Overcoming The Challenge of Shipping Freight During The Holiday Season

Shipping freight during the holiday season can be quite challenging for any company.  Customers want guaranteed delivery and with the increase in shipping needs to be met,this often proves to be a complex task. To take the stress of shipping freight during the busy holiday season it is important that logistic managers use a combination of historical data, present knowledge, and updated technology to ensure that holiday shipments are delivered on time, every time.   When planning for your critically timed shipments consider the following:

Gather Critical Shipment Information Required by Carriers

A lot of information is needed when shipping freight to receive an accurate quote.  This is especially true in LTL shipments.  In order to receive timely and accurate quotes be sure to update carriers on the following:

  • Shipments Origin: City, State, and Zip
  • Shipments Destination: City, State, and Zip
  • Required Pick up and Delivery Dates and Times
  • The Number of Pieces, Pallets, or Crates in The Shipment
  • The National Motor Freight Classification, NMFC
  • Total Gross Weight of the Entire Shipment
  • Detailed Description of Your Commodity –(Hazardous shipments must have a UN# and packing group)
  • Special Instructions for Pickup and Delivery

Properly Packaged Freight

To avoid possible delays, it is important to take any confusion and eliminate it from your shipment.  In LTL shipping it is important that your freight is properly packaged.  Your shipments should be stacked heaviest to lightest vertically and shrink wrapped.  Shipments should be palletized, strapped or banded to prevent the freight from coming apart during shipping.  Freight that remains intact while handled throughout its expedition has a better chance of bring delivered without delay. 

Make sure all packages within the shipment are properly marked and labeled on all sides.  Don’t only include the destination details be sure to also include the details of origin.  If there are special requirements when handling your shipment make sure they are stated on readable labels on all sides of your shipment.

Utilize a TMS for Prominence in Consideration of the Best Rates and Service

A transportation management system can save companies not only time but money as well.  A TMS simplified will help to bridge any gaps between shippers and carriers, allowing companies to get rates, transit time, and such when deciding on shipping,streamlining the process.

The best way to guarantee customer satisfaction is to plan ahead.  Put limits on what you can and cannot guarantee.  Obviously, orders placed days before the holiday is set to be celebrated can’t possibly be guaranteed.  State up front your cut off date for guaranteed holiday season and after that any shipment sent is a bonus if it is received in time for the holiday.

Matrix Transportation is the fastest growing freight transport company in the Midwest, founded in 2009.  As an up and coming industry leader in freight management including shipping, warehousing, and cross docking services with the highest quality transportation solutions for the manufacturing and automotive industries. More information can be found at https://www.matrixtransportation.com/.

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Romaine Recall Causes Disruption in Trucking Industry

Romaine lettuce Getty Images

Romaine lettuce is shipping again following a late November outbreak of E. coli, but only after the Food and Drug Administration called anew for producers to change how they track the leafy green vegetable in the supply chain.

For now, romaine lettuce that has been deemed safe to eat will come with labeling, and include its origin, according to the FDA’s website.

In some cases, truckloads of romaine lettuce were in transit as the recall was announced, according to an official with the Allen Lund Co., a La Cañada, Calif.-based third-party logistics company specializing in food deliveries.

“The disruption is pretty big,” Bob Rose, Lund’s San Francisco region manager, told Transport Topics. “We were told by many vendors to destroy the product.”

When the Centers for Disease Control advised consumers, restaurants and retailers not to eat, serve or sell any romaine lettuce while it investigated an outbreak of E. coli, Rose knew what he and his drivers had to do. Two days before Thanksgiving, he told 15 drivers to dump their truckloads of romaine lettuce.

The order was the easy part. Finding places to dump the 15 truckloads was another issue. Rose said some of the drivers had difficulty finding a place that would accept the loads.

Eventually the lettuce was sent to landfills and dumps.

No one yet seems to know the precise economic impact on the trucking industry and producers. Experts declined to estimate how much romaine lettuce was tossed or how much it cost everyone from producers to the supply chain to retail outlets.

But Trevor Suslow, vice president of product safety for the Produce Marketing Association, a Delaware-based trade group, said the dumped lettuce likely meant losses in the tens of millions of dollars.

“There was a huge impact,” he said.

