Intersection of contract and spot — For the past two months, we’ve watched the dry van spot market drain out. With rates down another 14 cents this week, the operating environment is going to be an incredible challenge for small carriers. What we’re also seeing is that spot rates ($3.02) are on a collision course with contract rates ($2.94). The Dude says, “Spot rates are about to go south of the border. It’s just a matter of time before intentional routing guide failures start to happen. This is when shippers go straight to the spot market, skipping their contract carriers.”
Know your cost of operation — With the good likelihood that we’re already past the top of this freight cycle, what’s important now to small carriers is knowing their cost of operation. Rooster, a veteran trucker and Back The Truck Up writer, advises, “To know if the rate you’re getting paid works for you, take the fuel price, figure out your fuel cost per mile, add in your COO, and subtract that from your rate. If the number you arrive at is positive, great, you’re making profits. If not, well, time to change lanes.”
Shipping up to Austin
Happy Earth Day — As I write this, I’m waiting to get on a flight to Austin, Texas, to visit Hyliion HQ. While there I’m going to interview their founder/CEO Thomas Healy and take a ride in a Hypertruck ERX. That truck uses an electric motor and natural gas generator on a Peterbilt 579 frame. If you have any questions for Thomas and Hyliion, leave them right here on this tweet.
“The ERX addresses the two words — range anxiety — that cause angst among would-be electric vehicle adopters. It is not an issue for the ERX, because the launch model in 2023 will be capable of 75 miles of pure electric driving.” — FreightWaves’ Alan Adler
How about them Nikolas? — The Dude and I were surprised last week when a Nikola Tre showed up in Chattanooga at Covenant. Matt McLelland and the team let us take the controversial EV company’s BEV for a spin. Yes, we went up and downhill. First impression? Cool to see a BEV in Chattanooga and the ride was great but the tech still needs to mature. Right now you’re looking at a range of around 250 miles on a truck that weighs roughly 10,000 pounds more than a traditional day cab. We’ll have a full video from our test ride out next week.
An electric truck powered by diesel? — Edison Motors in Canada is taking a different approach. CEO and co-founder Chace Barber is also using a generator to help charge batteries for an electric motor. However, their solution uses diesel. Why? Well, the whole purpose of the company is to build a solution that loggers could apply to their trucks right now without disrupting service. Obviously a niche market, but a very cool use of TikTok to launch a company like this.
3 recent deaths renew awareness — Flatbedding is a mode with a wide variety of challenges and dangers. As FreightWaves’ Noi Mahoney reports, “the various difficulties that are part of flatbed trucking — [include] a steep learning curve, the manual labor involved, the hours it can take tying down and tarping loads, dealing with bad weather and staying alert for careless passenger vehicles.”
“A full load of foam insulation or Sheetrock probably won’t even dent the rack in the event of a forward shift of the load, but a 45,000-pound steel coil loaded suicide or a full load of structural steel I-beams or a load of steel pipes? Yeah, that will almost ALWAYS smash right through the headache rack and probably out the front of the cab.” — Flatbed driver
Final Destination — There isn’t a millennial in America who hasn’t been scarred by the opening scene of “Final Destination 2” where a load of logs spills on the highway. With flatbeds hauling everything from logs to giant coils, the opportunity for something to go horribly wrong is ever-present. Former flatbedder and OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh says, “At the end of the day, every driver has to look out for their own safety, even when shippers might not be.” His advice? Live by the green book when it comes to tying down loads.
Can I use the damn bathroom?
In the toilet — Ingrid Brown, Back The Truck Up writer and host of America on 18 Wheels, just wants to find a damn bathroom for herself and other drivers. Brown says, “A few weeks ago I waited 7.5 hours to unload pinto beans. There was one porta-potty for 17 trucks waiting to be unloaded. That meant there were 16 other drivers needing a bathroom along with me. At 19 degrees and winds that knocked me off my feet, I still chose to wait more than 7.5 hours before facing the cold plastic seat and howling winds of the portable throne.” In this article she spreads awareness about an issue that stinks.
What else is going on?
Now on demand
Trucking bloodbath ’22
Hot topic: truck fires
Launching Back The Truck Up
Intermodal in pain
The hurt before the storm — Take a listen to this impassioned plea by Steadfast Warehousing’s Martin Otero. Otero will be on the show next week, but here he talks about the hellscape that intermodal is now: before China even comes out of lockdown and before this pull-forward freight has arrived.
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