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  • Harvey Aftermath: Congestion, Rate Spikes, and Regulation Shifts

    by Anna Mischke | Sep 09, 2017

    052517 customerAs Southeast Texas gradually begins to work towards rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Florida prepares for the onslaught of Irma, a Category 5 hurricane. Florida, along with 26 other states, have suspended hours of service regulations for truckers hauling emergency services, personnel, equipment, and supplies. Trucks transporting FEMA mobile homes into or out of the state are also unrestricted by the regulation.

    Registration requirements along with size and weight regulations have been waived for any vehicle “transporting emergency equipment, services, supplies, and agricultural commodities and citrus.” The Emergency Declaration does not stipulate an expiration date for the regulations; the hurricane is already tied for the second strongest winds recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. The busy Port of Houston reopened along with ports in Corpus Christi, Galveston, and Freeport and the roads are seeing returning traffic as commerce works toward a semblance of normalcy. However, the trucking industry experiences difficulty with congestion resulting from a driver shortage and flooded roads; some routes that normally take 45 minutes now take 1.5 hours.

    While the intermodal chain faces challenges, companies do what they can to make up for the struggle. The spot market experienced a price spike carrying goods to the Houston region due to Tropical Storm Harvey: the inbound rate for flatbed trucks increase 4% for the period just prior and post storm and increase 24% over the past week. Standard trucks carrying packaged goods increased their inbound rate by 7% just before and during the storm and increase 8% the following week.

    These rate increases are due to a number of reasons, the main three outlined by Noël Perry, partner and transportation economist at FTR Transportation Intelligence: truckers enter the region with full trucks and leaving empty, a run-up in diesel prices, and people in need of construction materials due to the storm are likely willing to pay more. While Perry expects that the rates will eventually lower, they may not fall to previous levels.

  • Noncompliant ELD Trucks Won’t Be Placed Out of Service Until 2018

    by Anna Mischke | Sep 01, 2017

    Driver News 081017As the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate looms, more information surrounding the new regulation continues to emerge as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) continues their countrywide tour, scheduled to continue until the first week of November. Once, implemented December 18th, commercial vehicle inspectors will cite motor carriers operating vehicles without ELDs- but will not place vehicles out of service until April 1st, 2018.

    The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) backs the original compliance date as ruled by the FMCSA, but aim to use a phased-in approach to provide time for shippers, the roadside community, and the motor carrier industry as a whole, time to adjust to meet the regulation and “ease the transition.” The CVSA shared with the FMCSA that “Despite what opponents of the mandate may argue, the enforcement community is ready to begin enforcement of the requirements on Dec. 18, 2017.”

    The FMCSA’s studies show that the use of ELDs reduce motor carriers’ crash rates and hours-of-service violations and cut back more than $1.6 billion in paperwork costs for motor carriers and law enforcement. Still, the mandate requiring nearly all interstate carriers to shift to ELDs from paper logbooks faces derision from many drivers and carriers. Carriers using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) will be allowed to continue using them until December 2019 before a full transition to ELDs is required.

    CVSA executive director, Collin Mooney, shared that during next year’s annual Roadcheck, ELDs will be “high on the list” for inspections and enforcement. A recent FleetOwner report discloses that 11% of fleets will remain non-compliant owing to the cost of ELDs and only 53.5% percent of polled fleets are prepared for the rule. 

  • Staff Shoutout: Sherry Paarman

    by Anna Mischke | Aug 25, 2017

    Paarman Resized“Sherry Paarman has been absolutely fantastic to work with. From the initial recruiting of drivers to the final conversion to our payroll she has always given great and transparent support. You are fortunate to have her on your team!”

    – Centerline Customer

    A lifetime trend for Sherry Paarman is maintaining a busy and fulfilling schedule. Sherry goes for the gold: from working full-time at Centerline meeting revenue goals to supporting her daughter, Cammeo, in continuing to win numerous sporting medals and excelling in academics (she has a 4.3 GPA and close to a full-ride scholarship to university).

