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  • Driver Pay Climbing and Staying, NTI Reports

    by Charlotte Freed | Jun 15, 2018

    6.15.18The National Transportation Institute has released data showing that per-mile driver pay surged in this year’s first quarter compared to the first quarter of last year. Mostly midsize to larger carriers pushed driver pay up by 7 to 11 cents per mile. Called “aggressive moves” by NTI President Gordon Klemp, who has tracked driver pay fluctuations for the past 25 years, he says the “staggering amount” of increases are historically strong gains.

    Klemp notes that 6.25 percent of fleets tracked gave pay boosts in the 7 to 11 cent range, 43.75 percent implemented 4 to 6 cent increases, and the remaining 50 percent upped pay by 1 to 3 cents per mile. As the driver shortage continues to worsen, industry-wide efforts are being put in to recruiting and retaining drivers. Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research believes that rather than a driver shortage, the industry faces a “retention shortage”. Noel Perry, chief economist at Truckstop.com says “The easiest way to get drivers is to pay them more.”

    Sign-on bonus rates for van drivers also saw large gains in the first quarter, averaging $7,000 over last year’s $1,500 in the first quarter. Reefer driver bonuses grew to an average of $3,000 and flatbed to $6,000. The American Trucking Associations chief economist, Bob Costello, said in March that “Not only are fleets paying drivers more on pay-rate basis, but drivers are working more because there’s more freight – so they’re actually getting a double benefit.” Klemp sees the increase cycle ending soon. Now over 80 percent of fleets the NTI studied have increased pay and the remaining 20 percent are expected to adjust soon with the next round of pay moves coming this autumn.  

  • ELDs May Illuminate HOS Discrepancies According to Head of FMCSA

    by Charlotte Freed | Jun 08, 2018

    shutterstock_708809872The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate may initiate a reassessment of hours of service rules, according to Ray Martinez, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Martinez stated that the new regulation may stoke the need for “providing flexibility in the current rules.” Only 1 percent of 300,000 drivers having been “cited for failing to have an ELD when they were required to have one” since the start of the mandate on April 1st and the seemingly successful adoption of the new rule may in turn effect existing restrictions.

    With all carriers and drivers now operating on a “level playing field” with the ELDs, Martinez explains that hours of service are less likely to be doctored and that engaging with stakeholders in the regulated community and safety advocates will help point to what changes may be made. He has expressed interest in receiving feedback from everyone in the industry “whether they are members of the associations or not”, adding that “there are really good suggestions that I’ve already heard over the last few weeks”. Hoping for constructive dialogue surrounding regulations, Martinez says that the FMCSA are still in the “aggressive listening stage” before making any specific decisions surrounding hours of service rules.

    For over two hours during a May hearing, Martinez spoke before the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, touching on hot issues such as sleep apnea testing, the medical examiner registry attempted hack, detention time, the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program, and the influence of ELDs on the future of hours of service rules. 

  • Staff Shoutout: Miguel Garcia

    by Anna Mischke | Jun 01, 2018

    Miguel Garcia

    Teamwork is:

    • Not being selfish: if you’re selfish how can you say that you’re part of a team?
    • Taking the initiative and doing the things that others might not want to do
    • Determining your strengths and weaknesses and of those around you: a strong understanding of these allows room for growth

    This is the definition of teamwork according to Miguel Garcia. Those who have the opportunity to work beside and around him can vouch that he not only understands the importance of teamwork, but embodies it fully as well.

    In addition to his role as a Service Specialist for Centerline, a husband, and a father – Miguel also coaches high school baseball. Within each of these realms, he pays close attention to how he can better the experiences for the people he interacts with. The most enjoyable aspect of his work is the ability to influence lives.

    Miguel’s aptitude using Excel, valuable experience in the trucking industry, and dedicated work ethic make him an ideal Centerline fit. He is quick to provide solutions to problems and would rather face any issues head on. For example, if he receives a difficult phone call he will take the time to find the root cause of the reason for the complaint or distress – then aims to work toward fixing the problem, whether by himself or working with others. He knows that it can be the small things in daily interactions that make the biggest difference when overcoming tricky situations. “Take ownership,” Miguel says, “even if it isn’t your territory.”

