Category Archives: Trucking

The Lehigh Valley Is The Second-Fastest-Growing Industrial Market On Earth

That sounds great! Looked at the satellite view of the industrial park. Lots of cars…………….no railroad.

Search the town…Carlisle and only reference is a rail-trail (a DEAD RAILROAD).

Wonder how many more trucks are on nearby roads?

Hope this is not the industrial park of the future.


Real Welfare Cadillacs Have 18 Wheels

Truck freight movement gets a subsidy of between $57 and $128 billion annually in the form of uncompensated social costs, over and above what trucks pay in taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

If trucking companies paid the full costs associated with moving truck freight, we’d have less road damage and congestion, fewer crashes, and more funding to pay for the transportation system.

What with all the speculation about a possible trillion dollar spending package for infrastructure, we’ve been hearing a lot about about crumbling bridges, structurally deficient roads, and the need for more highway capacity.

It’s clear that our transportation finance system is broken. To make up the deficit, politicians frequently call for increased user fees – through increased taxes on gasoline, vehicle miles traveled, or even bikes. All the while, one of the biggest users of the transportation network – the trucking industry – has been rolling down the highway fueled by billions in federal subsidies.

A 2015 report from the Congressional Budget Office estimates that truck freight causes more than $58 to $129 billion annually in damages and social costs in the form of wear and tear on the roads, crashes, congestion and pollution – an amount well above and beyond what trucking companies currently pay in taxes.

CBO doesn’t report that headline number, instead computing that the external social costs of truck freight on a “cents per ton mile basis” range between 2.62 and 5.86 cents per ton mile. For the average heavy truck, they estimate that the cost works out to about 21 to 46 cents per mile travelled.

Unfortunately, trucking companies don’t pay these costs. They are passed along to the rest of us in the form of damaged roads, crash costs, increased congestion and air pollution. Because they don’t pay the costs of these negative externalities, the firms that send goods by truck don’t have to consider them when deciding how and where to ship goods. This translates into a huge subsidy for the trucking industry of of between 21 and 46 cents per mile.

For comparison, CBO looked at the social costs associated with moving freight by rail. Railroads have much lower social costs, for two reasons: first, rail transport is much more energy efficient and less polluting per ton mile of travel; second, because railroads are built and maintained by their private owners, most of the cost of wear and tear is borne by private users, not the public. Railroad freight does produce social costs associated with pollution and crashes, but the social costs of moving freight by rail are about one-seventh that for truck movements: about 0.5 to 0.8 cents per ton mile, compared to 2.52 to 5.86 per ton mile for trucks.

There’s a clear lesson here: It may seem like we have a shortage of infrastructure, or lack the funding to pay for the transportation system, but the fact that truck freight is so heavily subsidized means that there’s a lot more demand (and congestion) on the the roads that there would be if trucks actually paid their way. On top of that, there’d be a lot more money to cover the cost of the system we already have.

So the next time someone laments the sad state of the road system, or wonders why we can’t afford more investment, you might want to point out some 18-wheelers who are now getting a one heck of a free ride, at everyone’s expense.

View the full report: “Pricing Freight Transport to Account for External Costs: Working Paper 2015-03“

Largest US truckload carrier sends warning on rates, ELDs

The largest U.S. truckload carrier is sending a clear message to shippers pressing for lower rates: Think about how tight truck capacity could be in 2017, not how abundant it was in 2015.

The bidding season for transportation contracts in early 2016 is proving “a constant battle with our shippers,” Richard Stocking, president and COO of Swift Transportation, told analysts Wednesday. In those battles, he urged customers to take a long-term view and eschew tactical, transactional thinking.

“We seek to do business with shippers who are interested in strategic, long-term partnerships and we remind them that a short-sighted mentality on their part at this juncture will likely have an effect on our mentality over the next several quarters as the ELD story plays out,” Stocking said.

Stocking referred to electronic logging devices, which the U.S. government will require truckers to use instead of paper logbooks to record daily and weekly work hours by December 2017. Swift Transportation switched its fleet and drivers from paper to electronic logs in 2011.

The ELD mandate is expected to drive an as yet unknown number of truckers out of the business, either because they can’t afford the devices, dislike being told they have to use them or simply can’t make money operating under the legal restrictions that ELDs will make easier to enforce.