    Sherry has shown her dedication to her career and family for years. When Cammeo was first born, Sherry decided it made more sense for their family if she worked part time and stayed at home part time. With the support of her husband, they made it work. She returned to work at FedEx where they created a position for her. This is where she learned the ins and outs of DOT, the DOT lingo, and how to put together a DOT file. Several years later, Sherry transitioned to the HR department and worked in recruiting in Lawrence. When Sherry decided to move to full-time work, she secured a place at ProDrivers where she ran the ship. Sherry’s hard work and commitment continued to accelerate her career and ultimately lead her to Centerline as Recruiting Manager.

    Sherry has been an active and valued member of the Centerline family for the past six years. She maintains a busy agenda from placing people into impactful jobs, connecting customers with great drivers, and consistently communicating with drivers and customers to maintain a strong relationship that she knows is vital in the industry. Sherry explained that the numbers are what keep her motivated, she loves seeing the team meet their revenue goals.

    When she isn’t offering excellent service at work, Sherry enjoys spending time watching the KC Royals. She admires their ability to work strongly as a team: they’re there for each other whether they win or lose, and work harder than any other team she follows. She explained the goosebumps she had when witnessing the reaction the team gave when their pitcher, Yordano Ventura, passed away earlier this year in a vehicle accident. The way the team picked each other up along with Ventura’s family really moved her.

    One can easily sense how devoted Sherry is to the people in her life. Whether the crew at Centerline or her family, she finds immense satisfaction in seeing the people around her flourish, which we can’t deny has to do with her positive and motivational method of leading.

  • ATRI Works Toward Tool to Gauge Young Drivers’ Safety

    by Anna Mischke | Aug 18, 2017

    Customer News 081617The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) recently concluded phase one of their research toward creating a tool to gauge the safety of young drivers. The first phase of research started with comparing younger, newer drivers to seasoned, older motorists. In their 2016 research, the ATRI found that the driver shortage proved to be of highest concern for fleet executives and continues to worry the industry as the driver pool diminishes.

    By determining the traits of safe commercial drivers of older age, the study hopes to help pinpoint what factors are paramount in predicting driver safety and identify young drivers who share those same characteristics. The group plans to develop a tool for assessing young drivers and are currently reviewing existing research on driver characteristics including personality, health, and cognition and whether these attributes along with measure of driving safety will create a reliable assessment tool.

    Their next step is to beta test the Assessment Tool, samples of entry-level and experienced drivers will be involved in this process. Approximately 50 truck drivers’ safety records will be evaluated with younger drivers compared to the more experienced in order to check correlation between safe driving outcomes. If the test concludes strong parallels between the two sets of drivers, the ATRI plans on researching further with a larger set of drivers. 

  • Solar Eclipse Alters Trucking Schedules

    by Anna Mischke | Aug 11, 2017

    Customer News 081117North America will experience its first coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918 on August 12th, NASA reports. The moon will completely cover the sun and the area where the total eclipse occurs- called the path of totality- will span 70 miles from South Carolina to Oregon. The total eclipse can be observed for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds in specific areas of totality.

    Because of the slated eclipse, effected states are modifying transportation schedules in anticipation of the inflow of prospective heavy traffic due to persons interested in watching the natural phenomenon. Some transport departments have requested trucking companies to limit deliveries or decrease extra-wide loads around the timing of the eclipse while others encourage weight restrictions and rescheduling. Oregon’s DOT has prohibited extra-wide loads from August 18th through the 22nd and Idaho has placed time restrictions on loads exceeding 14 feet and 6 inches high, 10 feet wide, and 100 feet long.

    Spokesperson for the Oregon DOT’s Motor Carrier Transportation Divison, David House, said “Having more vehicles on the road than we have had before is going to be a new experience…Because we expect gridlock, we don’t want to add bottlenecks that slow traffic further,” and “some people have been planning this for years. We can’t stop all these people from coming.”

    The cost of congestion could be enough for carriers to alter delivery schedules- while others plan on driving as scheduled, saying they have issued their own warnings and rules to drivers surrounding the eclipse.

