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Friday Short Haul - JB Hunt's Wreaths Across America, Plus.ai butter run, states look for zero emissions 12/13/2019 Carriers muster to pick up Celadon drivers, employees 12/11/2019 Will Amazon's pay-per-day plan influence the industry? 11/27/2019 Freight volume and rates downturn turns into a 'bloodbath' 11/25/2019 Friday Short Haul - Independent contractors getting booted out of CA, winter weather resources, ransomware attack 11/22/2019 Knowing when to say goodbye to an unprofitable shipper 11/20/2019 Schneider donates trucks; Congress considers women-driver-friendly bill 11/18/2019 Friday Short Haul - CTA files lawsuit against California, Highway Hero nominations sought, video of "Move Over" crash 11/15/2019 Tesla announces new electric Semi model 11/13/2019 Not everyone happy with potential FMCSA clearinghouse delay 11/11/2019 Friday Short Haul - AI taking driving jobs, CRV scam, Truckers protest AB-5, ELDs quit working 11/8/2019 Investigators cracking down on truck accident fraudulent lawsuits 11/6/2019 So you want to start your own trucking company? 11/4/2019 Friday Short Haul - FMCSA emergency exemptions, snow plows, FedEx employee bribery charges 11/1/2019 Human smuggling via big rigs on the increase 10/30/2019 Carriers, drivers look at ways to deal with California's AB-5 10/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - Millennials and trucking, Truckers Christmas Group, Navistar settlement 10/25/2019 Too many drivers still don't know to "Move Over" 10/23/2019 Are trucker strikes a thing of the past? 10/21/2019 Friday Short Haul - Passenger car drivers, spotted lanternfly, women drivers 10/18/2019 OOIDA makes final push for better HOS rules 10/16/2019 Car-truck crash fatalities continue to increase 10/14/2019 Friday Short Haul - Amazon's fleet of day cabs, legislator's disclosure, WTA petition 10/11/2019 ATA chief takes on truck-accident lawyers 10/9/2019 Lonely on the road? Get a furry friend 10/7/2019 Friday Short Haul - Lab-grown meat, fraudulent freight brokering, FMCSA HOS committee, FMCSA Clearinghouse 10/4/2019 UPS takes giant leap in its drone delivery program 10/2/2019 Female drivers are safer bet for trucking companies 9/30/2019 Friday Short Haul - Embark gets financing, FMCSA announces safety grants, Covenant exits Mexico routes, and trucking statistics 9/27/2019 Emissions standards battle heats up between the EPA and California 9/25/2019 Smog checks in the future for California truck drivers 9/23/2019 Friday Short Haul - Volvo Dynamic Steering, Meals for 18 Wheels, speeding crackdown, OOIDA opposes legislation 9/20/2019 Telematics could be insurance-premium-saving boon for fleets 9/18/2019 54 percent of survey respondents still not impressed with telematics technology 9/16/2019 Friday Short Haul - Walmart video, it's churn, not shortage, California's independent contractor bill, hemp drivers plea 9/13/2019 TCA honors three Highway Angels 9/11/2019 Now they're talking about "smart" trailers 9/9/2019 Friday Short Haul - Detention-time comments, truck orders decline, diesel fuel shortage 9/6/2019 Berkeley study says reducing independent truckers can alleviate climate change 9/4/2019 Clearing up concerns about the drug and alcohol clearinghouse 9/2/2019 Friday Short Haul - Hurricane Dorian, Speed limiter bill, Thank a Driver campaign 8/30/2019 Georgia jury awards $280 million for truck-driver-caused multi-fatality 8/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - New eCascadias, Top cities for truck driver jobs, Push against driverless trucks 8/23/2019 Decision on California drivers' employee/contractor status coming down to the wire 8/21/2019 UPS jumps on autonomous bandwagon with TuSimple investment 8/19/2019 FMCSA publishes proposed HOS rule changes 8/16/2019 Fleets, drivers coming to like automated manual transmissions 8/14/2019 CVSA asks for new truck crash study 8/12/2019 Friday Short Haul - HOS revisions delayed, AEB mandate proposed, Koch sued for sex discrimination 8/9/2019 Kodiak Robotics takes lead in autonomous truck industry race 8/7/2019 New York City combats rash of cyclist/truck clashes 8/5/2019 Friday Short Haul - CRST wins lawsuit, OOIDA opposes insurance hike, UPSNav 8/2/2019 Mechanics shortage equals driver shortage in intensity 7/31/2019 DOT announces almost 1$ billion in grants to fix infrastructure 7/29/2019 Friday Short Haul - DOL on sleeper pay, UPS drone delivery, Geowiz ELDs 7/26/2019 FMCSA takes a look at assault, harassment of female and minority drivers 7/24/2019 It's hot out there, what's a trucker to do? Can't idle. 7/22/2019 Friday Short Haul - Utah truck rollovers, aging truckers, lifetime CDL bans 7/19/2019 Truck-mounted LED billboards coming under fire 7/17/2019 Trucker 'drones on' with unique approach to teaching driving skills 7/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status 7/12/2019 ELD mandate deadline looming, many still not compliant 7/10/2019 New "boot" device being deployed to threaten Walmart overnighters 7/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Prime Inc vs Amazon, mother fights HOS changes, truck drivers appreciation week 7/5/2019 Proper way to fly the American flag on your truck this Fourth of July 7/3/2019 Roundabouts are becoming popular; but are they best for trucks? 