<![CDATA[EWAYS | Owner Operator Jobs | 5% charge - Blog]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 20:08:02 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Reefer Trends Signal Pre-Thanksgiving Push]]>Thu, 03 Nov 2016 17:19:05 GMThttp://ewaysonline.com/1/post/2016/11/reefer-trends-signal-pre-thanksgiving-push.htmlReefer volumes were mostly in a holding pattern to close the month, similar to the last full week of October for vans. But there was much more regional movement with refrigerated freight, which is evidence of a pre-Thanksgiving push.

The Mexican border market of Nogales, AZ, has come back strong in the past month. The rest of the state's load-to-truck ratio remained low, which you can see in the map above. Ontario, CA, rates have also been trending up, helped by strong van movement in Southern California. Harvests in the Upper Midwest are wrapping up, with Grand Rapids starting to fade, but Wisconsin is still strong for reefer loads. Strong inbound volumes to northern New Jersey drove prices down out of Elizabeth, NJ.

By Matt Sullivan]]>
<![CDATA[Top 5 Places to Find a Flatbed Load]]>Fri, 28 Oct 2016 18:14:25 GMThttp://ewaysonline.com/1/post/2016/10/top-5-places-to-find-a-flatbed-load.htmlThe Hurricane Matthew aftermath hasn’t led to a surge in flatbed rates just yet. Flooding may have prevented loads from moving right after the storm, but freight is starting to pick up in the Southeast now that rebuilding is underway. 

Below are the top 5 markets for flatbed load posts on DAT TruckersEdge this month:

  1. Little Rock, AR
  2. Cleveland
  3. Shreveport, LA
  4. Portland, OR
  5. Spokane, WA
All rates below include fuel surcharges and are based on real transactions between carriers and brokers.

RISING

  • One flatbed lane that did get more active after the storm was from Savannah, GA to Charlotte, which jumped up ▲18¢ to $2.40/mile 
  • Outbound rates were up in Baltimore and Harrisburg, PA, but volumes were relatively weak in Harrisburg
  • A lot of lanes out of Texas have been down, but the one from Fort Worth to New Orleans has climbed ▲26¢ in the past month to an average of $1.90/mile
  • Outbound rates in Pittsburgh are up ▲24% for the month
FALLING

  • Rates and volumes were down in both Dallas and Houston
  • The lane from Houston to New Orleans dropped down to earth after some recent spikes -- that lane paid an average of $2.24/mile last week
  • Volumes on the lane from Atlanta to Raleigh, NC dropped by two-thirds, as flatbed freight couldn’t make it into those flooded areas


By Matt Sullivan]]>
<![CDATA[Post-Hurricane Floods Boost Rates in Southeast for Vans, Not Flatbeds]]>Mon, 24 Oct 2016 16:26:38 GMThttp://ewaysonline.com/1/post/2016/10/post-hurricane-floods-boost-rates-in-southeast-for-vans-not-flatbeds.html
Freight started moving into Florida again last week, due to pent-up demand following Hurricane Matthew. Van load volume and rates rose higher throughout the Southeast, especially on lanes heading into areas in the Carolinas that were affected by flooding and road closures.

Some of the rate increases may have helped to compensate carriers for the out-of-route miles they drove to avoid flooding on Interstate 95. Plus, as load-to-truck ratios declined in the destination markets, many inbound trucks had to deadhead out of storm-affected areas. The potential for deadhead miles can add to pressure on inbound rates. 

Atlanta reclaimed the top spot for van load posts last week, with lots of loads leaving there for areas affected by the storm. Rates were up in both Atlanta and Memphis, and prices surged out of Charlotte.

Conditions in North Carolina made trucks harder to find. Load volume doubled on the lane from Charlotte tothe Lakeland, FL market area, boosting that rate by 38¢, to $2.65 per mile. The Lakeland market includes Daytona, where Hurricane Matthew first made landfall. Rates on the lane from Atlanta to Lakeland also jumped up 16¢ to $2.56 per mile. Both of these lane rates started to drift back down this week, indicating that shippers have already moved the overdue freight that was stalled during Hurricane Matthew. 

Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath hasn’t led to a surge in flatbed rates, or not yet, anyway. Flooding may have prevented loads from moving last week. Plus, while the first wave of consumer goods has arrived to replenish store shelves after the storm, it may still be too soon for major repairs and construction that require the materials and equipment that move on flatbeds. 

