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  • Truck Driver Happiness: The Battle to Retain Drivers

    by Charlotte Freed | Sep 16, 2016
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    This past week, we celebrated National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Though this week of appreciation has passed, the idea of retaining drivers cannot fall to the wayside.

    This begs the question: How do we keep our drivers happy?

    For years, motor carriers across the country have used various efforts to find and retain drivers. Often retaining drivers comes down to competitive driver pay, but is that the only factor to be considered? This is a complex industry and one where drivers who are respected and valued has high and often equal impact on retention as pay rates. 

    Stay Metrics has conducted an ongoing survey with over 80 motor carriers to help find the answer to the driver retention question. So far, the most decisive factor in determining driver happiness seems to be home time and work-family conflict. The Stay Metrics survey showed that drivers dissatisfied with their home time are 93.4% more likely to quit, while those with a work-family conflict are close to 60% more likely to leave.

    Home time and work-family conflict cannot be the only factors considered when discussing retention, and that, again, brings up the subject of pay. Interestingly, this survey shows that drivers who are satisfied with their pay are actually more likely to quit at the three month mark than those who are not. This statistic is actually very close, with those more likely to quit at 55.8% of those surveyed.

    Even though the numbers are so close, Mike Khron, the vice president for PGT Trucking continues to stress the importance of pay in the industry. He brings up an interesting point when stating that “driver pay has not gone up with inflation, let alone comparison to other occupations.” Should companies also factor in a generational difference? A TD Ameritrade survey found that while millennials require less money to consider themselves happy, the idea of saving makes them feel secure. The idea of saving equates with the idea of freedom.

    After looking at these factors, all transportation companies have to come up with their own answer of what combination of pay, home time and work-family balance will benefit their drivers. Companies need to derive their own strategies as the driver shortage is creating more competition and drivers will naturally go where they find the most satisfaction.

  • Going Green: Trucking Efficiency at its Finest

    by David Kimball | Sep 09, 2016
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    Amidst the many alternatives for fuels out there, biodiesel is a great option for fleets interested in greater efficiency and reducing their environmental footprint. It also opens new opportunities to use cleaner vehicles and work with other green partners.

    Vince Buonassi, G&D Integrated group manager of transportation programs, has fully transitioned to biodiesel after starting with a blend.

    “[Ag-Land FS Inc.] were claiming that this product would not only cost us less money but would not result in any efficiency losses,” says Buonassi. “What we observed was there was absolutely zero degradation in performance.”

    Transportation, logistics, and warehousing are among the services of G&D’s operation. With a fleet of over 400 vehicles and more than 25 million miles of travel per year, this change has radically decreased the carbon dioxide emissions to almost 230,000 fewer gallons annually. 

    Chicago-based Testa Produce has also completely converted their fleet of over 50 vehicles to biodiesel. “As a produce company, we’re naturally a green company,” Peter Testa, business owner says. “So, using renewable energy and environmentally friendly fuels all kind of fits together.”

    Green initiatives have even decreased Testa annual costs by 15%. This also includes their efforts to maintain a green-friendly facility in addition to their vehicles.

    While biodiesel can go a long way, other sustainability efforts like investing in lighter weight components or minimizing drag can also save you money and decrease your footprint’s impact. With some smart setup and innovative thinking, going green can make your fleet even more efficient. 

  • Tire Balancing: When Should You Do It?

    by David Kimball | Sep 01, 2016

    08 31 16 Tire BalancingTires are a large investment for any truck on the road, and account for a top 3 annual expense for the trucking industry. Selecting the right tires while properly inflating them is paramount to making them last, you can leverage balancing to increase efficiency even further.

    However the most effective method of tire balancing is debated, and whether or not it’s worth the cost.

    “The main reason that tire balancing isn’t common in heavy trucks is the perception of time required,” says IMI Products associate product manager Derek A. Forney. “With the added factor of recommended re-balancing every 20,000 miles, using wheel weights isn’t practically feasible for balancing some or all wheel positions.”

    Spin balancing can add up to 15 minutes for each tire on installation, says Forney.

