Archive for December, 2009

Trucking Companies Going Broke?

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Trucking services are being closed down. Arrow Trucking of Tulsa, OK has stopped its operations leaving quite a number of its truckers stranded all over the United States. A Maine trucking company is also closing and 100 jobs are lost. Carlen Transport is closing down because of the recession and according to Lenny Peters, its owner; it is no longer possible to keep the transport company going. The company has been fighting hard to tough it out but according to Peters, they were losing too much money.

The flatbed trucking company based in Maine has been hit hard by the current economic crisis and this is something that the lot of the US has been seeing the past few weeks.

An Atlanta based vehicle transport company also notified authorities of its mass layoff this 2010. Yet another 100 jobs will be lost because of Allied Systems Holdings Ltd.’s imminent shut down.

Meanwhile in Crestwood Industrial Park, Cardinal Logistics Management Corporation has sent a notification that it will be closing in early 2010 and will have to lay off over 50 people. The business is set to shut down because of an unexpected termination of contract that contributes to the company’s business. The notice was sent to the State of Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry just last week.

The economy sure is hitting the trucking industry quite hard and this is not good news to many truckers, even those who still have their jobs for fear that the trucking companies they work for might shut down as well.

Bulk Trucking in Argentina

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Bulk trucking services are definitely in demand in Argentina as the country possesses an emerging economy. The country obtains economic benefits from different sources such as their agriculture sector, diversified industrial base along with rich natural resources. Agriculture is huge in Argentina as the place has rich lands and generally a temperate climate to support the growth of vegetation and crops. They have become one of the largest agricultural producers in the world, and bulk trucking companies regularly ship corn, soybeans, honey, sunflower seeds and wheat. Dairy products, along with beef, wool and leather are also commonly transported as they are also considered major exports of Argentina.

Dry bulk trucking services are often needed for the collection and delivery of various types of fresh vegetables and fruits like pears, apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries. In the northwest part of the country, commodities like tobacco, cotton, chile peppers, olive and garlic are usually transported for export purposes. Wine is the commonly shipped item in Mendoza and San Juan as they have become the largest wine regions in the country. Annually, fisheries are always up for a million of tons of catch, so trucking companies are always called for the shipping of pollacks, squids and centolla crabs.

Important oil fields also lie in some areas of Argentina, and natural gas along with oil and petroleum products are commonly transported and distributed in all regions. Even mining has become a growing industry and gold, silver, copper, zinc, magnesium and uranium are common resources that are usually shipped.

Other leading sectors in Argentina include medicine and research, automotives, farming, food processing and manufacturing. That is why, both dry and liquid bulk trucking services are required to take and send out chemicals , pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles and auto parts, farming equipment, iron and aluminum plus industrial machineries and home appliances to all manufacturing centers and companies. In this way, trucking services increase the efficiency, convenience and productivity of such important economic industries.

Will “Green” Freight Work?

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

According to the railroad industry, converting more of the world’s freight from truck transport to rail will lower greenhouse gas emissions, thereby saving the planet, and it will save customers’ money on shipping expenses by consolidating freight. And it some instances that is true.

But a recent study by Freight Transport Research Associates (FTR) claims that may not be true in all cases. Certainly trains can move more cargo than trucks, saving diesel fuel. But trains can’t reach into all areas that trucks can reach. Currently almost all freight that travels by rail is trucked from its origin to a train and is then transferred back to trucks for the trip to its final destination. It simply isn’t feasible for railroads to travel every route that trucks follow. Imagine railroad tracks following every current roadway. That wouldn’t be a pretty sight, would it? And imagine the traffic delays that would follow such a change. Any savings in diesel for transporting goods would be destroyed by the cost in fuel used by more idling cars waiting at more railroad crossings.

While railroads can certainly carry more goods for less money today, the trucking industry is working at catching up. Advances in aerodynamics, trailer design, engine efficiency, and tire design will eventually bring trucks close to the tons-per-gallon capacity that trains can handle.

Railroads are definitely an important part of the freight transportation equation. For long-distance moves, railroads are faster and less expensive. For items like raw agricultural products, trains with their multiple linked cars can handle larger, higher density loads.

Any truly green transportation system will take advantage of all available options.

Final Last Chance for YRC?

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

YRC is making what should be one last extension of its debt-for-equity swap offer through midnight tonight. The key block of convertible bonds that needs 95% approval is at 81%, only 1% up from yesterday’s report.

