A decline in tonnage affects driver jobs

July 28th, 2014

American Trucking Association reports that advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 0.8% in June, following a revised 0.9% gain the previous month, which will certainly affect those who have driver jobs.

In June, the index equaled 128.6 (2000=100) versus 129.6 in May. The index is off 1.9% from the all-time high in November 2013.

“June was one of those months where the data doesn’t quite match up with the anecdotal reports from fleets,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “We had heard the freight volumes were good.”

Costello added that tonnage had increased for four consecutive months prior to June totaling 4.4%.

“Despite the small reprieve in June, the second quarter was much better than the first quarter,” he said. “Tonnage increased 2.3% from the first quarter, which was the largest quarter to quarter gain since the first quarter in 2013. Compared with the second quarter in 2013, tonnage increased 3.2%, a percentage point better than the first quarter year-over-year increase.”

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 69.1% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9.7 billion tons of freight in 2013. Motor carriers collected $681.7 billion, or 81.2% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

Compared with June 2013, the SA index increased 2.3%, down from May’s 3.3% year-over-year gain. This year-over-year increase was the second smallest in 2014, following a 1% gain in January. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage is up 2.8%.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 132.3 in June which was 0.5% below the previous month.

Freight report focuses on truck driver jobs

July 23rd, 2014

The latest freight report highlighting the efforts of truck driver jobs shows that truck driver jobs have a big impact on freight and the economy.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI).

The May increase in the freight index was led by trucking, which grew rapidly for the fourth month in a row, as well as by increases in pipeline and waterborne. Growth in trucking occurred across different segments of the trucking sector, including dry van trucks as well as flatbed and tank trucks. Rail intermodal declined after three months of increases.

The freight index has now risen for four consecutive months following a bottom in January that was largely weather-related and affected the entire economy, as measured by the GDP decline in the January-to-March period.

The May 2014 index level (120.0) was 26.9 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

With four consecutive monthly increases, the index rose 3.4 percent following the weather-related low in January. In May, the index reached an all-time level (120.0), exceeding the previous all-time high (119.4) set in November before the winter decline. After dipping to 94.6 in April 2009, the index rose by 26.9 percent in the succeeding 61 months.

Driver jobs grow all around

July 8th, 2014

Transportation jobs, including driver jobs, have burgeoned all around the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Transportation and warehousing employment increased by 17,000 in June. Over the prior 12 months, this industry had added an average of 11,000 jobs per month. In June, couriers and messengers added 6,000 jobs.

Financial activities added 17,000 jobs in June, with a gain of 9,000 in insurance carriers and related activities. Employment in real estate and rental and leasing continued to trend up in June (+9,000). Financial activities had added an average of 5,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months.

Manufacturing added 16,000 jobs in June, with all of the increase in durable goods manufacturing. Within durable goods, employment increased in motor vehicles and parts (+6,000) and in computer and peripheral equipment (+3,000).

In June, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 34.5 hours for the fourth straight month. Both the manufacturing workweek, at 41.1 hours, and factory overtime, at 3.5 hours, were unchanged in June. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 33.7 hours for the fourth consecutive month.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 293,000 in June to 3.1 million; these individuals accounted for 32.8 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has decreased by 1.2 million.

Job gains were widespread, led by employment growth in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and health care.

Drivers jobs and freight numbers for April

June 26th, 2014

Those who have driver jobs carried ore U.S.-NAFTA trade in April 2014 than in April 2013 as U.S.-NAFTA trade value rose to $100.1 billion, according to the TransBorder freight data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Trucks, at 60.3 percent of the April trade, and pipeline, at 8.6 percent, carried a total of 69.0 percent of the trade.

In April, commodities moving by pipeline grew the most of any mode, 27.8 percent.
Truck freight increased 0.7 percent, rail declined 1.8 percent followed by declines in air at 3.1 and vessel at 13.2. The increase in the value of freight carried by pipelines reflects both a rise in the volume and prices for oil and other petroleum products, the primary commodity transported by pipelines.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 60.3 percent of U.S.-NAFTA trade in April 2014, accounting for $30.6 billion of exports and $29.8 billion of imports.

Trade using trucks rose by 0.4 percent while air freight declined 7.7 percent. U.S.-Canada trade by rail declined 6.5 percent, with an 11.3 percent fall in imports, due in part to a decrease in trade of vehicles and parts.

Trucks carried 54.4 percent of the $55.8 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 15.8 percent, pipeline at 14.8 percent, vessel at 4.9 percent and air at 4.2 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.9 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

A 4.2 percent increase in imports by truck offset a 2.5 percent decline in exports from year-to-year. Imports from Canada and Mexico both increased while exports by truck on each of the borders decreased. An increase in both imports and exports by pipeline across the Canadian border pushed pipeline’s share of total trade to 8.6 percent from 6.8 percent in April 2013.