Now health officials, food producers and haulers are trying to figure out the best way to use technology and logistics to pinpoint future sources of tainted leafy greens.

Although the disruption began Nov. 23 when the CDC issued the alert, it was the third E. coli outbreak related to romaine lettuce within 12 months. Health officials were able to estimate the source of the tainted lettuce since producing regions in the West rotate by season.

Romaine lettuce is generally produced in the central California area in the warmer months, and in an area that stretches from Yuma, Ariz., to southern California’s Imperial Valley in the colder months.

The FDA traced the outbreak to the California counties of Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Ventura.

E. coli produces a toxin that does not generally affect animals. But in humans, the strain (officially Escherichia coli O157:H7) spreads toxins that are most dangerous to children under 5 years of age and to senior citizens, said Michele Jay-Russell, research microbiologist and manager at the Western Center for Food Safety of the University of California at Davis. So far, there have been 43 cases in 12 states, with 16 hospitalizations but no deaths, according to the CDC.

In the meantime, Rose said orders for alternative greens are coming in from vendors.

“They still have shelves to fill,” said Rose.

Original Source: https://www.ttnews.com/articles/romaine-recall-causes-disruption-trucking-industry

Written by: Jim Stinson

Published Date: Dec 3 2018

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Trucking Braces for Fallout From GM Plant Closings

GM Lordstown, Ohio, plant GM’s assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, is set to close in 2019. (General Motors)

The decision by General Motors to cease production at five of its factories in the United States and Canada will have consequences for trucking companies that serve those plants.

“This is a drastic cut in manufacturing in Michigan,” said Walt Heinritzi, executive director of the Michigan Trucking Association in Lansing. “It’s not positive for carriers bringing raw materials into these plants or for auto haulers.”

GM closure graphic

And while the overall economy is strong, Heinritzi said more plant closings could be in the offing as Ford Motor Co. is expected to make similar adjustments in its production capacity in response to changing consumer preferences and changes in costs due to new and higher tariffs.

GM announced Nov. 26 that it would stop activities at assembly plants in Ohio, Michigan and Ontario in Canada, plus at factories in Baltimore and Warren, Mich., that make transmissions for cars and light trucks, resulting in layoffs of as many as 14,700 factory and white-collar workers and disrupting business for scores of transportation suppliers.

“The ripple effect will be huge,” commented Evan Armstrong, president of logistics research firm Armstrong & Associates Inc. in West Allis, Wis. “Third-party logistics firms and trucking companies managing inbound milk runs, [parts] sequencing operations and material transport are going to be hurt along with car haulers.”

Milk run is a term used to describe the delivery of replenishment parts to manufacturing assembly lines.

GM said the plant closings will save roughly $6 billion a year by the end of 2020 and will free up resources so the company can invest in new autonomous models and electric propulsion technology.

“We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said.

The announcement drew an angry response from President Donald Trump, who said he may try to eliminate electric car subsidies for GM if the company goes through with plans to close its plants in Ohio and Michigan in 2019. Trump said he expects GM to replace the production lost with something new or by bringing production back to the United States from China and Mexico.

Warren, Mich., transmission plant

The transmission plant in Warren, Mich., will close in 2019. (General Motors)

Bob Costello, chief economist for American Trucking Associations, said while he has not heard directly from carriers that may be affected by the GM plant closings, it’s “too early to tell” what the final impact may be.

“Overall, light vehicle sales, including SUVs, light trucks and cars, are expected to ease slightly over the next few years, but remain at levels above the average since 2000,” he said. “However, there continues to be a shift in the U.S. away from cars to SUVs and light trucks.”

A report by the Center for Automotive Research in February documented the change in vehicle preferences with sport-utility, crossover-utility and light trucks accounting for nearly two-thirds of all vehicles sold in the United States in 2017.

“Sales of these high-priced and high-margin vehicles are producing record profits that companies are pouring into new products, processes and technologies,” the report stated.

Vehicle haulers are already dealing with some of these changes as larger vehicles take up more space on trailers, resulting in higher costs for deliveries, and rail carriers struggle to supply rail equipment that can accommodate greater volumes of trucks and SUVs.

“We see a backlog in the rail network,” said Sarah Riggs Amico, executive chairman of Jack Cooper Holdings in Kennesaw, Ga. “We’re seeing volume move to trucks from rail on some lanes.”

