UPS Announces Sale of Coyote Logistics to RXO, Inc.

UPS announced it has entered into an agreement to sell its Coyote Logistics business unit to RXO, Inc., for $1.025 billion. “As UPS positions itself to become the premium small package provider and logistics partner in the world, the decision to sell our Coyote Logistics business allows an even greater focus on our core business,” said UPS Chief Executive Officer Carol B. Tomé. Based in Chicago, Coyote Logistics is a leading global third-party logistics (3PL) provider, working with 100,000 network carriers and managing 10,000 loads per day. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to regulatory review and approval. Upon completion of the transaction, the company will update its financial outlook.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Jumped 3.6% in May

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 3.6% in May after decreasing 1% in April. In May, the index equaled 115.9 (2015=100) compared with 111.9 in April. “May was the first month since February 2023 that tonnage increased both sequentially and from a year earlier,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “While there was clearly an increase in freight before the Memorial Day holiday, it is still too early to say whether this is the start of a long-awaited recovery in the truck freight market.” April’s decrease was revised up slightly from our May 21 press release. Compared with May 2023, the index rose 1.5%, the first year-over-year gain in fifteen months. In April, the index was down 1.3% from a year earlier.
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U.S. East Coast port union strike threat to test shippers’ nerves

Labor talks at U.S. ports on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico are a looming risk for retailers, manufacturers and other shippers already grappling with longer transit times and higher costs. The International Longshoremen's Association contract covering 45,000 dockworkers at three dozen ports stretching from Maine to Texas expires on Sept. 30. If there is no deal by then, the union could call a strike that would hit during the vital holiday container shipping season and labor-friendly U.S. President Joe Biden's bid for reelection. The ILA on Monday called off this week's planned start of talks with the U.S. Maritime Alliance, citing one member of that employer group's use of automation technology in violation of prior agreements.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 1.2% in April

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 1.2% in April after decreasing 2.2% in March. In April, the index equaled 111.7 (2015=100) compared with 113.1 in March. “The truck freight market remained soft in April as seasonally adjusted volumes fell for the second straight month,” said American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello. “With a rebound in freight remaining elusive, it is likely that additional capacity will leave the industry in the face of continued softness in the market.” March’s decrease was revised down slightly from our April 23 press release. Compared with April 2023, the index fell 1.5%, which was the fourteenth straight year-over-year decline. In March, the index was down 1.3% from a year earlier.
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Trucking Industry Commends Senate Passage of Diesel Emissions Reduction Act

The trucking industry applauded the Senate’s passage of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2023, which would reauthorize the DERA program through fiscal year 2029 at $100 million annually. The bill will now be considered by the House of Representatives. DERA provides federal grants and rebates to help finance the voluntary replacement or retrofits of heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines. By helping to upgrade tens of thousands of vehicles over nearly two decades, DERA is responsible for saving more than 520 million gallons of fuel. Replacing older vehicles is critical to protecting the environment because advancements in clean diesel engine technology have resulted in substantially lower emissions. In fact, it would take 60 of today’s trucks to emit what just one truck did in 1988. A newly manufactured truck produces half the CO2 emissions of one manufactured in 2010.
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EV mandates for the trucking industry are disconnected from reality.

The best approach to decarbonization provides the greatest environmental benefit at the lowest possible cost. Current regulations do neither while unleashing inflationary consequences that will be felt for decades to come. EV mandates for the trucking industry are an enormous mistake for many reasons validated by a new study from the American Transportation Research Institute. The report, Renewable Diesel – A Catalyst for Decarbonization, provides data using the U.S. Department of Energy's GREET model that proves renewable diesel (RD) has a much smaller carbon footprint over its lifecycle than do battery-electric trucks, and that widescale adoption of RD in trucking can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of electrification. To be clear: the trucking industry is not opposed to battery-electric vehicles (BEV). Some fleets are testing them, and the initial results are mixed at best. What's abundantly clear from early adopters of this technology is that the hurdles to widescale adoption are so massive and undeniable that target and timelines mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) can be described as nothing more than utterly disconnected from reality.
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Trucking Fleet Manager Testifies to Congress on Challenges of Vehicle Electrification

Taki Darakos, PITT OHIO’s fleet manager who oversees the acquisition and maintenance of 1,550 company-owned tractors and box trucks, testified before Congress on the technological, operational, and financial challenges fleets face as federal and state regulations mandate the adoption of battery-electric trucks. “After meticulous evaluation and planning with our truck manufacturer, we put into service our first battery-electric trucks,” Darakos said. “Although battery-electric trucks show promise in certain applications, they are not ready for broad deployment due to technology limitations.” PITT OHIO is a freight transportation provider that operates in 14 states out of 25 terminals and employs more than 3,500 people. As the Vice President of Vehicle Maintenance and Fleet Service at PITT OHIO, Darakos shared his extensive, real-world experience with the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 2% in March

