Watch Now

Today’s Pickup: Michael rowing its boat ashore, a Europe investigation sees a “sweatshop”

Photo: Shutterstock

Good day,

Hurricane Michael is heading toward the Gulf Coast with an almost certain impact on the trucking and transport sector. While there has been more than 300,000 b/d of oil output shut in already from platform shut-ins as a caution, the track looks like it will miss the production areas of the Gulf. It also is probably trending too far east to have much impact on refineries, with the Chevron Pascagoula refinery in Mississippi most at risk. Where the biggest danger could happen to the trucking business would be a significant loss of power, leaving gas stations without the ability to pump fuel. It also could knock out the Colonial Pipeline, the main artery that takes gasoline and diesel from the Gulf Coast through the southeast and up through the mid-Atlantic to the New York area. The storm will need to blow through before the full extent of that disruption can be measured.

Did you know?

The ambiguous outcome of the UPS contract vote revealed a shocking number: less than half of the eligible voters actually cast a vote for a contract that would determine their pay levels and other benefits for the next five years.


“Don’t spend one dollar in precious capital until you’ve explored every operating alternative.” 

–Attributed to Hunter Harrison in a new biography of the legendary railroad executive and father of precision railroading.

In other news:

European investigative piece paints an ugly picture

The title of the story about trucking: Sweatshop on Wheels (Investigate Europe)

Maersk invests in a load board/brokerage disruptive startup

The investment arm of the shipping company puts in more than $20 million (WSJ)

Clarity developing in the market for IMO2020 fuels

Asian-based shipping company sees recent announcements as revealing (Platts)

UK truck sector concerned by recent report

The “Road to Zero” has raised fears among industry executives (The Truck Expert)

Roadrunner in danger of losing NYSE listing

Its stock price and market cap have fallen below benchmarks but it is attempting re-capitalization (Roadrunner press release)

Final Thoughts

Tomorrow is the final day in which people can comment on proposed changes to the Hours of Service rule. The request for comments came from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the responses run well into the thousands. In this era of Facebook-Twitter “comments” that appear to have gotten about a half-second’s worth of thought before getting published, it’s clear that the commenters on the possible HOS changes have given what they wrote a lot of thought. It’s hard to imagine FMCSA, after reading all of these comments, won’t do something. Just what isn’t clear. The more radical proposals that FMCSA is seeking comments on are from an OOIDA proposal that could effectively push the 14-hour day to a 17-hour day. Will it go that far? We don’t know, but can FMCSA possibly take in all these comments and just choose to stand pat?

Hammer down everyone!


F3: Future of Freight Festival


The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.