    As around 200 million people living within a day’s drive of the path of totality, the Federal Highway Administration shares safety tips such as driving with headlights on. The first point of contact is at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 am PDT with totality beginning at 10:16 am. Partial eclipse will be visible from anywhere in the U.S. for roughly 2 and a half hours according to NASA’s Heliophysics Science Division.

  • Temporary Crash Accountability to be Exercised in CSA Program

    by Anna Mischke | Aug 04, 2017

    Customer News 080417One of the trucking industry’s major complaints with the Compliance Safety and Accountability (CSA) safety rating program is finally being addressed. The CSA will begin to allow carriers to dispute crashes counted against them, and have the opportunity to remove those considered non-preventable.

    In 2015, the FMCSA’s Chief Safety Officer, Jack Van Steenburg, told fleet managers and executives that “It’s not fair to the industry…We recognize we have to do something for the industry.”

    A two year program was introduced during a conference call with the press on July 7th. There is no definite start date for the program, which will include a public comment period of 60 days that are meant to help the agency shape the program. The test will allow owner-operators and fleets to utilize the CSA DataQs system to contest crashes which will be reviewed. If the dispute is approved, the crash would be removed from the carrier’s Crash Indicator BASIC in the CSA Safety Measurement System.

    Four crash types will be included in the trial program: 1) struck by a motorist driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, 2) hit by a motorist driving in the wrong direction, 3) struck in the rear, or 4) while legally stopped or parked. Other types of crashes such as suicide by truck and animal strikes may be added to the list of non-preventable crashes.

    The pilot program arrives 18 months after the FMCSA deemed that crash accountability would not help improve the DOT’s ability to pinpoint carriers at risk for crashes, and would not improve carriers’ BASIC scores and lack uniformity from state to state while posing implementation difficulties and cost risks. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) delivered a report in 2015 opposing the FMCSA’s findings and found that scores would indeed improve with crash accountability factored in.

  • ATA Report Predicts Growth for Trucking Industry

    by Anna Mischke | Jul 27, 2017

    Customer News 072617According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), trucking and freight industries will experience growth over the next decade and remain the dominant freight mode. The latest forecast released July 9th, projects freight volumes to grow 2.8% by the end of 2017 with 3.4% annual growth through 2023. They anticipate that by 2028, 20.73 billion tons will be moved by all modes.

    The ATA and IHS Global Insight worked together to create the report which covers all modes of transportation. ATA Chief Economist, Bob Costello explains this is important because trucking can often play a secondary transportation role to other primary modes.

    ATA President and CEO, Chris Spear stated “As we look ahead at the rest of the 21st Century, the projections found in Freight Transportation Forecast are invaluable to decision makers in the board room and the hearing room alike,” and “Having good, accurate data is critical to making sure businesses are making appropriate investments in their companies and that our government is making the proper investments in our nation’s infrastructure.”

    The report says, “Over the forecast period, capacity shortfalls will develop…We are starting to see some selected tightness in freight handling capacity, enough to suggest that capacity expansion will be required if the modes are going to be able to handle anticipated growth.”

    Costello said, “As the U.S. population grows and the economy increases with it, we will see continued gains in demand for freight transportation…While overall truck volumes will continue to rise, and trucking will remain the dominant freight mode – its share of freight tonnage will dip to 67.2% by 2028, with pipelines picking up most of the additional market share, and, to a lesser extent, rail intermodal.”

    The report also expects that trucking’s role will shift from being primarily long-haul to a shorter-haul model, due to online retail sales and an increase in distribution centers opening around the country. Costello stated, "There is still going to be long haul out there, but trucking's real sweet spot, and why trucks and trains really do compete on a limited basis is because most truck freight doesn't go much over 500 miles." The average length of haul for dry van freight has decreased from 800 to 530 miles in the past seventeen years.