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 2% in March after increasing 4% in February. In March, the index equaled 113.4 (2015=100) compared with 115.7 in February. “Tonnage in March suggests that truck freight volumes remain lackluster, and it is clear the truck freight recession continued through the first quarter,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “In the first three months of 2024, ATA’s tonnage index contracted 0.8% from the previous quarter and declined 2.4% from a year earlier, highlighting ongoing challenges the industry is navigating.” February’s increase was revised down slightly from our March 19 press release.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 4.3% in February

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 4.3% in February after decreasing 3.2% in January. In February, the index equaled 116.0 (2015=100) compared with 111.3 in January. “After a very soft January, due in part to winter storms, truck tonnage snapped back in February,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “February’s level was the highest in a year, yet the index still contracted from a year earlier, suggesting truck freight remains in a recession.” January’s decrease was revised up from our February 20 press release. Compared with February 2023, the index fell 1.4%, which was the twelfth straight year-over-year decline. In January, the index was down 4.5% from a year earlier.
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New Report Pegs Cost of Electrifying U.S. Commercial Truck Fleet at $1 Trillion

Full electrification of the U.S. commercial truck fleet would require nearly $1 trillion in infrastructure investment alone, according to a new report from Roland Berger released today by the Clean Freight Coalition. The study forecasts a realistic infrastructure buildout for the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, exposing what the CFC calls a massive investment gap as state and federal policymakers mandate increased adoption rates of battery-electric commercial vehicles. Key findings: Preparing today’s commercial vehicle fleet for electrification would require the commercial vehicle industry to invest upwards of $620 billion in charging infrastructure alone, including chargers, site infrastructure and electric service upgrades. Utilities would need to invest $370 billion to upgrade their grid networks to meet the demands of just commercial vehicles. This nearly $1 trillion expenditure does not account for the cost of new battery-electric trucks, which according to market research can be two to three times more expensive than their diesel-powered equivalents.
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Parts and Labor Costs Fell Slightly in the Fourth Quarter of 2023

American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council and Decisiv Inc. said combined parts and labor expenses fell 1.4% during the fourth quarter of 2023. In the latest Decisiv/TMC North American Service Event Benchmark Report, TMC and Decisiv found that 25 key VMRS systems dipped in the final quarter of 2023, reversing a 2.1% increase the previous quarter. The decrease was driven largely by parts costs, which dropped 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2023 while labor costs fell 0.2%. While quarter-over-quarter parts and labor costs both declined in the last three months of the year, the parts-to-labor ratio held steady at about 1.5 for the past year. On a year-over-year basis, combined parts and labor costs in final quarter of 2023 were 0.2% higher than the same quarter in 2022. However, in the annual comparison, a 2.2% drop in parts prices was offset by a 4.0% rise in labor costs.
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SCA continues with geofencing

Digital speed limitation for timber trucks works well on stretches with a lot of infrastructure, and haulage companies show great commitment to safer timber transports. This is demonstrated by the geofencing project that SCA has undertaken in collaboration with the Swedish Transport Administration. "We continue to utilize the technology on both existing routes and new ones," says Lars Nolander, logistics manager at SCA Skog. SCA's efforts to create safer timber transports have been ongoing for several years, and the latest initiative involves testing digital speed limitation, known as geofencing, on four selected routes in Västernorrland and Jämtland, where the road passes through villages or residential areas with houses and residents along the way. The technology involves creating zones using GPS points, where the vehicle senses when it's time to adjust the speed. Four haulage companies and nearly 40 timber trucks have been involved in the project.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 3.5% in January

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 3.5% in January after increasing 1.2% in December. In January, the index equaled 111.0 (2015=100) compared with 115.0 in December. ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision. “January’s data was a snap back to reality for anyone thinking the freight market was about to turn the corner,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Bad winter weather in January likely hurt volumes, not to mention sharp drops in a number of drivers of tonnage including retail sales, housing starts and manufacturing output.” December’s increase was revised down from our January 23 press release. Compared with January 2023, the SA index fell 4.7%, which was the eleventh straight year-over-year decrease. In December, the index was down 0.8% from a year earlier.
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UPS Releases 4Q 2023 Earnings

UPS announced fourth-quarter 2023 consolidated revenues of $24.9 billion, a 7.8% decrease from the fourth quarter of 2022. Consolidated operating profit was $2.5 billion, down 22.5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, and down 27.1% on an adjusted basis. Diluted earnings per share were $1.87 for the quarter; adjusted diluted earnings per share of $2.47 were 31.8% below the same period in 2022. For the fourth quarter of 2023, GAAP results include a total charge of $512 million, or $0.60 per diluted share, comprised of a non-cash, after-tax mark-to-market (MTM) pension charge of $274 million, after-tax transformation and other charges of $154 million, and a non-cash, after-tax impairment charge of $84 million related to our Coyote trade name in our truckload brokerage unit.
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4,600 kilometers for SCA’s electric timber truck