    Inspired by his parents’ diligence and hardworking lifestyle, Miguel lives by the principles they instilled in him. While he takes pride in his work and constantly puts forth one hundred percent, he also knows the importance of a work/life balance. Being present for his family, staying involved in coaching, and allowing himself the time to enjoy all aspects of baseball are all keys to being in the strongest mindset to provide his best at work.

    Centerline hit a home run by having Miguel as part of the team and looks forward to many more seasons with the all-star teammate.

  • 2019 Freight Predictions ‘murky’

    by Anna Mischke | May 25, 2018

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    The remainder of 2018 looks as if it will remain strong for trucking according to industry analysts. However, next year’s predictions are less clear. FTR chairman and CEO, Eric Starks, has spoken out about potential concerns for the coming year and that markets are feeling a degree of uncertainty surrounding economic conditions, particularly those relying heavily on political outcomes.

    Ambiguity around a potential trade war with China, revocation of participation in the Iran Deal, the rising federal deficit, and backing out of the North American Free trade Agreement (NAFTA) are all points of concern for Starks. He told a group of fleet executives at the Heavy Duty trucking Exchange mid-May that President Trump pulling out of NAFTA “scares me to death, because NAFTA has a huge impact on your business.”

    While Starks expressed concern surrounding potential negative factors, he did outline trends that continue to lead the trucking market upward. He called out manufacturing as a growing attribute in that “business activity related to consumer goods is showing a healthy, growing trend”. Additionally, the “demand is very strong in the weekly spot market” while existing home and automobile sales continue to remain robust.

    Starks urges industry stakeholders to stay watchful and informed on a few specific topics over the next five years including additive manufacturing or 3D printing, electric vehicles, and blockchain and assured that autonomous vehicles will continue to gain prominence as new technology develops in the coming years. 

  • FMCSA: Fatal Truck Crashes Increase

    by Anna Mischke | May 18, 2018
    Customer News 051818

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) annual “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts” report cites 3,864 fatal crashes involving 4,213 large trucks in 2016, increased from 3,622 with 4,074 trucks the previous year. 4,213 lives were lost – 722 of which were occupants of the trucks.

    29,813 crashes in 2016 involving passenger vehicles caused 32,702 fatalities on top of 2.1 million non-fatal crashes resulting in more than 3 million injuries among 3.77 million passenger vehicles. 20.5 percent of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal passenger crashes had blood alcohol content greater than 0.08 while 3 percent of commercial drivers had blood alcohol content between 0.01 and 0.08.

    Additional key takeaways from the report include:

    • 6 percent of truck drivers involved in fatal crashes were 25 years old or younger and 6 percent were 66 or older.
    • 23 percent of injury crashes occurred between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
    • 84 percent of fatal crashes and 88 percent of non-fatal crashes occurred on weekdays.
    • In 2015, there were 83,000 injury crashes involving trucks and 104,000 injury crashes involving large trucks in 2016.

    At Centerline, safety is paramount. We ensure all drivers have the right tools and information they need to be successful in their assignments. Drivers are equipped with extensive safety training to protect our drivers and the motoring public.

  • 5,500 Trucking Jobs Cut in April

    by Anna Mischke | May 14, 2018
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    For the first time in seven months, trucking employment declined in April. As the unemployment rate dropped below 4%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that hourly earnings rose a minute 0.1%, following a downwardly-revised 0.2% gain in March.

    Payrolls at trucking firms fell by 5,500 on a seasonally adjusted basis during April; the first drop in the sector since August 2017. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) shows U.S. freight tonnage up 6.3% from the previous year in March, also due to the growth of online shopping. While freight market conditions stabilized after a drastic increase toward the end of last year, the industry continues to confront the continually swelling driver shortage. Alternatively, parcel-delivery companies and warehouse operators experienced strong gains with a combined 12,300 jobs in sectors experiencing growth from e-commerce. Hiring drivers for e-commerce fulfilment is less difficult in the driver-lacking market as short delivery runs have less stringent licensing requirements that long-haul or interstate services.

    However, qualified candidates with strong safety records continue to prove scarcer as the driver market shifts and demand increases. These constraints are causing many shippers to experience increased difficulty in delivering products on-time while experiencing higher shipping costs. In the past twelve months, Class 8 Truck orders have totaled 368,000 units and Class 5-7 orders were up 33% year over year at 24,800 units according to FTR Transportation Intelligence analysis. 

