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  • Staff Shout Out - Isabel Castro

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 27, 2016
    Untitled design (24)Centerline is a company made up of incredible employees that go above and beyond in their roles to help the company grow and prosper. Each role is an important piece of the success of the whole company, and among those pieces lies one resilient Account Manager, Isabel Castro.

    Isabel has been an Account Manager at Centerline for the greater Atlanta area for two years. She grew up in Atlanta, and has loved the area. Her family is from Columbia and comes from a vibrant family full of culture and excitement.

    A typical day for Isabel begins around 6:40 a.m. when she checks her phone for any emails that may have come through. Isabel wants to make sure that customers are responded to early and as soon as possible. Isabel takes care of all her emails and phone calls in the morning to help her avoid the nightmare that is Atlanta traffic. After the workday has started and traffic has died down a little, she heads out to visit customers and stops by any locations that would be a great prospect for Centerline. Isabel then returns to the office where she diligently follows up with customers and prospective clients and catches up on paperwork.

    When Isabel is not at work she enjoys being active at the gym. Her favorite gym activities are running, rowing, and weight lifting.  Along with being a remarkable Account Manager, she is also a mother of two and loves spending time with her family. Isabel’s kids have made her the person she is today. A couple of fun facts about Isabel include; she has both a dog and cat, and when it comes to her soda preference, she doesn’t drink it, instead preferring water or something healthier with no GMO’s. The most rewarding part of Isabel’s job is getting to know a customer. Isabel loves meeting new people and getting to know her customers both professionally and personally.
    Isabel is motivated by her team and loves how consistent they are with their energy and never wants to let them down.

    Isabel’s advice to her fellow colleagues is to, “make sure to stay consistent and not give up, document everything and make sure you are always following up because you never know when your next lead could be your next big break”.

    It is evident that hard work and reliability are ingrained in Isabel’s life. Centerline customers often give her a shout out and say, “she does an outstanding job, and we really appreciate all the hard work and dedication that she does”. Great job Isabel! Keep up the great work!
  • Employee Retention to be a Key Issue in 2017

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 19, 2016

    shutterstock_21275290_BlogDriver retention and the driver shortage are commonly mistaken for the same problem in the trucking world; however, this is not the case. The shortage refers to the lack of available qualified drivers. The topic of retention refers to how to hold onto the current driver workforce. In essence, the shortage is the issue, retention could be part of the solution.  Retention, when looking at any industry, is becoming a bigger problem that companies need to pay more attention to.  

    In the latest survey conducted by Globoforce and the Society for Human Resource Management, 46% of organizations cited that employee retention was a top workforce management solution. When looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics data this does not come as a surprise. The ratio of unemployed persons per job opening fell to 1.4 in September, the lowest it has been since 2001. 

    Why does this ratio matter? According to Eric Mosley, CEO of Globofroce, “workers may have tolerated a less than satisfactory experience at work for the sake of job security…but in today’s job market, all the power is in the hands of the job seekers.” 

    Mosley suggests that organizations need to win over the hearts and minds of their employees. This means taking a more human-centric approach, and focusing on social recognition and employee experiences. In trucking, this often boils down to the work to home time ratio. According to a Stay metrics report from earlier in the year, companies can actually improve the productivity and performance of drivers by meeting their requests to take time off. 

    As we enter the New Year with increasing regulations, the driver retention issue is one that companies will want to keep a close eye on.

  • Tightened Capacity and Improved Pricing coming to Trucking

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 15, 2016

    12.14.16_FTRThe FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for October has been released, and the results show that the trucking industry will continue to regain its footing in the coming year.

    In this monthly report, any score above zero represents an adequate trucking environment in regards to capacity, fuel, bankruptcies, cost of capital, and freight. Readings above 10 demonstrate that volumes, prices, and margins are falling in a good range for carriers. The month of October was scored at a 2.84, falling in low positive territory. Though the score fell slightly from September, there are signs of improving conditions for carriers.

    FTR said that the October reading reflects a current pullback ahead of 2017 when capacity is expected to tighten due to the implementation of regulations. These regulations are expected to improve pricing and margins for companies throughout 2017, with prices peaking in late 2017 or early 2018.

    While the impact of regulations, specifically the ELD mandate, remain unknown for 2017, the continued improvement of the spot market, up 40%, and truckload rates are what FTR COO Jonathan Starks sites as evidence for improvements in the industry.