SCA's electric timber truck continues to transport timber between Gimonäs timber terminal and Obbola paper mill outside Umeå. It has now been in operation for over 1.5 years. – Everything is working as intended, and we receive inquiries from haulage companies and others who want to learn more about heavy electric vehicle transport, says Mikael Sundelin, Head of Business Development at Industrial Supply. Since SCA's unique electric timber truck was put into operation in June 2022, it has covered a distance of 4,600 kilometers, equivalent to more than one lap around the globe. Over a year of operation, the electric timber truck contributes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 55,000 kg per year. With a capacity to carry 80 tons, the electric timber truck's daily task is to transport timber between Gimonäs timber terminal and Obbola paper mill outside Umeå. The round trip covers a distance of 30 km, and it completes approximately six rounds per day. The truck needs to be charged about two times during a working day.
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ATA Welcomes More Than $200 Million for Truck Parking Projects

The American Trucking Associations welcomed five major new federal investments by the Department of Transportation that will add approximately 1,000 truck parking spaces and make it easier for drivers to locate parking along key freight corridors in Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, California, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. “The severe shortage of truck parking continues to rank among drivers’ highest concerns, which is why we appreciate that Secretary Buttigieg and a growing number of states are making these projects a top priority,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “America’s highways are our shop floor. When drivers finish their shift, they deserve to know that they will be able to find a safe place to sleep that night. These significant investments in expanding parking capacity along some of America’s busiest freight corridors will help reduce supply chain bottlenecks, alleviate stress on truck drivers and make the roadways safer for all motorists.”
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Parts and Labor Costs Rose in the Third Quarter of 2023

American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council and Decisiv Inc. said that parts and labor expenses rose 1.9% during the third quarter of 2023, according to data released in the latest Decisiv/TMC North American Service Event Benchmark Report. “This return to increasing parts and labor costs highlights the fact that fleets must remain vigilant when it comes to managing their maintenance expense data,” said TMC Executive Director Robert Braswell. “This important parts and labor cost analysis report is an excellent tool to help Council members see how their operations are performing and plan accordingly.”
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 2.1% in December

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.1% in December after falling 1.4% in November. In December, the index equaled 115.7 (2015=100) compared with 113.3 in November. “While 2023 ended on a better note, truck tonnage remained in a recession as it continued to fall on a year-over-year basis,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “With that said, for-hire contract freight, which is what comprises our index, in December was 2.6% above the trough in April. For the entire year, tonnage contracted 1.7% from 2022 levels. This makes 2023 the worst annual reading since 2020 when the index fell 4% from 2019, and the only year since 2020 that tonnage contracted.” Compared with December 2022, the SA index fell 0.5%, which was the tenth straight year-over-year decrease, albeit the smallest over that period. In November, the index was down 1.6% from a year earlier.
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Attacks on cargo ships in Red Sea causing volatility in supply chains

Disruptions caused by attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea have once again created volatility in retail supply chains, leading to delays and increased costs. That's according to the Global Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. Jonathan Gold, NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy, noted that retailers are working with their carrier partners on mitigation strategies to limit the impact of the disruptions caused by the attacks, "but we are seeing longer transit times and increased costs as a result.” To help retailers navigate supply chain challenges, NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show will feature a special one-day program — Supply Chain 360 Summit — on Sunday, Jan. 14, 10:00 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. (ET), at the Javits Convention Center, New York City.
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California’s Electric-truck mandates collide with Reality

California rang in the new year by delaying enforcement of its "Advanced Clean Fleets" Regulation, which requires trucking companies operating in the state to purchase an increasing percentage of electric trucks in the coming years. While enforcement was slated to begin this week, officials at the California Air Resources Board agreed to pause the registration and compliance requirements until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants the regulation a green light to proceed. It's an inauspicious start for a program that's on a clear collision course with reality. Reporting from the Wall Street Journal validates what ATA has been telling lawmakers for many months: the charging infrastructure, power generation and transmission, product performance, and operational parity required for such a policy to succeed are nowhere near ready. The WSJ report illustrates how even drayage operators—those who run short-haul routes to and from ports and other intermodal facilities—are struggling to charge their equipment and maintain deliveries on time.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 1% in November

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1% in November after increasing 0.8% in October. In November, the index equaled 113.7 (2015=100) compared with 114.9 in October. “We continued to see a choppy 2023 for truck tonnage into November,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “It seems like every time freight improves, it takes a step back the following month. While year-over-year comparisons are improving, unfortunately, the freight market remains in a recession. Looking ahead, with retail inventories falling, we should see less of a headwind for retail freight, but I’m also not expecting a surge in freight levels in the coming months.” October’s gain was revised down slightly from our November 21 press release. Compared with November 2022, the SA index fell 1.2%, which was the ninth straight year-over-year decrease. In October, the index was down 2.4% from a year earlier.
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ATA Welcomes Funding to Expand Truck Parking in Wyoming, Iowa

