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 “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.”

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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.

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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.

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Original Date: Sept 27 2018

Original Author: Catharine Conway

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Different Types of Freight Shipping Options

Freight is shipped by a variety of different modes of transport from trucks to airplanes, boats to vans, and everything in between.  In large cities shipments can even be found transported via bicycle carrier.  When it comes to shipping freight for businesses however this is usually done using freight trucking companies that specialize in LTL, (less than truckload), TL, (truckload) or dedicated trucks.  The type of carrier and method of transportation your company chooses will on which service best fits the needs of your company and customers.

Less than Truck Load

The most popular option when shipping freight is less than truckload.  LTL shipping allows freight to be shipped by trucks to and from your location.  It is a reliable option that is affordable and timely.  Your shipment will share a truck with other shipments going to locations close to your designation thus sharing the expenses associated with transporting freight.

Dedicated Truckload

Another option that is popular is dedicated truckload shipping.  This is when an entire truck is dedicated to a certain type of commodity and makes the necessary accommodations needed to properly move the shipment from one location to another.  Often times, dedicated truckloads involve shipments that must be kept refrigerated, in a temperature-controlled environment, handled specifically because of hazards that are posed by the shipment, or those shipments that are oversized and require special support services to move the item from one spot to another.

Full Truck Dedicated

Another option is when your shipment requires a full truck dedicated specifically to your product. FTL shipping is often faster than LTL as it doesn’t require your shipment to be transferred to other smaller shippers for delivery but is not the least expensive option by far.  This freight shipping option is the best for cargo that requires refrigeration, controlled climate, a flatbed, is oversized, or unpackaged.

When it comes to which shipping method is right for your business and satisfies your customers needs it is important to take into consideration how much product you will be shipping, any special needs such as refrigeration needed to care for the shipment, the time in which you for it to be delivered, and other special requirements.  Utilizing the best shipping method for your freight will increase your customers experience with your company.

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



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National Truck Driver Appreciation Week: Let’s celebrate those who supply our lives and strengthen the economy

While your Labor Day weekend may have been stocked with food, refreshments, barbeque grills, beach toys and lots of other fun items, truck drivers across America made that happen. They were busy traveling and making deliveries door-to-door and then getting back on the road to the next safe delivery.

Chances are you saw a truck on the road while you were heading out with your family to celebrate the holiday weekend at the beach, or on your way to the store to pick up school supplies for your child’s first day of school. That’s because trucks are on the road with us every day, rain or shine, including weekends and holidays. Millions of trucks travel our roads every day, and behind the wheel of that truck, regardless of the weather or terrible traffic, is one of 3.5 million hardworking truck driving professionals who is working to deliver the goods that keep our lives supplied and the economy moving forward.

Truck drivers deliver all of our essential goods that help us live, including our food, clothing, medication and gas, which is why we celebrate them during this National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, September 9-15. The trucking industry delivers to our neighborhoods and businesses, keeping our stores stocked, and as a result, is an essential driver of our economy, contributing $738.9 billion in revenue a year.

Through their dedication and tireless work, truck drivers, who travel over 4.5 billion collective miles a year, deliver these goods safely and on time to every community across America — often spending days, or even weeks, away from their loved ones.

In the U.S., 80 percent of communities rely solely on trucking for the delivery of their goods. Fewer truck drivers on the road would equate to slower deliveries and higher prices of goods throughout the country. If there were no truck drivers on the road, there would be no deliveries to our businesses, hospitals or schools; the country and our economy would essentially come to a standstill.

While we see trucks on a regular basis, we don’t always appreciate their value or stop to think about how significantly the trucking industry contributes to our lives, communities and economy – and we rarely stop to thank the driver behind the wheel.

During this week-long commemoration that is hosted every September, we give a nod to these hardworking Americans and provide the appreciation that they don’t always receive, but truly deserve.

It can be intimidating driving next to a large truck, but the driver next to you could be a former classmate, the neighbor down the road, or even a family member. These trained professionals take pride in their jobs and making their deliveries safely and on time. They’re especially proud of the industry’s safety initiatives and efforts, and they celebrate their own millions of accident-free miles because the safety of those on the road is not a responsibility they take lightly.

This week, I hope you will join me and take a moment out of your busy day to reflect on the importance of a truck driver’s work. If you see a driver, please use it as an opportunity to say thank you to these real-life heroes. Without truck drivers, our lives would not be the same, and a simple smile or wave while on the road is a great way to say thanks. You may even get a friendly honk of the horn in return.

