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Today’s Pickup: FMCSA at the intersection of autonomous trucks and HOS regulations

  Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Good day,

Moody Investors Service upgraded its rating on about $3.2 billion of debt issued by XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO), attributing the change to a positive outlook for transportation and logistics in 2019, as well as strong performance by XPO.

FreightWaves Markets Managing Editor Mark Solomon reported the story, noting Moody’s prediction that XPO will pursue at lease one acquisition next year.

“XPO, which grew into a $17 billion company in large part on the back of 17 acquisitions from 2011 to 2015, has not made an acquisition since it bought trucker and logistics firm Con-way Inc. for $3 billion in September 2015,” Solomon said.

XPO shares fell $5.62 a share yesterday amid a sharp decline in U.S. equity markets.

Did you know?

Starting Nov. 1 and running through Dec. 22, “hundreds of thousands of items” will be eligible for free, two-day shipping on Target.com. In March, the site began offering the perk to its credit card holders or for those orders over $35. 

Quotable:

“This is a huge milestone toward an imminent transformation of the logistics industry through the adoption of blockchain technology.”

—Rajat Rajbhandari, CEO and co-founder of dexFreight, on completing its first blockchain-based shipment using smart contracts.

In other news:

Stocks open higher as earnings temper pessimism

U.S. stocks rallied at the opening of trading, led by gains in technology shares, in the wake of Wednesday’s rout that wiped out this year’s gains in benchmark indexes. Yields on Treasuries rose and the dollar strengthened. (Bloomberg)

IMO looks set to introduce ban on ships carrying high-sulphur fuel

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) will today decide whether to ban the carriage of high-sulphur fuels. (The Loadstar)

The global tech backlash is just beginning

The biggest tech companies have tremendous power over the hearts and minds of people—as much as many of the governments in countries where they operate. (The Wall Street Journal)

Tesla reports a rare quarterly profit, its biggest ever

Tesla on Wednesday reported its first quarterly profit in two years and its biggest ever. (The New York Times)

Worst US storm since 1935 leaves Northern Mariana Islands devastated

Super Typhoon Yutu rampaged through the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Thursday, leaving behind storm damage that residents are calling the worst they have ever experienced. (The Washington Post)

Final Thoughts:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will no longer assume a commercial driver is always a human as autonomous trucking makes its way onto the scene, and the FMCSA said this could be a good thing.

FreightWaves Managing Editor Brain Straight reported that autonomous trucking may prompt more flexibility in hours of service regulations.

FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said his agency recognizes concerns that automated driving systems “could have adverse effect on workforce.” But he says “fully autonomous technology was still years from replacing human drivers.”

As part of the automation drive, FMCSA plans to test truck platooning next year at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, along with the Federal Highway Administration.

Hammer down, everyone!

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Ashley Coker, Staff Writer

Ashley is interested in the opportunities and issues that arise at the intersection of law and technology. She is the primary contributor to the truckloadindexes.com news site content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.
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