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Weekly Food Industry Report: The Week of November 11, 2013

Weekly Food Industry Report: The Week of November 11, 2013

A roundup of this week’s food industry financial news

Efforts to revive the Popeyes brand continue to pay off as profit rose 30 percent in the third quarter.

Every week, we take a look into some of the biggest financial news to emerge from the world of food. Here is this week’s:

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen: Efforts to revive the brand continue to pay off as profit rose 30 percent in the third quarter. says back-to-back promotions of its Chicken Waffle Tenders and its signature bone-in chicken helped its global same-store sales increase of 5.1 percent.

Starbucks: After an arbitrator ordered the company to pay $2.2 billion in damages and another $527 million in interest and attorneys fees to its former distribution partner Kraft Foods Global Inc., it experienced an operating loss of $1.2 million, or $1.64 per share.

Yum! Brands Inc.: The company narrowed its same-store sales decline by 5 percent in October. Same-store sales dropped 7 percent at KFC, offset by a 10-percent increase at Pizza Hut Casual Dining.

Potbelly Corp.: In the third quarter, the company reported a year-over-year rise in adjusted profit and quarterly revenue as it opened nine new locations and posted a 2.5-percent same-store sales increase.

McDonald's Corp. In October, the company reported on a rise in U.S. and European same-store sales and a fall elsewhere, causing a system-wide increase of 0.5 percent.

We’re always on the lookout for new financial news, so let us know!


Weekly Food Industry Report: The Week of November 11, 2013 - Recipes

Widespread gas shortages throughout the Southeast may continue to linger for days despite the fact that the Colonial Pipeline is back in action after shutting down for 6 days due to a ransomeware attack.

The pipeline flows at just 5 miles per hour, which means it could take days, even weeks for gas, diesel and jet fuel to flow through most places. Panic buying and a truck driver shortage as well are adding to this crisis.

North Carolina has been hit particularly hard, with approximately 70% of the stations out of gas. Virginia and Georgia have been hit hard, as have Washington DC, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Maryland.

"The restarting of the Colonial Pipeline is the beginning of the end of the crisis, not the end of the end of the supply crunch," Michael Tran, managing director of global energy strategy for RBC Capital Markets. "With an operational pipeline, the race to logistically replenish regional and localized gas stations is the next step."

Jackson Wetherby of Colt-Land Towing & Recovery of Cary, NC expects a rise in call volume but indicated he would be hard pressed to help since he can’t get gas at many stations due to the panic buying.

He advised: "If you realize you’re going to run out of gas before you get somewhere safe, just make sure you’re pulling off the side of the road away from a lot of traffic. It gives you space, so you're safe and away from traffic. It also gives us space to come and help you in any way," Wetherby said.

The Decline of Police Impounds


By Randall C. Resch

Why has police initiated “call-volume” slowed to a trickle? Here’s one explanation sweeping the nation. Years back, when motorists were stopped for violations and their licenses were suspended, the vehicle got impounded. In today’s “I’m OK you’re OK” world, public sentiment says impounding someone’s car for violating the law infringes on their rights.

Changing laws have gained momentum that impacts law enforcement towing. If you’ve experienced a decline in PD impounds, courts are squashing lawful impounds even though drivers have warrants and suspended licenses. The reasons cite affordability, inconvenience and loss of employment.

The amount of time police spent arresting and processing suspended drivers includes arrest and impound reports, waiting for tow trucks (to take the vehicle) and transporting drivers to jail. Time isn’t spent proactively addressing dangerous driving and violent crime. Instead, departments waste limited resources arresting drivers unable to pay fines.

Also avoiding police initiated impounds are larger motorhomes and RVs. Much comes from public sentiment and necessity where persons with limited means, those homeless, or forced to live in vehicles where parking restrictions are many. For example, San Francisco and New York claim the highest rents and unaffordable housing where non-affordability is forcing people to the streets.

Other California cities have experienced overwhelming increases in homeless populations. Los Angeles County reported a 12% increase in 2021’s homeless population with numbers rising drastically to nearly 59,000 across the county. In LA County alone, nearly 10,000 cars, vans, RVs and campers provide shelter to 16,525 people in 2019, accounting for approximately 28-percent of the county’s entire unhoused population.