The American Trucking Associations welcomed two major new federal investments by the U.S. Department of Transportation that will add nearly 400 truck parking spaces along key freight corridors in Wyoming and Iowa. “These projects in Wyoming and Iowa continue the momentum to alleviate the severe, nationwide shortage of truck parking, which consistently ranks as one of drivers’ top concerns,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “We are grateful that Secretary Buttigieg has continued to make Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding available to expand truck parking, and we applaud Wyoming and Iowa for prioritizing these projects in their transportation planning. More states should step up and follow their example to improve the efficient movement of freight and enhance roadway safety for all motorists.”
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 1.1% in October

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.1% in October after declining 1.1% in September. In October, the index equaled 115.2 (2015=100) compared with 113.9 in September. Compared with October 2022, the SA index fell 2.1%, which was the eighth straight year-over-year decrease. In September, the index was down 4.1% from a year earlier. The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 119.7 in October, 6.3% above the September level (112.5). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.
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New Forecast Projects Continued Growth of Truck Freight

Among the key findings in ATA Freight Transportation Forecast 2023 to 2034 are: *Overall truck tonnage will grow from an estimated 11.3 billion tons this year to 14.2 billion tons in 2034. This represents 72.4% of the freight tonnage in 2023 and 72.6% of tonnage at the end of the forecast period. *Trucking’s revenues will grow from $1.01 trillion in 2023 to $1.51 trillion in 2034, which will account for 78.8% of the freight market. *In other modes: o As coal and bulk petroleum shipments wane over time, rail carload tonnage will fall from 11% of total freight to 10.1% by 2034. o Rail intermodal revenues will grow from $21.7 billion in 2023 to $35.2 billion in 2034. o Air cargo tonnage will grow from 17.6 million tons this year to 23.7 million tons in 2034. o Pipelines will see their share of freight tonnage grow from 9.8% in 2023 to 10.4% in 2034.
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ATA, State Trucking Associations Call on Governors to Provide Truck Parking Funds

The American Trucking Associations, through its federation of 50 state associations, called on the governors of every state to prioritize truck parking with their infrastructure spending priorities. In a letter sent to every governor, ATA and state trucking associations spelled out the numerous new resources provided by the federal government, including new funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, to improve and expand truck parking facilities. “Construction of new truck parking capacity at rest areas or adjacent to private facilities is eligible for funding, as are improvements that allow for increased parking capacity at nontraditional locations, such as weigh stations and commuter lots, when appropriate,” the letter said. “Some states have already utilized these resources to increase parking capacity or improve the operational efficiency of existing facilities.”
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Fell 1.1% in September

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.1% in September after rising 0.2% in August. In September, the index equaled 113.9 (2015=100) compared with 115.2 in August. “After hitting a bottom in April, tonnage increased in three of the previous four months, gaining a total of 2.2% before September’s drop,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “However, this freight market remains in flux, and the index contracted by 1.1% in September, which erased half of those gains. Additionally, the year-over-year decrease was the largest drop since November 2020 on a very difficult comparison – September 2022 – which was the previous cycle high. While it is likely a bottom has been hit in truck freight tonnage, there could still be choppy waters ahead as the freight market remains volatile.”
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ATA Honors 10 State Executives for Service to Industry

The American Trucking Associations recognized 10 state trucking executives for their time representing the industry with Trucking Association Executives Council Service Awards. “These STA Execs, along with so many of our state trucking association executives here today, work daily in their respective state capitals and localities to promote, preserve and protect the interests of our great industry,” said TAEC National Chair Shannon Newton, president and CEO of the Arkansas Trucking Association. “Politics at the state level versus the federal level is about as different as night and day. Whereas the legislative process at the federal level tends to get totally bogged down for myriad reasons, legislative initiatives in state capitals actually move – often without warning and rather quickly. This fast-paced environment presents many unique challenges for industry advocates, and that’s not even mentioning the never-ending association management challenges we all face.”
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Rose 0.2% in August

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.2% in August after rising 1.1% in July. In August, the index equaled 115.3 (2015=100) compared with 115 in July. “The evidence is growing that tonnage hit bottom in April and continues its slow climb upwards,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “However, year-over-year comparisons remain difficult as tonnage peaked in September of last year. As a result, it is unlikely that tonnage turns positive compared with a year earlier for at least a month or two longer. Most recently, freight continues to be mixed, with consumer spending and factory output flat to down.” July’s increase was revised higher from our August 22 press release. Compared with August 2022, the SA index fell 2.3%, which was the sixth straight year-over-year decrease. In July, the index was down 1.2% from a year earlier.
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Parts and Labor Costs Dropped in the Second Quarter of 2023

