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Loaded and Rolling: Supply chain tech index; truck driver appreciation

Trucking transports over 10 billion tons of goods and products every year, which accounts for 70% of America’s total annual freight

MerQube FreightWaves Supply Chain Tech Index

FreightWaves, in partnership with MerQube, an index provider, on Tuesday released a supply chain tech index. This index is composed of companies identified by FreightWaves and MerQube as supply chain tech companies and traded on developed market exchanges. To be included, a company must have a minimum float market cap of $500 million and a daily value traded of $3 million. 

There are two tiers impacting market weighting. The first tier is “Pure Play” stocks, comprising 80% aggregate weight in the index with an individual stock capped at 10% weight. The second tier is “Non-Pure Play,” which comprises the remaining 20% aggregate weight and stocks in this category are capped at 5% weight per stock. 

The pure play separation ensures that all key companies with a significant presence in the market are included, but those with share prices driven by other industries will be relegated to the “Non-Pure Play” category. 

Companies in the supply chain tech investment include:

  • Tech-enabled third-party logistics.
  • Logistics software.
  • E-commerce logistics. 
  • Alternative energy/autonomous technology. 
  • Asset-heavy technology investments.

What is notable in the release is the growth of the supply chain tech stocks due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to MerQube Chief Commercial Officer Roby Muntoni, “The general purpose of any stock index is to measure investment sentiment in a specific sector. Businesses involved in supply chain management activity can use it to gauge investment interest in their sector and also to benchmark their performance compared to the financial markets.”

ATA National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

This is the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. The event, which runs through Saturday, is a celebration of the approximately 3.6 million professional truck drivers nationwide. To put their contribution in context, the news release said, “The hardworking men and women behind the wheel safely transport over 10 billion tons of goods and products every year, which accounts for 70% of America’s total annual freight; 80% of U.S. communities depend solely on trucking to deliver goods.”


In the spirit of Driver Appreciation Week, here are some facts from a survey conducted by Truckstop of 500 professional drivers. 

  • Ninety percent of U.S. truck drivers surveyed said they use software/technology to assist with back office-related tasks (e.g., invoicing, insurance, IFTA reporting), and 38% said they use a mobile app for load planning daily.
  • Eighty-three percent of drivers experience daily challenges with recent spikes in fuel prices, and 74% said they are concerned about the pressure to work longer hours due to the driver shortage.
  • Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed find it challenging to keep up with insurance-related matters and changing industry regulations.

Throughout the country, various companies are offering benefits or perks for drivers during this week. 

Market update: CPI for all items rises 0.1% in August as shelter and food increase, gasoline falls

(Source: Labor Department, Graph: The Wall Street Journal)

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics last Thursday reported the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.1% in August seasonally adjusted, after remaining unchanged in July. Over the past 12 months, the all items index stood at 8.3% before seasonal adjustments in August. This is slightly higher than the July 12-month average of 8.5%. 

The report notes: “Increases in the shelter, food and medical care indexes were the largest of many contributors to the broad-based monthly all items increase. These increases were mostly

offset by a 10.6% decline in the gasoline index. The food index continued to rise, increasing 0.8% over the month as the food at home index rose 0.7%. The energy index fell 5% over the month as the gasoline index declined, but the electricity and natural gas indexes increased.”

Additionally, the food index remains an important topic in the report, which said, “The food index increased 11.4% over the last year, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending May 1979.”

Regarding the impact of this report, The Wall Street Journal said, “Tuesday’s inflation report will be key in determining the path ahead for interest rates before the next Federal Reserve meeting. Analysts had hoped that Fed officials would consider easing their pace of interest rate increases if data continued to show inflation subsiding. The data undercut those hopes.”

FreightWaves SONAR spotlight: DOE/EIA diesel price down 5.1 cents from last week

(Source: FreightWaves SONAR)

Summary: On Monday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly report for average retail prices on gasoline and diesel. This benchmark DOE/EIA average is the basis for many fuel surcharge programs that help carriers recoup some of the fuel costs paid while transporting goods. The average retail price this week fell 5.1 cents per gallon to $5.033. This is the 10th drop in the DOE/EIA average in the past 11 weeks. 

The diesel truck stop actual price per gallon (DTS) declined as well, falling to $5.029 per gallon on Tuesday. A concerning topic to watch this week will be if there are disruptions nationwide due to the potential of a rail strike later this week. Regarding the amount of fuel moved by rail, FreightWaves’ John Kingston notes, “The latest full-month data puts intra-U.S. movements of crude and products in June at 185,000 barrels a day.”

Compared to the beginning of the year, fuel prices remain significantly elevated, putting downward marginal pressure on smaller carriers that lack the fuel consumption levels and bargaining power to negotiate beneficial bulk fuel discounts. 

Decline in Demand to Affect Trucking Freight, Economists Say (Transport Topics)

Freight Brokers Poised to See Gross-Margin Expansion (Transport Topics)

Impossible task: ATA says 460,000 trucks needed to offset effect of potential rail strike (Commercial Carrier Journal)

What to Know About the Advanced Clean Fleets Proposal (Trucking Info)

Here’s how Congress could avoid disastrous rail shutdown (FreightWaves)


Desperate shops, desperate measures: Diesel students maximizing opportunities in tech-starved industry (Commercial Carrier Journal)

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Thomas Wasson

Based in Chattanooga TN, Thomas is an Enterprise Trucking Carrier Expert at FreightWaves with a focus on news commentary, analysis and trucking insights. Before that, he worked at a digital trucking startup aifleet, Arrive Logistics as an Account Executive, and 5 years at U.S. Xpress Enterprises Inc. with an emphasis on fleet management, load planning, freight analysis, and truckload network design. He graduated from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga with a MBA in 2020 and a Bachelors of Political Science from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2013.