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  • How is E-Commerce Impacting the Driver Shortage?

    by Charlotte Freed | Feb 15, 2019

    e-commerce impacting driver shortageSince its inception, e-commerce has impacted trucking. E-commerce has caused businesses to adjust operations to cater to the demand of faster deliveries and shorter hauls, and now, studies are showing that it’s impacting the driver shortage as well. The question truckload carriers should be asking is: Is this the impact the industry needs?

    The Immediate Impact

    One of the challenges the trucking industry faces is quality of life for drivers. The truckload sector features an average haul of 500 miles a trip, and while this number has fallen substantially since 2000, it still does not compare to the shorter hauls a delivery driver makes on a day-to-day basis. A major concern is that this benefit could lure drivers away from truckload carriers, further exacerbating turnover rates.

    Long Term Benefits

    Is this a training opportunity? Laws prohibit drivers under the age of 21 from participating in interstate operations, meaning truckload positions aren’t an option. Young truckers could use local hauls from e-commerce as training opportunities, allowing them to gain the necessary driving experience needed for longer hauls in the truckload sector. Companies that remain flexible and add services for the final mile can benefit from developing a home-grown population of younger drivers.

    As the last mile segment of the industry continues to grow, companies will need to keep an eye on how it effects the growing driver shortage – for better or worse. 

  • 2 Ways Your Company Make a Positive Impact on the Driver Shortage

    by Charlotte Freed | Feb 08, 2019

    Truck driver with hands on the wheelTwo conversations that are always top of mind in the transportation industry are the driver shortage and the perception of the driving profession. It’s not surprising that these two issues go hand in hand. For years, driving has been a thankless profession, and now companies are feeling the impact as they struggle to find drivers to move their products.

    Businesses can help improve the perception of the industry, and attract more qualified individuals to the driving profession in two ways:

    Follow the Rules

    Organizations like the FMCSA have created regulations such as HOS Rules and the ELD Mandate. While these regulations are controversial, they were created to help improve the safety of the nation’s highways. While on-time deliveries are an important measure of customer service, they should not trump the safety of drivers. Businesses should never encourage their drivers to break HOS rules, and should instead make safety the priority to help create an image of safe and responsible drivers.

    Respect your Drivers

    The economy is booming and e-commerce is on the rise. As demand continues to rise, so will contracted and spot shipping rates. While extra profit is a benefit most shippers can enjoy, it is important not to forget the drivers. Consider raising driver wages, creating new incentives or improving equipment to show drivers they are appreciated.

    As a career coach for drivers, Centerline is committed to partnering with companies that advocate and improve the image of America’s professional drivers.

  • Centerline welcomes new Safety Operations Manager

    by Charlotte Freed | Feb 01, 2019

    Jim LedbetterEarlier this month, Centerline welcomed Jim Ledbetter to the team. As Centerline’s Safety Operations Manager, Jim will be responsible for establishing a “safety first” mentality. To establish this culture, Jim intends to be a very vocal quarterback.

    With over 20 years of experience in the transportation industry, Jim understands that safety is the key to success. According to Jim, running a safe operation not only eliminates risk, but “allows customer service and operational costs to be successful as well.” To create a safety first mentality, safety has to be a face to face interaction starting from the very beginning of the recruitment process. One of Jim’s goals at Centerline is to help streamline safety processes, and help the Centerline team recruit, identify and retain the safest drivers.

    As the driving pool continues to shrink, it becomes increasingly important to minimize the turnover of safe drivers. That is why Jim stresses the importance of taking safety seriously: “Don’t be an ‘armchair quarterback.’ Get up, walk the yard, do a ride along. Understand the struggles your drivers are going through on a daily basis.” Understanding safety is the key to communicating with drivers. If you can talk it and live it, you’ll have the ear of the driver. Establishing a safe culture is more than sending an email or posting a bulletin. Jim explains, “Drivers don’t have time to read bulletins – you need to be available and reiterate the message of safety over and over and over again.”

    The safety of the driving public is a reasonability Centerline takes very seriously. We ensure that all drivers are properly qualified under DOT regulations and meet our stringent eligibility requirements. Our drivers undergo continuous driver training, evaluation and mentoring.

  • Collaboration: Solving the Final-Mile Delivery Dilemma

    by Charlotte Freed | Jan 25, 2019

    Last-Mile DeliveryEveryday new technology is being created to disrupt and replace tired practices and processes. The transportation and freight industry is no exception. There is one key difference between this industry and others: government. Local routes, especially urban deliveries, are heavily impacted by road restrictions, speed limits and parking restrictions.