New electric-powered vehicles also pose a challenge because weight from the batteries could limit the number of vehicles that can be carried on trailers over the road, Amico said.

Dennis Monts


Dennis Monts, executive vice president of commercial operations at Advent Intermodal Solutions in Murray Hill, N.J., and a former GM executive, said the plant closings “are a signal of what we can expect in the future” in terms of automotive production and manufacturing in general.

“The trend we see is toward streamlined design and simpler manufacturing architecture across multiple product lines,” Monts said. “What this means for trucking and logistics providers is the need to service customers operating fewer plants at much higher capacity utilization and with heavier reliance on integrated suppliers.”

As a consequence, Monts said that he expects logistics providers and trucking companies to play a larger role in helping manufacturers achieve their production and efficiency goals.

Original Source: https://www.ttnews.com/articles/trucking-braces-fallout-gm-plant-closings

Original Date: Nov 29 2018

Written By: Daniel P. Bearth

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Efficient Shipping During the Busy Holiday Season

We all know that Santa’s sleigh is the most efficient way to deliver freight but of course that can’t happen but once a year. On a serious note, the holidays are a busy time of year for shipping freight and it is the perfect time to review your current shipping regimen to avoid stress during this busy time of year.

Great freight shipping services are about preparation and management.  It is crucial to avoid issues in shipping and those that can’t be avoided are addressed quickly to avoid delays.  This is especially true during peak times when there is an increase in the volume of shipments.  Increases in volume can often lead to challenges that are new and unexpected.  This happens in many businesses not just those shipping freight.

Here are some of the major considerations when shipping from large shipments of freight to small e-commerce shipments.

Historical Freight Trends and Shipping Forecasts

Anyone that has been running a business that ships freight, big or small, should understand the shipping process.  There is no reason to go into a busy shipping season unprepared.  You can prepare yourself by simply looking into previous year’s sales and shipping records and your growth as a business to forecast what they should expect.

Newer companies do not have this luxury.  They have not had the experience a busy holiday season to prepare them for what’s to come.  This can be quite the uphill battle.  New businesses must take into consideration the increase in shipping volumes, the frequency of shipments, and destination delivery expectations.

In order to get a sense for what you can expect, take a look at the busiest time period of your company that you have experienced and prepare yourself for something similar.  Make sure to consider if your goods are something that make a great Christmas gift, if so, the shipping surge could be even greater.  Expect this surge in sales.

Shipping Cutoff Times

Many times, online shoppers can be quite cautious when making purchases during the holiday season to ensure the product will arrive in plenty of time. Make your shipping cut off dates and delivery schedule well known on your website.  Without this information front and center many times buyers will shy away.  Buyers are looking for assurance that their presents will arrive in time for the holiday.

Take time to post your shipping schedule and cut off times on your company’s blog, newsletter, and social media platforms.

Tunnel Vision

Many times, we get caught up in the way things have always been done and are afraid to change.  This occurs all the time between shippers and the way that they ship freight.  Often times the cost of freight is fixed when you use the same freight provider.    It is important not to get stuck in the way that things were always done and instead carefully consider your choices.  You need to evaluate your shipping factors from the size of the shipments including the height, length, width, and weight.  Analyze these factors carefully and make a shipping decision based on all the available options.  What is right for your business may not be what you have always done but in fact could be something new. Choose the shipping option that is best for you.

Online shipping services can enhance your shipping experience.  Take into consideration if the freight carrier you are looking into have online capabilities.  These may include: tracking features, optimization features for both time and money, enhanced productivity, and faster deliveries.

Matrix Transportation is the fastest growing freight transport company in the Midwest, founded in 2009.  As an up and coming industry leader in freight management including shipping, warehousing, and cross docking services with the highest quality transportation solutions for the manufacturing and automotive industries. More information can be found at http://www.matrixtransportation.com/.

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From the data world, trucking forecasts and trends for 2019

Flat bed semi truck

One trucking analyst expects industrial technology to be a strong performer in 2019, but construction to be weaker than it’s been.

It won’t be long before year-end informed opinions and wild guesses appear. In the meantime, here’s an early jump on 2019 predictions and trends that will extend beyond the new year. The points were made by speakers at the recent MarketWaves 18 conference near Dallas, put on the by trucking data company FreightWaves.

