Quick Transport Solutions Inc.

17 Aug 2018 at 12:00am
Three U.S. Senators have introduced a bill that would allow 18-to-20-year-olds to drive a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

17 Aug 2018 at 12:00am
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released the first of monthly reports boasting of improved safety through technology ? i.e., touting the success of the electronic logging mandate. The report certainly shows a decline in the number of hours-of-service violations. But it?s only showing the tale from one set of data, says Managing Editor Jami Jones.

17 Aug 2018 at 12:00am
A bill nearing passage in California?s Assembly chamber is intended to improve safety on the state?s roadways by implementing new federal commercial driver regulations. Additional truck driver safety requirements would also be added.

17 Aug 2018 at 12:00am
Truck drivers from across the nation are uniting to celebrate the birthday of a teenager who suffers from Dandy-Walker Syndrome, cerebral palsy and seizures.

17 Aug 2018 at 12:00am
With four months on the job under his belt, the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration tells Land Line Now that he views the current state of the industry as ?transitional.? Read more about what Martinez has to say and listen to the full interview starting Wednesday morning.

17 Aug 2018 at 12:00am
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing changes to the hours-of-service regulations.

17 Aug 2018 at 12:00am
The Florida Department of Transportation recently announced that the entire backlog of SunPass toll transactions has been processed and that the contractor is on the hook for approximately $800,000. With that part of the problem out of the way, Gov. Rick Scott directed FDOT to launch an investigation into the contractor.

17 Aug 2018 at 12:00am
A Superior Court of New Jersey appellate court panel has reversed a Judge of Workers? Compensation?s decision in favor of a trucker who filed a claim after sustaining injuries at a truck stop due to a fall in the shower area. The appellate court denied the driver?s request for workers? comp, stating that taking a shower was not part of his course of employment.

17 Aug 2018 at 12:00am
Daimler Trucks North America is recalling more than 45,000 Freightliner Cascadia trucks for issues with the instrument panel, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall documents.

17 Aug 2018 at 12:00am
The state of Missouri was given the go-ahead this week to include a question on the November statewide ballot to allow voters to decide whether they want to tax themselves to help cover transportation-related costs. Challenges to the tax question, however, may not be over.

18 Aug 2018 at 11:00am

(Image: Shutterstock)

At FreightWaves we see a lot of companies that feature a lot of ?solutions? and ?disruptions.? To be sure, seismic shifts in the industry are happening. You can feel it beneath your feet. At the same time, a lot of potential solutions fall by the wayside as they end up only being a small part of the bigger picture.

With that said, our recent ?discovery? of Blue Dot?s MilesAhead telematics software was eye-opening. The words ?wow,? and ?cool? came to mind throughout one of their demonstrations. Why? The technology projects to actually, well, solve a lot of frustrations for drivers. How? The word that came to mind was integration.

The technology essentially puts a complicated array of devices and tools into a single, simple workflow. The user-friendly approach seeks to bring trucking into the 21st century. The appeal is sure to make the job loads more exciting to a younger generation, while making things user-friendly enough to meet less resistance from the older generation who doesn?t always value change.

As a workflow leader, MilesAhead works to get the job completed efficiently while providing a great mobility experience for both the driver manager and the driver.

With MilesAhead Drive, the manager sets up driver assignments ahead of time and all known data feeds to the driver in the proper sequence when it is most needed.

For instance, an available fully operable trailer is lined up and waiting first thing in the morning. And when the driver reaches a drop off point?detailed instructions for finding the proper dock filled have been filled in by the driver manager. The sales team has a required field in the MilesAhead system where all loading/unloading procedures must be entered, avoiding frustration ahead of time. Destination and job specs are readily available. No more duplicated effort re-entering data.

Paper work? Forget it. Driver data is entered into the device and immediately uploaded to the home database. This eliminates status calls from the manager to the driver. There?s also loading dock instructions and negotiations, along with previously loaded and dock negotiation data available online.

After an agreement is made, the agreement terms and price are uploaded and approved by the manager without phone contact. Updating load status in order to get paid only requires a few finishing data fields to be completed along with the other data that has been collected along the way.

?We?ve been in business about 15 years, and about nine of them in the mobile field service arena. We?ve been doing a lot of work-orders and field mapping. Trucking companies are ripe for disruption. There?s a major, major refresh going on. We?ve been honing our skills and craft as trucking organizations need to guess what, start investing in technology. You name it. Our timing has been good,? partner Gary Blohm tells FreightWaves.

?About four years ago we had a major project with a major North American carrier. They?d been working with OmniTracks and Zonar. They chose us because ours was the most on the bleeding edge, I guess you could say. And we had the open architecture, so they wouldn?t be pigeonholed with a specific kind of technology,? says Blohm.

?They were having to do all this very labor intensive stuff. They?re juggling all these different things to do their job, like find a parking spot, or find a weigh station. We found that out of a 11 hour shift, 3 or 4 of their hours was classified as wasted time. There was so much operational wasted time, we literally saw drivers completely pull over to the side, and call a friend to pick them up, and walked off the job.?

While a lot of companies might have hired a team of data heads and started writing code, the BlueDot team had another approach. ?So we spent nearly two years doing all these ridealongs, and put together an application. Then, the carrier was bought, and the whole process stopped.?

?We were basically building our own project from the lessons learned. The end result of that project was Miles Ahead. It?s been in beta for about 10 months now. We have major RFPs on the docket, and a lot of amazing stuff is happening. I can?t tell you how exciting it is,? says Blohm. ?We integrate with all the different telematics and ELD services and information. We take all that information and we bring it into the tablet, so they only have to go to one place to get all the information they need. In a very contextual and prompt-based manner, the technology sort of stiches and glues all the information you need.?

