News Wire: NS to reopen Debutts Yard hump

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Posted by Brian Schmidt on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 8:53 AM

BOSTON — Norfolk Southern will reopen the yard hump at DeButts Yard in Chattanooga, Tenn., as it works to ease congestion amid rising traffic volumes, CEO Jim Squires told an investor conference today. Service has suffered on NS due to congest...

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2018/05/15-ns-to-reopen-debutts-yard-hump

Brian Schmidt, Associate Editor Trains Magazine

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 10:12 AM

Gridlock is amazing!

         

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Posted by 466lex on Thursday, May 17, 2018 11:35 AM
“We’re holding our own against strong volume growth,” Squires says. “Volume on our network is at a 12-year high.”
 
EDGAR never forgets: 2018* vs. 2006** NS Loads Data
 
Merchandise CLs:  -16%
Coal & Coke CLs:    -41%
Total CLs:                 -25%
IM Loads:                +33%
Total Loads:              -2%
*Average Weekly Loadings for first 19 weeks of 2018
**Average Weekly Loadings for first 26 weeks of 2006
 
Just for fun:  The same data for CSX.
Merchandise CLs:   - 7%
Coal & Coke CLs:   -55%
Total CLs:                -26%
IM Loads:                +32%
Total Loads:             - 8%
 
And for the “East” as a whole:
Merchandise CLs:  -12%
Coal & Coke CLs:    -49%
Total CLs:                 -26%
IM Loads:                 +32%
Total Loads:              -5%
 
The CL “Harvest” strategy on full display.
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Posted by oltmannd on Thursday, May 17, 2018 6:19 PM

466lex
“We’re holding our own against strong volume growth,” Squires says. “Volume on our network is at a 12-year high.”
 
EDGAR never forgets: 2018* vs. 2006** NS Loads Data
 
Merchandise CLs:  -16%
Coal & Coke CLs:    -41%
Total CLs:                 -25%
IM Loads:                +33%
Total Loads:              -2%
*Average Weekly Loadings for first 19 weeks of 2018
**Average Weekly Loadings for first 26 weeks of 2006
 
Just for fun:  The same data for CSX.
Merchandise CLs:   - 7%
Coal & Coke CLs:   -55%
Total CLs:                -26%
IM Loads:                +32%
Total Loads:             - 8%
 
And for the “East” as a whole:
Merchandise CLs:  -12%
Coal & Coke CLs:    -49%
Total CLs:                 -26%
IM Loads:                 +32%
Total Loads:              -5%
 
The CL “Harvest” strategy on full display.
 

Perfect.  This was just what I was looking for...

This data also shows the future is intermodal.  Railroad in the future has to be geared for intermodal.

From:  https://www.freightwaves.com/news/norfolk-csx-union-railroads

"Squires said traditionally, the intermodal business is a lower-margin business than the company's merchandise and coal segments, but that is not the case at present."

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by 466lex on Thursday, May 17, 2018 10:48 PM
"Squires said traditionally, the intermodal business is a lower-margin business than the company's merchandise and coal segments, but that is not the case at present."
 
Color me somewhat skeptical.  In another recent Newswire post, it was noted that in 1st Q, 2018, NS came in last in the OR rankings, barely breaking the 70 mark, at 69.3.  Being the curious sort, I mused over the fact that NS Intermodal volumes YTD are running 8% over 2017, while at CSX Intermodal is up only 1%.  The comparisons made me wonder about overall 1st Q 2018 rankings for the Class 1s:
 

                  Rank              Inverted Rank

                    By                   by IM % of

                    OR                 Total Loads

 

CSX               1                          1  (45%)

UP                 2                          2  (48%)

BNSF             3                          3  (53%)

NS                 4                           4  (55%)

 

Well, I’ll now take my statistical tongue out of my statistical cheek, but … where DID EHH find all of those locomotives to park …?

Hint:

“The intermodal business at CSX has "turned the corner" faster than other parts of the CSX business, Lonegro said. The domestic intermodal business is down about 3% year over year, he said, but a lot of that is the result of rationalization of service rather than a true downturn.”  (From “Freightwaves.”)

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, May 17, 2018 10:58 PM

466lex
 where DID EHH find all of those locomotives to park …?