The Teamsters are on a PR offensive, targeting banks and hedge funds that they believe are holdouts on the swap offer. All three of the banks listed in the Wall Street Journal piece are based outside the US. Barclays is British, UBS is Swiss and Toronto Dominion is of course Canadian; thus, they are largely immune from any pressure that the US government could bring to bear. Such protests may be too little too late and may be designed to cast the Teamsters as the victim of greedy hedge funds and foreign banks, possibly setting the script for Michael Moore’s next movie.

New Years Eve brings a $19 million interest payment that YRC seems unable to make. Tomorrow may be a major day for freight carriers nationwide, as it would be likely that YRC would file for bankruptcy if they can’t make their interest payment.

A silver lining to this is that this comes over a long holiday weekend where there will be a minimum of freight on the move. That will allow YRC to wind down operations in an organized manner.

One thing that has yet to be mentioned in the coverage of YRC is whether the federal government might step in to cushion the fall. It doesn’t seem likely, but some sort of Washington action to avoid an Arrow-like debacle on a huge scale might be under consideration.

Making a Better Transportation Network

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Trucking transport firms and owner operator trucking on the transportation network of Manitoba, Canada can sleep better knowing that the Manitoba Department of Transportation is at work doing repairs and upgrades to the transportation routes of Manitoba. The department of transportation plans to make another record investment in the transportation infrastructure of Manitoba in 2010. The cost of keeping the roadways of Manitoba in shape for 2010 will rise to $370 million in the beginning phases, but the ministry expects the total spent will rise throughout the year, but hasn’t given a firm number on how much they expect to spend during the 2010 road construction period. They did announce that road construction would be heavy in 2010 ahead of time, which does give the road construction industry time to prepare.
The timing of the beginning the Manitoba Highway Renewal Plan couldn’t have been better as it coincided with the just before the start of the current world wide economic crisis that has affected all industries. The money earmarked for the plan has worked beautifully with federal stimulus initiatives to keep the ball rolling since 2007. This investment by both the provincial and federal governments in the infrastructure of Manitoba has put as many as 11,000 Canadians to work.
The federal government has also pledged billions of dollars for improving and enhancing the infrastructure of Manitoba in the next decade. This combined with the Manitoba Highway Renewal Plan should be able to keep the transportation roadways of Manitoba in shape for the future and help to make them as safe as possible.

Amendments to Highway Act

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Transport trucking drivers operating on the transportation roadways of Manitoba will need to apply the brakes and wait patiently for a safe chance to pass tow trucks and roadside assistance once amendments to the Manitoba Highway Traffic Act introduced by Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton come into law. The new amendments would also require owner operator trucking to treat all government enforcement officers with the red lights on there vehicle flashing, like conservation officers and transport enforcement officers, the same when they’re trying to pass them on the highway.
There haven’t been any reports of problems with vehicles on the roads of Manitoba not respecting emergency vehicles trying to get from point A to point B. The reasons for the changes are therefore difficult to figure, but there must be a reason why they would make amendments like this.
The message of the changes does seem to be that motorists carrying trucking loads need to error on the side of caution when behind an emergency vehicle and respect the lives of people trying to do important jobs. The job of emergency workers is difficult enough without them becoming one of the people they’re trying to save due to the aggressive driving behavior of someone traveling on the roads.
The amendments to the Manitoba Highway Traffic Act also mean that on highways with more than one lane drivers are required to keep one lane between them and emergency vehicles with flashing lights, whenever possible.
Motorists caught ignoring the new amendments will be fined $278 for their transgressions.

Rates to get even lower for LTL

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Shipping companies have been hurt during the recent recession just like any other business. While there is an expected increase to come in the early parts of 2010 in many aspects of shipping, there is one in which the decreases are expected to continue. It would seem that if you are interested in saving money you can make a killing by shipping less than a full truckload (and just shipping often).

LTL trucking companies are expected to take their already low rates and make them even lower in the near future. With business becoming harder to find due to economic concerns everywhere, LTL carriers are being forced to cut their rates even further in order to stay in business.

This pricing philosophy of dropping LTL freight rates even lower has proven to benefit some companies. Con-way is operating at nearly full capacity while there are others such as Old Dominion Freight Line are not so lucky. Freight rates are already around 5-15% lower than they were a year ago. Some freight shipping companies have LTL freight rates already discounted by 85%.

How some of the freight shipping companies like Con-way operate at such cut rate prices is a mystery to some. An executive for Old Dominion Freight Line, Earl Congdon, has commented on how operating at those rates is below cost, making running at full utilization not economically sound; the cost would be way too high.

