Posts

Driver pay increases along with tight capacity are affecting not only transport companies, but also their customers. Retailers and distributors who foot the bill for higher shipping costs face high freight costs.

Among those affected, General Mills is alleging that freight costs have reached their highest rates in 20 years, reducing product margins.

Other purveyors such as Tyson, Hormel, and B&G Foods Inc., have cited lower earnings due to higher freight costs, which would likely be passed on to shoppers.

The spot market ratio of freight loads versus the number of trucks available rose well over 100% between 2017 and 2018. Shippers are under extreme pressure to have their products transported, especially seeing as how capacity on the spot market dropped 8.5% year on year from 2017. For more information, please click here.

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Want to find a job you love?

Drive My Way matches drivers with jobs based on their qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

Find Better Today

Few elections have featured two nominees as divisive as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And while the nation wrangles over whom to vote for, consumers are filled with anxiety about what the next four years will bring.

As their anxiety builds, consumers are slowing their spending. It’s having a major impact on the trucking industry, too, as trucking clients throughout America curb their own spending in response to consumers’ frugality leading up to Election Day.

Consumers feel apprehensive

“The economy moves the trucking industry, and for whatever reason, businesses slow their freight down during an election year,” says Anthony Leichty, a company driver who hauls cars for Toledo, Ohio-based Irelan Trucking. “You really feel it during election years because no one knows which side is going to be in power next. It’s kind of a fear thing. People get afraid.”

Anthony Leichty and family

Anthony Leichty and family

Car hauling especially slows down, because cars are a substantial investment for consumers, says Leichty, who’s had a CDL trucking job for 16 years.

“My first year with this company was an election year,” he says. “I made $37,000 that year. The very next year I made $55,000. I attribute that to the election being over. The economy ticked back up.”

Comparatively, business slowed this year, but not drastically, Leichty says.

Normally, Irelan runs about $4,500 in business per truck a week. Right now, it’s running about $3,500 to $4,000 in business per truck weekly.

However, Marci Hinton, president and director of safety at refrigerated carrier Coldliner Express, says the election has in fact greatly impacted her company’s business this year.

Big companies such as Kroger and Wal-Mart buy from Hinton’s clients—recognizable food brands such as Tyson and Hillshire Farms. “Refrigerated products are time sensitive,” Hinton says. “So when buyers like Kroger and Wal-Mart place orders with my customers, they order based on our economy. When consumers are afraid of what is to come with the election around the corner, they buy and order less.”

Hinton really noticed a drop off in inventory this summer.

American families curtailed their spending. In response, Kroger and Wal-Mart curtailed theirs.

“The average middle class family lives on a budget,” Hinton says. “When they are worried about where our country is going to be in the next six months, they don’t spend the money on family parties and cookouts. Instead, they put that money back. During the summer is when you usually see a big increase in hot dog and ground beef purchases, but this year it was down over 20 percent due to the election.”

Hillary, ClintonRefrigerated trucking is the sector likely affected most during an election year, Leichty says.

Because every major trucking company has a refrigerated division. Companies don’t want to sit on food if consumers aren’t going to buy it.

“Companies don’t want to take the chance of a huge profit loss in an election year, so they just slow production down,” Leichty says. “During an election year, go to Wal-Mart. You’ll see they have a smaller stock than they normally do. They don’t order as much during an election year.”

One of Hinton’s clients already has stopped delivery to certain regions until the election is over.

The company simply is not selling enough inventory. It’s had to throw product away, so it’s chosen not to sell in certain cities until after Nov. 8, Hinton says.

“It impacts the amount of orders I receive from clients,” Hinton says. “I have to go to a broker board. A broker finds freight for trucking companies to ship. We have to go on a board and work with companies we don’t know real well. We go through all of that and then sometimes they end up canceling the load.”

Broad impact felt across the board

The election’s impact is felt across the trucking industry, from fuel surcharges to freight capacity.

John Reed

John Reed

Business owners would be smart to keep a savings account for anything that might happen unexpectedly, says Drive My Way contributor John Reed, an owner operator leased to Mercer Transportation. For those with owner operator trucking jobs like him, Reed recommends setting aside $20,000 for emergencies during an election year.

“A lot of small owner operators are worried about upcoming economic changes because they may not have enough money to correct their business model before they can adapt to the change,” Reed says.

Owner operators, however, also have more flexibility than company drivers in where they can fuel up or purchase tires.

