Today’s Pickup: earnings season is here!

Good day,

Earnings season is upon us, and the news we’re hearing from trucking executives is mostly very good. Industry leaders are bullish on rate increases looking ahead through 2018, anticipating that revenues will increase more than enough to cover inflationary pressures on driver-related costs like wages, recruiting, marketing, and retention. 

The same economic forces that are driving freight volumes and demand for trucking capacity—GDP growth, low unemployment, accelerating manufacturing and construction activity—are also intensifying competition for vocational laborers. 

Did you know?

During this morning’s Q1 earnings call, UPS reported its 13th consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth.


“The results we’re seeing at both Knight and Swift are very good, and I would say we’re no less bullish than we were a quarter ago, maybe more bullish.”

-Kevin Knight, chairman of Knight-Swift Transportation, during yesterday’s Q1 earnings call

In other news:

AUDIO: Mixed signals on the spot market

DAT Market Analyst Peggy Dorf sat with Terry Scruton of Land Line Now to talk about current freight trends and the mixed signals from the spot market in mid-April (DAT Blog)

Union Pacific beats profit estimates on higher freight revenue

Overall freight revenue rose 6.8 percent in the first quarter, led by a 14.6 percent jump from its energy segment, the company said. (Reuters)

Maersk to trial autonomous vehicle firm’s technology

Maersk Line has hired a Boston-based automation firm to install “perception and situational awareness technology” on a new class of container ships. (Maritime Executive)

Ford is getting out of almost all of the American car business

Ford Motor Co. is cleaving an additional $11.5 billion from spending plans and dropping several sedans, including the Fusion and Taurus, from its lineup to more quickly reach an elusive profit target. (Bloomberg)

Barclays, Goldman champion ISDA standard for blockchain derivatives

As it stands, bankers and traders use a hodgepodge of data structures and formats to track the life cycle of trades, reflecting in part the variety of regulatory requirements imposed after the 2008 financial crisis. (CoinDesk)

Final Thoughts:

Our market analyst Zach Strickland wrote yesterday on what the FreightWaves Tender Rejection Index (TRI) reveals about the state of the national freight market: “As freight contracts continue to be executed almost 4 weeks into the second quarter, shippers are not seeing as many of their loads rejected for better paying alternatives on the spot market. Carriers are giving the shippers a ‘breather’ for the time being as spot rates deteriorate. DAT reports a $0.05 per mile decrease on the average spot rate for dry van compared to last week. The national outbound TRI (OTRI) has been declining for the past several weeks with the sharpest of drops ending around the 13th of April,” Strickland wrote.

Hammer down everyone!

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John Paul Hampstead, Associate Editor

John Paul writes about current events and economics, especially politics, finance, and commodities, and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. In previous lives John Paul studied Shakespeare in London and Buddhism in India, but now he focuses on transportation and logistics in the heart of Freight Alley--Chattanooga. He spends his free time with his wife and daughter herding cats, collecting books, and walking alongside the Tennessee River.