Trucking Feed

Opportunities and challenges for freight in Iowa

Following the railroad presentation, Amy Lasack, senior director of Corporate Training for Kirkwood Community College, sat down with attendees for a Q&A session on Iowa’s trucking industry, which too faces challenges and opportunities.

The biggest challenge by far, she said, is a massive shortage of drivers.

Lasack said the shortage has been caused by a mix issues, including a growing need for drivers driven by e-commerce, increased retirement among older drivers and a lack of young individuals interested in entering the field. The average student in Kirkwood’s program is in their mid-40s.

“It’s kind of been a perfect storm,” she said.


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Expedite hair testing guidelines, senators tell HHS

WASHINGTON — Five senators last Thursday sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Thomas Price requesting swift action in taking steps to what could lead to the use of hair testing for substance abuse.

The letter was signed by John Thune, R-S.D., John Boozman, R-Ark., Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., Deb Fisher, R.-Neb., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

Thune is chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; Fisher and Johnson, are members of the committee and Fisher chairs the subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security.

The letter noted that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has been working on guidelines since the early 2000s but has not produced any guidelines even though the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act placed a December 4, 2016, deadline SAMHSA’s work.


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Uber extends on-demand service to trucking

SAN FRANCISCO -   Uber is expanding into a new field with a version of its on-demand ride application that lets truckers book cargo hauls with simple taps on smartphones.


Uber Freight rolling out in the US was touted by the company as an app that matches truckers or trucking companies with loads, and streamlines payments.

"We take the guesswork out of finding and booking freight, which is often the most stressful part of a driver's day," Uber said in a blog post available online Friday.


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States look to bar protesters from blocking highways

Following a rise in public protests in recent years, especially around the election and inauguration of President Donald Trump, several states have passed or attempted to pass legislation to curb protests that spill onto highways and impede traffic.

Tennessee and South Dakota have both passed laws pertaining to blocking highways with protests, while Iowa, North Carolina, Washington and Massachusetts each have legislation pending. Mississippi and Florida had legislation die before it reached the governors’ desks. Legislation in Minnesota and Arkansas has been vetoed by the respective governors.


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The oil boom and trucking

The recent surge in U.S. oil drilling has helped keep gas and diesel prices depressed, despite oil production cuts by OPEC. In fact, the U.S. is producing more oil than ever before. For the trucking industry, that has meant a big boost in volumes, not just in fuel deliveries, but also equipment being hauled to and from the oil fields.

For a more in-depth look at the trend, read: U.S. oil boom driving a surge in trucking. The infographic at the link below provides a quick glimpse of what is happening.


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Trucking industry introduces mascot, calls for name submissions

Trucking Moves American Forward introduced its newest member, the trucking industry's mascot on Thursday.

The mascot is a smiling red, white and blue semi-truck with working head and tail lights and an "I love trucking" license plate. It will travel the U.S. spreading the word about trucking's influence on the economy. 

But he or she is still nameless. 

TMAF, along with its partner and largest financial supporter, Pilot Flying J, called on the industry to help name the mascot. Name submissions can be sent to, and the winning name will be announced at the beginning of July. 


KeepTruckin raises $18 million as Silicon Valley eyes trucking industry

Venture capitalists have poured $18 million into a startup that is helping to digitize the long-haul trucking industry, the latest sign that Silicon Valley is eager to take a piece of a $700 billion-a-year sector that has long relied on pencil and paper.

San Francisco-based startup KeepTruckin said on Thursday it raised $18 million in a funding round led by Scale Venture Partners, alongside previous investors Index Ventures and GV, the venture arm of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O).

KeepTruckin joins a crowded and competitive field of young companies all vying for a place in the trucking industry. Startups including Convoy and Transfix, and ride-services behemoth Uber Technology Inc [UBER.UL], are all aiming to unseat traditional freight brokers.

Founded in 2013, KeepTruckin provides the software and hardware for truck drivers to keep digital logs of their hours driven. The startup makes money on a monthly software fee.

When the KeepTruckin hardware device is connected to the truck driver's smartphone app, it creates a digital log of hours worked that cannot be edited.


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Traffic Congestion Costs Trucking Industry $63 Billion Annually

Traffic congestion on U.S. highways annually cost the trucking industry more than $63 billion in operating expenses, including wasted fuel, labor costs and vehicle wear and tear, according to a study by the American Transportation Research Institute.

In its report, the “Cost of Congestion to the Trucking Industry: 2017 Update,” the research arm of the American Trucking Associations, calculated that congestion delays on U.S. highways are for more than 996 million hours of lost productivity. That’s the equivalent of having 362,243 commercial truck drivers sitting idle for an entire year.

Broken down, congestion costs $63.70 per every hour a trucker drives.

“You start to really understand what a drain this is on the trucking industry certainly, but it has consequences for the entire supply chain for the entire U.S. economy,” said Rebecca Brewster, president of ATRI.

The most congested state in the U.S. is Florida, accounting for 8.4 percent of the total cost, or more than $5.3 billion. Texas was second at $5.1 billion. It was followed by California with $4.1 billion, New York with $3.9 billion and New Jersey with nearly $3 billion in total congestion costs. The figures are calculated for 2015, ATRI reported.

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FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index falls to 2.97 after February upturn but improvement steady

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The FTR Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for March fell back to a reading of 2.97 after an upturn in February.

However, FTR sees the recent steady improvement in spot rates as an indication that a market-wide move to capacity tightness is on the way with a correlating upswing in the index throughout 2017 and into 2018.

FTR remains confident in the freight market for 2017, as the industry started the year with strong growth in the first quarter.

The forecast has moderated somewhat for the regulatory headwinds affecting trucking, but still expect them to have significant effect toward the end of 2017 and for most of 2018.


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US trucking conditions poised for upswing

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Trucking conditions in the US deteriorated in March, but rising spot market freight rates suggest capacity may be tightening.

The latest FTR Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) fell to a reading of 2.97 in March, after an upturn in February. The industry forecaster is projecting an upswing in market conditions for truckers throughout 2017 and into 2018.

“The TCI has settled into a positive, but not robust, level of market conditions over the last 12 months. The main reasons for the reduction in the March TCI stems from slightly weaker freight activity, reduced estimates of capacity tightness, and continued weaker-than-expected conditions for contract rates,” explained Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer of FTR.

“Trucking conditions are likely to stay in this moderate range until late this year when the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate comes into effect. Once you combine the productivity hit coming from full implementation of ELDs with continued freight growth and the capacity reductions that have already occurred, you get a market that is poised to see significant movement in rates.”


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