Your Dec. 17 Pre-Trip: Logistics firms find bright spot: low fuel prices

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. A sharp drop in fuel prices is providing some relief at a time when trucking and shipping companies are struggling with weak demand, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Diesel prices across the country are at a six-year low and down about 30% from the same time last year. According to the report, transportation firms generally pass along much of their fuel savings to shippers. Due to slow economic growth, “many trucking companies, airlines and shipping lines have been forced to cut their prices to hold onto customers, and lower fuel prices help soften that blow, analysts say,” according to WSJ.

2. Amid a severe shortage of drivers, trucking companies have begun putting programs in place that directly target women. According to a CNBC report, executives say a big challenge in the recruiting process is convincing women they’re welcome in the industry. One woman trucker who spoke to CNBC, 28-year-old Tiffany Deering, has been driving a 53-ft. trailer for the past year. She and her trucker husband, both military veterans, take turns driving 12-hour shifts hauling freight across the country. Deering told CNBC that when she pulls into a truck stop, people – including other truckers – usually do a double take. According to the report, Deering is part of a cultural shift that is changing the implications associated with the industry. CNBC has more.

3. YRC Freight, an Overland Park, Kan.-based trucking company, has opened a new CDL Training Academy in Hammond. According to a report in the NWI Times, YRC hopes to graduate up to 165 drivers a year to put a dent in the driver shortage. The Times has more.

4. Stollings Trucking Co. is being sued over its alleged failure to pay more than $100,000 for work completed, the West Virginia Record reports. According to the report, Chafin Clear Cutting had a work agreement with Stollings that they would perform tasks when assigned. Chafin claims Stollings stopped making payments sometime between September 2012 and December 2012.

5. Retired truckers in the Omaha area are protesting planned pension cuts, but the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund says it has no choice, according to Omaha.com. The fund filed a petition with the U.S. Treasury Department declaring it would run out of money in 10 years if benefits weren’t reduced. About 1,200 retired Teamsters live in the Omaha area, according to the report. Omaha.com has more.  

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