Among shippers, “there is lots of concern about ELDs and how soon (they) will affect capacity,” Stocking said. “We have already picked up business from some shippers who have not invited carriers (to bid) who have not put a plan in place to become ELD compliant,” he said.

Shippers aren’t waiting for the federal deadline. Some are demanding carriers give them a “time frame to become 100 percent compliant” with the mandate as a prerequisite to a bid.

“We believe that picks up speed and steam in 2016 and more importantly in 2017. We’re seeing a flight to quality” carriers with ELDs by shippers, Stocking said in a mid-quarter conference call.

And quality, he suggested, ain’t cheap. “With any strong strategic partnership there is give and take, but we believe our key partners recognize the value and stability that a sizable, reliable and technologically advanced carrier with enhanced equipment safety features like Swift brings to the table,” he said. “We are encourage them to think long-term and not short term.”

In the short-term, shippers have more of a pricing advantage than they have enjoyed in several years.

Truckload capacity swung from “tight” in 2014 to “abundant” in 2015 as new trucks and trucking companies entered the market. Those trucks ran into depressed demand as inventories expanded, replenishment cycles lengthened and consumers took gas savings to the bank.

Added capacity and lower demand pulled down spot market truckload rates in 2015 and slowed the rate of increase in contractual prices. That trend was evident as the growth of the Cass Truckload Linehaul Index slowed from 7.9 percent in January 2015 to 1.1 percent last December.

Shippers also face cost pressures as corporations look to trim waste and spending in a slow-growth economy. But if Swift’s assessment of the ELD effect proves correct, those who seek too much advantage this bid season may find themselves at a disadvantage next year.

Contact William B. Cassidy at and follow him on Twitter: @wbcassidy_joc

Suppliers Gain From Understanding POS Data

Cloud computing and Big Data technologies have created new options for retailers to get their suppliers involved sharing inventory and sales information (POS or Point-Of-Sale) with their vendors. Everyone can get on the same page regarding the business initiative and  bring benefits to both the retailer and to its vendors.
The business case for retailer/supplier collaboration is simple: Cost savings and increased Revenue

The correct retail intelligence platform will save money on infrastructure costs and deliver operating improvements. Operations will see improvements from: reducing out of stocks and from increasing inventory turns.

Yes, all systems will require some degree of customization. There will always be unique product offerings or other quirks that must be handled. No two companies are identical, but the secret is to have software that accommodates customization. Downstream data sharing between retailers and their suppliers continues to grow, and along with it unique approaches and executions.

Sharing POS sales data sees both suppliers and retailers who have committed realizing ROI benefits from controlling out of stocks, managing inventory, forecasting and in the replenishment process. Now the data sharing is expanding outside the supply chain into sales and marketing. This may be because of more involvement by higher level executives, meaning the enterprise and the corporate strategists are becoming more comfortable with data sharing.

The Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society

The Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society

For Immediate Release

To celebrate the centennial of August Fruehauf’s 1914 invention of the semi-trailer, The Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society

announces the release of

Singing Wheels, August Fruehauf & The History of the Fruehauf Trailer Company”

By Ruth Ann Fruehauf & Darlene Norman

129 pages, 90 pages of original photographs, 39 historical text

Fruehauf’s story is an integral part of the nation’s transportation history in the last century. The pioneering company facilitated the growth of continental transportation as a viable alternative to rail and brought efficient transportation from the farmer’s gate and the factory’s loading door. This expanded markets for all manner of enterprises across the country.

It all began in 1914 in Detroit, Michigan, where German immigrant August Fruehauf was a well-known and accomplished blacksmith and wagon maker. A local lumber tycoon needed to transport an 18-foot boat to a lake house and preferred to do so with his new Model-T roadster. He asked Fruehauf if he could convert a wagon to haul behind the Model-T.

It took August and his partner, Otto Neumann several days to create a solution that would accomplish their customer’s goal. They shaped and bolted a sturdy two-wheeler that hooked to the rear of Sibley’s Model-T frame with a pole that acted as tongue and brake. They removed the back seat of the Model-T roadster to support the front end of the wagon and devised a coupling to hitch the wagon to the car. August called it a semi-trailer. Henry Ford responded by cancelling the warranty on the Model-T.