    Final-mile delivery continues to grow with the rise of e-commerce, but without collaboration from the public sector, existing delivery processes will be hard to challenge. Transport Topics identified a number of inefficiencies that will need to be addressed by local governments to help streamline processes:

    1. Urban Kiosks: Fixtures like Amazon lockers are already becoming the norm in some cities, providing a central delivery location for e-commerce orders. To help minimize traffic disruption, local planners will need to determine the best location for these hubs.
    2. Urban Warehouses: Companies are already competing for warehouses closer to urban centers to help ensure faster deliveries. Local governments will be critical partners in helping regulate the location of these warehouses, ensuring the transfer of goods to last-mile vehicles is as smooth as possible.

    Technology is continually being developed to help disrupt and replace old, frustrating processes; however, equally as frustrating is having government hold up changes behind closed doors or in years of study groups. Technology is fast, yet government often ties the hand of industry disruptors. Moving forward, final-mile delivery is likely to see drones, self-driving trucks and more. Working with local governments to create rules or establish infrastructure will be critical in allowing new delivery models to flourish.

  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Last-Mile Delivery

    by Charlotte Freed | Jan 18, 2019

    last-mile deliveryTime-sensitive delivery options are changing consumer expectations. Today, the demand for free or 1-day shipping is the expectation and the norm. E-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart have discovered that speed is one of the keys to consumer satisfaction – but cities and logistics are now struggling with how to keep up with demand.

    The demand for last-mile delivery is causing changes in the freight world in the best and worst of ways.  

    The Good

    With more and more consumers choosing to shop online, the demand for 2-day or same-day delivery has increased. In November, Cyber Monday sales eclipsed $7 billion – a 20 percent increase from 2017. This number screams consumer confidence, and has opened the door for smaller fleets to participate in the delivery boom as household names like FedEx and UPS struggle to keep up with demand. As consumers continue to turn to online shopping for their everyday needs, the opportunity for fleets will continue to increase.

    The Bad

    As opportunity increases, companies are entering a heated battle for strategically located warehouses. Reports indicated that for every $1 billion in e-commerce sales, a company will need about 1.25 million square feet for warehousing. This has caused companies to increasingly turn to “urban warehouses” or “micro fulfillment centers” often located in the heart of congested urban areas. To complete deliveries, companies are often turning to smaller vehicles like vans, even bicycles at times. With more traffic on the road, urban planners are feeling the pressure to alleviate congestion.

    The Ugly

    Congestion not only frustrates truck drivers, but it costs trucking companies. In recent years, congestion costs in urban areas have skyrocketed, with the Texas Department of Transportation’s Freight and Intermodal Trade Section reporting a $5 billion increase in just three years. This increase is heavily correlated to the increase in residential deliveries. All across the country cities are unveiling strategic freight plans that address issues such as delivery hours and parking. Until these problems are solved, costs are expected to rise.

    To combat major issues associated with the explosion of last-mile delivery, companies are turning to driver management services and recruiting services, like Centerline Drivers, to help manage seasonal highs and lows, unexpected turnover and more, ensuring delivery services go uninterrupted.

  • Infrastructure and Trade, 2019’s Big Ticket Topics

    by Charlotte Freed | Jan 11, 2019

    Infrastructure and Trade in 2019Economic growth is slowing, but by no means lagging. Industry experts anticipate infrastructure to be a priority for Congress and President Donald Trump. Also tied to the administration rests the status of global trade, weighing on trade deals between the United States, Canada, and Mexico and with China and the European Union.

    American Trucking Associations’ Chief Economist, Bob Costello, says “we have hit the peak in the current freight cycle, the economy is still growing”- albeit at a slower pace than the previous year. Costello projects a 2.5 percent increase in U.S. domestic product for the coming year, but expects freight activity in the first quarter to waver due to shipping patterns shifting due to threats of tariffs on Chinese goods. While Trump and Chinese President Xi JinPing came to an agreement at the G-20 summit to halt additional tariffs for 90 days, imports had already begun to course in while exports shrank, launching the U.S. trade deficit to a record $43.1 billion.

    The Associated General Contractors of America in Washington Chief Economist, Ken Simonson, anticipates another year of growth for construction due to the increase of personal income and low levels of unemployment. However, those same low levels of unemployment could strain construction projects lacking labor force. Trade policy instability also effect construction, with businesses dependent on import and export materials feeling the inflation.

