer service-oriented terminal operators, sales team and network of service providers offer seamless transportation solutions to help customers increase their speed to market at a time when efficiency matters more than ever.”

The port is seeking to attract customers that want access to the Southeast U.S. and the Florida market. Among the port improvement projects that will be completed by the end of 2022 are the deepening of the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 feet, as well as construction of a vessel turning basin so that large vessels will be able to turn at the Blount Island berths. Meanwhile, the port anticipates Blount Island to accommodate two post-Panamax vessels following more than $100 million in berth enhancements. There is also $70 million in phased yard improvements underway to increase terminal container capacity. 

“The investments that we’re making in our port ensure we will continue to meet the needs of our customers no matter what supply chain challenges the industry faces,” Green said. “Our location and facilities, along with the capabilities of our tenants and port partners, combine to make JAXPORT an ideal global gateway into the Southeast U.S. and particularly the growing Florida market.”

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Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

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KANOSH, Millard County, 7/25/2021 — A sandstorm in Millard County led to 7 fatalities and various injured motorists in a series of crashes including semi-trucks and cars Sunday afternoon west of Kanosh, Utah. Several people have been transported to area hospitals in critical condition. It appears that at least 20 vehicles were involved in Sunday’s […]

The post 7 dead in Utah after a sandstorm causes multiple crashes involving trucks and cars appeared first on iTrucker | Transforming Trucking.

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Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: US agricultural exporters experiencing shipping container crunch; TForce Logistics expands last-mile delivery in Texas; Dachser expands operations in Arizona; and TexAmericas Center to expand rail service.

US agricultural exporters experiencing shipping container squeeze

During the first quarter of 2021, U.S. soybean exports reached the second-highest value ever recorded at $7.7 billion, nearly double the same period last year. 

The growth was driven by record first-quarter export volumes and higher prices, Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soybean Transportation Coalition, told FreightWaves.

“This year has been really very strong; we’re up substantially over last year,” Steenhoek said. “Last year at this time we had only exported 37 million metric tons shipped. So far, we’re up to 57 million metric tons. So a substantial increase in exports over last year.”

The Des Moines, Iowa-based Soybean Transportation Coalition is composed of 13 state soybean boards. It seeks to promote a transportation system that delivers cost-effective, reliable, competitive service for its members.

While soybeans and other U.S. commodities such as corn, citrus, poultry, pork and beef are experiencing stronger export volumes this year, Steenhoek said the global shipping container squeeze is affecting domestic agriculture exporters.

As of Thursday, the cost to move a loaded container from China to the U.S. West Coast had a spot rate of $6,542, according to the Freightos Baltic Index (FBXD.CNAW). The cost to move loaded containers from the U.S. West Coast back to China was $1,112 (FBXD.NAWC). 

U.S. agriculture exporters are being affected by global shipping container rates. Chart: FreightWaves SONAR (To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

“The container situation has affected us, though only about 7% to 8% of soybean exports occur by container. We’re still primarily a bulk exporter,” Steenhoek said. “It is certainly having an impact on bulk exports. Those soybean exporters who use containers, we have a supply chain that’s overly subscribed. It really isn’t just felt with containers, but also things like available slots on the vessels themselves.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s quarterly agricultural trade forecast projects fiscal year 2021 U.S. farm exports to reach $164 billion — which would be the highest total on record. It would represent a 21% increase from the 2020 fiscal year’s total.

China is projected to be back on top as the No. 1 agricultural export customer at a record $35 billion, beating the previous record of $29.6 billion set in FY 2014. The growth is led by Chinese demand for soybeans and corn.

“China is by far our No. 1 customer for soybeans, and they do account for a significant percentage of what we have sent abroad,” Steenhoek said. 

The U.S. sent $26.5 billion in agricultural exports to China during 2020, including $14.1 billion in soybeans. 

Canada was the second-largest importer of U.S. agricultural commodities in 2020, accounting for $22.1 billion, including $2.1 billion in soybeans. Mexico was third, at $18.4 billion, including $2.7 billion in soybeans.

Steenhoek said most soybean farmers are in the Midwest. Once soybean crops are ready to ship, exporters send them either to the ports in the Pacific Northwest or the Port of New Orleans.

“About 61% of our soybean exports leave from export terminals on the Lower Mississippi River,” Steenhoek said. “The No. 2 export region is the Pacific Northwest, near Portland, Oregon, or Seattle, Washington. That accounts for about 25% of our exports.”

Steenhoek expects the supply chain issues for exporters to continue for the foreseeable future, including the container squeeze and rail availability, as well as the nationwide shortage of truck drivers.

“Every link in our supply chain is under stress right now. It’s certainly impacting those who export soybeans by containers, by not being able to fulfill customer demands,” Steenhoek said. 

TForce Logistics expands last-mile delivery in Texas

TForce Logistics (NYSE: TSX) recently launched its Texas regional e-commerce network, aiming to provide expanded, next-day delivery for the state’s largest metro areas.

Under the regional “mini-network,” Dallas becomes the central entry point for Texas-bound parcel and package shipments.

From Dallas, shipments are trucked to Houston, San Antonio and Austin for next-day delivery. Dallas-destined shipments will be next-day deliveries.

“Our new regional e-commerce network mirrors our proven strategy to provide regional deliveries with national coverage,” Dean Mills, TForce Logistics vice president of sales for North America, said in a statement.

TForce Logistics operates four e-commerce distribution and fulfillment centers across Texas. The sites serve as receiving centers for inbound “delivery-ready” shipments that are cross-docked into last-mile operations.

TForce’s Texas operation dispatches over 500 drivers daily, delivering everything from auto parts to manufacturers to orders for home delivery of goods such as apparel, footwear, health and beauty, nonperishable foods, home accessories, and electronics.

TForce Logistics is a unit of TFI International Inc. (NYSE: TFII). TForce operates 75 locations across the U.S. and Canada and has more than 6,000 employees.

Dachser expands operations in Arizona

Dachser USA Air & Sea Logistics recently expanded its facility in Phoenix in response to increased demand from cross-border and West Coast clients, officials said.

The expanded Phoenix operation includes 7,500 square feet of office space with capacity for more growth to support regional logistics opportunities. 

Dachser USA’s expansion in Phoenix “positions the company to manage increased volume from cross-border trade with Mexico, including shipments from manufacturing plants that assemble products in Mexico and for the U.S.,” Vincent Touya, managing director, said in a statement. 

Dachser USA Air & Sea Logistics is a unit of Kempten, Germany-based Dachser Group, which offers transport logistics, warehousing, and customer-specific services in maritime and road solutions. The company has 31,000 employees at 393 locations around the globe.

TexAmericas Center receives federal grant to expand rail service

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Department of Economic Development (EDA) recently awarded a grant to the TexAmericas Center to build a new railroad facility in New Boston, Texas.

The $864,550 grant will also allow the TexAmericas Center to refurbish an existing railroad facility at the site. The investment is expected to create 157 jobs, retain five jobs and generate $250,000 in private investment.

“With the nationwide shortage of truck drivers, more shippers are likely to see rail transport as a viable alternative to truck transport, so this EDA grant is for this projected rail demand,” Scott Norton, CEO and executive director of the TexAmericas Center, said in a statement. 

Located in northeast Texas, the TexAmericas Center owns and operates a 12,000-acre park, with 3.5 million square feet of industrial space, servicing Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. 

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

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The second quarter earnings call of Triumph Bancorp (NASDAQ: TBK) was notable not so much for the financial numbers that were discussed. Rather, it served as a sort of kickoff to a company that has been radically transformed in the past year, with two key acquisitions that make the topics of discussion on such a call much different than what would have been discussed just 12 months ago.

One acquisition grew the size of the bank’s factoring book: the July 2020 purchase of the factoring business of Covenant Logistics (NASDAQ: CVLG), a transaction that was not without difficulties (and still has a few outstanding loose ends, according to the company’s earnings report). 

The second is more recent: adding the open loop payments processing capabilities of HubTran to TriumphPay, the quick payments division of Triumph that has been the focus of much of the company’s growth strategy. The acquisition was announced in April and closed in June. 

With all of that now under the Triumph umbrella, it gave CEO Aaron Graft a good opportunity on the company’s earnings call with analysts this past week to further spell out the vision of the much larger and much different company.

The growth in the book of business at Triumph Business Capital, the bank’s factoring arm, has been impressive. While the Covenant acquisition is part of it, the fact is that Graft did not mention Covenant by name during the call.

And the size of the Covenant purchase is starting to look relatively small compared to the overall growth of the factoring book at Triumph Business Capital. For example, at the time of the acquisition, the companies said Triumph was acquiring more than $100 million of receivables. A year ago, that was a big part of the business. Triumph reported $532 million of factored receivables at the end of the second quarter 2020. At the close of the second quarter of 2021, however, receivables stood at $1.28 billion. 

On the conference call, Graft said the second quarter had several days in which its purchase of invoices topped $50 million, averaged close to $48 million and saw the company’s list of active clients top 10,000. By comparison, the number of clients in the first quarter was 8,835, and was 6,302 in the second quarter of last year. 

“This is a significant lift versus any prior period in our history,” Graft said.

The growth in the book is fueled in part not only by volume of invoices purchased but also their size, which in turn is lifted by rising freight rates. Graft put a specific number on the impact of rate increases on Triumph’s bottom line: a $100 increase in the average price of an invoice lifts the company’s annual earnings per share by about 26 cents per share. 

And that growth in the average invoice size has certainly been enough to have a significant impact on the company’s EPS. The average invoice size in the second quarter rose to $2,189 from $1,524 in the second quarter of 2020. For the quarter, the parent Triumph Bancorp’s average diluted earnings per share was $1.17, working out to $4.68 on an annualized basis.  The impact then of adding $665 to the average invoice over the course of a year–about $1.72 per share–is significant.

The earnings call was the first since the acquisition of HubTran closed June 1. 

Previously, the core trucking-focused business of Triumph could be summarized as factoring loans from Triumph Business Capital often processed through TriumphPay, if a driver or broker had chosen to have TriumphPay process the funds. 

