Gauges – September 2009
National average: $2.63
Average U.S. diesel prices rose for the fourth consecutive week in mid-August, to $2.63 a gallon. The price was $1.73 lower than it was the same time in 2008.
While fuel prices rose slightly during the second quarter this year, income increased in the dry van and flatbed segments. Variable costs across all segments, not shown below, increased slightly more than 11.5 percent from the first to second quarter of this year for clients of Denver-based business services provider ATBS.
Cargo thefts jump
Cargo thefts, especially cell phone heists, rose sharply in the first half of 2009 compared with the same period of 2008, according to FreightWatch USA of Austin, Texas. Full truckload pharmaceutical theft rates were down nearly 50 percent during the first half of 2009 compared to last year, but the total value of lost pharmaceuticals has skyrocketed, FreightWatch analysts say. Of eight commodities tracked, only alcohol and building material thefts declined.
The number and value of freight shipments in trucking and other modes have increased slightly since spring, according to Cass Information Systems.
Rates remained level across all segments during June and July, a stabilization that Internet Truckstop analyst Joel McGinley attributes to a seasonal increase in demand: a shipping rush at the end of the second quarter. The monthly averages provided by Internet Truckstop include fuel surcharges.
Trucking’s freight share to grow
The American Trucking Associations predicts trucking’s share of the freight pool will remain dominate during the next decade. The projection is reported in ATA’s recent U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2018, produced by Global Insight.
The forecast says trucking’s total tonnage share will inch upward to 70 percent by 2018 from 69 percent in 2006. Above-average growth in key truck commodities and trucking’s inherent flexibility and on-time delivery will remain strong.
Rail intermodal and air freight will carry more freight, although neither mode will have more than 2 percent of the total tonnage market by 2018, the report states. Ship and pipeline modes also will make strong gains.
Currently, trucking has been in a slump. ATA’s Truck Tonnage Index slid 0.3 percent in October from the previous month, to a level 2.2 percent lower than in the same period in 2006. ATA says 2007 could mark the largest annual drop since a 5.2 percent reduction in 2000.