  • CSA Urges Attention Toward Clean Inspections

    by Anna Mischke | Jul 20, 2017

    05 10 17_Truck Working resized2Truckers are wondering why their “clean” roadside inspections are not being credited to them - and the CSA is listening.

    A National Academies of Sciences yearlong study of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program reported “While it is not clear the degree to which the problem persists, there was evidence from the American Transportation Research Institute that clean inspections are often not reported.”

    Their findings suggests that when an inspection yields no negative results - a report is rarely submitted to federal regulators. As a result of these reports not being given to the FMCSA’s CSA program, drivers with strong positive records are not receiving credit for being violation-free. A panel of experts studying the CSA program are experiencing the challenge of focusing on documenting both actions of unsafe truckers, along with the positive work of safe operators. The study recommends that all inspections, whether clean or not be recorded, their reason being “a clean inspection provides important information about the extent to which a carrier prioritizes safe operations” and “one remedy is to make reporting of clean inspections mandatory.”

    In 2012, the American Transport Research Institute (ATRI) conducted a study that determined 6.8% of roadside inspectors “never” completed a roadside inspection report [when no violations were present] and that only 10.4% “almost always” completed an inspection report. However, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, Collin Mooney, argues that clean inspections do go into federal records systems and that the type of screening procedures used by an inspector determines whether paperwork is generated on site. Mooney stated “It’s a little irritating that it’s happening, because we’ve been fighting this issue for years.”

    Mooney explained that some screening exercises are confused as inspections, explaining that “if we [inspectors] don’t find anything in 30 seconds, or maybe a minute, we let the truck go. Some carriers want that to be recorded as an inspection. But it’s not…It comes down to your interpretation of what an inspection is, and what I say an inspection is.”

    Some argue that while screening processes may not be full inspections, the results should still be shared. Brenda Lantz, member of the CSA panel and associate director of North Dakota State University’s Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, explained “If the driver’s doing everything he’s supposed to be doing, he should get credit for that check” and that “FMCSA needs more data. They need more information. To me, you would have a lot more points of contact, or touches, and clean inspections would give FMCSA more information.”

    Mooney rebutted that rather than focusing time and energy on clean inspections, their priority is to get bad drivers off the road, saying “The road side inspection program is designed to take unsafe trucks and drivers off the toad, so we dedicate our resources toward removing drivers and unsafe companies from the road.”

    Mooney does not dispute that inspectors concentrate on getting bad drivers off the road rather than spending time on clean inspections for carriers they know are safe. Sean Garney, director of safety policy for American Trucking Associations (ATA), noted that the CVSA has improved “dramatically”, but he “would disagree that there’s no additional room for improvement” and that every clean inspection “absolutely matters.” 

  • Trucking Jobs Stall as Labor Force Grows

    by Anna Mischke | Jul 14, 2017

    Customer News 074117While jobs increased in June by 222,000, trucking industry payrolls fell by 1,400 in the Department of Labor’s monthly Employment Situation Report released July 7th.  While the unemployment rate crept up to 4.4 percent, it’s still very close to the lowest it’s been since 2001, according to Bloomberg News.

    In June, the construction industry added 16,000 jobs as the manufacturing sector added 1,000. The transportation and warehousing sector which includes trucking, added 2,400, which is about 25,000 more jobs than were available in June 2016. The couriers and messages sector added 4,200 positions while transit and ground passenger transportation sector jobs increase by 2,100.

    The number of people moving into the labor force accelerated to 4.7 million, the highest since 1990, and suggests that employers who may have difficulty finding workers will experience hiring success as a new graduating class and seasonal workers join the work force. Still, wage growth remains relatively the same even with the influx of new hires- a confusing combination for economists and policy makers.

    Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. told Bloomberg, “We’re seeing pretty steady, solid hiring. We’re just not seeing much acceleration in wages. The unemployment rate picked up for the right reasons. The participation rate ticked up as job seekers came back into the market. It could reflect increases confidence in the labor market.” 

