What J.B. Hunt Just Said About the U-Turn in Trucking

Largest US Trucking Company: “Volume, or lack thereof, is obviously the main story.” The inventory pile-up hurts. And the driver shortage is ending.

J.B. Hunt, the largest trucking company in the US by revenues, and a barometer of the goods-based sector of the economy, reported late Monday that revenues rose 7.3% on higher freight rates and fuel surcharges, that net profit inched up only 1.2% despite those price increases, and that Intermodal revenues ticked up 2% while Intermodal shipping volume fell 7%. And that sums up about the freight industry that is facing a downturn in shipments but is clinging to price increases as sole source of revenue growth.

Freight shipment volume in the US across all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – in March fell 1% from last year, according to the Cass Freight Index. It was the fourth month in a row of year-over-year declines, and the first declines since the transportation recession of 2015 and 2016. The chart shows the changes in percent for each month compared to the same month a year earlier:

The Cass Freight Index tracks shipments of goods for the consumer and industrial economy by all modes of transportation but does not cover shipments of bulk commodities, such as grains or chemicals.

On a sequential basis from February to March, the Cass Freight Index for Shipments rose 2%, a typical seasonal increase this time of the year. The chart below shows just how big the boom in 2018 (black line, on top) had been, including six months with double-digit year-over-year growth rates in shipments:

That boom of 2018 is now unwinding. And J.B. Hunt fleshed out some of the details. In the conference call (transcript via Seeking Alpha), CFO David Mee conceded that J.B. Hunt’s  “published results obviously revealed headwinds in parts of our business.” And he added, “In Intermodal, volume, or lack thereof, is obviously the main story.”

Intermodal freight in the US is a combination of truck and rail, such as containers hauled by truck and then transferred to rail, or semi-truck trailers that piggyback on special rail cars.

In January through late February, weather conditions caused some disruptions, Mee said. But…

When the service began to improve, we did not see a snap-back in customer demand in March which was our biggest surprise and frankly our miss to our expectations. While it is way too early to make a trend call for even second quarter 2019 or for the rest of the year, we are still waiting for customer demand to accelerate.

Intermodal shipment volumes were down 7% in January, were down 6% in February, and were down 7% in March, he said and there has been no post-bad-weather recovery so far.

Terry Matthews, Executive VP Intermodal, added: “Much slower West Coast volume” in Intermodal were caused not only by the Chinese New Year “but because of the potential tariffs” that were supposed to go into effect. They had apparently caused some front-running.

“The other thing that we’re hearing from customers is that the warehouses are full,” Matthews said. “We’ve got a very late spring, and the typical restocking of spring merchandise did not show up in March as it has in past years.”

Concerning this pileup of inventories, David Mee added: “I think they need to bleed off some inventory here early in the second quarter.” In other words, these goods in warehouses need be sold – and orders and shipments are going to slow until inventories have been whittled down.

The chart below shows this inventory pile-up and its relationship to shipment volume: The Cass Freight Index for Shipments (columns) and the wholesale inventories of durable goods (green line) — reported most recently by the Commerce Department on March 22. Both are expressed as percent change from the same month a year earlier. Inventories follow shipments with a lag:

But freight rates in Intermodal, as J.B. Hunt pointed out, have surged, and trucking companies continue to be able to push them higher for now, despite declining shipment volume. J.B. Hunt reported a 2% increase in Intermodal revenues in Q1 due to higher prices, but on a decline of 7% in volume.

Industry-wide, it’s similar: The Cass Intermodal Freight Index, which measures freight rates for Intermodal, jumped 6.1% in March year-over-year, though that increase was down from six double-digit increases in a row last year, and was the lowest increase in 12 months. So the declining shipment volume is just now barely cooling off the price surges:

And a similar scenario is playing across all modes of transportation: On slightly lower shipment volume, price increases still persist, and shippers – such as industrial companies, wholesalers, and retailers – are spending more to ship less, though the pricing pressures are starting to abate just a tiny bit.

The Cass Freight Index for Expenses shows this trend. It covers spending on all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – and includes fuel surcharges. It reflects the total amount spent by shippers. It reached a historic peak last September. So far this year, it has been tracking 5.5% to 7.5% higher than last year as the total amount spent by shippers is getting pushed up by higher freight rates and fuel surcharges, despite dropping shipment volume — on the theme that shippers spend more to ship less:

And the driver shortage, given the decline in volume? It is abating, according to J.B. Hunt’s Nick Hobbs, Executive VP of Dedicated Contract Services:

There are still some tight markets out there in Northern California or the Pacific North West, Chicago, Ohio through to the Northeast where we still have some extra incentives on to hire drivers. But in the rest of the areas, it has softened up. We’re not talking wage reductions with drivers, but it has eased up some. So it’s still tight in some markets but we feel pretty good about where we’re at from a driver positioning as of today.

