Today’s Pickup: Rhode Island joins roster of anti-trucking states

 The Newport Bridge in Rhode Island. ( Photo: Shutterstock )
The Newport Bridge in Rhode Island. ( Photo: Shutterstock )

Good day,

Rhode Island joined the roster of anti-truck states today as it began tolling an array of heavy-duty trucks traveling on I-95. The state government said that it’s only fair that the vehicles that cause damage to highways pay for repairs, but both the Rhode Island Trucking Association and the Truckload Carriers Association voiced their opposition to the fees. 

Meanwhile, the state of California notched a small victory in a long-running legal dispute with JB Hunt and other trucking and logistics companies. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected JB Hunt’s request to review the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that the state rules would make the trucker’s operations less efficient and more costly. The trucking companies say that a 1994 federal law barring states from setting laws affecting the price, routes and services of trucking companies means they don’t have to comply with California’s state minimum wage laws and mandatory meal and rest breaks. 

Now the 11 year old case will finally go to trial.

Did you know?

US coal exports totaled 10.1 million metric tons in April, the highest monthly total since March 2013, according to new US Census data.


“For projects that are currently underway and under contract… contractors have locked in their bids perhaps weeks, months, years ago. Assuming that there’s no price escalation clause for materials in their contract, the contractors are the ones that are going to be bearing the brunt of this price increase.”

-James Christianson, vice president of government relations for the Associated General Contractors of America, on the impact of European steel and aluminum tariffs

In other news:

Supreme Court turns aside J.B. Hunt on truck driver suit

A lawsuit over California’s ability to set work and wage rules for truck drivers that go beyond federal trucking regulations is set to go to trial 11 years after the case began. (Wall Street Journal)

Transportation industries sweat Trump’s tariff decision

From autos to aerospace, transportation-related industries are worried that Trump’s escalating trade rhetoric over tariffs will affect their bottom line, squeezing suppliers and dampening exports. (Politico)

Rolls-Royce, preparing to cut thousands of jobs, says engine problem has spread

Britain’s Rolls-Royce said a costly compressor problem that had grounded Boeing planes had now been found in a different type of engine, compounding pressures on a group that is due to cut more than 4,000 jobs this week. (Reuters)

Brace for the world economy’s most important week of the year

On Monday, investors react to G-7; tomorrow, President Trump meets Kim Jong Un in Singapore; Brexit legislation returns to the House of Commons; the Fed prepares to hike rates a second time this year; Italy will auction more debt; Putin meets Saudi Crown Prince MBS at the World Cup; China releases economic data; June 15 is the deadline for the U.S. to publish final list of Chinese goods to be tariffed. (Bloomberg)

Waymo to buy up to 62,000 Chrysler minivans for ride-hailing service

Waymo, the driverless-technology company spun out of Google, has agreed to purchase as many as 62,000 minivans from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for use in a ride-hailing service set to begin commercial operations later this year. (New York Times)

Final Thoughts:

FreightWaves released a webinar last week called “Introduction to Sonar” that’s now available on our YouTube channel. Brad Guinane, a Sonar account executive, and Brad Hill, a FreightWaves data scientist, took their audiences through a number of freight market metrics.

The webinar started by looking at Seattle’s outbound tender rejections, inbound tender rejections, and tender lead times: a collapse in outbound tender rejections (down to 3%), inbound tender rejections spiked to 21%, and a shrinking tender lead time painted a picture of relaxed shippers who are confident they can find trucks to move their freight for extremely low rates.

If you’re unfamiliar with the freight market metrics you’ve come across in FreightWaves articles, or if you’re a new SONAR user who’s still learning how to navigate the platform, check out this webinar for a great, case study-oriented introduction. 

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.