Three Technologies Volvo Says Will Radically Change Trucking

The future of trucking and transportation will involve three main elements: connectivity, electromobility and automation. Each one is evolving in its own right, but the forthcoming convergence of the three is what will create a paradigm shift in the world of transportation.

That’s the belief of Volvo Group Chief Technology Officer Lars Stenqvist, who hosted a roundtable discussion with media at the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C., earlier this week.

These technologies will not only benefit companies through increased efficiencies but also society at large with improvements in safety, reductions in traffic, better urban design and improvement in socioeconomic conditions, he said.

“We need to come up with these solutions rapidly,” Stenqvist said. “And we can see, when we meet customers, they are waiting for it.  When we meet legislators, they are waiting for it. I would say society’s waiting for it.”

Connected Supply Chain

Connectivity is one of the biggest areas undergoing evolution. All parts of the supply chain, including shippers, manufacturers, retailers, distributors and transport companies are moving into an age of data dependency fueled by sensors, the Internet of Things and cloud-based applications.

Such connectivity will enable trucking companies to enhance existing infrastructure to streamline operations, drive efficiencies and better schedule maintenance. All cargo also will be connected in real time, which will further “optimize the logistical chain,” Stenqvist said.

Most large trucking companies are already using some level of connectivity through sensors and cloud-based software. For example, the technology related to the upcoming implementation of electronic logging devices will track how much time drivers spend behind the wheel of their vehicle. The ELDs are meant to ensure compliance, but they will also create efficiencies.

Connectivity is even being used in truck parts and equipment as manufacturers leverage advanced computers to spur more preventative maintenance.

Michelin North America started incorporating radio-frequency identification, or RFID, tags into its commercial truck tires and retreads in March. RFID uses electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags attached to certain objects. Michelin’s RFID tags will help users effectively track tires throughout their lifecycle.

“We’re already there in different stages of connectivity,” said Satish Jindel, president of SJ Consulting Group Inc., a firm that specializes in transportation and logistics. “It’s not that it’s not being adopted, it’s just that some companies are using it more extensively than others.”

Improving Efficiency with Electromobility

The movement toward hybrid and electric vehicles is also gaining steam, Stenqvist said.

He dispels the notion that internal combustion engines are nearing extinction. They will be around for “for years to come,” he said.

Yet he does believe combustion engines should be further optimized while the industry builds more hybrid and electric vehicles. Stenqvist points to new advancements in aerodynamics, transmissions and piston designs that can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 2 percent.

Volvo introduced a concept truck in May 2016 with improvements in aerodynamics, rolling resistance and reduced weight.

Volvo Trucks concept truck

Volvo Trucks’ Concept Truck is designed to minimize air resistance without sacrificing other features. (Photo: Volvo)

“Those technologies that we have been fostering for decades – we need to continue our investments in those technologies,” he said. “But on top of it, we are also going to invest more and more into what we call ‘the new technologies.’”

Volvo’s electric bus service in Gothenburg, Sweden, has already transported more than 1.2 million passengers.

Investment in these new technologies is also happening in the U.S. Electric bus maker Proterra Inc. opened a new factory just east of Los Angeles in July, funded in part by a $3-million grant from the California Energy Commission. BYD Co., based in China, built a factory in Lancaster, Calif., to produce electric buses and trucks, and earlier this year it reached an agreement to supply 20 electric shuttle buses to the University of California, Irvine.

These advancements in electric and hybrid buses will also influence city planning. Zero-emissions vehicles that make no noise will be able to use indoor bus stops, opening new possibilities in urban design, Stenqvist said.

Volvo is also developing electric construction equipment that is “surprising many,” he said. This includes a fully electric compact excavator and load carrier. In another application, the company is using a Mack Pinnacle Series semi to test GPS and hybrid technology in a drayage operation. The hybrid powertrain would give the truck flexibility to toggle between gas and electric depending on the emissions requirements of different areas.

Though electric engines are becoming more powerful, they’re a long way from fully powering Class 8 trucks, Jindel said.

The variance and volume of loads could make pulling a 30,000-pound load up a hill “very painful” for a driver, he said.

But these technologies can be very useful in medium- and light-duty applications inside city centers, Stenqvist said. Regional- and long-haul routes will be best suited for hybrid models that can use things like regenerative braking.

Volvo’s also added a hybrid powertrain to its concept truck earlier this year – one of the first of its kind for heavy-duty trucks.

“We see the biggest interest is to have the ability to go electric on the last leg, or the last mile. Most likely, that will be the most popular application,” Stenqvist said.

The Road to Automation

The most advanced – and most distant – technology in this new paradigm is in automation and self-driving vehicles.

There will be multiple levels of automation on the path to driverless vehicles, Stenqvist said.