  • New CVSA Committee Focuses on Crash Data Improvement

    by Anna Mischke | May 04, 2018

    Customer News 050418A new committee stemming from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is working towards improving the currently deficient uniform crash data for truck-involved crashes while addressing crash accountability within the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.  The Crash Data and Investigative Standard Committee was introduced at the annual CVSA workshop in Portland, OR this April.

    The CSA program has highlighted the lack of crash test data and the unreliability of previously collected data. The new team aims to work with others to create a uniform reporting and investigative process to “basically establish a standard protocol and reporting system” for crashes and to “help everyone with better data – to do better investigations, and to be more consistent” in research and reporting.

    Director of CVSA crash standards and analysis, Scott Hernandez, shared that Thomas Fitzgerald, a CVSA member out of Massachusetts will be new committee chair and that the CVSA “needs to step up and take a lead on this issue.”

    Updates on the CVSA website outline the new committee’s goals:

    • Establish and maintain a uniform commercial motor vehicle/large vehicle crash reporting protocol.
    • Establish and maintain a uniform commercial motor vehicle/large vehicle crash investigation protocol.
    • Report authorized crash information/data in a uniform manner that allows for stakeholder analysis.
    • Establish and maintain uniform commercial motor vehicle/large vehicle crash training for stakeholders.
    • Work cooperatively with all stakeholders to reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes.
    • Establish accredited training curriculum.
  • Retailers See Consumer Demand Return

    by Anna Mischke | Apr 27, 2018

    shutterstock_500547007Figured released by the Commerce Department support the Federal Reserve’s view that consumer weakness from December to February was a transitory state. March retail sales in the U.S. increased by more than expected and was the first gain in four months.

    Gains occurred in auto, furniture and home stores, along with electronics and appliance sales, advancing 0.6 percent following a 0.1 percent drop in February. Eight of 23 major retail categories showed increases with particular growth in health and personal-care stores at 1.4 percent and 2 percent in auto sales. Apparel dropped 0.8 percent and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores fell 1.8 percent, the most since December.

    Factors including job-market strength, rising wages, tax refunds and cuts hold consumer optimism at somewhat high levels. Estimates for economic growth remain in check with analysts forecasting that gross domestic product expanded at a 2.2 percent annualized pace in the first quarter, down 2.9 percent in the previous quarter.

  • Protect Your CSA Score

    by Anna Mischke | Apr 23, 2018

    shutterstock_1027781617After nearly a month since the ELD mandate went into full effect, it is important to understand what you can do to challenge an incorrect citation or inspection report so that erroneous data won’t affect your CSA score.

    On the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website, motor carriers and owner-operators can utilize the DataQs tool to request and track a review of Federal and State data issued by the FMCSA that they feel is incorrect or incomplete. The system then forwards the driver Request for Data Review (RDR) to the proper office while collecting and presenting responses and updates for ongoing Requests.

    Know Your Regulations

    Understanding the regulations is key before challenging a citation. Owning and referring to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s out-of-service (OOS) conditions guide will help you gauge whether you have been placed out of service wrongly or not. This list of every out-of-service condition is used by each inspector to determine whether a driver is put OOS. The guide can be purchased as a PDF or hard copy on the CVSA website under the “Store” tab.

    Show Evidence

    Providing supporting data is important when challenging reports or citations in DataQs. Citing the appropriate sections of the regulations from the OOS conditions guide can be useful if you can prove that your citation conflicts with the regulation. Ensure you always receive an actual copy of the actual driver vehicle examination report rather than simply a screen shot or an online summary which will not include any additional notes. You can request a copy through the DataQ website.

    Challenge in Court

    If a citation is challenged and dismissed in court, the state is required to remove it from your CSA score. The same goes for citations being reduced to lesser charges.  Tickets can be better than a warning – as a warning cannot be argued in court, hence enforcement officials writing less tickets. 

  • Transport Jobs Surge as Freight Market Booms

    by Anna Mischke | Apr 13, 2018

    Customer News 041318Payrolls grew at the fastest pace since 2015 in March as transportation and logistics companies added almost 10,000 jobs to keep pace with the flourishing shipping market. The Labor Department reported that the trucking sector alone added 6,700 workers in March rounding out the first quarter hires to 18,500: the strongest quarterly growth in trucking since 2012.