From the perspective of trucking, the company is providing factoring loans from Triumph Business Capital to a larger pool of customers, bolstered by the Covenant acquisition, but the loans won’t receive favorable processing treatment by the combination of QuickPay and HubTran. Graft has made clear in other discussions that bringing the open loop system of HubTran into the payment processes of Triumph would offer no specific advantage to Triumph’s factoring business; it would be open to all factoring companies. 

On the call, Graft said the company now has 60 factoring clients and 482 brokers who are using either TriumphPay, HubTran or both. “Our focus going forward is to create full product relationships with each of them as we build out the network,” Graft said.

The potential–and the long climb ahead–was evident in a slide presented by the company in conjunction with the earnings call. Among the top 25 brokers, six are using TriumphPay, 10 are using HubTrain, but only one is using both. Of the top 20 factoring companies, 11 are using HubTran, leaving 9 as what Triumph called “prospects.” (There are eight prospects among the top 25 brokers who are using neither HubTran nor TriumphPay.)

Graft spelled out the differences between TriumphPay and HubTran in detail. One aspect of the HubTran system, he said, is that it is an “audit function” that clients can use to be sure an invoice is in order before a factoring company actually purchases it. 

That’s different from TriumphPay, he said, which is involved in the “presentment” of invoices and their payment. However, it does not have the audit function that HubTran brings to the table. 

The merger of the two platforms is not expected until the first quarter of next year, Graft said. A quick boost to Triumph’s bottom line from the consolidation is a ways off, however. The consolidation is “exceedingly complex,” he said: “TriumphPay’s customers need to see the value we are offering in their bottom line before we can meaningfully see it in ours.”

Graft said the increased numbers of clients and the number of invoices processed are a function in part of the number of drivers who are going out on their own in the current strong freight market. One of their first needs: liquidity. “That creates a bit of a perfect storm for us,” Graft said. 

Although the factoring business has always been seen as one in which the customers are carriers or brokers, Graft has spoken about trying to bring shippers in as clients as well. What the company has learned in paying carriers and brokers can be transferred to shippers, Graft said on the earnings call. He noted that by sometime within the next 12 months, Triumph is likely to have paid 90% of all “active truckers.” “Those truckers don’t just haul in brokered freight, they haul in contract and brokered freight,” Graft said. 

Graft mentioned one other notable shift: a significant change in the company’s financial reporting structure. In particular, the payments segment that includes TriumphPay will be broken out separately, as will the factoring business from Triumph Business Capital.

 While the current financial reporting at Triumph does give specific figures on several factoring metrics, the new reporting method should give a clearer picture of how these two key legs at Triumph–payments and factoring–are performing. 

More articles by John Kingston

Aggressive growth targets for TriumphPay laid out

Factoring at Triumph moved sharply higher by the end of 2Q: CEO

Major trucking lender Triumph’s earnings reflect robust market

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Apple Pay is becoming popular among consumersApple Pay is becoming popular among consumers

The conventional wisdom was that with more Americans vaccinated and the economy reopened, the explosion in goods-buying during the COVID-19 pandemic would moderate to at best a muffled roar. Yet the roar appears to remain as full-throated as it was in the summer of 2020, and there’s no sign from data or anecdotes that it will ease off any time soon. 

A slowdown in goods-buying was “what we are expecting, but we haven’t seen it yet,” said Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), which runs the container port of Savannah, the nation’s fourth-largest, and the bulk, breakbulk and roll-on, roll-off port of Brunswick, among other assets.

On Monday, GPA will report record box volumes for its 2021 fiscal year, which ended on June 30. Lynch said there is no indication from throughput data and conversations with retailers that use the port that a slowdown in goods-ordering is on the horizon.

Lee Klaskow, senior analyst-transport and logistics at Bloomberg Intelligence, echoed those comments. “We have not seen any moderation,” Klaskow said. The exceptions, he said, are likely to be found with products such as beer, wine and spirits, where demand today is less than it was during the summer of 2020 when consumers confronted the stressful trifecta of COVID-19, racial unrest, and a contentious general election season. 

K.C. Conway, chief economist for the CCIM Institute, a commercial real estate education group, said he doesn’t see consumer demand easing until late 2021 when stimulus spending runs its course and rent and mortgage forbearance programs end. “When one in four American households are either in rent or mortgage forbearance, a lot of consumption is (being) bolstered by not paying rent or a mortgage,” Conway said. 

Consumer behavior is always the hub around which revolves the spokes of supply chain activity. But never more so than today. Businesses continue to struggle with backlogs and stockouts. Inventory levels remain at or near record lows. Transportation networks, deluged with demand that neither they nor their shipper customers expected, have been forced to take unprecedented measures such as shutting down core eastbound intermodal lanes to catch up with volume surges. Freight rates, no matter the mode, continue to escalate with no end in sight. Another holiday shopping and shipping season is just four months away. 

If shippers, third parties and carriers living for nearly 18 months with overstretched supply chains were hoping for some relief from consumers who have had their fill of stuff, they haven’t gotten it. “Shippers are in a tough environment,” said Phil Levy, chief economist for Flexport, a digital freight forwarder based in San Francisco. Telling them that the consumer isn’t easing off on goods purchases is “not what they wanted to hear.”

Monthly data from Flexport supports Levy’s contention. From January 2016 to February 2020, the ratio of personal expenditures on services and goods was remarkably consistent. About 68% to 70% of spending went to services, and 30% to 32% to goods. The shift in the ratio began, not surprisingly, in the early spring of 2020 as lockdowns, for many, made goods-buying the only outlet for their dollars. The ratio hit 33.8% during the summer of 2020 and dipped toward the end of the year. It then jumped, much to Flexport’s surprise, to 35.3% in March 2021, a time when it was thought the country had begun to turn the corner in its fight against the pandemic.

Levy said he expects the goods component of the ratio to settle for now at about 34%, a level similar to what was reported in the summer of 2020. If the ratio normalizes there, that indicates goods-buying will remain elevated longer than many surmise, Levy said. 

Levy attributed the current trends to a sea-change in consumer behavior triggered by COVID-19’s extended duration. The longer a behavioral change lasts, the more embedded it becomes even after the original motivation for the change — in the case of COVID, protecting one’s health — has disappeared, Levy said. By contrast, events like natural disasters have relatively short shelf lives, so it is easy for consumers who changed their behavior to revert to their original habits, he said.

Levy cautioned that the data, which comes from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis and is integrated with the company’s analytics, has some caveats. For one, the raw numbers are not perfect. The government’s data comes with a two-month time lag. In addition, Flexport’s own projections extend out no more than two months. Still, the numbers have proved as accurate in mirroring real-world activity as such datasets can be, he said.

Cox of FreightWaves takes a different view, with a string or two attached. Citing consumer spending data from Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Cox said the reversion from elevated goods demand to a more normal goods to services ratio is “well underway,” with strong services data posted over the past three months. Still, consumers with strong balance sheets, aided by government fiscal stimulus, continue to prop up goods-buying, he said.

The recent reversion has “not been a direct swap of goods spending for services, but rather a reversion from at-home spending to anywhere-but-home spending,” Cox said. Consumers are spending more on travel, dining out and entertainment, as well as more on apparel, accessories, and other health and beauty goods and services, he said.

For exhausted shippers and carriers, the reality is that even if the American consumer returns to normal purchasing patterns, retailer demand will remain strong, supply chain taut and rates high. Conway said the country could experience another 18 months to two years of dislocations as rock-bottom inventories get replenished. This is due to the pre-pandemic environment that was greatly amplified by the pandemic itself, he said.

FreightWaves’ Outbound Tender Rejection Index (OTRI), which measures carriers’ willingness to accept loads tendered by shippers under contract terms, remains elevated, though down since April, Cox said. This indicates a decent percentage of loads are still not being accepted, he said. Meanwhile, the volume of electronic tenders, measured by FreightWaves’ Outbound Tender Volume Index (OTVI) has been flat to up for the past several weeks, according to Cox.

“More accepted tenders are (now) flowing through the system than at any point last year, but there simply hasn’t been enough capacity added to keep up,” he said. 

Under current conditions, any rate relief for shippers will be fleeting, Cox predicted. The typical pre-holiday lull–if one occurs–will be offset by what is expected to be a very strong back-to-school season, he said. Overhanging all of this are the depleted inventory levels that retailers will need to replenish regardless of what consumers do, he said.

A supply chain that thrives on predictability took a massive blow from the pandemic, according to Conway. The country was heavily reliant on the just-in-time inventory-management model that discourages the holding of safety stock, according to Conway. The past 17 months have provided managers with a “real-world event of measurable impact” that proves the model no longer works and that its days are numbered, he said.

Inventories were further stretched by President Donald Trump’s August 2019 decision to begin imposing tariffs on Chinese imports. The moves caused U.S. companies to draw down existing inventory rather than deal with the uncertainties and higher costs of ordering large quantities from abroad, Conway said.

The pandemic also exposed how interdependent the world’s major trading partners are on each other, and how disruptive an event of such magnitude can be, Conway said. The emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant, and its impact on producing nations with low vaccination levels, is just now being factored into supply chain decisions, he said.

Conway lauded the performance of the nation’s transport infrastructure, saying ports, railroads and truckers, pivoting overnight amid an unforeseen global crisis, have largely held their own. The problem is, and will continue to be, at the front end of the supply chain, he said.

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Chart of the Week: Reefer Outbound Tender Reject Index, Truckstop 7-day all-in Reefer Spot Rate, USA  SONAR: ROTRI.USA, TSTOPRRPM.USA

Spot rates for refrigerated (known as reefer inside the industry) truckloads continue to see upward pressure as contracted load acceptances increase this summer — leading to a polarizing experience for shippers. 

Spot rates for temperature-controlled loads have trended higher since the end of April, increasing approximately 13% over the past two and a half months, according to the average of Truckstop.com’s top 100 lanes. Reefer contracted tender rejection rates have fallen from 43% to 33% over the same stretch, indicating the contract and spot markets are moving in two different directions — but are they? 

Tender rejection rates are the percentage of loads being rejected by carriers that are submitted electronically by shippers. Most of these transactions are dependent on having an existing rate agreement, or contracted rate, in place. Rejection rates are a measure of carrier willingness to offer capacity at these contracted rates. 