    Lone Star Truck Group’s fleet services manager, Ken Eggen, also agrees balancing is a worthwhile endeavor in practice, however the number of hours required has kept him from mandating the process.

    “When I ran 1,000 trucks in a fleet, it’s just tough to take the time,” says Eggen.

    Bob Jessee, regional account manager for Centramatic, contends that any elimination of vibrations that can be done, should be done. Controlling what you can in that regard will make all parts last longer.

    Jessee cites “visible and controllable forces” like worn suspension parts, torqued bearings, and incorrectly mounted tires are commonly fixed. However imbalance tends to be more “invisible,” but still controllable, therefore it gets ignored by many.

    Centramatic, an onboard balancer, mounts on the hub before the wheel which balances the tire, as well as the complete wheel assembly permanently and continuously. Jessee contends that, unlike drop-in  solutions, Centramatic is portable and can be removed and installed on another truck in the same application.

    Such options offer a “once and done” solution rather than continuously adjusting or swapping out tires - that might save costly hours and make balancing worth the investment.

  • 9 Month Low for Truck Tonnage

    by David Kimball | Aug 25, 2016

    08 23 16 -- Tonnage Graphic for Web PostingAccording to American Trucking Associations’ For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index (seasonally adjusted), Truck tonnage has hit its lowest level since October of last year.

    Truck tonnage’s all-time high, 144, recorded back in February has taken a dive in July at 134.3, which has been part of a downward trend for the previous five months also.

    “This prolonged softness is consistent with a supply chain that is clearing out elevated inventories,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in the report. “Looking ahead, expect a softer and uneven truck freight environment until the inventory correction is complete. With moderate economic growth expected, truck freight will improve the further along the inventory cycle we progress.”

    Another version of the index, one that is not adjusted seasonally, reports a 138.2 in July, which was a 2.7% drop from the previous month.

    The report states trucks hauled around 10 billion tons of freight in 2014 alone, and that motor carriers obtained around $700 billion in revenue.

    ATA determines the tonnage index based upon data from surveys since the 1970s, and says that the index is a “preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 10th day of the month.” Results are taken both month-by-month and year-over-year.


    Image from ATA.
  • 5 Ways You Can Increase Your Truck Productivity

    by David Kimball | Aug 22, 2016
    08.22.16_Incrase Truck efficiency

    Founder and president of Trincon Group, a consulting firm, Duff Swain sees missed opportunities in the trucking industry in the last several years. He cites the recession as a reason for the trend, as weaker carriers were driven away and the sense of urgency at the time strained freight capacity with increased rates.

    “Unlike most industries (especially manufacturing) the trucking industry did not appreciably increase productivity per truck during the recession or after it,” says Swain. “It would have been logical to do so since it would not require buying more trucks, just getting more revenue miles out of the ones they had.”

    Swain suggests five key steps on how fleets can maximize their productivity and efficiency, which he argues are key to success for trucking companies. 

    Measure

    Even small and medium size carriers need to build measuring into their process. Determining profit and specifically what kind of margins exist is vital. Fueling surcharges should not be included in your productivity numbers, however. Rather, gauge how well fueling surcharges are doing by directly measuring it against fuel cost.

    Utilize TMS

    A good computer management system is an essential way to accurately track and measure activity. Sometimes there are issues with adopting new tech, despite purchases of digital tracking management systems. Considering organizing by planning, ales, and driver managers.

    Per-truck productivity

    Looking at trucks individually can vastly improve your bottom line.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be every single truck in the fleet, but per-truck attention can increase your gross margin by squashing variable expenses like driver pay, parts, and fuel.

    Top down change

    Drivers should be given a strong understanding of the importance of their role. If you don’t share the numbers, they can’t see the big picture. Tying customer/driver/mil consciousness with revenue and profits can build a stronger team.

    The right people in the right positions

    Once measures are taken to track productivity, efficiency, and providing proper incentive to drivers, it becomes time to evaluate whether or not you have the right people in the right positions. This process takes time and can vary drastically, but is important to consider. With proper tracking, however, performance and strengths can be identified more accurately and more readily. 