  • FMCSA and ATA Collaborate to Increase Driver Safety Awareness Around Trucks

    by Anna Mischke | Jul 06, 2017

    Customer News_070517The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is centering attention on educating drivers on how to share the roads and drive safely around trucks and buses. The American Trucking Associations (ATA), AAA, and the American Bus Association join the “Our Roads, Our Safety” campaign hoping to reduce highway fatalities involving commercial vehicles.

    Through education and public awareness, the organizations aim to unite all drivers in creating safer roads for all. FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson says, “This important partnership amplifies the message that all drivers on the roadway must work together to ensure that everyone arrives safely at their destinations.”

    FMCSA explains a truck’s blind spots and encourages drivers to remain out of them, to anticipate wide turns, avoid distractions, not to closely cut off trucks, and to be patient when driving near and around trucks.

    Videos, infographics, and advertisements are being shared as part of the awareness campaign urging drivers to give special attention to safety when on the road around large trucks and buses.

  • State Laws Pursue Autonomous Vehicle Rules

    by Anna Mischke | Jun 30, 2017

    062817 Customer NewsAs autonomous vehicles begin to make their way to freight and trucking thanks to tech giants and carmakers, state legislatures are focusing more time and energy toward enacting rules on driverless cars and trucks on the road. These vehicles are meant to navigate their own way without the need of a driver to hold the steering wheel, in many states they have been authorized for testing.

    Implemented by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, autonomous vehicles are grouped into six classes of automation ranging from zero automation to full automation on levels 0 to 5. Some say that autonomous vehicles could greatly reduce accidents due to human error and may decrease congestion by more effectively using roadways. With the ability to communicate with each other, self-driving cars could utilize technology to detect problems ahead and adjust speed.

    However, many are skeptical of the safety and efficiency of automated vehicles and even refer to them as “teen drivers”, too new and inexperienced on the road to be considered safe. Understanding the approved levels of safety are hazy at best, with researchers wondering whether driverless vehicles would be required to drive without accident or flaw or simply break fewer laws than human drivers. Steven Shladover, a research engineer and manager of the Partners for Advances Transportation Technology, explains that “there is a need for fundamental research to support the development of dependable and affordable methods for assessing the safety of an automated driving system when it is confronted with the full range of traffic hazards.”

    Both the potential success of technology driven vehicles and the numerous risks they could pose, has many states implementing rules specifically addressing these new rigs through state law, regulation, or executive order. Some states such as Colorado will allow driverless vehicles if they meet federal and state driving safety regulations. Other states like New Jersey require a physical driver behind the wheel regardless. In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order allowing driverless test drives on state roads to “support the safe testing and operation of autonomous vehicles on Washington’s public roads.” Some politicians in Massachusetts are backing a bill to set a mileage-based tax on the usage of these cars, and permit large municipalities to ban the vehicles entirely.

    The number of states considering legislation covering autonomous vehicles jumped from six to twenty from 2012 to 2016 and more states appear poised to take action. 

  • Real-time Diagnostics Escalates Productivity

    by Anna Mischke | Jun 22, 2017

    CUSTOMER NEWS SHUTTERSTOCKThe Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that over 75,000 new diesel technicians will be required to fill demand in the next ten years. While the argument continues on whether there is truly a shortage of mechanical manpower, advancements in technology prove to be a benefit for current drivers and technicians.

    Incorporating new technological advances into vehicles allows for real-time tracking as well as the ability to call out and repair issues earlier. Many current model-year trucks have the ability to self-diagnose fault codes, even before an event occurs. This allows necessary maintenance to be relayed to the driver, dispatch, and repair shop within minutes. Some trucks are capable of providing self-triage en route to the shop. This complexity and ability to increase and improve communication generally shaves off a good amount of diagnostic time in shops and ultimately shortens downtime.

    Communication plays an enormous role in effectiveness. Drivers generally pay more attention to their timeliness and productivity than on the health of the truck they’re driving, but mechanical performance has an ultimate effect as a non-functioning truck only interrupts a drive further. Programmed insight and access to a truck’s performance allows drivers to continue to focus on the road and their uptime, knowing they will be given the opportunity to tackle issues as they arise or even before.