American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council and Decisiv Inc., said parts and labor expenses dropped during the second quarter of 2023, according to data released in the latest Decisiv/TMC North American Service Event Benchmark Report. “With rising build rates for new equipment and less mileage reducing the need to operate aging trucks, fleets are finally seeing a definite improvement in parts and labor costs,” said Decisiv President and CEO Dick Hyatt. “The data that Decisiv collects and analyzes for TMC on Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standard system level codes points to a return to normalized trade cycles and more predictable service and repair costs. Along with greater stability, the highly detailed data and reporting enabled by Decisiv SRM allows fleets and service providers to focus on ways to continue to drive down expenses.”
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ATA Urges Congress to Establish National Framework for Automated Vehicles

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that automated vehicle technology holds great promise to enhance highway safety, boost economic productivity, and support trucking’s essential workforce. In order to harness this technology’s full potential, Spear emphasized that regulations must be consistent to avoid a patchwork of rules that treat highway users differently. “What’s needed first is a national framework that encourages development, testing and deployment of technology, in direct support of interstate commerce,” Spear said in a hearing before the panel’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. “Federal guidance should treat commercial and passenger vehicles equally and require automated vehicles to achieve an acceptable level of safety and performance, rather than requiring the use of specific technologies.”
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FreightWaves gets it wrong on driver shortage (trucking.org)

FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller calls the truck driver shortage a “myth” in a recent piece of self-promotion, but his assertion collapses under the weight of facts and data. Fuller claims the mythical shortage is an ATA fabrication—a narrative perpetuated for our convenience. Of course, we’re not alone in reporting this issue. Driver shortages are global in scope, with growing vacancies felt across the Americas, Asia, and Europe, and documented in IRU’s 2022 Global Driver Shortage Report: In Europe, driver shortages jumped by 42% from 2020 to 2021, with vacant driver positions reaching 71,000 in Romania, 80,000 in both Poland and Germany, and 100,000 in the UK. In Mexico, shortages rose by 30% to reach 54,000, while in China, they increased by 140%, reaching 1.8 million.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 0.8% in July

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.8% in July after falling 0.3% in June. In July, the index equaled 112.9 (2015=100) compared with 113.8 in June. June’s increase was revised lower from our July 18 press release. Compared with July 2022, the SA index fell 3%, which was the fifth straight year-over-year decrease. In June, the index was down 3.2% from a year earlier.
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Mid-Year Review of Congress’ Progress on Pro-Trucking Policies

Congress recently adjourned for its annual August recess following a productive July session that was punctuated by a number of significant wins for our industry. These victories would not have been possible without ATA’s repeated engagements with Capitol Hill. ATA experts are in regular contact with congressional leaders and staff to educate them on the trucking industry and effective policies that can best support fleets and drivers. *Improvements to young driver apprenticeship program advanced. *Base access provision included in NDAA. *House moved bill to overturn California’s destructive mandates. *Resolution opposing NYC congestion pricing breaks partisan gridlock. *ATA presses provision to protect independent contractor model. *ATA renews push to repeal FET.
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No strike at Yellow; Central States grants extension (freightwaves.com)

Teamsters at less-than-truckload carrier Yellow Corp. will not be on strike Monday as previously planned. Central States Funds agreed Sunday to extend health care benefits for employees at YRC Freight and Holland. Yellow now has 30 days to pay $50 million to catch up on its benefits payments. A statement from the Teamsters said it expects the company to make the payments within the next two weeks. “The intense discussions between Teamsters leadership and Central States successfully convinced fund trustees to reverse their previous decision that health care benefits would end on July 23 if Yellow remained delinquent,” the statement read.
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ATA-Led Coalition Urges Congressional Leaders to Repeal FET

The American Trucking Associations was joined by eight trucking organizations and affiliates in a renewed effort to repeal the outdated and counterproductive federal excise tax, or FET, on heavy-duty trucks and trailers. The coalition sent a letter to the leaders of Senate Finance Committee and House Ways & Means Committee to express strong support for the Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act. The bipartisan legislation would repeal the FET and immediately reduce the cost of new, cleaner, and safer trucks by 12 percent, making it easier for fleets to upgrade their equipment. “Eliminating this tax will remove a barrier to retiring older trucks that lack modern emissions control and safety technologies, allowing owners to replace them with modern, clean models that are safer and more environmentally friendly,” the coalition wrote.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 2.1% in June

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 2.1% in June after increasing 1.2% in May. In June, the index equaled 116.5 (2015=100) compared with 114.1 in May. “While the tonnage index increased in both May and June, it remains in recession territory,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The index continues to fall from a year earlier and is off 1.9% from its recent peak in September 2022. A multitude of factors have caused a recession in freight, including stagnant consumer spending on goods, lower home construction, falling factory output, and shippers consolidating freight into fewer shipments compared with the frenzy during the goods buying spree at the height of the pandemic. However, the magnitude of the year-over-year declines is improving, perhaps pointing to a bottom in the freight market.” Compared with June 2022, the SA index decreased 0.8%, which was the fourth straight year-over-year decrease. In May, the index was down 2.4% from a year earlier.
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ATA Statement on CARB Clean Truck Partnership