And Matthews, speaking on the driver situation in the Intermodal segment, added: “Yes, I would say there’s a leveling off. There are pockets that Nick had mentioned but there’s a leveling-off effect, and it’s not the same environment as what we saw last year.”

From “capacity panic” to “overcapacity” in less than a year? Read… Next Phase in Trucking Boom-Bust Cycle Has Started

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  73 comments for “What J.B. Hunt Just Said About the U-Turn in Trucking

  1. Petunia says:

    How can transportation be up when over 6K stores have closed in the last year or two. There are other industries affected as well we never hear about. That’s 6K stores not buying equipment like cash registers and printers and not paying for repairs and maintenance. The ripple effect has to be huge and widespread.

    • matt says:

      be patient grasshopper. Just read today that mfg in autos has crashed. The supply chain on that end has been shedding thousands of jobs silently for years and nobody has been reporting it. One of the reasons why rail shipments are down. some companies have gone OOB for good. Same thing with intermodal starting to fall on rail. One of the next big retailers not on everyone’s radar to just maybe go under is Staples.

      • Petunia says:

        I listen to a call-in podcast from Canada. A train engineer, from Canada, called in and said train traffic is down because of Chinese imports. He said 70 engineers were on paid furlough because of the low traffic. They won’t fire them outright because they cost 75K to train and the last time the laid them off, they got other jobs.

      • NickL says:

        Many of these retailers that have closed or are closing frankly s**ck. Lack of stock, rude employees prices are absurd given what you can buy the identical item for online (and of course stores never price match to their own online store ).. Ex. Check out the price of a book at Barnes & Noble vs what same book costs at Amazon.. BTW, most of these are $15 an hour jobs hardly jobs worth ‘saving’ by spending more money at the brick & motor locations

        • RepubAnon says:

          As wages stay flat, an economy based on ever-increasing consumer spending in not sustainable. We’re coming to the end of the economic Pinzi scheme

        • EchoDelta says:

          First they came for the retailers, and I didn’t care because I wasn’t a retail sales person. Then they came for the B2B web merchants, and I didn’t care because….

      • Wizmo says:

        Election. Logs I quit after 40 yrs. Train. U can keep it. Good honest, seasoned drivers, and o.o. gone government screws up another good job.

        • Phil says:

          I totally agree the heart and soul of the industry which is the driver suffers while companies get more personnel on the inside the soak up money that should go to the drivers and their families electronic log makes trucking not a free American job but a warehouse on wheels with no benefits

    • NickL says:

      What about the employees that worked for such stores? Wouldn’t they be showing up in the First Time weekly unemployment claims?? What happens to these people once the store closes?? do they all get transfered to another location?? Wouldn’t they at least be showing up in first time but not continuing claims?? Claims have been trending down since 2011 with the downward trend breaking 200K which is amazing considering the size of the labor force

      • Petunia says:

        When stores close everybody understands the landlords and the employees suffer. But there’s a who other world that services these businesses and those companies are affected as well. Those are the ones I was referring to.

        As for the unemployment claims, I hear that 10k people a month are retiring, there’re some of the hidden unemployed.

        • Just Some Random Guy says:


          Retirements have absolutely nothing to do with 1st time unemployment claims. They also have nothing to do with the unemployment rate. The UI rate is a % of people in the labor force who want to work but can’t find a job. Retired people are out of the labor force and so are not part of the equation.

          And UI claims are just what the name says, people who get laid off and apply for UI benefits. Retired people don’t qualify.

        • joe saba says:

          remember many of these retail jobs are McJobs of the under 30 hours per week – with many being 15 hours per week if that ones
          so when you have 2 or 3 McJobs and you lose one of them – YOU ARE STILL EMPLOYED AND THEREFORE CANNOT receive unemployment – just suffer the loss of 1/2 your income

        • Petunia says:


          I know how the unemployment rate is calculated. The discussion was about why it is so low in spite of all the layoffs. If you retire you may no longer qualify for unemployment insurance. Retirement can be a form of hidden underemployment.

