freight

Hurray for homebuilding, retail and manufacturing

  Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press this week notes that five key economic areas show potential early signs of a turnaround, in spite of continuing signs of worsening problems.   Three of the five directly impact trucking: new homes, retail sales and durable goods. Each also was accompanied with a “reality check” reminding readers of the ongoing bad news, of which there is no shortage. The other two areas were existing home sales and Wall Street.   Looking ...

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Schneider raises the bar on applicants

 Schneider National is taking a variety of measures, some different than their competitors’, to cope with the downturn. Last week at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., the VP for driver recruiting, Michael Hinz, reviewed Schneider's latest developments with me and Linda Longton, the editorial chief for all our magazines here at Randall Reilly Publishing. One big change is closing the door on inexperienced drivers, Hinz said. Unless you have six months’ fairly recent driving ...

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Economic news not all bad

Following are items that came our way in the last several days. Hey, it’s not all gloom and doom. Of the four, two anticipate positive change in trucking:   The current glut of trucking capacity won’t last too long, says Chief Economist Bob Costello of the American Trucking Associations. He notes that thousands of fleets have gone belly-up, those truckload carriers that are surviving have been downsizing for a few years, and the driver shortage will return ...

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Bright spots few and far between

  There’s plenty of bad news from the economy-watchers at the Institute of Supply Management. As the headline for the February roundup of manufacturing stats says: “New Orders, Production, Employment and Inventories Contracting.”   No surprise there. So for what it’s worth, here are a few shiny needles among the haystack:   Factory output is still shrinking, but not as fast as in January. “ISM's Production Index registered 36.3 percent in February, which is an increase of 4.2 ...

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For the newly jobless, driving never looked so good

Recent trucking news has reported the reversal of the driver shortage, which had appeared to be, as Jesus said of the poor, with us forever. Friday’s Wall Street Journal highlights how the competition for drivers is worse than ever partly because of people recently unemployed from car plants or construction and desperate for a paycheck.   At Prime Inc., even white collar workers are knocking on the door, a recruiting director told the Journal. The company ...

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When boxcars come to stay

Railroads were advertising a lot during last year’s period of rising fuel prices, touting their good cost-per-mile for moving a ton of commodities. Lest you think the super-heavy-duty engines are stealing your livelihood, consider this anecdotal evidence from the Wall Street Journal: Boxcars used to be a “fleeting sight” in the town of New Castle, Ind. For the past year, though, 100-plus yellow boxcars have been parked in the middle of town. The line stretches for ...

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For retail sales, a tiny reversal

The latest bit of bright news is Friday’s report that retail sales rose 1 percent in January over December. The Wall Street Journal says economists attribute the blip – following six consecutive months of falling retail sales – “to discounting and easier automobile-financing terms in January. Sales of cars, electronics and clothes all were up. Year-over-year, January retail sales decreased 9.7%.” For a dose of reality, the weekly roundup from Bob Costello, chief economist at the ...

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Next on Obama’s plate: Mexico

President Obama has made much of reversing his predecessor’s decisions, and the next big enchilada could be cross-border trucking. News reports indicate the pilot program with Mexico is part of the Department of Transportation's appropriations bill, which the Senate will be discussing this week. Reports David Hendricks of the Houston Chronicle: “The talk on the streets of Washington is about how the Obama administration treats cross-border trucking will be a litmus test on bilateral relations with ...

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Offering more than the other guy

Overdrive’s 2007 Trucker of the Year, two-truck fleet owner Henry Albert, knows that other independents, as well as bigger fleets, can do what he does. And in the current environment, ranking behind the competition isn’t a good idea.   “The amount of freight available is falling away at the same rate as trucking companies,” said Albert, who this week stopped for a breakfast at the T/A on I-59/20 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where Overdrive is based. Senior ...

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Will haul crutches for food

One wee bit of good news from the Institute for Supply Management today: The service sector is shrinking slower than it was in December. "The NMI (Non-Manufacturing Index) registered 42.9 percent in January, 2.8 percentage points higher than the seasonally adjusted 40.1 percent registered in December, indicating contraction in the non-manufacturing sector for the fourth consecutive month, but at a slightly slower rate,” reports ISM. Even better news is for those tied to two sectors: Health ...

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