The higher this percentage gets, the tighter capacity is expected to be due to carriers either having more demand than they can handle or shippers being willing to pay higher than the contracted rate on the spot market. 

Most of the time, the tender rejection rate leads the spot market rate by a few days at least, and rarely do they move in opposite directions. This summer, spot rates appear to be moving higher as rejection rates fall. There are a few reasons for this temporary divergence. 

Fuel prices

The first thing to note is that the spot rates include fuel, and fuel cost fluctuations can heavily influence the direction of an all-inclusive rate, such as the ones presented in the chart. Fuel costs have surged over 40% since November, increasing about 7% from the end of April till now. This explains about 10% or 4 cents of the 43-cents-per-mile increase, which is not substantial enough to see such a strong divergence. 

Increasing contract rates

Contract rates have been increasing over the past several months and are certainly contributing to the divergence between spot rates and tender rejection rates. As contract rates increase, rejection rates tend to fall as they approach the present market value depending on how much demand exceeds capacity. 

Contract rates for reefer have risen 7%-10% year-over-year, according to FreightWaves contract rate data. A large amount for almost any other year, but a little underwhelming compared to the van market. There is a bit of a weakness here due to the fact many reefer carriers have contracts for nonrefrigerated freight to fill their backhaul lanes, implying the increases are probably much higher in more seasonal lanes where demand is much higher than supply. 

Inconsistency and service

This leads to the third and potentially most important factor creating the divergence: the nature of the spot market itself. Shippers do not use the spot market just when capacity is tight. They also use it when they do not have consistent freight to move and when service is critical. A lot of the freight that requires temperature control is seasonal — experiencing surges at specific times of the year. 

Since the windows of demand for refrigerated freight are smaller than most others, shippers do not form as many long-term contract rate agreements. The most visible example of this type of freight is produce.

Spot rates for produce are currently at historic levels looking at the USDA reported rates in various California origin lanes, with some prices exceeding $10,000 per load to the East Coast. Note that there are long periods of no report intermittently as harvests only occur at certain times of the year. 

There is limited shelf life and storage capacity at the origin for produce, and service is critical. With over a third of the consistent freight being rejected, shippers have no choice but to bid up the price to guarantee capacity and service. There is also a level of sensitivity to the market after an extended period of tightness that plays a role in spiking spot rates. Shippers will inflate the rate faster when they feel capacity is limited. 

In other words, the spot market is much more sensitive to wild swings than its dry van counterpart. Inevitably rejection rates and spot rates will directionally come back into alignment, but this divergence is largely a byproduct of an extended market tightness leading to an exaggerated reaction as shippers have become accustomed to an era in which resources are scarce. 

About the Chart of the Week

The FreightWaves Chart of the Week is a chart selection from SONAR that provides an interesting data point to describe the state of the freight markets. A chart is chosen from thousands of potential charts on SONAR to help participants visualize the freight market in real time. Each week a Market Expert will post a chart, along with commentary, live on the front page. After that, the Chart of the Week will be archived on FreightWaves.com for future reference.

SONAR aggregates data from hundreds of sources, presenting the data in charts and maps and providing commentary on what freight market experts want to know about the industry in real time.

The FreightWaves data science and product teams are releasing new data sets each week and enhancing the client experience.

To request a SONAR demo, click here.

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Drayage, in its simplest form, is the transportation of freight from an ocean port to its initial inland destination. These moves tend to average no more than 50 miles, taking containers to rail yards to be put on a train or sending them to nearby warehouses to be sorted, segmented and routed to their next destination.

While the distances are comparatively short, the logistics of routing 11 million maritime containers in and out of ports every year has its full share of challenges.

Below are four facets of drayage logistics that are often difficult to manage — and some FreightTech providers’ solutions.

Shipment visibility

Before drayage movements can even take place, containers need to reach their destination ports. Without visibility into those containers’ locations, shippers cannot plan inventory or optimize warehouse teams, and most importantly, they may lose customer satisfaction with late deliveries.

Project44 CEO Jett McCandless explained how his company brings visibility to shippers looking to plan properly for incoming containers.

“Our AI-powered algorithms process a massive amount of data for the most accurate predictions of when those containers can be picked up. … Those same advanced algorithms are integrated with hyperaccurate vessel sailing schedules and detailed cargo rolling data to help the shipper select the best possible carrier and vessel booking to avoid the worst of the port congestion,” he said of project44’s ability to integrate with its recently acquired visibility partner, Ocean Insights, to optimize the container planning process.

Project44 went a step further for customers this spring, providing visibility into Asia, where many customers’ supply chains began.

“With the Ocean Insights acquisition, project44 became the world’s leader in ocean visibility, much of that product coming out of Asia Pacific,” said Chief Product Officer Vernon O’Donnell. “The inevitable next step for us was connecting that first leg of the journey in China, and that really became even more pressing for us to get done.”

Also vital is the right visibility software, which has quickly become table stakes in the world of FreightTech. Companies like freight forwarder platform Logixboard are helping customers offer a customized visibility experience for global shippers. The company is able to provide better insight into their drayage logistics, with very little onboarding time.

Related article: Logixboard raises $13M to modernize freight forwarders’ customer experience

“Freight forwarding companies reach out to us as more of a defensive mechanism,” CEO Julian Alvarez told FreightWaves. “They’ll tell us, ‘One of my biggest customers is threatening to leave if we don’t have this digital experience.’ The great news for them is we’re able to solve for that  and implement that quickly.”

Customs clearance

Much like personal travel, moving goods across borders can be overwhelming. Incorrect documentation, inaccurate payments and misclassification of products are just a few circumstances that often prevent shipments from reaching their final destinations.

In personal travel, most documentation is the same across borders. In drayage, the lack of standard paperwork processes in global shipping can hold up shipments once they have reached their port of destination.

The global trade platform Flexport recently partnered with application provider Scale AI to manage and improve customers’ international paperwork processes and better prepare them for customs clearance.

“There’s a lot of different document types in international shipping, like commercial invoices, bills of lading, airway bills and arrival notices. Almost every logistics company I talk to isn’t getting the results they’re looking for when it comes to document management, because the solutions in the market today are designed for perfectly executed paperwork,” said Melisa Tokmak, the general manager of document AI at Scale AI.

“In the world of logistics, that’s not happening. Sometimes words are crammed. Sometimes it is very hastily submitted or submitted as a photo. These are very complicated documents, because you’re including customs information descriptions, amounts and unit prices.”

Using document managing systems like those Scale AI has created for Flexport, customers eliminate delays in drayage caused by paperwork issues.

“The moment you have any conflicting information across your documents, you are increasing the chance of containers being opened by customs, and that has incredibly downstream metric effects on your trucks, the warehouses waiting for the goods and overall decreasing customer sentiment,” said Tokmak.

Delays for reshuffling

A study by Assistant Professor Amir Gharehgozli at Texas A&M University found that one of the biggest delays in maritime shipping comes from reshuffling or shifting containers at ports of destination.

Gharehgozli, an industrial engineer, found that the more dedicated the stack of containers was to a specific destination, the fewer reshuffles were needed throughout that ship’s journey.

Turning this concept into a technology solution is the drayage platform EDRAY, which uses the volume leverage of its customers’ containers to stack all of those containers together, enabling the company to optimize the carrier capacity needed to make these pickups.

“Let’s say a company has 200 containers coming in this week. Now they are teaming up with other shippers to bring in 1,000 containers and combine all of the drayage carriers available, bringing more capacity for a more efficient pickup without having to wait and incur detention fees,” said industry entrepreneur Andrew Leto, who recently invested $7 million in the platform.

Related article: EDRAY receives $7M to improve port logistics through flow stacking

Solving the stacking problem alone has improved customers’ drayage processes by 40%, according to EDRAY. 

Leto noted that while shippers are happy about the improvements, carriers get to participate in a more efficient drayage community.

“You now have all these drayage shippers teaming up with a lot more freight to offer these carriers, reducing costs for them and giving carriers more business to choose from,” Leto said.

Carrier capacity

While capacity is tight in all areas of transportation, lack of capacity to pick up container shipments creates a problem for the global shipping community. If a container is not picked up on time, it not only incurs detention costs, but it adds to the global container shortage, affecting prices all over the world.

Rates in dollars per FEU. Chart: FreightWaves SONAR (To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

The importance of having capacity available at all times spurred the recent partnerships between Flexport and the digital freight network Convoy. Many of Flexport’s customers were using Convoy to facilitate these drayage pickups, so the two companies integrated their systems to create full visibility of a shipment from its international origins to its final delivery destination, all in one location.

“Flexport’s goal is to make global transport easy and accessible for everyone. In doing so they’re trying to solve their customer problems like capacity. … I think that common passion for not building technology for technology’s sake, but building towards this common mission of making things better for customers, is what drives our partnership,” said Convoy President and COO Mark Okerstrom.

Other companies, like visibility platform Terminal49, have leveraged drayage carrier relationships to offer capacity strategy tools that other companies do not have enough experience to build.

CEO Akshay Dodeja explained that after building a successful drayage company, he was able to develop relationships with various ports and the regional capacity providers, enabling him to optimize their asset volume for his customers’ drayage pickups.

“We took our carriers and turned them into partners,” he said. “Our trucks got the software for free, and it allows them to access the cargo for importers, ranging from five to 200 containers a month. Their operations teams now have the tools and data to expedite cargo pickups and eliminate extra charges, reducing their overall drayage costs.”

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The Log Book is a weekly rundown of human-interest stories related to the transportation industry. This week: Bestpass employees raise funds for diabetes research and DriverReach partners with behavioral software to reach nontraditional driver candidates.

Bestpass’ Tour de Cure raises funds for diabetes research

The comprehensive payment platform Bestpass announced this week its employees, customers and partners raised $7,926 to support the American Diabetes Association (ADA) as it continues to provide educational resources and research programs to improve the lives of those affected by the disease.

The event Tour de Cure was created by the company’s employee-led committee Bestpass Gives. The group aims to build relationships across Bestpass’ departments by coming together to identify ways the company can give back to the community each quarter.

Bestpass Gives chose the ADA to support the high number of truck drivers affected by the disease. 