        • wkevinw says:

          Yes. Retirement is a legal term which allows you to use some of your retirement benefits a certain way, and doesn’t trigger an unemployment stat. However, a lot of these “retirees” are ~50-60 years of age, and will get another job. They were able to retire “legally/technically”, but they are actually unemployed. (with some nice pension payouts and maybe some paid medical care, and maybe some kind of golden parachute).

        • MaryR says:


          It depends on what you mean by “retirement”. I was on UI during 2012 in Massachusetts and my state unemployment benefit counselor informed me that I could file for my social security benefit and still collect my UI with no reduction. So, merely collecting social security does not count as retirement.

          Most of the people laid off were in their late 50’s to mid 60’s. We were no longer officially ‘unemployed’ once we were thrown off the UI rolls and finally stopped banging on doors, despite the fact that everyone still wanted a job.

          So, does this count as retirement? Petunia is correct, so-called retirement is largely hidden unemployment.

      • Just Some Random Guy says:

        Walk down any street and at least 50% of businesses have a Help Wanted sign in their window. The job market is so tight right now, that there’s no point in applying for UI. By the time the first check shows up, most likely the laid off worker is already starting their new job.

        • Just Some Random Guy says:

          “in spite of all the layoffs”

          There are always layoffs. Even in the boomiest of economies, there are companies that lay people off and even go under. Which is a good thing. The economy has to shed poor performers. But the number of people laid off is smaller than the number of people hired. That’s what counts. So you may see some news article about Company X laying off 1000 people. That makes the news. What doesn’t make the news is the same day 1001 companies each hiring a person.

    • Lenz says:

      Remember the talk about Bernake’s Helicopter money? Who knew it’d roll on four wheels… introduce Uber Lyfting unemployment out of a visible recession.

      • Cyclist says:

        The capitalistic economy and technology, will always purge itself of inefficient businesses, and archaic systems, with the introduction of more dedicated companies and advanced technologies. How many businesses and jobs has the internet eliminated??? But, how many jobs and businesses has the internet created??? 30 years ago, I owned a Travel Agency. Where are they now? Businesses and people have to continually retool, and retrain to stay relevant and valuable. If people don’t find value in the product or service, they don’t buy. And, if businesses don’t find value in your skill, they don’t hire. This idea that government will provide a living wage, medicare for all, free education, and a guaranteed income is ridiculous. Whatever the government forces business to pay for, will be passed through as an increased cost to consumers via higher prices.

    • Hatetruckers says:

      As they said the warehouses are all full. Stores closing will make it worse and now many big businesses closing shop this year.
      The blame is America’s greed, they want more money to do simple jobs, the labor jobs they refuse to do an then complain when migrants do the job. Take a look at the people doing restarant jobs an such, the majority do very little to ensure customers are taken care of, they complain complain about their job and most lack education that isn’t taken over by automation. 2013 is going be the year where so much will affect the world. Water shortage for one..
      Anyway if first world countries and corporations continue to make it more expensive to make a living for workers and pretend to care about 3rd world countries, those countries will dwindle and come to America in droves, oh wait look at the borders already. My 2 cents an wish I could say more about it even more. Anyways doom is coming.

    • Widowsson32 says:

      I am a truck driver driving for almost a decade and this report is false and it has some sort of political agenda behind it. there was no recssion in 2015/2016 that’s a hoax and Freight rates been down at this present moment than ever before due to these Big Corporation bidding low on in .. the fact is majority of the company drivers do not know how these big corporations Rob the truck drivers by giving them Kibbles and bits all while racking in big profits …Brokers are paying $2,100 from New Jersey Pennsylvania to Texas just think about it… the fact is these big corporations like JB Hunt Schneider Swift want to stablish a monopoly in the trucking industry but they’re having difficulty

    • James says:

      Right, but they’re being replaced.

      There’s not a decline in people buying stuff, and people aren’t buying less stuff, there’s just corporations who couldn’t keep up with innovation that are closing stores as their market share is gobbled up by someone who could.

  2. clay dennis says:

    The big apartment building boom on the West Coast is winding down. An incredible number of appliances, cabinets, floor coverings, windows, etc. went in to these apartment complexes that got going in about 2014-15 and will be finished up by summer. From what I have seen the appliances go in these buildings about 6 months before they are completed and ready to rent. Thus the mini-boom last year and the bust now.