    While a number of economists are optimistic of manufacturing due to the current strength of consumer confidence, others are wary of the economic expansion - some even nodding to the next recession. Technology joins manufacturing in its growth and impact, with new options boosting productivity and pushing efficiency. With the rise of connected and driverless cars, hydrogen-fueled trucks, and a hike in Class 8 trucks, truck equipment investment is slated to grow for the next four quarters.

    All of that in mind, the lack of drivers only becomes more apparent. Rising prices caused by longer cargo waiting times may prompt emergency intermodal fees or stop door delivery, in addition to higher cost to the end consumer. Technology may help alleviate the shortage, but many carriers are turning to trusted temporary driver staffing services, such as Centerline Drivers, for their truck driver hiring needs. Without additional recruiting expertise to help bolster waning fleets, business owners are feeling the squeeze as drivers continue to retire, without a new generation to fill their seats.
  • Why is Consumer Confidence Plummeting?

    by Charlotte Freed | Jan 04, 2019

    Customer Confidence in 2019
    Labor market expectations declined to unprecedented lows for the first time in 41 years, causing U.S. consumer confidence to sharply deflate. With the stock market fluctuating, expansion moderating, and global economics worsening – America’s consumers are showing signs of losing optimism, as the confidence index decreased eight points to a reading of 128.1 points. Consumer expectations also fell to 16.6 percent, the most notable drop since 1977.

    Whether because of uncertainty around the ongoing trade wars or because of President Donald Trump continued attacks on the Federal Reserve, these numbers show a notable effect on the country’s stance on the economy. Additionally, interest rates continue to increase, the financial uptick from year-old tax cuts continue to decrease, and the housing market and manufacturing sector are cooling, prompting further unrest. Financial experts recommend paying close attention to consumer attitudes over the coming months to gauge how stock prices affect their standpoints and behaviors.

    Still, while economic expectations fell, The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index shows that the weekly comfort measure recovered slightly from a three-month low.  Consumer perceptions of the job market continue on a positive track, lending a positive side to the newest reports.

  • Staff Shoutout: Claudia Golden

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 28, 2018
    Centerline's Claudia Golden

    Sometimes you just know what you’re good at…and your career matches up ideally with these skills. This is the case for Claudia Golden, who is on the Sales team for Driver Management Services for National Accounts. Claudia went from her first job selling cheeseburgers and fries at Wendy’s to retail clothing and then spent over a decade in cellular sales. From there, Claudia decided the staffing industry called to her and took her sales acumen into a new realm. After several years in the construction staffing world, Claudia found Centerline and hasn’t looked back.

    Claudia knows she’s good at sales – and she has the years under her belt to prove it. Contributing to Claudia’s success is her keen understanding of a customer’s viewpoint. She says how important it is to be “up front” and “completely honest” and that it’s important to remind them that we are dealing and working with people. Claudia says “there are always going to be bumps in the road, but I will always call back and we’ll try to figure it out” adding that she doesn’t play games or serve “B.S.” Claudia also knows how important it is getting to know each one of her customers. While they may have preferences on drivers, she knows the best drivers available for each business based on personalities and needs – likening matching a customer to a driver to puzzle pieces fitting together well.

    An exercise that has proven to be critical in successful sales for Claudia is role playing. She notes that the practice sets her up with the knowledge and information she would need for any circumstance or question. Being able to address an issue or approach a situation confidently is important to Claudia and ensuring she delivers the best service possible while maintaining Centerline’s integrity.

    What Claudia doesn’t mention in our conversation is how her personality and attitude is such a factor as to why customers lean in to her sales strategies. Claudia is genuinely interested in creating partnerships and it’s easy to sense she’s passionate about connecting great drivers with great companies. Centerline is grateful to work alongside Claudia and know that she’s a piece of the company puzzle that makes the whole picture come together.

  • Roundup of Trucking Trends for 2019

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 21, 2018

    Moving into 2019As the end of the year nears, the buzz around trends for 2019 only gets louder – and the trucking industry is no exception. In fact, with the flood of e-commerce, historically low unemployment, and new rules and regulations at every turn – trucking finds itself at the center of most change. What are some trends the experts are narrowing in on?