INTEREST RATES. Rates might well rise, said Jason Schenker of the Futurist Institute. Two factors are an increase in the national debt, which he said is likely, and further trade problems with China.

WHAT’S HOT AND NOT. Growth sectors for 2019 are e-commerce, industrial technology and consumer goods, Schenker said, with automobiles, construction, metals and mining performing below average. Most of his clients are bullish on 2019’s economic performance, but over 80 percent of them expect a downturn in 2020.

GAUGING THE BOOM CYCLE. The economy roared in 2017 and 2018, but it appears we’re in the mid- to late part of the good times, said Ibrahim Bayaan, chief economist of FreightWaves. Still, that doesn’t necessarily “mean a recession is right around the corner.”

USED TRUCKS. Expect prices to drop in the first quarter, as much as 40 percent, said Dean Croke of Freightwaves. Even with the favorable tax law changes in depreciation, the level of new-truck orders this year has seemed too high.

ELECTRIC TRUCKS. They’ll be viable in heavy-duty trucking, but only for short-haul in the near future, said Eric Fuller, president and CEO of U.S. Xpress. Electric-powered trucks are “not ready to go that 500 miles we really need,” but that could happen in five to 10 years.

AUTONOMOUS TRUCKS. Integration of long-haul autonomous trucks will be slower, Fuller predicted. Level 5 autonomy, with no person in the truck, is 20 to 25 years out. “That last 5 percent of the technology is going to be the hardest to fix,” he said.

SMALL FLEETS’ ATTRACTION. Drivers will continue to choose smaller fleets, said Jeff Tucker, CEO of Tucker Company Worldwide. Of the hundreds of thousands of driver jobs created in the last six years, with “more than a two to one ratio, those drivers are entering one-to-100 truck fleets,” he said. Of those, most are joining or starting fleets of one to six trucks, Tucker said. That’s driven in part by market data from truckstop.com and other providers that make it easier to work for yourself, Tucker said.

BLOCKCHAIN. This buzzword of the data world, referring to the use of a distributed ledger with immutable entries of all kinds of data visible to multiple parties, was mentioned often by MarketWaves presenters. However, its widespread adoption within trucking is years away, said Brad Hollister, CEO of SwanLeap, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning for supply chain automation. Too many trucking companies are “on a 1990s platform,” so it will be difficult to get agreement on software standards that work for the many participants engaged in a shipment that’s tracked via blockchain.

MISSING METRICS. Not just outdated software, but an outdated focus on the wrong metrics has created a “false sense of security” for some working in logistics, said Brian Bowers of Freightwaves. “The pace at which data is being captured and analyzed now far exceeds the pace at which we’re learning and applying knowledge to our lives and organizations,” he said.

AI AND FREIGHT. Artificial intelligence advances are critical in efficient freight matching, said Shaleen Devgun of Schneider National, which he said has been investing in modern data platforms. “Someone needs to play Cupid to get demand and capacity together,” he said.

HIRING DATA GEEKS. Larger carriers and logistics providers are increasingly hiring people with advanced expertise in data and logistics. “We have MBAs from virtually every major business school,” said Grant Goodale, co-founder of Convoy, whose software helps create more efficient routes for drivers with batch shipments.

PREVENTIVE ANALYTICS. One data application is to anticipate and avoid things that can make a delivery late. Echo Global Logistics Vice President Scott Friesen referred to creating “anti-events,” that is, “adding value in a way to keep those things from happening.” Sometimes it’s just one minor incident, such as a fork lift driver being sick and missing a shift, that “creates a whole cascade of events,” he said.

THE FRESH PRODUCE CHALLENGE. Constant improvements in logistics and the growing availability of data and will change the fresh produce market, said Jaco Booyens, co-chairman of Eden Green Technology, described by forbes.com as “a next-generation vertical farming company that aims to democratize safe, nutritious produce.” Farmers’ “number one headache is trucking,” he said. It often takes seven to 10 days to get produce from farm to retail shelf, meaning it’s lost more than 60 percent of its nutritional value and was harvested so prematurely that it lacks in taste. Expect fruits and vegetables to be grown closer to population and distribution centers.