    • NickL says:

      Certainly not winding down in the greater Boston or NYC areas. Both areas the economy is still white hot. Apartments are still going up everywhere outside Manhattan – most are rental apartments that start around $2900 a month for a studio apartment. In the Boston area its both the rich Asians and the children of the 1% from the western suburbs where the demand is coming from

      • clay says:

        Doesn’t seem as though they are needing to buy much stuff that has to be trucked in to build these white hot apartments since trucking volumes are down and going lower. Perhaps they are just virtual hologram apartments that 1 percenters and rich asians can rent online and brag about to their facebook friends while they continue to live in mom and dads basement.

      • Tom says:

        Same here in fly over country.
        New home loan applications +7% yoy for march, +19% from previous month. There will be plenty to haul for the truckers.

        Climb up out of the basement. Give yourself a break from the doom & gloom. Get some sunshine & grab the butterfly net.

        • nearlynapping says:

          “Get some sunshine & grab the butterfly net”

          “We will not have any more crashes in our time.”
          – John Maynard Keynes in 1927

          “There will be no interruption of our permanent prosperity.”
          – Myron E. Forbes, President, Pierce Arrow Motor Car Co., January 12, 1928

          “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau . . . I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months.”
          – Irving Fisher, Ph.D. in economics, Oct. 17, 1929

          “This crash is not going to have much effect on business.”
          – Arthur Reynolds, Chairman of Continental Illinois Bank of Chicago, October 24, 1929

          “Some pretty intelligent people are now buying stocks… Unless we are to have a panic — which no one seriously believes, stocks have hit bottom.”
          – R. W. McNeal, financial analyst in October 1929

  3. OutLookingIn says:

    Shippers use mountains of container board.
    In plain language – cardboard boxes.
    The Container & Packaging Industry Index dropped 4.5% today.
    Box demand is much weaker than what was expected.
    Exports of corrugated board are down -19% y-o-y.

    Just another of those pesky fundamentals, which lends credence to Wolf’s article covering the shipping slow down. Shippers do not need the amount of container board as they have. No doubt their inventory of board is quite high, which they must work through first. Putting further downward pressure on paper products.

  4. akiddy111 says:

    Or another way at looking at things :

    $5000 invested in JB Hunt stock 20 years ago would be worth $100,000 today.

    • joe saba says:

      and the great debasement of fiat dollar continues
      consider loss of 95% of purchasing power in past 20 years and you find $100,000 is new $5,000

      • akiddy111 says:

        What has debased in the last 20 years ? The price of a gallon of milk ? Wrangler Jeans ? The cost of a new Kia Rio ? Please explain .

    • Wolf Richter says:

      $100,000 invested in JB Hunt on June 15, 2018, would be $70,000 now :-]

  5. J Harrington says:

    Just wait until 4.5 million truckers get replaced and along with retailers and other robot replaced jobs….then the economy will really take off…. in burning blaze…literally!!!

  6. Odin says:

    Ive been driving big rigs for 25 years.
    This man caused the driver shorty by initiating the electronic log book policy.
    He is a liar ,
    A cheat ,
    Master manipulator.
    He will have karma pressed upon him very soon.
    The industry is a shambles because of him and he will do and say anything to steer the blame away from him .


    • Gandalf says:

      Dunno about JB Hunt’s ethics, but the Electronic Logbook Device (ELD) was instituted by most big trucking companies to make it simpler to monitor driver hours of service (HOS), a Federal mandate passed by Congress specifically to prevent truck drivers from driving excessively long hours and falling asleep at the wheel and killing innocent motorists like me who also happen to be on the highway.

      So HURRAH for the ELD!

      And, since these things generally have a GPS tracker, almost certainly they can tell the trucking companies if their drivers are speeding or not.


      I have noticed that in the last ten years, there has been a sharp decline in the numbers of trucks speeding on the highways. Few trucks also still have those “How’s my driving? Call 1-800- xxx-xxxx” signs stuck on the back.

      Probably all because of the ELD! Hurrah again!

      Whatever you think of JB Hunt, few companies like paying out giant settlements like what Walmart must have had to do to make Tracy Morgan say nice things about them again

      • Serge says:

        Eld makes the drivers speed more and drive tired all the time. So you have greater chance of getting killed by the truck now versus before an eld was in effect. Let me explain, I compare eld to the game of musical chairs when music stops and you don’t have a seat you are out. Same with trucking with eld. Your time ran out and you dont a have a parking spot you are in violation. So naturally drivers will speed to there faster. Same with driving tired, let say you know its rush hour traffic time, on paper log books you had a choice of taking a nap and edit your log book accordingly and still make it to destination. Now drivers obligated to drive during traffic and feel exhausted.