    Sparks believes that the “market is already showing a positive shift, and the negative pricing of the last two years is unlikely to last much longer.”

    Companies will have to keep an eye on regulations as delays could lessen the impact of tightening capacity and affect pricing.

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  • Trends to Watch in 2017

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 08, 2016
    12.8.16_2017TrendsAs 2017 quickly approaches, it’s hard to tune out the hot button issues that continue to be discussed. Tax reform, infrastructure, the economy and other regulations and policies will all impact the U.S. freight market. 

    Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations explained, “When you move 70% of the nation’s domestic freight there are few issues out there that we are not a part of either directly or indirectly.” Keep these three trends in mind when heading into 2017. 

    Infrastructure. President-elect Trump’s most notable rally cry is his 10-year, $1 trillion infrastructure proposal. Infrastructure is key to trucking, and as Sandeep Kar, global vice president for mobility at Frost & Sullivan explains, expedited refurbishment and enhancements to U.S. highways could increase freight and vehicle efficiency.  

    Tax Reform. Infrastructure improvements inevitably trigger higher taxes. This is in conflict with Trump’s plans of corporate tax reforms. The goal of these reforms would be to entice businesses to consider establishing or reshoring US operations. Kar explains that while on the surface this seems to be great news for the U.S. trucking industry, it may not be as great for truck manufacturers and suppliers. “Lower corporate taxes will most likely drive service-based businesses to the U.S., which would be of less benefit to freight movement than a move of manufacturing operations.” Tax reforms could further affect the global economy, driving inflation and wages higher. 

    Economy. More specifically what CEO of BoldIQ, and former Boeing executive Roei Ganzarski describes as the “on-demand economy.” In today’s world, consumers want to get what they want when they want it. This leads the transportation operator to be demand-driven which is causing shorter planning cycles and decision making time frames. Ganzarski believes that the industry will consolidate as transport companies fail to adapt to this change in economy. 

    While it’s not certain what reforms and changes will be made, the trucking industry must be prepared for all of the changes on track for 2017. 
  • Staff Shout Out – Michelle Graves

    by User Not Found | Dec 06, 2016

    Centerline Account ManagerEvery day we have employees who are doing an amazing job within our Centerline community. Demonstrating commitment to great customer service, a true passion for connecting people to work, and representing our company values overall. We appreciate the hard work our team puts in. This month we recognize Michelle Graves for going above and beyond to help our customers.

    Michelle has been a part of the TrueBlue family for over 17 years, working first for our general labor division and now for Centerline as a dedicated account manager.

    “As I have said, Michelle Graves and her team have been a tremendous help to me. I would like to thank her and her team for all the help she has provided for myself and my company.” – Centerline customer

    It is no surprise that Michelle’s’ dedication earned admiration from her customers as she believes in giving her clients 100%. Michelle says there is nothing more rewarding than watching our drivers have the opportunity to change their lives. Helping people get a second chance is what motivates Michelle to continue to do a great job.

    Michelle advises anyone working in a similar field to make sure to offer a smile and follow up with customers. A smiling face coupled with a willingness to help goes a long way in providing a great customer experience. Michelle says there are times you may not have the answer, but you can still provide assistance by taking time to point them in the right direction. Michelle’s ability to build relationships have been very valuable in serving her long-term customers.

    Key influencers in Michelle’s life have been her family. Her mother and daughter is the reason behind Michelle’s good character. Her daughter drives her to work hard and make the best decisions and her mother has taught her to always be kind and helpful towards others. Michelle also owes her work ethic to her time in the military. She served six years in the Navy which taught her the importance of being accountable, being on time, and to make yourself available for others in need. Her family and service has shaped Michelle’s character to make an impact at Centerline. Michelle is a true professional that we are lucky to have on our team!

  • Tasked with Big Plans, Chao is Eager to Lead the DOT

    by Charlotte Freed | Dec 01, 2016
    Elaine-ChaoPresident-elect Donald Trump has nominated Elaine Chao to serve as Secretary of Transportation under his new administration. Once the nomination is confirmed, Chao will begin to help the Trump administration get approval for infrastructure spending.

    Chao is no stranger to the cabinet, having served as George H.W. Bush's deputy secretary of transportation and George W. Bush's Secretary of Labor. American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Chris Spear has praised Trump's decision.

