Latest Industry News Brief Courtesy of PMTA

April 2024

Truckstop and Bloomberg Intelligence Survey Shows Spot Market Challenges Appear Near an End

 BOISE, ID…  According to the latest Bloomberg | Truckstop survey, which polled owner-operators and small fleets, most respondents believe that current demand has reached its bottom.

 “The worst may be near for the North American truckload spot market,” said Lee Klaskow, senior freight transportation and logistics analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.  “Capacity could drop as rates hover near or below operating costs, which is crucial for the spot market to reach equilibrium.”

 The Bloomberg | Truckstop 4Q23 Truckload Survey shows: 

 * Demand challenges may have hit bottom: Demand remained pressured in 4Q as 68% of respondents noted lower volume and 23% reported loads were flat. Most respondents appeared to believe that current demand has reached its low point, with 40% predicting flat volume over the next 3-6 months, 10 percentage points higher than in the 3Q survey.

o Carriers are still reluctant to buy additional tractors, with only 14% saying they might make a purchase over the next six months. Weak demand was cited by 44% as the main reason for not buying equipment.

* Spot rates may have hit bottom: Most carriers believe that spot rates excluding fuel surcharges are bouncing along a bottom, with an average 14% drop for respondents in 4Q. Such rates likely will remain flat in the next 3-6 months, according to 46% of respondents, while 32% anticipate declines and 22% expect improvement.

* Carriers remain resolute: Loads dropped an average of 13% in 4Q amid a soft economy and tough comparisons. This has created uncertainty for many owner operators, with 43% unsure about their status in six months and 12% looking to leave the industry.

 “We share the sentiments of our customers and hold an optimistic outlook that spot market conditions will improve this year,” said Kendra Tucker, chief executive officer, Truckstop. “Built on top of the most trusted freight network in North America, Truckstop is committed to empowering carriers with our unmatched portfolio of technology solutions they need to run their business in this dynamic landscape.”

 The Bloomberg | Truckstop survey of owner-operators and small fleets provides timely channel checks into the health of the spot market. The sample size was 148, consisting of dry-van, flatbed, temperature-controlled and specialized/diversified, hot-shot and step-deck carriers. Of the respondents, 52% operate just one tractor. 

 The complete survey is available to Bloomberg Terminal subscribers via BI.

 To learn how Truckstop is helping move the freight community forward, visit

 Visit Bloomberg at or request a demo.

Heavy-Duty Repair Shop Counter Sales and Labor Rates Rose in 2023, Per Latest Data

 New Orleans, LA…  A new report from the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council, in partnership with Fullbay, has found that counter sales and labor rates rose significantly in 2023 from the previous year. 

Heavy-duty repair shops around the country reported up to a 40% increase in counter sales last year when compared to 2022, while at the same time, labor rates went up approximately $10 per hour, according to the groups’ fourth annual State of Heavy-Duty Repair Report.  

“Our most extensive report to date, the fourth annual edition, brims with valuable data and analysis tailored to assist repair shops in optimizing their operations,” said Fullbay CEO Patrick McKittrick. “This all-encompassing report serves as a valuable resource for shop owners and managers, enabling them to benchmark their shop’s key metrics against counterparts nationwide. We take pride in providing transparent and unbiased data, supporting our industry partners and peers in their consideration of heavy-duty vehicle maintenance best practices.” 

While the report contains an abundance of data, a preview of its key findings include: 

 * 45% of respondents reported between 21%-40% increases of counter sales from 2022 to 2023. 

 * Labor rates increased 9% across the country in 2023 – that equates to a roughly $10 per hour increase. 

 * Over 40% of respondents reported a net profit between 11% and 20% 

 * 18% of shops surveyed were pulling in between $1 to $2 million each year, while 12%?reported revenue between $250,001 and $500,000. 

 * 25% of technicians indicated they worked at only three shops throughout the course of their entire career. 