        • Gandalf says:

          That totally does NOT make sense. The ELD keeps track of total hours of service, which, together with speed limits, are the only legal mandates. It doesn’t force them to drive thru rush hour at all. Truckers know not to drive thru rush hour traffic in a major city if they are just passing thru. They would be wasting their HOS limits. That’s why freeways in heavily congested cities completely get dominated by trucks at night, when regular traffic is lighter.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          Gandalf – What the law is supposed to do is NEVER what it actually does. People adapt to accomplish their goals despite the law. There’s no legal panacea for people whose employment and financial survival depends on pushing their limits to make ends meet.

          White-hot demand and ELD-driven driver shortage will have pushed the shipping companies to get as much as possible out of the available driver-hours in the ELD world.

          I hear Serge saying that the freight still has to be delivered and/or the trucker has to reach the right stopping point for the night, even if there are delays. Since now the truckers are time-limited by ELD, they are pushing speed (where they can) in order to get the required distance in within the allotted time.

          Fatigue can come from short-cycling the sleeping period in order to squeeze a series of working days as close together as possible, as well as working too long in any single day.

          Sounds like the drivers need a bit more legal protection and the ELD law could be fine-tuned to cope with the unintended side effects… and that will lead to more side-effects… but that’s progress.

      • Old trucker says:

        I own a trucking company. Wonder why JB is wanting for us to sign with them ( I own 43 rigs) ? Eld was a good thought but transformed into a disaster. More trucks speed now to beat the clock. Look at stats truck safety decreased since law was passed. You cannot regulate sleep. You want to make roads and highways safe? Ban texting and cell phones. That is where focus needs to be.

        • Tom says:

          Great post!

          ELD and the 4 seasons of the Midwest.
          Incredible the # of truck accidents.

      • It goes both ways says:

        For someone that has not ever driven over the road they shouldn’t open there mouth. That just like driving your car are truck long hours i geuss they would be fine with a eld on them as well. There is no difference and that might be something to come in the future because ya’ll open the door for that .There are more bad drivers on the road than there are truck drivers and thats just facts.

      • dibrahim says:

        “Federal mandate passed by Congress specifically to prevent truck drivers from driving excessively long hours and falling asleep at the wheel and killing innocent motorists like me who also happen to be on the highway.”

        This demonstrates exactly how ignorant some people are about HOS and ELDs. There is no device that can stop a driver from driving long hours and falling asleep at the wheel and killing innocent motorists. The ELD only monitors HOS.

        • Todd Campbell says:

          ELD claimed to save companies money and save 26 lives! Claimed easier and quicker to fill out versus paper! Has done the opposite, killed more than 26, they fail to connect to the internet, they falsify your duty status. Tell me again how they help anything?

      • Mongoose says:

        Gandalf –

        I challenge you to go get a CDL and then drive for 6 months with one of those companies that use speed governed vehicles and ELD. Then come back here and tell us all how much you love it.

        In all honesty, ELD is not the problem. A lack of flexibility in the HOS regulations is. We have this small group of people, whose backsides have never polished the driver’s seat of a big rig, making up all of these cookie cutter rules to dictate how 4.5 million individuals are going to do their jobs. A one size fits all set of rules, to govern 4.5 million people with uniquely diverse personalities, sleep habits and needs, and metabolisms. If you were a professional driver, you would know that those 3 things (personality, individual sleeping habits, and your metabolism) have major impacts on your ability to drive, when, and where.

        What we have going on, is computers telling us that we need to be sleeping when we actually just woke up, and telling us that we need to be driving (which dispatchers will cling to with a death grip and pressure you to drive) when you’re completely exhausted.

        You can try to blame trucks for all of your woes, but it’s a statistical fact that over 85% of the accidents involving big trucks and cars are the car driver’s fault. I think we can all easily discern what the real problem is there.

        Walk into almost any motor vehicle agency, and you might find the placard that says, “A CDL holder is held to a higher standard of driving than a regular license holder.”

        My question is, “Why?”