Many of these technologies, such as cruise control and lane-departure sensors, are already on the market. The next levels move into “sightless” autonomy where less involvement is required on the part of the driver, he said.

There are safety concerns regarding autonomy, but the key is to start small with confined uses that can reduce risk, Stenqvist said.

In Sweden, Volvo is already testing a self-driving truck nearly a mile below the surface in an ore mine. And in partnership with Swedish waste and recycling specialists Renova, the company is testing a self-driving refuse truck that is pre-programmed to drive itself from one bin to the next while the driver walks ahead. Sensors continually monitor the vehicle’s vicinity and force the truck to stop when an obstacle appears in its path.

“It’s a research project where we are testing the boundaries,” Stenqvist said.

Despite the promise of many new technologies, incentives will be needed to drive mass adoption, Jindel said.

While bigger trucking companies are eager to pilot projects, the bulk of owner-operators are unlikely to find the short-term financial wherewithal to upgrade without incentives from insurance companies, he said. “If you have sensors on the sides of trucks that can capture the driver if he is dozing off, insurers should be rewarding companies with lower premiums.”

Stenqvist doesn’t know what the future will look like, but he has a clear view of where it’s headed.

The path forward will be in experimentation, collaboration and partnership to create a “connected smart infrastructure” that goes beyond individual vehicles, he said.

This will create a human and cargo transport system with higher capacity, less congestion, fewer accidents and less environmental impact.

Original Source:

Original Author: Craig Guillot

Original Date: September 20 2017

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How Blockchain Technology Could Transform Trucking

Blockchain, a technology that stores incorruptible blocks of information across a shared digital network, could revolutionize the future of trucking and logistics by creating a new system of completing transactions, tracking shipments and managing fleets.

Blockchain is a shared, distributed ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network, according to Manav Gupta, an IBM cloud computing expert and author of “Blockchain for Dummies.” An asset can be a tangible object such as a car, or intangible, such as a patent.

But virtually anything that holds value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network, making it an ideal tool for arranging and tracking freight services.

“It’s a framework for designing a whole new way of looking at the world and managing different transactions,” said Craig Fuller, chief executive of TransRisk and co-founder of the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance, a coalition pushing for the adoption of blockchain technology by the trucking industry.

For freight brokers, blockchain technology can provide solutions to some of the biggest challenges in the logistics and transportation industry: protecting commodities and maximizing delivery efficiency.

One of the most basic implications is the creation of a streamlined payment system. Blockchain technology can create a “digitized roadmap” of routes, and smart contracts written into the blockchain can trigger the transfer of funds to a driver instantaneously once a delivery has been completed.

Record-keeping within the blockchain is also easier and more accurate.

Trucking companies would be able to maintain immutable records on each truck in their fleet, tied to every piece of maintenance given or damages incurred throughout the truck’s life—from the moment it rolls of the assembly line until it is sold again. Armed with that knowledge, companies can buy, sell, and repair new vehicles more shrewdly, Fuller said.

It also can address other logistics issues.

About 420,000 people die each year globally from eating contaminated food, according to the World Health Organization.

When using the blockchain’s digitized roadmap, distributors can trace a contaminated shipment to its source. In a recent salmonella outbreak at the Chipotle fast-food chain, it took weeks to track the disease to each restaurant location.

If the distributor had been on a blockchain, however, it would have taken only minutes to track where and when the contaminated food had been delivered, said Kenneth Craig, vice president of McLeod Software, a charter member of the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance. The same logic can be applied to defective electronics or recalled toys.

Coupling blockchain technology with the IoT, or Internet of Things, distributors could use sensors placed inside refrigerated trucks to monitor temperature. If the level climbs above a certain degree, drivers could be notified before the food spoils.

Those same sensors could also allow distributors to track and weigh their loads at all times, instead of relying on hand-recorded inventories, which can be prone to error. Using blockchain, shippers could monitor loads and send verifiable data to customers and drivers.

This also opens up the potential for trucking load-matching apps, which can identify excess capacity across distribution networks and coordinate efficient load distribution and transportation. This could help companies adapt to a shortage of truck drivers or trucks, maximize fuel efficiency or identify areas to cut budgets.

2030 Projection of Blockchain Technology Market

2030 Projection of Blockchain Technology Market. (Graph: Autonomous Next)

For customers, doing business with a shipping company that utilizes blockchain means increased transparency.

The technology gives “you access and knowledge of everything that ever happened in it,” Fuller said. “If it’s implemented and managed properly it eliminates fraud and ensures consistency.”

Customers can track routes, see delays and estimate delivery time down to the minute. And when companies start automatically logging their movements in the blockchain, customers will have full access to carrier safety history.