“With some studies showing that there is a 50 percent higher occurrence of diabetes for professional truckers than the overall national average, the American Diabetes Association and its good work is a natural fit for our community efforts,” said Bestpass CEO Tom Fogarty. 

The virtual bike race included customers and partners from around the country with 48 employees participating from the company. Three of those employees were honored as Champions to Stop Diabetes after raising over $1,000 for the event.

“I’m so pleased by all of the efforts by the Bestpass family to impact our communities for the better. We fielded a passionate, committed team to participate in the Tour de Cure this year, which enabled us to exceed our fundraising goal for the ADA Upstate New York chapter,” said Fogarty. “I am thankful to the ADA for the opportunity to work towards a healthier world, and Bestpass salutes the inspired efforts of our employees, customers, and partners in coming together for this awesome cause.”

DriverReach partners with JOBehaviors to find nontraditional candidates

In an effort to improve its customers’ recruiting and hiring efforts, hiring solutions provider DriverReach has partnered with assessment and analytics provider JOBehaviors to better assess available driver candidates.

“This integration will speed up the process for trucking company recruiters, and the mobile-friendly application will make it easier for drivers to get hired. By integrating the JOBehaviors solution with our system, we’re providing a more seamless process that will improve hiring success and driver satisfaction,” said Benton Landers, manager of strategic partnerships at DriverReach, in the release.

With just a 10-minute JOBehaviors assessment for applicants, recruiters will receive a behavioral rating for candidates enabling them to focus on those with the highest potential for success. The assessment has been especially helpful in identifying nontraditional hires within transportation.

“A challenge for many driver recruiters is in having the tools to identify quality candidates instead of people who may meet the minimum qualifications for a job but end up being poor performers,” said Mark Tinney, president of JOBehaviors. “With our behavior analytics, DriverReach customers can look beyond standard performance metrics when reviewing candidates to recruit drivers using a predictive measure of their performance potential.”

Want to learn more about how DriverReach manages its driver recruiting process and other challenges related to driver hiring and retention?

Check out its founder and CEO Jeremy Reymer on FreightWaves’ podcast, “Taking the Hire Road” as he explores the trending topics within driver recruitment!

.kt-btns_8dcfcf-02 .kt-btn-wrap-0 {margin-right:5px;}.kt-btns_8dcfcf-02 .kt-btn-wrap-0 .kt-button {color:#ffffff;background:rgba(52, 117, 182, 1);border-color:rgba(85, 85, 85, 1);}.kt-btns_8dcfcf-02 .kt-btn-wrap-0 .kt-button:hover, .kt-btns_8dcfcf-02 .kt-btn-wrap-0 .kt-button:focus {color:#ffffff;border-color:rgba(68, 68, 68, 1);}.kt-btns_8dcfcf-02 .kt-btn-wrap-0 .kt-button::before {display:none;}.kt-btns_8dcfcf-02 .kt-btn-wrap-0 .kt-button:hover, .kt-btns_8dcfcf-02 .kt-btn-wrap-0 .kt-button:focus {background:rgba(68, 68, 68, 1);}@media (min-width: 768px) and (max-width: 1024px) {.kt-btns_8dcfcf-02 .kt-btn-wrap-0 .kt-button {}}@media (max-width: 767px) {.kt-btns_8dcfcf-02 .kt-btn-wrap-0 .kt-button {}}

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Truck drivers question whether they are legally allowed to drive if sleep apnea device is recalledTruck drivers question whether they are legally allowed to drive if sleep apnea device is recalled

Nearly 4 million of Philips’ flagship DreamStation devices used to treat obstructive sleep apnea have been recalled in the U.S. and Canada, leaving professional truck drivers with questions about whether they can continue to drive legally without their Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machines.

Oregon-based truck driver Gerry Shelton filed a class action complaint against Koninklijke Philips N.V., Philips North America LLC and Philips RS North America LLC (Philips) in late June. 

According to court filings, Shelton claims he had to stop driving because he “cannot drive with untreated sleep apnea” after the DreamStation BiPAP machine that he purchased in 2020 was recalled. The recall by Philips Respironics states that some of its sleep and respiratory care machines, including a number of its mechanical ventilators, manufactured before April 26, 2021, contain polyester-based polyurethane foam, known as PE-PUR,  for sound abatement. The company said this foam, which can break down and be inhaled or ingested, could result in “serious injury which can be life-threatening or cause permanent impairment.”

Shelton claims that he went into atrial fibrillation because he is unable “to get sufficient sleep without the use of an appropriate device to help him breathe properly,” according to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Duane DeBruyne, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spokesman, said treatment is in fact required for some drivers to continue driving.

“Understanding that every situation is unique, for many commercial drivers with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), their underlying USDOT medical certificate requires treatment in order to remain valid,” DeBruyne told FreightWaves. “For those drivers affected by the recall, in order to maintain the validity of their USDOT medical certificate, we urge them to work with their medical providers to find alternatives wherever possible — and for CPAP manufacturers to provide all available assistance to drivers impacted by recalls.”

Click here to find out if your Philips CPAP or BiPAP machine has been recalled.

The website, CPAP.com, recently posted an article answering questions about what truck drivers diagnosed with moderate to severe sleep apnea must do to maintain compliance with the FMCSA to keep their DOT-issued medical cards. 

Philips’ recall notice advised customers using affected CPAP and BiPAP products to discontinue use of the device and work with their physicians or durable medical equipment providers “to determine the most appropriate options for continued treatment.”

As part of the company’s repair and replacement program, it states that “the first-generation DreamStation product families will be modified with a different sound abatement foam and shipped upon receipt of the required regulatory clearances.”

However, the company has not set a timeline for when the recalled breathing machines will be repaired. 

In April, Philips launched its DreamStation 2 platform that doesn’t contain PE-PUR sound abatement foam.

This is part of FreightWaves’ AskWaves series. If you have a question for our editorial team to explore, click here. For more AskWaves articles, click here.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Clarissa Hawes

Do you have a story to share? Send me an email here. Your name will not be used in a follow-up article without your permission. 

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Truck drivers question whether they are legally allowed to drive if sleep apnea device is recalledTruck drivers question whether they are legally allowed to drive if sleep apnea device is recalled

Nearly 4 million of Philips’ flagship DreamStation devices used to treat obstructive sleep apnea have been recalled in the U.S. and Canada, leaving professional truck drivers with questions about whether they can continue to drive legally without their Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machines.

Oregon-based truck driver Gerry Shelton filed a class action complaint against Koninklijke Philips N.V., Philips North America LLC and Philips RS North America LLC (Philips) in late June. 

According to court filings, Shelton claims he had to stop driving because he “cannot drive with untreated sleep apnea” after the DreamStation BiPAP machine that he purchased in 2020 was recalled. The recall by Philips Respironics states that some of its sleep and respiratory care machines, including a number of its mechanical ventilators, manufactured before April 26, 2021, contain polyester-based polyurethane foam, known as PE-PUR,  for sound abatement. The company said this foam, which can break down and be inhaled or ingested, could result in “serious injury which can be life-threatening or cause permanent impairment.”

Shelton claims that he went into atrial fibrillation because he is unable “to get sufficient sleep without the use of an appropriate device to help him breathe properly,” according to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Duane DeBruyne, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spokesman, said treatment is in fact required for some drivers to continue driving.

“Understanding that every situation is unique, for many commercial drivers with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), their underlying USDOT medical certificate requires treatment in order to remain valid,” DeBruyne told FreightWaves. “For those drivers affected by the recall, in order to maintain the validity of their USDOT medical certificate, we urge them to work with their medical providers to find alternatives wherever possible — and for CPAP manufacturers to provide all available assistance to drivers impacted by recalls.”

Click here to find out if your Philips CPAP or BiPAP machine has been recalled.

The website, CPAP.com, recently posted an article answering questions about what truck drivers diagnosed with moderate to severe sleep apnea must do to maintain compliance with the FMCSA to keep their DOT-issued medical cards. 

Philips’ recall notice advised customers using affected CPAP and BiPAP products to discontinue use of the device and work with their physicians or durable medical equipment providers “to determine the most appropriate options for continued treatment.”

As part of the company’s repair and replacement program, it states that “the first-generation DreamStation product families will be modified with a different sound abatement foam and shipped upon receipt of the required regulatory clearances.”

However, the company has not set a timeline for when the recalled breathing machines will be repaired. 

In April, Philips launched its DreamStation 2 platform that doesn’t contain PE-PUR sound abatement foam.

This is part of FreightWaves’ AskWaves series. If you have a question for our editorial team to explore, click here. For more AskWaves articles, click here.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Clarissa Hawes

Do you have a story to share? Send me an email here. Your name will not be used in a follow-up article without your permission. 

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Cognitive Testing with DriverCheck

Bruce talks with Chris Wilkinson of DriverCheck about their cognitive testing program and the benefits to trucking companies to helping their drivers stay healthy and reduce incidents with a cognitive testing program. You can learn the details of the program at www.drivercheck.ca

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.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

 

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Front half of a white Air Canada jet, view from the side, with a cargo pallet in the foreground.Front half of a white Air Canada jet, view from the side, with a cargo pallet in the foreground.

Hampered by strict government border restrictions, Air Canada disappointed investors with a US$918.3 million loss in the second quarter, but the cargo division did better than expected with a record $274 million in revenue.

Cargo sales for the period ending June 30 were 33% greater than in 2020 and double the amount in 2019, before the pandemic.

Air Canada (OTCUS: ACDVF) was one of the most aggressive passenger carriers to shift to dedicated cargo operations when global cargo capacity plummeted 16 months ago and rates shot up with normal passenger services scuttled by the pandemic. And it was one of the first carriers to modify passenger aircraft for carrying extra freight by removing seats from the cabin

Since the start of the pandemic, Air Canada has operated more than 10,000 cargo-only flights. Scheduled and on-demand cargo services are available to more than 30 cities worldwide on Boeing 777 and 787-9 widebody jets, as well as Airbus A300s. Seven aircraft have had seats removed and can hold boxes on the main deck.

A total of 3,257 all-cargo flights were operated in the second quarter of 2021 with all-cargo revenue representing 67% of total cargo revenues for the quarter.