        Don’t get me wrong. I totally agree that we should be held to high standards, but why are we giving “regular license holders” a free pass to drive like complete morons? If we have to share the road with cars and pickups, then the drivers of those cars and pickups should be held to the same standards as we are. If they don’t want to be held to those standards, then they need to stay out of my office. We (the trucking industry) pay for the roads and their upkeep. They are OURS. Maybe it’s time for cars and pickups to start staying off of the roads that WE pay for. Oh, no! How will you get to work?! Might I humbly suggest mass transit? Yeah, that’s a great idea! Let’s leave the driving up to the CDL holder driving the bus, and since you’re going to be riding the bus, you won’t be in front of him, driving like an idiot, and causing him undue stress.

    • Jackel says:

      The ELDs are no diffrent then what you had in the past. All you have to do now is follow the rules instead of keeping 2 log books and having the “unweighted” routs. You now have to follow the rules you were suppose to follow 25 years ago. If yall would have done that we wouldnt have ELDs now.

      • Jim Bardsley says:

        Not so fast there fellas. The ELD came about as part of MAP21, the 2012 STAA Highway Bill.
        It was sold to Congress as a labor saving efficiency device that would save the industry about 1.5 billion a year in losses and extra productivity.
        The “saftey” factor was never mentioned, since it doesn’t actually exist.
        A bad driver, is still a bad driver,just HOS compliant now. By the way, the Walmart truck that ran over Tracy Lawrence and friends, was using ELDs. The driver just lied anyway, having partied with friends on his off time instead of sleeping. Look it up.
        Google it.
        That’s the “Big Lie” being told about these so-called saftey devices.
        Still think hurrah for ELDs?
        One other factoid, most trucks involved in fatal and injury wrecks, already have been using the precursor to the ELD, the Automatic OnBoard Recorder, for years.
        Nope, ELDs aren’t even an issue in this slowdown. Amazon, and other online entities are a huge part of it.
        With their sourcing, and customer shipping being largely handled in house , by contractors, not by exterior carriers such as Johnny Boy Hunt.

      • Truck driver says:

        It’s impossible and impracticable to follow the HOS to a tee. You need a little wiggle room to make everyone happy. The point is that you shouldn’t drive when you are tired. A computer can’t tell you that. The problem is that you are forced to drive when you are tired because with paper logs you know that you can take a good nap and then faniggle your logs later. With ELD you can’t do that and have to keep on driving without taking that nap.

  7. James DeLap says:

    He’s talking houses,new cars, education, etc.

    And that smaller box of cereal after “contents have settled”.

    -obviously a gallon of milk is what it is-

  8. James DeLap says:

    Homeless everywhere thanks to milk inflation???

    • akiddy111 says:

      MOST homeless people are addicts or have mental health problems or both.

      I live in a suburb of Seattle. I have a front row seat to what is happening. The budget is there to house people.

      Heck, they are giving Russell Wilson $35 million a year.

  9. Scott says:

    I grossed 294000 last year driving…Netted 187000…More freight out here n now produce season is here…Dry freight is volatile Foodstuffs never sees downturns

    • Robert says:

      I’m looking at O/O. Who’s a good produce company to work for? I’m based out of San Antonio. Thanks

  10. Serge says:

    Trucking industry has a tendency to clean itself fairly quickly. Those who overleveraged their financial capabilities based on last year’s freight rates, will quickly realize that they not making any money and can’t pay for new trucks and wife’s new Lexus. Load to truck ratio being very small, freight rates will not increase this season much. It should improve after everyone switches from aobrd to eld this December. (With aobrd you can still edit your hours of service, with eld you cannot.)

  11. Cl says:

    Insurance rates will also keep the fly by nighters from entering the market.

    • MC01 says:

      That’s an extremely good point.

      I am not an expert in trucking, but in commercial aviation insurance costs spiked in 2009-2010, then came down somewhat until 2014, when they collapsed spectacularly to hit rock bottom in 2017. But last year average insurance costs shot up a big fat 24% worldwide year on year and the trend is continuing.
      While insurance is not the only factor by any stretch of imagination, this collapse in insurance costs coincided with an explosion in upstart airlines. Turkey-based airlines in particular benefited enormously from low insurance costs to break en masse into the European market: this would have been unthinkable just a decade before.
      Now that the tide is turning, not merely for insurance but for the Turkish economy as a whole, we’ll see who is swimming naked.

      I take trucking is the same thing, especially given that higher insurance costs cannot be wholly passed on to customers right now: while it’s easy to justify increased costs when capacity is tight it’s much harder to do so when overcapacity looms.

  12. The guy says:

    Well if you got laid off you,d look for another job too. Wouldn’t you Canadians just don’t sit around and say let’s see !!

