Welcome to the WHAT THE TRUCK?!? newsletter. In this issue, the grossest truck accident of the year; dead cat bounce for spot rates; shippers fight trucker OT pay; and more.
Dead cat bounce
The streak is over — Dry van spot rates inclusive of fuel have been on a downward spiral all year but for the first time since February they went up this week! Don’t get too excited though, as last week was Roadcheck and this weekend brings Memorial Day, it was to be expected that we’d see some upward movement. The real question is: Will they stay up after Memorial Day?
Not so hot summer — While tender rejections are low and routing guides are holding up, the spread between contract and spot widens. What’s that mean moving into the summer? Shippers could look to put pressure on contract rates and if carriers don’t comply, expect those rejections to shoot back up.
“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire, ooh!” — James Hetfield
Diesel downer — National average diesel prices are sitting at $5.57 a gallon. That’s a 4 cent drop from last week but a $2.32 jump from a year ago. As you can see above, in some parts of California, drivers are reporting prices as high as $7.75. If the average truck gets 6 mpg and fuel is $7.75, that means the cost in fuel to move a truck 1 mile is $1.29. That doesn’t account for insurance, equipment cost, repairs or driver pay. O/Os, it is vitally important you figure out your cost of operation now.
Is driver OT pay unsustainable?
The bill — If you asked most people on the street if truckers should get overtime pay, I’d imagine they’d say yes. That’s how one Michigan representative feels. FreightWaves’ John Gallagher reports, “The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act, introduced in April by Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., would repeal the motor carrier exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an exemption that excludes many drivers from overtime pay protections.” OOIDA is a major supporter of the bill.
“In theory, drivers would have to be paid for a lot of time that they’re not currently paid for, which would not be sustainable.” — Avery Vise, VP of trucking for transportation consultancy FTR
Opposition — The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL), FTR and Tucker Company Worldwide (TCW) oppose the bill. The NITL says it will act against the bill if it gains any traction. TCW CEO Jeff Tucker calls it a “potential threat” because “if it gains steam, and if there are bells and whistles affixed to it, it could stand to undo progress we’ve made to deregulating the freight environment.”
Drivers’ say — Veteran driver and Back The Truck Up writer James “Rooster” Bowen thinks the bill looks good on paper but sees shippers and carriers working overtime to avoid paying drivers overtime. Truckin’ Redditor Jermaphobe456 says, “The only thing unsustainable is their already too damn high profit margins. God forbid drivers be compensated fairly delivering the products that line your pockets to the brim.” SnooSketches3992 is sketched by the NITL’s response: “Pretty crazy to read an organization actually saying on the record they will easily stop the bill in Washington if they need to. What does that even mean? How could they just know they can do that?”
“Within six weeks of taking these complaints up the chain, the CDL examiner vacancies were filled and the sites started moving through the backlog of waiting testers.” — ATA President and CEO Shannon Newton
Meanwhile — ABC7 reports, “The Arkansas State Police and Arkansas Trucking Association are working to limit delays in getting commercial truck drivers licensed.” One of those measures? Giving CDL examiners overtime pay — weird how that solves shortages. While drivers have to fight tooth and nail to get overtime pay, the examiners granting them CDLs in Arkansas just got theirs approved in only six weeks. Ugh, smh.
I wish I never knew about hot dog filler
15,000 pounds — A semi spill in Pittsburgh may have produced one of the grossest freight images in history. Look at that! Seven tons of hot dog filler spewed across I-70. What happened? According to USA Today, the driver, Lachaud Makendy, 30, and a passenger, Robert Gilles, 42, suffered minor injuries in the crash last Friday. Now the driver is getting charged for multiple brake failures on his rig.
“I wonder what it smells like.” — FreightWaves Radio host Grace Sharkey
Pink slime — But more importantly, what the hell is hot dog filler and is it really packed like that? The News Tribune says, “It’s typically a mixture of leftover beef trimmings churned and treated into a paste that is unappealing but regulated and deemed safe by federal agencies.” Bon appétit and enjoy your next rollerdog!
Immobile, Alabama — The worst offender this week on The Dude’s Time Suck O’Meter was the Port of Mobile, Alabama. You’re in for a 231-minute (3 hours and 51 minutes) wait over there. Good thing you don’t even get paid for the first two hours of that. What should you do while you’re waiting? You could watch “Top Gun” (110 minutes) and most of “Top Gun: Maverick” (137 minutes) in that time.
WTT goes supersonic — On the show we’re talking to NASA about its experimental supersonic X-59 jet and the Quesst mission. I take on The Dude in the battle of the best potato salad in freight; AIT’s drive for sustainability; the best of FreightWaves Radio; and more.
Special guests are Peter Coen, Quesst mission integration manager, and Craig Nickol, project manager of the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator project at NASA; Ray Fennelly, chief information officer for AIT Worldwide Logistics; Grace Sharkey, FreightWaves Radio host; and the FreightWavesTV team judges potato salad.
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Source: freightwaves - 15,000 lbs of gross
Editor: Timothy Dooner