Through that flexibility, they can save money.

“It’s easier for owner operators to adapt to presidential change than it is for a larger company to adapt,” Reed says. “When you have to bring your ideas in front of a board of directors to create change, it has to go through a voting process, whereas an owner operator can virtually change something overnight if he sees something that’s not working the way it should.”

Things should stabilize after the election, when Americans have a greater understanding of what their future holds. Until then, expect Americans to continue clutching their purse strings ever so tightly.

Want an escape from news about Trump and Hillary? Follow Drive My Way on Facebook here to diversify your newsfeed.

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Want to find a job you love?

Drive My Way matches drivers with jobs based on their qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

Find Better Today

trucking companies

Even in the face of several poor economic signs, trucking company executives feel upbeat about 2016. They remain confident that it brings “solid growth” for their companies, a recent survey by Transport Capital Partners (TCP) found. When it comes to trucking companies hiring, the demand for drivers is definitely still there, too.

A Feb. 2 article about the survey in American Trucker Magazine cautioned.

However, that trucking executives, and those responsible for CDL driver jobs, have more tempered enthusiasm about their ability to attain rate increases in the coming months.

Trucking’s “expectations” regarding their ability to win rate increases dropped to the lowest levels in over five years, noted Steven Dutro, a TCP Partner, in the American Trucker article. “Expectations are lower than in recent years but are still positive for 2016,” he said. “The indication is for a stable business environment and little fear of a recession.”

Yet, attaining rate increases will be a challenge, Dutro emphasized.

“At the beginning of 2015, 79% of the participants in our survey were looking forward to rate increases over the year ahead,” he noted. “Turning the page into 2016, that number had dwindled to 41% – the lowest percentage we have recorded since 2009.”

That’s partly a result of slumping freight activity that began in the fourth quarter of 2015 and continues currently, American Trucker added.

The survey reflects more diverse opinions among individual carriers now than in years past.

Perhaps most telling of industry expectations for 2016, added TCP’s Dutro, is that a strong majority – some 61% of carriers – expect to expand their fleets this year. “Growth expectations are not quite as robust as they were in 2014 and 2015,” he stressed. “But, this number is still relatively consistent with the expectations – and the modest growth – of the past few years.”

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Want to find a job you love?

Drive My Way matches drivers with jobs based on their qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

Find Better Today

Chris Cox is cooking dinner. But he’s not in his kitchen. He’s cooking meals from a much more unlikely place — his semi.

For the veteran truck driver, who has found his niche as a company driver for Ozark Motor Lines, the road to this culinary triumph was long and full of misunderstanding.Chris Cox photo 2

“For a long time I was operating under these misconceptions about not being able to cook in the truck,” says Cox. “For some reason, I just thought it couldn’t be done.”

But that was bound to change.

And about five years ago, it did change, when Cox fell on hard times. Cox’s former employer was bought out, he took a huge pay cut, and he was going broke. He had to reduce his expenses in a hurry.

For Cox, who for years dined out twice a day, reducing his expenses had to start with his eating habits. He began cooking in the truck.

“For me, that was hard,” he says. “It was a big change of my lifestyle.”

For two years, Cox struggled with cooking in his truck. He did the dishes with bins of soap and water. It was a splashy mess. Then Cox discovered the Big Truck Cooking Group on Facebook, and his culinary world changed.

“It was my involvement with Big Truck Cooking that radicalized everything for me,” he says. “All those years of failure, and then all of a sudden I just stumbled across this group — those people are doing this on a truck? Aw, no way!”

For Cox, the group was a godsend. Through it, he learned he could clean up with baby wipes, that they wouldn’t leave a residue on his dishes. He ditched the soap and water, and his imagination soared.

The man who grew up watching his grandmother cook (and who once worked as a professional chef) had found his creative outlet again. It freed him to cook in the spontaneous style he loves, right on his truck.Kilbasa

Cox’s grandmother, now 96, was his biggest culinary influence. She grew up during the Great Depression. “That’s a whole other style of cooking,” Cox says. “You couldn’t go to the store to buy the ingredients you didn’t have. You just had to go without them. And that’s how my grandmother cooked. She made due with what she had. As a young boy, I picked up on that.”

To this day, Cox likes improvising. Big Truck Cooking introduced Cox to the Aroma cooker, which diversifies his menu with its versatility. It’s a steamer, skillet, crock pot and rice cooker all in one. He often uses it to cook Eckrich kielbasa because any unused sausage is easy to seal and store.