  13. N.dog says:

    how can rates be going up if demand is falling…..?

  14. Thomas Russell says:

    My refund went up by over $600 even though I had my witholding set so I would get 0 before the tax change….so your liberal lie isn’t working Bob!

  15. Sean Hedman says:

    All fields have ebb and flow based on projects and dispensable cash.
    While J.B. and the like do a lot of transport, as stated in the article, this does not include other modes of transit.

    Intermodal and box DO NOT take into account the rush of employees into the HAZMAT and oversize load fields which are more directly reflexive of huge pushes in industry. ie Energy, Construction

    The statistic lines follow the same trend as the big truck production numbers. Everyone dropped a ton of cash when the economy flipped, now it is stabilizing.
    Every report says the sky is falling to get clicks.

    My company replaced the entire fleet in the last year, trucking is doing fine. Somebody wants trucking to fail. There’s a reason ELDs and Elon Musk were given the green light at the same time…

  16. They will figure out a way to put some flex in the ELD, these systems always have a few bugs (Boeing Max?) I drove long enough to tell you the public is better off with automated controls and self driving trucks. It should make it better for small companies, who play by the rules, and have to compete with drivers who do not.

  17. J.D. Schultz, Sr. says:

    When you say that trucking won’t fail, you are not looking at the way it has already made drivers into automatons. We may never have driverless rigs, but with sattelite monitoring already routing/managing every train in North America, and dispatch monitoring speed & every fuel/rest stop, driver autonomy is rapidly becoming extinct. When I get my precious 10 minutes with my doctor, (s)he can no longer do what (s)he feels will make me well, but what THE INSURANCE COMPANY COMPUTER decides will make me well. Robots may not take over every job, but, with “best practice protocols”, computers are already taking over our thinking.

  18. Wisdom Seeker says:

    Just want to add that CSX (railroad) also reported today, and also noted a small drop in intermodal. But other freight categories were up.

    CSX stock price surged on their report and hit new all time hight today.

    Evidently rail is not going through the same issues as trucking.

  19. Warren says:

    JB Hunt has been ripping driver’s off for years and has made billions from it

  20. Robert says:

    Here’s my take on the ELD,from a few years semi,decades motor coach now,because I enjoy sleeping in nice hotels and stopping at the good spots to see.we can argue who is better later,and who shows who respect on the road.
    Anyways,I saw a reply and wasn’t sure if the poster was crying about Trump or JB hunt for the ELDs.
    Neither,if anything JB was part of the crowd fighting against CSA2010,because it was the new green deal for the industry in 2005 when it really began its notifications that it was coming,people better get ready,we all gotta take a bite!!
    Elds,measurements on drivers necks,weight,added diseases that put drivers OOS,etc.
    They feared 250k drivers and 10k dot holding companies would instantly be out of service,leading to out of business.
    The big guys in truck and bus added the elds as early as 2010,Qualcomm was the big one of only two real options then,the law was ahead of tech.
    Most big companies also started voluntarily adopting many medical issue that were coming and sent overweight drivers to med,and sleep apnea testing.

    I could talk for days about CSA 2010,and the fun fun things still to come,like the point system for drivers and companies,and how companies would have a “salary cap”of points before drivers with tickets or to many points couldn’t be hired because the company couldn’t take their points on,nothing to do with ability,collective driver points could put an entire company into suspension or babysitting mode for DOT. And they were going back a few years looking for tickets and points.
    It’s not over guys,and driving schools are spitting them out at assembly line rates to fill all the seats as they empty,you shouldngoogle csa2010 just to see what’s ahead that might hit you. Just the expanded diabetes restrictions once ok,are going to smack thousands of drivers to the house and retirement.So look,don’t act surprised when more companies start adopting more of the new rules they couldn’t stop in court.
    I think ELD agreed 3 years ago,we got a warning 2 years ago,grace period for a year,started in January,it’s now required for OTR CDL.
    This means if the company sends you to far,driver AND company get the ticket and points.
    Megabus capped its OTR to 8 hr distance with 1 break just to be sure,and they had that 2 hour adverse conditions,they still capped at 8.
    You couldn’t even do dc to Atlanta with just one driver anymore and dc to New York was a one way,it took 5 hours,but with traffic it hit 7-8,it was no longer scheduled as a round trip for 1 driver.
    The company and the drivers,owner ops,contractors they all have to adapt and protect themselves against DOT,but even more so,against that shady owner with a few pieces of equipment on the road,taking an eld cheaper shortcut. For example,an app on your phone that doesn’t connect directly to the platform.
    Yea they are free,until you can’t do the new eld dot dance at a pullover,the company gets the bus,pays the fine,drops another driver in your slot,because your CDL NOW has so many points,you can’t drive a golf cart with it.
    Not saying all companies are bad,just saying MOST elds are,specially if they don’t connect.
    Before where I work got them installed last year,I was doing paper and running my own eld that plugged into the 9pin and hooked to my GPS,and phone,with emails to office.
    And if your eld,even a good one,goes dead,because they still have not gotten all the bugs out,like basic hacking mentioned above,you must have a specific paper eld log being sold at truck stops all over the country(so have a blank one with you now as advice)
    Shady owners who can manipulate the elds,the bugs,trying to remember signing in out up down on your phone,bleh!!! I likeed paper logs!!
    But you gotta adapt,and keep up,or get left the f behind in any industry.

