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J.B. Hunt now offering trailer pool, drop-and-hook service

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J.B. Hunt’s 360box will introduce a pool of 500 additional 53-foot trailers that businesses can reserve for drop trailer purposes, with plans to accelerate the available units as market demand grows. (Courtesy: J.B. HUNT

LOWELL, Ark. — J.B. Hunt Transport Services is now offering a new trailer pool and drop-and-hook service, J.B. Hunt 360box, that the carrier says will improve the efficiency of freight operations for businesses and carriers.

Launching this summer, 360box will introduce a pool of 500 additional 53-foot trailers that businesses can reserve for drop trailer purposes, with plans to accelerate the available units as market demand grows.

Carriers will make offers to transport the trailers using Carrier 360 by J.B. Hunt, the company’s digital freight matching platform designed to help carriers save money, spend more time driving, and have an overall better experience. The new service is a part of J.B. Hunt’s continued effort to create the most efficient transportation network in North America, according to John Roberts, president and CEO.

“360box adds capacity to a customer’s supply chain while moving more freight in a way that’s efficient for both the customer and the carrier,” Roberts said. “Usually only large carriers with available resources can provide this type of drop-trailer service. By using our trailers, however, shippers with consistent freight can now connect with the power of small carriers and owner operators, which together represent 83% of all drivers.”

By eliminating the immediate need to load and unload trailers, 360box will prevent the loss in productivity that can occur during a live delivery such as dock door wait and detention, Roberts said. Drivers simply drop the trailer in a designated area and go on to their next load. The service offers shippers flexibility with their freight management, adds capacity to their supply chain, and provides access to one of the industry’s largest power-only carrier bases. For carriers, 360box eliminates the operational cost of maintaining trailers and increases driver productivity.

“As much as one-third of a driver’s day includes idle time and empty miles,” said Shelley Simpson, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of J.B. Hunt. “When considering there are 3.5 million drivers, that’s a lot of waste. 360box is designed to transform that inefficiency into productivity, keeping drivers on the move with full trailers.”

360box trailers will be equipped with technology that provides end-to-end load tracking and monitoring. The company completed installation of tracking technology on all 100,000-plus company trailers and containers in 2018.

“J.B. Hunt has a continued commitment to developing innovative solutions that address the supply chain’s evolving digital needs,” Simpson said.

In 2017, the company announced a five-year, $500 million investment dedicated to creating disruptive technology and enhancing operating systems and infrastructure. The investment is advancing J.B. Hunt’s ability to see deeper within the supply chain, add new automation capabilities, and draw top talent in technology, engineering, data science, and logistics.

For more information, visit www.jbhunt.com.

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ATA For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index surges 7.4% in April

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Compared with April 2018, the SA index increased 7.7%, the largest year-over-year gain since July. (The Trucker file photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. — American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index surged 7.4% in April after decreasing 2% in March. In April, the index equaled 121.8 (2015=100) compared with 113.4 in March.

“The surge in truck tonnage in April is obviously good for trucking, but it is important to examine it in the context of the broader economy,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “February and March were particularly weak months, as evidenced by the 3.5% dip in tonnage due to weather and other factors, so some of the gain was a catch-up effect. In addition, the Easter holiday was later than usual, likely pushing freight that would ordinarily be moved in March into April.

“I do not think the fundamentals underlying truck tonnage are as strong as April’s figure would indicate, but this may signal that any fears of a looming freight recession may have been overblown,” he said.

March’s reading was revised up compared with our April press release.

Compared with April 2018, the SA index increased 7.7%, the largest year-over-year gain since July.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 117.7 in April, 1% above March level (116.6). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.

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ACT says trailer order volume soft in second straight month

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This chart compares trailer order volume for three years. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — ACT Research’s preliminary estimate for April 2019 net trailer orders is 14,500 units.

Final volume will be available later this month. ACT’s methodology allows the company to generate a preliminary estimate of the market that should be within +/- 3% of the final order tally.

“Order volume was soft in April for the second straight month. Several factors appear to be in play. OEMs continue to be reticent to fully open 2020 orderboards. This is evident in our measurement of the extent of the industry’s backlog, which has remained in the November or December timeframe throughout the first four months of 2019,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research. “While we hear comments of some fleets anxiously awaiting the chance to snap up 2020 build slots, some also appear to be evaluating their existing commitments. Cancellations in April were the highest since August 2016 on both a unit and percent of backlog basis, and have remained elevated since December. That resulted in an interesting dichotomy in April orders; while new orders were actually up versus March, cancellations were significant enough to pull the net order number into the red month-over-month.”

Maly said while down slightly from March, production continues at a brisk pace, although material/component availability and staffing continue to challenge OEMs. Seasonal patterns actually called for a slight increase for April production, so that small sequential decline likely confirms the impact of the aforementioned headwinds.

“Additionally, our discussions indicate that red-tagged units continue to challenge OEM production efficiency,” he said.

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets.

ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies.

More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

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Price of diesel inches up three-tenths of a penny

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Overall, the price for the week ending was down 11.4 cents a gallon lower than last year.

WASHINGTON — The average on-highway price of a gallon of diesel increased three-tenths of one cent to $3.163 for the week ending May 20, according to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy.

The increase was precipitated by a 1.1-cent increase in the Rocky Mountain states (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana) and a 1-center increase in the Central Atlantic states (New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland).

The largest decrease was five-tenths of a penny in the Lower Atlantic states (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia).

Two regions remained the same as last week.

Overall, the price is down 11.4 cents a gallon lower than last year.

For a complete list of prices by region for the past three weeks, click here.

 

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