FTR: Trucking conditions for carriers improved in September

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Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021:

FTR’s Trucking Conditions improved slightly in September

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) reading for September increased marginally to 11.79 from 11.63 in August.

Freight rates continued to strengthen in September, but freight volume and capacity utilization were not as beneficial to carriers as they were in July and August. FTR’s forecast remains for strong positive TCI readings well into 2022.

“The market remains stubbornly favorable to carriers due in large part to continued strong consumer spending and the effects of supply chain troubles on productivity,” said Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking. “The latest payroll employment data for trucking implies a considerably stronger recovery in driver capacity than had appeared previously, but the ongoing surge in newly authorized small carriers continues to shift capacity and thwart a return to normal.”

Vise added that even if carriers do start to see relief in recruiting challenges, “continued struggles in truck production due to parts and material shortages could limit capacity in the months ahead. A key factor for the freight market will be whether consumer spending remains so robust beyond the holidays and the end of advance child tax credit payments in December.”

Two sentenced in Alabama HHG scheme

On Oct. 27, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Sherman Smith and Kenneth Smith were sentenced for their roles in a household goods moving scheme.

According to the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General, in July, Sherman Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of interstate transportation of stolen property, and Kenneth Smith pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony.

The Smiths, along with two other defendants, operated under various business names purporting to be household goods movers, but lacked authority under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to engage in the transport of household goods, OIG said.

The defendants, under the pretense of providing authorized interstate moving services, allegedly took possession of their victims' household goods and never delivered them to the rightful owners.

Sherman Smith was sentenced to time served, 3 years of supervised release, $35,396.50 in restitution, and a $200 special assessment. On Oct. 29, co-conspirator Kenneth Smith was sentenced to time served, 1 year of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

12 fleets set to participate in next month’s Wreaths Across America convoy

Twelve trucks representing a number of fleets will haul a portion of sponsored veterans’ wreaths from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America next month.

A week-long convoy will kick off on Saturday, Dec. 11, making dozens of stops along the route.

The official escort will travel down the East Coast stopping at schools, memorials, and other locations along the way to spread the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach. Stops with public events will be held in Maine, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington D.C., before arriving at Arlington National Cemetery on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 18 – National Wreaths Across America Day.

The 12 trucks in the convoy will represent Walmart Transportation, Schneider National, Gully Transportation, Witte Bros. Exchange, Hartt Transportation Systems, Delhaize Transportation (DBA Hannaford Supermarkets), American Trucking Associations – Share the Road Truck, Pottle's Transportation, Cargo Transporters, Boyd Grain, Hampton Road Moving & Storage, and Tyson Foods. Additionally, Load One Carriers will once again serve as the ceremonial wreath transporter for the escort.

“For those who have had the opportunity to participate in the escort of wreaths over the years, it is truly an experience of a lifetime,” said Karen Worcester, executive director, WAA. “The way we and the mission are welcomed into communities, with flags waving and streets lined with children and veterans, is something we always wished every American could witness. This year we’re hoping that supporters will once again join us in lining the roadways safely and welcome the mission into their communities.”

National Wreaths Across America Day ceremonies are happening at more than 2,900 participating locations across the country on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021.