First-half cargo revenue grew 53% to $489 million compared to the same period a year ago and 80% versus 2019. And sequentially, Air Canada’s cargo revenue increased $59 million from the first quarter. Gains over 2020 were due to increased traffic because yields were down 26%. Yield comparisons are unfavorable due to a short abnormal spike in rates a year ago when there was global panic buying of personal protective equipment and other COVID-related supplies.

The strong showing of Air Canada Cargo, combined with hypergrowth in e-commerce and forecasts for 4% to 6% compound annual growth rates for air cargo overall, motivated management late last year to change its business model and operate a pure freighter fleet in parallel with passenger services.

Air Canada is planning an all-cargo fleet of eight aircraft and plans to have two 767 freighters in service during the fourth quarter. The company is using 767s from its own fleet that have outlived their usefulness hauling passengers. It has already identified preliminary destinations they will serve, including Miami, Mexico and South America.

“We’re tremendously proud of the strongest quarterly results Air Canada Cargo has ever seen, which are a testament to our continued efforts to maintain stable and consistent capacity flows for our customers across the globe through cargo-only flying,” said Matthieu Casey, who was promoted in May to senior director of cargo global sales and revenue optimization, in a statement. 

Overall, Air Canada’s operating revenue ($640.5 million) was down 82% from 2019 levels, with capacity down 86%. The company said it was still burning $9 million per day. The airline was handcuffed by government bans on nonessential travel and foreign nationals entering the country, as well as a 14-day quarantine requirement for returning Canadians.

The results are in stark contrast to the major U.S. airlines that have seen leisure travel rebound to near-2019 levels, are at — or near — breakeven and expect to have positive operating income in the third quarter thanks to the world’s most rapid COVID immunization campaign, a huge domestic market and fewer cross-border restrictions.

With Canada starting to reopen its economy, Air Canada executives are projecting a better third quarter.

Vaccination rates in Canada are increasing and the government’s loosening of travel restrictions in June, including the elimination of the quarantine period for fully vaccinated Canadians, has led to a significant increase in bookings. Further increases are anticipated once restrictions on travel between the U.S. and Canada go into effect Aug. 9.

Air Canada’s guidance for the third quarter calls for capacity to improve to 65% below 2019 and daily cash burn to decrease to between $3.4 million and $4.5 million.

Last week’s announcement of an enhanced summer schedule coincides with the loosening of restrictions and includes 55 routes and 34 destinations in the U.S.

“We’re relieved to see our passenger network starting to rebuild and continue to provide cargo-only flying in markets where capacity is still constrained. With the arrival of our first 767 freighters in Q4, the combination of these, our continued cargo-only flying and passenger flights resuming paints a strong portrait for the rest of the year,” Casey said.

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

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Cognitive Testing with DriverCheck

Bruce talks with Chris Wilkinson of DriverCheck about their cognitive testing program and the benefits to trucking companies to helping their drivers stay healthy and reduce incidents with a cognitive testing program. You can learn the details of the program at www.drivercheck.ca

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.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

 

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Missouri-based TDC acquired by Paschall Truck LinesMissouri-based TDC acquired by Paschall Truck Lines

Paschall Truck Lines parent Interstate Personnel Services (IPS) announced Thursday the recent acquisition of dry van carrier Transport Distribution Co. (TDC) and a related business.

Founded in 1985, Joplin, Missouri-based TDC provides regional service in the central U.S., including the Midwest. The carrier has a fleet of 141 power units, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

“TDC’s regional coverage, focus on safety, providing high level service, disciplined management style, and family culture are exactly what we are looking for as we build and increase overall capacity solutions for truckload shippers in the USA,” said Dave Gibbs, IPS president and CEO.

TDC will retain its brand and operate as a separate segment of IPS. TDC President Regan Stephens will continue to run the fleet.

“We believe this should be a very positive transaction with minimal revenue churn,” Gibbs added.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“The timing was right for some of our family to retire out of TDC, and the geographical fit was perfect between our companies,” Stephens said.

IPS transferred 100% of its stock to employees through an employee stock ownership plan in 2013, which Stephens credited as a reason to sell to IPS. “The fact that our TDC people got to become part of an ESOP was a great benefit. The reasons that make this right for our people kept piling up.” 

Trucking M&A has been used by some as a growth outlet due to headwinds recruiting and retaining drivers. Deal flow has been high throughout the pandemic among smaller fleets, but the larger carriers are becoming more active.

So far in July, two large deals have been recorded. Knight-Swift Transportation (NYSE: KNX) acquired less-than-truckload carrier AAA Cooper in a $1.35 billion transaction, and Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN) purchased a majority stake in two regional carriers for $142 million.

Founded in 1937, Murray, Kentucky-based IPS is the parent company of the Paschall companies, which include logistics and trailer leasing operations. The combined group operates a fleet of more than 1,000 trucks and 3,000 trailers, providing one-way, dedicated, regional and long-haul TL services in the U.S. and Mexico.

TDC was represented in the transaction by Transport Capital Partners.  

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

Rss

Cognitive Testing with DriverCheck

Bruce talks with Chris Wilkinson of DriverCheck about their cognitive testing program and the benefits to trucking companies to helping their drivers stay healthy and reduce incidents with a cognitive testing program. You can learn the details of the program at www.drivercheck.ca

About the Show

JOIN THE LEAD PEDAL PODCAST FAN CLUB www.TheLeadPedalPodcastFanClub.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

 

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Missouri-based TDC acquired by Paschall Truck LinesMissouri-based TDC acquired by Paschall Truck Lines

Paschall Truck Lines parent Interstate Personnel Services (IPS) announced Thursday the recent acquisition of dry van carrier Transport Distribution Co. (TDC) and a related business.

Founded in 1985, Joplin, Missouri-based TDC provides regional service in the central U.S., including the Midwest. The carrier has a fleet of 141 power units, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

“TDC’s regional coverage, focus on safety, providing high level service, disciplined management style, and family culture are exactly what we are looking for as we build and increase overall capacity solutions for truckload shippers in the USA,” said Dave Gibbs, IPS president and CEO.

TDC will retain its brand and operate as a separate segment of IPS. TDC President Regan Stephens will continue to run the fleet.

“We believe this should be a very positive transaction with minimal revenue churn,” Gibbs added.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“The timing was right for some of our family to retire out of TDC, and the geographical fit was perfect between our companies,” Stephens said.

IPS transferred 100% of its stock to employees through an employee stock ownership plan in 2013, which Stephens credited as a reason to sell to IPS. “The fact that our TDC people got to become part of an ESOP was a great benefit. The reasons that make this right for our people kept piling up.” 

Trucking M&A has been used by some as a growth outlet due to headwinds recruiting and retaining drivers. Deal flow has been high throughout the pandemic among smaller fleets, but the larger carriers are becoming more active.

So far in July, two large deals have been recorded. Knight-Swift Transportation (NYSE: KNX) acquired less-than-truckload carrier AAA Cooper in a $1.35 billion transaction, and Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ: WERN) purchased a majority stake in two regional carriers for $142 million.

Founded in 1937, Murray, Kentucky-based IPS is the parent company of the Paschall companies, which include logistics and trailer leasing operations. The combined group operates a fleet of more than 1,000 trucks and 3,000 trailers, providing one-way, dedicated, regional and long-haul TL services in the U.S. and Mexico.

TDC was represented in the transaction by Transport Capital Partners.  

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

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Same gig, My rig

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Note: This file updated July 23 at 5:40 p.m. ET with an additional source confirming information and adding more details.

A significant number of employees at logistics telematics company Omnitracs and SaaS provider DealerSocket were laid off this week, two months after both companies were acquired by Solera Holdings Inc. Many other employees received 90-day notices in a massive restructuring plan by Solera, a major player in risk and asset management data and software.

A project manager at DealerSocket said more than 200 people are being laid off from his company, and that potentially up to 35% of all staff from both companies had been let go. The source also said that multiple executives were laid off.

Another source at DealerSocket that contacted FreightWaves said that the immediate total of layoffs was approximately 190, with another 160 layoffs scheduled for Oct. 22. The source said the entire C-suite — except for two sales executives from DealerSocket’s acquisition of Automate in 2020 — were let go, and that the entire technical leadership for that product as well as DealerSocket’s Inventory+ product are now gone.

“The layoffs cut deep,” the source said.

Ray Greer no longer is the CEO at Omnitracs, according to his LinkedIn profile. DealerSocket CEO Sejal Chokshi Pietrzak’s LinkedIn profile has not changed, although the source said Pietrzak was also among the layoffs. FreightWaves reached out to both but had not received a response as of Thursday evening.

Officials at all three companies either did not respond to requests for comment or were not willing to discuss details. “We decline to comment at this time,” said an Omnitracs representative.

While the number of layoffs has yet to be confirmed, Omnitracs and DealerSocket had a combined total of 2,445 employees, according to Pitchbook. If the 35% figure is accurate, then approximately 860 employees are losing their jobs. Another source said at least 25% were being laid off, which would make the total closer to 610.

On Monday, employees at both acquired companies were called into department meetings and laid off without warning by direct company officials, including Solera representatives.

“My manager … explained that they are trying to align the companies, and in doing so, they have eliminated our positions,” the former project manager at DealerSocket told FreightWaves.

“Then someone from HR at Solera talked about our options and that we would be given a severance package in the mail but gave no details as to what that would entail. They did the same thing to the sales and customer success teams.

“They just went to every team department and dropped the hammer.”

Another source indicated that tech support, engineering and operations for every produce “were hit and several were totally gutted.” The source added, “Those products are living on borrowed time; they won’t have enough bodies to manage new development and are going to work the remaining people until they quit just trying to keep the lights blinking.”

While some employees were laid off immediately, others were given 90-day notices of future separation in order to help in a “transition of knowledge” to Omnitracs and DealerSocket nearshoring sites in India.

“Someone from my team was told she had until Oct. 22 for her separation but was told no specifics other than that. They don’t have any assignments and they don’t have any projects or directions given to them,” explained the project manager.

“I heard the engineering team [at DealerSocket] was told if they were in the United States, you have 90 days before they move the engineering team outside of the U.S. to India.”

