Used truck experts say flood-damaged passenger vehicles are much more common on the market than flood-damaged trucks, but truck customers still should use caution.
Although shoppers should consider if the truck is for sale in an area that’s sustained flood damage, the truck could easily have been taken to another region to sell. Wherever you’re shopping, choosing a reputable used truck dealer is a good first step, say market experts.
One obvious thing to check is if the truck has a salvage title, says Dan Jeske, vice president of purchasing and wholesale for Kansas City-based Arrow Truck Sales. Still, truck owners do not always turn in a flood-damage claim to insurance, he added, in which case it would not have a salvage title. Also, not every state requires vehicle titles to indicate flood damage, says Brittany Senary, a spokeswoman for Progressive Casualty Insurance Co.
“At Progressive, we have very strict guidelines on flood vehicles,” Senary says. “If water reaches the dash, or engine, the vehicle is considered a total loss and we would not repair that vehicle.”
Some existing consumer services attempt to trace records of vehicles damaged in floods and accidents, or those reported as stolen, but focus primarily on passenger vehicles. “A new service being introduced at the Great American Trucking Show will concentrate on commercial trucks,” says James Vogel, general manager of RigDig. RigDig will be the only service for used vehicle customers that’s for over-the-road trucks only. More information will be available at RigDig.com during GATS, which opens Aug. 25.
As for on-site inspections, buyers should look for a waterline on the truck, much like what you would see in a house with flooded drywall. That might be “caked mud high on the vehicle where water may have been pooled for some time and a mildew smell from the interior,” says Frank Scafidi, a former OTR owner-operator who’s now public affairs director for the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
A lot of people in this country have been laid off because of job cuts and the lagging economy. A lot of the people who were affected have found it very hard to find work. Many have ended up in the unemployment lines, but a few have decided to be proactive and are considering a career change. Some of the proactive people are getting training from a truck driving school. Our focus here is to help those that attended a truck driving school find a great trucking job.
The surge in trucking employment didn’t just resume in June; apparently it never stopped. While last month’s job report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated for-hire trucking companies had added only 100 jobs in May, the latest BLS report released July 8 revised those numbers to a 3,000-job increase in May and pegged the growth in June over May at 4,400.
Since the end of December, payroll employment in trucking is up nearly 27,000, according to the preliminary BLS figures. Since trucking employment bottomed out in March 2010, the industry has added 55,500 jobs.
Job growth in the rest of the economy isn’t so healthy. Nonfarm payroll employment edged up by just 18,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate actually ticked higher by one-tenth of a percentage point to 9.2 percent, according to initial BLS estimates. Modest gains in private employment were offset by 39,000 jobs lost in federal and state governments.
Compared to June 2010, payroll employment in trucking is up 3.9 percent. Total employment in trucking in June was nearly 1.283 million – down 170,500, or 11.7 percent, from peak trucking employment in January 2007.
The BLS numbers reflect all payroll employment in for-hire trucking, but they don’t include trucking-related jobs in other industries, such as a truck driver for a private fleet. Nor do the numbers reflect the total amount of hiring since they only include new jobs, not replacements for existing positions.
The American Trucking Associations and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association on June 8 called on the federal government to begin researching how standards for crashworthiness for heavy trucks could benefit truck drivers.
“NHTSA has continuously developed crashworthiness standards for automobiles and light trucks, but to date has generally not applied crashworthiness standards to commercial trucks,” the two groups wrote in a June 6 letter to David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “We believe there may be opportunities to enhance the survivability of professional truck drivers if appropriate, research-based uniform standards are developed.”
Specifically, ATA and OOIDA highlighted the need for improving cab structure and occupant restraints such as safety belts and airbags, strengthening windshields and doors to prevent occupant ejections, and installing more forgiving interior surfaces. “Our organizations believe that improvements in truck occupant safety can be achieved,” the letter concluded.
“Making our highways safer, especially for our drivers, is one of ATA’s highest priorities,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer.
Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president, said his group is “more than glad to join ATA in making this request to hold the safety of professional truck drivers to as high a standard as all other motor vehicle users.”
Incidents of freight thefts have been reported in April in Florida, Ohio, Indiana, New York and New Jersey, FreightWatch said. About 20 incidents were reported in April, compared with 24 for all of 2010, said FreightWatch’s Dan Burges.
The organization is warning shippers to ensure they are only releasing freight to known and verified transportation companies.
When we think of the importance of trailers in the society, we might be surprised to find out that the list could be particularly surprising. This equipment had proven its worth to many people. Trailers like the Aluminum Pickup Flat-beds, Aluminum Utility, ATV and Snowmobile Trailers, Car Haulers, Dump Trailers, Enclosed Cargo Trailers, Equipment Trailers, Steel Pickup Flat-beds, Steel Utility Trailers, and the Stock and Horse Trailers are all essential. They are necessary equipments used in business, transportation, leisure activities and family outings. Net commercial trailer orders in March rose 21 percent from February, while shipments increased 33 percent, ACT Research Co. said. ACT noted that shipments for the first quarter of 2011 were more than double compared with the same quarter last year. The company’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers reported that all trailer categories are showing substantial improvement compared with the previous year, led by the dry van segment with shipments up 198 percent for the year.