?Where we hit the mark, we had the luxury of spending all that time (and a major North American carrier spent millions) for us to be able to deliver this. That?s a huge advantage we have. We want to be the true driver workflow company that truly eliminates operational waste in the form of time and administrative and exhaustive processes. Really saving these guys time and energy. Also, it could work for driver retention. Put this tool in their hand and let them say, ?Wow, technology!??

MilesAhead provides weather and construction or accident information with alerts to the driver and quicker alternative routes. The MilesAhead system training is minimal. The Driver is using the same skill set that was learned to operate a cell phone or tablet.

Finally, with less downtime?one expert predicts that downtime will be cut by 2/3 using the modern technology of a system like MilesAhead. Also MilesAhead provides route facilitators and calendared route planning to make sure the Driver has maximum home time.

Having literally been out on the road with drivers, the team at Blue Dot understands driver challenges and frustrations. Through our numerous customer interactions and driver ride-alongs we have witnessed them firsthand?and all of the legacy technology that at one time helped drivers is now plainly in the way. We built MilesAhead DRIVE ? to specifically save your drivers time.  MilesAhead DRIVE provides the most efficient, industry-leading application to handle the non-driving tasks ? so your drivers can focus on what they get paid to do: drive.

?Our value proposition at core is to have a major impact on the everyday life of the driver. It?s innovative software, and it aims to increase retention. It can be brutally painful for these guys to be hopping into their new jobs and it?s like a cab from 1980,? says Blohm.

As for docking at the shipper?using the auto-arrival through Geofencing?drivers get to show exactly when they arrived (even photographing the scene). If you arrive at 8AM and you don?t bump dock until 10AM, you can document it.

For every task the driver can document where they are, and when they arrive. This downstream data can be used to invoice the customer; anything that can impact a driver?s pay, and that is something that everyone in the industry would welcome.

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17 Aug 2018 at 11:41pm

(Photo: Shutterstock)

After setting one record high after another in the early weeks of 2018, the weekly DAT Dry Van and Reefer Barometers have pulled back (as small trucking companies began to learn how to use ELDs and added capacity back into the marketplace and as demand is seasonally softened in July and August), but are still in a strong growth range. Meanwhile the weekly DAT Flatbed Barometer set one new record high after another through June, and has only begun to pull back in the last three weeks. All three modes of truckload freight are reflecting an environment in which demand exceeds capacity by a wide margin. DAT Trucking Freight Barometers are now available to subscribers of FreightWaves SONAR.

The Dry Van Weekly Barometer is predicting stronger contract pricing in coming months. Even though it has pulled back from extreme highs, it continues to reflect one of the highest levels of demand in excess of capacity in the history of the barometer.

Similar to Dry Van, the DAT Reefer Weekly Barometer is also continuing to predict stronger contract pricing in coming months. Even though it has pulled back from extreme highs, it continues to reflect one of the highest levels of demand in excess of capacity in the history of the barometer.

The DAT Flatbed Weekly Barometer is predicting extra-ordinary levels of contract pricing in coming months.  After moving ever higher and setting one record after another over the last six months, it has pulled back very slightly for the last three weeks.

The DAT Dry Van Barometer

Weekly ? after breaking equilibrium (50) sixty weeks ago, the weekly barometer established a succession of ever-higher levels.  Although the current reading of 56.3 is not quite at the extreme levels of capacity tightness experienced in late January and early February (above 65.0), there are still far more loads than trucks in most lanes in most parts of the country.  The Barometer?s high level for this recovery came earlier this year in a seasonally weak period for demand (February is the weakest freight month of the year).  The Barometer began to come down slightly as truckers (mostly small fleets and owner operators) who had just recently adopted ELDs began to learn how to optimize their capacity despite the devices.  More recently the Barometer has begun to rise again as the rate at which demand is growing is faster than the rate at which new ELD users are recapturing capacity.  The Barometer?s current level should bode well for carriers seeking higher pricing in the 2018 bid season.  The Dry Van Weekly Barometer continues to predict stronger contract pricing in coming months.

Exhibit 1

We have had questions about the historical track record of the DAT Freight Barometers and the predictive value.  We assert that this proprietary method of weighing the balance between demand and capacity predicts both the direction and magnitude of changes in spot pricing.  We also assert that the direction, magnitude, and duration of changes in spot pricing, predict the direction and magnitude of changes in contract pricing.

Exhibit 2

Plotting the nominal spot price against the Barometer illustrates the predictive value.

Exhibit 3

The % change in spot vs. the Barometer shows the predictive value even more clearly.

The spot price is predictive of the contract price, and we find the gap between the spot price and the contract price useful in assessing / predicting the margins reported by most of the large publicly held truck brokers, and the logistics divisions of asset-based truckers.  We should note that the spot price, after being above the contract price in December, January, and most of February, is back below contract.  This is more a function of the increase in contract price than a reduction in the spot price.

Exhibit 4

As most industry participants know, spot leads contract on the way up and down.  

