Transportation Industry Soars & Tesla Semi | Weekly News Update

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Transportation Industry Continues to Soar

North American Truck orders continue to rise in August.  Orders reached another all-time high of 53,100 units according to preliminary numbers released by Freight Transportation Research Associates (FTR).  Orders rose 150% from August of last year.  Six of the eight months this year broke previous record-highs set a month earlier.  Fleets continue to put in large orders to increase their assets in 2019 in anticipation strong economic growth will continue.  Backlogs in the delivery date of the trucks continue to push into mid-2019 which is also a record high.

Along with increasing truck orders, trucking company payrolls are surging as well.  Fleets added 5,700 jobs in August according to the figures the Labor Department released Friday.  This is the fourth straight month of growth for trucking companies.  The broader transportation and warehousing industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the US, as over 20,000 jobs were added.

Tesla Semi Tours Around the US

A prototype of the Tesla Semi has been making a customer tour around the US.  It was first spotted a couple months ago in Saint Louis when it visited Anheuser-Busch who preordered 40 Tesla Semi trucks last year.  It was then spotted in Oklahoma and Texas before it returned to California where it successfully passed an inspection.  More recently, the Tesla Semi was spotted at J.B. Hunt’s headquarters in Lowell, AR when the semi took an 1,800 mile journey alone from Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada.  Just last week, UPS test drove the semi at their home base of Addison, IL, which is 600 miles from J.B. Hunt’s facility in Arkansas.  From Illinois, the truck traveled to Iowa to show off its capabilities at Ruan Transportation, who also reserved multiple Tesla Semis to be delivered in 2019.  As the truck continues to travel around the US, it was again spotted at a Tesla supercharger in Brush, CO as spectators and engineers talk about the range, cameras, and the unique charging method of connecting to multiple Tesla Superchargers with an extension cord.

In Other News


Platts: Ship Operators Need to Take a Strategic Approach to IMO 2020: Lloyd’s Register

Ship operators need to take a strategic approach as the International Maritime Organization’s global sulfur limit rule inches closer and full compliance to the rule remains a question mark. About 15% of the world’s fleet will likely not comply with the IMO 2020 rule. However, this is expected to drop over time with strong enforcement by port state control agencies.


FreightWaves: Autonomous Vehicles, Crowdsourcing, Drones, and Even Humans are all Seeking a Place at the Last-Mile Table

Last-mile delivery continues to evolve, and it continues to bring new ideas and solutions to the fore, some of which may become the de facto way to move goods in the near future. The biggest change, though, is that consumer preferences are now infiltrating the B2B community, with manufacturers and others now expecting materials and supplies to arrive in shorter timeframes.

Transport Topics: Tesla Class 8 Prototype Crosses Country, Stops at Ruan

Officials at transportation service company Ruan got a chance to see Tesla Inc.’s prototype battery-electric heavy-duty truck, which toured the country recently, stopping at some carriers that have placed orders for the truck that is scheduled for fleet testing in 2019.

Supply Chain Management Review: Hub Group Sells Mode Transportation Subsidiary

Freight transportation services provider Hub Group announced late last week it entered into a definitive agreement to sell Mode Transportation, a subsidiary company, to an affiliate of global private investment firm, York Capital Management, for roughly $238.5 million.

WSJ: Flood of Sand Points to Shakeout for Shale Suppliers

Shale oil producers are drowning in excess sand needed to extract crude because drilling is slowing down.  Two years ago, many investors poured money into mining sand in the West Texas desert to supply shale drillers with a key ingredient for digging up oil.  Oil firms use a mixture of sand, water and chemicals to fracture rock formations deep underground and release the oil and gas trapped inside.


Transport Topics: Asset Tracking Spreads to Intermodal Chassis

While asset-tracking devices are finding increased adoption with intermodal container fleets, uptake for that venerable old workhorse of the intermodal supply chain — the chassis — faces different challenges.