Hint:

“The intermodal business at CSX has "turned the corner" faster than other parts of the CSX business, Lonegro said. The domestic intermodal business is down about 3% year over year, he said, but a lot of that is the result of rationalization of service rather than a true downturn.”  (From “Freightwaves.”)

Blood Pressure was Zero - that was because the heart stopped beating, not because the individual died.

         

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Posted by oltmannd on Friday, May 18, 2018 1:33 PM

466lex
"Squires said traditionally, the intermodal business is a lower-margin business than the company's merchandise and coal segments, but that is not the case at present."
 
Color me somewhat skeptical.  In another recent Newswire post, it was noted that in 1st Q, 2018, NS came in last in the OR rankings, barely breaking the 70 mark, at 69.3.  Being the curious sort, I mused over the fact that NS Intermodal volumes YTD are running 8% over 2017, while at CSX Intermodal is up only 1%.  The comparisons made me wonder about overall 1st Q 2018 rankings for the Class 1s:
 

                  Rank              Inverted Rank

                    By                   by IM % of

                    OR                 Total Loads

 

CSX               1                          1  (45%)

UP                 2                          2  (48%)

BNSF             3                          3  (53%)

NS                 4                           4  (55%)

 

Well, I’ll now take my statistical tongue out of my statistical cheek, but … where DID EHH find all of those locomotives to park …?

Hint:

“The intermodal business at CSX has "turned the corner" faster than other parts of the CSX business, Lonegro said. The domestic intermodal business is down about 3% year over year, he said, but a lot of that is the result of rationalization of service rather than a true downturn.”  (From “Freightwaves.”)

 

OR went down.  Only IM traffic up materially.  That could mean that incremental IM business contributes more than the overall OR. 

IM business is not a "loser".  

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Friday, May 18, 2018 3:05 PM

Humping in Debutts!Angry

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Posted by Uncle_Bob on Friday, May 18, 2018 8:19 PM

BaltACD

 

 
466lex
 where DID EHH find all of those locomotives to park …?

Hint:

“The intermodal business at CSX has "turned the corner" faster than other parts of the CSX business, Lonegro said. The domestic intermodal business is down about 3% year over year, he said, but a lot of that is the result of rationalization of service rather than a true downturn.”  (From “Freightwaves.”)

 

Blood Pressure was Zero - that was because the heart stopped beating, not because the individual died.

 

That presupposes EHH ever *had* a heart to stop beating in the first place.

BTW, can it be confirmed that he's not actually undead, cursed to wander the Earth forever, doing the bidding of whatever corporate raider asks him to bleed a railroad of its long-term vitality for their short-term benefit?

 

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Posted by 466lex on Saturday, May 19, 2018 11:16 AM
oltmannd said:  “OR went down.  Only IM traffic up materially.  That could mean that incremental IM business contributes more than the overall OR.”
 
An interesting statistical speculation, for sure.  If only there were public data (OT STB URCS runs) for railroads’ traffic segment profitability ….
 
With this year’s significant up-turn in intermodal volumes, I wonder if we will be seeing expansion investment announcements for terminals, TTX cars, etc.  Perhaps the announcements (or lack thereof) will be a clue as to the internal evaluation of intermodal profitability.  With regard to NS, I noted with interest a few years ago that they significantly pared back on intermodal investment (Crescent Corridor, Triple Crown, etc.).  Now that Mike McClellan is heading NS strategic planning, NS decisions on intermodal expansion will be particularly interesting to follow.
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Posted by 466lex on Saturday, May 19, 2018 12:28 PM
Earlier in this thread, I noted this CSX executive comment:
 
““The intermodal business at CSX has "turned the corner" faster than other parts of the CSX business, Lonegro said. The domestic intermodal business is down about 3% year over year, he said, but a lot of that is the result of rationalization of service rather than a true downturn.” 
 
after wondering, “ … where DID EHH find all of those locomotives to park …?”
 
So I did a comparison of scheduled weekly CSX intermodal train starts now (mid-May, 2018), with those of mid-April of last year (2017), as posted here:  http://railroadfan.com/wiki/index.php/CSX_Train_Symbols#000_Q-series_-_Priority_Trains.2FIntermodal
 
Remarkably (and remarkably unpublicized), if “RailroadFan.com” is accurate, CSX reduced weekly intermodal train starts by 213 (-36%) or 30 per day.  Yet, Year-to-Date volume is actually up 1.1%.  The effect on CSX intermodal profitability has to be dramatic.  Investible? 
 