One flatbed lane that did get more active after the storm was from Savannah to Charlotte, which jumped up 18¢ to $2.40 per mile. That could be related to the arrival of ships at the Port of Savannah. On the other hand, freight volume dropped by two-thirds on the lane from Atlanta to Raleigh, as flatbed freight couldn’t make it into those flooded areas.

By Peggy Dorf

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<![CDATA[Small Trucking Firms Fear Being Driven Out of Business by Electronic Log Rule]]>Fri, 14 Oct 2016 19:24:54 GMThttp://ewaysonline.com/1/post/2016/10/small-trucking-firms-fear-being-driven-out-of-business-by-electronic-log-rule.htmlA new regulation that will force U.S. trucking companies to electronically log employee hours is designed to limit accidents by keeping tired drivers off the road.

It may also drive smaller trucking firms out of business.

A trucking industry survey earlier this year of mostly small operators found that 84 percent lacked electronic logs, according to load-matching firm truckstop.com. Paper logs allow transport companies already facing razor thin margins to fudge the books, boosting their hours on the road to help the bottom line.

But a mandated switch to a digital system by late December 2017, regulators say, will boost safety by preventing exhausted truckers from driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) forecasts the regulation would save 26 lives per year and prevent 562 injuries.

An FMCSA cost-benefit analysis found the new rule would cost truck firms $1.8 billion across the sector to implement, but fewer crashes and less paperwork would save $3 billion.

Industry experts argue that whatever those savings, the smaller firms and independent owner operators that are the backbone of a highly fragmented market will take a productivity hit, making it difficult to pay off their trucks that have doubled in price since 2000.

As a result, small to mid-size trucking outfits will need to find more drivers to haul the same amount of freight — and seek other ways to cut costs — in order to make it.

“Some of the smaller (trucking) companies are just not going to survive” the change to electronic logs, said Dan Clark, head of BMO Transportation Finance, North America’s largest truck and trailer financing company.

The biggest truck firms back the rule and have used electronic logs for years. Large outfits like Schneider National, Swift Transportation Co. and Covenant Transportation Group Inc. all say the new logs reduce truckers’ miles on the road.

Cutting down driver miles means higher spending for additional drivers to haul freight. That leads to higher prices for consumers unless the firms find ways to squeeze more productivity out of their trucks.

According to an FMCSA analysis, the rules will affect nearly 3.4 million drivers. Larger firms with better economies of scale like Werner Enterprises Inc have seen their productivity cut between 3 and 5 percent by electronic logs. Estimates vary up to 15 percent for how much productivity could fall at America’s small trucking outfits.

Industry lobby group the American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates the sector is short about 50,000 drivers. Electronic logging could leave the industry short 1 million drivers, according to industry tracker FTR Intel.

The pending change has U.S. railroads hoping to take market share from the sector. CSX Corp Chief Executive Michael Ward said “won’t impact the big truck firms because they follow the law today, but it will affect small firms.”

“This will be a positive for us,” Ward said.

Biggest Hit Since DeregulationThough it does not kick in until the end of next year and is being challenged in court by an independent truck driver association for violating driver privacy, executives are already bracing for the new rule’s impact.

“This will be the single biggest thing to hit our industry since deregulation,” in 1980, which reduced government controls on trucking rates and routes, says Chris Lofgren, CEO of Schneider National, whose customers include Walmart Stores Inc and Home Depot Inc.

Schneider, the biggest private U.S. trucking company with annual revenue of around $4 billion, offers flexible schedules for drivers who want weekends at home, or longer routes with more money.

“I get the routes I want so I can eat up the miles,” said Bob Wyatt, 68, a Schneider driver who has 4.9 million safe miles on the road.

Truck makers are racing to make automatic vehicles that are easier and more comfortable to drive to help with driver retention.

Denny Mooney, head of global product development at truck maker Navistar said he has heard from customers that say, “‘if our drivers don’t want to drive your trucks, we won’t buy your trucks.'”

Green Bay-based Schneider is also putting customers under more scrutiny. Last year, Schneider rolled out an app for drivers to rate customers, enabling Schneider to fix problems or drop accounts that consistently chew up driver time.

Rival J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. is doing the same, after its own report last year found on a good day time wasted on picking up and dropping off loads can cost a trucker two hours out of a daily limit of 11 hours driving time, or 100 miles on the road. Drivers get paid by the mile and log an average of 7,500 miles per month in 2015.

