NTSB investigating fatal crash with anhydrous ammonia spill | Spot rates update

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023:

Five killed, more injured after tanker crash

NTSB investigator inspecting anhydrous ammonia tankerIn B-roll footage posted by the NTSB of its investigation, an investigator is shown inspecting the hole left in an anhydrous ammonia tanker after a Sept. 29 crash.NTSBThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Illinois State Police (ISP) and other agencies are investigating a crash that occurred Friday evening, Sept. 29, in Teutopolis, Illinois, in which a tanker truck hauling approximately 7,500 gallons of anhydrous ammonia overturned, and was punctured.

The crash resulted in five fatalities and multiple injuries, ISP said. According to local news reports, the five victims died from exposure to the ammonia. Residents in the area of the crash were also evacuated. According to NTSB board member Tom Chapman, it’s believed about half of the tanker’s load leaked out as a result of the crash.

In an Oct. 1 press briefing, Chapman said the truck was traveling westbound on U.S. 40 when another vehicle, possibly involved in a passing maneuver near the truck, caused the truck to swerve to the right. The truck then departed the roadway and rolled over.

The truck jackknifed, exposing the head end of the tanker, which collided with the tow hitch of a small utility trailer legally parked off the side of the road. This left about a 6-inch hole in the tank, resulting in the anhydrous ammonia being released.

The full details surrounding the crash are still under investigation. NTSB expects to have a preliminary report prepared in the next 30 days.

Chapman said NTSB is interested in issues related to cargo tank's crash-worthiness, hazmat routing, and the operations of the motor carrier involved -- Prairieland Transport, out of Brownstown, Illinois.

ISP was also seeking information related to the crash.

“The initial investigation showed at approximately 8:35 p.m., a dark colored vehicle (unknown make/model) potentially involved in the incident traveling westbound through the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Spring Creek Road in Montrose, Illinois," ISP said in a press release. "The investigation determined the vehicle continued traveling Westbound through Teutopolis on U.S. Highway 40 and would have passed the semi-truck tanker.” 

DAT's spot-market skinny after last week 

After a 10% decline the previous week, load posts rebounded to close out September as shippers scrambled to get moves on the books before the end of the third quarter, a long-typical pattern for end-of-quarter freight. The total number of loads posted to the DAT One network increased by 9.9% to 1.37 million last week. That’s 39% lower year over year and 17% lower than the same week in 2019. Four-week average: 1.32 million.

UP: Van loads: 721,374, up 13.9% compared to the previous week. Down 31% year over year. 
UP:  Reefer loads: 257,629, up 3.8% week over week. 53% lower year over year.
UP: Flatbed loads: 395,908, up 7.1% week over week. 41% lower year over year.

Demand metrics overall improved, too, as truck posts fell by 8.3% week over week The total number of trucks posted to DAT One fell 8.3% to 358,066 last week. That’s down 17% year over year. Four-week average: 363,325.

DOWN: Van equipment: 253,234, down 7.3% compared to the previous week. Down 19% year over year.
DOWN: Reefer equipment: 73,816, down 11.6% week over week and 14% lower year over year.
DOWN: Flatbed equipment: 49,016, down 7.9%. Down 9% year over year.

DAT benchmark spot line-haul rates held more or less firm through it all. Van rates were largely stagnant last week.

UP: Van rate: $1.57 net fuel, up 1 cent. Broker-to-carrier rate (including fuel): $2.13 per mile
DOWN: Reefer rate: $1.88 net fuel, down 2 cents. Broker-to-carrier rate: $2.49 per mile
UP: Flatbed rate: $1.88 net fuel, up 3 cents. Broker-to-carrier rate: $2.54 per mile

[Related: Diesel prices dip after 3 months of steady increases, spot rates flat to slightly down

Diesel Technology Forum rebrands as Engine Technology Forum

The Board of Directors of the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) announced that, effective Oct. 2, the DTF has evolved into the Engine Technology Forum (ETF).

Building off of two-plus decades of success around the transformation of diesel technology, the scope, mission and vision of the organization have expanded, ETF said. The change recognizes opportunities and challenges for diesel, as well as other internal combustion engines, and fuels in powering key sectors of the global economy while contributing to reduced greenhouse gases and other emissions. 

“Internal combustion engines (ICE) like diesel, gasoline and natural gas are the fundamental power behind our economy and mobility,” said ETF Executive Director Allen Schaeffer. “Continued innovations in efficiency, lower emissions, new engine designs, and new fuels offer tremendous promise for the future of ICE technology and helping meet our societal goals.”

ETF said it will work with all stakeholders, including government, industry, environmental, and community groups, to seek ways to reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions. ETF’s work will encompass freight transport, agriculture, construction, mining, as well as other industrial and commercial applications.

“There are many pathways to a reduced carbon future, and we should embrace all of them,” Shaeffer added. 

ETF’s members represent all aspects of internal combustion engine industry including engine, vehicle, and equipment manufacturers, emissions control and other component suppliers, as well as petroleum, renewable fuel producers, specialty chemical companies along with their allied organizations.

The organization aims to raise awareness that internal combustion engines, vehicles, equipment, and technology using renewable and other fuels are valued options that can contribute to decarbonizing key sectors of the economy.  

Brokerage acquires 80-truck fleet

Third-party logistics provider (3PL) FST Logistics, based in Dublin, Ohio, has acquired 80-truck for-hire carrier Hyway Trucking, based in Findlay, Ohio.

By integrating Hyway Trucking's operations, FST Logistics extends its reach and strengthens its transportation and logistics industry presence while also diversifying the company by broadening its customer base and offering extended services through dry and full-truckload assets.

"FST Logistics proudly welcomes Hyway Trucking and its valued customers to our family. As a 100% employee-owned company, we are committed to delivering excellence to our customers and vendors, community and shareholders," said Matt Hartman, Chairman and CEO of FST Logistics. “With the addition of Hyway Trucking and its asset-based truckload model, we are now uniquely positioned to offer unparalleled transportation and logistics full-service solutions to our customers, ensuring our ongoing commitment to the success of FST."

[Related: J.B. Hunt to acquire BNSF's brokerage business]