(Note, that trade press reported that some of the IM traffic in low-volume lanes would move on manifests.)
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Posted by Murphy Siding on Saturday, May 19, 2018 12:55 PM

466lex
“We’re holding our own against strong volume growth,” Squires says. “Volume on our network is at a 12-year high.”
 
EDGAR never forgets: 2018* vs. 2006** NS Loads Data
 
Merchandise CLs:  -16%
Coal & Coke CLs:    -41%
Total CLs:                 -25%
IM Loads:                +33%
Total Loads:              -2%
*Average Weekly Loadings for first 19 weeks of 2018
**Average Weekly Loadings for first 26 weeks of 2006
 
Just for fun:  The same data for CSX.
Merchandise CLs:   - 7%
Coal & Coke CLs:   -55%
Total CLs:                -26%
IM Loads:                +32%
Total Loads:             - 8%
 
And for the “East” as a whole:
Merchandise CLs:  -12%
Coal & Coke CLs:    -49%
Total CLs:                 -26%
IM Loads:                 +32%
Total Loads:              -5%
 
The CL “Harvest” strategy on full display.
 

How does it compare to 2007?

If 2018 is year 12, 
2017 is year 11
2016>10
2015>9
2014>8
2013>7
2012>6
2011>5
2010>4
2009>3
2008>2
Then 2007 is year 1.

      It might depend on how you slice the pie. Wasn't 2007 the first rough year of the recession? 

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by 466lex on Saturday, May 19, 2018 1:03 PM

EDGAR has the data:  https://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/legacy/companysearch.html

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, May 21, 2018 8:54 PM

EDGAR has data.  That's for sure. You could probably make a good living taking data in 10-Ks and selling it as real data sets.

So, I dug in, a bit. 

Here's what I found.  I'm not happy.

https://blerfblog.blogspot.com/2018/05/railroad-renaissance-or-dead-man-walking.html

 

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by 466lex on Monday, May 21, 2018 9:20 PM

Sound analysis.  Well worth the click.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Monday, May 21, 2018 10:01 PM

Interesting analysis. It will be interesting to see how things go the next several years before the next economic downturn.

When one looks at other countries, there is always some rail freight no matter what - usually less than in the heyday of their rail systems, but always some. Policy at the Federal level will continue to have an impact.

Once the Interstate System was developed the railroads were like a soccer team playing a man down, took a long time to realize it, and have continued to struggle to adapt.

But they will have to adapt or wither, the same as any other industry.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Monday, May 21, 2018 10:35 PM

466lex

EDGAR has the data:  https://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/legacy/companysearch.html

 

Interesting analysis. Thanks for linking that.

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by greyhounds on Monday, May 21, 2018 10:39 PM

oltmannd
EDGAR has data. That's for sure. You could probably make a good living taking data in 10-Ks and selling it as real data sets. So, I dug in, a bit. Here's what I found. I'm not happy.

Freight doesn't grow at the same rate GDP grows.  IIRC, it grows at about 1/3rd GDP growth.  People will buy larger houses, but not larger enough to keep up with their earnings in terms of lumber used, as an example.  They'll spend the extra money on running out to Vegas for a weekend, not on a 2nd or 3rd washing machine.  Or another car.  They might drink better booze, but not a lot more booze.  Health care is GDP growth, but it doesn't produce much freight.

Carload merchandise is at best a niche market.  It's going to be intermodal or unit trains of bulk in the future.  Intermodal will produce a higher operating ratio.  So what?  As the BNSF knows, it's return on invested capital, net income, and future earnings that count.

 

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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 9:02 AM

oltmann:

Great set of data and analysis.  

It would be interesting to see where that merchandise business is going.  That is a massive set of data that probably only NS could provide to reveal what is occuring.  

A few points...

1.  The year 2007 was pretty much the high water mark prior to the "Great Recession".  I personally recall that as my sales numbers took a free fall...and I deal with capex in transportation industry.  It is good to see data going back to 1999 to get a nearly 20 year picture.