That focus on getting more efficient is one reason why Troy Clarke, CEO of truck maker Navistar, said he is not convinced electronic logging will lead to truck sale spike. Instead, he said, truckers “will address capacity problems through an increased focus on productivity.”

Schneider is focused on building closer relationships with thousands of smaller carriers through its brokerage business to boost capacity.

The company expects more long-term contracts like one it has executed with Home Depot. Traditionally, pricing power seesaws between customers and truckers depending on the economy. Schneider’s deal with Home Depot keeps rates per mile more steady, and guarantees the home improvement chain access to trucking capacity.

“We believe capacity is going to get tighter and tighter,” said Erin Van Zeeland, vice president of transportation management at Schneider. “We believe the one that has the truck, wins.”

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<![CDATA[Cargo Ship Woes Still Affecting Spot Market Rates]]>Fri, 07 Oct 2016 18:43:50 GMThttp://ewaysonline.com/1/post/2016/10/cargo-ship-woes-still-affecting-spot-market-rates.htmlThe bankruptcy of the world's 7th largest container carrier, Hanjin Shipping, has led to shippers re-adjusting inventories in the past couple of weeks in order to avoid stock-outs as we head into the busy retail season. Those previously unplanned shipments have brought about a surge in demand for trucks in Los Angeles

VAN TRENDS

Last week was also the end of the quarter, which sometimes brings a big increase in loads. But the end of Q3 was relatively quiet, with load posts on DAT up a modest 7%. Spot market rates haven’t changed much in the last month either – there were hot markets and regions, but other areas cooled off, so it all balanced out. 

The outbound average in L.A. mostly held steady last week, but some of the eastbound long haul lanes are paying a lot better. L.A. to Elizabeth, NJ is a 2,782-mile trip, and it paid $1.70/mile on average for the past week. That’s the highest rate for that lane in more than a year. Columbus is a hub for retail distribution centers, and lane rates last week for L.A. to Columbus were also the highest they’ve been in a year, at $1.59/mile

Rates trended down last month in the Northeast and Southeast, which is typical for this time of year. Rates fell the most out of Allentown, PA, and Charlotte, but Hurricane Matthew could affect rates there this week.  

REEFER TRENDS

Reefer rates and volumes ended the month pretty much where they were at the end of August, but more lanes were up than down last week. Outbound rates got an offseason bump in Florida. Most of the major lanes out of Lakeland and Miami paid better. Rates may go up again this week, because shippers want to move freight ahead of the storm that's moving up from the Caribbean. Hopefully it won’t cause much damage.

Twin Falls, ID, cooled off after a few weeks of high demand, while heavy rains hurt rates out of Green Bay. The Southeast also continued to slow down. Aside from tree fruit shipments out of Grand Rapids, fall harvests weren’t as strong a factor in determining the top 5 markets for reefer load posts last week as it had been in previous weeks: 1. Chicago, 2. Elizabeth, 3. Dallas, 4. Grand Rapids, 5. Los Angeles.

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<![CDATA[Top 5 Places for Finding Reefer Loads]]>Thu, 29 Sep 2016 18:24:27 GMThttp://ewaysonline.com/1/post/2016/09/top-5-places-for-finding-reefer-loads.htmlSome unlikely places have been popping up at the top of our list of markets with the most reefer loads in the past couple of weeks. If you look at the Hot States Map below, you'll see that Idaho is deep blue. Twin Falls, in the southern part of the state, has been the number 1 market for reefer load posts on DAT TruckersEdge for two weeks in a row. In other words, there are a lot of potatoes and onions that need shipping, and not enough trucks there to haul them.

Eastern Oregon also grows potatoes and onions, and Pendleton, OR has had more reefer loads in the past couple of weeks than either Dallas or Atlanta.  

TOP 5 FOR REEFER LOADS

These markets had the most reefer load posts last week:

  1. Twin Falls, ID
  2. Chicago, IL
  3. Elizabeth, NJ
  4. Grand Rapids, MI
  5. Pendleton, OR
Rates below include fuel surcharges and are based on real transactions between carriers and brokers.