Texas-based Solera announced on May 17 that it was acquiring Omnitracs and DealerSocket, moves that the company said at the time would build upon its strategy to “minimize complexity and reduce friction at all touchpoints in the vehicle lifecycle with fully integrated intelligent technology platforms.”

Solera CEO Darko Dejanovic added that “these highly strategic acquisitions will enable us to expand into adjacent verticals and capitalize on emerging trends in our industry.”

Said Pietrzak in the press release, “We are thrilled to join the Solera team.”

On June 7, the acquisitions of Omnitracs and DealerSocket — as well as eDriving, a digital driver risk management partner — were completed.

Six weeks later, many of the employees are now looking for work.

While the project manager said he understood that these situations arise during acquisition transitions, he felt slighted by the approach taken by Solera’s leaders.

“I have been a part of this situation before, but I have never gone through something of this magnitude,” he said. “The manner in which they did the separation was brutal and they had no rhyme or reason for how they chose who would stay and it was not very sincere. It was very cold. ‘Thank you and see you later’ — without the thank you.”

All three companies are in the portfolio of Vista Equity Partners, and the relationship has been a messy one, to say the least.

Solera, at $4.8 billion in debt, was acquired by Vista Equity to go private for $6.5 billion in 2016, including debt. 

Vista Equity acquired Omnitracs from Qualcomm Inc. for $800 million in 2013. Since then, there have been attempts to sell Omnitracs, which now has $900 million in debt, according to Bloomberg data.

DealerSocket was acquired by Vista Equity in 2014 for an undisclosed amount, though estimates put the figure at approximately $387 million.

Directors from Solera and DealerSocket have sued Vista Equity for allegedly steering them away from acquisitions to push off its poor-performing assets. 

In 2019, Solera sued Vista, claiming it blocked an acquisition to acquire Omnitracs, and in 2020, DealerSocket sued Vista for value manipulation and shareholder oppression when attempting to acquire Auto/Mate.

Both lawsuits were settled out of court in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

In March, the three portfolio companies were rumored to be combining to be acquired by the special-purpose acquisition company Apollo Strategic Growth Capital (NYSE:APSG), with the transaction potentially valued at $15 billion.

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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

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Transplace, as a provider of managed transportation services through its transportation management systems, is viewed as a “shipper down” operation, providing services to companies looking to move freight to market and having decided to turn over that task to a company like Transplace.

Uber Freight, in contrast, is seen as a company that comes to market with a platform primarily aimed at carriers looking to more efficiently find trucks that can move freight.

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The seller of Transplace is TPG Capital, a private equity firm.

Frank McGuigan, the CEO of Transplace, said Transplace received interest in being acquired through all of 2020, and “decided to listen to offers in the first half of this year.”

With three different PE companies already having been owners, getting flipped to a fourth had limited appeal, he said. “We were at a point where we need to do something transformative,” he said. 

Ryan Schreiber, the director of engagement with the transportation technology consulting firm CarrierDirect, said the motivations of the two companies in the deal were clear.

For Uber Freight, acquiring Transplace provides a foothold into securing business that is now moved as managed transportation. “It’s an entirely new line of business that is more stable and more transparent,” Schreiber said. He said Uber Freight management clearly believes that they can apply its digital brokerage technology to a “relatively high-margin business.” Uber Freight’s model does not easily lend itself to securing managed freight into its system; Schreiber said that can change with the acquisition of Transplace, referring to “all that spot freight.”

For Transplace, Schreiber said, the ability to merge its technology with Uber Freight’s technology is key. Uber Freight’s technology has some advantages over that at Transplace, and “getting in bed” with Uber Freight provides access to that technology, along with the possibility of injecting more capital into technology development. 

This is not a small deal. Beyond the multibillion-dollar price, Uber Freight’s presentation on the deal provided to investors shows the size of Transplace.  While the presentation did not disclose Transplace’s revenue specifically, it did say it has had a 15% compound annual revenue growth rate (CAGR) since 2017. Its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization has grown to an annual run rate of more than $100 million in the first quarter from $54 million for all of 2017. 

If it’s rounded down to $100 million, the sales price marks a 22.5 times multiple to EBITDA for Transplace, an extremely strong number. 

McGuigan, the CEO of Transplace, referred to Uber Freight’s technology as a key reason to sell the company. He cited its “deep data science capability.” And along the theme of customer focus, he mentioned Uber Freight’s “strong national commercial presence.” 

“To me, all those are complementary to what we’re trying to do, which is to build an incredible shipper platform to the benefit of the entire community,” McGuigan said in an interview with FreightWaves. “Uber Freight is doing the same thing. It’s just that they’re doing it from the carrier up and we’re doing it from shipper down.”

McGuigan was asked whether the integration with Uber Freight might mean a cutback in the human brokerage presence at Transplace, replaced by the algorithms that drive Uber Freight. His response: “No way.”

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In the presentation, Uber Freight said it expects adjusted EBITDA at Uber Freight would be positive by the fourth quarter of next year, propelled in part by the Transplace acquisition.

“Significant additional net run-rate synergies of $40 million [are] expected to be realized 12-24 months from transaction close,” the presentation said.

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In a recent FreightWaves Classics article the history of White Motor Company was profiled. Today, the history of Mack Trucks is featured. Much of the information in this article came from the Mack Trucks website; FreightWaves Classics thanks Mack Trucks and the Mack Trucks Historical Museum. The museum is located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and it is the authority regarding the history of Mack Trucks. The museum has restored antiques and records of every truck the company has ever built. It is currently closed, but those interested should check the museum’s websites for updates on its reopening. In the meantime, virtual tours of the museum are available.

Exhibits at the Mack Trucks Historical Museum. (Photo: Mack Trucks Historical Museum)
Exhibits at the Mack Trucks Historical Museum. (Photo: Mack Trucks Historical Museum)

Overview

Founded in 1900 in Brooklyn, New York, as the Mack Brothers Company, Mack Trucks, Inc. is a global leader in heavy-duty trucks. Mack produced its first truck in 1907.

The Mack Brothers Company moved its headquarters to Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1905, and changed its name to Mack Trucks, Inc. in 1922. 

Mack’s full line of products is assembled near its former Allentown headquarters in Macungie, Pennsylvania. According to the Mack website, “engines and transmissions for the North American market are built at its powertrain facility” in Hagerstown, Maryland. The company is a major manufacturer of heavy-duty Class 8 trucks, engines and transmissions. 

In addition to its U.S. base, Mack trucks are sold and serviced in more than 45 countries worldwide. The company has an assembly plant in Australia to manufacture parts for right-hand drive vehicles that are then distributed worldwide. Mack also ships components to its South American assembly plant in Venezuela for final assembly. 

Volvo truck in final assembly
Volvo Group siblings Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks became the first heavy-duty manufacturers to idle U.S. production because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: FreightWaves/Alan Adler)

The company was purchased by Volvo Group in 2000. Volvo Group is a global leader in the  manufacturing and sales of trucks, buses, construction equipment, marine and industrial engines. In 2009, Mack’s primary corporate offices were moved to Volvo’s North American headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina.

While Mack Trucks is very successful and part of an international manufacturer that is also successful, the road between 1900 and now was not always without potholes…

Early history

(Photo: Mack Trucks)

The Mack Truck story began 10 years before the company was founded, when John (Jack) Mack was hired by Fallesen & Berry, a Brooklyn carriage and wagon manufacturer. Three years later, in 1893, Jack Mack and one of his brothers (Augustus, or Gus) bought Fallesen & Berry. The next year, William, another Mack brother, joined Jack and Gus in the company. Collectively, they tinkered with steam- and electric-powered automobiles. 

In 1900, the Mack brothers opened their first bus manufacturing facility. They delivered the first “Mack bus” to a sightseeing company. Mack Brothers began using the brand name “Manhattan” on its products in 1904.

As outlined above, the company moved its headquarters from Brooklyn to Allentown in 1905. That same year, a fourth Mack brother (Joseph) became a stockholder in the company. Also in 1905 the company began manufacturing railcars and locomotives. Then Mack manufactured a 1.5-ton truck in 1909.

By 1910, the company rebadged the Manhattan-brand trucks as “Mack” trucks. Also that year, the fifth Mack brother (Charles) joined the company and Mack delivered its first motorized hook and ladder fire truck to the city of Morristown, New Jersey.

This Mack truck was used by Texaco. Note the chain drive at the rear wheel. (Photo: Mack Trucks)
This Mack truck was used by Texaco. Note the chain drive at the rear wheel. (Photo: Mack Trucks)

International Motor Company

In August 1911, the Mack brothers sold the company. The International Motor Company was created as a holding company for the Mack Brothers Motor Car Company and the Saurer Motor Company, another truck manufacturer that had a plant in Plainfield, New Jersey. The two truck manufacturing companies continued as distinct organizations. However, the sales and service of Mack and Saurer trucks were combined as a holding company function. International Motor Company continued to manufacture and sell trucks with the Saurer brand name until 1918. 

John and Joseph Mack, who had become directors of the International Motor Company when they sold Mack Brothers, left the company in 1912. In 1914, the year that World War I began, the Mack ABs were introduced. The truck was the company’s first standardized, high-volume model. The first Mack ABs were equipped with a chain (or worm) drive. In 1920, a dual reduction drive replaced the chain drive. The Mack AB was a medium-duty truck and was modified many times over the years. Its production run extended from 1914-1936; more than 55,000 Mack ABs were built during that period.

In 1916 the famous AC model Mack Truck was introduced. It had a chain drive rear axle and earned a reputation for reliability and durability. According to the Mack Truck history page, the AC “was called on to help accomplish nearly impossible military and civilian tasks.” Over 40,000 Model AC trucks were built over a 24-year continuous manufacturing cycle. This truck is credited for “giving Mack its famous Bulldog identity, but also with achieving a degree of success and international fame that has never been accomplished by any other motor truck in history.”

An early use of the Mack "bull dog" logo under the International Motor Co. ownership. (Image: Mack Trucks)
An early use of the Mack “bull dog” logo under the International Motor Co. ownership. (Image: Mack Trucks)

The Bulldog

During the war, Mack built approximately 4,500 AC trucks (3.5-, 5.5- and 7.5-ton capacity) for the U.S. military. It also built over 2,000 of the ACs for the armed forces of the United Kingdom. According to Mack Truck historians, it is the English that gave the Mack Truck its famous nickname and symbol.

