Radio Recap: FreightWaves inaugural broadcast from Radio City

FreightWaves Radio launched its inaugural national show on Saturday, February 23 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 first episode proved just that. Hosts Chad Prevost and John Kingston kicked things off from the SiriusXM studios in Rockefeller Center in downtown Manhattan.

For the inaugural interview they led off with Craig Fuller, CEO and founder of FreightWaves. “FreightWaves is a news and data provider for the freight markets. FreightWaves Radio provides an opportunity to extend that audience into a much larger segment than we do on our website,” Fuller began.

Quotables from Fuller:

“It’s going to be a tough year to get projections [for 2019]. There’s a lot of disagreement. You can really see that in what’s happening with pricing data. There’s a ton of volatility both from the upside and the downside on price. The reason you know that is the spread between what is the highest price in the market versus the lowest price. What you’re seeing is a big variance, probably the biggest variance we’ve seen in years. Some are seeing the market as soft, and others [see it] as pretty decent or strong. We believe that certainly the market is softer than it was in 2018, and it appears to us that over the past couple of months, it has been softening. It is hard to say – and I would challenge anyone with definitive authority – to say whether 2019 is going to be a stronger year relative to years in the past, or a softer year. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the market and we’re trying to analyze that.”

“What makes FreightWaves exciting is our ability to analyze what’s happening in the capital markets and in technology and innovation and apply it to freight.”

The hosts also talked about the economic health of some of the biggest trucking companies in the industry with Amit Mehrotra, director and lead analyst of Deutsche Bank.

Quotable from Mehrotra:

“The first and foremost fundamental view that we have at Deutsche Bank and our research franchise is that the state of the freight market is very strong. As you know, the capital markets and the financial markets can diverge from what’s happening on Main Street. What the market is afraid of is a slowdown of growth.”

Kingston and Prevost also spoke with Gordon Klemp, president of the National Transportation Institute, and took calls as they discussed the findings of his latest quarterly survey on driver pay and what he thought about possible changes he might recommend to the current per mile model.

Quotables from Klemp:

“When you look at what moves driver pay, it tends to be four things: freight rates; capacity demand; driver turnover; and driver supply. We proved through our modeling those are the four major players in that arena.”

“One of the things we’ve seen that has proved very effective [for driver pay] is guaranteed pay. It’s not that it’s brand new; we’ve seen various applications of this practice. It helps fight against what we call ‘lumpy pay’ – due to various factors a driver may not get a couple of paychecks that are enough to keep his/her head above water. We’re not saying it’s the end-all-be-all, but it may be part of the solution.”

The FreightWaves Radio hosts also spoke with Chris Stallman of Fontinalis Partners. From an investor’s perspective he spoke about what’s being seen in the transportation space when it comes to startups and technology and why the Freight.Tech space is as hot as ever.

Quotable from Stallman:

“We sort of felt there was this tipping point coming where a lot of software and services companies would have an opportunity to thrive in the industry, which because it’s so immense – it touches everything from manufacturing to agriculture to all the major industries of consequence. We thought it would be bigger than the first wave of the internet.”

Finally, Kingston and Prevost wrapped up with FreightWaves’ markets managing editor, Mark Solomon, discussing the growing tension between one of the biggest names for any industry in the U.S., Amazon, and one of the leading logistics companies XPO. Why are relations between the two deteriorating? What is the fallout from Amazon taking some $600 million of its business away from XPO, and why did it do it?

Quotable from Solomon:

“It’s a bit of a crisis. XPO’s CEO and founder, Brad Jacobs, acknowledges it. He is mindful of the skepticism. In the first half of 2019 XPO will begin to redeploy assets, and Jacobs has assured everyone that in the second half of the year the lost business [$400 million this year] will be replaced and redeploy the business. As for Amazon, more than likely it’s going to go in-house.”

The FreightWaves Radio show will keep on coming live to you each and every week from 3:00-5:00 p.m. EST 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. and then again on Sunday from 7:00-9:00 p.m. 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.

Coming up on this week’s show: David Hall from the Steve Case Group; Chris Visser from JD Power; Andy Alden from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute; as well as Zack Strickland, and John Paul Hampstead from FreightWaves.