Large US cities have unwritten policies that allow motorhomes, RVs and parked cars as an alternative to homelessness. Believe or not, living in a vehicle isn’t new to people forced from their homes. So, as an alternative to keep people off-the-streets, cities have initiated “emergency relief” allowing destitute persons to settle in parks, private properties, or designated areas. In-doing so, “abatement” or “abandoned vehicle” enforcement has dropped creating a new level of urban decline.

It takes time and resources to dispose of derelict RVs and motorhomes after lien-sale. By not impounding them, tow company costs of disposal have temporarily eased at least for the moment. That sleeping giant currently isn’t your problem until it raises its ugly head.


Deadly Dispute Over Impounded Car

The owner of Florida tow company, Strapped Transport Towing and Recovery , located in Mulberry, Fla., is behind bars for 2nd degree murder after shooting Juan Barroso who came to the impound lot to pick up a car. He is charged with shooting him as he was running away.

According to police, Barroso showed up to get his vehicle early Monday night when tensions arose. Marshall Denn, the owner of the brother, started punching Barroso. Barroso rammed his vehicle and later rammed Marshall Denn. Then the owner, Michael Shane Denn, shot and killed Barroso with a shot to the back of his head.

A news release from the sheriff’s office says evidence collected at the scene suggests “the decedent exited his vehicle and was running away from the suspect, not towards the suspect, when the suspect fired his firearm at the decedent.”

Denn was arrested and charged with second-degree murder after deputies say they determined he intentionally fired at the victim who was running away.

Towman Gets Short End of Stick

In August, an 18 wheeler belonging to Walmart destroyed a towing fleet owned by Watt’s Towing of Crewe, Va., when the driver suffered a medical emergency and lost control of the vehicle.

Eight months later, the owner of Watt’s Towing, Harold Ray Watt’s, Sr. said that Walmart hasn’t paid them a penny. “That’s what we make our living with. There is no reason they shouldn’t pay us.”

According to Watt’s, they hauled the trailer that slammed into their fleet to Walmart’s distribution center and haven’t been paid for that either.

Walmart came out with a statement that they continue to negotiate.and recently sent an apology letter.

Meanwhile, Watt’s has taken out a loan to purchase a new wrecker.

Parade Honors Kansas Towman

Approximately 100 tow trucks participated in a remembrance parade on May 7 to honor 69 year old tower Joe Meyer, who died on April 29 when he was reportedly crushed by a vehicle that fell off a tow truck.

The long line of tow trucks, led by a tractor-trailer and tow trucks carrying several antique John Deere tractors, started in Olathe and ended in Overland Park at Overland Tow’s shop, which he owned and operated with his wife, Lori.

“Joe was a race car builder and drag racing enthusiast. He enjoyed racing the cars he built, and passed his love of the sport along to their children by building cars for each of them to race,” is obituary reads.

Buyer Beware as Tower is Duped by Truck Purchase

A tower, who spent 19,000 to purchase his first tow truck in order to start a business, claimed he was duped on Copart, a massive online auto auction company, as the truck turned out to be a lemon.

“Everybody says, you know, ‘If it’s too good to be true, don’t do it.’ But it is an auction, and it goes by pretty fast. So you really have moments to think about it to go with your heart,” said Garcia.

When Garcia arrived to pickup the truck in Louisville, Ky., he found the truck was not in a condition to put on the road, calling another tow truck to haul his away to avoid storage fees. It appears that the undercarriage of the truck rotted through.

Garcia acknowledged that he did not do his due diligence and assumed the ad that led to the purchase was enough to go on.

Garcia’s calls for a refund didn’t go well. “They put me on hold, and then after 20-30 minutes, they just click,” Garcia said. When Garcia got the local media involved, however, Copart agreed to give Garcia a refund.

Oklahoma Tow Company in Limelight

A Muskogee tow truck company is getting national attention after being featured on the show "Hustle and Tow" that airs on A&E.

Tow truck operator Nik Morgan is the owner of Morgan Towing & Recovery and was called up by the show's producers last year.