A Mack armored vehicle used in World War I. (Photo: Mack Trucks)
A Mack armored vehicle used in World War I. (Photo: Mack Trucks)

According to Mack, British soldiers (known as “Tommies”) would call out “Aye, send in the Mack Bulldogs!” when facing a difficult trucking task. More to the point, British engineers testing ACs and British soldiers in France said that “the Mack ACs have the tenacity of a bulldog.” At that time, the bulldog was the symbol of Great Britain, so being compared to a bulldog was very flattering. American soldiers in World War I were called “Doughboys,” and they shared the opinions of their British allies when it came to the capabilities of the ACs used in combat areas. 

In 1918 Mack was the first manufacturer to fit trucks with air cleaners and oil filters after company engineers understood the fuel and maintenance savings these products generated. 

Crossing a "bridge" during the 1919 transcontinental convoy. (Photo: IN.gov)
Crossing a “bridge” during the 1919 transcontinental convoy. (Photo: IN.gov)

Post-World War I

Following World War I the U.S. Army was studying the need for and the feasibility of a national  highway system. In 1919, a certain Major Dwight D. Eisenhower served on the Transcontinental Motor Convoy, an army vehicle exercise that traveled from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco at a pace of 5 mph.  Mack trucks were used for the convoy, which was  designed both as a training event and as a way to publicize the need for better roads. It spurred a number of states to increase funding for road-building. Eisenhower’s experience in the convoy would later influence his decision to help create the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s.

The company’s name was changed in 1922 to Mack Trucks, Inc. Capitalizing on the comparisons of its trucks to the tenacity of bulldogs earned in World War I, a bulldog was chosen as the company’s corporate symbol. Ten years later, Mack’s chief engineer, Alfred Masury, carved Mack’s first bulldog hood ornament. He applied for and received a U.S. patent for his design; the bulldog hood ornament has been on Mack trucks ever since.

The first use of the bulldog symbol was a sheet metal plate riveted to each side of a Mack truck cab. The first plates spelled “bulldog” as two words; the bull dog was shown chewing a book entitled “Hauling Costs.” The dog had “Mack” printed on his collar.

Improvements to the trucks

The company made many mechanical and systems improvements to its trucks in the early 1920s. Mack introduced power brakes on its trucks in 1920. Then Mack engineers began to use rubber isolators to cushion mounting chassis components in 1921. This so improved shock resistance that the Rubber Shock Insulator Company was established to license the use of the technology by other automotive and truck manufacturers. In 1922 Mack was the first company to use a drive shaft instead of chain drive on a truck. 

An early Mack truck. (Photo: Mack Trucks Historical Museum)
An early Mack truck. (Photo: Mack Trucks Historical Museum)

In 1927 Mack introduced the Mack BJ and BB models, the first of the “early B Series.” These were Mack’s first trucks that met the growing need for trucks with more hauling capacity and that could operate at a higher speed. The use of trucks to haul freight instead of shipping via railroads was growing, and the nation’s road infrastructure was slowly improving. More than 15,000 of these trucks were built between their introduction and 1941. 

Over a 15-year period (1929-1944) Mack manufactured over 2,600 semi- or full trailers. Mack’s full trailers came in two versions – non-reversible or reversible. The non-reversible trailers were built with a rear axle that was solidly fastened and a draw bar on the front; the trailer could only be pulled in one direction. The reversible trailers had similar axle arrangements at each end. This meant that either end could be fastened in a stationary position; the draw bar could then be fastened to the trailer’s other end, allowing either end to be the front of the unit.

The 1930s

As President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal began in 1933, Mack Trucks were utilized in numerous major construction projects of the Work Projects Administration, including construction of the Hoover Dam.

A Mack dump truck from the early 1930s, Trucks like this were used to haul materials for the building of the Hoover Dam. (Photo: Mack Trucks)
A Mack dump truck from the early 1930s, Trucks like this were used to haul materials for the building of the Hoover Dam.
(Photo: Mack Trucks)

Mack introduced a new series of trucks in 1936. Its E series consisted of “streamlined, medium-duty trucks.” The E trucks had gross vehicle weight ratings of as much as 23,000 pounds. Mack offered the E trucks in either conventional or cab-over-engine configurations. Mack manufactured the various E series trucks through 1951 and built over 78,000 of them.

From 1938 to 1944, Mack built the ED model. About 2,700 of this three-quarter ton truck were sold. From 1926 to 1979 the company built a variety of off-highway or mine trucks. They ranged in capacity from 15 tons to 100 tons.

A 1930s Mack truck used by an express service company. (Photo: Mack Trucks)
A 1930s Mack truck used by an express service company. (Photo: Mack Trucks)

In the late 1930s Mack was among the first manufacturers to equip its heavy-duty trucks with a four-wheel braking system. The brakes increased safety and the ability of a driver to more easily brake a heavily loaded vehicle. Mack was the first manufacturer to “design and build its own heavy-duty diesel engines” in 1938. 

From 1936 to 1938 Mack sold trucks branded “Mack Jr.” However, the trucks were not built by Mack; they were built by the REO Motor Car Company to Mack specifications. Nearly 5,000 of these chassis were manufactured and sold. 

World War II

A Mack truck built for the U.S. military for use during World War II. (Photo: Mack Trucks)
A Mack truck built for the U.S. military for use during World War II. (Photo: Mack Trucks)

During World War II, Mack built a variety of heavy-duty trucks for the Allies. From 1941 to 1945, Mack delivered over 35,000 vehicles to the armed forces of the United States, Great Britain, France and Canada. The majority of the vehicles (almost 27,000) were from the Combat N Series (NB, NJU, NM, NO, NR, etc.). These specialty vehicles included prime movers, personnel carriers, wreckers and tank transporters. The remainder were vehicles that were commercial in design but used for war-related purposes including heavy-duty trucks, off-highway vehicles, fire trucks, trailers and buses. A major military contractor, Mack Trucks ranked 63rd among U.S. corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.

Post-war events 

After World War II, Mack went back to building commercial trucks. Among them was the Mack L series. These heavy-duty trucks were introduced in 1940, but because of the war were not mass-produced for several years. Trucks built on the L design (which was improved throughout its production) were sold until 1956. Certain models in the L series were built with aluminum components; coupled with powerful engines they were used for long distance hauling. About 35,000 L series trucks were built and sold during the series’ lifespan.

In the 1950s Mack brought new innovations and products to the market, including several new truck series. The H series trucks were nicknamed “Cherry Pickers” because of their very high cabs. The trucks were equipped with a shorter bumper-to-back of cab length, which allowed them to haul 35-foot trailers in order to meet the overall 45-foot limits in place at the time.

A Mack tractor pulls a trailer in the 1950s. (Photo: Mack Trucks)
A Mack tractor pulls a trailer in the 1950s. (Photo: Mack Trucks)

The best-selling series introduced by Mack Trucks in the 1950s (in 1953) was its B series, which became one of the company’s most popular and successful trucks. Nearly 128,000 of the newly styled series were built between 1953 and 1966, and there were multiple model variations sold. Mack also rolled out its Thermodyne open-chamber, direct-injection diesel engine. According to the company, the engine “established Mack’s tradition of leadership in diesel performance and fuel efficiency.”

In 1955 Mack introduced its D Model, which was a “low cab-forward city delivery truck.” Two versions of the D were manufactured between 1955 and 1958, but fewer than 1,000 were built.

A more successful, longer-lasting truck was also introduced in 1955. Mack built the M123 10-ton 6×6 semi-tractor for the U.S. military. Versions of the truck were produced until 1976, when it was replaced by another Mack, the M911. 

An acquisition and new models 

Mack Trucks bought Brockway Motor Company in 1956 and built Brockway trucks until 1977. From 1912 until it was shut down in 1977, Brockway built custom heavy-duty trucks in Cortland, New York. The company began as Brockway Carriage Works in 1875; it became a truck manufacturer in 1909.

In 1959, Mack built its first aluminum-riveted cab-over-engine (COE) trucks. Its G series featured a lightweight all-aluminum cab, coupled with the ability to transport heavy loads. The G model series had a short production run because it too closely resembled a similar Kenworth model. Moreover, Mack had already redesigned its COE and introduced its F model in 1962. The Mack F truck featured all-steel construction and came in two styles – sleeper or non-sleeper.   

A tanker is pulled by a 1960s Mack tractor. (Photo: Mack Trucks)
A tanker is pulled by a 1960s Mack tractor. (Photo: Mack Trucks)

The 1960s 

Mack rolled out the R series to replace the B series in 1965. The model run was exceptionally long; some R series models continued to be manufactured until 2005. Like the B series, Mack’s R series became one of the most popular heavy-duty trucks in history. Mack also brought out its “revolutionary Maxidyne constant horsepower diesel engine,” as well as its Maxitorque transmission.

In 1966, Mack began to build trucks at a new assembly facility in the Canadian province of Ontario. The plant built Mack trucks for the Canadian market until it was closed in 1993.

A change of corporate ownership occurred in 1967. Los Angeles-based Signal Oil and Gas Company acquired Mack Trucks; later that same year Signal modified its name to Signal Companies, Inc.

That year, Mack also brought to market the Maxidyne engine. The engine “provided maximum horsepower over a wider range of engine speeds than any other standard diesel engine of its day. The engine’s design leveled the horsepower curve and as a result, increased fuel efficiency and significantly reduced the need for shifting. It was such an improvement that a transmission with five speeds, rather than 10 or more, could be used for most over-the-road applications.”

Mack also introduced the Maxitorque transmission in 1967. This was the first triple countershaft, compact-length transmission designed for Class 8 trucks. The Maxitorque featured the “highest torque capacity in the industry. The five-speed Maxitorque was only two-thirds as long as multi-speed transmissions.” In addition, it was lightweight, which made it a popular choice with truck owners dealing with gross vehicle weight.

In 1969, Mack developed and patented “cab air suspension,” which significantly improved the “ride” of a truck as well as cab durability.