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Original Date: Sept 9 2018

Written By: Kevin Burch

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Strategies That Reduce Freight Costs

Ship only on off-peak days –

Consider using traditionally off-peak shipping days to have your product picked up by your carrier to save money per shipment. Only consider it if it is not going to cause any issues with your customers.


For smaller shipment consider using a consolidation program –

LTL shipments can be considerably expensive since they are much smaller than a TL shipment. There are, however, ways to consolidate smaller shipments with other local businesses to create one large, TL and each partner only pays for a smaller portion of the total freight charge. This is a perfect arrangement for all parties involved.


Develop long-term agreements with freight shipping –

Instead of always looking for a cheaper freight carrier, consider establishing long-term contracts with your freight carriers to get them to offer you a better rate.


Changing your shipping lead times –

By adding extra time to lead time that you give to your customers you should be able to find a cheaper carrier that will still get your customer their product and you potentially end up paying less.


Reduce unnecessary weight per pallet –

Try not to use too much unnecessary packing material to convince yourself that it is going to be less likely to get damaged it has all that extra stuff on it.


Reduce the number of pallets used on LTL ships –

When it comes to your LTL shipment your carrier will likely offer a lower rate if you have a smaller number of pallets. This may require some creative pallet loading and unbox to accomplish this.


Show the carrier that your company loads trucks quickly –

It is typical for a carrier to set aside a two-hour window for loading out a truck when they make their scheduling of pickups. If you are one of those businesses that consistently load their truck quickly, it is possible that you can be given a favorable freight shipping rate.


Use night pick hours as ways to use backhaul opportunities with certain carries –

You can offer your carrier to arrive after hours when it might be more convenient (backhaul situation) to arrive after the dock would typically be closed and there would potentially be a way to save money.


Change how you ship the product to move more product, but less often –

If you currently have agreements with customers to ship products in small size shipments, you should consider incentivizing them to take accept larger shipments less frequently. This will help to reduce your overall freight shipping costs.

Use a carrier located close to where you are shipping to –

Using a local carrier that is nearby your ship to location should allow the carrier to offer you a lower rate since your shipment will likely be considered a backhaul. This will make it possible for the carrier to fill empty hours for one of their trucks heading back to their facility. This should result is a much lower shipping rate and therefore save a considerable amount of money.


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

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Trucking Industry, Drivers Disagree On How To Address Shortage

Garrett Knollman, the Safety and Compliance at Transmark Logistics, says they are in need of qualified drivers. (Tyler Lake, WTIU/WFIU News)

Semi-truck drivers can’t cross state lines unless they’re at least 21. A bill backed by Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind). would lower that to 18.

The goal is to open up the industry to more people in an attempt to address a growing driver shortage. But critics say the bill is trying to put a band aid on the problem without attempting to address what’s causing it.

What’s Causing The Shortage?

Barbara Hunt is the Vice President of the Indiana Motor Truck Association. She and a lot of other people in the trucking industry are worried about that shortage.

“At the end of 2017 the American Truck Association put the number of 50,000 as the driver shortage,” she says.

They don’t have current Indiana-specific numbers, but Hunt says as of a few years ago there was a shortage in the state of about 4,500 drivers.

It’s noteworthy that there’s a truck driver shortage when the country is experiencing record low unemployment. And drivers can make more than the national average without having to get a college degree.

But trucking companies say they are in constant need of qualified drivers.

Garrett Knollman is the safety and compliance officer for his family’s trucking company. But he started behind the wheel of a big rig.

“Companies are offering tens of thousands of dollars in sign on bonuses,” he says. “But it’s still not covering the hole.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average truck driver made about $44,000 a year last year.

Compare that with the inflation-adjusted average of just more than $55,000 a year in 1980. That means truck drivers make less now than they did nearly four decades ago.

Norita Taylor is a spokesperson for Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association she says insufficient pay is one of the causes of the shortage. Trucking is not an easy job; its long hours, and a lot of unpaid downtime.

The driver shortage is a serious problem, but drivers and carrier companies disagree on the solution. (WTIU/WFIU News)


“Considering the number of hours that truck drivers work and the conditions they work under, meaning they are away from home for weeks at a time,” she says.

Taylor says the turnover for truck drivers is about 94 percent, and she thinks much of that is because of how drivers are paid.

“They don’t pay them by the hour, they pay them by the mile,” she says. “So they don’t pay them unless they are actually in a truck moving.”