    High freight demand keeps trucking in heavy demand with the continuous growth of e-commerce retail sales and hard enforcement of the ELD mandate has led to fleets adding drivers at a faster rate.

    FTR transportation research firm analyst, Avery Vise, shared that “Transportation providers and warehousers are doing what they have to do just to meet the demand, they’re scrambling to fill positions that are needed just to keep the economy moving.”

    Adding to the pressure of rising fuel prices and the mounting driver shortage, fleets are raising pay to attract more drivers which causes cost increase for customers. Freight costs to ship have affected the bottom line for many manufacturers and advances the dilemma of raising consumer prices to cover the cost of shipping. According to Reuters, interview with ten executives from food, consumer goods, and commodities sectors revealed the harsh difficulty of protecting profit margins as costs nearly double the inflation rate.

  • Staff Shoutout: Constance Salters

    by Anna Mischke | Apr 06, 2018

    constance salters resizedIf you took a peek into Constance Salters’ schedule, it’s unlikely you’d find much free time. An Account Manager for Centerline for the past nine years, she embodies the words “leader”, “teacher”, “salesperson”, “supermom”, and “strong”. Constance continues to evolve in her role while building the relationships that mean the most to her at work: those with drivers and customers.

    Originally educated as a teacher, Constance found that her skills were more suited towards sales. After working in sales with a company that thrived during her employment, she decided it was time for something new. She secured a new position as a Recruiter where she quickly became a market manager and eventually joined Centerline when they acquired the previous company as part of the transition. During this transition, Constance moved into her place as an Account Manager – where she now trains new Account Managers as they join the team. She recognizes that this is a strong match for her because she finds such immense satisfaction in the connections she builds with clients, based on respect, dignity, and integrity.

    Although Constance decided to leave scholastic teaching behind, she practices her skills in educating the trucking and staffing industry. Using proven methods, she works with new Account Managers to grow their business and learn the process. She takes pride in seeing the success of trainees as they embark on their own and has found that the best way to learn is to listen intently.

    Constance has a rare skill of maintaining a positive attitude – even when faced with extremely difficult circumstances. Diagnosed with cancer, she powered through her sickness and believes that the experience made her more resilient.

    A member of the Women in Leadership Council within TrueBlue, Troop Leader to two Girl Scout troops, and homeroom mom – Constance is prized for her crucial role in many places, including Centerline – where her smile and encouraging outlook make a difference, daily.

  • Welcome to the ELD Era

    by Anna Mischke | Mar 30, 2018

    shutterstock_631747076The contentious ELD mandate goes into hard enforcement April 1st – are fleets prepared for the regulation shift? Only a few days before full regulation, compliance rates hover around 92%. The remaining percentage of drivers out of compliance after April 1st could be officially placed out of service for ten hours, with potential additional consequences including not being allowed to dispatch again until an ELD is implemented.

    During the Mid-America Trucking Show, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Office of Compliance and Enforcement Director, Joe DeLorenzo, shared what truckers should be expecting after the first of April and what they ought to be doing before. DeLorenzo advised truckers to consider all of the aspects of compliance, as ELDs are ultimately purposed for tracking hours of service. Some main points to remember:

    • The ELD device’s user manual (paper or electronic) must be on board
    • Instruction sheet for date of transfer must be on board
    • ELD malfunction instruction sheet must be on board
    • If an ELD malfunctions, drivers have eight days to utilize paper logs
    • If stopped during an inspection, drivers should cooperate with the officer when hours-of-service data is requested
    • Drivers can utilize the built-in function for personal conveyance, found under special driving categories
    • Don’t forget to log out

    While many are wary about the new rule, the vast majority of owner-operators are equipped for the mandate. It is a carrier’s responsibility to help prepare their drivers for training to lower stress and best transition into the new era of ELDs.