The DAT Reefer Barometer

Weekly ? At 56.5, it is above 50 for the fifty-ninth week in a row.  Similar to the Dry Van segment, the current reading is not at the extreme levels of capacity tightness experienced in late January and early February (above 65.0), but there are still far more loads than trucks in most lanes in most parts of the country.  The latest adoptees of ELDs in the reefer industry are similar to Dry Van learning how to regain some of the productivity that they initially lost, but unlike the Dry Van segment of trucking have fewer choices in managing the use of the trailer.  Dry Vans are easy to ?drop and hook.?  Whereas, Reefer tends to need at least some basic level of driver involvement, and Reefer fleets tend to carry much lower trailer to tractor ratios (averaging 1.5 to 1) than do Dry Van fleets (averaging 2.5 to 1).  That said, the current level of DAT Reefer Weekly Barometer is predicting stronger contract pricing in coming months.

Exhibit 5

As we have pointed out for Dry Van, there is a clear pattern in which the DAT Barometer leads the spot price, which leads the contract price.  We assert that our proprietary method of weighing the balance between demand and capacity using DAT?s unrivaled database predicts both the direction and magnitude of changes in spot pricing.  We also assert that the direction, magnitude, and duration of changes in spot pricing, predict the direction and magnitude of changes in contract pricing.  The following charts display this pattern for the Reefer mode.  

Exhibit 6

Similar to dry van, the barometer predicts the direction and magnitude of changes in the spot price for reefer.

Exhibit 7

The % change in spot vs. the Barometer shows the predictive value even more clearly.

 Exhibit 8

As most industry participants know, spot leads contract on the way up and down

The DAT Flatbed Barometer

Weekly - came in at 72.9, pulling back from the zenith record high of 115.9 established the first week of June.  The DAT Flatbed Barometer has now been above equilibrium (50) for seventy-two consecutive weeks.  The metric originally broke through 50 in early March of 2017 as the rise in the price of crude back above $50 a barrel drove an increase in heavy industrial activity that began in October of 2016, and continued to improve as WTI oil stayed above $45 a barrel (above $69 as we write this).  Hurricanes Harvey and Irma started a strong uptick in building material shipments in 2017, but that strength has been buoyed by an oil price that makes fracking profitable in all parts of the U.S. and the high level of flatbed activity that fracking drives.  We see the current level of flatbed activity as further evidence that the U.S. industrial economy has shifted into high gear, but also suggests that flatbed carriers may finally be beginning to adapt to the use of ELDs.

Exhibit 9

As we have pointed out for Dry Van and Reefer, there is also a clear pattern for Flatbed in which the DAT Barometer leads the spot price, which leads the contract price.  We assert that our proprietary method of weighing the balance between demand and capacity using DAT?s unrivaled database predicts both the direction and magnitude of changes in spot pricing.  We also assert that the direction, magnitude, and duration of changes in spot pricing, predict the direction and magnitude of changes in contract pricing.  The following charts display this pattern for the Flatbed mode. 

Exhibit 10

Again, the barometer leads the nominal spot price.

Exhibit 11

Again, the pattern becomes even more clear when plotted against the % delta.

Exhibit 12

Unlike Dry Van, spot prices are still above contract in Flatbed.
























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17 Aug 2018 at 9:48pm

The Ocean Network Express Stork makes call on the Port of Savannah. (Photo: GPA)

Trucker cooperative cites chassis shortages for new pool. 

The North American Chassis Pool Cooperative (NACPC) is gearing up new regional pool aimed at serving the US Southeastern dray market.

In a press release, the NACPC says it will form the Southern States Chassis Pool (SSCP) this month, becoming its seventh shared chassis pool across the U.S. 

Dave Manning, chairman of the NACPC and president of Nashville-based intermodal carrier TCW, says the new pool stems from work his group did with the ports of Savannah and Charleston to address both inadequate supply and outdated equipment in the fast growing US Southeast market.
?This was the brainchild of the Georgia and South Carolina ports authorities for a single pool to serve them,? Manning said. ?Their frustration was that there wasn?t adequate chassis supply and it was outdated.?
In July, the Federal Maritime Commission gave its okay to the Georgia Ports Authority and the South Carolina Ports Authority to cooperate on the new pool.  

Manning says the SSCP aims to be different from the South Atlantic Chassis Pool (SACP), which had served the ports previously. The new SSCP would rent chassis at an at-cost basis to pool members, resulting in lower costs for intermodal carriers and their customers.

?For carriers and beneficial cargo owners, chassis rental will be less than what they are accustomed to paying in the SACP,? Manning said. 

Consolidated Chassis Management, which runs the SACP, was not immediately available for comment. While NACPC will own the pool, SACP will still manage the pool and provide its owned chassis, Manning says. 

Manning says the need for a bigger and better pool stems from the growth in U.S. Southeast container port activity. 

The Georgia Ports Authority recorded its second busiest month ever as it moved 378,767 twenty foot equivalent (teu) in containers for July, a nearly 13% increase over last year and the second busiest month on record.


Savannah's container volumes have been growing since last November (Source: GPA)

LIkewise, the South Carolina Ports Authority moved 200,594 teu in July, 10% higher than last year and also the second highest on record. 

The growth in container volume has resulted in spot shortages of chassis, Manning says. He says the SSCP plans to increase chassis supply to between 58,000 and 62,000, up from the roughly 52,000 in the SACP. 

The second piece of the new pool will be improving chassis quality, with incoming chassis equipped with radial tires rather than the bias ply now commonly used. LIkewise, new chassis will come equipped with air brakes an LED brake lights 

Manning says the additional, upgraded chassis will be introduced to the pool over the next 18 months. The larger and newer chassis pool will be a benefit to the region?s dray carriers, he adds.   

?The current model was not going to change and a new model was needed,? Manning said. ?I think everyone will benefit from this.?

