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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 .

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Survey shows wellness trends within transportation industry

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In the Atlas survey, 33% of the participants had at least three out of five conditions, among which is hypertension. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — In the third white paper in a series of research examining demographic and wellness trends within the transportation industry, Atlas Injury Prevention Solutions reveals the correlation between certain physical and behavioral elements and the risks to employee health and wellness.

The newly released white paper titled Relationship between Demographics and Wellness in the Transportation Industry details the results of a five-year study of 15,165 drivers and non-drivers employed in terminals, warehouses, shops and offices..

Factors measured include body mass index (BMI), tobacco use, age and gender and how these factors impact driver and non-driver health.

The paper, an expansion of two previous papers in the series, outlines potential risk factors that contribute to health concerns facing drivers.

Findings in the paper include:

  • Increased risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Of the 15,165 participants who completed biometric screening, 33% had at least three out of five conditions involved with metabolic syndrome (MetS), which includes hypertension, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Individuals who have a combination of three or more of these factors have an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
  • Increased percentage of MetS in younger drivers. Drivers between ages 40 and 59 years shared the same risks as their 60-plus year-old counterparts.
  • Tobacco use and drivers. Drivers are 130% more likely to smoke than their non-driver counterparts.
  • The need for targeted training/wellness programs. Addressing BMI as a medical condition, understanding health risks associated with aging, adopting smoking cessation programs, and targeting drivers for training/wellness programs can decrease development of MetS conditions and slow the rate at which MetS risks increase with age.

“Our goal with this paper is to inform health and safety professionals in the transportation industry on how to identify and prioritize higher-risk drivers,” said James Landsman, president of Atlas IPS. “In the white paper, we use the results of our analysis to identify and justify recommendations to help companies reduce risk exposure and ensure better employee health and wellness.”

To view the full Atlas white paper, titled Relationship between Demographics and Wellness in the Transportation Industry, visit .

 

 

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Spot market truckload volumes disappoint in May; June called pivotal month

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The chart compares DAT spot market van volume and rates. (Courtesy: DAT SOLUTIONS)

PORTLAND, Ore. — Spot truckload freight volumes failed to meet expectations in May, said DAT Solutions, which operates the largest truckload freight marketplace in North America.

The number of full-truckload van loads moved on the spot market declined 12% in May compared to April, according to the DAT Truckload Volume Index. Van load counts were down 10% compared to May 2018. Van trailers haul approximately 70% of all truckload freight.

“Simply put, May was a disappointment in terms of load counts,” said DAT Senior Industry Analyst Mark Montague. “We’re accustomed to seeing higher volumes of retail goods, fresh produce, construction materials, and other seasonal spot truckload freight moving through supply chains at this time of year.”

Uncertainty over trade agreements and slumping imports from China seemed to dampen truckload demand. Record rainfalls, flooding, and tornadoes also hampered freight movements in many parts of the country.

Agriculture producers saw their supply chains disrupted by the weather, with many harvests ruined or delayed. As a result, refrigerated volumes declined 8.3% month over month and fell 12% year over year.

Flatbed load volume, which includes heavy machinery and construction material, dropped 9.3% month over month and 3.1% year over year.

Spot truckload rates continued to track well below last year’s record levels.

Compared to April, the national average spot van rate was virtually unchanged at $1.80 per mile, including a fuel surcharge. That’s 35 cents below the average for May 2018. The average reefer rate was $2.15 per mile, 1 cent higher than April and 38 cents lower than May 2018. The flatbed rate averaged $2.27 per mile, down 5 cents compared to April and 45 cents lower year over year.

“After a lackluster May, June is shaping up to be a pivotal month for trucking,” Montague said. “We will know soon whether the volumes we expected in May were simply delayed. If so, the pent-up demand could boost seasonal volumes at the close of Q2.”

The DAT Truckload Freight Volume Index is based on load counts and per-mile rates recorded in DAT RateView, with an average of 3 million freight moves per month. Spot market information is based on transactions arranged by third-party logistics (3PL) companies, while contract volumes and rates are arranged between shippers and carriers, with no intermediary.

DAT market trends and data insights are derived from 256 million annual freight matches and a database of $60 billion in annual market transactions. Related services include a comprehensive directory of companies with business history, credit, safety, insurance, and company reviews; broker transportation management software; authority, fuel tax, mileage, vehicle licensing, and registration services; and carrier onboarding.

 

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act had positive impact on owner-operators

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Because of the Tax Cuts and Job Act, owner-operator taxable income increased 21% while actual tax liability increased only 12.6%, according to American Truck For Business Services. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Preliminary data based on over 3,000 tax returns indicate that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act had an overall positive impact on owner-operators in the trucking industry, according to American Truck For Business Services (ATBS).

ATBS has observed the following statistics related to how owner-operators fared on 2018 taxes.

First, the average owner-operator’s taxable adjusted gross income (AGI) went from $43,093 in 2017 to $52,180 in 2018.

This was an increase of $9,087 or 21%. The increase was predominantly related to a booming year in the transportation industry.

During the same time, the average owner-operator total tax liability went from $8,242 (2017) to $9,284 (2018). This was a much smaller increase of $1,042 or 12.6%.

The overall effective tax rate for owner-operators went from 19.1% (2017) to 17.8% (2018) or a reduction of 1.3%. The net result is that owner-operator taxable income increased 21% while actual tax liability increased only 12.6%.

Following are some of the specific reasons for the reduction in owner-operator tax liability.

  • 68% of ATBS owner-operator clients took advantage of the qualified business income education with an average of $6,235 being deducted from their tax liability. This was a new deduction for 2018 as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • The average client’s standard deduction went from $9,439 to $18,862. The number of drivers filing the standard deduction increased from 71% to 94%. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act essentially doubled the standard deduction for most tax filers.
  • The average owner-operator depreciation deduction increased from $17,072 (2017) to $20,965 (2018). The significant increase in depreciation was a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowing faster depreciation methods than prior years.

The only negative consequence of 2018 taxes was the number of drivers that paid the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalty. In 2018, 28% of ATBS clients paid the penalty with an average penalty amount of $1,027. However, this mandate will no longer be in effect for 2019 taxes.

Overall, statistics from ATBS show that owner-operator clients enjoyed a mostly positive impact from the changes that came with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

American Truck For Business Services is the largest tax, consulting and bookkeeping firm in the transportation industry with over 20 years of experience working with owner-operators and independent contractors.

For more information, visit .

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