7/1/2019 Friday Short Haul - Skills test proposal, driver shortage, hemp sentencing, driverless trucks 6/28/2019 Experts warn of active wildland fire season 6/26/2019 More states signing on to enlist truckers against human trafficking 6/24/2019 Friday Short Haul - Shippers of Choice, insurance rates, wheel spikes, WIT award 6/21/2019 Freight numbers not holding up to 2018's highs 6/19/2019 Truck safety group urges purges of drug abuse drivers 6/17/2019 Friday Short Haul - Self-driving certificate, truck platooning, trade war stacking up cargo 6/14/2019 HOS waiver coming soon for fireworks haulers 6/12/2019 FMCSA takes a further look at detention time 6/10/2019 Friday Short Haul - Autonomous delivery, HOS rules changes, CDL retest 6/7/2019 Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week 6/5/2019 Hemp arrest prompts USDA memo 6/3/2019 Friday Short Haul - Waymo big rigs, Move over sting, Under-21 comments 5/31/2019 Severe weather prompts renewed emergency declaration 5/29/2019 Memorial Day holiday is prime time for cargo thefts 5/25/2019 Friday Short Haul - Hauling hemp, road rage fatality, new rules for autonomous vehicles 5/24/2019 Autonomous trucks on USPS test run 5/22/2019 Future era of cab-less trucks will be the end of HOS rules 5/20/2019 Friday Short Haul - FMCSA under-21 comments, Tesla autonomous car crash, 24,000 drivers sign contract with YRC 5/17/2019 Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA 5/15/2019 Trucker Buddy program matches drivers with a classroom; everyone wins 5/13/2019 Friday Short Haul - Driver awarded $80 million, ODFL driver wins, loading dock black hole 5/10/2019 Storm breaks out from Rockies, slams into Midwest, South 5/8/2019 Capacity issues have shippers looking at private fleets 5/6/2019 Friday Short Haul - HOS rules, dark skies, Falcon drivers 5/3/2019 'Bug' permits now required for four eastern states 5/1/2019 Simulator use is catching on for schools, carriers 4/29/2019 Friday Short Haul - Thinking electric, Penske opens charging station, border crossing crisis, railroads taking trucking business 4/26/2019 ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for 4/24/2019 Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks 4/22/2019 Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings 4/19/2019 Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels 4/17/2019 Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business 4/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise 4/12/2019 Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need 4/10/2019 Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border 4/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules 4/5/2019 Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates 4/3/2019 Don't get scammed by skimmers 4/1/2019 Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking 3/29/2019 Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers 3/27/2019 Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy 3/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap 3/22/2019 Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising 3/20/2019 FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website 3/18/2019 Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award 3/15/2019 The hidden danger of looking but not seeing 3/13/2019 Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout 3/11/2019 Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire 3/8/2019 Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases 3/6/2019 Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness 3/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports 3/1/2019 New tax changes hit drivers hard 2/27/2019 FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military 2/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use 2/22/2019 Congress committee looks at state of America's highways 2/20/2019 Number of cargo thefts is down; but dollar value about the same 2/18/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Crossing the border, CA sues FMCSA, Lobbying against larger trucks 2/15/2019 Detention - A problem still in search of a solution 2/13/2019 February Highway Angels honorees named 2/11/2019 Friday Short Haul -- C.R. England announces pay raises, eCommerce impact on trucking, TCA announces best fleets 2/8/2019 Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage? 2/6/2019 Long CDL testing wait times cost economy billions of dollars; not helping driver shortage 2/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Walmart hiring, Uber Freight App, Speed-limiter Law, America's Road Team 2/1/2019 Cranking -- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly 1/30/2019 California survives challenge to its low-carbon fuel standards 1/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - Highway robbery ... autonomous trucks ... new trailers 1/25/2019 LithiumHub enters jump-starter market with Jumpbooster JP30 1/23/2019 2019 Looks Good For The Transportation Industry 1/21/2019 Raymond Burt named TMC Trainer of the Month for February 2018 3/28/2018 TMC Transportation Announces Recipient of Prestigious Wheel Master Award 3/7/2018 TMC Transportation Named The Home Depot’s Flatbed Carrier of the Year For Fourth Straight Year 2/28/2018 Pay Raises & New Peterbilts for PAM Drivers 2/26/2018 New DOT Drug Testing Rules Effective Jan 1, 2018 1/11/2018 Amtrak Derailment: Trucks Haul 270,000 Pound Locomotive Engine During Cleanup 12/21/2017 Pepsi Places Largest Order Yet For Tesla Electric Trucks 12/12/2017 Kavin Hallett named Trainer of the Month for October 2017 12/8/2017 Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way 8/10/2017 Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road 7/18/2017 Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach 7/13/2017 Truckers and Guns: What Is and Is Not Legal 7/6/2017 Preparing To Go Solo For The First Time? Experienced Drivers Share Their Best Advice 6/29/2017 The Truck Stop Survival Guide: Advice From Experienced Drivers 6/15/2017 The Worst Cities For Traffic In The U.S. For 2017 6/8/2017 We Ask Drivers How They Would Make The Logbook Rules Better 5/30/2017 Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon 5/25/2017 11/30/-0001