Their customer, Frederick Sibley, was so pleased with the performance of the rig that he returned the following month and submitted an order for several more semi-trailers to use in his lumberyard. Other lumber merchants recognized Sibley’s advantage and were quick to follow suit.

Harry Fruehauf, August’s son, demonstrated their creation in the shop yard

By 1918 August Fruehauf needed to incorporate the growing business and the Fruehauf Trailer Company was founded. The new company’s inventory did not list a single horseshoe when they signed their incorporation papers.

As the practicality of the semi-trailer idea was demonstrated, larger trucks, replacing improvised passenger cars, were immediately purchased and placed in service by forward-looking businesses. Fruehauf trailers had now arrived on the American road. By 1919, with the nation whirling in a postwar business boom, Fruehauf sales zoomed to a whopping $302,000. August’s motto was, “A horse can pull more than it can carry; so can a truck!”

Page 42 of “Singing Wheels” depicting an early

advertisement and trailer

The Fruehauf Trailer Company created the first flatbed semi-trailer, van trailer, ground-hugging carryalls, refrigerated trailer, adjustable pole-trailers, tandem trailers and commodity tankers for bulk food stuffs, fuel oil or chemicals. They introduced hydraulic lift gates and in 1919 developed their own patented fifth-wheel coupling. In 1926 they automated this device allowing a trailer to be coupled and uncoupled mechanically by the power of the tractor’s engine. Innovations like piggybacking and fishybacking, which later became known as container shipping, were introduced after WWII.

August Fruehauf educated in the old fashioned ethics of his German forbears, believed that the customer was the boss. His company’s creed: “Do a good job, put everything into it of materials and workmanship, and take a pride in your work whether you get paid for it or not.” He demanded the same ethic from his employees and his sons who joined him in the company.

Despite the Great Depression, sales had reached $3,759,000 by 1929. And the following year August retired, leaving the company in the hands of his three sons. To say that the Fruehauf Trailer Company was the General Motors of its industry understates the case. Not only was Fruehauf the biggest firm in the field, it sold more trailers than all the others put together.

The Fruehauf Trailer Company became a global giant with over 90 branches throughout the United States and plants and subsidiaries worldwide. In 1997 Fruehauf was ranked 75th among the largest companies worldwide. But it couldn’t last. In subsequent bankruptcy proceedings, international subsidiaries became independent and the U.S. company was purchased by Wabash National. Fruehauf Trailers are still being produced around the world in countries like France, Germany and New Zealand. These companies still model the philosophies of August Fruehauf.

Singing Wheels, August Fruehauf & the History

of the Fruehauf Trailer Company”

By Ruth Ann Fruehauf and Darlene Norman

available for sale in softcover and hardcover on or on for

$29.95 and $39.95, respectively.

Publisher: The Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society

Authors: Ruth Ann Fruehauf & Darlene Norman

Bio’s available on

ISBN: 978-0692025987

Size: 10” x 8”

Ruth Fruehauf is available for interviews and/or public appearances.  She is the daughter of Roy & Ruth Fruehauf and the granddaughter of August Fruehauf.

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“Singing Wheels” the rise and fall of the Fruehauf Trailer Company

Picture above of a Fruehauf trailer is from Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI.

It is my great pleasure to announce the arrival of our book, Singing Wheels, August Fruehauf & The History of the Fruehauf Trailer Company.

This 129 page book features 90 pages of original photographs from my collection plus 39 pages of historical text on the life of August Fruehauf and the Fruehauf Trailer Company.
The book is available for sale on or on
Thank you, Ruth

Ruth Ann Fruehauf

“Singing Wheels, August Fruehauf & The History of the Fruehauf Trailer Company
A book by
Ruth Fruehauf and Darlene Norman
The Fruehauf Trailer Company was an American corporation engaged in the manufacture and sale of truck-trailers with headquarters located in Detroit, Michigan.”How important is Fruehauf Trailer Company in the trailer industry? To say it is the General Motors of the business understates the case. Not only was Fruehauf the biggest firm in the field, it sold more than all the others put together”.

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