Welcome to the WHAT THE TRUCK?!? newsletter. In this issue, rates are still slumping; truckers get bathroom rights; NYC bounty hunters vs. idle trucks; the mystery of conference carpets solved?
Minus three — A highly criticized editorial by Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor in economics at the New School for Social Research, was published last week in Bloomberg. In it, Ghilarducci offered advice in light of inflation and rising gas costs, which included suggestions to take the bus, eat lentils instead of meat, refusing your pet medical care and realizing that “this won’t be easy.” With spot rates on a steady decline and all gains in ’22 lost, will the hellscape Ghilarducci describes be your future? How are you even supposed to deliver a load via bus?
A more positive spin — While all this inflation talk may have your budget more busted than your March Madness bracket, the good news in trucking is that freight volumes are still strong, dry van contract rates are at a high of $2.97, and spot rates are up 21 cents from where they were at this time last year. If fuel prices continue to go down, expect shippers to start getting more aggressive with load bookings. Just be aware that we’re still in a supply chain crisis and with the war in Ukraine, things can change quickly.
Be where the ball is — Another trend to keep an eye on is the dramatic shift in freight from West Coast to East Coast ports. FreightWaves’ Greg Miller reports, “February volumes at East/Gulf Coast ports rose 27.3% year on year compared to 5.9% growth for West Coast ports, according to McCown. It was the ninth straight month that East/Gulf Coast ports outpaced year-on-year growth of West Coast ports.” Go get loaded! It tastes better than lentils.
The struggle is real
Don’t flush this bill
When you gotta go — Think your job is bad? Now imagine working 10-plus hours at an office where all the bathrooms are locked. That’s the daily dehumanizing struggle that many port and over-the-road drivers face. However, relief is coming for seaport drivers in Seattle. Mark Solomon reports, “The Washington State Legislature has unanimously passed bills requiring the state’s seaports to allow drivers to use restroom facilities, and directing the state Department of Transportation to keep all 47 state-owned and -operated rest areas open to allow truck drivers to rest safely.” Here’s the bad news: The legislation doesn’t include warehouses, distribution centers or retail establishments. Gov. Jay Inslee has 20 working days to sign the bill.
New York bounty hunters go idle wild
This isn’t the way — Truckers in the Big Apple have another threat to worry about: citizen bounty hunters narcing on them for idling. The New York Times tweeted, “A New York City clean-air program invites — and pays — people to report trucks that are parked and idling for more than three minutes, or one minute if outside a school.” According to the report, 20 citizen super-bounty hunters account for 85% of the claims from the program, which has paid out $1.1 million since 2019. “The money, it’s awesome,” Eric Wilde, an environmental attorney, told the NYT.
Why does every conference exhibit hall have this carpet?
In-person events are back — And with them are all the amazing photos and stories everyone in logistics has been sharing. But one thing sticks out in all of them: hideous carpets. How did they become a standard in every conference exhibit hall? While the obvious answer may be because by being so ugly they can mask any potential future ugliness left by stains, I think there’s more to it than that. So I asked the internet:
“Maluszynski concludes that the carpeting isn’t just aesthetic torture, but, just like the lack of windows and clocks (and the constant barrage of free booze), is a canny design choice — part of what “defines Vegas as a gambling city.” — Sam Biddle, Gizmodo
Another reason? — Exhibit halls and casino floors share a lot of common ground, especially when it comes to the flooring. Maybe the answer lies in Vegas. According to David Kranes, a professor of English at the University of Utah and a casino design consultant, “The curve welcomes us and the oversharp angle rejects us. … The angle is masculine and the curve feminine. … The beloved curve has nest-like powers; it incites us to possession, it is a curved ‘corner,’ inhabited geometry.”
As pretentious as that may sound, is there a psychological hook to ugly carpets? “[The patterns could be] subtle reminders to casino patrons that life and luck are fleeting, and one should eat, drink and be merry before the morrow brings a swing in fortune,” researcher David Schwartz once wrote in an essay. Y’know, I guess that does apply to conferences as well.
Speaking of cons — I don’t care what color carpet I’m standing on come May 9-10 at The Future of Supply Chain in Northwest Arkansas. It has been way too long since I’ve seen many of you in person. We have one hell of an event planned with two days of wall-to-wall content and networking featuring the very best in FreightTech. Check out this star-studded lineup and get your tickets now.
WTT This Week
Wednesday — Convoy founder does a ride-along to MATS; AI in the distribution and fulfillment space; why 3PLs should network with drivers; why it’s time to audit your freight bill; plus all the latest news.
With special guests: Grant Goodell, founder and CXO at Convoy; Matt Legg, VP of growth and strategy at Ox; and Jessica Cardinale, director of operations at Brilliant Logistics LLC.
Friday — NASA lands on the show; how Seko and the logistics community have come together in support of Ukraine; a report on the state of the ports; and the Bestpass story.
With special guests: NASA; Brian Bourke, chief growth officer at Seko Logistics; Brian Kempisty, founder at Port X Logistics; and Tom Fogarty, CEO at Bestpass.
Now on demand
When will the spot market slide stop?
Supply chain dumpster fire rages on
The science of caring
Giving back — Marcus Cooksey of Duke AI is giving women, veterans and minorities opportunities to learn data science in supply chain. Love this initiative. Hear all about it here.
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