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U.S. Supreme Court rules carriers can’t force independent contractors into arbitration

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©2919 Fotosearch In its decision, the Supreme Court agreed with a lower court ruling that said under the Act, transportation workers included owner-operators as well as employees.

In a unanimous 8-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that trucking carriers can’t force independent contractors into arbitration.

In New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira, the court ruled January 15 that when contracts include mandatory arbitration clauses, drivers still have the right to seek court oversight to determine if such employment falls within the exceptions outlined in the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act related to employees involved in interstate commerce, and that these protections apply to both those classified as employees and as independent contractors.

In an arbitration, the parties give up the right to an appeal on substantive grounds to a court.

The Supreme Court sided with New Prime Inc. owner-operator Dominic Oliveira, who sued New Prime in a class action alleging that he and other drivers classified as independent contractors were really employees and as such, were being underpaid.

New Prime attorneys argued that Oliveira was prohibited from suing because as an independent contractor he signed an arbitration clause in which he agreed not to sue the company and instead reach an agreement through arbitration. He first filed the class action suit in 2015.

The Arbitration Act grants an exemption to transportation workers, and the high court held that Oliveira was included in that exemption.

In its decision, the court agreed with a First Circuit Court ruling that said under the Act, transportation workers included owner-operators as well as employees.

The high court did not, however, rule whether Oliveira was misclassified as an owner-operator rather than an employee, only that he was free to pursue his original lawsuit and have his day in court.

That leaves the question of misclassification for yet another round of lawsuits.

The American Trucking Associations protested the ruling, maintaining that resolving these issues by class action rather than arbitration will be more costly for the trucking industry and that those costs will be passed on along the supply chain.

The Teamsters Union, which is allowed under law to organize employees but not owner-operators, called the decision a “great victory for all workers in the transportation industry, including employees, legitimate independent contractors and drivers misclassified as independent contractors who are suffering egregious wage theft.”

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Schneider says it will use its assets to enhance middle mile capabilities

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With its acquisition of Watkins & Shepard Trucking in 2016, Schneider became a provider in first to final mile delivery of over-dimensional goods for omnichannel retailers and manufacturers. (Courtesy: SCHNEIDER)

GREEN BAY, Wis. —  With its end-to-end delivery portfolio, Schneider says it is able to deliver seamless shipping that keeps businesses one step ahead from the first to the final mile. The middle mile, which provides connectivity from and between local last-mile terminals, is equally as important as its first- and final-mile counterparts.

To optimize the movement of freight through its 24 terminal networks across 48 states, Schneider is broadening its middle-mile configuration to include its van truckload and intermodal owned assets, according to Rob Bulick, senior vice president and general manager of First to Final Mile.

With its acquisition of Watkins & Shepard Trucking in 2016, Schneider became a provider in first to final mile delivery of over-dimensional goods for omnichannel retailers and manufacturers.

Schneider now capitalizes on the full force of its broad network for the middle and final mile, with access to more than 10,700 trucks, 22,000 intermodal containers and a suite of technology tools for comprehensive freight management, Bulick said.

Throughout this process, Schneider is able to fully apply its proprietary network optimization system to freight within the middle mile to enhance consistency of the engineered network. An engineered network determines required departure and processing times, expected delivery times and regulates workflow through the terminals.

Schneider’s engineering management tools apply data-driven recommendations to optimize operations and manage the movement of freight through the middle mile. The overall engineered network will also contribute to standardizing pricing and transit, he said.

“Full incorporation of Schneider’s assets into the middle-mile service offering will reduce the number of freight handlings through the terminal network, ultimately reducing product claims. This optimization will also improve driver efficiency and increase consistency in service standards and delivery times,” Bulick said.

Along with middle-mile optimization, Schneider is implementing a standardized delivery day for ZIP codes, creating predictability.

Customers will be provided with the exact transit flow of their shipment, as well as a projected day and time for delivery from ZIP code to ZIP code for a holistic, end-to-end scheduled solution.

“A seamless delivery experience – whether it’s the first mile, the last mile or the miles in between – means there’s a consistent, reliable network working hard for a customer’s business,” Bulick said. “Expanding our middle-mile strength to include Schneider’s owned assets and data-driven network optimizations ensures we’re constantly meeting the high expectations for final-mile delivery that customers and consumers can depend on and trust.”

