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  • 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.

  • Staff Shoutout: Rod Crowell

    by Charlotte Freed | Sep 28, 2018

    Rod Crowell addresses his peersIt takes patience and dedication to excel in the sport of golf. Focused attention, a keen eye for the competition, excellent sportsmanship, and the ability to quickly adapt are all keys to being a winner. Those same things have helped Rod Crowell, Vice President of Strategic Accounts and Service, excel both on the golf course and throughout his career.

    Initially joining Centerline in 1996 when the company was operating as TLC, he parted ways in 2007 to begin his own business in legal staffing. Soon though, Rod found where he truly wanted to be and that was back with his original team at Centerline, who he kept in close contact with even during his time away. He decided to rejoin Centerline when an opportunity presented itself and has since worked alongside many of the people he considers his mentors and beacons of support. Rod’s dedication to his team at Centerline is a perfect example of how important relationships are to him. Part of what has helped Rod succeed is his genuine interest and care for building and maintaining relationships in all aspects of his work and life. His colleagues and customers find that he consistently takes the effort to reach out and connect.

    “Be willing to do whatever it takes,” Rod said in a recent interview with some of his team. Working as part of a large operation with people all across the country can be taxing, but he knows that going above and beyond truly makes a difference in the success of a company. He explains that while the tendency for many is to stay in their own lanes and focus only on accomplishing their goals, those who can reach out and help others will truly experience victories, big and small.

    Rod works because he wants to change lives. Many times you’ll find him sending out a motivational email, posting an encouraging sign, or following up with an unexpected thank you note. By adding a sense of friendly competition, Rod makes improvement something people want to do without knowing it. Not only does he do that in his job, but also for his family and friends. He says that his son and daughter are his inspiration, but we guarantee that those feelings are mutual. In fact, we imagine more people find him an inspiration than he knows.

  • Demand for Inland Ports Continues to Rise

    by Charlotte Freed | Sep 21, 2018

    Shipments are loaded off of ships to be transported to inland portsGeorgia recently opened the United States’ newest inland port, the Appalachian Regional Port. The new port is expected to provide a push for business development in an area not necessarily known for its robust industry, and exemplifies the potential for sustained industry expansion. Greater demand for industrial space has caused growth in the area, specifically in port-related projects.

    Georgia is not the only state focusing on the development of inland ports. Logistics Park Kansas City, an inland distribution hub situated along I-35, supplies a source of growth in spite of the government’s involvement with regulations and tariffs. Kansas City’s impressive web of rail lines and highways provides continuous development for the community. The central proximity of the intermodal hub allows international companies to easily connect to the global supply chain and ensure efficient arrival of their goods to their final destination.

    While inland ports, like the Appalachian Regional Port and Logistics Park Kansas City, are newer in concept within the country’s freight system, the promise of these inclusions has proven to be beneficial for shippers and suppliers alike.

    Situated away from traditional coastal, land, and air borders, inland ports provide a site to process and encourage international trade through multi-modal transport. Inland ports are able to provide value-added services throughout the supply chain, resulting in a number of additional international trade jobs. These hubs have produced work and industry in areas where it may have previously been unlikely for participation in the trade economy.

    As inland ports’ influence on the economy grows, specifically in regions where it was previously unexpected, so does the interest surrounding the growth of these sites. As we see dramatic increases in freight volume, the need for inland ports is inevitable. Learn more about the importance of inland ports and their effect on transportation costs here.

  • Freight Will Continue to Swell, ATA Predicts

    by Charlotte Freed | Sep 14, 2018

    Truck receives shipment as growth in market continuesThe American Trucking Association's (ATA) most recent edition of its Freight Forecast predicts continued growth in an already thriving freight economy. The report shows freight volume growth reaching 4.2 percent, and for the total tonnage transported to reach 16 billion tons. The numbers are only expected to grow as freight volumes are projected to reach 35.6 percent by 2029, with total tonnage reaching 21.7 billion tons.

    ATA chief economist, Bob Costello, highlighted the importance of the Freight Forecast noting that the freight economy heavily impacts our economy and that "the growth we're projecting in freight demand is a reflection of its strength."

    In the next five years, the ATA expects truck volumes to grow 2.3 percent annually, then dropping 2.2 percent per year the following five years. Trucking's share of total tonnage is expected to decrease from the current 70.2 percent to 65.9 percent by 2019 due to anticipated changes in demand for commodities.

    ATA president and CEO, Chris Spear, stressed the importance of acting immediately on freight issues, such as workforce development and infrastructure investment, as the increase in freight volumes will require "more trucks and drivers to continue safely delivering our nation's goods." 