    Spear, who worked alongside Chao during his time at the Department of Labor, believes Chao "understands the issues we face as we try to keep America's freight moving safely and efficiently." The ATA is "eager to support her as our country and our industry work to improve our roads and bridges, improve continue to move our country forward."

    Come January, Chao will play a key role in helping President Elect Trump get infrastructure spending approved by Congress. During his campaign, Trump pledged to deliver legislation to Congress within his first 100 days in office that would lead to the investment of $1 trillion in infrastructure over 10 years.

    Chao is up for the challenge, as she believes the president-elect's plan and vision will transform the country's infrasturcutre, helping to accelerate growth and create jobs.

    To learn more about Chao's political background, you can visit her page on the Department of Labor webpage.
  • How the ELD Mandate Could Affect the Trucking Industry

    by Charlotte Freed | Nov 23, 2016
    Untitled design (16)The ELD mandate, which was given the greenlight last month by the courts, will play a huge factor in affecting trucking trends in 2017. With little over a year remaining until the mandate is implemented, analysts have started to predict these trends.

    In order to understand how the ELD mandate will affect the trucking industry, it is important to note some trends from 2016.

    • Freight pricing has been slow since the summer of 2016. Due to annual contracts, these prices will remain that way until the second half of 2017.
    • Used equipment has seen an increased rate of depreciation which puts pressure on carrier's earnings. This has resulted in lower new truck sales, as carriers are putting off purchases.
    • With lower residual value of equipment and lower pricing, carriers are becoming more disciplined with their fleets, often downsizing and rightsizing to save.
    • Some smaller carriers and owner operators have stated that they would rather leave the market completely than become compliant with a new mandate.

    So what do these trends mean when combined with the fast approaching ELD mandate?

    If carriers are to leave the market, freight capacity would be lower, causing a potential boom for freight pricing; however, those carriers threatening to leave the market are the ones purchasing used equipment. Without this source of purchasers, the used equipment supply will increase, causing new truck order to fall further.

    The driver shortage may also be affected by the mandate. The mandate is also chasing drivers out of the market. This in contention with downsizing fleets may not change the shortage problem at all, as there will be less drivers while there are also less jobs available.

     Analysts stress that these are just predictions based on current trends. Drivers, fleet owners, and interested parties will need to wait to see how the pending regulations impact the industry.

  • Indemnification Clauses are Disappearing from Trucking Contracts

    by Charlotte Freed | Nov 18, 2016
    11.18.16_IndemnityIndemnity clauses have long held trucking companies responsible for damaged goods - regardless of fault. New York became the latest state to take this unfair protection away from shippers.

    With the support of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the American Trucking Associations (ATA), New York became the 45th state to do away with indemnification clauses in truck contracts. The new law will prevent shippers from being indemnified for losses caused by their own negligence.

    The law, which took effect immediately after being signed by Governor ANdrew Cuomo will not limit anyone's ability to collect for damaged goods, but will hold the responsible party liable. OOIDA director of state legislative affairs Mike Matousek said that New York, as well as other states who have created laws to bar these clauses, has created a "reasonable and fair solution to address rules that essentially provide shippers and receivers with immunity from any damage caused by their negligence while a trucker is on their property."

    With the passing of New Jersey and New York's Anti-Indemnification Laws earlier this month, the only states that still permit indemnifications clauses in trucking contracts are Delaware, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

    Trucking contracts without these clauses will no longer leave companies with burdensome liabilities when damage to goods is not their fault. Head to the OOIDA's website to see a full list of states where Anti-Indemnification Laws are present.
  • How to Combat Cold Weather Challenges

    by Charlotte Freed | Nov 10, 2016
    11.10.16_WinterColder weather is an inevitable challenge that the trucking industry must face every year. Not all hope is lost in the annual battle against the cold. Combating these winter woes starts with reviewing fleet data from the previous year and implementing training programs to help fleets know what to expect. 

    As the winter months approach, companies tackle issues such as increases in idle time, lower tire pressure, heavier rolling resistance, and increased safety issues. All of these factors lead to deteriorated fuel economy and delays.