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement about the California Air Resources Board’s new Clean Truck Partnership: “We’ve long advocated for a single, national standard that respects and preserves interstate commerce. However, the trucking industry shouldn’t be strong armed by the government into an agreement with such terms. “Our association represents motor carrier members – the paying customers who will inherit the costs of this agreement – and we will not roll over nor relinquish our right to litigate with any party when our interests are threatened. It is clear that America has lost its way when the government bullies the private sector to succumb to unachievable timelines, targets and technologies.”
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ATA Welcomes Automatic Emergency Braking Requirement for Heavy Trucks

The American Trucking Associations welcomed an announcement from the Department of Transportation that new heavy-duty trucks would be required to have automatic emergency braking technology. “ATA has long supported the use of AEB on all new vehicles,” said ATA Vice President of Safety Policy Dan Horvath. “With NHTSA’s recent regulation requiring AEB on all new passenger vehicles, this proposal for heavy-duty trucks is timely and appropriate. “The trucking industry supports the use of proven safety technology like automatic emergency braking,” Horvath said. “We look forward to reviewing this proposal from NHTSA and FMCSA and working with them as it is implemented.”
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 2.4% in May

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 2.4% in May after decreasing 1.7% in April. In May, the index equaled 115.4 (2015=100) compared with 112.7 in April. “Tonnage had a nice gain in May, but remains in recession territory,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The 2.4 percent gain didn’t erase the 4.5 percent total drop the previous two months. Additionally, tonnage continues to contract from year earlier levels as retail sales remain soft, manufacturing production continues to fall from a year ago, and housing starts contract from 2022 levels.” Compared with May 2022, the SA index decreased 1.3%, which was the third straight year-over-year decrease. In April, the index was down 3.4% from a year earlier.
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Amid new disruptions, NRF urges Biden to intervene in West Coast labor negotiations (chainstoreage.com)

As contract talks drag on, tensions are rising at West Coast ports. Following a shutdown at the Ports of Oakland and Long Beach, which combine to form the country’s largest cargo complex, over the weekend, the National Retail Federation called on the Biden Administration to intervene. (At least one terminal at the Port of Long Beach shut Monday, according to reports.) The new disruptions come as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association have failed to reach and ratify a new labor agreement following more than a year of negotiations.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 1.7% in April

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell 1.7% in April after decreasing 2.8% in March. In April, the index equaled 112.7 (2015=100) compared with 114.7 in March. “While the broader economy continues to surprise and thus far stave off an expected recession, the freight economy is starkly different,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The goods-portion of the economy is soft and as a result, even contract truck freight is now falling, albeit not nearly as much as the spot market. The tonnage index hit the lowest level since September 2021 in April and has now fallen on a year-over-year basis for two straight months.” March’s decline was revised up from our April 18 press release. Compared with April 2022, the SA index decreased 3.4%, which was the largest year-over-year decrease since February 2021. In March, the index was down 2.4% from a year earlier.
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Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Driver Apprenticeship Program

The American Trucking Associations and the International Foodservice Distributors Association applauded the introduction of the DRIVE Safe Integrity Act, introduced by Representatives Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), to help alleviate the truck driver workforce shortage. The bill builds upon strong, bipartisan support for the DRIVE Safe Act over the last few Congresses and the inclusion of the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program in the bipartisan infrastructure law. “Building a 21st century supply chain requires a strong, vibrant and growing trucking workforce,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “The DRIVE Safe Integrity Act will bolster new career pathways into interstate trucking while promoting safety and training standards that far exceed the bar set by states today. This legislation offers a timely and essential trucking workforce and supply chain solution, built off years of broad bipartisan Congressional support.” “The last three years have proven just how important truck drivers are to the American economy and way of life, and how urgently we need to develop a pipeline of qualified, well-trained professional drivers to meet our nation’s growing freight needs,” said Mark S. Allen, President and CEO of IFDA.
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A heavy dose of reality for electric-truck mandates

Andrew Boyle, ATA first vice chair and co-president of Massachusetts-based Boyle Transportation, went to Washington this week to testify before a Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on the future of clean vehicles. As the manager of a truck fleet with one of the strongest environmental records in the industry today, Boyle injected a heavy dose of reality into the debate happening on Capitol Hill and nationwide over electric-vehicle mandates. In the wake of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to let California set de facto national emission standards for commercial vehicles, Boyle's testimony sheds light for lawmakers onto the gravity of these mandates—and how disconnected they are from current, real-world conditions.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 5.4% in March

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell 5.4% in March after increasing 0.9% in February. In March, the index equaled 111.6 (2015=100) compared with 118 in February. “After increasing a total of 2.6% during the three previous months, March’s sequential decline was the largest monthly drop since April 2020 during the start of the pandemic,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Falling home construction, decreasing factory output and soft retail sales all hurt contract freight tonnage – which dominates ATA’s tonnage index – during the month. Despite the largest year-over-year drop since October 2020, contract freight remains more robust than the spot market, which continues to see prolonged weakness.” Compared with March 2022, the SA index decreased 5%, which was the first year-over-year decrease since August 2021. In February, the index was up 1.9% from a year earlier. During the first quarter, tonnage was 0.6% below the same three month period in 2022.
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FedEx Announces Planned Consolidation of Operating Companies

FedEx Corp. is announcing today at its DRIVE Investor Event that it will consolidate its operating companies into one organization, creating efficiencies that will enhance the company's ability to meet the evolving needs of customers and ultimately build a stronger, more profitable enterprise. This phased transition, with full implementation expected in June 2024, will ultimately bring FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Services, and other FedEx operating companies into Federal Express Corporation, becoming a single company operating a unified, fully integrated air-ground network under the respected FedEx brand. FedEx Freight will continue to provide less-than-truckload freight transportation services as a stand-alone company under Federal Express Corporation. Raj Subramaniam will serve as President and CEO of the combined organization.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 1.2% in February

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 1.2% in February after increasing 0.6% in January. In February, the index equaled 118.4 (2015=100) compared with 117 in January. “Tonnage has increased sequentially for the last three months totaling 2.9 percent,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “As a result, the index is just 0.3 percent below the recent high in September. The fact that our index is growing sequentially and on a year-over-year basis demonstrates that contract freight continues to hold up at high levels. “Looking ahead, we continue to see evidence the inventory cycle is improving, which means bloated stocks will stop being a headwind and eventually help truck freight volumes,” Costello said. “Increased infrastructure spending will also boost volumes heading into the summer months. However, we expect to see continued freight softness related to lower home construction and slowing factory output.” Compared with February 2022, the SA index increased 2.3%, which was the eighteenth straight year-over-year gain, but the largest since October. In January, the index was up 1.4% from a year earlier. In 2022, compared with the average in 2021, tonnage was up 3.5%.
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ATA Expresses Concerns About Potential Granting of Waiver for California Truck Rules

The American Trucking Associations expressed grave concerns about media reports that the Environmental Protection Agency may be on the verge of granting the state of California waivers to implement potentially harmful and unrealistic emissions rules. “Our industry hopes these reports aren’t true. We have worked tirelessly with EPA on aggressive, achievable timelines for emissions reductions over decades. In fact, a truck in 1988 emitted as much as 60 trucks today – a more than 98% reduction – and we’re committed to the path to zero,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “If the reports are in fact accurate, let us remind you that this isn't the United States of California. As we learned in the pandemic, the supply chain can be a fragile thing – and its integrity must be preserved at the national level. This decision has little to do with improving the environment, and everything to do with placating the far left of the environmental lobby without regard for the hard-working men and women of our industry or our country who will be left to implement California’s vision for America.
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Transportation prices set record for rate of decline in February (freightwaves.com)

Transportation prices fell in February at the fastest rate recorded in the six-and-a-half-year history of a monthly survey of supply chain executives. The Logistics Managers’ Index (LMI) registered a reading of 36.1 for transportation costs in February, 5.9 percentage points lower than in January and below the prior record, which was established in December. A level below 50 indicates contraction while one above signals expansion. The report said the rate declines were “a little more pronounced in the later portions of the month than in the beginning of the month.” “February is generally a low point seasonally due to the consumer spending hangover from the holidays in the U.S. combined with slowness in imports due to Chinese New Year, and that was certainly reflected this year,” the report stated.
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Dockworkers’ strike ends; compromise bid in looming rail strike

The Finnish Transport Workers' Union (AKT) has ended a two-week stevedores' strike. The union made the announcement shortly before 8pm on Wednesday. The AKT board unanimously accepted the deal, union boss Ismo Kokko said. "A new collective agreement has been born," he told Yle. According to Kokko, there will be salary increases of 6.3 percent over the two-year contract period. On top of this, he said there will be a so-called "delayed instalment" amounting to 1,100 euros per worker. Earlier in the evening, the National Conciliator's office said in a tweet that a negotiation result had been reached in the labour dispute. The dockworkers' strike, which has been going on for two weeks, has virtually halted all exports and imports through Finland’s harbours and slowed postal deliveries.
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Repeal Heavy-Duty Excise Tax and Get Cleaner Trucks on Our Roads, Transportation Groups Urge Congress

A group of transportation and trucking stakeholders is calling on Congress to repeal the Federal Excise Tax (FET) on heavy-duty commercial vehicles. This century-old tax is impeding the deployment of cleaner, more environmentally friendly trucks on our nation's roads, according to a letter from the American Trucking Associations, American Truck Dealers, and Zero Emission Transportation Association sent to Congressional leadership. The heavy-duty excise tax was established in 1917 to defray the costs of World War I and today adds 12% to the cost of a new truck, creating a major disincentive for trucking fleets small and large to modernize their equipment and replace older tractors with new, low-emission power units. The FET can add more than $50,000 to the price of the latest low- or zero-emission vehicle, making these investments cost-prohibitive for smaller fleets. Over 90% of U.S. motor carriers operate six or fewer trucks. “If Congress is serious about safety, the environment and jobs, then repealing the FET should be front-burner," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "It’s time to shelve this World War I era tax and starting putting the best equipment on our roads.”
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 0.7% in January