  • Truck Fleet Operators Are Not Happy About California’s Sustainable Freight Plan

    by David Kimball | Aug 11, 2016
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    California’s Sustainable Freight Action Plan has received some harsh criticisms from two groups that represent truck-fleet operators in California.

    The plan’s latest iteration, according to the California Air Resources Board, says it is further informed by “industry, labor, regional and local government, and community and environmental group stakeholders,” despite it being largely similar to the initial document.

    CARB’s aim with this initiative is to decrease the industry’s environmental footprint while also providing a solution for more competition and higher efficiency. The plan was in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s executive order, and was an effort of numerous state agencies.

    Critiques of the plan include not taking into account the current spending on environmental improvement efforts, an unnecessary amount of regulation, and it being “an interference in the goods-movement marketplace.” [source]

    Among those opposing the plan are director of governmental affairs and communications for the Western States Trucking Association, Joe Rajkovacz, and CEO of the California Trucking Association, Shawn Yadon. 

    “If the true intent of this program is to advance zero and near-zero emission technology, then California must make the case for billions of dollars of new private investment in the state,” said Yadon. “Continuing to signal that draconian new rules are on the horizon will only hurt this effort.”

    The action plan includes a “2050 vison” and goals for moving the industry forward in these ways:

    • 2020: 100,000+ zero emission vehicles deployed
    • 2030: Increase freight system efficiency by 25%
    • Improve growth within the freight goods-movement industry

    You can review the plan in its entirety by visiting the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan’s website

  • NHTSA Gets Slammed for Moving Forward with Robot Car Technology

    by David Kimball | Aug 05, 2016
    08.04.16_Centerline

    On July 28th, three advocacy groups sent the National Highway Traffic Administration a letter pushing them to cease their adoption of “robot car technology.” The reasons cited were that, at present, robot driving technology doesn’t meet current safety standards and lacks the necessary testing to be moved forward.

    The NHTSA’s Administrator, Mark Rosekind, had expressed that the association didn’t intend to remain idle while this new technology was being developed. “Of course we have to do everything we can to make sure new technology does not introduce new safety risks, but we also can’t stand idly by while we wait for the perfect,” Rosekind said in a remark.

    Among those that wrote to Rosekind were president emeritus of Public Citizen, executive director of Consumer Watchdog Carmen Balber, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety Clarence Ditlow, and Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director John M. Simpson.

    The letter implored the NHTSA to consider the serious security flaws in current robot driving technology, like Tesla’s self-driving car flaws, and to recall such problem tech instead of moving forward with it. It also accused Rosekind and company with being “giddy advocates of self-driving cars” and warned them to take more seriously security measures in the future.

    “Someday, autonomous technologies can save lives,” says the letter. “But they should only be implemented after thorough testing and public rulemaking that sets enforceable safety standards.”

    The Tesla crash is still being investigated, but it appears the crash occurred during the vehicle’s autopilot mode.

    Rosekind has yet to make a public response to letter.

  • Diesel Prices Continue Falling, Average is $2.19

    by David Kimball | Jul 29, 2016
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    The price-drop trend for diesel has been going on for months, and last week it dropped even further.

    According to the Department of Energy, diesel fuel has dropped by roughly 2.3 cents per gallon last week alone, putting the current average price at $2.19. Comparing prices to this time last year, it’s a drop of 34.4 cents.

    Standard gas prices have also fallen, dropping 4.8 cents in the past week, totaling to an average of $2.18 per gallon.  

    By region, the Midwest took the greatest dive in price, with a 2.8 cent decrease. The Rocky Mountain region, by contrast, only had a 0.1 cent decline however.

    With the adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles, demand for crude oil and diesel fuel has gone down, and the trend continues. Massively increased production of oil has contributed also.

    According to CNBC, oil is at its lowest since April 25. Per barrel, Brent crude had oil at $44.65 per barrel, and U.S. crude had oil at $43.13 per barrel. Three months ago, oil settled at approximately $42.64 per barrel.

    Analysts are saying, however, that the drops may not necessarily result in an imminent rise.

    "Although drilling activity is now at its highest level since the end of March, it is still 30 percent below the level at which it found itself at the beginning of the year." Said Commerzbank analysts.