That means drivers can spend hours sitting in loading docks, or waiting in line to receive cargo and they won’t get paid for any of that time.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, drivers are getting between 30 and 40 cents per mile.

Michael Belzer is an Associate Economics Professor at Wayne State University. He says that even when they’re on the road, the per-mile rate is still too low.

“If they are only working sixty hours a week that would be good,’ Belzer says. “But to get there they got to get paid 60 cents a mile and that’s about 50 percent more than they are getting paid now.”

Belzer says in this market you have to be an experienced driver to work fewer than 60 hours a week and still bring home a decent paycheck.

Will The ‘Drive Safe Act’ Relieve The Shortage?

Carriers say there aren’t enough drivers to meet their needs, and drivers say the pay is too low and that’s why there’s so much turnover.

But will the Drive Safe Act’s goal of opening up the field to younger drivers solve that problem?

Hunt says that getting drivers right out of high school could be a big boon for the industry.

“By the time someone turns 21, they may already be in a career that works for them so it is harder to get people in the trucking industry,” she says.

It’s a hard sell for young people who might wonder whether they really want to invest the time to make truck driving a long term career.

And critics worry that getting young drivers behind the wheels of big rigs is dangerous. Dozens of studies show drivers between 18 and 21 have significantly higher accident rates. The Drive Safe Act does require additional training for young drivers that isn’t required for new drivers over the age of 21.

But Belzer says the proposed legislation probably wouldn’t bring in many more drivers.

“If trucking was attractive, it would be attracting them,” Belzer says.

All sides agree there’s a sense of urgency to find a solution.

The average age of drivers on the road now is 55 years old. That could mean even bigger shortages down the road.

Original Source:,-drivers-disagree-on-how-to-address-shortage.php

Original Date: August 31 2018

Original Author: Tyler Lake

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Difference Between Freight Forwards and Freight Carrier

Among other businesses manufacturing companies often need to ship their products to warehouses and to market. If you have a new business that ships freight as part of your business, you may be wondering whether you should hire a freight carrier service or a freight forwarder to get your goods to market. To decide which type of company to choose when shipping your freight, you need to know the difference between freight forwarders and freight carriers.


A freight forwarder is company that works as a middle man between the company needing to ship the product and the freight trucking company that carries the freight. They arrange for various companies to haul your goods from point A to B sometimes involving several different freight carrier services to transport your goods.

A freight carrier on the other hand is the company that hauls your freight from point A to point B. While both types of companies will get your goods where they need to go there are some benefits to you working with the freight carrier service directly.


These benefits include:

Cutting Out the Middle Man

When hiring a freight forwarder, you often pay more money to ship your goods because you need to pay the freight trucking company’s cost for hauling your goods and pay an addition fee to the forwarder for arranging for the hauling of your freight. Over the course of a year this can end up costing your hundreds if not thousands of dollars more to ship your goods. You have no control over the freight carrier service the forwarder selects and less control of amount of your shipping costs. By cutting out the middle man and hiring the freight trucking company yourself you likely will end up paying less to get your goods to market.


Ability to Negotiate Shipping Rates Yourself


By dealing with the freight carrier Service directly you are able to negotiate yourself for a better rate than you might otherwise get. Since cost is a large part of doing business having more control over your shipping costs may make the difference between success of your business or its failure. Depending on the amount of goods you need to ship you can often negotiate much better rates than you get through a Freight Forwarder.


You Can Choose A Company You Trust


Another important benefit of hiring the freight carrier service yourself is that you can choose the company of your choice and one that you trust. You also have the ability of forming an excellent working relationship with a specific freight trucking and building a relationship of trust and may be able to form a relationship where the Freight carrier service comes to depend on your business and will go the extra mile to see that your goods are delivered on time.

While both the freight forwards and the freight carrier will get your goods to market, hiring a freight carrier service yourself to hire your goods has some distinct benefits.


Learn more about Matrix Transportation and the transportation services they offer including: dedicated truckloads, JIT truckloads, less than truckload (LTL), same day expedited FTL and LTL, full truckload, warehousing, cross-docking, and trailer rentals at  To contact one of our trucking experts call toll free 888.896.2405 today.


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Balancing Different Types of Trucking Services with Shippers Needs

All trucking companies work differently, but at the end of the day, they should all have one goal in mind.  That goal should be fulfilling the needs of the shippers that use their services.  Some shippers may only need to send small packages, while others need the assistance of freight shipping services to get their hauls from one end of the country to the other.

