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Today’s Pickup: Midwest storms lead to seven known road fatalities, including one truck driver

 ( Photo: MIssouri State Highway Patrol )
( Photo: MIssouri State Highway Patrol )

Dry van rates hit air-pocket last month and lose altitude; but other indicators of freight economy still looking up.

Good day,

The U.S. was hit by its first major winter storm, Gia, started Friday and lasted over the weekend, dumping snow and freezing rain over a section of the country stretching from the Midwest through the Mid-Atlantic states. Slick roads lead to numerous accidents across major highways. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says nearly 300 vehicles slid off roads and 175 crashes occurred due to the storm. A truck jackknifed on Interstate 44, and drivers faced delays of up to six hours getting to St. Louis. Another jackknifed truck closed Interstate 65 in Indiana during Saturday. Preliminary estimates show at least seven were killed in crashes over the weekend. One of those accidents involved a 41-year old truck driver from Mexico whose Freightliner was involved in a head-to-head collision with a Kenworth. The other driver was found to have only a minor injury.

Did you know?

Dry van spot rates were down 6.9 percent year-on-year in December, according to Susquehanna Financial Group. Rates, including fuel, first saw year-on-year decline in September which fell 3 percent from a year earlier. For the fourth quarter, dry van spot rates were down 4 percent versus seasonal averages. 

Quotable:

“The companies that are winning with drivers are taking care of their well-being. We know there is a value in the perspective of drivers because this is their life. The smartest companies out there realize that frontline feedback is a goldmine.”

Max Farrell, chief executive of WorkHound, on the company’s latest driver satisfaction survey

In other news:

BNSF freight train derailment closes Ill. highway

Three train cars were involved in incident along Highway 136, but no major injuries reported. (WGEM)

Same-day delivery looks to expand

Transportation Research Board sees warehousing as key to improving delivery. (TTNews)

China’s exports fall in December

Last month marked ‘inflection point’ as nine-month export surge halted. (WSJ)

DB Schenker adds airfreight to online portal

Freight forwarder’s Connect 4.0 online portal offering real-time shipping quotes. (Air Cargo News)

‘Bird Box’ challenge results in car accident

Utah teenager attempts to drive blindfolded. (BBC)

Final Thoughts

A slew of bad news from slowing home sales and trade anxieties have buffeted U.S. financial markets, leading to concerns about whether a recession is in the offing. Today, Donald Boughton, chief market strategit for FreightWaves, looks at truck-level indicators to see where real demand for goods is. He notes the Outbound Tender Volume Index (SONAR: OTVI.USA) is firmly back up to near 2018 after the holidays. His assessment of that indicator is that “the overall transportation economy continues to signal economic expansion.”

Hammer down everyone!

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Michael Angell, Bulk and Intermodal Editor

Michael Angell covers maritime, intermodal and related topics for FreightWaves. His interest in transportation stretches back several generations. One great-grandfather was a dray horseman along the New York waterfront and another was a railway engineer in Texas. More recently, Michael has written about the shipping industry for TradeWinds, energy markets for Oil Price Information Service, and general business topics for FactSet Mergerstat and Investor's Business Daily. When he is not stuck in the office, he enjoys tours of ports, terminals, and railyards.
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