Your Trucking Brief for the Week…What You Need to Know About the Latest Industry Happenings

Rhode Island Tolls

Three years ago, a proposal was brought forth that would install toll fees on trucks traveling within Rhode Island as part of a $5-billion RhodeWorks Infrastructure Plan.  The tolls kicked off this week, charging truckers $3.25 and $3.50 near exits 2 and 5 on I-95.  While only charging truckers “once per day in each direction,” opponents are rallying against the tolls arguing that truckers should not have to endure the entire burden when they make up only 2% of the traffic on that strip of the interstate (1, 2).  Additionally, congestion will get even worse as trucks try to avoid toll roads.  According to The Providence Journal, the Rhode Island Trucking Association President Chris Maxwell stated that truckers were “more than likely” to take court action against the tolls. (3)

Truck Orders Climb as Need Tightens

Truck orders increased 110% in May 2018 compared to May 2017, as carriers frantically add to their fleets trying to keep up with rising demand. (4)  Last April, freight increased by 9.5% year-over-year while early June recorded 8.4 trailer loads for every available truck. (4)

Driver Turnover Rate

Driver turnover reached 94% in 2018’s 1st quarter, increasing 20 percentage points year-over-year for large truckload carriers (those having over $30 million in annual revenue), dropped to 73% for small truckload carriers (but remained 7 points higher YOY), and rose 2 points to 10% for LTL carriers, according to the American Trucking Associations. (5)  As the ATA’s Chief Economist Bob Costello notes, “Turnover is not a measure of the driver shortage, but rather of demand for drivers.” (5)

ELD Agricultural Exemption

Last week, an agricultural exemption was published in the Federal Register and will remain in effect for 5 years. (6)  The exemption states that an agricultural hauler is allowed to travel 150 miles to and from packinghouses, cold storage facilities, grain elevators and sale barns before starting the driver’s ELD (electronic logging device), recognizing that “perishable commodities can be harmed if the transportation network is not responsive during harvest and planting times.” (7)

Diesel Prices

May experienced an increase in diesel prices for three weeks straight, but that trend is coming to end.  In the first two weeks of June, diesel prices finally found some relief, with an average drop of 1.9 cents yesterday, according to the Energy Information Administration. (8)  Even so, diesel still remains 74.2 cents higher year-over-year. (8)

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