    Mike Spence, senior vice president of fleet service at Fleet Advantage suggest analyzing data from the past 13 months in order to take the appropriate precautions before winter begins. This includes checking tires often to make sure they are in good condition, keeping the fuel tank half full to prevent freezing, and keeping an eye on idle time which tends to increase 25% in winter months. Knowing how your vehicle perform is half the battle.

    Training one's fleet is the next step to preparing for the winter months. Driver fatigue is a serious safety issue which is heightened in the winter. Weather can cause delays in deliveries resulting in an estimated loss of 32.6 billion vehicle hours and loss of $2.2. billion to $3.5 billion annually. Industry loses of this magnitude have created a culture of "pushing through" as opposed to a culture that promotes finding places to stop and rest. Rather than pushing through, drivers should be taught the early signs of fatigue, and should be encouraged to report fatigue. 

    There's no way to avoid colder weather and the issues that come with it. Instead, fleets can be prepared. Know what routes your fleets are taking, review your data, and prepare your drivers. Being prepared not only keeps your drivers safe, but keeps your fleet productive, resulting in maximized cost effectiveness for your company.

    Colder weather is an inevitable challenge that the trucking industry must face every year. Not all hope is lost in the annual battle against the cold. Combating these winter woes starts with reviewing fleet data from the previous year and implementing training programs to help fleets know what to expect. 
  • Updates to Drug Testing Policies in Trucking

    by Charlotte Freed | Nov 04, 2016

    11.04.16_DrugTestBig changes centered on drug testing are coming to the trucking industry. For some major motor carriers, these changes are not happening fast enough, and that’s why they’re petitioning the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) for exemptions on existing drug testing rules.

    The first change the industry will see is the creation of the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse, which could be live by the end of the month, will create a database of CDL holders who have failed or refused to take a drug test. Carriers would submit positive tests and refusals to the database, or authorize a third-party administrator to submit any information. This would allow information to be shared with other carriers.

    Many major motor carriers believe that the Clearinghouse is not enough to prevent drivers from skirting around the system, and have filed a petition to allow the sharing of test results from hair-testing. Current FMCSA rules, as per last year’s FAST Act highway bill allow for hair-testing in addition to mandatory urinalysis. Hair-testing, which tends to be twice as accurate and tends to cost twice as much, must be done in addition to urinalysis, and the information cannot be shared with other carriers.

    Lane Kidd, the managing director of the Trucking Alliance, believes that the petition “clearly shows the loophole in the FMCSA’s desire to keep drug users out of trucks.” At many of these carriers, hair-sampling is used, and many times CDL drivers who pass the urinalysis are identified as lifestyle drug users based on the additional test.

    With drug test protocols in place, Kidd questions why the FMCSA will not allow the results of the hair-testing to be shared when urinalysis results will have to be published to the Clearinghouse.

    The Trucking Alliance hopes that these changes will be made in a timely manner, rather than being held up by rule makers, as their overall goal is to improve highway safety. 

  • Staff Shout Out - Constance Salters

    by User Not Found | Nov 02, 2016

    Centerline Employee: Constance SaltersCenterline is passionate about connecting drivers with the right companies. An essential component in making that happen is building a strong team that embodies that passion as their own. Constance Salters is an example of this.

    Constance has been an Account Manager at Centerline since 2009, and has 15 years of experience under her belt.

    She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, but got tired of the snow and ended up finding a career in Tampa, Florida as a recruiter. She has persevered through good and bad times always working hard to connect customers with the best drivers available. Her secret to success, she says, is being able to work well with the people around her.

    “You have to have a good team,” says Constance. “I give 200% all of the time.” She explains that when the people you work with have the same passion as you do, you have a complete team. “It’s like magic: everything falls into place.”

    According to Constance, the most rewarding part of her job is finding that perfect match of driver and customer. “My strongest skillset is that most of the time I can look at a driver and know what customer he or she would fit with within a five minute conversation. It’s a combination of what they say, how they act, previous experiences and personality. Since I know the customers so well, I know what would be a good match.”

    She explains that when it comes to establishing a relationship with customers, building trust is a must. “Integrity first and foremost every single day. If you’re honest and you’re sincere, you will build loyalty and commitment.” Customers are reaching out to her regularly, and she does her best to be there for them – even on her breaks. “I just try to be myself and always be honest about what I have and about what I can offer. When you’re able to sell to people that have a need, everything else falls into place.”