    Capacity Crunch

    What’s causing the low supply of trucks when the demand is so high? That would be the driver shortage. As more and more seasoned truckers retire and fewer new drivers join the ranks, the driver shortage only gets worse. Whether because of the nature of the job, pay rates, worsening traffic due to poor infrastructure, or regulations impacting the job – there are clearly factors keeping potential drivers away from careers in trucking that not only need to be addressed, but solved.

    Climbing Rates

    Thanks to the capacity crunch, rates are expected to increase…by a lot. Spot market and contract rates are predicted to rise due to the lack of trucks and robust tonnage growth…which ultimately effects other industries from manufacturing to logistics to retail. On top of that, interest rates may be influenced by an increase in national debt and trade difficulties with China.

    Tech Movement

    If 2018 was a big year for tech in trucking, 2019 may be even bigger. While the ELD mandate continues to divide opinions, additional freight apps are continually developed to benefit fleets and drivers alike. Mobile apps connecting truck drivers to jobs or allowing carriers to receive faster payment are only a few of the offerings that join rank in the interest of autonomous vehicles and electric-powered trucks

    Smaller Fleets

    Market data shows that out of hundreds of thousands of driver jobs created in the past half-decade, “more than a two to one ratio, drivers are entering one-to-100 truck fleets,” with the majority of those starting or joining fleets of one to six trucks. The capabilities that smaller fleets and drivers can access through tech are strengthening the ability to work independently, a trend seen among a host of industries.


    The focus on data has only shed more light onto the benefits of blockchain for transportation. Using software that increases transparency through a distributed ledger with concrete data shared across multiple parties. However, widespread adoption will likely take time as it will be difficult to standardize software for trucking companies utilizing a wide variety of platforms.

    Deep Data

    Analyzing and adding actionable items around data will save companies money by preventing critical incidents or operations-halting occurrences, and help increase profits by creating channels for proactive moves toward running a smooth operation and satisfying customer demands.

    Centerline continually reports on trends throughout the year with direct insights into the industry and drivers while staying up-to-date on all trucking news. 
  • What You Need for a Successful ELD Integration

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 17, 2018

    Successfully integrating ELDSIt has been a monumental year for ELDs. Compliance has been a challenge and continues to be for many fleets, even nearly a year after the rule went into effect. Still, there are many companies who have found ELDs to be a success for their businesses.

    What are the common threads we note about the companies reaping benefits from ELDs outside of compliance?

    Stakeholder Support

    When implementing ELDs, make sure the messaging is clear as to why you’re making the shift. Aside from regulation, companies shared the purpose of safer drivers, better informed management and decision makers, and operational efficiency. When all stakeholders of various areas of your business understand the importance relating to them, they may find ways to integrate ELDs into their realm of work too, finding ways for everyone to get involved with implementation.

    Tech Compatibility

    Look at your operation’s specific needs – they’re likely different from another fleet’s, and the ELD you choose should reflect that. Determine what features and factors are most important for you and compare them to the federal requirements, different ELD capabilities, and availability. You may or may not need satellite connectivity, high ping frequency (which tracks and collects trip data), or custom APIs – but it’s important to visit what may be important in different scenarios.

    User Friendly

    Like any other piece of technology, it’s much more likely to be embraced if it’s intuitive and relatively easy to use – for managers, admins, drivers, and everyone in between. Focus on a seamless experience, whether from the seat of a vehicle, behind a desk online, or in front of a driver kiosk. Ideally, let your team test a system before full implementation – and listen to their valuable feedback. As they are the ones utilizing the system day-to-day, it’s vital they can use and support the implementation.

    In-person Training

    While webinars, conference calls, and handbooks all have their place, face-to-face training is far more impactful for drivers and in many cases, as follow-up for admin and management.

  • U.S. and China hit PAUSE on Tariffs

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 07, 2018

    China and US trade warFor now, the trade war between President Trump and Chinese President Xi has quietened. A meeting on Dec. 1 resulted in the two sides agreeing to sojourn new tariffs for 90 days, allowing the countries to spend time coming to a long-term agreement.

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters shortly after the meeting that “Both sides believe that the principles agreement reached between the two presidents has effectively prevented the further expansion of economic frictions between the two countries.” The White House pronounced the meeting as “highly successful” and that the U.S. will leave existing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods at 10 percent, rather than increasing to 25 percent starting in the New Year. In exchange, the two powerhouse economies will address Chinese trade practices that Trump has voiced frustration over: intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, and non-tariff barriers.

