U.S. Will Tap SPR; Some Wholesale Fuel Rationing Begins

U.S. Will Tap SPR; Some Wholesale Fuel Rationing Begins

Future economic historians may look back on Hurricane Katrina as the start of the 2006-07 recession.

This hurricane may prove to be so disruptive that it tips the US economy over into a major correction of equity markets and regional housing bubbles.

10% of US refinery capacity is in areas affected by the storm. Ports have been damaged. Oil rigs have been damaged. Highways have been damaged.

That means that farmers may have to spend more getting their crops to market, i.e., sending them by more expensive rail links rather than barge. That puts more upward pressure on fuel prices.

Granted, there will be a rebuilding boom in construction, but for right now, there will be a lot of people without jobs.

My guess is that the net effect of this will be higher fuel prices, regional shortages. At least one major airline will go out of business permanently or be purchased by asset strippers. Domestic car manufacturers will see an absolutely dismal fourth quarter, the result of "Employee Pricing" flushing the fall buyers out early as well as the results of having put most of their eggs in the truck/SUV basket. The new hybrid pickups that generate their own 110V power should sell like hotcakes as the reconstruction of the South takes off.

Expect layoffs in the airline industry, auto manufacturing (and those who supply them). As the regional real estate bubbles collapse, expect layoffs in this industry, as well as sharply increased foreclosure as speculators get caught having bought at the top of the bubble.

As people's paper wealth deflates, they will be more conservative regarding their spending, and Christmas 2005 should be disappointing for retailers. Watch for Wal-Mart to significantly miss earnings forecasts.

As earnings decline, watch for the equity market to turn bearish. Money may start flowing into bonds as the Treasury Department has to unload increasing quantities of debt to finance the ever-increasing budget deficit. That means a lot of people with variable rate mortgages are in for some painful surprises. Watch for gold to go up, up, up.

What does this mean for our industry? Well, if you're a manufacturer, be prepared for canceled orders. If you're an owner operator, look for that fuel cost to gobble a bigger chunk of your gross. In general, however, people are still going to need to move cars around. There may just be fewer cars to move around for a little while. It's not really the end of the world, but it could be the beginning of the next recession.

Ratchet Wheel Straps

If recent sales of ratchet wheel straps to VW overflow carriers is any indication, it could be that the days of the cluster chain are numbered. How long before Toyota logistics goes this direction? I don't think the Cottrell lawsuit had anything to do with it, but the movement of the industry away from 1/4 diameter grade 70 cluster chains to 5/16" grade 70 cluster chains may fuel still further sales of the ratchet wheel straps. (Who wants that extra weight?)

Boydstun trailers now come with strap, at least the Boydstun trailer with screw actuator. With less weight from hydraulic line and chains, they estimate between 1000-2000 lbs of saved weight, depending on configuration. Don't know if the Cottrell screw trailer has the same weight savings or not.

Looks like the foreign car makers got complaints from their dealers about damage, which caused them to go to the soft ties. (Porsche, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen and BMW are among the few that come to mind, and I'm sure I'm missing some.)

Word is that General Motors is contemplating switching somewhere around 2007 if the rumor mill is accurate, which it rarely is.

Seems like the planets are getting lined up to make this a strap-on world before too long.

Here's a few places that sell ratchet wheel straps:

CF Bender Stocks for immediate delivery. Midwest US
Autohauler Supply New online catalog. Ships direct from manufacturer in Michigan.
Cottrell Many parts available for online ordering. Georgia.
Delavan Quicker delivery time and less shipping if you're in NY area

Allied Bankruptcy: If you need to collect money from them, you need to read this.

Somebody sent me a link to this document. I didn't know if he wanted me to publicize his name in association, otherwise I'd give him credit for it.

Carhaul Network to Launch 9/5/05

Got this from Ed Dicker-- sounds like it ought to be pretty good!

Waterford, MI: A new website, http://www.carhaulnetwork.com/ will launch September 5, 2005 which is aimed at providing a single source transportation and remarketing solutions for automobile shippers and carriers alike. Shippers will be able to post vehicles directly on the site for all of the carriers to view and submit a rate. Shippers include fleet managers, dealers, daily rental accounts, manufacturers, POV’s and other automobile transporters. When vehicles are posted, an email alert is sent to all carrier members immediately or they may view the postings at any time. Carriers that best fit the move will contact the shipper with an ETA and rate via email or telephone contact. Shippers will also be able to search for various remarketing services such as inspection, reconditioning services and complete remarketing solutions. Carriers may register @ www.carhaulnetwork.com beginning September 1, 2005.

Automobile Transporters have much to gain as a member of Car-Haul Network.
§ The ability to post and view traffic available throughout the country
§ The ability to post empty truck locations and eta’s…a very powerful tool for reducing deadhead miles
§ Free classified advertising within the site
§ Free recruiting advertising on Car-Haul Jobs (http://www.carhauljobs.com/)
§ Free posting in a national database of automobile transporters that will be searched by all automobile shippers (with random search results…not alphabetical)
§ View and post loading manuals and safety and claims bulletins
§ Car-Haul Network is NOT a broker…but rather a matching service for shippers and carriers. Carriers deal directly with the shipper.


Yesterday, I talked to Don Miller about his classic Autocar autohauler restoration. He's got a listing on Autohauler Shopper if you're interested in buying this beauty.

Don't know who owns Autocar now. My dad used to drive them back in the day.

Boydstun Trailer: New Screw Actuator Trailer

Heard through the grapevine that things are getting pretty busy at Boydstun Trailers in Portland, OR. Their new screw actuator trailer (as opposed to hydraulic) is selling faster than they expected, and they're now out to June 2006 on new deliveries of this model. (They still have slots in production for cylinder trailers.)