“Those carriers,” he said of competitors pricing at or below cost, “are not going to be able to operate with the prices they’ve been quoting.”

One Last Extension for YRC Debt Swap

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

YRC hasn’t quite got enough support from its bondholders to do its debt-for-equity swap, and is extending its deadline for completion of the swap to next Monday, December 28th. D-Day is New Year’s Eve, when a big bond interest payment is due. That’s only a week from now.

Yesterday’s Arrow Trucking closure, leaving truckers left out in the cold two days before Christmas, might be a foretaste of what might happen with YRC; a nice story from today had Schneider volunteering to give Arrow drivers a ride towards home. YRC should take note of how not to do things, but they may have nearly as abrupt a crash, for they will strive to make things look at normal as possible in hope of turning things around before pulling the plug.

If you have YRC as one of your LTL shippers, you might be advised to find alternative shipping after the 28th, for your loads might get caught up in any shutdown that might come. Folks like Momentum Freight and Transport are in position to pick up the slack, as are other LTL carriers, but taking all of Yellow and Roadway’s business will be a challenge.

In the short-term, a YRC Chapter 7 will be good for the industry, as they’ll be off the market while they go through liquidation and freight prices will go up. However, the long term will also see all those YRC trucks and truckers looking for a place to light in the industry; that will depress wages in the trucking industry, lower the price of used trucks and possibly encourage new owner-operators to enter the market.

That’s likely why the Teamsters are steamed and are looking for a good scapegoat; they are after the credit-default swap market and are asking for a federal and state investigation. Bondholders with default insurance may want to see YRC go down and get 100% on the dollar.

Arrow Trucking Stops, Stranding Truckers

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Arrow Trucking abruptly closed today, sending home its workers this morning. Its truckers were in a difficult spot, where the Arrow gas cards stopped working; the workers were instructed to take any Freightliners and Kenworths they had to the nearest dealer and get a bus ride home via Frieghtliner’s Daimler parent; drivers with Navistar trucks had to call in for instructions. Why the truckers have to call Daimler for a ride home is interesting in itself.

YRC was complaining about a lack of liquidity, but Arrow had the near ultimate of liquidity problems when their paychecks started to bounce.

It is increasingly common for firms to go right up to the end before letting workers know things are going to close. I recall one Don Pablo’s restaurant closure in Lexington where the store closed as normal on Sunday night and had workers show up on Monday morning to have a note on the door telling them where to pick up their final paycheck; that is often done to keep workers from bailing out on the firm if they tell them they have a few weeks before closing. However, that doesn’t leave people stranded thousands of miles away from home on Christmas week.

Arrow, with 4000 vehicles, is the largest trucking closure this year. Many small firms have went under in the last few years, but this is one of the larger casualties. This is a good case of how not to close down a firm, something YRC can take a lesson from if and when they have to go Chapter 7 early next year.

Bulk Trucking to and from Hawaii

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Bulk trucking and transport requires a big deal of research before actually going into the process. If you are in need of shipping items through long distances in Hawaii, you may possible need the services offered by dry and liquid bulk trucking companies. They are prepared with equipment that is fit for trucking a wide selection of products like food and chemicals. However, there are many bulk trucking companies to choose from so you have to ask several questions in order to determine which company best suits your needs.

Find out the number of years that the company has been doing their business. Dry and liquid bulk trucking must have multiple equipment including trucks, tanks, hose assemblies, vents, valves, manholes, couplers, gaskets, fittings, seals, and many other parts. Companies that have been in the trucking business for several years normally have more of this required equipment compared to those that have only started. Some of the trucking companies in Hawaii are family-owned and operated so most of these businesses have been passed down for decades. However, you also have the option of other bulk trucking companies that service the whole United States so do not omit that choice.

The first thing to ask bulk trucking companies is whether they are affiliated with other companies or organizations. Asking them for references is a smart move too. Often, these are great ways to find out if they can do a good job for you.
You should also ask bulk trucking companies if they are able to provide written quotes for all their services. The vehicle and equipment type might affect the total price, and so will the distance that needs to be covered to ship your items. Knowing such estimates will be of great help to you in comparing the rates provided by different companies. Bulk trucking companies usually generate costs from $40.99 for every 24 hours of usage, depending on the services and equipment involved in the whole delivery. This quote however changes from company to company so be sure to do your research in comparing prices.
Finally, looking for good customer services is also a must. Whenever you ask these companies’ reps questions, make sure to pay attention to the courtesy level that they use when giving their answers to you. This will very much help you in finding out how much they really value their customers.