U.S. Xpress foresees truck driver shortages

The head of U.S. Xpress, Inc., expects freight volumes to rise and driver shortages to worsen as the U.S. economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Eric Fuller, CEO of U.S. Xpress, one of the nation's largest asset-based truckload carriers by revenue, released its September industry forecast Friday, predicting "diminishing truckload capacity" and "overwhelming load volumes."

"As the economy slowly recovers, freight volumes will rise and drivers will become an increasingly precious commodity," Fuller said. "In recent months, the industry has seen significant increases in driver turnover, which is exacerbated by lower CDL school enrollment and the recently launched Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse."

Fuller said the pandemic has resulted in an absence of normal seasonal fluctuations, "where the market skipped over the usual summer lull."

"It's becoming increasingly clear that high tide conditions will persist for a long while, so shippers and carriers will have to plan — and act - accordingly," he said.


MLGW hires GDS to study power options.

The board of Memphis Light Gas and Water has hired GDS Consulting to seek and evaluate power supply options over the next year as alternatives to the Tennessee Valley Authority.

MLGW, TVA's biggest customer which buys more than $1 billion of electricity a year, said the consulting firm will evaluate three options, assuming the Memphis City Council approves the contract next month.

The firm will evaluate one option to build transmission lines connecting Memphis to Mississippi and Arkansas. Another option for the study will be to determine the cost of Memphis purchasing power from a natural gas combined cycle or turbine plant that the utility did not own. A third option will look at the cost of renewable power that is either constructed for Memphis or purchased through the Midcontinent System Operator's marketplace.

A previous study by Siemens indicated MLGW could save a $122 million a year by buying power from outside of TVA. Before Memphis can severe its ties with TVA, it must give the federal utility five years' notice.


Google settles charges over sex misconduct

Google's parent company has reached a $310 million settlement in a shareholder lawsuit over its treatment of allegations of executives' sexual misconduct.

Alphabet Inc. said Friday that it will prohibit severance packages for anyone fired for misconduct or is the subject of a sexual misconduct investigation. A special team will investigate any allegations against executives and report to the board's audit committee.

Thousands of Google employees walked out of work in protest in 2018 after The New York Times revealed Android creator Andy Rubin received $90 million in severance even though several employees had filed misconduct allegations against him. Shareholder lawsuits followed, and in 2019 Google launched a board investigation over how it handles sexual misconduct allegations.

In January, David Drummond, the Alphabet's legal chief, left without an exit package, following accusations of inappropriate relationships with employees. The company didn't give a reason for his departure, but claims against Drummond were included in the board investigation.

With the settlement, Alphabet is pledging $310 million toward diversity, equity and inclusion programs over 10 years. It is also setting up an advisory committee to monitor how it handles sexual misconduct allegations against its executives.