Freight from driver jobs goes up

June 20th, 2014

The amount of freight carried by those with truck driver jobs has gone up 0.4% for the third consecutive month, according to the Dept. of Transportation.

The April 2014 index level (117.6) was 24.1 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

The level of freight shipments in April measured by the seasonally-adjusted Freight TSI (117.6) was at the second highest all-time level and 0.1 percent below the all-time high level of 117.8 in November 2013.

The March index was revised to 117.1 from 116.7 in last month’s release. Smaller upward revisions were made for December and January.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

The April increase in the freight index was led by trucking and rail intermodal, which grew rapidly for the third month in a row.  Rail carload growth slowed after fast growth in March.  The freight index has now risen for three consecutive months following a bottom in January that was largely weather-related and affected the entire economy, as measured by the GDP decline in the January-to-March period.

The TSI has three seasonally adjusted indexes that measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. The three indexes are freight shipments, passenger travel and a combined measure that merges the freight and passenger indexes. TSI includes data from 2000 to the present. Release of the May index is scheduled for July 10.

The TSI for passengers rose 0.1 percent in April from its March level (Table 6).  The Passenger TSI April 2014 level of 119.3 was 1.5 percent above the April 2013 level.

The passenger TSI measures the month-to-month changes in travel that involves the services of the for-hire passenger transportation sector. The seasonally adjusted index consists of data from air, local transit and intercity rail.

New truck could impact driver jobs

June 3rd, 2014

A new futuristic truck from Walmart could heavily impact truck driver jobs and the future.

The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience is a tractor-trailer combination that features leading edge aerodynamics, an advanced turbine-powered range extending series hybrid powertrain, electrified auxiliary components, and sophisticated control systems all in one package, developed in support of the company’s industry-leading sustainability program.

The project aims to demonstrate a wide range of cutting edge technologies and designs Walmart is considering in an effort to improve the overall fuel efficiency of its fleet and lower the company’s carbon footprint. Although the prototype currently runs on diesel, its turbine is fuel neutral and can run on compressed or liquid natural gas, biofuels or other fuels.

Designers used extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis to optimize the truck’s styling. The truck’s shape represents a 20 percent reduction in aerodynamic drag over Walmart’s current Peterbilt Model 386. By placing the cab over the engine, the truck’s wheelbase is greatly shortened, resulting in reduced weight and better maneuverability. Walmart relied on product development supplier Roush Engineering to carry out the vehicle’s construction with these detailed design specifications.

Range extending hybrids are a synergy between electric trucks and series hybrids, and their design reduces the energy storage size required for trucks to run on batteries alone. With Walmart Distribution Centers now located closer to metropolitan areas, transport vehicles have shorter transit times to their delivery destinations. These shorter trips reduce the vehicles’ average trip speed and create more opportunities to recover energy through regenerative braking. The generator and energy storage on the truck are scalable based on the range desired.

“Walmart is continually looking for innovative ways to increase our efficiencies and reduce our fleet’s emissions,” said Tracy Rosser, senior vice president of transportation at Walmart. “The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience is a bold step in transportation technologies that, although not on the road in its current form, will serve as a learning platform for the future that will accelerate our progress toward our goals.”

“We developed this microturbine hybrid electric drive system by assembling the best team of technology leaders in the industry,” said Steve Gillette, director of business development for Capstone. “We look forward to the day when these energy-saving features are standard offers for the market.”

Those with truck driver jobs get a warning from DOT

May 27th, 2014

From now on, those with truck driver jobs must have physicals performed by certified medical examiners, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

All new USDOT physicals must be performed by a qualified health professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

All interstate commercial truck and bus drivers must pass a USDOT medical examination at least every two years in order to obtain a valid medical certificate, maintain their CDL, and legally operate a commercial motor vehicle.

The program sets baseline training and testing standards for medical professionals who perform commercial driver physicals and for tracking of driver medical certificates.

About 22,000 medical professionals have completed the coursework and testing and are listed on the National Registry and another 27,000 have begun the certification process.  Current medical certificates held by commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders will continue to be valid until the expiration date that is shown on the card.  Only then will the driver need to seek a certified medical examiner to perform their new examination, according to the DOT.

FMCSA developed the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners program as part of the agency’s commitment to enhancing the medical oversight of interstate drivers, and preventing commercial vehicle-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

“Safety is our highest priority and it is vital that every commercial truck and bus driver be qualified, alert, and focused when they are behind the wheel,” said Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “Medical examiners equipped with a thorough understanding of DOT fitness standards will be able to ensure that commercial drivers meet the health requirements necessary to operate on our highways and roads, thereby strengthening safety for every traveler.”