2.  What effect has electronic logs had on the trucking industry and the intermodal growth.  Is that growth sustainable or will it melt away?  Truckers are very happy with their rates these days and seem to be accepting the fact that drivers are a valuable yet difficult asset to acquire and retain.  

3.  I like to play a game as the NS runs its fleet of intermodal trains on the Chicago - Elkhart line.  What revenue are these intermodal trains generating?  This morning's 26W from Chicago to Pittsburgh had roughly 50 units.  Figure $600 per unit and that train generated $30,000 in revenue.  That is the equivilant of roughly 15 cars of merchandise at $2000 per car.  The 24M to Baltimore had 67 units.  At $700 per load that is nearly $47,000.  Both trains are heavy with UPS, usually more than 50%.   Both trains have grown year over year.  Today's 20E, the hot UPS/TOFC Chicago to Croxton train just cleared Chesterton with 183 units, mostly trailers including 35 UPS. That train is well over $125,000 in revenue, possibly approaching $150,000.  The majority of those trailers were refer units, no doubt carrying meat and produce to the NYC region.

Yes, it appears that intermodal is growing and my thoughts are that the NS is cashing in on niche type movements - shorter haul and TOFC trailers.  Now, is it profitable?  Who knows?

Ed

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Posted by oltmannd on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 9:27 AM

greyhounds
Freight doesn't grow at the same rate GDP grows.  IIRC, it grows at about 1/3rd GDP growth.  People will buy larger houses, but not larger enough to keep up with their earnings in terms of lumber used, as an example.  They'll spend the extra money on running out to Vegas for a weekend, not on a 2nd or 3rd washing machine.  Or another car.  They might drink better booze, but not a lot more booze.  Health care is GDP growth, but it doesn't produce much freight. Carload merchandise is at best a niche market.  It's going to be intermodal or unit trains of bulk in the future.  Intermodal will produce a higher operating ratio.  So what?  As the BNSF knows, it's return on invested capital, net income, and future earnings that count.

Good point.  I'm digging into some data to see...  

I'm just dismayed that RRs, NS in particular, are dishing out so much in stock repurchase and dividends rather than investing in intermodal growth.  The intemodal revenue growth seems to have stalled out in the past several years.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by oltmannd on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 9:29 AM

MP173
Figure $600 per unit and that train generated $30,000 in revenue.  That is the equivilant of roughly 15 cars of merchandise at $2000 per car.  The 24M to Baltimore had 67 units.  At $700 per load that is nearly $47,000.  Both trains are heavy with UPS, usually more than 50%.   Both trains have grown year over year.  Today's 20E, the hot UPS/TOFC Chicago to Croxton train just cleared Chesterton with 183 units, mostly trailers including 35 UPS. That train is well over $125,000 in revenue, possibly approaching $150,000.  The majority of those trailers were refer units, no doubt carrying meat and produce to the NYC region.

Back in the middle 1990s, UPS was paying Conrail >$900 a load for NY to Chicago.  I don't know what's happened since the split.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 4:34 PM

Don:

Interesting info.  It would be interesting to know if NS holds similar (if not inflation adjusted) rates or if the competition has driven the rate down.

What has always intrigued me is whether or not NS commands a premium rate on non UPS business on the primary UPS trains.  It sure seems like they could demand a premium.

Today's 20k hustled thru Chesterton with 106 units, primarily refer units.  It has been interesting to watch the volumes increase on 20E, 20K, 24M, 26W, 22W and others the past year.

ed

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Posted by greyhounds on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 6:46 PM

MP173
Truckers are very happy with their rates these days

According to DAT, the national (US) average dry van truck  rate was $2.16/mile in April, 2018.  That's up $0.49/mile from April 2017.  A 29% increase.

Also according to DAT, the national (US) average reefer truck rate was $2.43/mile.  That's also up $0.49/mile from April 2017.  A 25% increase.  

The truckers should be happy and the railroads should be able to gain market share. 

"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.
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Posted by MP173 on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 7:13 AM

Greyhound:

Are the rails gaining market share, or is a rising tide lifting all boats?  

Ed

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Posted by greyhounds on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 5:56 PM

MP173

Greyhound:

Are the rails gaining market share, or is a rising tide lifting all boats?  