The key to blockchain’s value is that the system is trustless, which means each part of the transaction process is completely transparent and involves no intermediaries, Fuller said. Users can embed “smart contracts” within the blockchain, which trigger self-executing transactions and alerts.

Blockchain has the potential to transform what have traditionally been offline transactions between individuals and companies into online, trackable and transparent ones. “That’s what makes it so powerful,” said Fuller.  

Blockchain systems already have worldwide applications in finance, acting as the underlying technology platform for the digital currency bitcoin.

“It has extensive promise for every industry,” said Craig. “By using blockchain they can reinvent the very nature of commercial activity, remove intermediaries and have much more fluid business processes that can be conducted in various ecosystems.”

Though blockchain has not yet been implemented on a major scale, some technology companies have led the way in piloting test cases. IBM formed a coalition with Walmart, Unilever and seven other food companies in August to experiment with introducing blockchain technology in their food supply chains to cut back on contamination risks.

Walmart and IBM have already run two successful tests using secure digital records in a blockchain based in Hyperledger Fabric to track Chinese pork and Mexican mangoes.

Ambrosus, a Swiss food supply chain company, is using the technology to “reliably record the entire history of food from farm to fork,” using sensors, blockchain and smart contracts, according to a statement from Angel Versetti, Ambrosus chief executive officer and co-founder.

And together with AOS SAS, a Colombian business solutions company, IBM is already piloting a program to outfit its trucks with sensors to measure load weights, measure capacity and estimate delivery time.

“These are not real functioning blockchains in the pure sense,” however, said Craig. “They’re just what you might call alpha tests to prove the concept.”

And because these are isolated experiments, it is not yet clear how disruptive blockchain will be to the existing systems of logistics and operations management in the trucking world.

“The technology holds great promise, but the devil is in the details,” Craig said.

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Truckers Are in No Hurry to Have Their Hours Tracked

Drivers worry about lost income with a December rule requiring electronic logs

Electronic logs are taking fuzzy math out of trucking.

Federal and state officials have given truckers until December to install electronic monitors that track their time on the road. The new devices are meant to make highways safer by keeping drivers from overshooting the hours they are supposed to drive.

But some truckers who get paid by the mile could see their incomes drop with a more accurate accounting of the time it took them to make a delivery. And lower pay could exacerbate a driver shortage in an industry with a reputation for high turnover.

“You’ll see smaller carriers leave the business,” said Rod Nofziger, chief operating officer for the Missouri-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which has 158,000 members.

Since 2003, truckers have been limited to 11 hours of driving during a 14-hour on-duty stretch. Waiting at a loading dock or getting stuck in traffic counts against that time. That tempts truckers to say in their logs that deliveries happened faster than they did. Driving-log violations are the largest share of citations that police issue during truck inspections, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says.

Even modest fudging can add up to hundreds of hours of unlawful driving. Road-safety advocates say off-book driving pushes up highway accident rates. The motor-safety agency estimates electronic logs will save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries annually.

“The only reason anyone would oppose this technology is to skirt the hours of service,” said Chris Spear, chief executive of the American Trucking Associations in Virginia.

Some smaller companies that operate just a few trucks and independent drivers are resisting the switch.

“I don’t plan on it until the last minute,” said Monte Wiederhold, president of B.L. Reever Transport Inc., a six-truck fleet in Ohio.

He and other smaller fleet operators say allegations of cheating on paper logs are exaggerated and the safety benefits overstated.

With drivers paid an average of 40 cents a mile, small operators say the $1,000 cost for an electronic log and the monthly service fees of around $40 per truck to process the data is a financial burden. Small fleets and owner operators account for about half of the 1 million heavy-duty trucks for-hire in the U.S.

Acknowledging those concerns, the consortium of state and federal law enforcement agencies overseeing the change said last month that they will fine truckers found without electronic logs starting in December but won’t force their trucks off the road until April. Fines for log violations are based on state statutes and vary from state to state.

Paul Truman, president of Truline Corp., a larger trucking company in Las Vegas, has seen a 12% drop in weekly miles traveled since most of the company’s 220 trucks were converted to electronic logs. He says he hopes the reduction will be offset by higher shipping rates if there is less off-log driving and some owner-operators leave the industry.

“If you reduce the capacity and demand is the same, then pricing should go up and hopefully it makes the trucking industry more profitable,” he said. “To make this work, we need everybody to be compliant.”

Corrections & Amplifications
An earlier version of this article included a photo of trucks operated by Fastenal Co. , incorrectly implying that Fastenal may have been opposed to electronic logs. Fastenal isn’t opposed to electronic logs and has been using them since 2009, the company said. (Sept. 18)

Original Source:

Original Author: Bob rita

Original Date: Sept 18 2017

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Trump Is Making Truckers’ Regulation Problems Much Worse

The Trump administration is consistent about one thing—it’s against regulation. In early August, the Department of Transportation withdrew an Obama-era proposal that would have required truck drivers be tested for sleep apnea. Getting rid of such “pesky” regulations, the argument goes, will free the market and allow trucking firms to run more efficiently. But this ignores the fact that it was deregulation that created the conditions for the sleep apnea crisis in the first place.