    While communication from the truck creates some peace of mind for drivers, feedback from drivers is essential in understanding the full picture; a truck and its driver work better together.

  • Heavy Increases for Spot Demand

    by Anna Mischke | Jun 15, 2017

    pallet-jack634fa74ec32e66bb83efff000018e376The DAT Load Boards show a five to one load-to-truck ratio for dry van freight; the highest national average since weather related to the polar vortex led a big rates rally on the spot market in 2014. The overall ratios of van loads per truck showed a 109% increase from 2016. The DAT found the ratio by dividing the number of load posts by the number of truck posts on the board and while not exact, the numbers serve as a strong market measure. Insights are derived from 100 million annual freight matches and a comprehensive database of over $30 billion market transactions.   

    In the beginning of the year, the DAT North American Freight Index experienced a particularly robust season as “van rates and volumes shot up in places like Memphis and Columbus, both associated with e-commerce fulfillment”, shared DAT industry analyst, Mark Montague.

    The rates for van lanes also increased for the second consecutive week, rates were up for more than 70 of the top 100 van lanes.  Atlanta and Los Angeles saw a strong increase during these two weeks, while cities such as Houston and Oklahoma City suffered from an 8 cents per mile decrease. This is quite a severe decline, considering most losses were only of one to two cents per mile.

    Reefer freight is experiencing transition with slowdowns in some previously strong markets such as Florida, Texas is maintaining its number one position with California moving in. Van, flatbed, and reefer segments are all posting solid gains which are in line with seasonal trends.

  • Supreme Court to Deliberate ELD Mandate in June

    by User Not Found | Jun 09, 2017

    060817_Customer NewsLast March, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed a lawsuit against the government ELD mandate, arguing that it violates truckers’ Fourth Amendment rights to privacy and protection against warrantless searches. The mandate requires nearly all truckers to use an electronic logging device starting December 2017. The U.S. Supreme Court could decide as early as June 8th on whether it will hear the lawsuit.

    Paul Cullen, OOIDA’s attorney said the Supreme Court’s justices will meet to review the small business trucking group’s petition; both sides of the case will be deliberated. Justices may also seek further information from the defendant, which is the Department of Transportation (DOT) or from OOIDA - which could potentially delay the verdict.

    The courts have disagreed with OOIDA’s arguments that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals - who ruled in favor of the DOT - “erred by extending the pervasively regulated industry exception… beyond the administrative search of business premises to include the search of drivers in support of the ordinary needs of law enforcement.”

    There is no official timeframe on when the court will make their decision.

  • Trump’s Highway Privatization Met with Cynicism

    by Anna Mischke | Jun 01, 2017

    060117_customer newsAs President Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 makes its rounds, many trucking groups are wary of the suggested changes. In hopes of aiding an ailing infrastructure, the president has proposed cuts from The Department of Transportation of nearly $17 billion annually by 2022. Reduced tolling restrictions on interstate highways, and greater privatization of highways, rest stops, bridges, and airports are all a part of the proposal. 

    While the budget slash and increased tolling have incited balking from many trucking and anti-toll groups, the International Bridge, Turnpike and Tunnel Association showed their support. They clarified that Toll financing is not the answer for every infrastructure project in the country, but the power of tolling is proven and effective.”

    Executive VP and head of advocacy of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Bill Sullivan, says the group is “encouraged” that attention is being given to infrastructure funding, but hopes that tolling doesn’t become the answer and that tax rates on per-gallon diesel and gasoline are raised instead. The National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO) resists privatization, stating “the proposals to toll Interstates, and commercialize rest areas threaten the businesses that serve interstate highway travelers. Businesses such as, travel plazas, convenience stores and restaurants.”

  • Congestion bleeds trucking industry $63.4 billion per annum

    by Anna Mischke | May 25, 2017

    052517 customerTraffic congestion on U.S. highways is a point of frustration for truck drivers; it’s also a multi-billion dollar problem affecting all aspects of trucking which is getting more attention as losses increase.