    Even globally, the demand for oil has been gradually fading, even in major markets like China and India. 

  • Darling Confirmed as New Head of FMCSA

    by David Kimball | Jul 25, 2016
    T.F. Scott Darling, III_1

    Since Anne Ferro’s departure from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, T.F. “Scott” Darling has taken the reigns as the administrator of the agency.

    On July 14, the U.S. Senate confirmed Darling in a unanimous decision. President Obama had nominated him last August, and his confirmation hearing was held January of this year.

    Darling has already been a part proposed regulations such as entry-level training requirements for drivers, the electronic logs mandate, and the driver coercion rule.

    As an acting Administrator, Darling’s primary focus has been reducing fatalities and crashes among large bus and trucks. Transportation Secretary Foxx is in support of his efforts, “His collaborative approach has moved the ball forward on commercial motor vehicle safety. I look forward to our continued work together and congratulate him on his confirmation.”

    Darling held the position of deputy chief of staff as well as assistant general counsel prior to joining FMCSA. He was employed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston. Before that he attended Clark University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government. He later went on to Tufts University where he earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy, and finally to Suffolk University where he earned a Juris Doctor’s degree.

    “I am humbled by their [FMCSA] devotion to our safety mission, and the incredible efforts of everyone in the Agency to advance high way safety,” Darling said in a statement. “It is not easy work.” 

  • Concept Truck Reveals Hybrid Engines, Highway Automated Systems, and More

    by David Kimball | Jul 15, 2016
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    According to ZF Friedrichshafen AG, digital enhancements will be a major component of trucking in the next two decades.

    The Germany-based company unveiled a concept tractor-trailer equipped with their Evasive Maneuver Assist tech which autonomously steers and brakes to avoid collisions, an advanced hybrid drive train, remote vehicle backing for ease of docking, and more.

    “Automated driving is real and it’s here to stay in the trucking industry,” Peter Lake, member of the ZF board. “We’re in a period of change like no other seen [in the industry].”

    At speeds below 30 mph, the truck runs solely on electric power. Not only does this advancement cut down significantly on emissions, but encourages partner companies to focus on alternative fuel development.

    Automated backing systems allowed this concept truck to exit docking stations and back into them remotely.

    SF’s CEO, Sefan Sommer, points to three significant “megatrends” in the automotive industry that push their work: efficiency, safety, and automated driving.

    “Our focus is 2025,” Sommer says. “We have to rethink the architecture of automobiles to have new concepts and new technologies.”

    These innovations introduce an “intelligence” component to mechanical systems. This new connected-research-and-development approach will lead to rolling out new technology company-wide more rapidly, for instance, via an internet connection.

    Dubbed “smart hardware,” this truck’s tech won’t only affect the European trucking industries, but international markets as well.

    The Innovation Truck, or the DAF XF, will be on display at Hannover, Germany’s IAA trucking trade show

  • Safety: A $9.5 Billion Priority for Trucking

    by David Kimball | Jul 08, 2016
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    The American Trucking Associations (ATA) reports an annual investment in safety of at least $9.5 billion by the trucking industry.

    While safety training accounts for the bulk of it (36%), spending on safety compliance (25%), onboard safety technologies (25%), and safety incentive pay (13%) play significant roles as well. ATA gathered these numbers based upon data from surveys taken in 2014 and 2015.

    Maintenance costs are not included in this report; such as expenses for replacing tires or fixing brakes, and trucks, which are serious investments.

    Evolving on-board technology is a driving force in safety improvement, from collision avoidance systems and stability improvements to blind spot alerts and video recorders.

    Recent standards in regulatory compliance ensure regular vehicle and driver record checks, alcohol and drug testing, and voluntary safety audits. Bonuses and awards also incentivize drivers to be as safe as possible on the road.

    Safety investments have been paying off according to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCA), as large truck-related fatal crashes have declined by 32% since 1980, with a rate of those incidents declining by 74%.

    Dave Osiecki, ATA Executive Vice President of National Advocacy, is pleased about these trends. “With the results of this survey, we now can put a dollar figure on that investment and that figure is significant.”