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17 Aug 2018 at 9:41pm

Photo: Shutterstock

The bill in the House of Representatives sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter to allow interstate truck drivers under the age of 21 has a companion proposal in the Senate.

Three Republican Senators?Todd Young of Indiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas and James Inhofe of Oklahoma?on Thursday introduced the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE) Act, ? to address the driver shortage in the trucking and logistics industry, and enhance safety training and job opportunities for young truckers,? according to a statement released by the senators. The legislation describes the goal of the bill as creating an apprentice program for drivers under the age of 21.

Many states allow people in that age category to drive intrastate. Backers of the under-21 truck driver program cite their safety record in support of their push and note that a 20-year-old driver could leave northern Virginia and drive hundreds of miles to Bristol in that state, but can?t go across the border to Maryland.

It?s a companion legislation to the legislation introduced by Hunter, a California Republican, in March. That bill, with the name DRIVE-Safe Act, was referred to a subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. A record of its progress shows nothing beyond the referral to the subcommittee.

The Senate bill is similar to the House bill in that it calls first for a 120-hour apprentice program followed by a 280-hour probationary period. Of the 120 hours, not less than 80 need to be driving a commercial motor vehicle. That would be followed by a 280-hour probationary period. During the probationary period, at least 160 hours needs to be behind the wheel. Both periods have requirements regarding what basic skills need to be demonstrated. To become an apprentice, a person needs to hold a commercial driver?s license.

The American Trucking Associations is backing the push for under-21 interstate drivers. In the release issued by Sen. Young?s office, ATA President and CEO Chris Spear was quoted as saying: ?The Drive-Safe Act would open the door to millions of Americans who are seeking a career and a path to the middle class by training young men and women to safely and reliably move freight across state lines. Senators Young, Moran and Inhofe should be commended for their thoughtful leadership in creating a safe apprenticeship pathway for young people looking to go into trucking.?

The chances for success for the Senate bill would have to be considered weak at best. Midterm elections loom in less than three months, the companion bill hasn?t even had a hearing in its House subcommittee, and the number of introduced pieces of legislation in the current Congress that have become law is less than 4%. That is not unusually low; in the last Congress, it wasn?t even 2%.

Many of the bills that became law in this Congress involve routine federal business, such as the naming of post offices. Since July 1, more than a dozen pieces of legislation renaming post offices around the country have become law, including one for the late singer Marvin Gaye.

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17 Aug 2018 at 6:30pm

(Image: Shutterstock)

Data is a powerful tool when it comes to freight market insights, and now more than ever, companies are turning to the numbers to make decisions related to driver recruitment, training, and retention. Using Driver iQ?s Q218 survey on driver recruitment and retention as a point of reference, Stifel Capital Markets hosted Lana Batts, Co-President of Driver iQ and Eric Fuller, President and CEO of US Xpress, inc. to discuss driver recruitment and retention trends in 2018 and beyond. According to Batts, those who responded to the survey are ?people who are living and breathing these issues day in and day out.?

In order to contextualize the data discussed, driver turnover rates were provided by Batts, who stated that the average cost of driver turnover to the truckload industry is $8.2B annually. ?The cost of driver turnover for the carrier is pretty astounding,? Batts said. ?I think we can all agree that?s money we?d rather be spending on our drivers.?

From the perspective of a carrier, Fuller explained that ?Large carriers are doing more than they ever have to try to retain their drivers. There are a lot of programs looking at how to make the job more attractive, maybe looking at dedicated opportunities from a driver perspective, more so than they ever have before, when evaluating opportunities.?

Driver iQ?s Q218 data indicated that despite attempts by carriers to retain drivers, 45% of respondents to their latest survey expected driver turnover rates to increase. According to Batts, driver retirement also figures into retention data. ?There are a lot of guys leaving their companies that are of retirement age,? Batts explained. People are staying longer in the workforce for various reasons, but, as Batts said, ?The most basic reason people stayed is that they loved their jobs...if we figured out how to get guys to love their jobs more, maybe they?d stay longer.?

Fuller mentioned that driver retirement has evolved over the years, saying that ?in the past, when we had drivers retiring, we felt comfortable that the new drivers coming into the industry kept us even on the playing field, but what we?re seeing is that there?s not a lot of people filling these jobs from a younger age bracket.?

?Until we can find people that can fill these jobs and make a career out of it, we?re going to continue to dig ourselves into a hole,? Fuller concluded.

Reaching candidates of differing demographics is also becoming a priority in the industry--Batts and Fuller discussed the importance of hiring younger drivers, veterans, and women. 37% of survey respondents reported that they did not have programs in place aimed at recruiting veterans, and 35% of the same respondents lacked a program designed to bring more women into the industry.

?A large portion of drivers coming in as students are leaving the industry. They try it, they don?t like it, they leave, they don?t come back,? said Fuller. Of course, training is an investment for carriers, but if it?s done right, Fuller and Batts believe it?s worth the cost up front. ?What we?ve seen in the past is CDL mills churning out drivers without preparing them for the career. Carriers have begun investing in schools so we have people who are better prepared for the industry. We want that fall out in the first couple of days. We don?t want to invest in someone who isn?t willing to meet the expectations,? he noted.

So how do industry leaders anticipate to fill said jobs? By attracting the right candidates, creating better training programs, and by helping new drivers turn driving into a career. ?There aren?t many people in the country who want to do this job anymore,? said Fuller, but if carriers are willing to collaborate to successfully recruit, train, and retain drivers, Batts and Fuller believe that the industry can change for the better.