    In true team spirit, Constance is quick to give a shout out to her fellow coworkers. She explains how Centerline’s centralized support team plays a large part in her success. “My support person is incredible. We’re totally in sync with expectations for each other.”

    In addition to her support at work, Constance says her mother has been a key supporter in her life. Not only did she build her confidence, but taught her the value of integrity.

    It is evident that hard work and integrity are ingrained in Constance’s life. Centerline customers have often noted that she, “will go out of her way to help with whatever needs we may have.” We are proud and thankful to have her on the team!

  • Accelerate! Conference to be held Nov. 7-9

    by Charlotte Freed | Oct 28, 2016
    10.27.16WomeninTruckingFrom November 7-9, the Women in Truck Association, Inc. (WIT) will be hosted its annual Accelerate! Conference and Expo in Dallas, Texas. With over 30 educational sessions, WIT will drive the message of how gender diversity can have a positive impact in the trucking industry. 

    The annual conference is designed to support the WIT mission: Encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the industry. The 30 plus education sessions will highlight various perspectives of the positive impact women can have on the industry.

    The conference and membership to WIT is not limited to just women. The organization encourages all genders to attend as the three day conference will address topics on the economy, capacity challenges, work/life balance, recruiting from non-traditional demographics, and more. 

    One major highlight of the event will be when T.F. Scott Darling, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, speaks during the opening ceremony. Darling will tackle some of the major regulatory issues facing the industry, including the implementation of the FAST Act and proposed rulemakings on speed limiters.

    Centerline is happy to announce it will be returning as a Sapphire Sponsor for the second year in a row. Stop by our booth to meet and network with President Jill Quin, National Accounts Director Rod Crowell, and Director of Business Development Ruthanne Roper.

    For more information, including the schedule of events and registration, visit the WIT website
  • ATA Predicts a Promising Future for Trucking

    by Charlotte Freed | Oct 21, 2016
    10.21.16_ATAFutureAs 2016 comes to an end, economists will begin to look towards the future to map out what to expect in trucking. Last week, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) released its ATA American Trucking Trends 2016projecting a promising U.S. freight transportation forecast to 2027.

    There's no denying that 2016 has been tough on trucking; however, the ATA predicts this year will be an outlier compared to the growth the industry will see in the coming decade. According to ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello, the trucking industry will see growth due to sustained increases in the overall economy, particularly due to manufacturing, consumer spending, and international trade.

    The forecast projects a drop in the share of freight moved by trucks from 70.1% to 66.5%, but even with this drop, the estimated 27% growth of the amount of freight moved by trucks will allow trucks to retain its stronghold over rail, water, and other modes of transportation. 

    The ATA predicts that by 2027 trucking revenues will grow by 77.2%. If these predictions are right, the trucking industry will gross a total of $1.605 trillion by the end of the next decade. In order to hit this number, overall freight volume is predicted to climb 2% a year from 2017 to 2022 and then 1.6% a year from 2024 to 2027. 

    Though no one can accurately predict the future, the ATA's Freight Forecast has proven to be a valuable tool in the past, as it has been used by industry leaders and government policy makers. In a constantly transforming economy, one thing remains certain: so long as the economy continues to grow, trucks will continue to move a vast majority of America's goods. 
  • Transportation Infrastructure Remains Top Priority in Upcoming Election

    by Charlotte Freed | Oct 13, 2016
    10.13.16_ElectionWith less than one month until Election Day, voters will be deciding which candidate will best represent their interests. For the trucking industry, one issue that candidates must address is transportation infrastructure.

    Compared to recent elections, contributions from the trucking industry to both Democratic and Republican candidates are down, but that doesn't mean organizations aren't making their voices heard. Last week, three dozen transportation groups, including the American Transportation Associations (ATA),Transportation Builders Association, and US Chamber of Commerce, wrote to the two major party candidates stressing the importance of the continued existence of the Highway Transportation Fund

    The groups are calling for an infrastructure package that includes "additional sustainable revenue to ensure the permanent solvency of the Highway Trust Fund." They are calling for the sources to be "long-term, reliable, dedicated..." and focused on the "users and beneficiaries of our transportation network."

    The fund, which is currently dwindling, helps states pay for infrastructure projects. Uncertainty of funding prevents local and state governments from planning, funding, and constructing transportation projects. Organizations believe that without the ability to plan, fund, and construct these projects, state and local economies have missed the opportunity to create and increase the number of "good-paying jobs..." and therefore have "...hampered America's economic competitiveness." 

