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USA Truck rebrands to focus on comprehensive capacity solutions

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VAN BUREN, Ark. —USA Truck, a capacity solutions provider headquartered in Van Buren, Arkansas, has updated its branding as “USAT Capacity Solutions.”

The new branding better reflects a focus on comprehensive capacity solutions offerings that enhance the customer experience and service quality, according to James Reed, president and CEO.

The company is focused on being a top service organization that improves the customer experience via more comprehensive solutions offerings, more efficient processes, and better customer-facing systems, Reed said.

This rebranding reflects the shift toward customer experience as among the company’s highest priorities.

“The USA Truck brand needed to be refreshed to bring clarity and unity to all of our service offerings as the company moves toward excellence and growth,” said Tim Guin, EVP and chief commercial officer. “The brand is one of the most recognized brands not only in our industry but also throughout the country.”

The company now offers access to additional capacity far beyond the 2,000+ tractor asset fleet. USAT Capacity Solutions offers dedicated; intermodal COFC and TOFC solutions; Logistics solutions with over 15,000 trucking partners offering Dry Van, Refrigerated, Flatbed, Heavy Haul, and other modes. Mexico continues to be significant to the current and future growth plans for the business.

“We want customers to think of USAT Capacity Solutions as the ‘go to’ provider when they have challenges in their supply chain. Our new marketing brand is more consistent with our stated strategy and organizational priorities,” Reed said.

For more information, visit www.usa-truck.com or www.usatlogistics.com

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Daseke names Chris Easter as chief operating officer

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Chris Easter brings more than 30 years of operational leadership experience to Daseke. (Courtesy: DASEKE)

ADDISON, Texas — Daseke, a flatbed and specialized transportation and logistics provider in North America, has named Chris Easter as the company’s chief operating officer.

Easter brings Daseke more than 30 years of operational leadership serving in key transportation and logistics roles with the United States Army, Walmart and Schneider National.

For the past six years, he served as CEO of Keen Transport, a specialized transportation, warehouse, and logistics company focused on serving the industrial equipment market.

During more than a decade with Walmart, he was responsible for overseeing the transportation of goods from around the world.

Easter graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point; he then served in the U.S. Army, where he was a leader in heavy machinery logistics.

Easter was awarded the Bronze Star during Operation Desert Storm.

Believing in giving back to the industry, he serves the industry on the Board of Directors for the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA).

As COO, Easter will be responsible for overseeing the industry-leading scale that Daseke has built over the last decade-plus, according to Don Daseke, chairman and CEO.

His efforts will be geared towards driving organic revenue growth, expanding EBITDA margins and maximizing free cash flow, Daseke said.

“Chris Easter’s in-depth knowledge of flatbed and specialized transportation, broad background in large- scale logistics, and proven ability to build and lead teams gives me great confidence in the bright future for both Chris and Daseke,” Daseke said “He has gained my respect, as we have built our relationship over the past several years. Daseke has the deepest management talent bench in flatbed and specialized transportation. Chris is the right person to lead our operations and develop our people’s talent as we fully leverage the scale we have built.”

“I’ve watched Don and the Daseke team build an exceptional organization focused on flatbed and specialized transportation and logistics, to where Daseke is uniquely positioned and respected in the marketplace,” Easter said. “I am excited to work with the entire team to enhance our growth while continuing to deliver superior customer service.”  8

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Cass Index: Despite December declines, transportation shows strong economy

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With all of 2018 in the record books, it is clear that 2018 was an extraordinarily strong year for transportation and the economy, Cass Information Systems said in its December report. ©2019 Fotosearch

ST. LOUIS — December was a month of growing uncertainty and severe declines in the U.S. financial markets as equity valuations fell (the Dow Jones fell from 25,826 on December 3 to as low as 21,792 on December 24), most commodity prices continued to be weak (oil, copper, lumber, etc.), and interest rates declined (after peaking at 3.24 percent on November 8, the 10-year Treasury yield fell from 3.01 percent on November 30 to 2.56 percent on January 3).

Large multi-national companies lowered guidance and blamed slowing rates of activity in Europe and — to a lesser extent — Asia. Trade talks with China continued without resolution, and indications that the Chinese economy is beginning to suffer began to leak out.

