I attended the monthly Traffic Club of Chicago executive series luncheon yesterday at Ditkas’s,  in Oak Brook Terrace( Da Coach stiff armed when I walked in…) where Darren Hawkins, President of YRC Freight was the speaker. The turn around at YRC is nothing short of amazing given the obituaries that were written about the company  a few years ago when  competitors spread rumors, went after YRC’s key accounts, and engaged in rate wars to speed  up the company’s demise.  YRC has restructured, right sized, and today  remains a vital link in many shipper’s supply chains. Some facts on YRC: 2014  $3.2B in sales        in business for 90 years      2,000 employees      259 terminals      8,300 tractors      32,000 trailers      1,800 employees in IL. with 1,260 at the Chicago Heights break bulk  4,000 line-haul/road drivers      25% of over the road miles are in intermodal service      YRC spends  $25M a month for diesel or 8,000 gallons per day.      LTL carriers traditionally make money in the 2nd and 3rd quarters but in 2014, YRC had a profitable 4th quarter.      YRC needs to hire 1,900 new drivers in 2015 and projects that 1,000 will be returning  veterans as it works on developing a talent pipeline from the military

Mr Hawkins also commented on:  Safety Safety  Safety!!  YRC has 2,000 drivers who have driven 1 million miles without an accident and has 3 drivers( who attended the luncheon)  based in Chicago Heights that are in the 4 million miles club.   Economy, Mr. Hawkins is cautiously optimistic  for 2015 as new housing starts are expected to rise double digits( each new house requires  7 truckloads of “stuff”) and lower gasoline prices should put an extra $ 65 Billion in the pockets of consumers of discretionary spending. 2015 LTL rates outlook, look for increases in the 3.5% range and changes in FSC calculations. LTL volume reported by the publicly  traded carriers is an excellent leading economic indicator. Concerns , clearly concerned on clean air standards in CA. for tractors and trailers, increasing price of new tractors which has risen over 60% in the last 10 years, mandatory electronic log devices proposed for 2017, and outdated and crumbling  highway infrastructure. YRC along with the ATA and the national chamber of commerce are pushing increases in diesel and gasoline taxes which have been at  the same level  for the last 20 years. Productivity, with ongoing driver shortages and congestion, allowing 33′ pup trailers from the current 28′ trailers would allow for an 18% increase in cube  without a change in weight laws.

An excellent program and I encourage Chicago area shippers to get more information on the traffic club and its schedule of events.

Joe Lombardo, NGNF  nice guy no freight


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