February 22, 2024

SOS: Cellular outage strikes freight


Welcome to the WHAT THE TRUCK?!? Newsletter brought to you by Dynamic Logistix. In this issue, cell outage downs freight; Convoy returns; State of Freight recap; and more.


Solar flare, hack, EMP, botched network update? What happened? — Woke up at 6 this morning to a tweet from Chadad alerting us that his entire fleet’s communication was down.

“Woke up to all the phones in my house having no cell service here in Central Arkansas. Then I get on my laptop using satellite internet and see that all of our trucks have stopped communicating through their GPS devices all throughout the United States.” — Chadad on X

Speculation has run rampant online that the cause of this could be anything from a foreign hack to a Russian space electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to a solar flare. In fact, Space.com reports, “Two outbursts from the sun occurred as widespread cellphone outages were reported throughout the United States on Thursday.”

One weird thing is that my wife and I have the exact same phone and are on the same AT&T plan but hers got SOS’d while mine was fine. Wouldn’t an EMP or solar flare harm both? We’re not the only ones reporting that some AT&T lines on the same tower are working while others are not.


I don’t know if that completely rules out a hack or a flare, but AT&T is officially saying that it was a botched system update.

The company wrote, “Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. Our network teams took immediate action and so far three-quarters of our network has been restored. We are working as quickly as possible to restore service to remaining customers.”

According to Downdetector, more than 70,000 AT&T customers were impacted during the outage’s peak.


Freight impacts


MFA authentication, load board logins and phone systems hit — While immediate freight impacts are not yet known, according to multiple channel checks this outage has hampered operations inside and outside the truck.

Two-factor authentication is proving to be problematic when the cell phones go down. Zach Webber, president at A.N. Logistics, tweeted, “Locked out of Truckstop and DAT 🫠”

For those who can get into a load board, some are seeing carrier notes such as, “No brokers with AT&T.” 

One industry insider who wishes to remain anonymous said, “If more megacompanies start transferring comms for things like check calls, arrival and load/unload information, or even bill of lading information uploads off of truck tablets and onto smartphone apps, it leaves us vulnerable to these types of disruptions.”


Many drivers are reporting that they’re out in the dark with HQ until they can find a wi-fi signal. Remote sales teams are also struggling to communicate while on the road.


Thermo King has updated its customers about the outage and warned that communications could be delayed due to it.

And just in from FreightWaves, “Motive, Samsara and Trimble are a few of the transportation tech platforms that reported issues, warning customers of potential problems. These systems use cellular data to track drivers’ locations, send messages and dispatch information, meaning an AT&T outage can sever that communication.”


Uber drivers parked — Rideshare and food delivery drivers on the AT&T network were also reporting that they’re stuck in their driveways. No cell signal means no rides or food for customers.


Sound off — Have you been impacted by the outage? How so? Email me your answer.

A fix? — If you haven’t done so yet and you’re stuck on SOS, hard reboot your phone. It may bring you right back up. Remember how I mentioned my wife’s phone at the start of this? It worked for her.

Flexport relaunches Convoy platform

Resurrection — Back in October when Convoy shut down, the freight world was abuzz with speculation of what would become of the company that at one point was valued at $3.8 billion

It shouldn’t be a big surprise that Flexport swept in to pick up Convoy’s tech stack last November. The two have been in a partnership since 2021.

At the time, Ryan Petersen, Flexport CEO and founder, wrote in an email to Flexport staff, “Flexport’s strategy will be to offer a full range of trucking services to our customers who value us as a one-stop-shop for global logistics.”


Today, Flexport announced that the Convoy platform has been up and running on the company’s system since Wednesday and Flexport has already booked almost 200 full truck loads through it.


FreightWaves’ Noi Mahoney reports, “Flexport plans to expand Convoy’s offerings for brokers in the second quarter of this year. Brokers will soon have access to capacity backed by fraud detection technology and ongoing automated predictive performance scoring and quality control.”

Don’t miss WHAT THE TRUCK?!? this Monday when Flexport’s Ryan Petersen joins the show. We’ve got a lot to talk about!

Meme of the week


Freight’s Babylon Bee strikes again — Like we covered on Wednesday’s episode of WTT, the New York trucker strike is not having any impact on freight and is a story mostly spun up on social media and by media outlets. That didn’t stop X user Freight Bandit from taking the opportunity to troll the platform. 

To his credit, he has since deleted the post as his grandson had seen it — an eerily similar excuse that Chicago Ray used when he deleted his New York boycott video.

A depressing state of freight with a glimmer of hope?


“Abysmal” — During Wednesday’s State of Freight webinar, FreightWaves’ CEO and founder may have called the market “abysmal” but he’s still bullish on the second half of the year.


So, when will a January head fake improve to a normalized market? During the webinar, Fuller said, “I have become more bullish. … I wouldn’t say it’s a quarter ahead, but maybe two quarters.”

What needs to happen for that to become a reality? Fuller points to the spread between contract and spot rates and the need to further reduce capacity. There’s been a big bleed out of both brokers and carriers since 2022 but not enough to offset the record number of both who entered the market during the pandemic.

Read FreightWaves’ John Kingston’s full breakdown of the State of Freight webinar here.

The rest of the noise

Robot recession? (Business Wire)

WTT Friday

CEO spends week with trucker to solve parking problem; Will’s Journey; Convoy returns — This Friday on WHAT THE TRUCK?!?, I’m joined by Trucking Parking Club’s Evan Shelley and Autumn Transport owner-operator Chris Thomas. Shelley just spent over a week riding along with Thomas so he can better understand the truck parking problem and issues driver face. We’ll find out what the two learned from each other and about solving these issues.

Will Jenkins is back with his latest venture Journey. After successfully building MoLo and selling it to ArcBest for $235 million, Jenkins is back to building. Now his new company Journey aspires to be the transportation recruiting resource and the premier community-based sales academy for the industry.

Travelers’ Scott Cornell shares the insurance market perspective on industry and market issues.

Plus, latest news, weirdness and trends.

Catch new shows live at noon EST Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on FreightWaves LinkedIn, Facebook, X or YouTube or on demand by looking up WHAT THE TRUCK?!? on your favorite podcast player.

Now on demand

Are truckers really boycotting New York?

Why Matt Silver won’t be buying Coyote

Thanks for reading and feel free to forward this to a friend.

Tweet @ Dooner

Email me

Subscribe to the newsletter

Subscribe to the show

Apple Podcasts





Or simply look up WHAT THE TRUCK?!? on your favorite podcast player. 

Don’t be a stranger,



Source link

In this article:
Share on social media: