According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Friday, the less-than-truckload carrier (Nasdaq: YRCW) announced that the company's board approved termination of Welch and Pierson's current employment agreements to grant them a new, more competitive package in 2015.
Click here to read more at the Kansas City Business Journal.
Monthly Transport Trader. Our Transport Trader report is a monthly review of transport stock performance. We show transport performance vs. the S&P 500 and other sectors, sub-sector performance (e.g. rail vs. truck), comparable stock performance (e.g. FDX vs. UPS), and individual stock performance vs. the market and peer group.
Transports Give a Little Back in December, with Some Signs of Mean Reversion. Our WR Transport index fell 0.7% in Dec. and slightly underperformed the S&P 500 for the first time in 4 months. TL stocks continued to outperform as the clearest winners from lower fuel (i.e. stronger consumer and net fuel savings), while LTL and Express stocks lagged the most. Asset-light stocks (UACL, RRTS and FWRD) outperformed last month after lagging earlier in the year, but LSTR was the worst transport stock in Dec. after strong gains earlier in the year.
But Transports Still Strongly Outperformed in 2014. Our Transport index was up 20% in ‘14, outperforming the S&P by more than 800bp and trailing only Utility and Health Care sector performance for the year. TL and LTL stocks were by far the best (8 of the top 9 stocks in our coverage were trucking stocks), followed by the Rails, Express carriers, Freight Forwarders and lastly the Truck OEM’s. Our best performing transport stocks were CVTI, KNX and SAIA, while our worst stocks were UTIW,RRTS and NAV.
Some Interesting Stats of the Year. Rail stocks outperformed the S&P 500 for the 14th straight year, led by UNP which has now overtaken UPS as the largest transport company (by market cap). FDX outperformed UPS for the 3rd straight year while Freight Forwarders underperformed the market for the 4th straight year. Trucking stocks outperformed for the 2nd straight year, and TL was the best performing transport sub-sector for the first time since ‘08.
A Look Ahead with Our Top Transport Stock Ideas for 2015: Rail and Truck capacity remain very tight, so pricing should be very strong this year and we believe Transport stocks can continue to outperform to begin the year. We believe TL remains best positioned entering the year, and our favorite TL stock is SWFT. While crude-by-rail has become a risk, we still expect CP to show the best EPS growth among the Rails this year, while FDX should benefit from lower costs and stronger Express vols in a lower fuel environment. WAB remains our favorite multi-year growth story, and our best special situations idea is UTIW as a potential turnaround or take-out story.
When American freight trains delivered cargo after World War II, the steam-belching beasts commonly had seven people aboard — an engineer, a conductor, up to four brakemen and a fireman.
Trains have since grown much longer, seemingly stretching to the horizon and often taking 20 minutes to pass through a crossing. And crews have been reduced in size — to five people in the 1970s and two in 1991. Now U.S. railroads want to put a single person in charge of today's huge locomotives, taking another step toward a future in which the nation's rail-cargo system increasingly could resemble toy train sets — highly mechanized networks run by computers or distant controllers.
Click here to read more.
Some troubled pension plans now have the authority to drastically reduce the benefits of current and future retirees — something that hasn’t happened since Congress passed legislation protecting retirement benefits 40 years ago.
The power was included in the last-minute, $1.1 trillion budget compromise signed by President Barack Obama on Dec. 16.
Click here to read more at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Amazon.com Inc. began offering one-hour delivery in Manhattan Dec. 18, the retailer’s latest effort to connect consumers with products they order online as quickly as possible.
The “Prime Now” program covers shipments of tens of thousands of household goods, including shampoo, paper towels, toys and books, the Seattle-based company said in a statement. The service will expand to additional cities in 2015, with the program available to Amazon Prime members who pay $99 annually for fast delivery.
Prime Now raises the bar in online delivery as Amazon competes with Google Inc.’s same-day Shopping Express service and EBay Inc.’s same-day EBay Now program.
Amazon, which has added grocery deliveries and Sunday deliveries in recent years, is working to lock in customers to buy things online that they need immediately rather than rushing to the store. CEO Jeff Bezos has also said the Web retailer is testing drones for same-day package service.
The new service will hurt convenience stores selling batteries and paper towels and is unlikely to make Amazon profitable in the near term, said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
“Their prices are so low on convenience items that it won’t offset the incremental delivery cost,” Pachter said. “It will help in the long term, as it is another reason for consumers to sign up for Prime, which brings in $99 per year and drives higher overall purchase activity.”