"Actually, I thought it was a joke!" Morgan admitted, "I got the phone call for a reason and maybe the good Lord‘s got me on there on a reason to give a message."

From rescuing stranded drivers to picking up overturned semi's, Morgan says he's seen it all. The series highlights the "day-in-the-life" of a tow truck operator. "Being on the national stage is pretty surreal to me I always thought I was just a tow truck driver, just like anybody else and they want to walk around filming me doing my stuff doing what I do every day. To me, it’s just a job but to them they think I’m a hero that helps save people's lives and keep people from dying on the white line." Morgan admitted.

The show began airing a few weeks ago, and Morgan hopes he proves tow truck operators are front-line heroes -- keeping drivers safe and America moving. "People think tow truckers are just the old fat guy. But, we run a professional business --- we run a very successful business and it shows through the screen --- it shows through the lens and I’m really proud of that," Morgan added.

There are new episodes of Hustle and Tow every Tuesday at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. central.

Slow Down Move Over Awareness in Utah

Local agencies in Washington City, Utah are reminding residents of the Slow Down, Move Over Law on May 15 as the Police Department is hosting a special ride along event in hopes to educate locals on the importance of driver’s safety.

According to officials, the event is aimed towards informing the public on how to take action when it comes to the Slow Down, Move Over Law, Utah Code 41-6a-904. The law states drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles, highway maintenance vehicles, or towing vehicles displaying flashing red, red and white, red and blue, or amber lights need to slow down and provide as much space as practical. It also states for drives to move over a lane if it’s clear and safe to do so.

For more information on the event, click here.

Recovery Mishap Takes Life of Tower

In El Paso, Texas, tower Carlos “Flaco” Olague of AD Towing & Recovery, was killed while trying to assist a semi-truck stuck on a sidewalk.

The tragedy happened late Sunday morning when the driver of a big rig, Joel Ramirez, failed to lift the trailer’s support wheels before exiting. The wheels got stuck on the sidewalk.

Olague attempted to remove the trailer but due to a miscommunication, Ramirez rolled the big-rig forward while Olague was between the rear axles that he was helping to move out of traffic.

Olague's right leg was run over by the rear tires of the trailer he was taken to the hospital where police said he later died.

Off the Wall Recovery


by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

On January 27, 2021 Kendalls Towing and Recovery LLC was called to recover a Ford F250 pickup stuck on a retaining wall. Kendalls owner Kendall Stubinger relayed, “The owner of the pickup called us to come out to the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and take a look at the scene and respond at our own leisure to recover it. A snow storm had swept through the area leaving for slick and slippery surfaces, which caused the pickup to slide.”

Kendalls senior operator Logan McCubbins was dispatched in his 2018 four-door Dodge RAM 5500 equipped with a Century 2465 12-ton medium-duty. The 2465 is equipped with twin 12,000-pound planetary winches.

Logan did his walk-around survey of the scene. The four-door Ford F250 pickup had slid backwards leaving its back end dangling over a concrete retaining wall. Logan noticed the fuel tank was in jeopardy of being ruptured by the concrete retaining wall so called Kendall to supervise the recovery.

Logan had also requested to send another operator in a small truck as there was no room for recovery. Kendall had four year operator Zachary Burton respond in his Broadway Wrecker 2016 four-door Dodge equipped with a Vulcan 882 light-duty. Kendall informed, “I wanted Zach to be on this one for training purposes because he is new to the recovery field.”

When Kendall arrived, he got all of his team together to figure out how to keep from rupturing the fuel tank. They devised a plan and started rigging for the recovery. Using a tree behind the pickup as a deadman, they ran out two lines from the Vulcan 882. One went through a snatch block attached to the tree and down to the pickup rear bumper for lift. The other line from the 882 went to a loop through the F250 ’s drivers side rear wheel. The Century 2465 was hooked to the front of the pickup to pull forward once it was lifted enough to clear the fuel tank and get it up on to the wall. The pickup was than pulled forward off the wall to the driveway.