    “Before this survey, we were only able to conservatively estimate our industry’s commitment to safety,” said Kevin Burch, ATA First Vice Chairman and president of Jet Express. “Now, thanks to the efforts of ATA, we can see just how much our industry is investing in safety as well as the results of these investments – improved safety for all motorists.”

    For a more in-depth look, view the ATA Safety Investment Study PDF.

  • An Aerodynamics Strategy to Reduce Energy Consumption

    by David Kimball | Jul 01, 2016
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    Depending on a rig’s particular configuration, the types of aerodynamic implementation strategies may vary. The tips below are based upon results that assume trucks traveled at 77,500 miles on the freeway out of 100,000 overall per year. The difference was to account for how often trucks don’t drive at highway speeds. 

    Utilize gap devices. Nose fairings can help round out the front of trailers, both for sleeper-cabs and day cabs. This results up to 425 gallons of fuel each year for day cabs. Full plate seals can work as well, but are typically only effective for sleeper cabs.

    Decrease tractor-trailer gap. A study found that decreasing a 36 inch gap to 24 inches can reduce fuel consumption by 50 gallons per year. Roughly, both day-cab and sleeper models can see drag reductions by 2.7% per each foot of gap.

    Match the heights of tractors and trailers. The greater disparity of height, the greater potential consumption of fuel.

    Take advantage of underbody devices and side skirts. Full-length skirts perform better than standard and split skirts, and have been suggested to save 950 gallons and 750 gallons of fuel respectively.

    Treatment of boat tail configurations. Regardless of the type of configuration, boat tail devices in varying lengths will perform well, saving up to 500 gallons per year on fuel.

    Use side skirts on deck-type trailers. Depending on cargo, flatdeck side skirt use could save anywhere between 425 and 750 gallons per year in fuel.

    Use a variety of aero device combinations. Combining standard and extended side skirts, looking at using different lengths of boat tail, and minding gap reductions where possible can lead to even great reductions in gas consumption. 

  • Coalition’s Plan Would Ban Trucks from 2007 or Older at NJ/NY Ports

    by David Kimball | Jun 24, 2016

    062216_Older_Truck_Ban

    Teamsters, the Coalition for Healthy Ports, and notable Newark, N.J. politicians are asking PAYNYNJ to reinstate a ban of trucks with engines 2007 or older. 

    On June 16, a press conference was held at Newark City Hall where Newark Mayor, Ras Baraka, was joined by community activists, unions, and other key politicians to push for the aggressive plan. Previously, PAYNYNJ committed to banning 1994 and 1995 engines by 2018, as well as $1.2 million to assist in the projected $9 million in federal grants required to assist truck owners for proper replacement.

    Emissions cutting is the primary concern, with the Coalition for Healthy Ports citing recent advancements in technology that have allowed “near-zero emission trucks” to become the standard for ports in other locations. The California Air Resources Board was key in establishing the emissions standard for 2007 trucks and moving forward.

    Not everyone is in favor of this proposition. The Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers says negative repercussions would impact the majority of trucks that serve those ports, and that such a ban “would create hardship for the entire port community.”

    In addition, there are concerns about the increased maintenance costs required for CARB-compliant trucks. Alternative solutions for cleaner-air solutions have also been suggested, such as investments in anti-idling equipment that may be more cost-effective long term.

    NJ legislators are considering similar bills that would potentially impact the same areas, including NY-based ports.

    Track progress on the bills here: NJ A3788, NJ S2253.

  • Efforts to Improve Export Relations Along I-10 Are Underway

    by David Kimball | Jun 16, 2016

    Efforts to Improve Export Relations Along I-10 Are Underway
    In an effort to make travel on Interstate 10 safer and efficient for drivers that frequent the route, transportation leaders in four states have created a coalition to improve export relations.

    “The efficient flow of commerce in Arizona drives our state’s economic vitality,” stresses Arizona’s Department of Transportation Director, John Halikowski. Halikowski is joined in the coalition by Malcolm Dougherty, Director of the California Department of Transportation, Tom Church – cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Transportation, and James Bass – Executive Director of the Texas Department of Transportation. By bringing together the expertise from the four states, and introducing different policies, the coalition is looking to reduce the “friction” by applying best practices for the I-10 export route.