Amazon’s new building on 34th Street in Manhattan, which the company has said will be primarily office space, will serve as a delivery hub for Prime Now orders.
“There are times when you can’t make it to the store and other times when you simply don’t want to go,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said in a statement. “There are so many reasons to skip the trip and now Prime members in Manhattan can get the items they need delivered in an hour or less.”
Two-hour delivery is free to Prime members and one-hour delivery is available for $7.99. The service is only available to the 10001 ZIP code, a commercial area around Madison Square Garden with roughly 20,000 residents. Amazon said it plans to expand the area to more ZIP codes, without providing specifics.
The company keeps adding perks to its Prime program, which has tens of millions of subscribers in the U.S. who are its most active shoppers. In October, the company reported a third-quarter loss of $437 million, its worst since at least 2003.
For some retirees, Congress has played the Grinch this holiday season.
Tucked into the federal spending bill were provisions that will allow certain struggling multi-employer pension plans to reduce benefits already being received by retirees.
Click here to read more at The Washington Post.
America "survived" the government shutdown, sacrificing the benefits and pensions for millions of retirees. Ed Schultz gives an impassioned response to the new budget. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Tony Cardenas join the conversation.
Click here to see the video.
Questions and answers on the impact of the suspension of the HOS restart provision approved by Congress (as supplied by American Trucking Associations):
On Dec. 13, Congress passed the fiscal year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill, providing funding for the vast majority of the federal government, including the Department of Transportation, for the current fiscal year. The President signed the bill into law Dec. 16. Officially titled the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, the bill is over 1,700 pages long and has a host of detailed spending and policy-related provisions affecting many industries.
The most important trucking-related provision is language that provides relief from the two new restrictions of the hours-of-service restart rule. Specifically, the legislation suspends the requirement that all qualifying restarts contain two consecutive periods of time between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., and that it can only be used once every 168 hours (or seven days). In other words, the restart rule reverts back to the simple 34-hour restart in effect from 2003 to June 2013.
Below are some frequently asked questions to help understand the impact of this action.
1. What does the Congressional language actually say, and what does it mean?
The legislation says:
“Section 133 temporarily suspends enforcement of the hours-of-service regulation related to the restart provisions that went into effect on July 1, 2013 and directs the Secretary to conduct a study of the operational, safety, health and fatigue aspects of the restart provisions in effect before and after July 1, 2013. The Inspector General is directed to review the study plan and report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations whether it meets the requirements under this provision."
Essentially, this law eliminates, temporarily, the two new restrictions on the use of the 34-hour restart, namely the 1-5 a.m. provision and the 168-hour rule. Drivers will be permitted to restart their weekly hours by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty, regardless of whether or not it includes two periods of time between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. A driver can also utilize the restart more than one time per week if necessary.
2. When is the new 34-hour restart effective?
The 34-hour restart rule reverted to its pre-July 1, 2013 version on Dec. 16 when the President signed the bill into law.
3. How long will this change last?
Because the language resides in an annual spending bill, its terms expire at the end of FY2015, which is Sept. 30, 2015. It’s important to note that the legislation also directs the Department of Transportation to conduct a study comparing the effectiveness of the 34-hour restart rules in place before July 1, 2013 with those that took effect after. During 2015, ATA will continue to pursue strategies in an effort to keep the simple 34-hour restart rule in place for a longer period of time.
4. Does the legislation include any other changes to the hours-of-service rules?
No, all other hours-of-service rules, including the 30-minute rest break provision, remain unchanged and must be complied with.
5. If our trucks have ELDs, will we be able to use the simple 34-hour restart immediately?
Carriers are encouraged to work with their ELD suppliers to determine what software updates are necessary to comply with this legislatively directed rule change. A short transition period may be necessary, and ATA encourages fleets to be patient as ELD suppliers will need some time to write and deploy the software updates.
6. Will enforcement officials know about this change?
Soon after the law is signed, ATA fully expects the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to issue enforcement memos describing the changes and their impact to law enforcement personnel. The enforcement memos/guidance will be distributed by ATA to its members as they become available. Motor carriers may experience minor disruptions at roadside as law enforcement adapt to the changes. If a driver experiences a problem at roadside, you should contact head of the commercial vehicle safety program in that state’s lead MCSAP agency.