“Other than the no room, the recovery became easy after saving the fuel tank. We used every inch of room we had. The 882 actually did a majority of the work,” stated Kendall. “We did not transport the pickup. The customer wanted to drive it if at all possible. We had the capability of making a happy customer and we did. Another successful job done by Team KTR!”
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Kendall Stubinger owns Kendalls Towing and Recovery LLC based in Russellville, Mo. They have a team of experts that can handle any and all towing, recovery and hauling services. In addition to Kendalls, Kendall owns multiple towing companies together with his partners Rick Hutchison and Tyler Doyle including Tow Pro, Broadway Wrecker, Broadway Shell, and Russ Auto and Towing.

Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at [email protected] your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

A Bridge Too Low


by Jim “Buck’ Sorrenti

On March 4, 2021 Greg’s Towing received a call from the Akron Police Department for an accident on Newton St., East of Case Ave. involving a fire truck hitting a 10'3" railroad overhead bridge.

Greg’s owner Greg Prunty responded with his 2017 KW with a Century 5030 30-ton, heavy operator Steve Labay Jr responded in a 2018 Pete with a 50-ton Jerr-Dan and operator Keith Riley went out in a Dodge with a Jerr-Dan MPL40. Tyler Bishop from Bower's Towing was an extra helper.

Upon arrival and the initial walk around, Greg’s crew found the fire truck, a retired unit used for parades, that belonged to a private individual. Steve informed, “The unit had been traveling east and hit the bridge with such force that it had broken the boom mount off the frame and bent the boom down and spun it over the side. The basket had excessive damage and the body was twisted.”

When the unit came to a stop it had struck a telephone pole and wires were down, strewn across the road. “After the Electric Company had secured the pole and the power, we were able to put our recovery plan into action,” said Steve. “The unit was still running and we backed it off the sidewalk and crossways into the street, so we could position the Jerr-Dan 50-ton in front of the unit and the Century 5030 30-ton on the side.

First they winched and lifted the boom clockwise towards the front of the truck with the 5030. Then they extended the boom on the 50-ton to lift the boom over the undamaged cab and a/c unit. The MPL40 was used to winch the basket back around and in place. “We used the 5030 to hold the boom and the Jerr-Dan 50-ton to lift the boom over the cab and back into place,” explained Steve.

The crew strapped the boom down and towed the fire truck from the scene to Greg’s lot. The next day the owner came and was able to drive the unit home.
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Greg Prunty owns Greg’s Towing, based in Akron, Ohio. The company, established in 1983, serves northeastern Ohio. Their services include towing and recovery from light to heavy-duty, lockouts and jump starts.

Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at [email protected] your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

A Mean Lean


by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

On March 27, 2020 B & F Towing Co. was called by the owner of a dump truck for a winch out in Salem, N.J.
B&F heavy recovery specialist Chuck Bonadio was dispatched. He informed, “We were contacted by the owner of the truck to recover it. I responded solo in my 2019 Peterbilt with an NRC 40 CS four winch.” The unit has dual 40,000-pound, two-speed planetary winches and two 15,000-pound auxiliary planetary winches.

When Chuck arrived he saw a 2020 Freightliner dump truck on the shoulder with its passenger side wheels more than rim deep in mud.

“It was at a mean lean,” he stated. “I rigged a doubled line from the tailboard of the tow truck to a tail wrap on the rear of the dump truck. I used a 16 endless loop for the wrap. Rigged a line to lift the low side to take the lean out of it and finish the recovery because I knew I was gonna run out of line on the tail wrap before it was all the way back to the road and I used my auxiliaries married together to the low side tow pin on the front to bring the front to the road.”

Once it was back on the road it was driven from the scene with zero damage.

Robert “Bob” D. Fenimore is the owner of B & F Towing Co., in business since 1967. Based in Wilmington, Del., they operate from two locations and provide a variety of towing services, including light-, medium-,heavy-duty and long distance towing, long distance hauling and transportation, equipment hauling and recovery, emergency and air cushion recovery, stuck equipment recovery, emergency response, load shifts and transfers, trailer stacking, used auto parts and salvage.

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at [email protected] your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!


The Decline of Police Impounds


By Randall C. Resch

Why has police initiated “call-volume” slowed to a trickle? Here’s one explanation sweeping the nation. Years back, when motorists were stopped for violations and their licenses were suspended, the vehicle got impounded. In today’s “I’m OK you’re OK” world, public sentiment says impounding someone’s car for violating the law infringes on their rights.