    Driverless trucks are here,but anyone reading this won’t be pushed off the road by them,at least not in our lifetime.
    We will always have brick and mortar,just not like it was.soon you will be able to shop at home,and have it delivered in an hour.
    What we will have,is warehouse deliveries,on a massive scale,and no more superhero driveling down alleys and skinny streets just to get to the loading bay of some strip mall.
    Now it’s wide open warehouse complexes and no touch,pull in,empty in 20 mins by a crew,back you go for more stuff for amazon to sort and ship.
    So that’s good,easy driving in city.
    I’m also thinking they will try the driverless trucks,maybe even do a dedicated lane for trucks soon,I have seen plans and ideas floated that never took off because of cost.
    But if amazon can pay for a dedicated lane from the boat to the train to the truck to the sorting center,then out to ship,they will.
    Again,more good for us.
    They can’t figure out how to ship the big stuff with drones,they have a hard time with cars pianos refrigerators etc,we bring to sorting center,straight trucks to house door,we are still needed in the loop for amazon.
    And when they figure out how to eliminate the driver,that’s when public fear and protest start.
    We are good for 20-30 more years as a safe career.
    The problem is all the retail and manufacturing careers that are ending,and guess where they are coming??
    InVirginia,they will even send you to school for free to get a cdlA,I didn’t know that when I dropped 5k,told my brother and he got his free.
    I charged him handsomely for the top,but still didn’t come out even.

    So what I’m saying is,the word for the day is,can you TRUST your employer,the company YOU work for??
    Did they spend the money on a reliable dot compliant ELD,or are your driving dirty because of their cheapness or lack of knowledge,and it’s YOUR CDL that’s ruined forever? Before you can count all the points your getting from the ELD,time and money lost out of service and inside courts,the company swallows the points,drops another driver in(we are expendable now,even us pretty ones)and keeps chewing drivers up until he is forced to shut down and re open in his wife’s name,or kids name,with a new set of dot numbers on an old truck or bus.

    I’m not trying to freak anyone out,I’m just pointing to things headed our way.Iys all in black and white on google CSA2010.
    I don’t care if ya read it,to each their own.
    Just can’t cry about info that’s been out almost 15 years,in court fighting this industry bigs,and on the internet,and even the fmcsa has the info and happy to pass it along.

    All the other stuff,bleh,don’t be afraid of ghosts,nobody is coming to take your job,if you adapt and actually do your job.
    Elds are in drivers favor,not companies,so take advantage of it.It can protect you,cut crazy hours,and keep easy records for your bookkeeping. It can also help you catch that owner being a gangster,or looking deep into your eyes and telling you how much he loves and needs you and your work ethic,but then tosses you under the bus with a eld app for free from Apple store.
    Find a home,that’s running everything legal and above ground,applaud all the riff raft this will clear from our ranks,enjoy a surge in pay increases with less miles.
    I’m ok with that! More money,fewer miles,less idiots to make us look good!!
    And just as a side note,for those that didn’t notice,this is one of the top new female infused careers. Studies say they are better at it then us mancubs,it’s above my pay grade so I can’t argue.
    But that means even the quayof the feminine usual will improve in the road,not all will look like loggers from main that need a shave.
    We are about to have a gender wave hit our workplace,and no offense,but I’m ok with that.

    Anyways,sorry so long
    Keep it between the lines
    Dirty side down

    PS get the F over for motor coaches!!
    I move for you,you move for me,or expect to drop a few gears before you see me pull away over the hill you can’t climb now.

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