Freight carried by truck drivers rose in March

May 19th, 2014

The amount of freight carried by those with truck driver jobs climbed in March 1.6 percent, rising for the second consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index.

The level of freight shipments in March measured by the seasonally-adjusted Freight TSI (116.7) was 0.8 percent below the all-time high level of 117.7 in November 2013 (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000.

The March increase in the freight index reflected growth in all modes except pipeline. Trucking and rail intermodal grew most rapidly. March was the second month in a row that trucking and rail intermodal were the fastest growing modes. The growth in trucking represented continued recovery from unusually severe winter weather that hampered freight shipments in earlier months.

Severe weather can affect the demand for goods to ship as well as the ability to move goods.  The decline in the Freight TSI in December and January and its rebound in the succeeding two months took place while GDP growth slowed to an annualized rate of 0.1 percent during the first quarter of 2014 from 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The freight TSI increased for the second consecutive month after declining in the two previous months. Freight shipments in March were at the third highest all-time level, below only the two highest months: November and December 2013. After dipping to 94.8 in April 2009, the index rose by 23.2 percent in the succeeding 59 months.

Freight shipments in March 2014 (116.7) were 23.2 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.8). The March 2014 level is down 0.8 percent from the historic peak reached in November 2013.

Freight shipments are up 21.8 percent in the five years from the recession level of March 2009 and are up 6.1 percent in the 10 years from March 2004.

The TSI for passengers rose 0.3 percent in March from its February level.  The Passenger TSI March 2014 level of 117.7 was 1.2 percent above the March 2013 level. The index is up 8.6 percent in five years and up 15.0 percent in 10 years.  The passenger TSI measures the month-to-month changes in travel that involves the services of the for-hire passenger transportation sector. The seasonally adjusted index consists of data from air, local transit and intercity rail.

Is this the future truck for truck driver jobs?

May 4th, 2014

Wal-Mart just showcased their newest truck, which could be the future for those who hold truck driver jobs.

The retail giant its futuristic truck at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, Ky.

The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience is a tractor-trailer combination that features leading edge aerodynamics, an advanced turbine-powered range extending series hybrid powertrain, electrified auxiliary components, and sophisticated control systems all in one package, developed in support of the company’s industry-leading sustainability program.

Although the prototype currently runs on diesel, its turbine is fuel neutral and can run on compressed or liquid natural gas, biofuels or other fuels.

The goal is simple: deliver more merchandise while driving fewer miles on the most efficient equipment. As of last year, the company had achieved an 84 percent improvement in fleet efficiency over its 2005 baseline.

The prototype is the result of collaboration between Walmart and many vendors, including Peterbilt, Roush Engineering, Great Dane Trailers and Capstone Turbine. Almost every component on this vehicle is cutting edge and showcases innovations of the future that will drive increased efficiencies.

Walmart and Peterbilt have collaborated on aerodynamic, hybrid, electrification and alternative fuel projects in the past, each with incremental gains in fuel efficiency and emission reductions. The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience tractor combines many of these projects in a single vehicle.

“Peterbilt’s goals of producing the most fuel-efficient, aerodynamic, and lightweight trucks in the industry mirror those of Walmart,” said Landon Sproull, chief engineer at Peterbilt. “Our combined efforts help build a business case for these technologies in the future, as well as support one of our best customers.”

The truck features a microturbine Range Extender generator developed by Capstone Turbine Corporation. The company also engineered the truck’s integrated hybrid drivetrain solution. The use of a hybrid powertrain allows the turbine to remain at optimum operating revolutions per minute (RPM), while the electric motor/energy storage handles acceleration and deceleration. A longer-range version of this powertrain would feature a larger turbine and smaller energy storage system.

Trucks carry more trade year-over-year

April 30th, 2014

Trucks and pipelines carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in February 2014 than in February 2013, according to the TransBorder freight data, a boon for those who have truck driver jobs.

Truck carries nearly three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Truck carried 59.8 percent of the $89.6 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in February 2014, accounting for $27.8 billion of exports and $25.8 billion of imports.

Truck carried 54.4 percent of the $48.9 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 15.6 percent, pipeline at 13.2 percent, vessel at 6.2 percent and air at 4.2 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.1 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

Trade using truck grew the most of any mode, 2.6 percent, as the value of overall U.S. trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico rose 1.3 percent from year to year.

The value of freight carried by rail decreased from year to year but rail was still the second largest mode, at 14.7 percent, followed by vessel at 9.6 percent, pipeline at 7.6 percent and air at 3.5 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.2 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.

Year to year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by vessel increased the most of any mode, growing 17.6 percent.  Vessel freight exports to Canada increased 66.5 percent due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels.  Meanwhile, U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline decreased by 1.1 percent.   U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 94.5 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in February.