    $63.4 billion in operating expenses was lost in 2015, a $13.9 billion increase from 2014 according to recently released research by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). Data from the Federal Highway Administration and GPA contributed to the study and ultimately the report. “Cost of Congestion to the Trucking Industry: 2017 Update,” showed more than 996 million hours of delays last year- that is the equivalent of 362,245 drivers not working for an entire year.

    An increase in crashes from 2014 to 2015 contributed to the escalation of congestion, including a 3.8 percent increase in police-reported crashes and a 7.2 percent in crash fatalities.  Weather also had a large impact on congestion. 91 percent of the nation’s congestion costs originated from metropolitan areas- Florida accounting for more than $5.3 billion- rural areas were only responsible for $5.8 billion.

    “You start to really understand what a drain this is on the trucking industry certainly, but it has consequences for the entire supply chain for the entire U.S. economy,” said Rebecca Brewster, president of ATRI.

    The trucking community has loudly voiced its distress and offered solutions including bypasses for truckers to travel around congested areas without off-ramps. After his meeting with the American Trucking Association (ATA), President Trump offered the approach of raising fuel taxes to help pay for infrastructure improvements, telling Bloomberg news in the Oval Office, “it’s something that I would certainly consider.” However, Trump’s press secretary stressed that these comments did not support this strategy; he is bearing in mind options “out of respect” for the trucking industry’s interests. 

  • New FDA regulations increase demand for clean equipment

    by Anna Mischke | May 17, 2017

    05 10 17_Garlic Truck resized2As part of a greater effort focused on prevention of food safety issues throughout the food chain, the penultimate rule implementing the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 2005 (SFTA) creates higher need for equipment prepared for food transport.

    Executed in April, the new rules require shippers to produce cleanliness guidelines for their truckers and equipment. Roughly 10 percent of the rules apply to food transportation, specifically focusing on shipping. Only a small portion of the rule applies to carriers directly. A team of shippers were put in charge of developing standards for food shipments, including foods meant for consumption, temperature-controlled food, and unenclosed foods such as produce.

    These standards include sanitation requirements for carriers’ equipment, pre-cooling requirements for reefer loads, and training for carrier personnel. Shippers are responsible for making the decision if the equipment transporting their goods meet protocol or not; this makes them liable for the decision made.

    With these new regulations, equipment must be maintained particularly well to avoid wear and tear that may affect food’s sanitation. What may have been acceptable prior, may now cause shippers to turn away unclean or potentially compromised equipment. Pre-cooling requirements must also be met prior to food being loaded. Pre-cooling may be affected by things such as longer wait times with open trailer doors resulting in temperatures that could jeopardize food safety.

    Food carriers may face difficulty, particularly when following different shipping requirements for each company. Implementing robust safety standard operating procedures as a carrier may create a smoother process and less difference in practices for each shipper. 

  • Trucking Companies Shift Recruitment Strategies to Draw Millennial Interest

    by Anna Mischke | May 17, 2017

    millennialTo address the widespread shortage of drivers due to retirement and lack of new applicants, transportation companies are turning to tech-oriented tactics to recruit younger drivers. According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials (ages 18-34) are the largest living generation after surpassing Baby Boomers (ages 51-69), and continue to grow as the most diverse generation with 44.2% part of a minority race or ethnic group. Tapping into this generation’s work force hasn’t come without confusion; Millennials had not previously been considered as a strong fit for the trucking industry while retention and attraction had been difficult.

    However, studies show the dichotomy between what Millennials say they want – living abroad and changing jobs frequently- and what they do- staying within one geography and their current workplaces. New information from the 2017 Millennial Study released by the Bank of the West reveals that the importance of stability, both financial and personal; owning a home, being debt-free, being in close proximity of family and retiring comfortably are all just as significant to this new generation as they were for the generation before them. This loyalty to traditional values paired with the ability to adapt in a constantly changing environment, and implement new technologies may make Millennials some of the strongest contenders for employees.

