Showing posts from August, 2014

Will Electronic Log Books Make The Driver Shortage Worse?

The fact that as a nation the United States is facing a big truck driver shortage shouldn’t be a secret unless you've been living elsewhere for some time. Currently there is an estimated shortage of 30,000 drivers, and according to the American Trucking Association the anticipated driver shortage is going to hit 239,000 by the year 2022. But there is another problem coming into play soon that may actually make it worse: electronic log books.

It's estimated that 75% of the industry is currently without electronic logging devices. In early 2015 there is a government mandate going into effect that requires commercial vehicles to have an electronic logging device. Once this is in place it will make it harder for drivers to dodge the hours of service rules. The way it stands now, trucks without electronic logging devices have a significantly lower chance of getting caught breaking the hours of service rules, especially if operated by a driver who knowingly wishes to manipulate hi…

LTL Re-Delivery Charges Are No Longer Being Overlooked

When carriers make an attempt to deliver a shipment but are denied or can’t perform the delivery because of no fault of their own (i.e. inaccurate information and / or lack of equipment) they will take it back to the terminal, put it on a different truck or get the correct information, and then attempt delivery of the original shipment. LTL carriers will charge a re-delivery fee for this should something similar occur. The ltl re-delivery charge is a fee that the carriers charge to help them recoup the costs incurred to perform the additional requirements necessary to deliver the shipment.

When the recession hit back in ’08-’09, all of the ltl carriers began vying for market share with a rate war of sorts, and they would often overlook or waive this charge in order to win or maintain business. During that time some ltl carriers were even hauling freight that resulted in a net loss just to keep employees and equipment employed. Now they are struggling to keep supply in line with deman…

Trucking: July Tonnage Index Up, Driver Shortage Still A Problem

Truckers have been hit with many blows recently, including the hours of service changes, higher operating costs from aging fleets, and insurance requirements. The aforementioned items have done nothing but hamper the situation when it comes to the driver shortage in the trucking market. Rates are going to have to rise in order to help even out the demand, or else there will be continual backlogs of freight and service issues. Something has to give.

Yesterday, the American Trucking Association released that the For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased by 1.3% in July. The ATA's Chief Economist, Bob Costello noted “The solid tonnage number in July fits with the strong factory output reading and a jump in housing starts for the same month. I continue to expect moderate, but good, tonnage growth for the rest of the year.”

The railroads are seeing the benefit of the driver shortage, but that still doesn't do away with the need for the drivers once the rail is at the unloading destinati…

Intermodal Activity up 5.9% for North America: Another Sign That LTL Rates Are Set To Skyrocket Soon

According to the American Association of Railroads, the intermodal volume increased 5.9% year-to-date for all of North America to 10.3 million trailers and containers through the week of August 9th. The Georgia Ports Authority reported that the container volume at the Port of Savannah reached a record level in July. "Container trade increased to 293,889 20-foot equivalent units at the port, surpassing the record set in May by almost 3,500 units." The Georgia Ports Authority stated that this was a 19.2% increase year-over-year. 
The GPA Executive Director said in a statement: “Improved confidence among U.S. retailers, newly added port customers and shifting cargo from U.S. West to East Coast are all fueling the growing cargo volumes at Georgia’s deep water ports.” Per the Intermodal Association of North America in a report last week, the Southeast came in with a 12.9% growth rate, but with just a little over 200,000 shipments it had the lowest total of overall shipments. 
The i…

Supply & Demand: Trucking Industry Driver Shortage

The reasons for the driver shortage can be debated amongst several issues, but the bottom line is that freight companies have been turning down business because they already have enough problems dealing with the business they have. In an economy where supply (capacity) and demand (freight) aren't matching up something has to give. The trucking industry is at full capacity and there is excess demand for trucks and the movement of freight. The trucks are there in many instances, but there is not enough qualified drivers to operate the tractors.

"The American Trucking Associations has estimated that there was a shortage of 30,000 qualified drivers earlier this year, a number on track to rise to 200,000 over the next decade. Trucking companies are turning down business for want of workers." This is quoted from an article in the New York Times on August 9th:

With t…

LTL & TL Shippers Beware: Carriers Have Leverage and Rates Are Poised To Rise

The link to this article is a great summation of what's going on in the trucking industry. We predicted a capacity crunch, and driver shortage is now the driving factor causing carriers to be able to cherry pick good freight at higher yields. Shippers should be prepared for what's ahead. It is going to get worse before it gets better, for shippers that is. You can hear it from the source :

LTL: FAK Explained

FAK stands for Freight All Kinds. If a shipper has an FAK it means that they have an agreement with their carrier or service provider (3PL) that allows different items falling into multiple different freight classes to be billed and shipped at the same class. An FAK may be beneficial for shippers with several commodities shipping at multiple classes, but it doesn't always make sense. A shipper’s volume, product mix and product types (value) are all things that should be taken into account before an FAK is considered.

Let’s say a shipper has several commodities ranging from class 50 to a class 77.5. This shipper may want to consider asking for an FAK 50, which if implemented would allow all of their shipments ranging from class 50 up to a class 77.5 to be rated and billed at class 50. This would provide savings for some of their shipments. More specifically it would save them money on the shipments that had historically shipped above a class 50 and below or equal to class 77.5. And…