     

  • Uber Causes First Pedestrian Death in Driverless-Car Testing

    by Anna Mischke | Mar 23, 2018

    Customer News 032318On March 18th a self-driving Uber fatally struck pedestrian, Elaine Herzberg, in Tempe, AZ. Around 10 pm,  she was crossing the street with her bicycle when hit by the Volvo XC90 SUV at approximately 40 miles per hour. Since the accident, Uber has pulled their self-driving vehicles off public roads in the greater Phoenix area, San Francisco, Toronto, and Pittsburgh. Tempe’s mayor, Mark Mitchell, called Uber’s decision to suspend autonomous testing a “responsible step”.

    The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration dispatched a team of four specialized investigators to evaluate “the vehicle’s interaction with the environment, other vehicles and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists.” The organization seldom opens highway investigations but are particularly alert to incidents involving autonomous and partially autonomous vehicles.

    Tempe Police Chief, Sylvia Moir, said in an interview that “it’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway.” Not all are convinced. Senator Edward Markey, a member of the transportation committee, stated “This tragic accident underscores why we need to be exceptionally cautious when testing and deploying autonomous vehicle technologies on public roads.”

    Examination of the construct of self-driving cars show that autonomous vehicles are overall built like a regular car, only equipped with sensors (GPS, lidar, cameras) which transmit information to the car’s internal computer system. The sensors use minute GPS measurements compiled by nearby satellites to determine the route, behavior, and actions.  However, technology has failed in several instances, gradually bringing awareness to the general public. It seems that lawmakers, manufacturers, advocacy groups and industry analysts agree that much work is to be done before autonomous becomes the norm.   

  • ATRI Seeks Carrier Insight into E-Commerce Influence

    by Anna Mischke | Mar 19, 2018

    Customer News 031618The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released a short online survey hoping to capture feedback from carriers on how the upsurge of e-commerce usage has effected industry business models and operations.

    Known widely as the “Amazon effect”, the influx of consumers taking advantage of fast, free shipping has disrupted the retail industry in relation to brick and mortar stores, with online sales up 12 points from previous year to 97 percent from a United Postal Service study in 2017. In addition to the changing landscape in retail, the types of shipping services have shifted with more distribution centers popping up on the landscape to fulfill orders quickly. Last mile delivery, or final mile delivery, is increasing the need for more concentrated last-mile logistics and further partnership with “white glove” services.

    The survey insights combined with an “extensive executive analysis of emerging e-commerce trends” will provide awareness into how the industry has responded to fundamental shifts in the relationships between consumers, logistics, and businesses. Motor carriers are urged to provide data, confidentially, through the survey through April 6th, 2018 and will be eligible for entry into a raffle for one of five $100 gift cards and access to an advance copy of the Impacts of E-Commerce on the Trucking Industry report. The survey may be taken here.
  • New FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez Sworn In

    by Anna Mischke | Mar 12, 2018
    Raymond Martinez-01

    Raymond P. Martinez was officially sworn in as the sixth Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) by U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, Wednesday, March 1st. Selected by President Trump in 2017 to head the agency, Martinez has most recently served as the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s Chairman and Chief Administrator and is former Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and also served at the U.S. Department of State.

    Chao said, “Ray’s years of experience promoting traffic safety at the state level, as well as his knowledge of the commercial motor vehicle industry, will help FMCSA fulfill its critical mission of improving truck and bus safety.”

    “It's an honor and privilege to serve my fellow Americans in this capacity and, under Secretary Chao's leadership, I look forward to working with all commercial vehicle stakeholders to effectively reduce the number of truck and bus crashes on our nation’s roads,” said Martinez.

  • AP: Trump Undoes Safety Rules

    by Anna Mischke | Mar 03, 2018
    Customer News 030518

    In a comprehensive report, the Associated Press (AP) detailed how a number of safety rules affecting transportation have been halted or removed by President Trump, under the premise that they hurt the economy. In the analysis, at least 12 safety rules that were in process or implemented have been withdrawn, postponed, or repealed since the Trump administration took control. 

    A rule requiring new heavy trucks to implement potentially life-saving software that would electronically limit speeds has been delayed indefinitely. Other regulations demanding states conduct annual inspections of commercial bus operators, railroads to operate trains with at least two crew members, and automakers to equip future cars and light trucks with vehicle-to-vehicle communications to prevent collisions have also been placed on the back burner or removed. Several of the dozen rules were prompted by fatal events. John Risch, a national legislative director for the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers said, “These rules have been written in blood…we’re in a new era now of little-to-no regulations no matter how beneficial they might be. The focus is what can we repeal and rescind.”

