Shippers' conditions saw sharp decline in September

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Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022:

Shippers’ conditions took nosedive in September

While conditions were difficult for trucking companies in September, with FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index falling from near-neutral to -2.35, conditions for shippers were even worse, the firm noted.

FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) fell in September into negative territory at -3.1 from a positive 5.0 in August. The freight environment was tougher for shippers in September as capacity utilization tightened and freight volume increased. The monthly decline appears to be an outlier, the firm said, as conditions, although volatile, should generally improve as capacity utilization loosens. However, fuel costs will remain a major wild card.

“A slowing freight market will help ease shippers’ pain points over the coming weeks and months with the slow freight growth expected to continue for much of 2023,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR. “This will in particular give rail carriers an opportunity to hire to meet demand and use that headcount to improve service levels for the next upward cycle.” The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market: freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity and fuel price. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence the shippers’ freight transport environment. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. A negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions.

Saia awards $75,000 in scholarships

Saia, Inc. (CCJ Top 250, No. 21) this week announced the 20 students who were awarded scholarships totaling $75,000 as part of the company’s annual scholarship program.

Since its inception, the program has awarded $502,000 to 273 students, including this year’s recipients.

“We are proud to present these extraordinary individuals with a scholarship this year as all are remarkable,” said Saia President and CEO Fritz Holzgrefe, “The applications the committee reviewed were excellent and highlighted each student’s tremendous academic achievements and work within their respective communities.”

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The following 10 students were awarded a $5,000 scholarship:

  • Chase Anderson of Greenville, North Carolina
  • Alisa Sample of Suffolk, Virginia
  • Mia Guillen of Forney, Texas
  • Norbert Krajewski of Inverness, Florida
  • Bailey Clark of Watauga, Texas
  • Dyllan Tipton of Taylorsville, Kentucky
  • Kenechukwu Egbuonu of Grand Prairie, Texas
  • Luisa Montelongo Amador of Dallas, Texas
  • Luke Syverud of Gurnee, Illinois
  • Lance Munson of Muskego, Wisconsin

Another 10 students were awarded a $2,500 scholarship:

  • Kenneth Anderson of Canton, Ohio
  • Zoe McCord of Hermitage, Tennessee
  • Jin Choi of Flowery Branch, Georgia
  • Emily Mocyk of Jordan, New York
  • McKenna Gafford of Boise, Idaho
  • Bre Pitre of Houma, Louisiana
  • Laila Garba of Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Juan Ramon of Laredo, Texas
  • Devin Lipford of Bono, Arkansas
  • Angel Vega Jr. of Laveen, Arizona

Applications to the program are reviewed by a selection committee who evaluate each student’s academic achievement, essay quality, community service, leadership capabilities, communication skills and recommendation letters. The program is a tangible display of Saia’s core values and is designed to recognize the hard work of employees and their dependents as they pursue a college education.

Penske opens first LEED-certified, full-service facility in Ohio

Penske Truck Leasing recently opened a state-of-the-art facility in Akron, Ohio, which is Penske’s first-ever full-service rental and leasing facility that is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified, highlighting Penske’s environmentally sustainable building design, construction and operation.

“Our sustainability efforts are an integral part of our day-to-day operations,” said Luke DeCesare, area vice president of the Great Lakes area for Penske Truck Leasing. “Opening our first full-service truck leasing facility with LEED certification is an example of our organization's commitment to being good neighbors and stewards of the environment."

At this location, Penske offers consumer and commercial truck rental, full-service truck leasing and contract truck fleet maintenance. It is also outfitted with the company's proprietary fully digital and voice-directed preventive maintenance process and Penske digital experience solutions, which help customers leverage Penske technology as well as options related to onboard technology systems (ELDs, telematics, onboard cameras, etc.).

At 23,816 square-feet and sitting on 9.85 acres, the new facility also enhances Penske’s ability to efficiently serve its customers and employees, and supports strategic growth throughout the region.

It features four pull-through service bays plus an automatic truck wash bay, and a full-service fuel (offering diesel, diesel exhaust fluid, and gasoline).