RISING: 

  • Twin Falls to Chicago rates were up ▲24¢ to $1.89/mile
  • Twin Falls to Baltimore paid an average of $2.17/mile, and there are a lot of miles on that trip
  • Outbound rates in Dallas rebounded last week and are back to about where they were a month ago
Prices were steady in California for the most part, but two lanes got big raises. They both go to difficult markets, though, so you'll want to make your money going in:

  • L.A. to Denver rose ▲28¢ to $2.52/mile.
  • Sacramento to Portland, OR was up ▲20¢ and also averaged $2.52/mile
Midwest reefer rates were mostly down, but Green Bay to Minneapolis paid ▲20¢ better, at $2.10/mile

FALLING:    

Rates out of Chicago took a step back last week.

  • Chicago to Atlanta fell ▼12¢ but still averaged $2.51/mile (That lane has already gained some of that back this week.)
  • Chicago to Kansas City also lost ▼13¢ and paid an average of $2.12/mile
Apple shipments might be slowing down in Michigan. The lane from Grand Rapids to Atlanta fell ▼24¢ to $2.32/mile.

One lane out West saw a big drop: Fresno to Denver lost ▼20¢ at $2.02/mile.


Matt Sullivan]]>
<![CDATA[10 Hidden USA Trucking Secrets]]>Tue, 30 Aug 2016 20:06:14 GMThttp://ewaysonline.com/1/post/2016/08/10-hidden-usa-trucking-secrets.htmlTrucking secrets in USA trucking are usually some facts most of us know or think they know but usually don’t pay attention to that at all. Well hidden in the depth of industry. Trucking industry hides some facts that ordinary people that haven’t spent a decade in this industry find very hard to reach.

Like every other business or industry so does trucking there is a lot of things that may look easy and simple but that is just until you dig a little deeper and under the surface the things are not that easy as they look – thats what we call trucking secrets. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to write this list and create a central point where people from outside of the industry can get an insight how this industry looks and operates.

1. USA Trucking Secret: Trucking Is Really Old and Really Big In USA

Yes, indeed trucking industry has its roots ever since the first car was build at that period very quickly the first truck showed up on the streets. It was all the way back to the beginning of the 20th century when automotive industry started their first steps to massive market penetration.

Trucks showed up and very quickly the massive truck production was in place adding more and more trucks to the streets on a daily base. First transportation hubs started to create (Chicago) and industry was on the path to become a giant. And that sure happened and now trucking industry is giant responsible for 5% of USA annual GDP or around $700 billon annual worth.

There is around 1,2 Million trucking companies operating 15 million of all kind of different trucks all over the USA and 3,5 million of those trucks are Class 8 Trucks or the big ones we see the most on the highways. It is huge and it is massive – 70% of all goods in USA are transported by trucks. Without trucks America stops living in just 21 days.

2. USA Trucking Secret: USA Trucking Is Expect To Grow Big In Next 10 Years

As you were able to read in the previous paragraph and see what is the size of the USA trucking industry it is even more incredible that trucking industry will grow over the next 10 years by 21%. Yes it is incredible that some industry that is so huge and big can become even bigger.

The reason for that lies in the fact that we buy more and more stuff ever years and that average number of items purchased per person in one year is growing constantly. More and more things are available trough the online stores (Amazon, Jet, Walmart Online, Alibaba) and people are becoming used to that kind of purchasing.

That lead us to dramatic increase in parcel shipping over the last 5 years and for that reason more and more trucks are required t o serve people and their newly developed purchasing habits.

3. USA Trucking Secret: Trucking Industry Is Slow With Changes

It is a giant and it is completely normal that changes are slowly coming into this industry because in reality every big industry changes slowly and that is OK. Maybe. A lot of changes are happening in the last few years and a lot of industries are being disrupted and changed completely how we rent place to stay (AirBnB) or how we drive in Taxi (Uber) and there is some signs of changing in the trucking industry as well.

There is some startups that are on the mission to disrupt the trucking industry and the way trucking industry works but we need to know that there is a lot of money in this playground and big players just wont let small startups to disrupt the industry and change it the way they want. It will be interesting too watch how this battle will end.

4. USA Trucking Secret: Trucking Giants Control The Industry

As written above, the industry is packed with giant players that pretty much control the industry and set the trends for the next short to medium period of time. There is at least 10 big players that have more than 10.000 trucks in their fleets (Yes, you read that correct) and that have impressive power in their hands.