“Net orders have now grown for 18 consecutive months, as well as 19 of the past 20,” said Frank Maly, director CV Transportation Analysis and Research at ACT Research. “Total trailer net orders are now 98 percent above the level at this time last year. Shipments, up 109% year-to-date, are growing at an even stronger pace. Additionally, backlogs continue to grow. The stage is set for solid industry performance for the remainder of 2011 and throughout 2012.”
Since there are so many kinds of trailers that are available today, one should determine their purpose why they need to purchase a trailer. Trailers are an indispensable part of human lives. They help us carry or toll those heavy things that we need for business or personal needs.
The National Tank Truck Carriers announced its membership supports mandatory electronic logging devices for documentary compliance with hours-of-service rules. NTTC said it voted to support the electronic logging mandate last July but withheld making a public announcement pending any related developments in the HOS rulemaking.
“Personally, as a former professional driver myself, I’ve been a strong proponent of in-cab technology for years,” said Steve Rush, NTTC chairman and chief executive officer of New Jersey-based Carbon Express. “Our NTTC membership recognizes that ELDs will allow all carriers to equally police themselves, which can only lead to safer, better operations across the board. ELD technology will also greatly contribute to improved working conditions for our professional drivers, which will be a large factor as capacity tightens and driver recruiting grows more challenging.”
The American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association and National Private Truck Council also have voiced support for EOBRs, which would become mandatory for interstate haulers that are required to maintain records-of-duty status under a pending Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rulemaking.
In its ninth acquisition in 15 months, FleetPride is buying 13 Midway Truck Parts locations in Illinois and one in St. Louis, Mo. Midway Truck Parts was founded in 1978 by Pete Pasdach, president, and Rich Murawski, vice president.
Murawski will join FleetPride in his operational role. Pasdach will lead FleetPride’s Midwest Region in his new role as regional vice president – Midwest Region.
The Midway Trailer Sales & Service division is not part of this agreement and will continue to operate as a separate company.
A major issue, said Plaxton, is that companies such as FleetPride are increasingly negotiating exclusivity performance contracts with vendors. FleetPride could potentially become the exclusive supplier of some parts. This is not likely to matter for major fleets of 1,000 or more power units because they can leverage so much purchasing power. But there may be negative implications for small- to mid-size fleets and the independent distributors they buy from.
A more immediate concern with the acquisition of Midway is Vipar, the marketing group headquartered in Crystal Lake, Ill. However, Steve Crowley, president and CEO of Vipar, said Midway was one of 118 buyers at Vipar, comprising only around 3 percent of business.
Moving forward, there is a strong possibility of more large acquisitions. Many dealers and distributors with depleted balance sheets from the recession are looking for an exit strategy.
USA Truck on Thursday, April 21, announced base revenue of $99.7 million for the first quarter ended March 31, an increase of 11.7 percent from $89.2 million for the same quarter of 2010. The company incurred a net loss of $2.7 million compared to a net loss of $3.0 million.
“While we made substantial strategic progress during the quarter, our advances were almost entirely offset by exogenous factors,” said Cliff Beckham, president and chief executive officer of Van Buren, Ark.-based USA Truck. “We posted healthy revenue growth, particularly in our SCS and Intermodal service offerings, and we improved our earnings per share through continued execution of our VEVA (Vision for Economic Value Added) strategic plan. However, rising fuel prices, unusually harsh winter weather, increased government regulation and a tightening market for drivers combined to significantly and adversely impact our results.”
Trucking companies should take advantage of today’s economic recovery because it will be relatively brief by historical standards, and then the economy will fall back into recession, an FTR Associates economist forecast said April 19 in a CCJ online seminar.
“You better make hay now because after two or three years we’ll be right back in recession,” said Noel Perry, FTR managing director and senior consultant. “You only have a few years to put aside savings you’ll need for the next downturn.”
One reason he’s pessimistic is the weak housing industry outlook. Housing ownership is down and housing starts will remain low for many years to come. Construction and housing, which accounts for 14 percent of trucking freight, represented 37 percent of trucking’s decline since 2006.
Another problem that will make for a volatile market is the high level of federal debt and its impact on long-term interest rates. “Sometime in this decade, probably after the next election, we’re going to have to confront this problem,” Perry said.
Until that happens, trucking stands to prosper in the next few years. Manufacturing growth is outpacing nonmanufacturing and contributing to freight increases for trucking and other transportation sectors, Perry said.