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17 Aug 2018 at 6:00pm

Subscribe for free: Apple Podcasts l Google Play l Stitcher l Spotify 

Episode Summary:

Springfield, Illinois hits Walmart with a $50k fine for allowing truck parking. Safeway delivery drivers make history with a newly ratified union contract. We interview Senator Bob Corker about Trump's tariffs. 162 transportation and logistics companies make the 2018 Inc. 5000 list. JP and Chad discuss all this and more on this week's episode.

Episode Notes:

First, Chad and JP parry and thrust between a Bell?s Two-Hearted and a Sweet Water IPA. Then, they dive into a couple of driver headlines, some tough tariff talk, and then they absorb some exciting tech news.

Headlines of the week:

Walmart faces $50k fine for allowing truck parking at Illinois store

Safeway delivery drivers make history with newly ratified union contract

Sen. Corker interview: Trump ?ready-fire-aim? on tariffs

162 transportation and logistics companies make the 2018 Inc. 5000 

Finally, the dynamic freight duo take on another eight headlines in under two minutes with another round of Big Deal, Little Deal?

Home Depot sees higher costs as tight transport markets bite retailer: big deal, or little deal?

Updated: Universal Logistics adds to its intermodal and drayage business with Southern Counties purchase: big deal, or little deal?

Redwood Games raise $75K for vets with PTSD: big deal, or little deal?

Will Berkshire Hathaway buy Southwest Airlines? Morgan Stanley analysts weigh in: big deal, or little deal?

Solar farms, CO2 and mobile racking part of the journey as RLS Logistics transforms traditional cold storage: big deal, or little deal?

Uber sees a 38% yearly increase in gross bookings as it gears up to face competition: big deal, or little deal?

How one little autonomous shuttle in Quebec thinks it can: big deal, or little deal?

Warburg Pincus puts $35 million into start-up targeting dray/short-haul market: big deal, or little deal?

About the show:

What the Truck?!? is FreightWaves' irreverent podcast breaking down the biggest stories in transportation and logistics. Join FreightWaves writers John Paul Hampstead and Chad Prevost on Friday afternoons as we discuss all things freight.

17 Aug 2018 at 5:48pm

Graph: SONAR

The recent slowdown in spot truckload rates, when seen through the perspective of data history, could be setting the market up for a surge in rates just before Thanksgiving.

That was the conclusion of FreightWaves CEO and managing director Craig Fuller in the company?s monthly market update, conducted by both Fuller and FreightWaves chief economist Ibrahiim Bayaan. Drawing on data from the company?s SONAR data base offering, Fuller was able to pinpoint just when that surge might be: the week of November 16-23.

Referring to DAT rate indices, Fuller noted that the trucking market has been rife with discussion about recent weekly declines.?We saw really high peaks in June and we?ve fallen off in July and August,? he said. ?What the industry forgets is that this happens every single year.?

The question then, Fuller said, is to look at present market conditions, compare it to past data and figure out if the recent decline says anything about the future. The predictive model from SONAR is that a decline that begins sometime in July generally fades by mid-August, Fuller said, ?and then we?re off to the races.?

The subsequent runup generally goes for 20-21 weeks, Fuller said, ?and then we consistently see a peak again in the second part of the cycle.? That November date range for a projected peak is derived from the 20-21 week history.

Based on data, the increase from the trough to the peak has been as small as 27% (in 2015) and as high as 75%, set last year. Fuller said the comparisons were made on the Los Angeles to Dallas lane, given its volume and traditional volatility.  

Noting that the current price in that lane is $1.82 per mile, ?you can actually project that it will be between $2.30 and $2.40 at the peak,? Fuller said. Potentially, if there is a ?major capacity crisis,? or a ?black swan? event, a $3 mark could be reached, though Fuller stressed that was not his prediction.

In a discussion in which the current addition of tariffs into the market mix came up several times, Fuller pointed to data on container prices out of China into both the U.S. West Coast and East Coast as a sign that so far, the tariff wars are not impacting the freight market. For example, the FreightOS Baltic Index for China to the western U.S., which is available in SONAR, currently stands at 2064, the highest level in recent months. It was at 1200 as recently as early July. The corresponding China-East Coast number of 3090 has plateaued of late, but still is the highest in many months as well. ?The indicators are still showing that freight is coming across the water,? Fuller said. ?The shipping lines have pricing power in those lanes and they are able to get much higher spot prices out of China into North America.?

Economist Bayaan noted that the goods that have been caught up in the tariff disputes and whose movement, if constrained, might have pushed those numbers down constitute a relatively small portion of GDP, less than 2%. On that basis, he said he does not anticipate a significant impact on the strong economy from their imposition.

But any impact is more than just numbers, Bayaan noted. ?When you listen to business leaders and purchasing managers, their concern is more that rather than taking action, they just don?t know what to expect, and it has complicated things that didn?t have to be complicated,? he said. But if they do take action, Bayaan said it could come in the form of pre-buying of products and importing goods earlier than they might have otherwise, as a hedge against future tariff-driven price increases.

Download Presentation Slides

In other issues discussed in the webinar:

  • Fuller said the relatively flat level of used truck prices is one indicator that the market is not going to get hit with a surge in capacity from heavy buying of second-hand vehicles. ?We?re not nearly at a point where it looks as if there is a lot of demand for used trucks and a lot of new capacity coming into the market,? he said. ?I?m not worried about oversupply from small operators.? ?Runaway? used truck prices in 2013-2014 that were up to $80,000 for the most recent model year at that time are now sitting at about $62,000, he said.  As far as the strong level of new truck orders, Fuller reiterated what has become a widely-held sentiment in the industry: that it won?t be used to feed new capacity, because the drivers aren?t there to fill those seats, but will aid in such things as driver retention and fuel efficiency.