Original Source: https://www.ccjdigital.com/from-the-data-world-trucking-forecasts-and-trends-for-2019/

Original Date: Nov 27 2018

Written By: Max Heine

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Reduce the Cost of Shipping Freight with These Strategies

There is an assumption when it comes to shipping freight and costs associated with it that prices are set in stone and there really isn’t anything you can do to change it.  Just because your company has always shipped in the manner that they do does not mean that there isn’t a better way out there to do it. Technology has come along way since many business’s integrated their shipping process into the supply chain.   It may just be time to reevaluate the way in which your company ships freight.

Reducing Freight Costs

Night Time Fright Pick Ups –

Scheduling freight picks up after regular business hours can save a business upwards of 50%.  This is a relatively simple change that can be put into place and works well for companies that have more than one shift.  Freight companies are on the go 24/7 with most of their pickups and deliveries during normal business hours.  Offering pickups at night allows shippers to free up some of that precious daytime schedule.

Contract Steady Lane Volume –

Anytime you can guarantee, in the form of a contract, shipments, carriers are more likely to cut you a deal.  When a carrier can build their schedule around guaranteed shipments, allowing for increased efficiency it benefits both of you.  Carriers are more likely to make room on shipments for loyal customers with contracts in place.

Off-Peak Ship Days:

Who knew that the day you send your shipment could affect the price you pay, but it does.  Fridays and Mondays are both considered off days for shipping freight.  Most companies want their shipments to be in place by Thursday in order to allow for them to be shelved by the weekend.  Monday is another light day for carriers and a good day to ship if your company is looking to save money on freight.  Off-peak shipping may not be an option for fresh goods however for non-consumer goods it is a good option.

Develop Relationships –

Don’t Fall for Special Introductory Rates:  It may be tempting to be a rate jumper but in actuality it can hurt you a great deal because you never have time to develop a relationship with the carrier.  Severing relationships with new carriers each and every year is not the best approach.  A better option is to create a long-term relationship with your carrier.  This allows you, the shipper to create a strategic, long-term relationship with their carriers.  Longer term contracts offer benefits for both carriers and shippers.

Matrix Transportation is the fastest growing freight transport company in the Midwest, founded in 2009.  As an up and coming industry leader in freight management including shipping, warehousing, and cross docking services with the highest quality transportation solutions for the manufacturing and automotive industries. More information can be found at http://www.matrixtransportation.com/.

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Trucker health: a growing crisis – Part 1

Despite awareness and changes at truck stops, critics say industry leaders are not doing enough.

Siphiwe Baleka was once a champion swimmer for Yale University, who just barely missed out on qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team.  Being physically fit was always a part of his life. That was, however, until he became a truck driver. Within two months, he gained 15 lbs.—or 10% of his total body weight—and his eyes were opened.

Today, he runs Fitness Trucking and is among the most recognized health advocates within trucking, even being dubbed “the fitness guru of the trucking industry” by The Atlantic magazine. This success is only fueling Baleka’s anger. He believes far too many in trucking are failing to give drivers the education and tools they need to live a healthy lifestyle.

“There is incredible apathy in this industry” when it comes to the health crisis, Baleka said in an interview with Fleet Owner. “Fleets are under the delusion that by offering health screenings, they are really doing something.”

Photo: Karen Kuehn/Alicia Hughes

After Baleka quickly gained weight as a truck driver, he created a health program for Prime Inc.

Leaning on his own experiences, he called it “criminally negligent” to send these “good men and women out into this unique environment” without proper consideration for their well-being.

“Imagine if NASA sent astronauts to outer space without educating them on the effect of zero gravity,” said Baleka, pointing to the difficulties of living without a kitchen and having schedules often dictated by freight availability.

“Drivers coming into this industry are sent out having no education or training on what is going to happen to their circadian rhythm or metabolism,” he continued.

Add in sleep deprivation and all the factors are in place that lead to weight gain and a greater likelihood of a lifetime of health problems.

There’s no shortage of data that back up Baleka’s suggestion drivers are in a health crisis. A study from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found the prevalence of obesity among truck drivers is more than two times higher than the working population of the United States. Likewise, the percentage of cigarette smoking and self-reported diabetes by drivers were also at extremely elevated levels.  A separate study by HireRight found one in five truckers left the industry, at least in part, because of health issues.