Freight volume and rates downturn turns into a 'bloodbath'

Dave Wickenhauser on Mon, November 25, 2019

Last Updated: Mon, November 25, 2019

There's a new buzzword appearing in trucking industry news these days.

See if you can spot it.

  • The leading industry group for truck drivers has declared we're hurtling toward a trucking 'bloodbath' – Business Insider, Aug. 29, 2019
  • Thousands of truck drivers have lost their jobs in 2019 as the transportation 'bloodbath' unfolds – Business Insider, Oct. 9, 2019
  • Around 4,500 truck drivers lost their jobs in August as the trucking ‘bloodbath‘ rages on – Daily Stock Dish, Nov. 24, 2019
  • The Trucking Industry “Bloodbath” Explained – Velocity Group USA
  • Why Industry Experts Predict a Trucking Bloodbath in 2019 – Suppose U Drive
  • Truckers are facing a ‘bloodbath’ in their industry – Raw Story, Aug. 21, 2019

These headline writers have made it easy in most cases to spot the new buzzword … obviously, apparently, the trucking industry is experiencing a "bloodbath."

If not a 'bloodbath', it's at least a recession

Business Insider's October article downgraded bloodbath to recession in its update to its August "bloodbath" article when it announced, "Another 4,200 truck drivers lost their jobs in September as a recession slams America's $800 billion trucking industry."

Following these headlines to the accompanying articles we see that there is no question that freight is down from the heydays during 2018 when commercial carriers were scrambling to find extra capacity, and experiencing a driver shortage with their need to put men and women behind the wheel to haul that expanded freight volume.

Freight revenue has definitely topped out from those days, especially for owner-operators and small carriers dependent on spot rates, and carriers are now experiencing the blowback from the 2018 surge. It is reported, for example, that USA Truck reported $2.5 million in earnings in the second quarter of 2018, which dropped dramatically to just $1,000 the same time this year.

According to Daily Stock Dish, in the first half of the year, around 640 trucking companies went bankrupt, compared to the number at the same time last year of about 175.

Numbers like 4,500 truckers losing their jobs in August, and 4,200 losing their jobs in September are seen in the news as carriers adjust for the downturn in freight volumes.

Many smaller to medium-size carriers go out of business.

Some notable recent bankruptcies include:

New England Motor Freight shut down in February. Once ranking 19th in the less-than-truckload industry, NEMF let more than 1,400 drivers go.

Falcon Transport announced in April that it would be shutting down, leaving more than 550 truck drivers without jobs.

Stevens Tanker Division, part of Stevens Transport, announced it would be shutting down its tanker division as of October, affecting some 576 tanker division drivers.

LME, another less-that-truckload carrier closed its doors in July. It employed more than 400 truck drivers.

And the list goes on.

Fluctuation in freight volumes, capacity and rates in the trucking industry is nothing new. Industry experts say carriers must make adjustments to hunker down during the periods of less freight and lower rates just as they made changes to build up during the surge last year.

And, perhaps when the thousands of drivers who have lost their jobs this year start contacting trucking companies that have been complaining about a "driver shortage" we'll begin to see a new buzzword appearing in truck industry headlines announcing the driver shortage is over.

One relatively small trucking company takes advantage of a profitable niche

John Wilbur, CEO of Roadmaster Group, a Glendale, Arizona, based specialty trucking company has discovered the "bloodbath" proof formula for having freight to haul, and for keeping drivers behind the wheel.

He, and his specialty trucking firm, was written up recently in American Trucker because of the unique cargo that keeps his trucks and drivers busy.

Roadmaster Group's specialty is delivering hazardous waste, time-sensitive and high-security cargo under the Tri-State banner. Their biggest customer is the United States military which has a large appetite for the kinds of freight that Roadmaster specializes in, meaning explosives in the form of bullets, artillery shells and grenades.

According to American Trucker, Wilbur says the special requirements to haul that kind of cargo gives them an edge over other fleets.

“It’s the reason we play in the pond that we play in,” Wilbur told American Trucker. “In this industry you either need to be very specialized, which we are, or very big. Everything we do is either hazardous, sensitive, highly valuable or difficult to do. So we’re constructing our own barriers.

“We don’t have the same competitive dynamics that you would find in general freight. For us we usually compete more on service than we do on price. What we deliver is service and capacity. Not a lot of people know how to do hazardous waste or commercial explosives. Everything we do is difficult to do. The tradeoff is if we can gain expertise like we have then we just don’t face the same competitive dynamics that a general freight carrier would. So we’re not tied to the economic cycle.”

Tri-States' drivers, who operate as teams, must have hazardous materials training and experience as well as a government security clearance.

Wilbur told American Trucker that their cargo details are classified, but that their supply chain includes large military bases like Camp Pendleton in California, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, and forts Bliss and Hood in Texas. They also transport munitions to ports for overseas deployment.

“Anybody that lives near a military base that has a training component, you’re gonna hear and see a lot of that stuff being blown up every day, and that’s what we’re doing,” Wilbur told American Trucker.

Sources: Daily Stock Dish, The Trucker, Business Insider, Business Insider

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LTL Driving Stevens Transport Tanker Team Driving The Economy And Politics Trucking Industry Concerns USA Truck

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