Welcome to the WHAT THE TRUCK?!? newsletter. In this issue, worst rest stops in America, Battlefield: Ottawa, spot rates up $1 YoY, and don’t get Tinder swindled.
A pricey start to ’22 — Shippers hoping for a slow start to ’22 have been in for some sticker shock as dry van spot rates inclusive of fuel are nearly $1 higher than they were a year ago. Although there was a three-week downtrend in rates to start the year, we’re now back near the top of the series history at $3.78 per mile.
Paper rates — Although contract rates are up 20% in the past year, SONAR’s Outbound Tender Reject Index shows that carriers still have a healthy appetite for spot market freight. That index has been stuck around 20% for the past six months, meaning that carriers are still rejecting 1 in 5 loads under contract.
Frozen assets — As a trucker convoy once called a “fringe minority” by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to enter its third week, Canada vows to crack down. Monday, Trudeau announced that he was invoking the country’s Emergencies Act, a first by any prime minister. In response, the Canadian Civil Liberties Union tweeted, “The federal government has not met the threshold necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act.” Meanwhile, the convoy’s fundraising efforts have been the targets of both the Canadian government and hackers.
Response time — While a blockade at the crossing in Coutts, Alberta, has begun to disperse, questions about the Canadian government’s response persist, especially at the country’s capital. The AP reports, “Ottawa’s police chief resigned Tuesday amid criticism of his department’s inaction against the trucker protests that have paralyzed Canada’s capital for over two weeks, a federal government official said.”
“We are today serving notice: If your truck is being used in these illegal blockades, your corporate accounts will be frozen, the insurance on your vehicle will be suspended.” — Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland
Jerry can logistics — So, how is the convoy supporting itself for weeks on end? Buzzfeed recently sent a reporter into the nerve center of the convoy and described the atmosphere as being similar to a Canada Day festival. According to the reporter, “The operation feels both surprisingly organized and ad hoc.” In addition, organizers claim donations can sustain them there for weeks. We’ve already seen the group set up soup kitchens, saunas, bounce castles and party stages.
Convoy in the U.S.A.? — When the DHS sent out a warning about a trucker protest at last weekend’s Super Bowl, my initial thought was that they were conflating two different events. While there was a small protest planned in Inglewood last weekend, it had nothing to do with trucking or the much larger People’s Convoy. The People’s Convoy planned to meet in Indio, California, on March 4 with a ride to D.C. to follow. That timeline may be changing again as some organizers push for a go date of Feb. 23. However, like with other U.S.-based trucker protests, it is worth mentioning that these often fall apart as organizers lose focus.
Worst rest stops in America
Next exit — While Celina 52 Truck Stop may be the best-worst fictional truck stop in America, where is the real worst place to pull over in the U.S.? Not every stop can be The Iowa 80 Truck Stop or South of the Border. Dirty facilities, serial killers in the stalls, napkins for toilet paper, poor parking or roaming packs of geese … what turns off truckers the most? Here are a few of the nominations from Reddit’s r/truckers subreddit.
kitsunelegend — “Worst truck stop I’ve ever been to had to have been the TA in Bordentown NJ. The TA is always a complete madhouse, with drivers constantly tossing out their trash bags full of literal **** and piss bottles in the middle of the parking lot. Bathroom is always a disgusting **** show (literally) and the staff are always rude/completely disinterested.”
rcreezy — “The Pilot in Richfield, Ohio. Place was literally designed by a 3 year old or someone who has no idea what they’re doing. I hope they demolish that ********** one of these days.”
BeeKatieBee — “The Pilot in Murfreesboro, TN. Jesus **** what a cluster.”
Csmal1992 — “Worst truck stop has to be Pilot in Murfreesboro. Who makes paid reserve spots a blind side back???”
Where are you/aren’t you pulling over? — What are your nominations for best and worst rest stop? Email them to me!
Back to the Future
Reboot — Who says Hollywood has to be the only uncreative industry hell-bent on marketing, rebooting and reselling us our childhood? The nostalgia bug is about to kick into high gear in San Antonio as DeLorean Motor Co. has announced that it’s back! There’s no George Lucas in this version of Star Wars, as the defunct OEM is not being resurrected by the ghost of John DeLorean. In fact, the original DMC has nothing to do with the just announced DeLorean EVolved. If the car remains true to its “Back To The Future” counterpart, it’ll need 1.21 gigawatts of power and to hit 88 mph to initiate time travel.
Swiped — Online scams don’t just stop with rapping crypto hipsters. In fact, if you were looking for love this Valentine’s Day, you may already be at risk. The FBI warns that in 2021, Americans lost over $1 billion to romance scams. Turns out that these Tinder swindlers have been using lockdown restrictions to delay meeting up with victims while playing on their loneliness. Remember, if you get a text from a guy named Simon whose bodyguard Peter was just beat up … block the number.
WTT this week
Wednesday and Friday — WTT is coming at you live from FreightWaves’ Global Supply Chain Week. FreightWaves is proud to offer a five-day event covering key factors impacting the domestic and global supply chain, the hottest technology of 2022, and expert insights on the current market. Register for free here and you may even win a fantastic prize.
Now on demand
Using global supply chains as a competitive advantage
Truckin’ bees, the best in truck pics and will convoy touchdown at Super Bowl?
What happens at a DOT inspection when you’ve got a load of bees?
Not the bees! — Your firearms are useless against them! But what does happen during a DOT inspection when you roll up in a bee truck, and do the drivers get stung? We asked a beekeeper.
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