Transport Topics: Internet of Things Arrives in Intermodal

The domestic intermodal industry has long been plagued by an inability to accurately track and report, in a timely manner, the status of a container in transit. Historically, that’s put intermodal at a disadvantage compared with over-the-road trucking, in which GPS-enabled cargo and equipment-tracking sensors have been widely adopted for over-the-road trailers of all types.

WSJ: Chevron Launching Predictive Maintenance to Oil Fields, Refineries

Chevron Corp. has launched an effort to predict maintenance problems in its oil fields and refineries, a capability that many companies have been working for years to cultivate and is just now gathering momentum.

FreightWaves: Change Helps Container Lines Cut Expenses by Reducing Empty Containers Transit

International supply chains bank heavily on the maritime network, so much so that about 90% of the freight moves over the oceans in more than 200 million containers every year. .xChange, a maritime startup headquartered in Hamburg, Germany is offering container lines the possibility of reducing their dead miles by helping them supply or use one-way container moves or SOCs from 2500 locations across the world.

WSJ: Banks Stick With This Year’s Oil-Price Forecast but Lower 2019 Projection

After a period of revising oil-price forecasts ever higher, analysts were keeping their prediction for the year unchanged in August, a sign that rising OPEC production is expected to keep a lid on prices despite risks to Iranian supply.


Reuters: U.S. Trucking Industry Volumes to Grow 4.2 Percent in 2018: Forecast

U.S. truck transportation volume will rise 4.2 percent in the United States in 2018, fueled in part by a manufacturing industry rebound and a healthy economy, according to a new forecast from the American Trucking Associations.

Reuters: Refining Capacity, ‘Scrubber’ Uptake to Balance Marine Fuel Markets in 2020: Goldman

New oil refining capacity and an increase in the number of ships adding cleaning systems to their smokestacks will help marine fuel markets find balance once new sulfur regulations kick in. Goldman forecasts scrubber installations at 3,125 in 2020 and 4,450 in 2022. It expects scrubbed high-sulfur fuel oil (HSFO) consumption at a total of 1 million barrels per day (mbpd) by 2020 and 1.4 mpbd by 2025.  Also see, New Bunker Fuel Cap to Spark Bullish Environment for Scrubbers

FreightWaves: BNSF Intermodal Facility on Hold as Port of Los Angeles and City Ponder Next Move

A $500 million intermodal project in Southern California is on indefinite hold as its backers, the Port of Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles and BNSF, wrangle with legal challenges over the new facility.

CCJ: Truck Orders Continue Record-Setting Pace

North American Class 8 truck orders reached 52,400 units last month, another all-time high. Six of the top 12 order months on record have occurred in the first eight months of this year and August’s order intake broke the previous record-high set just a month earlier by 300 trucks.  Also see, Truck Orders Surge to Second Straight Monthly Record

Transport Topics: Florida Scores Biggest Annual Gain in Heavy-Duty Clean Diesel Trucks

Florida posted the biggest surge among states in the use of heavy-duty trucks with clean diesel engines in 2017, notching an 81% jump compared with a year earlier, according to data from IHS Markit. This increase came as fleet confidence in the technology took hold and more freight-hauling opportunities opened up in the nation’s fourth-largest state economy.

EIA: Crude oil was the largest U.S. petroleum export in the first half of 2018

The United States exported 7.3 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil and petroleum products in the first half of 2018, when exports of crude oil and hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL) set record monthly highs.

WSJ: Aramco Weighs $1 Billion Venture Capital Fund For Tech

Saudi Arabia’s national oil company is considering a $1 billion venture-capital fund to invest in international technology firms, according to people familiar with the proposal, as the kingdom deepens efforts to diversify its economy.


WSJ: Trucking Payrolls Soared by 5,700 Jobs in August

Trucking company payrolls soared in August, growing at the fastest 12-month pace since 2015 as logistics operators boosted hiring to keep pace with booming freight demand.  Fleets added 5,700 jobs last month, according to preliminary figures the Labor Department released Friday.

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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