  • FMCSA Offers Public Listening Session on HOS Changes

    by Charlotte Freed | Sep 07, 2018

    Truck driving into the dark nightThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has scheduled a second public listening session for Sept. 14 to discuss potential reforms to the commercial motor vehicle driver hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. The first was held at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas with flexibility of hours as the focal point.

    The FMCSA hopes for insights around 25 specific questions surrounding four areas: the shorthaul HOS limit, the HOS exception for adverse driving conditions, the split sleeper-berth rule to allow drivers to split their required time in the sleeper berth, and the 30-minute rest break provision.

    Scheduled for 1pm to 3pm EST, the session will unite at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington and will be available to stream online. Electronic logging device vendors, drivers, and industry stakeholders have been strongly encouraged to participate in the session. The agency will be reviewing public comments around its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (docket number FMCSA-2018-0248) until Sept. 24 here.

  • Staff Shoutout: A Moment with Michael Turner

    by Charlotte Freed | Aug 31, 2018
    Michael Turner addresses the crowd

    Michael Turner continues to be one of the reasons for Centerline growth, bringing on incredible drivers and mentoring those around him. A Senior Recruiter with Centerline for thirteen years, Michael continues to take colleagues under his wing while modeling the way as an excellent leader.


    “I started with TLC then, back in August of 2005, after spending the previous years as a transportation and distribution manager and training manager while in the [United States Air Force]. Since I’ve had the experience of being a driver, I have tried to maintain that mindset when speaking with both applicants and current drivers. Over the years, I have developed personal and professional relationships and still get former drivers stopping by, just to talk about what’s been happening in each other’s lives.

    With the way our branches are structured, I am the face of Centerline for [the Washington] area, as I believe all RMs are [of their regions]. My approach, conversations, and integrity not only reflect on me, but also the company as a whole. My goal, no matter the outcome, whether hired or not, is to leave all applicants with a positive impression, which carries a lot of weight in this industry where word-of-mouth truly does factor in when it comes to companies attracting drivers.

    It has been an honor for me to be a part of this team and to witness and now participate in its growth, from just two states to over twenty and still growing. The teamwork and commitment across the board is evident and displayed on a daily basis. Though we may work as teams of three, the truth is that we are much bigger than that. One driver at a time adds up to hundreds of drivers with a company-wide approach.”

    We are grateful that Michael shared a bit of his story with us and if you have the opportunity to work with him, you’ll understand the words of praise showered upon him on his thirteenth anniversary in August.

  • Dealing with Data: Making the Numbers Work for You

    by Charlotte Freed | Aug 24, 2018

    Partnering to understand fleet dataLast week we explored why data falls by the wayside for many fleet managers, this week we’ll discover the success many have found when partnering with fleet management companies and services. By joining forces, fleet managers are given back time and allowed access to systems that merge information while being given insights on actionable items to improve their bottom line. Additionally, management services provide assistance by working directly in driver training using collected data to customize and develop safety programs and internal training.

    Often, fleet management companies provide systems that consolidate data into a more easily digestible form. This creates opportunity to create action items and explore solutions to address insufficiencies and improve operations. Predictions are important, but understanding causes of outcomes from hard data is most valuable.

    What are some of the steps you’ll need to take with fleet management companies to begin understanding how your data can drive profitability?

    Set Goals

    Determine what you aim to do with data once it is analyzed. Understanding what you want to achieve and why helps focus the numbers toward an actual goal.

    Be Specific

    Focus on goals surrounding something specific within the company: improved safety, fuel savings, or driver turnover. When you decide what exactly you want to influence, you can better measure the metrics directly effecting them. Targeting one thing you’d like to work on will help you ease into your data.

    Find Experts

    Partner with an industry expert on the facet of business you want to advance. They will have more background with the specific type of data you’ve pulled, and may be able to give structured recommendations around the numbers in relation to your goal.

    Keep it Simple

    While data is anything but simple, your method of gathering and reporting should be. Prioritize the crucial data points into three categories: cost control, safety, and efficiency. Ensure that this data is available to key stakeholders and decision makers in your business.

    Whether being used on a micro basis (engine diagnostics to preempt maintenance) or macro (investigating economic trends and industry development), data is key in decoding the ins and outs of your business’ success and areas for improvement.
  • 3 Reasons Why Fleet Managers Shrug Off Data

    by Charlotte Freed | Aug 17, 2018
    Big Data in TruckingData is a hot topic across all industries: it’s necessary from operational and performance viewpoints and impacts decisions on all facets of business from sales to marketing. Constantly advancing technology allows fleet managers to access more data than ever, but knowing what to do with that data is what generates success.