“The Aroma was a game changer for me,” he says. “The Aroma and baby wipes were necessary for me to fall into a groove. Now I’m definitely in it. It’s a good place to be.”

Find the best CDL trucking job for you with Drive My Way. Register today. It’s free!

Featured image from Pixabay.com; other images courtesy Chris Cox

 

Veggie dish

Veggie-a-go-go

Veggie-a-go-go Recipe:
Ingredients:

  • Half cup of rice
  • Half cup of water
  • Tablespoon of butter
  • 1 bunch of green beans
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 small or medium can tomato sauce
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 container sliced mushrooms
Directions:

  1. Put half cup of rice, half cup of water and a spoonful of butter in an Aroma cooker. Put Aroma on White Rice setting and wait for timer to beep when done.
  2. While rice is cooking, cut the ends off a bunch of green beans and cut the green beans and corn cobs in half. Slice onions and mince garlic.
  3. Open a can of tomato sauce
  4. Slice sweet, yellow peppers into “matchsticks”
  5. When rice is done cooking, put in a bowl and set it aside for the last step. Put corn cobs in bottom of pot. Put green beans in steam basket with 3 cups of water.
  6. Put Aroma on Steam setting and set the timer for 20 minutes. Close lid, press Start.
  7. The Aroma has a count down timer. At 10-minute mark, add crushed, minced garlic to the beans in the steam basket.
  8. At 7-minute mark, add yellow peppers in steam basket.
  9. At 3-minute mark, add sliced mushrooms and onion to pot where the corn is.
  10. When timer goes off, butter the corn and plate it.
  11. Drain the water from the pot and add the rice set aside earlier, along with all remaining veggies, to the Aroma pot (except corn).
  12. Put Aroma on the STS setting (Sear Then Simmer), add can of tomato sauce and stir while pot bubbles with flavor. Serve when the smell starts driving you crazy.

Employers in the transportation sector, including those in the trucking industry, will need to hire and train more than 4.6 million workers from 2012 to 2022 to accommodate for market needs, job turnover and retirements in that span, a federal report released Aug. 24 stated.

The trucking industry is expected to have the largest number of openings over that time period at more than 2 million jobs, according to the report by the departments of Transportation, Education, and Labor. Most of the new jobs, the report noted, will be in transit and ground passenger transportation sectors along West Coast markets, the Gulf region, the upper Mid-Atlantic, several mountain states and the Midwest.

The report is promising for those in who work in, or aspire to work in, the transportation industry, indicating that there will be more opportunities in the sector in the near future.

 

Image from StarMama/Flickr

 

 

More U.S. truck drivers stayed with their employers in the first quarter of 2015 and annualized turnover rates declined to their lowest point in four years, reported the American Trucking Associations. The Wall Street Journal covered the issue in a July 14 article, saying:

The turnover rate was down to 84% for operators of truckload fleets with more than $30 million in revenue in the first quarter and 83% among those with smaller fleets. Both measures were 12 percentage points less than the turnover rate in the previous quarter.

Compare that to driver turnover in other recent years, when it’s typically stayed above the 90 percent mark, said Bob Costello of the American Trucking Associations in the article. He told the Wall Street Journal he did not expect to see such a dramatic improvement in the first quarter alone.

I didn’t expect it to go up a lot, but I didn’t expect it to fall to its lowest level for large carriers in four years,” he said.

He and others credit — at least in part — recent raises at some trucking companies for the positive trend, which impacted small and large trucking companies alike.

Read more of the Wall Street Journal article here.

Image from Bloomberg News

 

 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s June jobs report shows that the  number of jobs in the for-hire trucking industry reached an all-time high in June.

The sector added 7,400 jobs,  for a total of 1.4585 million. That’s 5,100 more jobs than the record for trucking set in January 2007.

That’s also the third monthly gain in a row after the surprise loss of 7,300 jobs in March, the biggest drop in two years, states a July 2 article in Fleet Owner magazine .

The for-hire trucking sector is showing promise in more ways as well.

The industry has recovered 225,300 jobs since the low point in the recession, March 2010. Compared to June last year, for-hire trucking has added 43,300 jobs, an increase of 3.1%.

The U.S. Department of Labor report shows that the transportation and warehousing sector added 17,000 jobs in June.

Read more here.

Image from Thinkstock