Those completely different needs of shippers require all trucking companies to create a balance between their types of trucking services, so that they always have what their customers want and need.  Of course, that balancing act is never an easy process, but trucking companies can create ways to make it work.

Since shippers like to know when their packages are being picked up and delivered, one of the best things that trucking companies can do is create a schedule that works for practically everyone.  By having specific drop-off and pick-up times and understanding what types of packages are going in and out every day, trucking companies will have an easier time balancing their trucking services.

Most trucking companies love to plan ahead, and create contingency plans as well, so that they are prepared for the unexpected.  That way, a broken-down truck, a late driver, or an additional package will not derail every aspect of the plan.  Instead, trucking companies can simply switch to a back-up plan that is already in place and keep everything on time and running smoothly.

After a while, trucking companies have an idea of the volume that they are dealing with every day and what types of packages that volume is broken down into.  Of course, that volume will change throughout the course of the year, with the holiday season being busier than say the month of February, but successful trucking companies will know their volume for every season.

By knowing the predicted volume, trucking companies can plan on which trucks they need in what areas when.  That will alleviate any issues of not having the trucking service that is needed, because that trucking service is halfway across another state.  Instead, trucking companies will always be prepared to move any type of package to where it needs to go in a timely manner, which will keep all their shippers happy.

Successful trucking companies will also work closely with the shippers that utilize their services, so that they can be informed of an upcoming shipping need that is out of the ordinary.  That will ensure that the trucking company will have the services in place in time and the shipper will not need to wait to send their items out.  Balance is key for almost anything nowadays, but never more so than in the world of trucking companies, where every minute counts.

Learn more about Matrix Transportation and the transportation services they offer including: dedicated truckloads, JIT truckloads, less than truckload (LTL), same day expedited FTL and LTL, full truckload, warehousing, cross-docking, and trailer rentals at  To contact one of our trucking experts call toll free 888.896.2405 today.

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Trucking Industry News

Trucking by the Numbers 2018: Trucking and freight snapshot

By using data on tonnage and other freight trends across various industry segments, motor car­riers and shippers can more effectively plan for the scarcity of trucks and adjust their operations to remain competitive.

In today’s data-driven business environ­ment, the trucking industry has come to both rely on—and be challenged by—a growing volume of information. For motor carriers, while data overload is a pos­sibility, using it selectively can lead to more effective short- and long-term choices.

As an example, the industry is now experiencing what is perhaps the tightest capacity crunch in history, fed by a stron­ger economy and the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate. By using data on tonnage and other freight trends across various industry segments, motor car­riers and shippers can more effectively plan for the scarcity of trucks and adjust their operations to remain competitive.

If the success and profitability of all trucking operations is based in cost management, then data in reports like the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) “Analysis of the Oper­ational Costs of Trucking: 2017 Update” is a path to effective benchmarking practices for operations, planning and investment. With that data, trucking companies can dig deeper into per-mile and other costs, and apply sound infor­mation to decisions that impact high cost areas in their operations; for exam­ple, those for fuel and driver wages in light of the persistent driver shortage and rising fuel prices.

Data is also useful in the context of industry challenges. In its “Cost of Con­gestion to the Trucking Industry: 2017 Update,” ATRI provides data on road congestion that enables trucking com­panies to analyze and offset resulting increases in operating costs, including fuel, labor, and vehicle expenses. With this information, motor carriers also have a better ability to address the stresses that congestion puts on drivers through more effective planning and operational practices.

A closer look at data can also help address challenges brought on by legis­lative and regulatory activity. Informa­tion on driver demographics and wages can assist fleets in more effectively analyzing how these changes alter their operations, and tackle issues related to the ongoing shortage of drivers.

Overall, handling over 70% of all freight in the U.S., the trucking industry continues to dominate freight transpor­tation over all other modes. Total truck tonnage in 2017, including for-hire and private carrier operations, was more than 22% higher than its lowest point in 2009. Looking ahead, the ATA “U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast” proj­ects that total freight tonnage will grow more than 40% in the next 10 years.

The latest “IHS Global Business Out­look” survey also measures expecta­tions, and recently it recorded the stron­gest degree of business optimism since mid-2014. Going forward, that can only mean even higher freight volumes, and with data like that included in this report to measure and analyze, the trucking industry will be well positioned to gain a competitive advantage by managing operations and growth effectively.

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