As we publish this, a story we ran yesterday on the city of Springfield, Illinois fining a local Walmart $50,000 for violating what the city said was an agreement on truck parking in its lot had received an enormous number of hits on Freightwaves.com, and the comments on the Facebook publication of the story are well over 1,000. Those sheer numbers point to how big of an issue parking has become. Beyond the usual calls to boycott the entire city of Springfield—which is possible for an independent, but a company-hired driver might have some problem with that—there was the constant theme in the comments about how parking has gotten even more complicated in the ELD era, and parking opportunities are getting squeezed with more trucks on the road delivering more freight. This comment was typical: "This is the number one issue for me. Safe and legal parking. This is why the older truck drivers are getting fed up. This is how you destroy America. Limit distribution of goods and services. Please don't be surprised if you're notified I've been killed while I was sleeping in my truck, or someone you love. Please tell your elected official to make more safe and legal places to park.”
Did you know?
The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index came in at 138.1 in July. That was 10.2% more than a year earlier, 2.5% more than June, and was the highest ever. It was also the first time that a year-on-year percentage increase was in double digits. The index is described as reflecting per-mile pricing, so it is not an "all-in" figure.
“We understand the importance of truckers, especially in our line of work, and we try to be as accommodating as possible.”
--Walmart National Media Relations Senior Manager Casey Staheli, on the company’s approach toward trucks parking in their lots, in the wake of getting hit with a fine by Springfield, Ill. over parking.
In other news:
Burma may not want it so big
Myanmar loses some enthusiasm for a big Chinese port investment. (WSJ)
The trade war, increasingly, is in the data
Trade flow numbers are starting to reflect the realities of a trade war (The Loadstar)
Growth in more efficient diesel engines
Next-gen diesel is making inroads on the roads (Diesel Technology Forum)
For bankers, trying to figure out the future of the freight market
Do lenders to truckers double down or ease up? (American Banker)
Asset light? Those with trucks push back
An asset-based trucker lays out why they are the best way to go (NV Carriers)
There’s so much focus in the market today on last mile; there’s so much focus also on driver pay and shortages. The two came together in recent days with the news that a relatively small group of drivers for Safeway.com had ratified a union contract. Last-mile drivers have hardly been a hotbed of unionization; organized labor in the transportation sector has tended to be with big employers. That’s what made this contract so notable. The number of drivers covered didn't even reach 100. It may be a realization by retailers determined to get their products to people’s homes that they can’t just assume they will hire some low-paid people and stick them behind the wheel. That’s an approach when mixed with the inherent promise of same-day delivery could lead to failure for the entire project and promise. Safeway appears to understand that.
Hammer down everyone!