Changing laws have gained momentum that impacts law enforcement towing. If you’ve experienced a decline in PD impounds, courts are squashing lawful impounds even though drivers have warrants and suspended licenses. The reasons cite affordability, inconvenience and loss of employment.

The amount of time police spent arresting and processing suspended drivers includes arrest and impound reports, waiting for tow trucks (to take the vehicle) and transporting drivers to jail. Time isn’t spent proactively addressing dangerous driving and violent crime. Instead, departments waste limited resources arresting drivers unable to pay fines.

Also avoiding police initiated impounds are larger motorhomes and RVs. Much comes from public sentiment and necessity where persons with limited means, those homeless, or forced to live in vehicles where parking restrictions are many. For example, San Francisco and New York claim the highest rents and unaffordable housing where non-affordability is forcing people to the streets.

Other California cities have experienced overwhelming increases in homeless populations. Los Angeles County reported a 12% increase in 2021’s homeless population with numbers rising drastically to nearly 59,000 across the county. In LA County alone, nearly 10,000 cars, vans, RVs and campers provide shelter to 16,525 people in 2019, accounting for approximately 28-percent of the county’s entire unhoused population.

Large US cities have unwritten policies that allow motorhomes, RVs and parked cars as an alternative to homelessness. Believe or not, living in a vehicle isn’t new to people forced from their homes. So, as an alternative to keep people off-the-streets, cities have initiated “emergency relief” allowing destitute persons to settle in parks, private properties, or designated areas. In-doing so, “abatement” or “abandoned vehicle” enforcement has dropped creating a new level of urban decline.

It takes time and resources to dispose of derelict RVs and motorhomes after lien-sale. By not impounding them, tow company costs of disposal have temporarily eased at least for the moment. That sleeping giant currently isn’t your problem until it raises its ugly head.

Continuing Education


Brian J Riker

With the weather changing, COVID restrictions being lifted and the tow show season returning to normal I can feel the excitement building. Excitement to see old friends, make new friends and indulge in some of the finest hospitality anywhere. Personally though, I am more excited about the learning opportunities available to the industry.

I am always on a quest to learn and better myself. Nearly three decades into this industry and I learn something new every day. Technology, regulations, best practices all change over time and we can either learn, grow, adapt or fade like the paint on my dad’s old Ortiz wrecker.

Continuing education is not just self-improvement. It is survival. With the constant pressure to cut rates or add extra value to our services we must constantly strive to learn new, perhaps more efficient, ways of performing our jobs. Our financial future depends upon it as does our personal safety.

We expect our shop technicians to stay current on the latest models of vehicles. After all they can’t be effective servicing them if they don’t fully understand them. So why don’t we apply that same thought process to our towing and recovery operators? Or maybe business management education?

There are many awesome sources for training available to our industry. Most of it is hands-on in a classroom setting, although some is self-paced online training. There is no bad training. The more sources you have for information the more tools in your toolbox.

My current favorite method of learning is by listening to podcasts. There are thousands of great podcasts available for free, including a few that are towing focused and even one that I host aimed towards motor carrier compliance in the car haul industry. I listen to them while on long trips or in an airplane, you could listen while driving on a call.

Think about it, you could find some nuggets of wisdom and then recommend them to your team, and they can learn while simply sitting and waiting for their next dispatch. It doesn’t get more efficient than that! Same concept with short form video training. It is content that can be viewed on mobile devices during otherwise idle or non-productive periods of time.

I never look at the cost of training as an expense, rather it is an investment. An investment in future earnings, in your people and most importantly an investment in professionalism. Perhaps Zig Ziglar put is best, “What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? Not training them and keeping them.” Over 250 years ago Ben Franklin said “An investment in education always pays the highest returns.”

Without education we cannot grow and without growth we die. By the time I was old enough to legally drive my dad had already switched industries, leaving his garage and towing business behind. I took a job driving a light duty wrecker for a local guy, a one chain wonder, someone that wouldn’t know safety or industry standards if they bit him. I knew his practices were wrong, even dangerous, so I took it upon myself to seek out better training.