To learn more about how Schneider’s and Watkins’ end-to-end portfolio of services makes for smooth first to final mile deliveries, visit https://schneider.com/our-services/first-to-final-mile.

 

 

 

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No spring break for spot van, reefer rates

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The map shows the various rate ranges for van load to rate ratios. (Courtesy: DAT TRENDLINES)

PORTLAND, Ore. — National average spot van and refrigerated freight rates slipped again during the week ending April 13 as the number of load posts fell 4% while truck posts increased 3%.

The arrival of produce season in several southern markets failed to make up for the effects of more capacity in the spot market and bad weather across much of the country, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Here are the national average spot rates:

  • Van: $1.83/mile, 2 cents lower than the March average
  • Flatbed: $2.37/mile, 3 cents higher than March
  • Reefer: $2.15/mile, 2 cents lower than March

Van trends

How soft are spot van rates? Pricing was lower on 76 of the top 100 van lanes last week. Only 23 lanes saw rates rise and one lane was neutral.

Van load-to-truck ratios have not held up after a promising start to April, with the national average sitting at 1.3 loads for every available truck. The good news is that load counts rose nearly 5% in Chicago and Houston, and more than 3% in Los Angeles last week—major markets for spot van freight.

Markets to watch: Outbound rates were down from Los Angeles, Columbus, Ohio, Philadelphia, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte to Allentown, Pennsylvania, gave up 13 cents to $2.08/mile, and rates fell on two Buffalo-inbound lanes: Columbus to Buffalo, down 19 cents to $2.66/mile, and Chicago to Buffalo, off 19 cents to $2.31/mile.

Reefer trends

Prices rose on 38 of the top 72 reefer lanes last week. Thirty-one lanes were lower and three were neutral. Higher volume in Florida and California was balanced out by lower volume from the Upper Midwest and Texas, which hurt spot reefer pricing overall.

Markets to watch: Lakeland, Florida, volumes spiked nearly 27% last week while the average outbound rate climbed 2 cents to $1.57/mile. Let’s see if Lakeland rates trace the pattern in Miami, where a big jump in volume two weeks ago was followed by a nice gain in the average outbound rate ($1.80/mile, up 13 cents). Meanwhile, several lanes from Florida and California produced strong rates:

  • Fresno, California, to Denver up 40 cents to $2.24/mile
  • Fresno to Boston gained 19 cents to $2.23/mile
  • Miami to Baltimore up 29 cents to $2.00/mile
  • Miami to Elizabeth, New Jersey, rose 15 cents to $1.82/mile

The Imperial Valley is underperforming for reefer freight: last week the average outbound rate from Ontario, California, was $2.51/mile, down 8 cents, on 9% lower volume.

DAT Trendlines are generated using DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. The RateView database is comprised of more than $60 billion in freight payments. DAT load boards average 1.2 million load posts searched per business day.

For the latest spot market loads and rate information, visit dat.com/trendines and follow @LoadBoards on Twitter.

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March used truck sales down 14% from last year

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ACT Research Vice President Steve Tam said slowing growth in the freight market is also a likely contributor to the lower sales of used trucks. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Preliminary used Class 8 volumes (same dealer sales) jumped 25% month-over-month in March, following a modest decline in February, according to the latest preliminary release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks published by ACT Research. However, the report indicated that longer-term comparisons yielded a 14% decline compared to March 2018.

Other data released in ACT’s preliminary report included year-over-year comparisons for March 2019, which showed that average prices rose 7%, while average miles contracted 2%, and average age was 8% higher.

“We continue to hear from dealers that the lack of inventory is a limiting factor inhibiting sales volumes, an observation corroborated by the current demand and pricing environment,” said Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research. “Despite the impressive sequential increase, volumes remain well below last year’s year-to-date level. It is important to note that slowing growth in the freight market is also a likely contributor to the lower sales. Truckers may be getting to the point where they have the trucks necessary to meet their needed freight demand.”

ACT’s Classes 3-8 Used Truck Report provides data on the average selling price, miles, and age based on a sample of industry data. In addition, the report provides the average selling price for top-selling Class 8 models for each of the major truck OEMs – Freightliner (Daimler); Kenworth and Peterbilt (Paccar); International (Navistar); and Volvo and Mack (Volvo).

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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