Graphic: SONAR

  • That the previously mentioned FreightOS numbers are holding up on the West Coast aligns with the indications coming from FreightWaves? Outbound Tender Volume Index, which measures freight moving out of various ports. It has shown a significant upward spike from San Francisco, and a solid level from Los Angeles, though not as dramatic as the Bay area.
  • The data research that has been done with the recent launch of the SONAR product revealed something unexpected: a lack of clear correlation between volume and rejection rates. Fuller said that clear correlation does not exist on a broad scale, though it can be seen in individual regions due to conditions that are unique to that market. Rather, Fuller said, the link is ?that when you have high volume and you have high volatility in rates, you will see tender rejections go up because capacity is nomadic.? Given that, imbalances in markets can be smoothed over by capacity moving itself from one place another, being ?able to absorb localized tension,? Fuller added. ?So as volume goes up, it does not necessarily mean rejections go up.?


  • The recent 11% year-on-year increase in the producer price index for long-distance truckload movement is a record high for that number, going back to the history of the series that begin in 2003, Bayaan said. ?This is no small piece of news,? he added. Local rates up 6.6% are more than other parts of the economy, but are still significantly less than the upward movement in truckload prices.
  • With various data points?including the Cass Indices?pointing to double-digit increases in contract trucking rates, Fuller said a ?normalization? is in the offing. Many shippers booked in contract rates of that much of a gain after the ?massive shock? in spot prices, ?and in many ways the shippers corrected to the upside.? Fuller said he did not expect it would drop completely, but that the market should ?get into a more normalized pattern,? with 4% to 6% year-over-year price increases for contractual agreements. ?I don?t think we will see runaway spot prices,? he added.
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17 Aug 2018 at 5:40pm

RTW Air Services SA, a Swiss General Sales & Service Agent (GSSA) for a substantial number of international air carriers, is the latest member of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA).

With interest in blockchain technology growing rapidly, there are an increasing number of blockchain-related pilot projects in freight, transportation and logistics around the world. BiTA was established to create a platform for members to discuss and set standards across these projects and the freight marketplace. 

After nearly 20 years of experience in the cargo industry working for global freight forwarders and GSSAs, Daniel Bosshard became Managing Director of RTW Air Services in October 2016. At that time, he accepted a difficult challenge ? the entire staff of the company was leaving. Thanks to support from the industry and the capabilities of the ?new? RTW Air Services SA staff, the company became even stronger than before.

After a thorough review of several blockchain entities, Bosshard recognized that BiTA would be the best Community to join. ?I am very excited about the BiTA membership and the opportunities it will bring to our company and its customers,? Bosshard said. ?RTW Air Services will be an active participant in the new era of technology development in our industry. We see the impact that blockchain can have and want to be an active part of it in the early stage and not waiting until late in the process.? 

Soeren Duvier, managing director of BiTA in Asia, said: "Because RTW Air Services SA partners with multiple international air carriers, the company is interested in a number of blockchain applications. We are proud to have RTW Air Services SA as a member of BiTA. It is great to see another company recognize the value that BiTA brings to the global transportation industry.?

About RTW Air Services SA

Founded in 1993 at Lausanne, Switzerland, the company began offering passenger services for one airline.  In 1995 RTW Air Services SA began providing air cargo services. The company expanded its network to all three of Switzerland?s international airports in 2002 (Basel, Geneva and Zurich) to be closer to its customers and air cargo facilities. 

RTW Air Services SA acts as a Swiss GSSA for numerous international air carriers and promotes high- quality cargo and passenger services to enhance their reputation and standing in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The company?s highly experienced and capable team has decades of cumulative experience in the air cargo industry and maintains close working relationships with its business partners, forwarders, ground-handling agents, trucking companies and others. It provides effective marketing services to its customers in multiple languages, as well as efficient back-office and administrative reports.

About BiTA

Founded in August 2017, BiTA has grown into the largest commercial blockchain alliance in the world, with 450 members that collectively generate over $1 trillion in revenue annually. BiTA is developing standards and education in blockchain technologies for the freight, transportation and logistics industries.

Within BiTA, members participate, discuss, create and adopt industry standards that will be the basis for developing blockchain applications. The Alliance also provides educational opportunities through webinars and other means to keep the industry engaged and informed of blockchain use cases and technological changes. BiTA has offices in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Singapore. For more information, please visit BiTA at www.bita.studio

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17 Aug 2018 at 5:26pm

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Thursday afternoon, Seaport Global?s Kevin Sterling, an equities analyst focusing on transport and logistics, hosted a conference call with Kevin Perry, principal at The Domestic Transportation Consultant. Perry has an impressive resume from his decades of experience managing transportation from the shipper side: six years at Walmart managing carrier relations and supply chain, 12 years as the Director of North American Carrier Relations and Inbound Transportation at Lowe?s, and almost three years as Belk?s Director of Transportation?you get the idea. Perry started his consultancy practice at the beginning of this year.

Sterling and Perry held a fascinating conversation about large shippers? perspective on the current capacity-constrained freight environment, focusing on shippers? pain points and how they?re adapting to market conditions they consider ?uncharted territory.?

