Washington is once again working to address infrastructure spending. They may kick the can down the road with a temporary bill and follow up with a more permanent solution. Options being discussed in the public sphere include raising the retail and/or wholesale fuel tax or repatriating foreign earnings taxes. Read more on infrastructure funding and other relevant transportation industry news in this month’s Market Update, and then share your thoughts on these topics.
Large Scale Market Indicators
Overall truckload capacity—as measured by the millions of truck posts on DAT load boards—is higher than it has been in the past two years. Tight capacity still exists, but it is a regional and local issue, as opposed to a national issue, where trucks are hard to find in certain markets at certain times of the year.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach achieved a post-congestion milestone this week, with no container vessels arriving for brief periods on two separate days. Read more.
According to DAT Solutions, there has been a decline of load posts and slightly more truck posts each week since the end of March within the spot market. Rates have started drifting down for vans, temperature controlled, and flatbeds. Fuel surcharges drive the total rate lower, but even the line haul portion of the rate is beginning to drop.
Seasonal volumes will kick in soon, which will boost rates. This is typical for May and June—especially for temperature controlled trucks—due to high demand generated by fruit and vegetable harvests in the Southeast, Southwest, Texas, and parts of California. Read more.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) is seeking a licensing reform to help trucking operators recruit 18-20 year olds as apprentices. By the time they are 21, potential truck drivers who are not college-bound have probably already been working elsewhere for three years. That makes recruiting young people as truck drivers, which is already a challenge given the demanding nature of the job, difficult. The ATA favors a graduated licensing system to help get younger drivers in trucks. Read more.
Robyn Boerstling, director of transportation and infrastructure policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), shared her thoughts on how Congress is tackling the funding of the next highway bill, more formally known as the surface transportation authorization. “As the May 31 deadline for the MAP-21 authorization approaches, Congress is likely to come up with a temporary patch while having serious debate about long-term transportation funding,” Robyn said.
For the second week in a row, diesel prices are rising. The 3.1 cent increase brings this week’s average price to $2.811. California has the country’s most expensive diesel at $3.156 per gallon, followed by the Central Atlantic region at $3.11. The Gulf Coast region, at $2.683 per gallon, is the cheapest.
Which transportation indicators or topics are most relevant to your interests? Leave your suggestions in the comment section.