    Groups backing the continuation of the fund believe that raising federal taxes on fuel will help restore funds to help with these projects. Both candidates have promised to modernize the country's infrastructure. To learn more, you can read both Hillary Clinton's and Donald Trump's plan to improve the nation's infrastructure. 
  • Preparing for Hurricane Matthew

    by Charlotte Freed | Oct 07, 2016
    10-07-16_HurricaneMatthewHurricane Matthew will continue to make its way up the coast of the United States this weekend. As the worst storm that Florida has seen in over 100 years, we have nothing but the safety of our partners and employees in mind.

    Here’s what you need to know in all states that have declared states of emergency:

    Florida: All roads and highways have reversed the pattern of traffic to help with evacuations. Tolls have been suspended. Certain trucking regulations have been suspended, including hours of service, size and weight restrictions for vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services, or supplies.

    South Carolina: Truck weight limits have been increased to 90,000 pounds, and hours of service have also been suspended. Reversed traffic will be in effect on I-26, as well as certain lanes on I-526 in North Charleston and I-77 in Columbia.

    North Carolina: Truck size and weight restrictions have been suspended up to 90,000 pounds and hours of service will be waived for those transporting essential fuels, food, water, and supplies.

    Centerline urges all those in the area to take the appropriate precautions, and avoid any areas in the path of the storm if possible. 

  • NAFTA Freight Values Showcase Mixed Results for Trucking

    by Charlotte Freed | Sep 30, 2016

    The Department of Transportation has released its July 2016 dataset for the North American Transborder Freight Database. The database shows the value of U.S. freight moved between North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, and tracks freight carried by rail, truck, air freight, and vessel.

    For the 19th consecutive month the total value of U.S. freight has fallen from the same month of the previous year. The 10% decrease that was reported last week signals the lowest monthly amount of cross-border freight since February of 2011. By taking a closer look at the numbers, commodities moving by truck fell a total of 8.8%, and in Canada specifically, the value of truck freight fell 7.2%. 

    While July saw a drop in freight for all carriers, trucks were still the most widely used mode of transportation. Trucks carried 64.7% of U.S.-NAFTA freight, and were the most heavily utilized mode for importing and exporting goods between the three countries, accounting for 64.2% of the $44.6 billion of imports, and 67.4% of the $39.1 billion of exports.

    While trucks led in freight movement across borders, there is some cause for concern as overall value continues to decline month over month.  Further analysis of the DOTs findings for the month of July can be found at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

  • Automated Vehicles could be the Next Big Thing in Trucking

    by Charlotte Freed | Sep 23, 2016

    Technology continues to revolutionize the trucking industry. The newest development has been the introduction of highly automated vehicles, or HAVs. Just last week, the Federal Government took its first steps in regulating this technology through the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy.

    Mark Rosekind, the head of the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, believes HAVs, vehicles that can take full control of driving tasks in at least some circumstances, along with these new regulations can help dramatically reduce those numbers. In the United States, of all the car crashes in 2015, 94% were caused by human error.

    Safety is also the number one goal of the policy. The Obama administration stated that the policy is designed to help create a safer, cleaner, more accessible, and more efficient form of transportation.

    What impact do HAVs have on the trucking industry? Experts believe that these vehicles will be the first real big change for the industry since deregulation, and may have a positive effect on the on-going driver shortage. Transportation economist, Noël Perry, who spoke at the 2016 FTR Conference believes that these automated vehicles could save trucking companies $1 on every mile in operating costs. Lower operating costs would result from a combination of lower insurance costs, better fuel economy, and higher productivity of automated trucks.

    As HAV technology and the regulations surrounding it continues to develop, transportation companies will have to stay abreast of new trends in the industry.

  • Truck Driver Happiness: The Battle to Retain Drivers

    by Charlotte Freed | Sep 16, 2016
    shutterstock_346317764 copy

    This past week, we celebrated National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Though this week of appreciation has passed, the idea of retaining drivers cannot fall to the wayside.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Going Green: Trucking Efficiency at its Finest

    by David Kimball | Sep 09, 2016
    09.08.16_Go Green

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Tire Balancing: When Should You Do It?

    by David Kimball | Sep 01, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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