Author: Vitaliy Dadalyan

28 Jul by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Trucks Move Bigger Slice of NAFTA Freight, Overall Value Continues Falling

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Percent change in value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by mode: May 2015-2016. Graphic: U.S. DOT

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Percent change in value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by mode: May 2015-2016. Graphic: U.S. DOT

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A new Transportation Department report shows trucks carried more U.S. freight by value with its North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico in May compared to the year before but declines in all other freight modes led to a 3.1% decrease in the dollar value of cross-border freight, totaling $89 billion.

May was also the 17th consecutive month that the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight declined from the same month of the previous year.

The value of commodities moving by truck increased 1.3% as the value of incoming freight from Mexico, up 6.2 %, and Canada, up 11.4% exceeded the 5.5% decrease in shipments from the U.S.

Of the top 10 commodities transported between the U.S. and other NAFTA countries by truck, fruits and nuts had the highest year-over year-increase, up 13.2 percent.

The value of freight carried on other modes; rail, pipeline and vessel all declined; due in large part to a drop in the dollar value of crude oil shipped by the latter two modes.

Trucks carried 66% of U.S.-NAFTA freight and continued to be the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $31.2 billion of the $47.9 billion in imports, 65.3%, and $28.1 billion of the $42 billion in exports, or 66.9%. Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.8% of all U.S.-NAFTA freight.

Freight Movement Value With Canada Declines

The value of U.S.-Canada freight flows fell 6% in May compared to a year earlier to $46 billion as all modes of transportation except truck carried a lower value of U.S.-Canada freight, due again to lower crude oil prices.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by all modes was vehicles and parts, of which $5.1 billion, or 55.2%, moved by truck and $3.9 billion, or 42.4%, moved by rail.

Trucks carried 61.1% of the value of the freight to and from Canada while rail carried 16.6%.

Freight Flows With Mexico Edge Slightly Higher

The value of U.S.-Mexico freight rose 0.1% in May versus May 2015, hitting $43.9 billion, as all modes of transportation except truck and rail carried a lower value of U.S.-Mexico freight than a year earlier. Freight carried by truck and rail each increased 2.3%.

Trucks carried 71.2% of the value of freight to and from Mexico while rail carried 15%.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by all modes in May 2016 was electrical machinery, of which $7.6 billion, or 91.6%, moved by truck.

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28 Jul by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Phillips Industries Taps Tom Begin as Tech Leader

Phillips Industries has appointed Thomas “Tom” Begin to fill the new role of director of innovation and emerging technologies, effective August 1.

In this new position, Begin will focus on launching new and innovative electrical and air brake technologies for heavy-duty trucks and trailers. Phillips said Begin's industry knowledge will lead the company “in finding inventive solutions that will advance the capabilities of both trucks and trailers to meet the demands of the future.”

Begin most recently was director of maintenance for McKinney Trailer Rental Sales and Service in Portland, Ore. He also spent over 20 years as an engineer with Daimler Trucks of North America at their Freightliner facility in Portland.

He chairs the AASE Committee and a past member of the Phillips Industries Fleet Council. Begin holds a B.A. in Mechanical Engineering from the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.

“We are so pleased to have someone with Tom's background and reputation join our company,” said Rob Phillips, president. “Tom is inspired and driven to leave a legacy of innovation on our industry, and with the professional engineering team that we have at Phillips, I have no doubt that he will be successful.”

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28 Jul by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Towing, hauling, off-roading in the 2017 Ford Super Duty

DENVER, CO. This week members of the press had the chance to haul 30,000-lb. loads (CDL holders only), test out driver safety features and 360-degree cameras, and do a little off-roading in Ford's All-New 2017 Super Duty. The new truck is the first new Super Duty since the 1999 model and features a new, light-weight aluminum alloy cab and box that saves up to 350 lbs., translating into payload savings for fleets. (All photos by Cristina Commendatore/Fleet Owner)

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28 Jul by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Earnings Watch: ODFL, Heartland, P.A.M. See Lower Earnings

Trucking companies in both the less-than-truckload and truckload sectors reported lower second quarter profits on Thursday morning due in part to the sluggish economy during the period as well as downward pressure on freight rates.

ODFL Sees First Revenue Drop in Years

Less-than-truckload carrier Old Dominion Freight line (NASDAQ: ODFL) announced its earnings fell while also reporting its first year-over-year decline in revenue since 2009.

Net income dropped 4.9% to $81.4 million, or 98 cents per share, compared to $85.6 million, or $1 per share, in the 2015 quarter for the North Carolina-based fleet.

The fall in revenue was only slight, 0.9%, hitting $755.4 million as operating income slid 5.3% to $133.4 million.

According to David S. Congdon, vice chairman and CEO, quarterly revenue was negatively affected by reductions in both fuel surcharges and non-LTL revenue. “These factors, combined with a domestic economy that remained sluggish, resulted in our first quarterly year-over-year decline in revenue since the fourth quarter of 2009.”