Those new screw actuator trailers save quite a bit of weight-- could make the difference between loading one more car. The advantage with this sort of technology is it saves all the weight of all those heavy hydraulic lines.

I understand that the top deck can drop all the way down, which would make loading and tying down vehicles a hell of a lot safer and easier. Boydstun is now putting soft ties right in the deck, so no more trying to figure out where to store 36 ratchet straps when you're not using them. Plus, straps weigh less than chains, and all the car makers seem to be heading in the wheel strap direction.

(I think Lloyd Fitzpatrick at The Waggoners invented something similar years ago. That company retro-fitted their chain ratchets and started using straps with frame hooks that could also go over the tire as a soft tie if need be.)

Has anybody heard how Cottrell's experimentation with screw actuators is going? Send me an email.

Next time I'm up their way, I'm going to check out their new trailer.

Court Approves Allied’s Bankruptcy Financing Plan

Court Approves Allied’s Bankruptcy Financing Plan:

Now's the time to push your way to the head of the line if you can. As usual, looks like the banks are being taken care of. Wonder how many car haulers they owe money to? I know a few guys who got stung. Hard to file a class action suit against a company in bankruptcy protection. Lawyers tend to want to get paid. (I ought to know-- I've got three attorneys in my immediate family, two of them specializing in business law in big-name firms!)

Makes me think I should sue somebody, all those free lawyers. Problem is, in this industry anyway, guys who are "sue-happy" tend to get a reputation for being cranks. That's bad for business.

New Cottrell Trailer Dealer In California

Looks like there is a new Cottrell trailer dealer on the west coast. Yesterday, I talked with Andrea of West Coast Enterprises, and she said that they're stocking Cottrell trailers. They're also going to offer service and parts, so if you're in the Fresno area, you might want to stop by and check them out. Check them out online at: www.westcoastenterprises.com.

Has Allied Transportation Lost Volkswagen of America?

Word on the street is that Allied went around to their customers asking for more money. Looks like VW of America had other ideas and switched to their overflow carriers.

More Allied News

Allied Holdings, the parent company of automobile transporters Allied Systems, Auto Haulaway of Canada and automotive logistics provider Axis Group, said Monday that its common stock has been delisted from the American Stock Exchange as of last Thursday.The Amex previously halted trading in Allied common stock on Aug. 1 after Allied and certain of its operating subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on July 31.Allied voluntarily applied for approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to delist from Amex, and is seeking to have its common stock included in the over-the-counter bulletin board or quoted on Pink Sheets – a daily listing of bid and ask prices for over-the-counter stocks not included on the OTC bulletin board – the company said in a statement.Allied is ranked No. 25 on the Transport Topics 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers. (from TTNews.com)

Got Meth? (Hey, think anyone will notice if I steal this load of Mercedes Benz?)

Bend.com - Police seek identification of suspect: "BAKER CITY - An unidentified man arrested today after attempting to

elude Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers and Union County Sheriff's

deputies, is a suspect in the theft of an auto transport truck loaded

with nine new vehicles from the Troutdale area valued at nearly



The Effect of Fuel

Let's say you just bought a piece of used auto transport equipment; heck, maybe you even plunked down a fat down payment on a new Boydstun or Cottrell trailer.

You're pulling a load of cars in California and your fuel is at 1/4. The sign at the fuel stop says that diesel is three dollars and something. At five miles per gallon average, your fuel cost is better than .60 per mile if you buy fuel here.

Maybe you're thinking about adding a California fuel surcharge, but you're worried it's so cutthroat that somebody won't, and then you'll lose business.

At a certain point, though, it might make sense. If somebody wants to steal the business, maybe there comes a time when you should let them. If they can't provide the level of service your customer expects, there's a good chance you'll get the business back.

Something to think about.

RedNova News - Science - Oil Companies' Profiteering to Blame for Gas Price Spike, Says FTCR

RedNova News - Science - Oil Companies' Profiteering to Blame for Gas Price Spike, Says FTCR: "FTCR's research has exposed manipulation of domestic refining capacity

and inventories by American oil companies as the reason behind gasoline

price spikes, not the traditional scapegoats of Big Oil: OPEC,

government regulation, litigation, and environmental standards. (Read

FTCR's reports and research on high gasoline prices at

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/energy/gasprices/ )"

It would be interesting to see how many refineries have been shuttered in the last five years, especially on the west coast.

Big oil is making it big time.

North Oil Company Profits Are Up... WAY Up!

Man, I wish my profits were up 51% like Conoco Phillips (3rd largest oil company in the US.) Exxon-Mobil is up over 34% for second quarter profits.

For those of you wondering why fuel in California is so high.

ContraCostaTimes.com | 08/11/2005 | Shipping industries deal with rising diesel prices

Well, this is a partial explanation. This article doesn't talk about the fact that oil companies would rather put their capital into drilling, which has a higher ROI than building refineries, pipelines and storage facilities. Why should they, when they're making record profits?

There was an article in the paper today about the airlines almost running out of fuel in California. In some cases, they even had to truck jet fuel in over-the-road from other airports, and in some cases even brought it in by air.

You're Busted!

WFAA.com | News for Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas | Latest News: "FORT WORTH — Fort Worth police who pulled over a truck for a routine

traffic stop Friday morning uncovered a human smuggling operation

apparently being run by a truck driver."

$3 Diesel in California

TATravelCenters - Diesel Fuel Prices: "ARIZONA  "


Allied seeks union's help | ajc.com

Allied seeks union's help | ajc.com: "After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late Sunday, the Decatur-based

company hopes to climb out partly by gaining concessions from the union

that represents the bulk of its work force and the manufacturers that

pay to transport their cars to dealers."