    If there is no agreement by the end of 90 days, tariffs will increase to the aforementioned 25 percent says White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. However, Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow is optimistic, saying the meeting went “very well.” While neither side walked away with their maximum demands met, both economies benefit from the pause on tariffs – but there are still many discussions to come, which will ultimately determine the end-scenario.

  • Staff Shoutout: Candis Barr

    by Charlotte Freed | Nov 30, 2018

    Candis Barr Centerline Recruiting ManagerNo matter the industry, there will be a variety of people involved with different personality types, different strengths, and different weaknesses. Yet time has told us that one thing we all share is the desire to be treated well. Candis Barr, one of Centerline’s much-appreciated recruiters in Georgia, makes sure to remind us all of that – and lives her truth each and every day, talking the talk and walking the walk. “We all get one life to be as great as we can be,” says Candis Barr, speaking thoughtfully. She’s been with Centerline for five years, finding the recruiting role to fulfill her need to directly impact lives. From hospice to trucking, Candis demonstrates the passion she has for connecting with people.

    No matter the day, Candis starts with coffee and a review of her to-do list: a structured routine to make sure priorities are addressed and pertinent tasks are taken care of. When the interviewing begins, she makes a point to speak with potential candidates in a group setting. Candis says that through group interviews, she ends up allowing more time for file processing while also creating stronger connections by offering a stress-free environment. This prompts open communication. She says they talk, they laugh, they enjoy snacks – simply having a normal conversation allows her to best identify interviewees’ strengths and weaknesses without rushing or pressuring them for insights. Candis notes that while she encounters people from all walks of life, some with tainted histories and others without, she says “there is no judging anyone; we are all people that need to be treated as such.”

    The appetite for greatness Candis brings to Centerline does not go unnoticed. Acknowledged at last year’s Centerline Thirty Club (CTC), she also appreciates that Centerline President, Jill Quinn, has taken the time to get to know her personally. Not only does Candis feel valued, she says Centerline “allows me to be me” adding, “I don’t have to read from a script, I don’t have to say what they want me to say. I can be me and they trust that I will make great hiring decisions based on how I feel about the driver.” It’s clear that strong leadership has resulted in a proactive, determined work culture within the company – but Candis shows that it takes commitment from everyone, saying, “I go home every day feeling good because I know that I have given 100 percent to my job and my drivers. When you give 100 percent, you feel good, you feel accomplishment, you get enjoyment that you have impacted someone else’s life.”

    She closes our conversation with a message to her team: “We have the ability to provide shelter, food, vehicles, and clothing for people and we shouldn’t ever take that lightly. So let’s appreciate each other, our team, and come together as one because we are nothing without each other. If you have a team member going through something, let’s call them, visit them and let them know you are here for them during work and outside of work because this is what it takes for everyone to be successful. Believe it or not; if you have someone struggling, we all suffer because they may not be in the mindset to give their 100 percent but with your help, they can give 80 and you add 20 and Centerline succeeds and will continue to be the number one provider in transportation.”

    So, with Candis’ zeal in mind, go out and be your greatest, give 100 percent, and remember that no matter how different each of us may be – we are all people who want and need to be treated with kindness and respect. 

    Written by: Anna Mischke

  • Are your fleet’s operations prepared for disaster?

    by Charlotte Freed | Nov 21, 2018

    Prepare your business for disasterThink of a disaster that could derail your business. What comes to mind: a hurricane? Wildfire? Legal battle? Tech failure? Maybe losing candidates to a competitor or not finding enough drivers to fulfill your demands? Each business may consider different events as a course-altering disaster, but whatever the event, half of the businesses that encounter one cease to operate after a major issue.

    What can you do to prepare for continued business even if effected by a disaster? Logical Management Systems Corp’s Geary Sikich covered the ways to establish a procedure during a NationaLease meeting, urging every business owner to have a plan for when disaster hits.

    Sikich says when you begin planning, ask yourself:

    • What is your business committed to?
    • How will we fulfill these commitments?
    • Do we have an organization that serves our needs?
    • How will we manage resources?
    • What skills do we expect from our organization?
    • How are we improving authority, decision-making, workflow and information sharing?

    Rather than expecting the worst but hoping for the best, Sikich recommends proactive decisions and processes that can help during disruptive events.