But despite all the “hand-wringing” on Wall Street, the transportation economy continues to signal economic expansion, according to the December Cass Information Systems Freight Index Report prepared by Donald Broughton, founder and managing partner of Broughton Capital, a deep data-driven quantimental economic and equity research firm.

“The uninfluenced-by-human-emotion hard data of physical goods flow confirms that people are still making things, shipping things and buying/consuming things, perhaps not at the scorching pace attained earlier this year, but still at an above-average pace,” Broughton wrote.

The report said industry stakeholders were not yet alarmed about the volume of shipments going negative for the first time in 24 months (-0.8 percent in the month of December), in part because December 2017 was an all-time high for the month, and in part because of the stabilizing patterns seen in almost all of the underlying freight flows.

“However, we would be negligent if we did not acknowledge as we did in last month’s report two storm clouds on the economic horizon,” Broughton said.

Those are:

  • The tariffs and threats of even higher tariffs with China, the world’s second-largest economy (even though the latest headlines and tweets suggest that there may be a resolution). Tariffs have throttled volumes in some areas of the U.S. economy, most notably agriculture exports and other select raw materials.
  • The decline in WTI crude in December to as low as $42.50 a barrel. “This did not fall below the marginal cost of production for fracked crude in almost all areas of the U.S., but it made it less profitable and significantly lowered the incentive to drill ever more holes, effectively slowing the rate of growth in the industrial economy,” Broughton said, noting that crude’s recent rally (above $52 in mid-January) gives transportation a momentary sigh of relief. “Continued strength in the price of crude makes us more confident in our positive outlook for the U.S. industrial economy and less worried about global demand,” Broughton said.

“With all of 2018 ‘in the record books,’ it is clear that 2018 was an extraordinarily strong year for transportation and the economy,” Broughton said. “Every month from March to October exceeded all levels attained in all months in 2014 (a very strong year), while February was roughly equal to the peak month in 2014 (June 2014 – 1.201 vs February 2018 – 1.198), which is extraordinary.”

The Cass Expenditures Index is signaling continued overall pricing power for those in the marketplace who move freight.

Demand is exceeding capacity in most modes of transportation by a material amount. In turn, pricing power has erupted in those modes to levels that spark overall inflationary concerns in the broader economy.

With the Expenditures Index up 10.0 percent in December, Broughton said, Cass understood the concerns about inflation, but are comforted by four factors:

  1. Almost all modes of transportation are using the current environment of pricing power to create capacity, which will first dampen and eventually kill pricing power
  2. Spot pricing (not including fuel surcharges) in all three modes of truckload freight (dry van, reefer, and flatbed) has already been falling for six months
  3. The cost of fuel (and resulting fuel surcharges) is included in the Expenditures Index, and the cost of diesel was up 6.6 percent in December (but has been steadily falling in recent weeks, suggesting lower fuel surcharges in coming weeks), and
  4. Whether driven by capacity addition/creation or lower fuel surcharges — or a combination of both (our best guess) — the Expenditures Index was sequentially declining, before sequentially improving slightly (up 1.9 percent in December). The November Index was already down 4.9 percent from its peak in September, and down 2.4 percent from October.

To view the full report, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

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ACT Research: CV build strong in 2018, economic risks in sight

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Heavy-duty build rose 4,500 units above the OEMs plan for December. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS)

COLUMBUS, Ind. – The desire to get Class 8 trucks built and out the door for 2018 taxation benefits drove a build plan beat in December, according to ACT Research’s (ACT) latest State of the Industry: Classes 5-8 Report.

“Heavy-duty build rose 4,500 units above the plan in December, and we assume the surge was largely overtime based,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research president and senior analyst. “Indicative of current market strength, cancellations, which had been elevated, dropped to a five-month low.”

The report also noted that macro-economic indicators are flashing yellow, with concerns ranging from tariffs and trade wars to a global economic slowdown and falling commodity prices, as well as a flat yield curve, quantitative tightening, and sharply lower equity valuations.

OEMs experienced their best month of 2918 in December when the sale of 26,083 Class 8 trucks pushed the 2018 total to 250,627 units, an increase of 30.4 percent over 2017 when 192,243 units were sold, according to data provided by WardsAuto.

Regarding the medium duty markets, Vieth commented, “An in-line build rate allowed the medium duty backlog to end the year at a 12-plus year high, with benign cancellations. Unlike the heavy-duty segment, however, medium duty inventories remain elevated.”

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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