    Modeled after a 15-state coalition that governs Interstate 95, running the length of the east coast, the four states will enable resource sharing, joint testing and economies of scale. The coalition is hoping to solve the issue of friction by implementing “best practices” with safety and efficiency improvements, improvements in freight movement, expansion and coordination of technology, and cooperative planning.

    On top of improving traveler’s experience, the improvements could improve overall export relations. This is especially important because the four states involved hold the 10th largest economy in the world. Having an innovative plan for more efficient travel and exporting could show a decrease in shipping time and an overall drop in associated costs. With future growth taken into account, this strategic move could help curb future expenditures as the I-10 corridor slowly fills with platoons of trucks and connected vehicles, weigh-in-motion sensor, and automated truck parking lots.

  • Registration Now Open for ATA Management Conference

    by Jennifer Olsen | Jun 09, 2016
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    Registration is open for 2016 American Trucking Associations (ATA) Management Conference and Exhibition. The ATA conference begins Saturday, October 1 and runs through Tuesday, October 4 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas Nevada.

     

    With the ever changing trucking environment, the ATA Management Conference and Exhibition is the annual go-to stop of the year where industry leaders convene. The schedule of events list activities which kick off Friday, September 30. The conference begins with a golf tournament; is packed with multiple break-out sessions and wraps up with a banquet featuring award winning artist, John Fogerty.

     

    Break-out sessions include topics revolving around the regulatory and political environment, electronic logging devices, and the future of truck safety. Service awards are presented throughout the span of the conference.

    The latest products from industry suppliers will be available to attendees housed in the Shoreline Ballroom at Mandalay Bay. In addition to product displays, there are plenty of opportunities for education and networking with colleagues across the country.

    Check out ATA’s YouTube playlist which covers each day of the event form the 2015 MCE.

    This event is the preeminent, must-see industry conferences each year, and because it is geared towards high-level executives, MCE brings extensive value to each attendee,” said ATA Chairman Pat Thomas, senior vice president of state government affairs at UPS.

    Visit mce.trucking.org for more information and to register for the conference. To read more visit www.trucking.org.

  • California Clean Air Plan Calls for Further NOx, PM Reductions

    by User Not Found | Jun 01, 2016

    truck exhaustIn recent years, California has been a leader in clean-air initiatives. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently proposed their broad-reaching clean air program, State Strategy for the State Implementation Plan (State SIP Strategy), which includes a large push for low-NOx engine standards on all heavy trucks.

    As part of the plan, California aims to push the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a nationwide low-NOx engine standard. However, truck and engine manufacturers counter that low NOx in diesels could conflict with federal efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions through their work in increasing overall fuel economy. 

    What could this mean to the transportation industry? It all depends on whether manufacturers will rally to set a single national standard instead of needing to build two different engines. Having a set standard would guide manufacturers in creating one engine system that would translate to various powertrains and across state lines. This could mean significantly lower manufacturing costs and help reducing entry barriers for many smaller diesel manufacturers.

    The State SIP Strategy is just a part of the larger California Sustainable Freight Action Plan. The plan, drafted in response to an executive order by Governor Jerry Brown,   calls for a target deployment of 100,000 freight vehicles and equipment capable of zero-emission power operation and would maximize near-zero emissions freight and equipment powered by renewable energy by 2030.

    The measure would most likely provide a boost in natural gas and other alternative fuels for powertrains throughout the state. Drivers can look forward to low-NOx natural gas engines, alternative fuels such as dimethyl ether (known commonly as DME), and well-known manufacturers such as Volvo leading the way.

    Read the full article on TruckingInfo.com and keep up with the latest developments and find plans on CARB’s website.

  • 34 Hour Restart Rule Addressed in THUD Bill

    by Jennifer Olsen | May 26, 2016

    34 hour restartThe 34-restart rule has been the hot topic of the industry lately. The ambiguous language surrounding the restart rule has finally been addressed. On Tuesday, May 24th The House Appropriations Committee passed a new Fiscal Year 2017 transportation spending bill. The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill will remove the 2011 restart provisions altogether - restoring the 2005 restart rules.