    • Prepare for low-probability events
    • Value global connections
    • Expect that you will encounter issues
    • Accept that risks exist
    • View “near misses” as areas to improve on and address
    • Think of longevity rather than short-term when it comes to costs

    When conducting a risk assessment, think not only of the risk probability and how it will impact the business, but of the speed at which the risk can affect operations. Consider a hurricane: how quickly would loss of revenue or productivity due to damage impact the bottom line? Or think of a lawsuit - how could time, money, and energy spent in court or with a lawyer disrupt your business? Work these scenarios into your strategy and determine whether your plan addresses the aftermath of the disaster. By considering all aspects of risk, you’ll be much more prepared to handle issues holistically.

  • How Employee Misclassification Could Cost Your Millions

    by Charlotte Freed | Nov 16, 2018

    Warehouse worker pulls box Government figures approximate that 25 to 30 percent of all employees are misclassified as independent contractors. While hiring a worker as an employee can cost 25 to 30 percent more than hiring an independent contractor, misclassification can be a steep legal battle when acted on. Taking the time to properly classify your employees may not seem like a high priority item on your list, but doing so can help you avoid frustrating, expensive lawsuits.

    Since employees under different classification require various pay structures, ensuring you know the difference between hourly (non-exempt), salaried (exempt), and independent contractors is important. Just as key is properly classifying each of your employees.

    Here are some main items to note when classifying:

    • Non-exempt employees are required to be paid at least minimum wage and time-and-a-half of their regular pay for all overtime hours, all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek.
    • Non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked. It’s important to be cognizant of employees working off the clock and of technology that allows them to work off the clock, such as a laptop or mobile phone.
    • Exempt employees must qualify for identifiable exemption such as white-collar exemptions, professional, executive, and outside sales positions. These exemptions can be measured by taking the salary basis test, salary level test, and duties test.
    • When assessing whether someone is an independent contractor, ask these questions:
      • Is this person paid hourly or per job?
      • Do you have an independent contractor agreement?
      • Who controls how the work is performed?
      • Who sets the work schedule?
      • Does the person work for multiple companies or solely your company?
      • Who provides the tools to work?

    To ease the process of classification for everyone involved, organize your practices internally. Audit job positions to ensure each are classified properly, determine how starting pay, current pay, and merit increases are fulfilled and assess any pay disparities. Charles Krugel, an attorney in Chicago, told SHRM, “If an employer doesn’t engage in good record-keeping, class-action wage and hour lawsuits become easy money for plaintiffs’ side attorneys.” All could be avoided with organized, clear records and proper employee communication. 

  • ATRI Survey Shows Disparate Concerns for Drivers and Carriers

    by Charlotte Freed | Nov 09, 2018
    Truck driver with hands on the wheel

    The American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) most recent annual survey polled both drivers and carriers on their top concerns and the results are telling. While carriers listed the driver shortage as their biggest issue, drivers listed hours of service. ATRI president, Rebecca Brewster, urged carriers to take more consideration of driver’s concerns if they really care about the driver shortage, saying “you’d better care what’s on that driver list of issues.” The top two issues for carriers were the driver shortage and driver retention; if they turn to driver’s viewpoints and needs, those issues may become less of a problem.

    Truck parking follows hours of service as a main concern, followed by the ELD mandate. The fourth most pressing issue to drivers, interestingly enough to some, is driver distraction. While truck drivers may consider other motorist’s distraction as being more of a worry, carriers are likely to think in terms of distracted truck drivers rather than other motorists.

    Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) ranked equally for both drivers and carriers at number six on the list. Automated trucks also ranked as a top ten issue for drivers while it didn’t even make the list for carriers. While the technology has a long way to go, drivers are considering how it may impact their futures.

    What were the top ranked issues this year?

    Rank   Drivers Carriers
    1 Hours-of-Service (HOS) Driver Shortage
    2 Truck Parking Driver Retention
    3 Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate Hours-of-Service (HOS)
    4 Driver Distraction Transportation Infrastructure/Congestion/Flooding
    5 Driver Retention Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate
    6 Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)
    7 Health and Wellness Driver Distraction
    8 Transportation Infrastructure/Congestion/Funding     Tort Reform
    9 Driver Shortage Truck Parking
    10 Automated Truck Technology Federal Preemption of State Regulation of Interstate Trucking (F4A)
  • How can you improve the nation’s traffic troubles?

    by Charlotte Freed | Nov 02, 2018

    Traffic builds on busy highwayThe American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released their most recent numbers reporting the cost of congestion. In the Cost of Congestion to the Trucking Industry report, $74.5 billion was added to the trucking industry’s operational costs, up 0.5% from the previous year. On top of the tens of billions of dollars is 1.2 billion collective hours lost on productivity: the equivalent to 425,533 truck drivers sitting idle for a whole year.

    As traffic continues to worsen across the country, urban areas experience the strongest hit due to the onslaught of e-commerce orders jamming roads with next and same-day delivery. While some plead for action from legislation to improve deteriorating road conditions that cause financial and timeline disruptions, others ask for fleets to reexamine their routes to improve efficiency and road conditions.

    When fleet owners take the time to review their routes, they may find that old practices can make way for new. Whether customer lists have changed, directions have shifted, or delivery schedules evolved, there could be opportunity to route more efficiently. While traffic may or may not improve in the near future, optimizing routes can make a small but substantial difference when an entire infrastructure overhaul isn’t on the agenda.

    While reaching out to local legislators and opening conversation between business leaders, lawmakers, and even consumers is vital in creating awareness around the need for infrastructure change – a conscious shift in your day-to-day operations can help ensure peak productivity and help frustrated drivers avoid timewasting bottlenecks.

  • Staff Shoutout: Veronica Martinez

    by Charlotte Freed | Oct 26, 2018

    Veronica MartinezWe all know the importance of our paychecks. We work for them to stock our refrigerators, fill our tanks with gas, keep the lights on, and the water running. No one appreciates this as much as Veronica Martinez and she diligently works to make sure Centerline’s hardworking drivers get paid.

    With over 25 years of service with the company, Veronica has grown in her role from a temporary file clerk to her current role as Payroll Manager. She recalls how much the business has changed, transforming from “little fish” to major players in the industry, but from the start she knew the values of the company aligned with her own. With zero previous experience in the trucking industry, Veronica has learned volumes and utilizes her keen eye for detail, customer service skills, and service-oriented mindset in her day-to-day duties.

    She attributes some of the payroll department’s success to the team’s ability to problem solve. Veronica stresses that with constant interruptions and issues that pop up out of nowhere, meeting concrete deadlines adds pressure, but she’s focused on making sure drivers get paid and clients receive their invoices. Helping the business operate smoothly, resolving driver’s problems, and alleviating concerns all bring Veronica daily satisfaction. A “nurturer” at heart, Veronica truly cares about the work she does and the people it effects.

    From collecting time cards to checking in on missing documents, following up with drivers, calculating hours, finding signatures, data entry, and processing – Veronica ensures that every step is taken care of. Being able to keep up with all of the tasks that need to be done can be a stressful job – and she has even been known to pull all-nighters to get everything done. But she knows that if she invests in the company, the company will invest in her. Veronica finds inspirations from the leaders around her – especially Jill Quinn. She hopes to display the same leadership qualities that encouraged her to rise to where she is today.

    When all is said and done, Veronica says that she does everything for her kids. The late nights, the constant number crunching, and the weight of so much responsibility – it all comes back to her nurturing nature that makes her so special.

  • What does blockchain mean for you?

    by Charlotte Freed | Oct 19, 2018

    How blockchain is improving logisticsToday’s buzzword is ‘blockchain.’ With ample media attention and focus from all industries, you may be curious as to how blockchain correlates to your trucking business – or just interested in understanding what exactly it is. Forbes Insights along with Penske surveyed over 400 senior industry and functional executives in logistics, supply chain, and transportation, resulting in 65 percent of respondents saying they feel the industry is undergoing an enormous shift, largely due to blockchain. Deloitte estimates that 10 percent of global GDP will be built on blockchain applications by 2025.

    During a recent NationaLease meeting, president of Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), Chris Burruss, defined it as simply as possible: “Blockchain is a decentralized and distributed digital ledger to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network.” In short, blockchain is a way for information to be securely distributed through an online system to increase visibility to those using the chain. Burruss also said that blockchain’s current application rests between “hype and reality.”

    Some of the touted benefits of blockchain is added security of difficult-to-alter records, provided history of a transaction, and the ability to track historic information, called “bread-crumbing” by some. With an instantaneous look into handoffs, the condition of goods at any given location, notice of who has touched the shipment, and insights into quality control. However, because blockchain is not owned by anyone and transactions are not administrated, governance is a major concern for many. Additional challenges include scalability, with blockchains limited to three to twenty transactions per second compared to Visa’s 56,000 transactions per second on top of the lack of standardization of protocols.