    The Transportation Department believe regulations impose “unnecessarily high economic costs” and that they can eliminate regulations without undermining safety. This stance contradicts a DOT study from 2016 showing that trucks equipped with speed-limiting software could save as many as 498 lives per annum and produce a net cost savings to society ranging from $475 million to $5 billion, depending on the top speed the government chose.

    In 2013, a New York commuter train derailed while speeding around a curve killing four. Investigations into the crash found that the engineer had undiagnosed sleep apnea, likely causing him to fall asleep while conducting. According to the Associated Press, “The National Transportation Safety Board has cited sleep apnea as a cause of 13 rail and highway accidents it has investigated”. In the summer of 2017, the DOT withdrew movement towards a rule requiring engineers, truck drivers, and bus drivers to undergo sleep apnea screening.

    The AP explained, “There is a longstanding requirement that major federal regulations undergo detailed cost-benefit analyses before they can become final. Even rules expected to save lives are weighed against their economic cost. DOT assigns a value of $9.6 million per life saved in its analyses.” The White House acknowledged that focus is on cost to industry and calculations of savings do not take into account non-fiscal benefits that the regulations produce.

  • Staff Shoutout: James Pearson

    by Anna Mischke | Feb 23, 2018

    James PearsonIf anyone knows the importance of people skills, it’s James Pearson. Hailing from the Stockton, California market, James is a revered military veteran and recruiting manager that his team at Centerline truly appreciates. Whether solving a work problem or matching a driver with a customer, he takes the time to create relationships wherever he goes.

    The military helped James learn how to best interact with those around him and to have honest, meaningful conversations. Those lessons followed him into the recruiting field where his personable nature made him a perfect fit. He honors the drivers he engages with by working with them through the thick and thin, sometimes years, until he finds them a strong fit in a position they feel good about. James aims to establish a level of trust with the candidates he interfaces with andto coach them through the entire hiring process if possible.

    James likes to speak with drivers, preferring to sit down over a sandwich to talk about what each of them are looking for in their work and how he can guide them towards their goals. He continues to follow up with drivers for special events such as birthdays and anniversaries and praises those who show excellence in safety. When asked what gives him a sense of fulfillment at work he shared, “simply put, it is putting people to work every day.”

    James shared that working with the area’s account manager, Scott Anderson, is wonderful and calls him his “partner in crime”. Their team dynamic has led them to great relationships with customers in both a business and personal capacity. James appreciates that at Centerline, there is a wide network of people he can turn to for assistance and that everyone is always willing to lend a helping hand.

    All while James continues to find drivers work, he coaches basketball, plays the organ at church on Sundays, and spends time with family, his pride and joy. Committed to his community and career and showing his readiness to work as a team, James offers a piece of advice to his fellow recruiters, saying “you’ve got to be patient, well organized, and take it one day at a time.” 

  • ATA Touts Strongest Freight Market Since 1980s

    by Anna Mischke | Feb 16, 2018

    Customer News 021518Bob Costello, American Trucking Associations Chief Economist, recently shared at the annual National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) convention that the freight market is at its most robust since deregulation in the 1980s. Subjective fleet reports show that January was one of the best starts to a year as the U.S. market heats up.

    Gross domestic product grew at a 2.6 percent annualized rate in 2017’s fourth quarter compared to the 1.8 percent increase in 2016 and truckload shipments grew almost 3 percent. Dry-van loads increased 2 percent, flatbed rose 2.2 percent, and temperature-controlled improved over 5 percent.

    “Factory output, we went from very soft factory growth to last year it grew of about 1.5%. This year and next year I think it’ll be 3% to 3.5%. The three major buckets of freight are all doing well right now,” said Costello. He believes that the Jobs Act and Tax Cuts will usher more buyers to spend on nondurable goods and that with this, for-hire fleets to transport the goods will increase.

