Welcome to the WHAT THE TRUCK?!? Newsletter presented by Frayt. In this issue, Yellow’s bankruptcy; the market shows signs of life; trucking scams; and more.

Line goes up


Signs of life — The Southeast and West regions are hitting the freight market with a defibrillator as we move out of a flatline in outbound tender volumes. FreightWaves’ Tanner DeHart tweeted, “Outbound Truckload Demand showing signs of life after a 9 month stretch of practically flatlining. OTVI crossed above 11,250 today on the SONAR index, 14% increase since February. We have not seen these levels since Nov 22.”

Likely due to the recent small uptick in the rejection rates we have seen in the west from the spark of spot freight, causing shippers to have to tender a load more then once. But I also think a part of it is due to the 20%+ increase we have seen in Total Inbound Ocean Shipments. pic.twitter.com/TfTdjCJYyN

— Tanner DeHart (@TannerDeHartFW) July 26, 2023

“It’s possible that the government stimulus from the Build Back Better, Inflation Reduction Act and infrastructure bill could be driving some upstream activity in freight which would explain the unusual change in volumes this time of year.” FreightWaves CEO and founder Craig Fuller

Spotty rates — While volumes may be up, in a sea of excess capacity it hasn’t had much impact on spot rates. FreightWaves’ National Truckload Index has averaged $2.23 since early April. Today it sits a penny under that at $2.22. FreightWaves’ Luke Falasca adds, “We have yet to see an uptick in truckload rates or tender rejections indicating capacity is absorbing this volume uptick with no problem.”

Shouldn’t be a surprise at this point but according to my sources, Yellow is done and just clearing freight $yell pic.twitter.com/LeCHNywMre

— Dooner (@TimothyDooner) July 26, 2023

Is Yellow a catalyst or a cataleast? — With the largest bankruptcy in trucking history reported to go down Monday at Yellow, 22,000 Teamsters will be out of work and more than 14,000 trucks will be out of capacity. Surely the largest bankruptcy in history should have a large impact on the market, right?

While we are seeing early indications on contract LTL pricing, FreightWaves Zach Strickland remains cautious. With the UPS strike averted, we may have dodged an extremely chaotic scenario.

“I don’t think this is going to be the one to turn the market, there’s plenty of capacity available. … I think that sector is more well positioned for Yellow failing versus a UPS strike.” Zach Strickland on WHAT THE TRUCK?!?

The Teamsters members at Yellow are not happy about losing their jobs. pic.twitter.com/g6CXFVqvZE

— Justin Martin (@supertrucker) July 27, 2023

What now? Michael Bookout at MyCarrierTMS sees TForce, ArcBest and Roadrunner picking up the slack, although not at Yellow rates. A bigger concern is freight already within Yellow’s network and what will become of that post-bankruptcy.

The other concern is 30,000 supply chainers left in the lurch looking for new jobs. If you have openings for drivers and/or operations people, please email me and I’ll help distribute.

Driver alert: Look out for these trucking scams

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office

Scam 1: Truckjacking — Memphis, Tennessee, cops collared a pair of alleged truckjackers after a series of commercial vehicle thefts. WREG reported, “In both instances, the truck drivers said someone booted their big rigs, forced them to pay a fee, pulled them from their vehicles and took their trucks.”

In both cases the scam worked like this: A driver returned to his truck to discover it booted. From there a group of armed men demanded a $265 fee to get it unbooted. Once the driver paid, the scammers claimed he didn’t and had security remove the driver from the vehicle. The trucks were then towed to A1’s Towing and Hauling.

The incidents took place at the Shelby Express truck stop on Shelby Drive and in the 3400 lot off Lamar Avenue.

“If you’re dealing with a reputable broker, they are not going to ask you for a copy of your driver’s license. … If they’re requesting it, that’s a red flag.” OOIDA’s Crystal Minardi on LandLine Now

Scam 2: DOT number jacking —Landline reported, “Scammers are exploiting a recent ‘temporary adjustment’ made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for carriers updating their MCS-150 via the manual form.” 

How does it work? Scammers request a copy of the driver’s CDL and they “then use the copy of the CDL to change your MCS-150 information, hijacking your DOT number.”
How do you stop it? Minardi advises you to check your DOT number, avoid shady brokers and vet them via FMCSA’s SAFER site.

Ten year anniversary of Storrowed being in Urban Dictionary

Someone added the term “storrowed” to Urban Dictionary in 2013. pic.twitter.com/xh7hWlH9kk

— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) July 27, 2023

Fellow Massholes Anybody who has spent a little time in Boston knows of the daily phenomenon known as Storrowing, named after Storrow Drive, a road that gets truck drivers caught in it like one of Jigsaw’s traps. These occurrences happen so often on that roadway that Boston.com put a piece out about it two years ago when in August a truck struck a bridge every single day of the month.



Can opener Fortunately, this isn’t totally the fault of professional drivers. In fact, most Storrowings involve box trucks driven by movers and students pouring into the city every fall.

WTT Friday

Yellow’s bankruptcy, port strikes and Mackonomics for owner-operators On Friday’s episode of WHAT THE TRUCK?!?, I’m talking about the impending bankruptcy at Yellow that’s reported to go down Monday. What’s next for the company, what are employees saying and what options are out there for the displaced?

CNBC’s Lori Ann LaRocco gets us up to date on labor action at West Coast ports. With an on-again, off-again strike up in Canada, what impact is this having on freight and rail? Plus, could SoCal ports be next?

Trauxit’s Joe Stevens went from being an over-the-road driver to owning more than 750 assets. We’ll take a trip through his career journey and find out about his latest venture, Trauxit.

Hell Bent Xpress’ Jamie Hagen comes from the school of Mackonomics. He’ll give us a crash course in being an owner-operator, managing fuel and knowing your costs.

Plus, is it 2014 again? Dooner has been called upon to do an ice bucket challenge.

Catch new shows live at noon ET Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on FreightWaves LinkedIn, Facebook or YouTube, or on demand by looking up WHAT THE TRUCK?!? on your favorite podcast player.

Now on demand

Focus turns from Brown to Yellow; the great ShipHero warehouse tour; and Nikolas reignite

Yellow drivers speak out; UPS backup plans; beating cancer; and a down market

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The post Signs of life and destruction in the land of freight appeared first on FreightWaves.

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