    Still, the transportation industry foresees strong appeal for applications of blockchain for many organizations, including improvements in freight tracking, carrier onboarding, load board data accuracy, and payment validation tracking. When considering whether blockchain is suitable for your business, answer the following questions:

    1. Do I conduct business with multiple parties involving moving product to numerous points?
    2. Do I have trust issues between any of these parties?
    3. Do I need information and data that has not been altered?
    4. Will increased transparency be an advantage to us?

    Whether you can determine whether the pros outweigh the cons for your specific operations, explore how blockchain could join artificial intelligence, machine learning, and autonomous vehicles as technologies to incorporate. What originated as a Bitcoin validation method could well be the future for many industries to come.

  • Five Remarkable Trends and Insights in Trucking

    by Charlotte Freed | Oct 12, 2018

    Trucks racing for the future John Larkin spoke at the McLeod Software Users Conference in Birmingham, AL where he deliberated the trends he has observed in the freight transportation industry. A longtime transportation research analyst and investment banker, Larkin reviewed the transformation of freight from when he was a child to current operations due to big box stores and the insurgence of e-commerce. From 3-D printing to evolving customer demand, the changes are dramatic and he foresees continued change ahead, noting several key transformations.

    It’s a Good Time for Truckload

    The largest sector of transportation, truckload’s demand maintains growth, and capacity is tight. The driver shortage paired with loss of productivity due to the ELD mandate has prompted small fleets to emerge with some of them growing rapidly, benefitting from the recent stagnant used truck market.

    LTL Making a Comeback

    With smaller-footprint urban fulfillment centers popping up from higher demand due to e-commerce popularity, LTL or partial truckloads to an LTL carrier are gaining market share. With a business model profiting from density, LTL also benefits from labor availability better than in truckload. Access for younger workers and a clearer career path make LTL more of an attractive route for new hires, but there is still a struggle to find workers in the sector. Larkin expects to see predictive analytics and APIs driving dynamic pricing in LTL and that “big players should do extremely well.”

    It’s a Good Time for Warehousing

    E-commerce is causing the warehouse sector to skyrocket, with warehouse space outpricing office space in some cities. The customer demands of instantaneous service and delivery require product to be available in urban areas where real estate is more costly. Not only is it more expensive to lease existing space in urban areas but also a much more in-depth, regulated process to build new warehousing. More warehousing and distribution centers are automating operations due to their own labor shortage; Larkin expects he’ll see autonomy more in warehouses before he sees them on highways.

    Last Mile Delivery is Ready for Takers

    Who will benefit from last mile delivery opportunity is yet to be known, Larkin says. With Europe testing rolling delivery robots, UPS investigating drone delivery, and crowdsourcing companies like Lyft and Uber making moves in the last mile space – it is yet to be seen who will end up owning this share of the market.

    Shipping Gets a Boost from Technology

    Accelerations in technology have resulted in a number of internally and venture-capital funded shipment tracking apps, following the load from warehouse to truck to plane. The information gained through this technology will serve to compile data analytics and AI that will help with predictions, ultimately allowing increased planning and optimization. Larkin foresees the positive impact blockchain will make in the industry by creating a unified foundation to establish standards and protocols that will help everyone in the supply chain to work efficiently and accurately.

  • New Trade Pact Strengthens Trade Relations

    by Charlotte Freed | Oct 04, 2018

    Trucks wait at border crossingU.S. and Canadian negotiators worked tirelessly to secure the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) prior to a September 30th midnight deadline. The new agreement will replace NAFTA, a hotly debated trade agreement that has covered the three regions for the last 24 years.

    USMCA is a big step in the right direction for all three countries who trade more than $1 trillion annually. American Trucking Associations (ATA) president Chis Spear agreed that the new trade doctrine “is a positive step for the nearly 50,000 Americans working in jobs directly connected to cross-border trucking – as well as the more than seven million Americans working in trucking-related jobs.”

    The new doctrine holds true to the free trade framework set forth by NAFTA while addressing some much needed rebalancing. The rebalancing is expected to affect auto makers and dairy farmers the most, with Canada being expected to cap its automobile exports to the US.

    Even with the rebalancing, the deal is being praised for strengthening the economies and improving the relations of the three countries. ATA chief economist Bob Costello agreed, stating, “Trucks move nearly $385 billion in goods between the U.S. and Mexico, and $336 billion in trade across the Canadian border – continuing to have free trade between our three countries will only help our industry well into the future.”

    The pact still needs to be approved by lawmakers from all three countries, meaning it will not go into effect until 2019.