“For nearly 70 years, TMC has aided in developing best practices, technology, and maintenance practices to support the heavy-duty repair industry to specify and maintain their fleets more effectively,” said TMC Executive Director Robert Braswell. “There is no shortage of challenges repair shops face, and this annual report is an excellent tool for individuals of all sectors within the industry to use as a guide when faced with those particular challenges on a daily basis.” 

Fullbay’s report data is drawn from individual survey responses and real-world shop data. More than 1,000 individuals from the commercial freight, logistics and repair industries completed the survey, while shops across North America, ????Australia and New Zealand were sampled for authentic shop data. Those surveyed were a combination of both customers and non-customers of Fullbay, while all sampled data went through data masking.  

Over $180 Million in Safety Grants for Commercial Motor Vehicles

WASHINGTON, DC… The  U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced the availability of more than $180 million in grants to promote roadway safety. These grants, part of the funding included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, are open to state, territorial, and tribal organizations, local jurisdictions, academic institutions, and other training programs and entities to promote commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety-related activities. 

The funding opportunities are available through five discretionary grant programs, each with unique objectives:

The High Priority Innovative Technology Deployment Grant Program supports innovative and impactful projects that advance the technological capability and promote the deployment of intelligent transportation system applications for truck parking information management systems and other CMV operations; support and maintain CMV information systems/networks to link Federal motor carrier safety information systems with state CMV systems; improve safety and productivity of CMVs and commercial drivers; and reduce costs associated with CMV operations and regulatory requirements.

The High Priority Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Grant Program funds CMV safety-related activities that increase public awareness and education on CMV safety, target unsafe driving in high-risk crash corridors, demonstrate new technologies to improve CMV safety, improve safety data, and support other projects that help meet FMCSA’s mission of improving CMV safety nationwide.

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training Grant Program funds organizations providing CMV operator training with the goal of enhancing training access to current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, as well as underserved and refugee communities.  

The Commercial Driver’s License Program Implementation Grant Program helps implement and enhance the national commercial driver’s license (CDL) program, which is focused on ensuring each CDL driver has only one driving record and licensing document, commonly referred to as “One Driver — One License — One Record.”

The High Priority Enforcement Training and Support Grant Program funds the development and delivery of motor carrier safety training to non-Federal employees who conduct CMV enforcement activities in accordance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Out-of-Service criteria; and to develop related training materials to increase awareness and education on CMV safety and otherwise improve CMV safety.

"FMCSA’s core mission is safety. That’s a big job, and it’s one we cannot do alone,” said FMCSA Acting Deputy Administrator Sue Lawless. "This grant funding is one way we bring in safety partners to help reduce crashes involving large trucks and buses. We are proud to support the critical CMV safety work happening across the country.”

FMCSA’s five discretionary grant programs also support the National Roadway Safety Strategy and advancement of the Safe System Approach. 

Grant applications for the fiscal year 2024 cycle are due by 5:00 pm Eastern Time on Friday, Apr. 19, 2024. The full Notice of Funding Opportunity announcements can be found at Details regarding funding amounts, application requirements along with applicant and project eligibility can be found on FMCSA’s Grants website. 

CVSA Opens Nominations for 2024 International Driver Excellence Award

  Washington, DC…  The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is now accepting nominations for its International Driver Excellence Award (IDEA), an annual award that recognizes an extraordinary professional commercial motor vehicle driver and their commitment to public safety.

  The 2024 IDEA recipient and a guest will receive a complimentary economy flight to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport and a one-room, two-night stay at Big Sky Resort to attend the CVSA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Big Sky, Montana. The IDEA winner will be recognized at the annual conference general session and awards ceremony on Sept. 9, where they will receive a $5,000 prize and a crystal trophy.

Nominees must have: 

* At least 25 cumulative years of crash-free driving in a commercial motor vehicle with a clean driving record for the past three years

* No felony convictions

* No safety-related driving suspensions in the past three years

* No driver violations in the past three years, excluding form and manner violations

IDEA is open to the entire commercial motor vehicle industry. Nominees do not need to be a member of or affiliated with CVSA to apply.