    Still, while truckload volumes increased, mileage remained stagnant- likely due to regional distribution networks delivering e-commerce orders. Costello remains positive in his outlook explaining “If you look at the retail supply chain, in 2000, you had big box retailers working out of a handful of distribution centers (DCS). But by 2017 each of them had dozens of DCs all over the country”, adding that “we’re seeing a shift to more regional operations. But less miles means more trucks will be needed, so eventually, that will increase mileage. We’ll see it go back up as more trucks get on the road.”

  • Semi-Autonomous Truck Makes 2,400 Mile Cross-Country Excursion

    by Anna Mischke | Feb 09, 2018
    Customer News 020918

    One of Embark’s doctored Peterbilt rigs- christened “Big Blue”- made a successful five day trip from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida. This was the first automated vehicle to make the coast-to-coast 2,400 mile trip across the Southern United States.

    The truck’s system utilized Level 2 automation, with a driver required to monitor the truck actively and be prepared to take over if necessary. Embark CEO, Alex Rodrigues, shared with TechCrunch that the driver is responsible for being attentive and to ensure safety, but that they may go miles down the road without the necessity of being involved.

    Rodrigues expanded that they aim to develop the truck’s technology to reach Level 4 automation, where a vehicle can operate without human input or oversight, including when a driver doesn’t respond appropriately to requests to intervene. Rodrigues explained that their goal isn’t to replace drivers with automation, but to make it possible for truckers to cover long routes and make more deliveries in less time. The trucks requiring less management by fewer drivers may also address the existing driver shortage.

    Embark’s technology uses machine learning software and data from the on-board “sensor-suite” which uses five cameras, three long-range radars and at least two light detection and ranging sensors to gauge surroundings in real-time. Embark has raised $17.2 million in venture funding since its founding in 2016 and Rodrigues hopes that by the end of the year, Embark will have 40 trucks prepared for its fleet.

  • Staff Shoutout: Victoria Salamanca

    by Anna Mischke | Feb 02, 2018

    Victoria Salamanca_Staff ShoutoutVictoria Salamanca welcomes a challenge, particularly when it comes to her work life. A vital part of the Centerline team and based in Kansas, Victoria helps dispatch drivers for recruiters in the Southeast part of the country and has made an impact not to be forgotten.

    After spending six years working for the County Prison system running the inmate’s commissary account, she had grown a necessary thick skin and was ready for a new challenge. Victoria found that her interest was dwindling in her position at the prison and was ready for growth and new opportunity. After years of repetitive work, she went out searching for a new career and found her place with the Centerline team.

    Brand new to the trucking industry, Victoria leaned on colleagues like Sheila Castaneda to familiarize her with the business. She would spend hours studying a book of DOT rules and regulations and mastering UltraStaff for ultimate productivity. She was determined to get up to speed quickly so that she could put as many people to work as possible. Learning the language of the industry came naturally as the days came and went. Victoria shared that an important, wonderful part of Service is that it resembles a family; everyone is willing to help one another. She also mentioned that Centerline’s Service is full of seasoned teammates with reserves of industry knowledge- so support and training is not difficult to come by. Together, they make a strong Service group.

    Victoria’s days begin with an essential cup of coffee and a healthy dose of optimism: she puts on her best and finds a positive mindset, knowing that these simple actions help prevent frustration and negative feelings when difficult situations arise. She’ll make personal calls to drivers and customers to ensure that drivers are happy on their assignments and customers’ needs are well taken care of. There are unique fires that come up daily and Victoria relishes the feeling of maintaining control in a constantly shifting landscape by providing solutions to problems. She finds that the perpetual change prevents stagnation day-to-day and appreciates the opportunity to put her problem-solving skills to use.

    Working remotely means a great deal to Victoria, as this allows her to be in close proximity to her mother. When Victoria was originally stationed in Southern California, she found that being away from her family was challenging. The opportunity to continue to work with Centerline while fulfilling her personal needs is of utmost value to her and she expresses true gratitude for this ability. Victoria’s parents are her motivation and inspiration and she attributes her success to them teaching her how to be a strong forerunner, how to work hard, and being dedicated in all that she does. She strives to be a living example of the values her mother and father taught her and hopes to carry on their legacy. While Victoria was growing up, they provided for her and she hopes to do justice to their hard work and sacrifice by succeeding in her own endeavors. All who have the chance to work with Victoria can attest to the devoted effort she puts forth now and can all agree that her parents would be proud of the leader she has become.

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