    Appealing to Millennials’ desire for freedom and flexibility in the workplace alongside the need for stability, trucking companies are implementing benefits that speak to their priority of wellness in the workplace. With online connectivity proving to be of highest importance, rollout of social networking has increased by 13 percent with 60 percent of trucking companies participating in social media campaigns to increase candidate engagement. Referrals remain the strongest recruiting strategy within the industry while job boards and trade publications begin to take a back seat.

    Companies are finding success in sharing stories via Instagram and Snapchat to connect with a generation that find their smartphones to be an extra appendage and multitasking second nature. Mobile friendly application and screening processes also appeal to Millennials for their ease and ability to integrate into daily life.

    According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), if current trends last there will be a shortage of nearly 175,000 truck drivers by 2024.

  • Place Your Order for Platooning Systems Now!

    by Anna Mischke | May 17, 2017

    Platoon-4.20-2017Platooning technology is around the corner and Peloton Technology is taking pre-orders. Josh Switkes, Co-founder and CEO of Peloton Technology, elaborated on their strategy to create partnerships with a diverse group of investors like Omnitracs, UPS, Volvo, Intel, Nokia and more in order to bring platooning truck technology to market. This coupled with the recently announced $60 million investment from Omnitracs has Peloton projecting a two-truck driver-assisted platooning system release by the end of the year.  

    By tapping into a deep bench of experience in all areas of the industry, Peloton says it is creating an ecosystem that supports platoon technology’s introduction and adoption as a beneficial system for all stakeholders. Although at first fleets were skeptical, the attitude towards the technology is beginning to change especially with Omnitracs’ recent investment.   

    Peloton’s platooning system uses avoidance systems and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to allow trucks to travel closer together than usual in order to increase fuel economy. The company’s goal is to solve two challenges, accidents and fuel use. Omnitracs shares these aspirations and goals. 

    “The transportation industry is going through a massive change,” said Omnitracs CEO John Graham. “Macro-level trends like the Internet of Things, cognitive applications, faster delivery of goods, and new levels of customer service are at the core of our new partnership with Peloton. We want to expand the possibilities of truck automation on the nation’s highways and set new standards in integrated dispatch, tracking and routing as well as driver-facing applications to maximize and optimize the orchestration of both same-fleet and cross-fleet platooning.”

  • How to Train Drivers for ELDs

    by Anna Mischke | May 17, 2017

    04.03.17_ELDTrainingThe December 2017 compliance deadline for ELDs is fast approaching. You don’t have to wait until the end of the year to start equipping your trucks with ELDs, or prepping drivers to use them. If you equip trucks with the ELDs now, drivers will be able to become familiar with them before the deadline. Once you have the ELDs installed, training can begin. There are two options for training: develop your own program, or ask your ELD vendor to provide training. 

    Whichever program you decide to take, make sure all the necessary bases are covered. Here are tasks the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) stated drivers will need to know when using an ELD:

    • Log in
    • Respond to the unassigned driving hours the ELD records
    • Record duty status changes
    • Edit records
    • Add notes to records to explain any edits or additions
    • Certify records to indicate that they are complete and accurate
    • Access RODS data from the ELD
    • Review and understand the ELD printout/display information
    • Transfer ELD data by e-mail or Bluetooth to inspectors or law enforcement
    • Identify and correct or report data diagnostic issues
    • Report ELD malfunctions

    In addition to these training tasks, there are certain documents needed in vehicles as they relate to ELDs. These documents include:

    • ELD User’s Manual
    • Instruction sheet for transferring HOS records to safety officials
    • Instruction sheet on reporting ELD malfunctions and recordkeeping procedures during ELD malfunctions
    • A supply of paper tracking forms (grid graphs) for at least eight days, in case of ELD malfunction

    Training will need to not only happen at the start of ELD compliance, but should be conducted at an ongoing bases as refreshers or “spot” training. The FMCSA has theabove information, and more checklists and timelines for carriers on their website. Now is the time to prepare yourself and your drivers to be successful at executing the use of ELDs.