CVSA’s simplified application enables individuals to easily fill out the nomination form and submit the required supporting documentation, all online. Access the IDEA online nomination submission form.

  The deadline for nominations is Friday, May 10.

  This year’s award is sponsored by PrePass Safety Alliance, a non-profit, public-private partnership of state agencies and trucking industry leaders devoted to safe, secure and efficient use of North America’s highway system.


ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 3.5% in January

 Washington, DC…  American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 3.5% in January after increasing 1.2% in December. In January, the index equaled 111.0 (2015=100) compared with 115.0 in December.

ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision.

“January’s data was a snap back to reality for anyone thinking the freight market was about to turn the corner,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Bad winter weather in January likely hurt volumes, not to mention sharp drops in a number of drivers of tonnage including retail sales, housing starts and manufacturing output.”

December’s increase was revised down from our January 23 press release.

Compared with January 2023, the SA index fell 4.7%, which was the eleventh straight year-over-year decrease. In December, the index was down 0.8% from a year earlier.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 109.4 in January, 0.7% below December’s level (110.2). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 72.6% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 11.46 billion tons of freight in 2022. Motor carriers collected $940.8 billion, or 80.7% 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.

ATA Reasserts Strong Opposition to Julie Su’s Nomination

 Washington, DC… The American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement reiterating ATA’s steadfast opposition to Julie Su’s nomination to lead the U.S. Department of Labor.  The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee is scheduled to bypass a committee hearing and hold a vote on her renomination this morning:

“No matter how many times she’s renominated, Julie Su’s record remains a huge red flag for our industry and any senator concerned about radical policies from California becoming federal law.

 “The independent contractor rule she just finalized as acting secretary undermines the livelihoods of 350,000 professional truck drivers across our country who choose to run their own small businesses, and she needs to answer for it.  A public hearing is warranted so that committee members can have the opportunity to question her on the impact of this destructive rule.

 “We continue to oppose her nomination as she continues to avoid the tough questions to which we and the American people deserve answers.”

ATA Expresses Strong Support for Kiley-Cassidy Resolution to Protect Independent Contractors

 Washington — In an effort backed by the American Trucking Associations to block the Biden Administration’s final rule on independent contractor classification, Representative Kevin Kiley (R-California) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) introduced a joint resolution of disapproval today.

 “More than 350,000 truckers choose to work as independent contractors because of the economic opportunity it creates and the flexibility it provides, enabling them to run their own business and choose their own hours and routes.  The Biden Administration’s IC rule eliminates this freedom and intentionally undermines the livelihoods of truckers and their families across the country by replacing a clear, straight-forward standard with a tangled mess that will weaken our supply chain,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. 

 The trucking industry has relied on independent contractors since the inception of interstate trucking, and court decisions over the last nine decades have continually reaffirmed the legitimate role independent contractors play in the economy. That freedom of choice has been an enormous source of empowerment for women, minorities and immigrants pursuing the American Dream.

 In 2021, DOL issued a rule supported by ATA clarifying the definition of employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act as it relates to independent contractors. The department’s new rule, which ATA has sharply criticized, replaces the 2021 standard with an opaque and deliberately confusing standard designed to fuel frivolous litigation and deny self-employed individuals the freedom of choice to work as independent contractors.  This week, ATA joined a broad coalition of organizations in filing a lawsuit challenging the rule.

 The rule was crafted under the leadership of Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, who has repeatedly failed to recognize the importance of independent contractors and implemented California’s disastrous AB5 as the head of the state’s labor and workforce development agency. The ATA remains staunchly opposed to Su’s nomination to serve as secretary of labor.

“Had Julie Su actually spoken with drivers – not just big labor bosses – she would know this firsthand,” Spear said. “The ATA stands firmly behind Representative Kiley and Senator Cassidy's effort to defeat this ill-advised rule, and we will continue to work alongside them and other Members of Congress to protect Americans’ right to earn a living in the way that they choose.”