July 5, 2023

Check Call: Just how many fireworks were there?


Something is different. Since Check Call’s normal day is Tuesday and we were all a little busy having hot dogs and watching Terry put it in reverse, we have a special Wednesday edition. 

In this edition: One state has over $20 in fireworks per resident; Yellow struggles with negotiations; and a double broker AMA hits Reddit. 

(gif: Tenor)

Fireworks are synonymous with the Fourth of July. Some states facing abnormally dry summers (looking at you, Missouri) placed burn bans effective on the Fourth of July as a precautionary measure. Whether local residents listen is a different story. Every year people turn up in droves to purchase fireworks at roadside stands. Speaking of Missouri, the state imports the highest value of fireworks per person. According to a Value Penguin article, last year Missouri imported $125.8 million in fireworks, which breaks down to about $20.40 per resident. As a Missouri resident, I’m not surprised. Fireworks are illegal to buy and discharge where I live, but that doesn’t stop the noise on July 3 and 4 from sounding like a war zone. 

All those fireworks have to come from somewhere. The same Value Penguin article ranked the state of Tennessee as the highest value exporter of fireworks. It exports $3.2 million in fireworks that end up in other states and other countries, which is about 39.5% of the nation’s national firework exports. 

With all those explosives, we have to keep the good trends going. 2022 saw a decrease in fireworks injuries at the emergency room, 10,163 nationwide, whereas 2020 had the highest in the last 10 years at 15,646.

When it comes to shipping fireworks, there’s a whole host of issues and the U.S. Department of Transportation has plenty of guidelines.

Hope you all had a happy and safe Fourth of July. 

(SONAR TRAC Market Dashboard)

TRAC Tuesday(ish). This week’s TRAC lane of the week is from Seattle to Denver, a nearly 1,300-mile trip that will cost a fair amount to get covered. Right now load balance is pretty neutral in both markets but spot rates are trending up. Outbound tender rejections in Seattle are at 1.13%, meaning just about every load that is tendered is getting accepted. Ninety-nine percent acceptance in the Seattle market is what shippers and brokers love to see — not that the national average of 97% acceptance is too shabby either. An all-in rate of $2,142, before margin, should help to get this load covered.

(Image: Know your meme)

Who’s with whom? The battle with the Teamsters rages on. There is a wide variety of thoughts on what Yellow should do. One thing is for certain: Yellow will not go quietly into the night and the company is looking at every possible solution to preserve the business, including involving the White House. The LTL carrier has sent a letter to President Biden asking for help negotiating with the Teamsters. 

Yellow is still attempting to implement its One Yellow restructuring plan, but to successfully complete it, a deal needs to be made with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Yellow is  essentially stuck. Phase two of restructuring is crucial to the company’s survival, but it can’t make it to that second phase until a deal is reached as the union continues to shoot down any proposed changes Yellow makes. 

According to FreightWaves’ Todd Maiden’s article, “Yellow asserts the Teamsters don’t have the right to reject the change of operations and says it will be out of money by mid-July if its plan isn’t implemented. The company recently asked health and pension funds to defer contributions for the months of July and August.”

Double broker red flags 

This is less of a double broker red flag and more of an ever wonder why someone might get into the double brokering business? Well, there are answers. In the subreddit r/FreightBrokers, a double broker held an impromptu AMA (as me anything), with questions on how much money was made per load ($200-$1,000) as well as commission splits for loads. They didn’t stop there. Others went on to ask how they protect themselves legally and how they most successfully get loads. Not all comments are helpful or constructive, but there’s some insight there. The thread isn’t closed yet so if you have questions slide in. 

Got any favorite tips on avoiding the double broker? Let me know. I’d love to share them with everyone. 

The more you know 

No freight market fireworks in 2023

Critical level approaching for trans-Pacific spot rates 

RXO outlook cut to negative but important debt rating not reduced

UPS may find it hard to pass along higher labor costs


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