Welcome to the WHAT THE TRUCK?!? Newsletter presented by Old Dominion Freight Line. In this issue, best areas for truckers with pets; imports nose-dive at Port of Los Angeles; UPS goes small; autonomous truck gets approved; and more.
Where to go when dog is your co-pilot
Dog days of summer — Life over the road can be a lonely journey, so it’s no surprise that over 40% of drivers bring pet(s) with them. In fact, back when I used to host FreightWaves Radio on Roaddog Trucking, our topic on whether dogs should be allowed in the cab received more callers than anything else we’d covered. People, and especially drivers, are passionate about their pets. But, with many rest stops doing a poor job of handling the needs of truckers themselves, what hope does a dog have of getting any special treatment?
“You’re alone with yourself for long periods, and having a companion helps. A little happiness boost gets you through.” — pet-owning trucker Sarah Giles to the NYT
Ask a driver — In honor of Bring Your Pet to Work day, TruckerPath “crowdsourced their driver pool of over 1 million active users to find the sweetest spots in the country for drivers with dogs based on two simple criteria: the presence of pet-friendly truck stops and hotels.” The results?
Most Pet Friendly Regions for Truck Drivers
Most Pet Friendly States for Truck Drivers
Most Pet Friendly Trucking Lanes
Imports nose-dive at Port of Los Angeles
Sea change — Back in the beginning of June, FreightWaves’ Henry Byers published an article about import demand falling off a cliff. Byers wrote, “Container imports bound for the U.S. have dropped over 36% since May 24.” Last week, the Port of Los Angeles saw a 40% week-over-week drop in container volume. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports that inbound container volumes across the top-10 U.S. ports have fallen on average 25% since May.
Turn down the volume —As FreightWaves CEO and founder Craig Fuller tweeted, “trucking conditions out of Los Angeles are trending towards a backhaul market.” Will that trend stick? It really depends on how import volumes develop as we edge toward back-to-school season and the holidays. While ocean and trucking rates are receding, plenty of shippers are still reporting excessive delays with retrieving containers from the yard. To the port’s credit, container dwell times are down 23% since Oct. 24, 2021, but they’re ticking back up. With warehouses and distribution centers filled to the brim, shippers are not feeling the same sense of urgency they were before. Look out for the inventory glut logjam.
UPS trucks go mini
A little something for you — The e-commerce and delivery boom saw explosive growth during the pandemic but for cities, it created a litany of issues like noise, congestion, pollution and parking violations. Last week, UPS unveiled a pilot program in NYC for its all-electric eQuad bikes aimed at curbing all of those problems listed above. Big Brown has some incentive to: In 2019 UPS paid over $23 million in parking fines in NYC alone. At only 34 inches wide, the eQuads are legally allowed to traverse bike lanes and pedestrian paths … however, that may cause a whole new nuisance.
Autonomous trucks get public road approval
“This machine just called me an a**hole!” — Man at ATM in “Maximum Overdrive”
Cyberpunk 2022 — Swedish FreightTech company Einride has received approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to operate its autonomous trucks on public roads right here in the USA. The trucks, known as Pods, have no driver or even any space for a driver to ride in the vehicle. Instead, they will be piloted by remote operators. According to the company, “The public road pilot, which will take place in Q3 of 2022, will be done at a GE Appliances manufacturing facility to complement other existing operations already in place together.”
Five-O — What happens when the cops pull over an autonomous vehicle? As Rooster reports, “Embark, self-described as “the longest running self-driving truck program,” has started training Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials on how to correctly engage their trucks and pull them over.” From the looks of this, SFPD may need some of that training next.
Friday on WTT
Fuel tax, autonomous trucks and NASA — We’re closing out the week on WTT with a deep dive on what the fuel tax holiday could mean for trucking. NASA takes us to the moon with a look at its Human Landing Systems program and the logistics behind the next generation of lunar lander. How Locomation is working with the DOT to get its autonomous vehicles on public roads. Plus, a roundup of all the latest news and trends of the week.
With special guests Tara Polsgrove, HLS program engineer at NASA; Michelle Chaka, director for safety assurance and standards at Locomation; John Kingston, editor at large, market expert at FreightWaves.
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