Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Oct. 31, 2022:

Shipper conditions remained positive in August

FTR Shippers Conditions Index August 2022Shippers Conditions saw a slight improvement in August, similar to the improvement seen in the Trucking Conditions Index, according to FTR.FTRWhile FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index remained slightly negative in August with a reading of -0.25, the firm’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) was still positive during the same month, improving to a 5.0 reading up from 4.5 in July.

Core freight conditions – demand, capacity, utilization, and freight rates ­– were mildly favorable for the month, FTR said, but the biggest boost to the shipper environment came from falling diesel prices.   

The outlook is for market conditions to hover around the neutral territory with some slightly positive and some slightly negative readings through 2023 when readings are expected to become more solidly negative.

“Shippers face multiple rounds of uncertainty in the coming months as diesel prices turn back higher and the harvest competes for capacity with other freight, while overall active trucking utilization eases back toward its historical average,” said Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR.

Specially-wrapped Kenworth to haul U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree unveiled

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Kenworth T680This year’s tour theme, “From the Mountains to the Sea,” along with “From the National Forests in North Carolina,” are prominently displayed on the truck’s driver and passenger sides. The design also features the U.S. Capitol Building, U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and a background of the sunset overlooking the Pisgah National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains. The 2022 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree logo is displayed on the roof.A Kenworth T680 Next Generation adorned with a newly installed special graphics design will soon transport the 2022 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the National Forests in North Carolina to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. 

This year’s carrier, Hardy Brothers Trucking, based in Siloam, North Carolina, is recognized on both doors. The company selected its husband-and-wife driver team of Harold “Ed” Kingdon Jr. and Deborah Z. Kingdon for the honor of transporting the special tree — a 78-foot Red Spruce scheduled to be harvested Nov. 2 from the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. 

The Kingdons will drive a T680 Next Gen equipped with a 76-inch mid-roof sleeper and the Paccar Powertrain to a full slate of community celebrations en route to Washington, D.C. 

The public community celebrations begin Nov. 5. The official tree lighting ceremony on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building is scheduled for Nov. 30. Smaller companion trees also will be provided to decorate offices inside of the U.S. Capitol building and other sites throughout Washington, D.C., along with handmade ornaments created by North Carolinians.

Below is the 2022 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour public schedule:

  • Nov. 5: Western North Carolina Agricultural Center, Fletcher, North Carolina
  • Nov. 6: Cherokee County Courthouse, Murphy, North Carolina
  • Nov. 6: Oconaluftee Island Park Event Site, Cherokee, North Carolina
  • Nov. 7: Pisgah Forest Ranger Station & Visitor Center, Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
  • Nov. 7: Marion Main Street, Marion, North Carolina
  • Nov. 8: Avery County Cooperative Extension Center, Newland, North Carolina
  • Nov. 8: Watauga High School, Boone, North Carolina
  • Nov. 8: Downtown Newton, Newton, North Carolina
  • Nov. 9: Veteran’s Memorial Park, Mount Airy, North Carolina
  • Nov. 9: Troy Town Hall, Troy, North Carolina
  • Nov. 10: North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, North Carolina
  • Nov. 11: North Carolina Veteran’s Home, Kinston, North Carolina
  • Nov. 12: Union Point Park, New Bern, North Carolina
  • Nov. 13: Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Manteo, North Carolina
  • Nov. 14: Suffolk Visitors Center, Suffolk, Virginia
  • Nov. 18: Delivery to West Lawn, U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.
  • Nov. 30: Tree Lighting Ceremony, Washington, D.C.