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The DAT North American Freight Index surged 58% to 489 in March compared with 2016 levels due to more freight demand, although spot market truckload rates only slightly improved. DAT uses a base level of 100 for spot market activity in the year 2000.

The national average spot rates for dry and refrigerated vans went up a penny to $1.63 per mile and $1.87 per mile in March, respectively, compared with February. The average flatbed rate increased 6 cents to $2.03.

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Truck tonnage rose 0.7% last month compared with March 2016, although the American Trucking Associations’ chief economist said that late winter storms hurt the index compared with this past February.

Source: Truck Tonnage Hurt by Late Winter Storms in March | Transport Topics Online | Trucking, Freight Transportation and Logistics News

I thought this was worth sharing so I decided to write a post. I strongly recommend you read the full article and watch the video. I feel this is important news and it should be considered a strong indicator of where our economy may be heading.

Some things that really jumped at me are:

Payless Inc. shoe chain filed for bankruptcy and announced plans to shutter hundreds of locations [400 stores].

Ralph Lauren Corp. … said it will close its flagship Fifth Avenue Polo store.

The teen-apparel retailer Rue21 Inc. could be the next casualty … which has about 1,000 stores…[and]…is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as this month.

More than 10 percent of U.S. retail space, or nearly 1 billion square feet, may need to be closed, converted to other uses or renegotiated for lower rent in coming years.

According to Labor Department figures releasedon Friday, retailers cut around 30,000 positions in March… about the same total as in February and marked the worst two-month showing since 2009.

Urban Outfitters Chief Executive Officer Richard Hayne said that basically a bubble has been created and this trend of closing stores will continue…”Doors shuttering and rents retreating. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future and may even accelerate.

Year-to-date store closings are already outpacing those of 2008

HHGregg Inc., Gordmans Stores Inc. and Gander Mountain Co. all entered bankruptcy this year. RadioShack, meanwhile, filed for Chapter 11 for the second time in two years.

Other companies are plowing ahead with store closures outside of bankruptcy court. Sears Holdings Corp., Macy’s Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. are shutting hundreds of locations combined.

Kenneth Cole Productions said in November that it would close almost all of its locations. Bebe Stores Inc., a women’s apparel chain, is planning to take a similar step.

The good news is that Customers prefer physical stores 75 percent of the time, according to Cowen research”.

Here’s the video!

Source: Stores Are Closing at a Record Pace as Amazon Chews Up Retailers – Bloomberg

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Verizon Telematics announced availability of bundled products to address the needs of fleets requiring an electronic logging device solution. The Verizon Telematics ELD-ready bundles are designed to conform to certain technical specifications and serve as a “one-stop shop” for customers who need to meet the ELD mandate requirements before the deadline.

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Traveling down the road, isn’t it great to enjoy the view through the windows of your rig? Your elevated position displays great distances of countryside and roadways, unobstructed by four-wheelers. Unfortunately, this excellent view may come at a cost. Climbing… …Read the rest of this story