    There are many issues that arise in relation to data analytics, such as lack of time to explore and understand the information, compliance, and knowing what to do with the statistics once gathered. Fleet managers aren’t alone when experiencing these struggles, as many are overwhelmed by the onslaught of information.

    Too Much Data

    It’s easy for fleet managers to forget about data, especially with the countless daily tasks they handle. While they know it is important, so are the other aspects of business that cannot be put off for the sake of digging into information.

    Not only are they considering the vehicle-provided data, but also information stemming from other channels like maintenance, fuel, and telematics.

    Compliance Challenges

    Observing regulations and ensuring compliance is a whole other obstacle that fleet managers face. With rules like the ELD mandate posing massive changes within many systems, delving into additional data tools can seem like a nice-to-have in comparison. The larger the fleet, the more attention needs to be paid toward ensuring proper alignment with rules and regulations to avoid fines, losing drivers, and managing their reputations.

    "Now What?"

    Even once the data is collected and aggregated, there is the whole next phase of interpreting, analyzing, and leveraging. Fleet managers may get to the point of gathering the information but find that next steps in using the data can be murky.

    Tech provides insights that can dramatically save costs and diminish inefficiencies. Understanding how to best garner that data, then applying tangible action items are crucial for fleets. Next week, explore how a fleet management partner can address all of these issues – and more.

  • Three Tips to Help Improve Driver Retention

    by Charlotte Freed | Aug 10, 2018

    8.10.18Stagnated wages paired with a rotating door of drivers has caused the trucking industry to reexamine the ways they compete for talent. Fleets are increasing pay rates to incentivize and retain drivers during an increasingly worrisome driver shortage, some pushing pay up by four cents a mile - in what NTI President Gordon Klemp called “aggressive moves.” While more money has proven to be the easiest way to capture driver interest, fleets are now looking at other ways to attract a shifting driver force.

    Pay rates are rising, slowly but surely, and that still doesn’t seem to be enough to fill the demand for drivers with fleets reporting that six to ten percent of their seats go unfilled. So what then, could be another approach in retaining the drivers when simply looking at the numbers isn’t enough? Consider the things important to you when looking for work. Pay, of course, but what about benefits, scheduling and hours, travel, and quality of life?

    It’s a Tough Gig

    You know drivers can be away from home for long periods of time, working irregular hours that can be taxing on the body. If they’re going to be doing this type of work, they’re going to find somewhere that pays them more to do it. While higher pay is the ultimate goal, acknowledging the importance of trucker’s jobs and that it takes skill will help drivers feel proud for the work they do – something we all understand as being a key part of our jobs.

    Look at the Numbers

    While drivers may earn a decent annual wage, weeks light on hours can be stressful, not to mention bad for the bills. Some fleets are taking a look at the inconsistent nature of the work and offering a minimum weekly pay to keep drivers when they might go somewhere else with more hours available at that time. With the peace of mind that comes with reliable pay, drivers are less likely to become unpredictable and more restful.

    Consider Comforts

    Feeling comfortable financially strongly influences the overall quality of life, but think about the small things that could prove to make drivers’ lives better. A flatbed trucking company in Tulsa found that providing premium in-cab satellite TV reduced driver turnover rate by 60 percent. Others see the success of hands-free mobile devices, allowing real-time connection with other drivers to keep them engaged, sharing the behind-the-wheel experience and reducing the feelings of isolation. Offering outlets and experiences that makes a big difference in drivers’ relationships with their work.
  • How Prepared are you for Tonnage's "Robust Growth?"

    by Charlotte Freed | Aug 03, 2018

    8.3.18Truck tonnage extends its long-lasting growth spurt rising 7.8 percent in June. The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) advanced seasonally adjusted for-hire Truck Tonnage Index shows an increase of nearly 8 percent in the first half of 2018. The growth rate of the first six months of 2017 was only 3.8 percent.

    While tonnage dipped 0.4 percent from May, ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello shared that “This robust growth fits with what is likely to be a very strong GDP reading for the second quarter” and that he expects “growth in tonnage to moderate, but remain at very high levels in the months ahead.” He added that factory output is “shaping up to be the highest level of production since 2007, and 2019 should be the highest on record.”

    The Cass Freight Index Report tracks monthly levels of shipments through the volume of shipments and freight shipment expenditures. The report shares that June demand was “exceeding capacity in most modes of transportation by a significant margin” and that “the current level of volume and pricing growth is signaling that the U.S. economy is growing.” However, it adds “that level of growth may have reached its short-term expansion limit.”