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.7% in January after increasing 1% in December. In January, the index equaled 117.1 (2015=100) compared with 116.2 in December. ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision. “Tonnage has increased nicely in the last couple of months,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “I suspect that some of the gain is attributable to capacity coming out of the network, especially those carriers that primarily operate in the spot market and/or bought expensive used equipment in the last couple of years. This would push more freight to contract carriers, which dominate this index. "It could also be that freight bottomed and is coming up a little too. So, the gain is likely a little higher demand and a little less supply. Despite the increases in December and January, tonnage is still off 1.4% from its recent high in September," Costello said.
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Transport Workers’ Union strike impact in Finnish ports

Finnish Transport Workers’ Union AKT has begun their strike impacting all Finnish ports and terminals on 15.2. at 6 AM until further notice. The negotiating parties did not reach an agreement and negotiations will recommence later this week. All vessel operations in Finnish ports, gate moves and handling of containers within terminals are now suspended until further notice.
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Strike threat in the transport sector in Finland

Negotiations on the collective agreements of the Finnish Transport Workers Union AKT continue today, February 13, 2023. Wage negotiations are also going on for truck drivers and terminal workers. If agreements cannot be reached, the entire Finnish transport industry is threatened with a large-scale strike, which, if implemented, will significantly affect the flow of freight traffic. Due to ongoing overtime ban at the Finnish ports, one ferry service between Germany and Finland has been cancelled today. Your road transport contact persons will provide more information about possible delays to shipments.
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ATA President Urges Congress to Build on Infrastructure Bill’s Success

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear urged Congress to take steps to exercise oversight over the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, ensuring that taxpayers and the supply chain get the maximum return on the $1.2 trillion of investment the legislation provides. “For 90 years, the ATA has helped Congress shape its understanding of our nation’s infrastructure needs and supply chain challenges and today’s oversight of both is welcome and timely,” Spear said. “Prior to IIJA’s passage, ATA testified 25 times before the House and Senate, sharing how the decaying state of our nation’s infrastructure is hamstringing America’s ability to compete with rising global powers, like China. In short, a first-world economy cannot survive a developing-world infrastructure.”
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Stora Enso joins Polestar 0 project to create a climate-neutral car by 2030

Stora Enso and Swedish electric car company Polestar have started collaboration to create a truly climate-neutral car by 2030. Stora Enso joins Polestar 0 project as a partner to contribute to the car’s climate neutrality with their bio-based battery material Lignode® by Stora Enso, made from trees. The Polestar 0 project, launched in 2021, aims to create a climate neutral car by 2030 by eliminating all sources of CO2 emissions – not only offsetting them – throughout the supply chain and production. Reaching full climate neutrality throughout the value chain, however, is a challenge for such a complex product as a car. Stora Enso takes on the challenge to contribute to the car battery’s climate neutrality with its bio-based battery anode material, Lignode® by Stora Enso, with the aim to become a commercial supplier for the outcome of the Polestar 0 project. Graphitic carbon in car batteries today is either mined or made from fossil-based materials. Lignode® by Stora Enso is made of lignin which comes from sustainably managed Nordic trees that grow back once harvested. It is essential to revolutionise battery technology to sustainably cover the needs for energy storage in an electrified future. Stora Enso believes that the key to combating climate change involves the use of renewable materials.
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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 0.4% in December

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.4% in December after decreasing 2.5% in November. In December, the index equaled 115.2 (2015=100) versus 114.8 in November. “Despite the small gain in December, for-hire truck tonnage clearly decelerated during the final quarter in 2022,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “In fact, tonnage outperformed some other key metrics that drive truck freight, like housing starts and factory output during the final month of the year. This is probably because contract truckload freight is still outperforming the spot market and less-than-truckload freight after underperforming both of those sectors in 2021.” For all of 2022, tonnage was up 3.4%, which was the best annual gain since 2018.
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Container ports get a break as pandemic surge ends (chainstoreage.com)

Import patterns appear to be returning to normal pre-pandemic levels amid a slowdown in cargo. With a pandemic-driven surge finally over, monthly import cargo volume at the nation’s major container ports has fallen below the 2 million TEU mark and should remain there through most of this spring, according to the Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. “After nearly three years of COVID-19’s impact on global trade and consumer demand, import patterns appear to be returning to what was normal prior to 2020,” Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. “Nonetheless, as inflation eases and consumer spending returns, we project that growth will slowly return going into the second half of the year.”
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