Because those big players control the majority of the industry and set trends up and have a huge financial power it is not likely to think that they will sit and wait for changes to happen to them. Proactively they are fighting as well to hold their positions and be prepared for those small (at this moment) attacks coming from startups that want to change the way trucking industry runs business.

Already a lot of merger and acquisitions are happening and it is very interesting. The companies are joining business making from two big companies one giant. Seems like the big boys are becoming even bigger but just like I sad it is going to be very interesting field in the next five years.

5. USA Trucking Secret: Most Of The Business Is Done Trough Middleman 

This is the area where we can expect biggest changes or let me say it like this, in this area a lot of startups want to make changes that will make those middleman’s disappear.

But let me first explain to you how the business operates in 90% of the cases. If you are a small or medium trucking company owner and you have 50 trucks in your fleet to find the loads you are going to drive you are not calling companies you want to drive for. There is a broker in the middle that will give you the load. Company calls broker, broker calls you and you drive the load. Now you probably ask yourself why do we need the broker in the middle that is taking money from both of us? That’s the question all those new startups looking to change this ask too.

The middle broker takes money from both sides and it should disappear. But hold on, over the last 100 years of trucking those brokers become very powerful and very well connected and also we need to say they are doing their job perfectly. With them everything works and they are backed with billions of dollars in capital so is this change happen or it will just partially happen (only partial in my opinion).

6. USA Trucking Secret: There Is Big Truck Driver Shortage on The Labour Market

Yes, there is around 100.000 drivers missing in the trucking industry labour market. This creates a big mess on the market. Not only that there is lack of 100k drivers the thing is that there is a huge demand for well trained, responsible and good drivers.

This is constant problem in the last 10 years and a lot of discussions are opened on this subject without any good solution on the horizon. There is a huge industry in this driver training and driver hiring that is making a lot of money and would charge trucking company up to $3.000 if they find a driver to them.

The only solution for this situation is possible if the politics gets involved. Trucking industry needs decision where they could bring foreign drivers to the country and obtain them driving and working permits in fast and simple procedure. But then you open some immigration questions and that is always a hot politic topic. But if this is not solved trucking industry will not be able to answer the increase demand for transport.

7. USA Trucking Secret: Trucking Industry Is Not Very Profitable Business

This is another fact to handle. Being trucking company owner in the past would easily mean that you can make a ton of money and the profit per truck was really amazing. Also the average load price per mile were quite higher and the difference between costs and incomes were bigger.

But all those things have changed and now trucking company owners are heaving difficult time to cover all the cost they create. Also big problems are created because trucking has a low season during winter time were a lot of companies make debts that takes them 6 months to pay back during spring/summer high season.

8. USA Trucking Secret: There is a Lot of Competition

In the last 10 years there has been huge increase in truck numbers. A lot of new people entered into this business and also almost every trucking company expanded their fleet size.

Now if we now that a lot of trucks and trucking companies makes more competitive market landscape which as a consequence drives the load prices down. This is not something that is very easy to solve but the market power and invisible hand that controls the market is taking care of it.

You are able to see that in last 6 months more and more companies are unfortunately going out of business and file for bankruptcy just because there is a lot of trucks in the market. The cleaning of the market has started and I expect it to last for 6 months to a 1 year and that after that situation will get back to usual.

9. USA Trucking Secret: Freight Factoring Companies Make a Lot of Money

Also one of the giants in trucking industry that makes a lot of money. Usually the system works in a way that trucking company when delivers the load will get pay in 60 days. But trucking companies are not willing to wait for those 60 days and they want the money immediately within 5 days.

Then they turn to the factoring companies that will pay them the money they need to get for the delivered load immediately. After that factoring company will chase the shipping company for the money and wait for 60 days. Of course they are not doing that for free. For paying you money within 5 days instead of they will usually charge you with 2% – 3% of the total bill.

There is a lot of companies that think this is unfair in some way but the truth is that no one is forcing trucking companies to use the factoring services. If you want money in advance you need to pay for it. It is that simple.

10. USA Trucking Secret: Dispatch Department Plays a Key Role

Another thing that most of the people outside of this industry doesn’t know is that dispatch department is something similar to the sales department in any other ordinary company. Dispatchers work every day to find new loads for all trucks any company owns.

If they are good trucking company will have good paid loads and company revenue goes up and if they are bad company revenues will shrink. This department is crucial because their bad performance can ruin the company within few months since the trucking business profit margins are very low.