    Trucking accounts for over 70 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of freight transportation and is widely used to gauge the current national economy. While tonnage soars, available CDL drivers continue to decline. From effects of the ELD mandate to retirement, fleets feel the strain of the driver shortage and more find themselves utilizing staffing partners to help mitigate stress and financial burden.

  • Staff Shoutout: Scott Anderson

    by Charlotte Freed | Jul 27, 2018

    Scott AndersonEarning a medal in the Circle of Excellence is an honor and achievement. Winning two times in a row is truly fantastic – and Scott Andersen is one who’s done it. Joining the team at the start of 2013, Scott has been an essential part of the interwoven connection that makes the California market work so well together. Using his previous ten years as a terminal manager, and having utilized Centerline, he brought experience to the company that complements the skills of the great people around him.

    Some of the skills and standards that have prompted Scott to soar in his position harken back to his first job at Carl’s Jr. He remembers studying a booklet on restaurant standards, with customer service standing out in particular. He says that he’s retained that information throughout the years and still uses those insights today.

    Scott knows that building relationships is the most important part of his work. Luckily, this comes easily for him. Quick to joke and a lively talker, Scott enjoys making new friends and being in a whirlwind of activity. He’s happy to go out of his way to ensure that the people he works with feel appreciated and that their needs are met, whether for the driver, customer, or internally.

    Scott hopes to change lives every day and shares that the most important aspect of his work is to help people. After celebrating five years with Centerline, Scott Andersen has enjoyed a big year full of growth, success, and of course, laughter.

  • Will Big Data Save Millions and Solve the Driver Shortage?

    by Charlotte Freed | Jul 20, 2018

    7.19.18Operational disorganization and inefficiencies aren’t new to the trucking industry. What is new is the technology that could cut hundreds of millions of dollars in these inefficiencies for trucking in the coming four years. Jeff Sass, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Navistar, shared this forecast at the 2018 Heavy Duty Trucking Exchange explaining big data pulled from truck usage could be leveraged to make better use of assets while slashing operational costs.

    Newer technology from SaaS (software-as-a-service) routing and scheduling systems, in-cab video devices, GPS insights, and mobile apps are helping fleets work smarter with better routing, improved load matches, enhanced safety, and the ability to problem-solve around logistical issues.

    Sass said that if the trucking industry “could get just 5 percent more efficiency out of our operations, it could possibly eliminate the driver shortage entirely.” This is music to the ears of fleet owners struggling to find and keep qualified drivers. While automation and electric trucks have had the most recent places in the disruptor spotlight, more fleets can utilize basic and accessible technology to obtain information. This information, or big data, could improve timing coordination, unload time, and overall organization – everyday challenges that cost companies millions and frustrate drivers. If you’re curious and interested in researching the hundreds of available software options, Capterra is a great place to start.

  • How will Brett Kavanaugh Influence Transportation Regulations?

    by Charlotte Freed | Jul 13, 2018

    7.13.18Washington DC Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court - and the whole nation is talking about the potential outcomes. Chosen by President Donald Trump, the 53-year-old former clerk for Justice Kennedy is a conservative pick. The pro-business, anti-regulation judge is expected to have an impact on a number of issues including net neutrality, environmental protection, gun rights, and voting rights.

    Kavanaugh is a staunch believer that regulators should be restrained. Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican leading the Senate Judiciary Committee said of Kavanaugh, “He has a reputation for keeping regulators under control and not allowing regulators to travel too far beyond the intent of Congress, if at all, and kind of putting limits on the administrative state.” He continues to side with deregulation and industry while making it known that he expects regulators to justify their decisions and rules. It is believed that he will likely give agencies leeway when removing regulations and that his methods may cause deeper skepticism of federal regulations, while potentially causing uncertainty as the legal landscape changes.

    It is too early to determine how Kavanaugh’s approach will effect the transportation industry exactly, and arguments continue around whether deregulation will be a pro or con for transportation. In 1970, the United States passed several laws removing economic regulations from the nation’s carriers including airlines, freight and motor carriers, and railroads. Regulations returned when a report from 1987 was released. The report outlines “the rising incidence of highway accidents involving rigs driven by individual owner-operators spurs calls for more-stringent safety standards, licensing requirements and mandatory drug testing for truck drivers.”

    Post deregulation, carriers experienced difficulties with stability – some going bankrupt and carriers losing aspects of their economic and political influence. However, surveys conducted in 1994 and 1997 suggest that the impact of further deregulation contributed beneficially toward transportation, allowing carriers more flexibility and impacting costs, services, and safety positively.