Perry began by listing best practices that he recommended to shippers seeking to become a ?shipper of choice.? ?You can?t just try to beat up the carriers,? Perry said, ?When you?re talking about being a shipper of choice, take the time to talk to carriers to find out exactly what that means. Providing accurate volume forecasts is critical, tendering loads 72-48 hours in advance, providing drop and hook access 24/7, providing amenities to drivers, such as secure parking, are all important. To the extent that you can, balance load tendering through the week and month and you improve service levels and cost. We all hold carriers accountable to high levels of load acceptance percentage, but shippers need to make sure your own house is in order. Speeding up carrier receivables is important?try to get to 30 day terms or less. And pursue longer term collaborative partnerships over transactional relationships,? said Perry.

Another issue that came up was the ?core carrier philosophy,? where shippers trying to reduce the number of relationships they have to manage try to establish a small group of carriers that handle all of their transportation needs.

?When you limit your options, you?re usually overpaying,? said Perry. ?I am seeing examples of people building depth on their routing guides so they can try to stay on published rates [without resorting to the spot market].?

That?s one way that shippers are trying to adapt to a capacity-constrained freight market that Perry thinks is ?definitely here to stay for the foreseeable future.?

?More so than in years past, shippers have done detailed peak planning for this fall to lock in capacity,? Perry noted. Shippers are also being forced to accept poorer service?Perry said that a tender acceptance rate ?somewhere in the 90s? is expected in a period of normalcy, but shippers have seen acceptance rates degrade year over year, into the low 70s. 

Sterling asked Perry whether 98.5% or 99% on time is still feasible in the current economic and regulatory environment. ?Anything is possible,? said Perry, ?but shippers have to balance out the cost impact of what it takes to hit those service levels. You might have to build in more lead time and change transit standards to hit those levels.?

Perry also said that carriers should not be shy about voicing their concerns about shippers? efficiency, especially the operations of specific facilities. Sterling asked Perry whether carriers keep scorecards of shippers, and Perry said yes, they do, ?but what I?ve seen is that carriers are reluctant to share their scorecards. Most shippers have thick skin and welcome the feedback and look for ways to improve. If there are certain facilities or vendors that are cost centers, they want to know?you can?t improve what you can?t measure.?

Continuing on the subject of shippers who are perceived to be problematic by carriers, Perry said, ?There are certain locations where it?s very challenging or difficult to get carrier support, and once you find a carrier to service it, it?s often because they?ve never been there before, and once they start their service, they want to bail out.? Shippers aren?t stepping up their game across the board, Perry said, because there are too many egos and entrenched practices in play. To truly change the way facilities operate and make them more efficient, Perry said, ?the more you can get exec level support to drive those changes the better off you?ll be.?

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17 Aug 2018 at 5:00pm

(Image: Shutterstock)

Inc. magazine has named SwanLeap as the fastest-growing private company in America. Revolutionizing the Transportation Management Software (TMS) industry with its Beyond TMS approach, SwanLeap is leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) across the supply chain to optimize transportation execution while helping companies turn freight into a profit center. SwanLeap uses their AI to help manufacturers and retailers manage timing and cost of shipments. The use of this new technology is allowing SwanLeap to deliver an annual average transportation savings of 26.7% to its customers, according to the company.

Debuting on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list in 2017 at #55 with $99 million in revenue, SwanLeap has shown an unprecedented 75,660.8% revenue growth over the past three years catapulting the five-year-old software company to the number one spot. SwanLeap began with CEO Brad Hollister's vision to create a solution to provide real-time visibility and supply chain control for manufacturers and e-commerce companies. In pursuit of that goal, one of the first things Hollister did was place a craigslist advertisement seeking a programmer. That move connected him to co-founder Jason Swanson who brought the wells of technical knowledge and experience needed to disrupt the antiquated shipping industry.

In the early days, Hollister kept a piece of paper taped up on a board in the basement of his house where they worked. On that paper he wrote the number of users they would need to become a billion-dollar company. And one by one, Hollister would mark down the number as new users were onboarded. "Although I envisioned this level of success from the beginning, it has been a hard road getting here. We're doing something new, something very different," says Hollister, "and a lot of the market is just starting to understand that."

SwanLeap entered the ring with what Deloitte has identified as NextGen technology. Through their rapidly deployed, custom implementation of NextGen TMS and auditing services, SwanLeap is using AI and machine learning to automate many of the manual roles in a company's supply chain. These efforts are eliminating errors, increasing efficiencies, and improving customer relationships for businesses across the country.

?When we were researching early on our demos went great, and we were showing places that we could save them 30% on their shipping, and you know what? They loved it, but they didn?t go with us because we were too small.? Hollister was more than a little frustrated. ?I took my ball and went home,? he says.

One of the keys to their success is what came next. Hollister had an idea.

?So, I went to some competitors and showed them what we could do, and where they were weak and where we were strong, and we paved a path with our competitors. If you can?t beat ?em, join ?em. They now use parts of our system that they like with us. That explains our growth, our trajectory, and the depth of our solution,? he says.

?An example, if you have a parcel TMS and you?re a parcel provider, you?re gonna use SwanLeap, but we?ve given our competitors and ability to upsell and stay relevant. Or an auditing company, now we can give their customers a platform. The customers don?t even know that we exist, but the company looks good and keeps the customer.?

?Basically, we?re here to offer settlement services and technology,? says Hollister. They are diversified, and it?s not always obvious (at least to the consumer) when their applications are being utilized.

?What makes us different? If you take a look at other technologies out there, we?re so different from the way that others TMS systems work. It challenges what people have known their whole career. So the way that most other tech work is that you load your rates into a spreadsheet manually. You enter the business rules on top for each instance.?