“Driving is a physically demanding profession, and getting proper rest, eating right and maintaining an exercise routine is a challenge due to the nature of the job,” said Steven Spencer, managing director of transportation and health care for HireRight.


Maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the road is tough, as any truck driver will tell you. However, truck stops are making changes to help ease the health burden on drivers.  These days, customers are more likely to find a medical clinic, chiro­practor, dentist, or pharmacy than in the past, said Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman, vice president of public affairs at NATSO.

There are a growing number of exercise rooms, walking trails, bicycle paths, and even dog parks. Also, there are many more food choices for those  seeking healthier alternatives.

“It’s no longer uncommon to find edamame or kale salads being sold alongside fresh fruits, yogurts, and granola, even in a smaller truck stop,” said Wlazlowski Neuman.

Additionally, there are “solid food choices like baked chicken, and salads are offered at many of the fast-food restaurant brands we partner with,” explained Tom Liutkus, senior vice president of marketing and public relations for TravelCenters of America.

The StayFit program offered at TA and Petro Stopping Centers represents healthier food options and workout facilities to help travelers stay fit while over the road. The StayFit website allows users to search for amenities at every location.

Liutkus said the salad bar remains “the No. 1 menu item selected by professional drivers” but acknowledged sales have leveled during the past two years.

Other menu items that are offered as part of the StayFIT program, like salmon and tilapia, have remained “remarkably steady” since being introduced, Liutkus said. The quality and assortment of healthier snacks are also increasing.

“This tells me that a certain percentage of drivers are watching what and how they eat,” he concluded.

Andrea Morley, lead nutritionist and health coach with Healthy Trucker, said she frequently pops into truck stops and has noticed a tell-tale sign that more truckers are watching what they eat. “I am seeing a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables widely available,” she said, whereas in the past she would find some rotting produce that had been sitting out too long.

Some fleets are trying to further assist by providing special deals for drivers who purchase healthier food options, Liutkus said. Drivers are also encouraged or incentivized to exercise. One way fleets accomplish this is by paying for UltraOne memberships through the StayFit program that gives access to indoor fitness rooms, walking trails, basketball courts, and other amenities.

Original Source:

Written By: Neil Abt

Published Date: Nov 11, 2018


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More Trucking Deaths May Be Caused by Drivers Racing the Clock

Truckers racing to beat the federal rule requiring a rest break after driving for eight hours could be contributing to increased fatal crashes involving big rigs, according to some in the industry.

Deaths from large truck crashes reached their highest level in 29 years in 2017, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.

“Drivers feel like they literally have a gun to their head,” Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, told Trucks.com. “The typical response was to turn up the maximum permissible speeds on the trucks to allow drivers to make up some time.”

In 2017, 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes, a 2 percent decline from the prior year. But large-truck fatalities rose 9 percent to 4,761, an increase of 392 lives lost over the prior year. About 1,300 of the deaths were truckers. The remaining 72 percent occurred in the other vehicle involved in the collision.

Looking at trucks in the largest weight segment, Class 8, deaths climbed by 221 in 2017 from 2016 to 3,844. That’s a 4 percent increase for trucks that weigh more than 33,000 pounds.

Jim Mullen, FMCSA

“We hear a lot of drivers saying because of a lack of flexibility, we’re speeding,” said Jim Mullen, chief counsel for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “I hope they’re not putting themselves and the motoring public in danger just to get their freight from Point A to Point B because of the regulations.”

Mullen said that while drivers may be speeding, he doesn’t think there is link between truck fatalities and the federal hours-of-service rule. The regulation limits driving to 11 hours in a 14-hour period with a 30-minute break at eight hours.

But regulators are considering modifications. The FMCSA is reviewing 5,200 comments to proposed changes in the hours-of-service rule. The 30-minute break received the most comments, Mullen said.

The rest break is “the dumbest rule I’ve ever heard of,” said Luke Foster, who hauls cars for Romulus, Mich.-based United Road. He said the forced downtime increases his fatigue. The 61-year-old driver prefers working 11 hours straight before resting.

“You put me on break, sometimes I’ve got to ride with the window down to stay awake,” Foster said.