Ed

 

I'll say it's some of both.  Those trucking price increases coupled with a persistant driver shortage should divert business to rail movement.  And, fuel costs are going back up.  So some of it is a market share gain.  Those reefer trailers you see on the NS are a good example.

Can the rails hang on to the gain?  I'd think the biggest issue is intermodal terminal capacity.  It takes years to expand or build a large terminal.  Locomotives, intermodal cars, even crews, have shorter lead times.  

And some of it is just good economic growth, the "rising tide", which we haven't had in years.  The electronic logs seem to have reduced trucking capacity in this time of renewed economic growth, so that also pushes freight to rail movement.

The big question, again, is can the rails maintain these advantages. 

"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.
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Posted by cx500 on Thursday, May 24, 2018 12:15 AM

greyhounds
It takes years to expand or build a large terminal.

Very true.  Unfortunately the converse is that one can be closed very quickly and be lost forever.  While the lesser terminals may not have quite the economies of scale of the huge ones, that may well be offset by savings in long-haul dray costs.  A closer intermodal facility should also make rail more attractive to potential shippers.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:10 PM

My boss just got an average of 40 cents more in our latest contracts with our major shippers.  Of that 15 cents is going to go for fuel costs they are climbing back up 10 cents are going to capital costs 10 for driver pay and benefits we are thinking a 5 cent raise and 5 cents for extra benefits and then 2 cents for the office staff in raises he basis our pay on the average miles run in a year.  The last 3 cents he is using for whatever the company needs taxes or whatever.  We should be able to replace 20 tanker trailers this year and add 50 vans to the fleet.  We hope to grow the fleet by 10-15 trucks.  

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:20 PM

Humping is back in Debutts!

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:53 PM

Shadow the Cats owner. This is a subject that you I am sure you are well aware of 

Today's Chicago Tribune has an article that I will hope won't get me in trouble with the moderator if I post it. I have a Tribune subscription and it gives me digital privilages which I construe allows me to do this. Looks like a situation that could work in increases for Intermodal traffic for the railroads. 

