— Jill Dunn
FREIGHT as measured by TransCore’s North American Freight Index climbed 47 percent in August from a year ago, marking the eighth consecutive month that spot market freight availability reached an all-time same-month high. Spot market freight volume increased 4.5 percent in August over July. Despite the increase in spot market demand, truckload freight rates, excluding fuel surcharges, remained relatively stable in August.
TRANSCORE’S Carrier Benchmark Survey reveals that in 2011 to date, carrier monthly revenue on average was $1,607 higher per truck than in 2010, a 10 percent increase reflecting a 10 percent gain in per-mile rates. The survey also found for-hire carriers who used load boards for 30 percent to 60 percent of their loads saw monthly revenues rise by an additional $1,378, or 7.7 percent, per truck compared with 2010.
TRUCKING HIRED 2,600 new payroll employees in September, according to preliminary numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compared with September 2010, trucking employment is up by 3.4 percent. The number of trucking jobs — 1.28 million — remains nearly 169,000 below peak employment in January 2007.
Icahn buys 9.8% of Navistar
Investor Carl Icahn’s purchase of 9.8 percent of Navistar International shares last month sparked market speculation, especially after buying 9.5 percent of truck maker Oshkosh in June.
Icahn, estimated by Forbes magazine at a net worth of $13 billion, bought both stocks because of undervalued shares. He discussed adding board nominees for consideration at Navistar’s 2012 stockholders’ meeting, but an understanding had not been reached, Icahn stated in Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
On Oct. 17, the commercial truck and bus maker extended its nominating deadline from Oct. 18 to Nov. 15.
Stock market observers also wonder if the 75-year-old New Yorker hopes to merge the two truck makers, but has not publicly indicated plans. Icahn has criticized many corporate boards as ineffective and is a zealous advocate of stockholders’ active monitoring of investments.
Still, he retreated from attempting to install himself and 10 other nominees to Clorox’s board last month, where with 9.5 percent of shares, Ichan is the largest stockholder.
Icahn leadership includes serving as the long-time chairman of American Railcar Industries and since 2008, the non-executive chairman of Federal-Mogul, an international global automotive supplier.
He described his principal occupation as heading Icahn Capital LP, a wholly owned subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises, a diversified holding company for businesses ranging from real estate to consumer goods.