Conclusion

As you were able to see there is a lot of things and trucking secrets that may look simple and that you might know all about them but once you go deeper you discover that this may not be the case and they you still need some extra information yo call your self an expert. This article wont make you an expert but it sure you show the way trucking industry works and what are the usual practices in the trucking business and it will reveal some of the trucking secrets to you.

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<![CDATA[Less Freight, More Trucks Push Spot Truckload Rates Lower]]>Sun, 21 Aug 2016 22:38:09 GMThttp://ewaysonline.com/1/post/2016/08/less-freight-more-trucks-push-spot-truckload-rates-lower.htmlBy Evan Lockridge


A decline in the amount of freight on the spot truckload market coupled with an increase in the number of trucks needing cargo,pushed rates down across the board, according to new weekly figures from DAT Solutions that are based on its network of load boards.

Overall freight availability fell 6.2% while truck postings increased 3.1% for the week ending August 13 compared to the previous week as the average diesel fuel price declined 0.4% to $2.31 per gallon.

The average dry van rate gave up 3 cents, hitting $1.61 per mile, which included a 1-cent drop in the average fuel surcharge. While outbound rates increased in Seattle and Allentown, they fell in Chicago and Atlanta. The average dry van rate is now lower than the June average for the first time in six weeks, a transition that typically occurs in the first week of July, according to DAT.

Likewise, the average reefer rate lost 3 cents, registering $1.90 per mile and is down 6 cents from three weeks earlier. Reefer prices rose in major markets in the Midwest, but were lower in the Northeast.

Flatbeds posted the smallest drop, just 1-cent and entirely due to a decline in the fuel surcharge, pushing the average rate to where it was two weeks earlier at $1.92 per mile.

Not surprisingly, with less freight and a hike in the number of truck postings, load-to-truck ratios fell in all three freight categories. The biggest was in the flatbed sector, falling 14% to 11 loads per truck. Flatbed load posts declined 11% last week while truck posts increased 4%.

The 7% drop in the van load-to-truck ratio happened as van load posts declined 4% last week and truck posts increased 3% yielding 2.5 loads per truck. Reefers were not far behind with a 5.5% drop. Reefer load posts edged down 3% last week while truck posts added 3%. That resulted in the load-to-truck ratio moving to 5 to 1.

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<![CDATA[Shippers Trying to Lock in Low Truck Freight Rates]]>Thu, 19 May 2016 22:11:21 GMThttp://ewaysonline.com/1/post/2016/05/shippers-trying-to-lock-in-low-truck-freight-rates.htmlRetailers and manufacturers rushed to lock in low freight rates in the first quarter as overcapacity in the trucking industry dragged on the profits of transportation companies but bolstered profits for middlemen who arrange shipments.

C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. reported Wednesday net profit of $118.9 million for the first quarter, an increase of 11.7% over the first quarter of last year. Diluted earnings per share expanded from 73 cents a share in the first quarter of 2015 to 83 cents a share this year.

The company’s total revenue from arranging transportation and logistics services for companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Coca-Cola Co. and Dollar General Corp. fell 6.8% to $3.1 billion in the first quarter from the same period a year ago.

In a conference call with analysts, C.H. Robinson executives said the company received twice as many bids for freight contracts in this year’s first quarter as it usually gets at the start of the year, a sign that shipping customers were trying to bring low spot-market rates into their longer-term contracts. Freight rates for these bids were flat or lower compared with last year.

“We…currently continue to see a soft market with a lot of available truckload capacity,” said John Wiehoff, C.H. Robinson’s chief executive. “It’s a normal response that shippers would be a little more aggressive in their bid activity, and so we do see elevated levels from our standpoint across virtually all of our services.”

C.H. Robinson, based in Eden Prairie, Minn., was able to increase profits and expand its margins because as a freight broker it mostly enters into long-term contracts with customers to sell them trucking service at set prices but finds capacity in the shorter-term spot market, where prices fluctuate more quickly.

With about $13.5 billion in gross annual revenue, C.H. Robinson is the largest freight broker in the U.S. and considered a bellwether for the industry.

On Wednesday, DAT Solutions, an Oregon-based transportation data firm, reported that spot-market freight rates fell 21% in March from the same month a year ago for dry vans, the most common type of tractor-trailers used for shipping consumer goods.