  • ELDs Slash Hours of Service Violations

    by Anna Mischke | Jul 06, 2018

    CL Customer News Image 070318The Electronic Logging Device mandate cut hours of service violations in half, according to data from The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. There have been roughly 300,000 inspections every month over the past year.

    From May to December 2017, fleets slowly adopted ELD technology. Hours of service violations averaged 1.28 percent throughout these months with a flurry of research around the new regulation.

    Early Adoption
    During the soft implementation of the mandate from December 2017 to April 2018, HOS violation rates dipped to 0.93 percent. At this time, there was widespread contention among the industry regarding the pros and cons of ELDs. Recently Coretex surveyed 303 U.S. trucking companies on the technology, with 47 percent of fleet operators responding they believe ELDs benefit the transportation industry. Thirty eight percent do not think ELDs will improve their CSA scores and 15 percent have yet to decide.

    Hard Enforcement
    The ELD mandate rolled out full enforcement April 2018. Since then, the average violation rate decreased to .67 percent, a 48 percent drop from pre-compliance time frame. Out of 559,940 inspections, only 4,720 resulted in hours of service violations.

    While hours of service violations are low, 69 percent of Coretex survey respondents said that ELDs did not improve driver satisfaction. Thirty three percent said that they find it more difficult to retain drivers due to the strict HOS compliance. Outside of HOS in relation to ELDs, fleets ranked real-time tracking, ease of use, and reporting capabilities as the most substantial areas of improvement.

  • Staff Shoutout: Melissa Springfield

    by Charlotte Freed | Jun 29, 2018

    Melissa SpringfieldConcocting a delicious, home-cooked meal takes time, effort, and a mind that doesn’t just read a recipe- but envisions the ultimate outcome. When Melissa Springfield isn't working as a Regional Recruiting Manager, she's cooking up feasts at home, from scratch.

    In an industry facing an enormous driver shortage, her job isn’t easy, but her dedication to the team and their goals propel her forward. Melissa first joined Centerline through an acquisition and was dubious of how a centralized service model would work. “Wow! Was I wrong,” says Melissa, “our model is the best I have seen!” She explains that being able to focus on a specialized role ensures that each person is at the top of their game in each niche, whether in recruiting, sales, service, compliance, or payroll. Unlike some branch-based businesses, Centerline can focus on a specialty and provide the expertise required.

    Melissa sees her role within Centerline as more than just a career, saying “These folks are truly family. We celebrate together, we laugh together, and we cry together. Because of that, we always have each other’s back…we are one and we unite.”

    Like a key ingredient, we know we can count on Melissa to be part of a recipe for success.

  • Will the Tax Reform Benefit Fleets?

    by Charlotte Freed | Jun 22, 2018

    Will the Tax Reform Benefit Fleets?

    The new Tax Cuts and Job Acts is arguably the largest tax reform since the 1980s and was created to boost the nation’s economy as a whole while creating new jobs, lower tax bills, and simplify the tax filing process for millions. Middle earners are expected to see an average of a $930 tax cut, freelancers and independent contractors may see taxes cut by one-fifth, and lower income families will average an $817 refund increase. As a fleet owner, here’s what you should know about this reform and how it can increase your profitability.

    Hefty Deduction

    The new law implements a 20 percent deduction on net business profits of “pass-through entities” – or companies structured as S Corporations, Limited Liability Corporations, Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships. Most owner-operators and many small and medium-sized carriers fall within these categories. Now, only 80 percent of business’ net income will be taxed beginning in the 2018 filing year.

    The Old is New

    Bonus depreciation, previously only applied to new trucks, is now extended to used trucks and trailers in addition to software and other business expenses. Until the end of 2022, carriers can deduct 100 percent of truck and trailer purchases up to $1 million each year. In 2023, the bonus depreciation deduction will begin decreasing 20 percent each year until 2026 and eliminated in 2027.

    Per Diem Shift

    The per diem deduction has been nixed for company drivers, which allowed drivers to deduct $50.40 for each day spent working away from home, or 83 percent of $63 per day. An option that fleets and drivers can explore to mitigate the shift is adjusting pay structures. For example, a driver may choose to decrease their base salary of 40 cents per mile to 30 cents per mile and add a 10 cent per diem rate. Those additional 10 cents would not be taxed under the new law. 

    Limited Interest

    Companies were previously allowed to deduct all interest expense incurred by business. Now, companies with revenues above $25 million may only deduct a certain percentage of their tax EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). From 2018 - 2021, the deductibility rate will be 30 percent of overall EBITDA. Starting in 2022, interest expenses will be limited to 30 percent of EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes).