Overdrive Extra

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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Dollars & Sense: Do you know your destination?

What if you pick up a load and, as you are scanning the bill of lading, you realize that it tells you exactly what's in the trailer but there...

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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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Following the billions

  You’ve heard reports about the diverse types of projects that the federal bailouts are funding, in some cases how few jobs they will create, and how some of the expenditures are scheduled to take place years after the economy is likely to have rebounded.   Two websites can help you track this fiscal free-for-all. They’re both called “Stimulus Watch,” but are quite different.   The most publicized one is Stimulus Watch, which lists many proposed projects that could become ...

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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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Planets aligning

Owner-operator Zak Hargraves, after a note pointing to a Thursday piece on emWired/em magazine's site about a certain milk hauler's biogas-powered trucks, has this blogger contemplating the cosmos for signs of a strange alignment. Seems that, the day I was posting about the tech magazine's a href="http://channel19.blogspot.com/2009/02/lonestar-gets-wired.html"piece on the new International Lonestar/a, emWired/em was running with a story about the same subject I'd written on the day before -- a href="http://channel19.blogspot.com/2009/02/trucks-running-on-runs.html"dairy farmer Rob Hilarides two ...

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The Loading Dock canceled

The Road Dog Trucking Radio Network, the newly combined Sirius Channel 147 and XM Channel 171, comes with an unfortunate cancellation -- the long-running Loading Dock show with Mark Willis, one many of us here at a href="http://www.overdrivedigital.com/"Overdrive/a and a href="http://www.truckersnews.com/"Truckers News /aHQ (a href="http://channel19.blogspot.com/2008/12/breaker-breaker.html"including this blogger/a) participated in over past months and years, will no longer lead Sirius 147's lineup in the A.M. With the Sirius and XM merger, consolidation of programming seems to ...

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