Overcapacity has plagued the financial results of trucking companies over the last year, especially those that compete for loads on a daily basis in a highly fractured market, said Michael Scheid, an analyst with SJ Consulting. Trucking fleets have grown at a faster rate than demand for freight shipping in each of the last six quarters, according to Mr. Scheid’s data, as companies brought in new equipment purchased during a buying surge that started in 2014.

“It’s happening across the industry, because a lot of carriers are adding capacity and the volume of demand has not matched that,” he said. “Reducing capacity would help their profits for sure. But I think the carriers think this is a short-term event and they’re looking at the long term.”

Cowen analyst Jason Seidl wrote in a client note that nearly two-thirds of C.H. Robinson’s truckload business with shippers is priced in annual contracts, compared with a decade ago, when most contracts with shippers were shorter-term spot-market contracts.

Many analysts, including Mr. Seidl, believe large trucking companies are waiting out the soft market until 2017, when a federal mandate to use electronic logging devices, which track how many hours drivers are on the road, will take effect. ELDs, which are expensive to install and reduce the number of hours drivers can log, could potentially put hundreds of smaller competitors out of business, reducing capacity and bolstering freight rates.

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<![CDATA[¬†April spot freight slips seasonally]]>Sun, 15 May 2016 02:05:25 GMThttp://ewaysonline.com/1/post/2016/05/april-spot-freight-slips-seasonally.htmlIn a typical seasonal pattern, spot-market freight volume edged down 3.4 percent in April compared to March, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. But, in the latest weekly report, May freight is in full bloom.

Spot truckload freight availability in April declined 8.9 percent for dry vans, volume for refrigerated ("reefer") vans slipped 9.4 percent, and flatbed volume increased 3.9 percent. Line-haul rates on the spot market declined 1.5 percent for vans, and 0.6 percent for reefers, but flatbed rates increased 1.2 percent, month over month.

Compared to April 2015, overall spot market freight availability fell 30 percent. Year-over-year declines have been following a consistent pattern in every month since January 2015, due to lower demand for transportation services in the spot market, as well as readily available truck capacity. 

Demand declined 38 percent for vans, 34 percent for reefer trailers, and 22 percent for flatbeds, year over year. Line-haul rates fell 16 percent for vans, 12 percent for reefers, and 8 percent for flatbeds in April, compared to same-month levels in 2015.

However, truckload rates on the spot market increased sharply for all three equipment types during the first week of May on the DAT network of load boards.

Driven by demand for refrigerated and dry vans, the number of loads posted on DAT boards was up 5.1% compared to the previous week. Highlights:

Reefer Loads Up 11%: The number of posted reefer loads increased 11%. Truck capacity gained 5%, pushing the load-to-truck ratio up 6% to 3.4 loads per truck. That means there were 3.4 available loads for every reefer posted on the DAT network.

Reefer Rates Surge: The national average spot reefer rate was up 11 cents to a national average of $1.90 per mile.

Florida Producing: Outbound freight volumes and rates surged in Florida, with Lakeland up 29 cents to an average of $1.91 a mile and Miami adding 23 cents to an average of $2.32 a mile. Miami-to-Baltimore jumped 41 cents to an average of $2.62 a mile.

Vans In Demand: Van load posts rose 11% and the number of available trucks was virtually unchanged. That pushed the van load-to-truck ratio up 11% to 1.8 loads per truck.

Van Rate Jumps 7 cents: The national average spot market rate for vans added 7 cents to $1.57 per mile, including a 2-cent rise in the average fuel surcharge.

Hot Van Markets By Region:

- South Central: Houston, $1.49/mile, up 5 cents

- Southeast: Charlotte, $1.77/mile, up 2 cents

- West: Los Angeles, $1.89/mile, up 3 cents

- Northeast: Allentown, Pa., $1.76/mile, up 4 cents

- Midwest: Chicago, $1.73/mile, up 1 cent


Flats Hold Steady: Flatbed load volume was unchanged while capacity increased 12% from the previous week. That led to a 11% decline in the load-to-truck ratio, from 21.1 to 18.8 loads per truck. The national average flatbed rate added 1 cent to $1.91 a mile.

Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

Load-to-truck ratios represent the number of loads posted for every truck available on DAT load boards. The load-to-truck ratio is a sensitive, real-time indicator of the balance between spot market demand and capacity, DAT notes. Changes in the ratio often signal impending changes in rates.

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