Crude Oil’s Wait-and-See Approach | Weekly News Update

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Crude Takes a Wait-and-See Approach

The crude market has been taking a wait-and-see approach while several events play out.  Crude oil prices rose slightly Friday as a strong jobs report lowered fears of weakening global crude demand.  The US-China trade negotiations are also approaching a deal, but the market is still waiting until a deal is finalized before reacting.  Decisions and events surrounding the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and supporting nations (OPEC+) also play a huge role in major market moving events.  At the end of April, US will decide if they will extend the Iranian waivers or let them expire in attempt to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero.  This is unlikely as even if the waivers expire, it is expected that China and India will continue to buy Iranian crude.  Libya, another OPEC nation, is facing uproar at its oil infrastructure causing outages again.  Libya’s oil production has been unreliable for since 2011 when the civil unrest started.  The OPEC+ cartel also is set to meet in June to discuss all supply disruptions and the crude market as a whole.  The group plans to decide on further production cuts or holding production steady.  The wait-and-see stance is stabilizing diesel prices as well, but this could change depending on the outcome of these events.

Truck Orders Hit the Brakes in March

Heavy-duty truck orders experienced declines in March according to preliminary results from ACT Research.  North American class 8 orders dropped to 15,700, which is 66 percent lower year-over-year and the lowest orders since October 2016.  The decline is not surprising though.  In 2018, the truck market saw a surge in truck orders, which caused a backlog of over ten months.  ACT Vice President Tim Denoyer claims, “orders have gotten weak because you can’t get a truck this year.” Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are trying to catch up getting trucks to market.  There has also been a rise in truck order cancellations as the freight market is softening and the US economic growth is showing signs of slowing.

In Other News


WSJ: OPEC Cuts Propel Oil to Best First Quarter Since 2002

U.S. oil is off to the best start to a year since 2002 amid efforts by major exporters to curb supply and by central banks to ease global-growth fears.

Bloomberg: Aramco Unveils Financial Secrets of World’s Most Profitable Firm

The first official glimpse of Saudi Aramco’s financial performance confirms the state-run oil giant can generate profit like no other company on Earth: net income last year was $111.1 billion, easily outstripping U.S. behemoths including Apple Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp.

EIA: Energy-related carbon dioxide emission profiles differ dramatically from state to state

Texas has more energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than any other state, while Vermont has the least, according to EIA’s recently released Energy-related Carbon Dioxide Emissions by State, 2005-2016. In addition to energy-related CO2 emissions estimates for all 50 states, the report provides data on CO2 emissions per capita and emissions broken out by fuel and by sector.

JOC: Weather, Rail Service Woes Cool US Intermodal Growth

Poor weather, slower train speeds, service reductions, equipment shortage, and a more competitive truck market is poised to pull North American domestic intermodal volume down in the first quarter, which would be the first time traffic has registered a decline since autumn 2016.

Transport Topics: Industry Task Force to Tackle Electric Vehicle Charging System Standard

A task force comprising trucking and transportation industry stakeholders is set to vote on adoption of recommended standards for power cables, connections and other equipment for high-powered electric charging stations for commercial vehicles.

JOC: Biggest US Truckers Grab Larger Market Share

Trucking may be a fragmented market, but the largest trucking companies in North America are increasing their market share, year to year and decade to decade. Truck pricing may be volatile, and subject to short-term swings in the US economy, but in the long term, the growth rate of the biggest US trucking operators reveals a steady and sizeable surge of business.

Bloomberg: Aramco Pumps Oil at Fraction of Rivals’ Costs and Way More of It

Saudi Aramco can pump oil at a fraction of the cost of rivals and extracts more from beneath the Arabian Peninsula’s deserts and seas than the output of the five biggest international producers combined, helping clinch its spot as the world’s most profitable company.


World Oil: Russia falls short of OPEC+ production cut target

Russia fell short of its oil-output cut under the OPEC+ deal in March even as the country deepened its curbs. The nation’s production at the end of March was 190,000 bpd below October levels, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement on the ministry’s website on Tuesday. That’s smaller than the 228,000-bpd cut pledged in Russia’s deal with its OPEC allies.

Argus Media: EPA Expects Rolling Release of Biofuel Waivers

Decisions on federal waivers stoking uncertainty for the biofuels and refining industries will likely trickle out over the coming weeks, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Andrew Wheeler said today.

Transport Topics: Tolling Plan Approved for Manhattan, but Rates Remain Unclear

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recently approved spending plan includes a variable tolling program that would affect travelers driving into Manhattan. Its impact on trucking is still unknown.