The long and short is that the process is time-consuming, and because it?s inefficient, costly.

?We don?t enter tables or business rules. All the information for a rule is in the order itself. We can see when an order needs to be a given destination. Of all the 100, 200 criteria that go into a shipment, a person can?t make these decisions for every single shipment, but our AI can. Most other TMS systems out there we?ve seen are about 74% effective. We?re 100%. We have all the data and we connect live to the carriers, which is very unique to us. We can pull all the criteria live in the moment, and all the requirements, we can tell you with 100% accuracy the best way to ship,? says Hollister.

?We?re talking about effecting earnings of multi-million dollar companies,? he goes on. ?The savings is so great, earnings are effected by millions of dollars. We?re cutting truckload prices. It?s not about keeping prices down for truckers either. It?s about finding the single best shipping solution every time.?

?A lot of companies, and a lot of feedback we?ve gotten is ?Who are you guys?? And that?s how we?ve been able to grow so fast without any salespeople. We have about 50 employees in Madison and about 80 in total, and still no salespeople,? says Hollister.

What?s it like in Madison, Wisconsin? Is it a great place for a logistics company?

?It is. I?m very proud,? says Hollister. ?2 of the top 10 made the list.? The other is a computer hardware company, Diamond Assets, placing #7.

?It?s great for family. Madison has a little tech hub here. There are strong draws. There's Cisco, Google and just loads of programmers. It?s a wonderful place for collaboration, innovation and diversity of ideas.?

How does it feel to make the #1 spot in the Inc. 5000 rankings (a prediction he actually made to James Ledbetter the year prior)?

?It?s definitely been a pretty incredible week. Hearing from so many people that have helped over the years. It?s been fun,? says Hollister.

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6 Aug 2018 at 5:45pm
UPS Inc. has announced a collaboration with Los Angeles-based Thor Trucks on a battery-powered, Class 6 delivery truck that can drive approximately 100 miles on a single charge.

6 Aug 2018 at 5:30pm
Here's the solution to the crossword puzzle found in the August 6, 2018 print edition.

6 Aug 2018 at 5:30pm
Ohio transportation projects will receive a funding boost through the recently passed U.S. Senate bill.

6 Aug 2018 at 5:00pm
The most ambitious rail project of California?s future is increasingly dependent on the cooperation of the very railroad that shaped the state?s past ? and there are signs their relationship is growing strained.

6 Aug 2018 at 4:45pm
Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co. announced that Mid-States Utility Trailer Sales has opened a new facility in Sioux City, Iowa, 8 miles south of its existing location.

6 Aug 2018 at 4:30pm
TravelCenters of America reported a net loss as revenue increased in the second quarter.

6 Aug 2018 at 3:30pm
The Trump administration?s plan to ease vehicle-emission mandates lifts some burdens for automakers but also would strip away options that have made it easier for them to comply and have encouraged the development of electric cars.

6 Aug 2018 at 2:00pm
MNX Global Logistics, a company that arranges for expedited delivery of pharmaceuticals and other high-value goods, has a new owner. Boston-based Audax Private Equity announced July 10 the acquisition of MNX from The Riverside Co.

6 Aug 2018 at 2:00pm
WASHINGTON ? U.S. employers slowed their hiring in July, adding 157,000 jobs, a solid gain but below the healthy pace in the first half of this year.

6 Aug 2018 at 2:00pm
Continental Automotive Systems is cutting the prices of its electronic logging devices.

17 Aug 2018 at 3:05pm
The cloud could be the most impactful of all NextGen technologies.

17 Aug 2018 at 2:58pm
POLB reported that total monthly volume, at 688,457 (TEU) Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units, was off 4.4% annually, compared to July 2017, and POLA officials heralded the best July in the port?s history, with 833,568 TEU, which was up 4.6% annually, topping July 2017, which was the previous July high. What?s more, July 2018 marked the fourth highest-volume month in the port?s history.

17 Aug 2018 at 2:19pm
A freight distribution center placing high-demand logistics capability inside a global trade gateway at the Port of Oakland begins this fall.

17 Aug 2018 at 1:31pm
Carloads, at 271,718, were up 1.8% annually, and intermodal containers and trailers increased 3.8% annually to 285,169.

16 Aug 2018 at 6:27pm
Through July, the most recent month for which data is available, freight shipments and expenditures have now seen annual gains for 19 and 22 months, respectively, the report said.

16 Aug 2018 at 4:23pm
Cargomatic announced yesterday it has closed a $35 billion Series B financing round.

15 Aug 2018 at 5:33pm
Paul McLellan, President of LightBulbs.com, shares how the company's logistics operations created an integrated shipping and dimensioning solution that enables the online superstore to absorb sudden, large spikes in shipping volume?without adding additional staff.

15 Aug 2018 at 4:48pm
The Department of Commerce reported that July retail sales, at $507.5 billion, were 0.5% ahead of June?s $504.9 billion and up 6.4% compared to July 2017. NRF reported that July retail sales, which exclude sales from automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants, headed up 0.4% compared to June and were up 4.9% annually on an unadjusted basis.

15 Aug 2018 at 3:15pm
Faced with challenges securing capacity, Land O' Lakes teamed up with Uber Freight to take a technology-based approach to overcome previous issues.

15 Aug 2018 at 3:04pm
Southern California?s shippers seeking to ?optimize? their dockside operations were given more good news by GE Transportation last week as the company announced that it had launched a pilot project with the Port of Long Beach.

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