The second quarter results show an 0.8% increase in LTL revenue per hundredweight that was partially offset by a 0.3% decrease in LTL tonnage per day, according to the company. Excluding fuel surcharges, LTL revenue per hundredweight increased 2.7% during the second quarter as the pricing environment remained relatively stable.

“We have not changed our pricing philosophy or commitment to price discipline, but changes to our weight per shipment and mix of freight continue to impact our yield metrics,” he said.

Despite this, Congdon described ODFL's financial results for the second quarter as “solid, considering the challenging operating environment” and the company should not only be able to weather the current economic environment, but also has the capacity for future growth.

For the first half of the year, ODLF reported net income of $141.7 million, down 4.3% from a year earlier, while revenue inched higher by 0.3% to $1.46 billion.

Heartland Express Hit By Lower Freight Volume

Meantime, on the truckload side, Heartland Express Inc. (Nasdaq:HTLD) saw its profit fall to $16.4 million, or 20 cents per share, from $23.3 million, or 27 cents per share in the second quarter of last year.

Likewise, revenue declined to $160.8 million from $191.7 million for the Iowa-based fleet.

“Throughout the first half of 2016 we continued to experience downward pressure on freight rates due to the softness in freight volumes resulting from the available capacity in the industry,” said Michael Gerdin, CEO. “Typically, freight volumes improve during the second quarter as compared to the first three months of the year but that has not been our experience during 2016 as freight volumes didn't improve until mid-June.”

Heartland said operating revenues decreased 12.4% excluding fuel surcharge revenue, primarily due to lower miles driven due to softer freight volumes in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2015.

For the first six month months of 2016, the company recorded net income of $30.7 million, compared to $40.9 million in the same period of 2015 as earnings per share fell to 37 cents from 47 cents.

P.A.M Transportation Profit Lower Despite Higher Revenue

The results follow dry van carrier P.A.M. Transportation Services Inc. (NASDAQ:PTSI) reporting a steep decline in net income for the second quarter, totaling nearly $4 million, or 61 cents per share. That compares to $7.04 million or 94 cents per share in the 2015 second quarter.

The Arkansas company said the lower profit came as total revenue minus fuel surcharges increased 8.6% from a year ago to $98.9 million a year earlier, while fuel surcharge revenue fell 25.8% to $12.6 million. As a result, total revenue moved higher to $111.5 million from $108 million.

“During the second quarter of 2016, we continued to experience some weakness in the market for our services but were able to continue our positive trend of revenue growth,” said Daniel H. Cushman, president. “Our base revenue growth on a year-to-date basis is approximately 11% for our trucking division, resulting primarily from an increase in our overall fleet size and to growth in our dedicated and Mexico divisions.”

He noted fuel surcharge revenues continue to be lower on a year-over-year basis as fuel prices remained lower in 2016. “Our lower margins are not necessarily the result of less profitable freight selection but are primarily related to an increase in our normal operating costs, which cannot currently be passed on to customers, and to entry costs as we expand into new markets we wish to add to our service profile.”

Cushman also said the company saw in the second quarter tremendous downward rate pressure in the marketplace, which he said was both challenging but provided P.A.M with new opportunities.

“In the automotive sector, where we have a significant presence, we have seen shippers test the market for lower rates and have experienced rate drops as a result of new carriers entering that sector,” he said. “We knew that testing would also be happening in the retail and manufacturing sectors where there could be opportunities for us to gain market share.”

According to Cushman, as a result of the market tests, shippers in these sectors were also adding to their carrier base, which provided an opportunity for P.A.M. to gain entry. “The entry costs would come at a higher price due to increased driver costs, however, we wanted to maintain our current customer base and build around that base with more capacity. We believe this positions us for exponential improvement when the general freight market rebounds and capacity begins to tighten, but also provides us with the flexibility to downsize quickly should a freight recovery take longer than anticipated.”

During the first six months of this year, P.A.M. saw net income fall to $6.9 million from %12.4 million a year ago as revenue increased to $215.1 million from $207.5 million.

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28 Jul by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Mack Trucks debuts virtual reality

To help demonstrate the power and operating characteristics of its mDrive HD 13-speed automated manual transmission, Mack Trucks has introduced a virtual reality experience using headgear, Google Cardboard or a smartphone.

When using the virtual reality component, users will see what it's like to sit in the cab while on the jobsite.

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28 Jul by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Ford ups its towing power

New 2017 F-450 Super Duty has increased torque, enhanced driveline and powertrain, and can tow up to 30,000 lbs.

DENVER, CO. The traffic light turned green as Ford's 2017 F-450 Super Duty approached an 8% downhill grade on one of Colorado's canyon roads. The truck, which was towing a 29,900 trailer filled with paving stone and cinder blocks, began to pick up speed until the driver lifted his foot off the gas and gently tapped the brakes. The truck came to a smooth, quiet stop, and Ford powertrain engineer Scott Paddy credited the truck's new brake enhancements.

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