Last month I shared a news article about the state of Rhode Island’s proposal to install $43 million worth of toll gantries that would target class 8 trucks. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo said trucks were wrecking the state’s roads and bridges and proposed a 10-year, $1.1 billion plan to repair the state’s worn infrastructure. The Rhode Island Trucking Associations (RITA) said that in the long run, targeting commercial trucks for tolls is bad for business and the state. Well, Raimondo has signed the controversial plan into law. With the new law, drivers of class 8 trucks will pay a maximum of $20 to travel through the state along Interstate 95 one-way. Each electronic toll gantry a trucker passes under would cost about $3 and the maximum daily charge would be $40. Historically low fuel prices (see below) could help take some of the sting out of the new tolls, but obviously trucking companies are not happy with the new law. The RITA is even warning that truck drivers will simply avoid traveling through the state. Obviously this is easier said than done, as additional fuel consumption would more than offset the toll savings if trucks bypassed Rhode Island for northeast corridor runs. Of course, it could be a price companies are willing to pay to take a stand and make Rhode Island feel the sting of losing a portion of the trucking industry. It will be an interesting situation to watch unfold.
And now, on to the news.
- Food delivery startups compete for same market share
- Foursquare introduces grocery, booze delivery
- Google Express adds grocery delivery
- Study: Which grocery app do customers prefer?
- Cargo theft numbers down in 2015
- S. diesel average falls below $2 for first time over 10 years
- Spot Market Freight Declines, in Typical January Trend: DAT Freight Index
Food delivery through mobile devices is becoming more prevalent. Customers have become more empowered to use mobile apps to order food, and the growth of food delivery startups is no surprise. Funding has poured into the space as investors chase the high valuations that have characterized other on-demand interests such as Uber and Airbnb. On-demand food tech start-ups raised a record $5.7 billion globally last year, an increase of 152% from 2014, according to CB Insights. There are three main categories of food delivery – restaurant delivery, cook-it-yourself meal delivery, and prepared food delivery – and each is seeing explosive growth. This growth doesn’t even take grocery delivery into account, which is another segment of the market that is growing by leaps and bound.
Speaking of food delivery, Foursquare and delivery.com have partnered so that its users can now order takeout, alcohol, and groceries directly through the check-in app. Last month, food delivery became available through Foursquare, as the company partnered with GrubHub and Seamless, two food delivery companies. However, the partnership with delivery.com marks the first time that groceries and alcohol are available for direct order. If users are in one of delivery.com’s 36 serviced cities in the US, they can open up the Foursquare app, look for where the delivery site’s icon appears next to stores and restaurants, and tap to make an order.
In response to Amazon’s fresh grocery delivery service, as well as the onslaught of grocery delivery apps, Google is adding fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and milk to its Google Express deliveries. Google will add perishable groceries to select neighborhoods in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the company said Wednesday. Deliveries are $2.99 for members and $4.99 for everyone else (membership costs $95 a year). With estimates of the online grocery business topping $13 billion, it is not surprising to see the tech giant entering the mix. Now the big question will be whether Google’s recent patent for self-driving cars for last mile deliveries will be extended to grocery (in the not too distant future that is).
Grocery shopping through mobile apps is becoming easier these days too. A new study from Blackhawk Engagement Solutions,’ “How Grocery Shoppers Shop: Changing Trends in Grocery Shopping,” examined how consumers are ordering food through unconventional methods (that is, not calling a restaurant for delivery. More specifically, the study asked what the preferred grocery app is of consumers. The results found that on the grocery side, the top used grocery app among U.S. consumers by a wide margin is Amazon (71%), followed by grocery store apps (28%), Walmart (26%) and Target (25%). Third-party savings apps are not used much, with use in the low single digits for the grocery channel.
A total of 754 cargo thefts were recorded in 2015 across the United States with an average value of $184,101, FreightWatch International reported this week. The numbers represent a 6% drop in volume and a 21% decrease in value from 2014. FreightWatch says that though the total number of thefts fell, the threat of cargo thefts continues to grow in the U.S. because of increased organization and innovation from cargo thieves. According to FreightWatch’s numbers, 49% of all cargo thefts in 2015 occurred in either California, Florida or Texas. California overtook Florida as the state with the highest number of thefts in the year. Additionally, there were 16 recorded cargo thefts that were valued at or above $1 million, which was down from 24 recorded incidents in 2014.
For the first time since Feb. 14, 2005, the average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel in the U.S. is below $2. According to the Department of Energy’s weekly report, the price of a diesel now stands at $1.98 per gallon, which is the lowest price since Jan. 24, 2005. Prices dropped in all regions of the country, with the most significant decrease coming in California, where prices dropped 5.3 cents during the week. The nation’s most expensive diesel is in California at $2.316 per gallon, followed by the Central Atlantic region at $2.197 per gallon. The cheapest fuel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $1.858 per gallon, followed by the Rocky Mountain region at $1.866 per gallon.
And finally, spot market freight volume declined 9.1% in January, and truckload line haul rates edged down, compared to December. The month-over-month decline was typical of seasonal norms, according to the DAT North American Freight Index. January freight availability increased in only three of the past 20 years represented in the Index. The exceptions were January 2010, 2013 and 2014. By equipment type, van freight availability declined 15%, and refrigerated volume lost 8.9%. Flatbed trailers added 6.1%, compared to December. Spot market rates declined 1.3% for vans, 1.1% for reefers, and 0.6% for flatbeds, month over month, not including fuel surcharges.
That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend, and the song of the week, the Modern Lovers’ Roadrunner.