Truckers who do speed are getting caught and ticketed more often, said Duane DeBruyne, an FMCSA spokesman. Speeding remains the No. 1 cause of fatal crashes. But speed has been responsible for a declining percentage of fatal crashes involving big trucks for three consecutive years, DeBruyne said.

Some truckers attribute the deaths to bad driving habits.

“The younger drivers who are now getting into trucking are bringing along their bad driving habits,” said Jeromy Hodges, a retired trucker from Victoria, Texas.

Hodges recalled seeing one trucker driving with both feet on the dash and the vehicle on cruise control. He also sees truckers texting.

He retired in 2016 because it had become “such a dangerous job with all the distracted drivers out there. I didn’t want to press my luck any longer.”

Driver monitoring through on-board technology could help reduce crashes.

Software developer Trimble Inc., which offers a suite of driver analytics that measure factors including seat belt use, hard braking and speeding, is partnering with Pulsar Infomatics to monitor how fatigue affects driving behaviors. A digital scorecard lets motor carriers reward, coach or even fire drivers based on how well they drive.

Fatigue and lack of sleep are cited as danger signs in multiple studies of truck driver safety.

Most crashes in which the trucker was at fault and judged to be sleepy or fatigued occurred at least 20 miles from a rest area or truck stop, according to a study in the November 2017 edition of Accident Analysis & Prevention.

Many in the industry attribute driver fatigue to a lack of accessible and safe parking.

Truckers voted safe rest areas as their second-greatest concern following hours-of-service rules changes in the latest Top 10 challenges compiled by the American Transportation Research Institute. Motor carriers voted it their ninth-highest priority. That made it the No. 5 concern overall.

FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said additional safe rest areas for drivers need to be part of any infrastructure bill. President Donald Trump called for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan in his 2016 campaign.

The answer is more full-service truck stops, said Barry Pottle, chairman of the American Trucking Associations. He said five rest areas in his home state of Maine have closed in the last year because there is no money to operate them.

Nearly two-thirds of car-truck collisions are caused by the drivers of passenger cars, said Chris Spear, the ATA’s chief executive. He said distracted driving is the major reason. Technologies like automatic emergency braking, included on most new heavy-duty trucks, could help reduce crashes. Automatic braking becomes standard on passenger cars in 2022. Spear said automatic braking, combined with vehicle-to-vehicle communications, could put all highway fatalities “on the road to zero.”

But FMCSA’s Mullen said driver-assist features could be causing some truck drivers to pay less attention.

“Distracted driving absolutely is rising, and it’s problematic,” he said. “We’re trying to juggle having sufficient technology to assist the driver but not overwhelm him or her or create complacency.”

Original Source: https://www.trucks.com/2018/10/31/heavy-duty-trucking-deaths-racing-clock/

Original Date: Oct 31 2018

Written By: Alan Adler


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Shipping companies want Congress to increase shipping truck size

Shipping companies want Congress to increase shipping truck size
© Greg Nash

The shipping industry is pushing Congress to increase the size of some shipping trucks, which could affect the nation’s highways, consumers and e-commerce.

Shipping companies like FedEx, UPS and Amazon say allowing so-called twin 33s, a configuration that allows trucks to haul two connected 33-foot trailers, would help increase shipping capacity and lower costs when online sales are booming. Current law limits the trucks to two 28-foot trailers.

But opponents worry the new regulation could be a safety hazard, and opposition from trucking unions and railroad interests have succeeded in delaying changes to existing law.

“These trucks would be at least 84 feet long, and we know that current double trailer trucks have an 11 percent higher fatal crash rate than single trailer trucks,” said Catherine Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a road safety advocacy group.

Chase said double trailers are more difficult for drivers to maneuver because the second trailer is more likely to swerve out of its lane and more difficult for drivers to see around with their mirrors.

Truck-related fatalities rose 9 percent in 2017, reaching their highest levels since 2007, she noted. That affects regular drivers as well; when trucks collide with passenger vehicles, nearly every fatality is among the passenger vehicles.

Chase added that many of the nation’s roads and bridges would require improvements to handle an uptick in bigger, heavier trucks.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said that he opposed twin 33s on safety grounds.

“The overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers and other independent safety advocates I have spoken to have expressed significant concerns over these trucks, which are longer than an eight-story building is tall,” Wicker, whose state includes some of the rail interests that oppose the provision, wrote in a letter to The Wall Street Journal.

