Welcome to the WHAT THE TRUCK?!? newsletter. In this issue, iconic movie truck stunts, spot market breakdown, shippers vs. carriers and more.

Spot hits previous highs


$3.33 — The Tokyo Olympics are in full swing but fortunately for shippers, one record that wasn’t broken this week was in the dry van spot market. It has tied the $3.33/inclusive of fuel high-water mark it touched the week of July Fourth. As has been the story for months now, the spot market is being propped up by robust freight volumes. Just look at that chart above. While the market is cycling in near lockstep with 2019, it’s doing so while moving much more freight!


Is the cavalry coming? — FreightWaves’ Andrew Cox recently reported, “Year-to-date, the for-hire market has grown 2.6%, while OTVI has expanded more than 12%. Calling the issue a driver shortage is simplistic and misguided; carriers are trying to respond, but there is simply too much demand to match capacity.” The good news is that outbound tender rejections have trickled down below 22% for the first time since the end of February. While carriers denying 1 out of 5 contracted loads isn’t a massive correction, we did enter July with 28% of loads getting rejected. Baby steps.

Ice Cold Stuntaz

Warner Bros. / Tri-Star Pictures

“The Dark Knight” 2008 In preproduction for “The Dark Knight” Christopher Nolan challenged Director of Photography Wally Pfister to take his movie’s action sequences to the next level. Nolan’s call to action? Do something that had never been done before: Flip an 18-wheeler without the use of CGI. That’s when stunt driver Jim Wilkey hopped behind the wheel of a 1986 Peterbilt 358. The feat was accomplished using a reinforced driver cab, a giant piston hidden under the trailer and some outstanding camera work. Check out the behind the scenes and take a look at one of the surviving stunt trucks (the video claims it is an ’83 but I’m seeing an ’86). 

“Madness, as you know, is like gravity ⁠— all it takes is a little push!” — The Joker in “The Dark Knight”

“Terminator 2: Judgement Day” 1991 It’s been said that T2 is the Terminator that director James Cameron always wanted to make. In fact, the liquid metal T-1000 was originally in the first film’s script before being scrapped due to technical limitations. While T2 may have revolutionized digital effects, they did one of the film’s greatest stunts the old-fashioned way. They drove a 1984 Freightliner FLA 9664 through a false wall and right off of the Hayvenhurst Avenue overpass into the canal below. The impressive scene came from a vision Cameron had about showcasing the T-1000’s liquid metal morphing abilities after a fiery truck wreck. Watch the scene and this behind-the-scenes footage.

“Heat” 1995 Michael Mann’s epic crime thriller “Heat” starts with the heist of an armored truck by DeNiro, Kilmer and crew. In order to breach the cash carrier, the team employed the use of a 1979 Peterbilt 359 tow truck. Although the film is sped up leading to the impact, this effect was done pretty much in the way it looks. They simply drove the Freightliner straight into the armored truck. Keep it simple, stupid. Or, as Neil McCauley said, “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.” Watch the scene

Your turn —What’s your favorite movie truck stunt? FreightWaves CEO/founder Craig Fuller nominated the truck chase in “License to Kill” while reader William Loeffler is partial to the truck vs. F-35 scene in “Live Free or Die Hard.” Send me yours at tdooner@freightwaves.com

Don’t watch those while driving

CHP – Gilroy Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facility

Movie violation — CHP nabbed a driver who left a movie playing in his cab during inspection at the Gilroy Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facility in San Marten, California, on July 30. The patrol took to Facebook to remind drivers, “per 27602 of the California Vehicle Code it states in part that”:

(a)    A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.  In other words “DON’T WATCH MOVIES WHILE YOU DRIVE.”

Shippers steaming over ocean carrier profits


Hockey stick rates — Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Ocean carriers aren’t honoring their contracts and minimum quantity commitments. Carriers are blaming congestion but shippers are finding that to be a hard pill to swallow as the steamship lines report record earnings and spot rates soar by 600%-800%.

“In the past, carriers signed contracts then they filled the rest with spot rates. But now they’re focused more on spot rates … and are pushing contracted allocations to premium spot rates.” — Jon Monroe, founder, Jon Monroe Consulting on WHAT THE TRUCK?!?

I’ll see you in court — Last Wednesday, MCS Industries filed a complaint with the FMC accusing COSCO Shipping Lines and MSC Mediterranean Shipping and their competitors in the Asia-U.S. trans-Pacific trade of violating the U.S. Shipping Act.

80 ships at anchor — Along the U.S. coasts, more than 80 container ships remain at anchor as ports contend with the fallout from record import volumes. According to Marine Exchange, 28 of those ships are at rest in San Pedro Bay. With carriers holding all the cards, shippers and the FMC are pushing a boulder uphill as they try to improve their circumstances. 

On edge

alt Lake City Fire Department

Jackknife — One driver on Utah’s I-215 West is lucky to be alive after a jackknife crash nearly sent his truck careening over the edge of an overpass. According to the Salt Lake City Fire Department, the trucker was able to escape the cab unscathed.

WTT this week

WTT airs live M-W-F 12:00-1:00 PM ET and is on podcast players everywhere

Wednesday — On the show: What the FMC can do about ocean shipping; startup receives $82 million to finance exports from Latin America; why Matt McLelland is hyped for F3; and SEKO’s view of the market. 

Special guests include Peter Spradling, COO and co-founder, and Jacob Shoihet, CEO and co-founder at Marco; Brian Bourke, CGO at SEKO Logistics; Matt McLelland, VP of sustainability and innovation at Covenant; and maritime law expert Lauren Beagen.

Friday — Special guests include Sam Lurye, founder of Kargo; Chad Boblett, Rate Per Mile Masters; and Nicole Heron, Driver Recruiting Center manager of DHL Supply Chain.

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

Now on demand
Ocean carriers under fire for not honoring shipping contracts

How NASA hauls 17 million pounds of freight

Wheel of stupid questions

Would you rather have $125k or a dog with a 75-year lifespan? — We asked St. Christopher Truckers Fund’s Shannon Currier. Here’s her answer, what’s yours?

Tweet @ Dooner

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