As the United States reopens its economy and quarantined consumers return to quasi-normal behaviors with their stimulus checks, overall freight volumes are surging. While capacity remains loose, rates are rebounding from their low levels. This could be due to the reopening of restaurants and seasonal movement of produce out of Florida and California. Also, the online electronics sector is up 150% year-over-year, proving the power of ecommerce.
“Shippers are still in a dominant pricing power position, but things are much brighter today than they were two weeks ago for the carriers,” said Andrew Cox, a FreightWaves research analyst. “The big momentum swing has come on volumes being positive year-over-year and on a two-year stack. It’s yet to be known how long this can last. It could be that pent-up demand is surging volumes up. They could stabilize or even fall a little bit in the future.”
The SONAR chart above shows that total volumes (blue) are rising faster than reefer volumes (red), suggesting that while produce season partly motivates this surge, the effects of pent-up demand and e-commerce play a larger role. But this momentum could be short-lived.
“The good thing for carriers is that they have options that weren’t there a couple of weeks ago when volumes were down really low,” said Cox. “It’s not only the contract market that’s heating up. If you look at the Truckstop.com van volume index, you see a lot of volumes starting to hit the spot market as well.”
While carriers look at this data with hope, shippers still hold the ultimate pricing power, which means many carriers are indiscriminately accepting loads. Insurance costs remain high and especially for small carriers in this environment, it’s difficult to remain profitable and retain drivers.
With these concerns and market conditions in mind, Pilot Company, North America’s largest supplier of fuel and leading network of travel centers, launched Axle Fuel Card on May 1. This new credit line for fleets allows for quick approvals, better payments terms, money back rewards and loyalty perks.
“Trucking companies and their drivers are the backbone of North America’s supply chain and we are committed to doing everything we can to keep them moving,” said Meghann Erhart, vice president of supply chain strategy and sales. “Through the ups and downs, we’re here to provide much needed credit to the industry with enhanced payment terms and rewards for both companies and drivers.”
By not nickel-and-diming through hidden fees, the Axle Fuel Card allows trucking companies to keep more hard-earned money in their pockets. Getting approved for an Axle Fuel Card account is a fast process and promises no transaction, account management or annual fees.
Truck drivers can use the Axle Fuel Card at more than 950 locations of Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers, the One9 Fuel Network and at Pilot Flying J Truck Care Service Centers across the U.S. and Canada. The card covers fuel purchases, truck care services and select merchandise. Drivers can get $30 off any tire or service and won’t have to worry about a call-out fee for roadside service.
Drivers can keep the Axle Fuel Card in their digital wallets in the Pilot Flying J app. When they stop to fuel up at any Pilot, Flying J or One9 location, they can select the Axle Fuel Card and automatically earn bonus loyalty points. Axle Fuel Card customers will receive one invoice for all transactions and have access to an online customer portal where they can make payments, monitor transactions and set restrictions on products or locations.
“With the Axle Fuel Card, our goal is to support fleets of all sizes with a reliable credit solution that fuels their business and enables them to focus on the road ahead,” said Erhart. “We developed this new credit offering with savings, convenience and accessibility top of mind, making it easier for customers to fuel at a variety of locations with no nickel and diming and ways to earn loyalty perks along the way.”