Wicker cited a Department of Transportation study showing that larger trucks take longer to stop than the current trucks on the road.

Advocates of the longer trucks say that such arguments are superfluous.

“Twin 33s, without adding any weight, can do 18 percent more work with just one truck than an existing set of twin 28s,” said Randy Mullett, executive director for Americans for Modern Transportation, a coalition of shippers and carriers pushing for the new provision.

Adding more capacity to existing trucks, he argued, will lead to fewer trucks on the road, and thus fewer accidents.

Shippers say that the current truck configurations for sending parcels fill up because of bulk, well before they reach the 80,000-pound legal weight limit. The group is not looking to increase weight limits for the longer trucks, he added, meaning that even an increase in weight would fall under current limits.

Shipping groups say that the huge spike in online shopping has made it tougher to efficiently fulfill orders using the so-called less than truckload trucking options available, as opposed to the familiar longer, single-trailer full truckload trailers that tend to transport similar goods to big box stores or distribution centers.

“We’re changing the way we buy as American consumers, and it’s dramatically changed the way we ship small packages,” said Mullett, adding that freight volumes are projected to grow 40 percent in the next three decades.

“We’ve got a lot of areas in the country that are congested. In many areas they’re pretty much maxed out,” he continued.

Increased efficiency, he said, would bring down the cost for consumers while also boosting profits for shippers.

Original Source: https://thehill.com/policy/transportation/410830-amazon-fedex-want-congress-to-double-shipping-truck-size

Original Date: 10/10/18

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The inevitable mobile communication in trucking

As the technological era continues to grow, so does the trucking industry.

Drivers and fleet managers are embracing the normality of smartphone and tablet devices, making them commonplace in their day-to-day life. Growing pains are inevitable, however, and Kevin Frey, director of warehousing and distribution at Preferred Meals, along with Aimee Schmalzle, senior director of digital and demand generation at Ryder System, Inc., joined Fleet Owner’s webinar discussion this week to share insights on the benefits of staying connected.

With the evolution of the ELD mandate, Frey said that while using a tablet, smartphone, or ruggedized handheld allows the driver to use the device for other purposes, “mobile devices are becoming the preferred delivery system of ELD information to the driver in the cab.”

The benefits of using mobile devices in trucking are described two-fold by Frey. At the same time as getting rid of manual paper trails, drivers can handle their day-to-day schedule, such as stops, provide proof of delivery, and deal with oddities in a timely manner. In addition, having driver-dispatch-customer communications can be critical.

He noted that by putting a smartphone or tablet in the hands of a driver can aid in communication and solve problems directly with the dispatcher, which in turn increases “customer satisfaction by allowing your drivers to call customers directly when there will be a delay or to follow up on deliveries.”

Because of these benefits, Frey emphasized that choosing the right mount for the device to match the cab is very important. He urges drivers and fleet managers to “do your research, test options, and choose wisely.”

Smartphone and tablet devices allow a fleet to choose the right navigation program for its drivers. Frey noted that Preferred Meals uses Omnitracs Roadnet RDC on the Roadnet Anywhere platform. With this program, “drivers can easily click assigned stops and launch turn-by-turn navigation to be guided right to the destination.”

Schmalzle of Ryder added another program to the mix – RyderGyde. With this application available for smartphones and tablets, drivers, as well as fleet managers, can schedule maintenance, call roadside assistance, compare Ryder contracted and third-party fuel prices, rent a vehicle, log fuel reports, and more.

“We want that one place, that one-stop-shop, where you can come into RyderGyde and manage a lot of aspects of your fleet in an easy and manageable way,” said Schmalzle.

As this technological era continues to evolve, Schmalzle stated that change is the new norm with customers in the driver’s seat and that delightful experiences create true adoption. By keeping drivers happy in their downtime with an unlimited data plan on their mobile devices so they can stream their favorite programs on Netflix, Hulu, or HBOGO as well as stay connected to their families and friends, as Frey suggests, true adoption can be just as inevitable as mobile communication in trucking.

Original Source: https://www.fleetowner.com/technology/inevitable-mobile-communication-trucking

Original Date: Sept 27 2018

Original Author: Catharine Conway

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