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Radio Recap: tolls, autonomous, driver pay and more

FreightWaves Radio’s seventh national show was broadcast on Saturday, April 6 on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Channel 146. Unlike other industry-specific radio shows that often have particular messaging or lobbying aims, FreightWaves Radio is an independent, data-driven look at what’s really going on in the freight world, and the episode proved just that. Hosts Chad Prevost and John Kingston kicked things off from both the SiriusXM studios in Rockefeller Center in downtown Manhattan, and from the Freight Alley studio in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Quotable from Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation:

“The pavement [of the I-81 corridor] is old. Probably within the next decade it ought to be completely rebuilt, and not simply resurfaced as they typically do for many, many years until it no longer is cost-effective to do that anymore. You really need to do what they call full-depth construction where you take up the original pavement and rebuild the sub-base and use more modern mixes of either asphalt or concrete to make longer-lived pavement that has lower maintenance requirements, but that’s not at all what’s on the table right now. It’s just a stop gap [for right now].”

Quotable from Alden Woodrow, CEO of Ike Autonomous Trucks:

“We call it automated trucking. That is a combination of hardware and software that allows tractor trailer trucks to drive safely and reliably on the highway without a driver. There’s a lot of important things we can dig into from that statement, but one of the important things is highway. We’re not building technology for trucks to back up to a dock or drive on city streets. Those are pretty complex things to do, and the highway, while still hard in a lot of ways, is a lot simpler environment to build this technology. We’re really inspired by the highway interstate system in the United States, and of course Dwight Eisenhower was one of the champions of that system.”

Quotable from Lana Batts, co-president of Driver IQ:

“I don’t know if we’re ever going to get off of miles [for driver pay], although you are starting to see it, especially with companies that run along heavily congested corridors like I-95. A year ago only 10 percent of the carriers were doing [guaranteed pay] until this quarter 25 percent of the carriers are doing it. That’s just a single year. I think that tells you there is a mega-shift in how we compensate drivers.”

Quotable from Jim Blaze, rail expert:

“When they wipe out a bridge or they wipe out the complete ground of the track structure and the underlying surface of the ground, those repairs can take a week or longer. If you take out a bridge, as long as it’s not a really big one like the ones that cross the Mississippi –  if it’s a smaller or mid-size bridge – that can take a week, two weeks, three weeks to repair. Some of these floods are really taking out the main lines of the Union Pacific.”

Quotable from Donny Gilbert, Market Expert:

“Coming up in a few weeks produce season is going to start. It’ll start with produce from Mexico crossing over the border at Laredo, Texas. And you’ll see those markets from Laredo and out of Dallas and Houston start heating up first. Last year it was April 8th, 9th, 10th, and that’s starting for us on Monday. With the excess capacity, it might take a few more days to kick in but when it does it’s going to start quick and it’s going to start fast.”

The FreightWaves Radio show will keep on coming live to you each and every week from 3:00-5:00 p.m. EDT on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Channel 146. If you can’t tune in then, the show is also replayed on Saturday from 9:00-11:00 p.m. EDT and then again on Sunday from 7:00-9:00 p.m. EDT. Also, the show is available for two weeks via SiriusXM’s on-demand feature. Join the discussion on all things freight and see how so much connects to transport and the movement of goods.

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Chad Prevost

Chad is radio host and broadcast media specialist for FreightWaves.

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