    The Senate passed its own version of the 2017 THUD bill on Thursday, May 19th which ties the future of any - 34-hour restart provisions directly to the results of the FMCSA’s congressionally mandated study on the 2011 restart provision.

    To continue the momentum, American Trucking Association strongly encourages a speedy resolution of differences between the Senate and House Appropriations Committee on the bill. One goal is to clarify the process so drivers can easily monitor their hours. More detailed information is available in a Q&A on ATA’s website. The ATA also noted clarity surrounding interstate trucking and regulations would benefit consumers and the national economy.

    ATA President and CEO Bill Graves stated, “in addition to allocating funding for important transportation projects, this legislation will ensure that commercial drivers can still utilize the 34-hour restart provision of the hours-of-service rules.” Read more about the approval of the Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Funding Bill.

  • Four-Week Trendlines, Freight Market Up

    by Kelsey Stafford | May 20, 2016

    Freight trends
    In 2015 the freight trend remained uneventful. What arose seemed to fizzle before developing into the disruptive events they were thought to be. Financial earnings were flat and the Transportation Services Index measured a couple point increase in industry output.

    Despite the relatively calm 2015, Strategy& points out several forces stewing beneath the surface that are changing commercial transportation and logistics customers’ needs. Customers are beginning demand more flexible, strategic and responsive supply chain networks. Some of the new trends include: the goal to reduce delivery time, the expectation of high quality handling for high quality items, the continued growth in e-commerce, and the unpredictable events from peaks in demand to natural disasters.

    “Shippers want logistics partners that can operate across their diverse supply chains and distribution networks and that are strategically inclined.” – Strategy&

    These underlying trends and new consumer needs have resulted in the emergence of different types of shippers. Strategy& names and expands on five disruptors: local network builders, crowd sourcing fillers, startup simplifiers, big data manipulators, and hybrid carriers.

    Recent DAT trendlines released finally show a glimmer of positive movement for the freight market. According to DAT Solutions, van, flatbed and reefer truckload rates experienced an increase in the first week of May. DAT is hopeful this movement is a precursor to a continued upward trend.

  • Nikola Motor Co. Announces New Electric Road Tractor

    by Kelsey Stafford | May 12, 2016

    Nikola One Electric Road TractorNikola Motor Company announced its work on a cutting edge electric tractor. With a 2,000-hp, AWD, the hybrid-electric tractor with a turbine range it is expected to cut the standard operating costs of a diesel tractor trailer in half. They are calling the vehicle, Nikola One.

    The vehicle’s proprietary turbine is able to burn many common fuels including, diesel, gasoline or natural gas and will automatically spin the generator to charge the batteries. Trevor Milton, founder and CEO of Nikola Motor Company, explains the Nikola One is designed with a range of 1,200 miles on 150 gallons of fuel and will have the ability to pull an 80,000 pound trailer up a 6% grade at 65mph.

    “By working together with some of the top engineering firms in America, we were able to design vehicles that have previously been thought impossible to design,” said Milton. The first prototype is scheduled to be displayed later this year.

  • Sleep Apnea Listening Sessions, FMCSA Seeks Input

    by Kelsey Stafford | Apr 29, 2016

    sleep apneaThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration are co-hosting three listening sessions to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on the issue.

    The sessions will be held from 10:00 am to 12:00pm and 1:30pm to 3:30pm on the dates listed below.

    • Washington, D.C., on Thursday, May 12, 2016, at the National Association of Home Builders, 1201 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005


    • Chicago, Ill., on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at the Marriott Courtyard Chicago Downtown/River North, 30 E. Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL 60611; and
    • Los Angeles, Calif., on Wednesday, May 25, 2016, at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites, 404 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071.

    Obstructive sleep apnea causes day-time fatigue and drowsiness due to poor quality sleep. This poses a concern to the trucking and railroad community for those occupying safety-sensitive positions in the industry. The sessions will discuss the effect on safety, and the cost and benefits of imposing regulations.

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