Supply Chain Dive: DOT Sends HOS Rule Change to White House for Review

The Department of Transportation (DOT) sent a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) covering changes to hours-of-service (HOS) regulations in the trucking industry to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said last week at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

HDT: Mack Social Media Campaign Tracks Real World Anthem Fuel Savings

Mack Trucks has announced the #Mackonomics social media campaign which will feature two customers operating Mack Anthem models who will track their fuel savings efforts and share their experiences online.


HDT: Class 8 Truck Orders Drop Again in March

March Class 8 truck orders fell once again, dropping slightly compared to the previous month remaining below the 20,000 thresholds for the third consecutive month, according to preliminary reports from ACT Research and FTR.  Also see, Heavy-Duty Truck Orders Hit the Brakes in March

WSJ: A Revolution Sweeping Railroads Upends How America Moves Its Stuff

Freight railroads are overhauling their networks to run more like commercial airlines, and they’re looking for shippers to get on board.

Utility Dive: NYPA initiative targets quicker commercialization path for storage, EV startups

A new partnership led by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) will focus on finding and assisting startup businesses focused on electric vehicle and energy storage technologies, aiming to help meet the state’s Green New Deal goals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, announced yesterday.

JOC: Port Truckers Battle Over ‘Detention’ Pay

A revamped association representing draymen in the Port of Virginia is demanding higher pay for increased turn times caused by congestion, but trucking executives say port fluidity is improving and the practice — known as trucker “detention” pay — is already prevalent.

Argus Media: Mexico’s Diesel Supply Sensitive to Border Delays

Delays at the US border as customs workers are shifted to immigration duty could disrupt Mexico’s private-sector diesel imports, which largely come in by tank truck, one importer said.

Transport Topics: Freight, Trucking Industry Closely Monitor President’s Threat to Close US-Mexico Border

Trucking and transportation leaders are expressing concern over President Donald Trump’s threats to close the U.S.-Mexico border if Mexico does not crack down on illegal border crossings.

Supply Chain Dive: IMO 2020 Could Cause M&A Uptick Among Carriers

Financial strain stemming from the upgrades and fuel changes necessary to comply with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) sulfur regulations set to go into effect Jan. 1 could “push” carriers into mergers and acquisitions, according to a Drewry analysis.

JOC: Mexico’s New HOS Rule Driving Up Truck Rates

Tightening Mexican truck capacity fueled by new regulations cutting down on how long drivers can stay behind the wheel and at loading docks is pushing up rates, with some users reporting increases of more than 10 percent. California Pushes New Round of Green Truck Mandates

Although California is almost a year ahead of its 2020 goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks, it is already pushing for even stricter regulations.  Electric sales requirements for Class 7 and 8 tractors would start at 9 percent with the 2027 model year and increase to 15 percent by 2030.


Supply Chain Dive: Ford, GM and Toyota partner on AV safety standards

Ford, General Motors and Toyota will partner with SAE International to develop a safety and testing framework for autonomous vehicles (AVs). The Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC) will focus on safety principles for Level 4 and Level 5 vehicles before they reach roadways.

WSJ: Shipping Comes to Terms With $50 Billion Clean-Fuel Bill

The noise over the shipping world’s move to lower sulfur emissions is dying down as the deadline for the world-wide mandate gets closer. Pollution limits set to take effect next January could cost maritime operators up to $50 billion as carriers buy cleaner fuel and emissions-controlling devices.

Argus Media: US China Deal Timeline Continues to Slip

US and Chinese negotiators are expected to continue negotiating until at least next month to finalize a sweeping trade agreement resolving the ongoing trade war.


FreightWaves: Communication Key to Successful Transition to Precision Railroading

Precision scheduled railroading (PSR) could benefit customers and shippers, but its deployment pace and how shippers respond to changes will be key to its success, panelists said yesterday at the Northeast Rail Shippers conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

JOC: Truckers Seek Safe Harbor at Larger US Carriers

A shift of US truck drivers from small to large motor carriers could make it easier for large shippers to find capacity and keep downward pressure on spot truck pricing.

Reuters: Oil prices rise 1.5 percent as strong U.S. economic data eases demand concerns

Oil prices gained 1.5 percent on Friday as strong U.S. employment data tempered fears about weakening global crude oil demand, and on expectations that an escalating conflict in Libya could tighten oil supplies.

This weekly publication is designed to highlight relevant industry news to provide professionals in the transportation, supply chain, and energy sectors with up-to-date information in a rapidly changing marketplace. This update is purely a compilation of industry news and as such, does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Breakthrough. We do not warrant or guarantee accuracy or completeness of information. For additional information, please contact us at

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