Article is bylined By Heather Long The Washington Post 

Joyce Brenny, chief executive of Brenny Transportation in Minnesota, gave her truck drivers a 15 percent raise this year, but she still can’t find enough workers for a job that now pays $80,000 a year. A year ago, when customers would call Brenny, she could almost always get their goods loaded on a truck and moving within a day or two.Now she’swarning customers it could take two weeks to find an available truck and driver. Shipping costs have skyrocketed in the United States in 2018, one of the clearest signs yet of a strong economy that might be starting to overheat. Higher transportation costs are beginning to cause prices of anything that spends time on a truck to rise. Amazon, for example, just implemented a 20 percent hike for its Prime program that delivers goods to customers in two days, and General Mills, the maker of Cheerios and Betty Crocker, said prices of some of its cereals and snacks are going up because of an “unprecedented” risein freight costs. Tyson Foods, a large meat seller, and John Deere, a farm and construction equipment maker, also recently announced they will increase prices, blaming higher shipping costs. The trucking industry shows an extraordinary labor shortage in one corner of the economy can spill out and affect the economy more broadly. “I’ve never seen it like this, ever,” said Brenny, who has been in the trucking industry for 30 years. “It doesn’t matter what the load even pays. There are just not drivers.” Trucking executives say their industry is experiencing a perfect storm: The economic upswing is creating heavy demand for trucks, but it’s hard to find drivers with unemployment so low. Young Americans are ignoring the job openings because they fear self-driving trucks will soon dominate theindustry. Waymo, the driverless car company owned by Alphabet, just launched a selfdriving truck pilot program in Atlanta, although trucking industry veterans argue it will be a long time before drivers go away entirely. Brenny anticipates she will have to raise pay another 10 percent before the end of the year to ensure that other companies don’t steal her drivers. “The drivers deserve the wages. They really do, but the raises are coming so fast that it’s hard to handle,” said Brenny, who is having to adjust contracts for drivers — and customers — rapidly. The United States has had a truck driver shortage for years, but experts sayit’s hitting a crisis level this year. There’s even more demand for truckers now as just about every sector of the economy is expanding and online sales continue to soar. On top of that, the federal government imposed a new rule in December that requires drivers to be on the road for no more than 11 hours at a time. Drivers are now tracked by an electronic device that monitors their time so they can’t cheat. “It’s as bad as it’s ever been” to find drivers, said Bob Costello, chief economist at the American Trucking Associations. “Companies are doing everything they can to make drivers happy: increasing pay and getting them home more often, but that means they aren’t driving as many miles.” America had a shortage of 51,000 truck drivers at the end of last year, Costello found, up from a shortage of 36,000 in 2016. He says “without a doubt” it’s going to be even higher this year, even though many companies are giving double-digit raises. He gets asked about the driver scarcity daily as companies try to figure out how to handle the growing backlog. His best advice is for companies to invest in technology like what Uber and Lyft have to cut down on the time a driver or truck sits idle between runs. As driver pay rises quickly and diesel fuel costs tick up, shipping companies are charging higher and higher rates to move goods. It now costs more than $1.85 a mile to ship a “dry good” that doesn’t require refrigeration or special accommodation, a nearly 40 percent increase from the price a year ago, according to data from DAT Solutions. Shipping costs hit an all-time high earlier this year and have remained near that level ever since, according to DAT Solutions and the Cass Freight Index Report. Manufacturers are complaining that higher shipping costs are causing their profits to fall. It was a constant topic of discussion as American firms reported earnings in recent weeks. Walmart said this week that high transportation costs are its “primary head wind” right now. Economists warn those costs are almost certainly going to end up resulting in higher prices for everyday items that many Americans purchase. “Every single good ends up on a truck at some point. Businesses that use trucking to receive and ship goods are going to do their best to pass on the costs to the rest of us,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. Logistics and transportation accounts for about 10 cents of every dollar in the U.S. economy, says Donald Broughton of Broughton Capital and author of the Cass Freight Index publication. “I don’t normally speak in hyperbole, but we’re entering some uncharted territory,” Broughton said. “If there is a 10 percent increase in transportation costs, that gives you a 1 percent increase in inflation for the broader economy. That’s real.” It could mark a turning point for the U.S. economy. Inflation has stayed unusually low in the past decade, largely because costs have stayed low for food, clothes and other items Americans buy in store or online as companies got more efficient and worker wages barely increased. But rising shipping costs could change that dynamic in 2018, potentially forcing people to have to spend more and employers to hike pay as they try to compete for workers with the industry. Trucking companies hope they can lure more drivers with higher pay, signing bonuses and shorter hours. The job doesn’t require a high school degree or being in great shape. Someone can obtain a truck licensein a matter of weeks, although they must pass a drug test. “You are away from home and family and friends on a regular basis, and the job is not highly respected,,” Broughton said.

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • 684 posts
Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Friday, May 25, 2018 6:16 AM

Around here we take everything the ATA says with a Huge grain of salt and 2 shots of Tequila.  While there is a shortage of drivers in the mega fleets that treat their drivers as sub humans for the most part aka drive them like machines at least where I am at we have a shortage of trucks for all the people that want to work for us.  The founder of this company made a decision 30 years ago that he was not going to treat his drivers like they were idiots.  Instead he was going to treat them like they were human beings.  That meant for his drivers even back then frigs in the trucks higher end mattresses he was running standup sleepers when most of the larger fleets were still running cabover trucks.  He also pays better than most fleets the shop forces we have fix issues that are written up.  We also provide good insurance.  Our drivers run an out and back route and average about 2800 miles a week in our van fleet some get over 3K a week.  

 

We also have a true open door policy any driver during regular business hours can talk to anyone here in the office and air their problems.  You would be amazed how many drivers had never been allowed to even talk to their dispatchers face to face before coming here.  Yes there is a capacity crunch going on right now.  Part of it was brought on by the EBOR rules however another part of it is the economy taking off and still another is Amazon itself.  You see Amazon takes up to 1 week to unload a trailer and refuses to allow the trucking company to dispatch that driver on another load until they are done with their trailer.  That is one reason why we refuse to haul for them.  They only pull stock off the trailer as they sell it and refuse to allow detention time on their trucks.  From what I have heard there is going to be a lawsuit brought on their habits by some carriers.

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