Ultimately that is what led me to Baltimore back in 1992, the chance to learn from others. I was seeking out something better for myself. In my other job at the time, driver trainer for a school bus fleet, we had very good training resources and a dedication to excellence. Both were missing from my towing career until I began networking with other towers. I firmly believe without attending trade shows I would have never become as passionate about education as I am today.

Friends First or Driver’s Only: Reaching the Middle Ground


By Randall C. Resch

A notorious tow owner was known for rage and outbursts. When there were issues, this owner became a madman’s personality. Dispatchers and drivers were too afraid to approach him because they dreaded being belittled. Employee morale was at its lowest.

The owner was mean and nasty. As a norm, he displayed inexplicable behavior where people, including me, didn’t like doing business with him. His maniacal nature created huge turn-over where new employees quit after a few weeks.

I too personally distanced my business relationship with him believing no-person deserves to be verbally attacked by an owner who lacks common decency, compassion and understanding.

I had lunch with this tower and we talked about work and family. He mentioned one driver, his long-time personal friend, who caused three damages in a reporting period. Two damages were suspension damages and the other damage happened when the driver backed into another car during a live-auction.

The suspension costs weren’t something to send to his insurance provider and were paid in-house. The owner asked me for advice because he struggled with having to dismiss his friend.

That’s a hard choice. When experienced operators, have back-to-back damages in a reporting period, perhaps there’s something going-on beyond the work environment, home-life, or life in-general?

I recommended the owner go to lunch or have an informal talk with the driver beginning conversation with something like, “You’ve worked for me for a long-time and you’ve done a great job. I’m concerned about what’s happened recently. Can we discuss the damages?” Although it seemed like a risky segue in having a discussion, it was necessary.

I suggested conversation start with something like, “I’m here for you and I want to help.” In this case, they talked openly and determined there were relationship issues beyond the workplace, but the relationship issues were resolved.

Choking back tears, by the time everything was said, the emotional tower apologized saying he’d work on doing a better job. The driver was said to be, “Back-on-track” where a little communication was all that was needed. All that was required was the boss offering to lend an ear.

There’s a personality trait that tow owners should identify early in their business careers. How do you handle employee issues? Do you take issues personally? Do you think about what occurred and why? Is it about costs? Or, do you go high-order, explode and then fire the employee?

Firing without emotion is a difficult task, but for the bigger picture, ask what may be driving those problems and issues. I believe it’s important for owners to consider the employee’s relationship with the company.

Finding committed employees is a difficult process and costly reality. In this case, both boss and driver handled these issues respectfully and openly without emotion and argument. But, if damages were to continue without improvement, continued employment would have to be re-approached.

I was pleased that owner and driver were able to talk, ultimately coming to an understanding that easily could have resulted in dismissal.

From my conversations with the owner that lead to his breaking point, I recommended to him that all of the company’s carriers be outfitted with eight-point straps and ratchet’s to help quell future suspension damages.

The owner took my advice, purchased strap systems and initiated company-wide training for carrier operators using eight-point straps and no J-Hooks. As for the backing incident, I recommend that spotters be employed when backing actions are necessary. Everything worked-out for the better.


Weekly Food Industry Report: The Week of November 11, 2013 - Recipes

DAT Trendlines is a free weekly spot market freight report, providing an overview of national freight market trends. The average trucking rates are based on DAT iQ’s $110 billion database of actual freight payments.

The report includes a weekly snapshot of the rolling month-to-date national average trucking rates for van, reefer and flatbed. National average rates in Trendlines are for lanes of 250 miles or more.

Trendlines also includes national supply and demand metrics based on load and truck posts on the DAT One load board network by freight brokers, shippers and carriers.

You can also explore historical monthly trucking industry trends and compare spot trucking freight rates to the contract rates that shippers pay directly to carriers by visiting the links below:

The national trends reported in DAT Trendlines are not necessarily reflective of trends that freight brokers, shippers and carriers may be seeing in individual trucking lanes or regions. To fully understand market and truckload pricing dynamics in your lanes, DAT provides a full suite of freight rate and market data available from DAT iQ or tools in DAT One load boards.

To access the full history of DAT Trendlines reports, contact DAT’s Analytics Services team.