A cab-over-engine Mack tractor from the 1970s. (Photo: Mack Trucks)
A cab-over-engine Mack tractor from the 1970s. (Photo: Mack Trucks)

The 1970s

Mack Trucks completed and moved into a new global headquarters in Allentown during 1970. The following year Mack patented the Dynatard engine compression brake. Mack began the production and sale of its premium cab-over-engine heavy-duty truck, the Cruise-Liner, in 1974. Cruise-Liner trucks were produced for a decade. 

The Macungie assembly plant began operations in 1975. The Engineering, Development and Test Center also began operations in Allentown. At this 65-acre facility, Mack engineers were able to take vehicle or component ideas from design to prototype to test at one location.

Mack introduced its RW model trucks in 1977. RW trucks were manufactured at Mack’s Hayward, California facility from 1977 through 1981. Production was moved to Pennsylvania, where the RW was built until 1993, when the model was taken out of production.

Also in 1977, Mack rolled out its Super-Liner, a heavy-duty truck built for heavy hauling that also had many of the latest driver conveniences. The Super-Liner had a 15-year production history. The next year Mack brought out its MC/MR series. These low-cab-forward trucks were built for the refuse, construction and urban delivery markets.

In 1979 French auto/truck manufacturer Renault bought 10% of the company from Signal. Mack and Renault had begun their relationship in 1977, when the companies worked together to distribute a medium-duty diesel truck series for the North American, Central American and Caribbean markets. These trucks were brought to market in 1979 as the Mack Mid-Liner series. The Mid-Liner was a Class 6 truck, and helped to expand Mack’s line of offerings. However, Mack exited the medium-duty market in 2003.

The 1980s

Mack brought to market the MH Ultra-Liner model in 1982. This truck featured the first “successful all-fiberglass, metal cage-reinforced cab.” Its design generated “advancements in cab-weight reduction and corrosion resistance.” 

Another cab-over-engine Mack model; this one from the 1980s hauls a dry van. (Photo: Mack Trucks)
Another cab-over-engine Mack model; this one from the 1980s hauls a dry van. (Photo: Mack Trucks)

That same year Renault increased its stake in Mack Trucks to 20%, while Signal reduced its Mack holdings by 10%. In 1983, Mack Trucks went through an initial public offering (IPO), issuing 15.7 million shares of common stock. At that time Renault doubled its stake to 40% of Mack. Concurrently, Signal decreased its holdings to 10.3% of the company.

Renault reorganized in 1987; its shares in Mack were transferred to Renault Véhicules Industriels. The next year Mack rolled out its E7 series of 12-liter engines. The E7 series included “16 different engines with horsepower ratings ranging from 250 to 454.” The E7 engines had the “best horsepower-to-weight ratios” in the industry.

Mack is acquired (again)

In 1990, Mack Trucks became a wholly owned subsidiary of Renault Véhicules Industriels when its remaining publicly traded shares were acquired by the French company. Mack operated as a key part of Renault’s global operations for 11 years. 

AB Volvo began the process to acquire Renault Véhicules Industriels in 2000, 100 years after the founding of the Mack Brothers Company. On December 18, 2000 the U.S. Department of Justice approved AB Volvo’s acquisition of Mack. The acquisition closed in 2001, when Renault Véhicules Industriels and Mack Trucks became divisions of AB Volvo. Mack has continued to be a major truck manufacturer in both the U.S. and global markets.

Mack Trucks received an order for seven LR Electric refuse trucks from the New York City Department of Sanitation. 
(Photo: Mack Trucks)
Mack Trucks received an order for seven LR Electric refuse trucks from the New York City Department of Sanitation.
(Photo: Mack Trucks)

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Ran over an alligator today, and now this little fella has come to say Hi.

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Peterbilt Motors Company, a leader in battery-electric commercial vehicles, today announced an order of five Peterbilt battery-electric Model 579EVs from Sunbelt Rentals

The post PETERBILT RECEIVES ORDER FOR FIVE MODEL 579EVS FROM SUNBELT RENTALS appeared first on NextTruck Blog & Industry News - Trucker Information.

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What can I do to better secure this?

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Point of Sale headerPoint of Sale header

This show is sponsored by ArcBest. ArcBest is more than logistics. Whatever you do, whatever you ship, ArcBest makes it easier for you to do business. ArcBest combines reliable capacity, innovative technology and trusted relationships to take the complexity out of your supply chain and keep your shipments moving. That’s what makes ArcBest more than logistics.

Jason Turner, vice president of talent and growth initiatives at ArcBest, joins host Andrew Cox for this episode of Point to Sale to discuss recruiting and retaining supply chain talent. 

With more than 9 million open jobs and promising prospects for economic growth, recruiting is crucial to succeeding in a post-pandemic world. Turner and Cox look at how the freight industry can attract more tech talent and how the best supply chain providers are blending technology talent with logistics expertise. 

You can find more Point of Sale episodes and recaps for all our live podcasts here.

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Shipping aims for more environmental sustainability.Shipping aims for more environmental sustainability.

Two environmental groups have thrown down the gauntlet to 15 of the world’s most prominent companies, demanding they achieve emissions-free ocean shipping by 2030, contractually agree to ship their goods on zero-emission vessels, and reject “false solutions” like liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a sustainable way to get goods to market.

In a report published Tuesday, Pacific Environment and Stand.earth also urged the U.S. government to go beyond its April pledge that required the ocean freight industry ship emissions-free by 2050. Pollution fees should also be imposed that would be used to fund new low-emission technologies, the groups said. Given booming demand and soaring freight rates in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, ship lines have no financial excuse to steer clear of investments, such as the addition of wind-harnessing technologies to existing ships, that could reduce carbon emissions by 30% per voyage, the report said.

The top polluters cited in the report, titled “Shady Ships,” read like a who’s-who of American retailing. Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) was the leading polluter, according to the report. It was followed by Ashley HomeStore Corp., Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT), Dole Food Corp. and Home Depot (NYSE:HD). The findings were based on 2019 import data. Backhaul sailings, which typically return empty to Asian manufacturing locations, were excluded from the data.


The 15 companies in the report

Here are the 15 retail companies with the largest maritime import emissions, based on available data from 2019 U.S. imports, according to the “Shady Ships” report.

1. Walmart6. Chiquita11. LG
2. Ashley7. IKEA12. Red Bull
3. Target8. Amazon13. Family Dollar
4. Dole9. Samsung14. Williams-Sonoma
5. Home Depot10. Nike15. Lowes

The groups claimed that transparency in emissions reporting is badly lacking, noting they could verify just 20% of the shipments that moved on behalf of the 15 companies cited. They urged lawmakers and regulators to require companies to disclose all of their shipping affiliations when submitting required import and export data.

The 2030 target for emissions-free ocean shipping is an ambitious one. In late June, Target announced a sustainability initiative called Target Forward, in which it committed to a zero-emissions supply chain by 2040. Walmart is a founding member of the Race to Zero Breakthroughs initiative, launched earlier this month. The founding group of four companies said it would work toward halving carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero levels by 2050 at the latest. 

One of the charter members is Ingka Group, which runs the Swedish retail giant IKEA. IKEA placed seventh on the report’s top 15 polluters. The environmental groups said that although IKEA “prides itself on being a sustainability leader in international retail,” its “continued use of fossil-fueled ships fails to meet its own climate standards.”

The thumbs-down on LNG-powered vessels may come as a surprise to some. Considered the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, LNG is seen by the industry as a safe and affordable way to meet strict environmental regulations. 

The report also called for more “slow-steaming operations where vessel operating speeds are slowed to far less than full power in order to reduce emissions and conserve fuel. It is estimated that CO2 levels would be cut by nearly 20% if all ships would slow steam.

However, a story published Friday in American Shipper, a publication owned by FreightWaves, said that vessel operators are accelerating their speeds to move more cargo and capitalize on historically high box rates.

Pacific Environment did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did the National Retail Federation (NRF), the leading retailer trade group, or the World Shipping Council (WSC), which represents global box lines.

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Which company is for me ? Or am I out of my mind with these simple requests…

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A red truck of Mullen Group carrier Gardewine pulling a double trailer, seen from the side.A red truck of Mullen Group carrier Gardewine pulling a double trailer, seen from the side.

Canadian trucking and logistics company Mullen Group (TSX:MTL) reported a double-digit jump in revenue in the second quarter Wednesday as it reaped the benefits of a strong freight market and acquisitions. 

The Alberta-based firm reported net income of CA$21.7 million ($17.3 million), or 23 cents per share, on CA$312.5 million in revenue in its second-quarter financial results. It beat analysts’ estimates of 16 cents per share on CA$310 million in revenue, according to Yahoo Finance

Revenue jumped by 21.4% compared to a year earlier, while adjusted net income rose by 10.6%. The growth came from a combination of acquisitions — Mullen closed five during the quarter — and a robust domestic and cross-border freight market. 

“Consumer demand, which has been one of the steadiest segments of the economy, continued at a robust pace throughout the quarter, and finally we witnessed strength in the demand for ‘freight of all kinds’ beginning in June, a sign of a more positive outlook for business investment and capital deployment,” CEO Murray Mullen said in a statement. “Acquisitions along with a recovering economy were the primary reasons for the improved financial performance year over year, a trend we believe will continue as the year progresses.”

The strength came from Mullen Group’s LTL and logistics and warehousing segments. 

LTL revenue increased by 24.3% to CA$126.7 million, while operating income before depreciation and amortization rose by 14.6% to CA$23.5 million. Logistics and warehousing revenue jumped by 45.7% to CA$120.6 million as operating income before depreciation and amortization increased by 36% to CA$23.8 million.

Mullen Group has been active on the acquisition front after largely sitting on the sidelines during 2020. Ontario-based LTL carrier APPS Transport represented its biggest deal to close during the quarter. 

The company’s growth trajectory appears set to intensify after expanding into the U.S. with its June acquisition of Chicago-area 3PL QuadExpress. 

Mullen Group’s specialized and industrial segment — which serves the beleaguered western Canada energy sector — saw its revenue drop by 9.7% to CA$66.4 million. 

Murray Mullen will discuss results in a call with financial analysts on Thursday.

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