Welcome to the WHAT THE TRUCK?!? newsletter sponsored by Legend Transportation Inc. In this issue, Godzilla vs. King Kong vs. Ever Given, freight rejections on the rise, driver demand driving driver pay, more — Dooner
No, no, no, not in my house
Rejected — Dikembe Mutombo may not be blocking your shot at getting your contracted freight booked but carriers sure are. As FreightWaves’ Zach Strickland reported in the Daily Watch, the national average for dry van outbound tender rejection rates has trended up sharply to 28.15%, the highest recorded dry van rejection rate percentage for the first quarter of 2021. That means that more than 1 in 4 loads are being denied as capacity tightens across the industry. However, rejections aren’t spread out evenly, with some markets such as Rapid City, South Dakota, seeing half of all loads getting rejected.
Three-point shot — While not at their peak level of $3.32 that we saw at the end of last month, the national average dry van all-in spot market rates are up 5 cents this week landing at $3.16 per mile. We saw the momentum leading to this in last week’s DHL Supply Chain Pricing Power Index, which rose further into carriers’ favor as it jumped 5 points to an 80 overall.
Godzilla vs. Kong vs. Ever Given
Tale of the tape — If you’re anything like me, the two most anticipated events of the past week were the freeing of the Ever Given and the release of “Godzilla vs. Kong” on HBOMax. How do these three behemoths compare in size, damage and stature? Let’s take a look:
Height — Godzilla: 394 feet | King Kong: 110 feet* | Ever Given: 1,312 feet
Weight — Godzilla: 90,000 metric tons | King Kong: 158 metric tons | Ever Given: 200,000 metric tons
Cost of damage — This one isn’t as easy to calculate as there are so many factors involved. SoraNews24 did the math on what a typical Godzilla attack would cost to Japan and the global economy. They’ve handed the King of All Monsters a bill for $816 billion! King Kong has not been anywhere near as destructive to our cities but he damaged part of the Empire State Building. Recent renovations there took four years and cost $160 million. The Ever Given held up roughly $9.6 billion in global trade a day for an approximate total of $60 billion.
“The carriers have just lost two weeks of capacity.” — Simon Sundboell, founder of eeSea.com
Lasting impacts — FreightWaves’ Greg Miller reports that with the Suez Canal unblocked, “The problems for container lines and shippers have just begun.” Here in the U.S., freight bound for the East Coast has been delayed and may further exacerbate congestion when it does arrive. Blank sailings will further constrain capacity, which will push already elevated freight rates even higher. As of Friday, Asia-East Coast rates were at $5,778 per forty-foot equivalent unit. On a global level, these impacts will be much more pronounced, especially in Asia and Europe. We already have our own major problem here in San Pedro Bay with 25-plus ships at anchor on the daily.
And the winner is — When you look at the massive size disparity between Kong and Godzilla, it becomes clear why they super-sized the cryptozoological combatant from Kong’s movie canon height of 110 feet and made him 337 feet for this film. Let’s face it: King Kong died by falling off the Empire State Building, the Ever Given is the size of the Empire State Building. However, size isn’t everything and the Ever Given clearly loses out on both speed and maneuverability. When you account for Kong’s rescaled stature and hands as well as his cunning, Godzilla will have his work cut out for him … until he unleashes a blast of nuclear breath and ends the whole affair. The verdict? Winner and still King of All Monsters: Godzilla.
Driver demand driving driver pay
Supply squeeze — Capacity is tight and drivers are in high demand. While this isn’t anything new for the industry and was a prominent storyline in 2018, 2021 may be slightly different. Not only has the pandemic made getting a CDL more difficult as many trucking schools are or were closed, but the e-commerce boom that it helped fuel has presented potential drivers with more options for work. Why be away from your friends and family as an OTR driver when you can stay local with final-mile deliveries and warehouse work? Not to mention, retirements and the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse have both helped empty some of the pool.
“We are at the cusp of a rising tide here. It’s going to be an even stronger summer than last year.” — Crete Carrier President and COO Tim Aschoff
Get paid — Carriers are starting to open up their billfolds (because that’s obviously where they keep their money) in order to attract drivers. FreightWaves’ Todd Maiden reports that new OTR drivers with Crete Carrier and Shaffer Trucking will see pay rates between 59 and 65 cents per mile depending on their level of experience starting May 1. They’re not the only ones. Maiden also reported that Forward Air announced Friday the largest per-mile rate increase in company history for the independent contractor fleet in its less-than-truckload and truckload divisions.
Suezing meme taken too far … off road
Lost in the woods — As Kristoff Bjorgman sang in “Frozen II,” “Now I turn around and find I am lost in the woods.” That’s what happened to one driver in New Mexico when he was left behind and wondering if his GPS is what he should still follow. The trucker managed to get stuck on Forest Road 150 last Saturday, blocking the road in both directions. Silver City Daily Press reports, “Gila National Forest Public Affairs Officer Marta Call said she did not know why the truck had taken that route — a winding dirt road that requires high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles in some areas.” New Mexico Police officers estimate that the truck may not get towed out of there for a few days.
Amazon this is not — A town in England has been dealing with a swan who has been menacing local residents’ front doors for over half a decade. South West News Service reports that the swan has been harassing the same block for years in Northampton and authorities are stumped as to why. One victim said that the bird likes to rattle his letter slot for hours with its beak while staring aggressively through the glass. A neighbor said, “The swan has been doing it almost every day recently and I still think it is pretty funny to see when walking past. But I’m glad it isn’t my house because it is very noisy; it would depend on how early it started.” One homeowner said he blocked his door to stop the swan but it kept both himself and delivery drivers out.
Aim high — Out tomorrow on FreightWaves Insiders, I’m catching up with Direct Traffic Solutions CEO Robert Meehan to talk about the transition from military life to logistics, building a freight company, his shopping cart theory on decision making, and doing business the right way.
Two for one — We have another episode coming out on Thursday (our usual release day) with Emerge CEO Michael Leto.
Subscribe to FreightWaves Insiders wherever you get your podcasts and never miss an episode. New shows drop every Thursday.
On the show — Shane Schindler shows off his product, Trukr Stik. Blythe Brumleve, talking about her new FreightWaves show Cyberly. Jim Parker, owner of Parker Cards, gets us up on the data and analytics behind the trading card boom. OTR driver the Hotep Trucker has tales from the cab.
Friday — Josh Asbury, VP at HubTran; Joey Gilkey, sales strategist, CEO of Sales Driven Agency; Mark Manera, founder, The Trucking Fitness Co.; Alicia Butler Pierre, CEO, Equilibria Inc. and bestselling author.
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Imagine that conversation — Convoy founder/CEO Dan Lewis answers.
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