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a person to periodically stop breathing during sleep—and if you stop breathing when you sleep, you aren’t getting very good rest. (Your body wakes up a bit to restart your breathing, though you don’t realize it.) Sleep apnea is particularly problematic for truck drivers—night after night of disrupted sleep leaves them feeling drowsy while driving, increasing the likelihood of fatal accidents. In extreme cases, it can result in narcolepsylike symptoms where drivers fall asleep at the wheel with little warning. The prevalence of sleep apnea in truck drivers is contested, but some studies suggest higher rates than the general population. One proposed reason for this is that sleep apnea can be exacerbated by obesity, and given the sedentary nature of truck driving, obesity rates are alarmingly high among drivers.

Truckers’ sleep apnea problem is not just about the nature of the work, however; there are clear economic factors at play as well. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Carter and Reagan administrations opened the trucking industry to increase competition. At the same time, trucking firms and activist groups engaged in both overt and covert actions to undermine trucking unions, which were once some of the strongest in the nation. As Michael Belzer describes in his now classic Sweatshops on Wheels: Winners and Losers in Trucking Deregulation, the result was a cutthroat, dog-eat-dog industry that made it difficult for small companies to survive and allowed a handful of large ones to dominate the market. Drivers, meanwhile, saw a steep drop in earnings, lost their bargaining power, and became more isolated from each other.

The combination of deregulation and deunionization has deeply degraded working conditions for truck drivers, as I and others have written about in great detail. Through a grueling pay-by-the-mile system, drivers are incentivized to push themselves harder and harder to maximize revenue from each shift. Of course, this means more time sitting behind the wheel and less time sleeping, exercising, or cooking healthy meals. When they do sleep, there is no consistent pattern. Drivers must be prepared to sleep at any time of day on any given day. If earnings are so tight and it doesn’t pay to sleep regularly or keep fit, is it any wonder truck drivers are at high risk for sleep and health problems?

An ironic aspect of the deregulation of the trucking industry has been an increase in regulations on truckers. While trucking firms have become freer, drivers have lost control over how they work on a daily basis. And because they lack strong unions to lobby on their behalf, drivers have little say over how these rules are designed and implemented. The proposed mandatory test for sleep apnea was just one example of this trend—it is a kind of desperate stopgap measure that is necessary only because trucking firms have allowed working conditions to degrade so severely. Beyond this test, drivers must already abide by increasingly tight regulations on their time, which tell them exactly when they must sleep and work.

This helps explain why drivers tend to be so against regulation. From their perspective, the industry has become more intensely regulated—because the regulations are hitting them directly, instead of forcing companies to create livable and fair conditions for employees. We should listen to drivers about this and realize that the deregulation of industries often results in the re-regulation of workers.

There is some room for compromise here. Whether truck driving increases the risk of sleep apnea or it is just more prevalent in truckers, the presence of sleep apnea is not only dangerous for truckers but dangerous for everyone on the road. Some regulation to address this issue would be good if it targets the industry- and firm-level structures that make conditions dangerous, such as financial incentives to drive while sleepy or the dire lack of truck parking in the country. (It’s currently difficult for truckers to find a safe place to sleep.) More regulation would be bad, though, if it simply punishes drivers individually for dangerous behaviors that are encouraged by market conditions. In short, “How much regulation?” is not the right question; we need to be asking about regulation of whom and to whose benefit. Unfortunately, given drivers’ relatively powerless position, more good regulation and less bad regulation will be difficult to achieve.

What drivers need now is a strong advocate. Instead, they have a president who is trying to score points with big trucking firms by getting rid of a regulation that is necessary only because those firms have made conditions so bad for drivers. If Trump is serious about his campaign promise to improve the lives of working-class people, stopping a “pesky” regulation like this one is a laughable distraction. The administration should help put drivers back in a position of power by supporting their efforts to collectively organize and fight for better conditions.

Original Source:

Original Date: Aug 25 2017

Original Author: Benjamin H. Snyder

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Help Is On The Way for Hurricane Harvey Victims!

Matrix Transportation will be taking any donations for the victims of Hurricane Harvey for the next month and a truck will be in route once a week to haul the items

Anything helps, from bottled water, formula, diapers etc..

7202 Whitmore Lake Road Brighton MI

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How Will Cross Docking Logistic Service Benefit Me?

Before getting to why you should use it, let’s have some history of cross docking. It started from the year 1930. This method was then adopted by the military of the United States in the year 1950. Then, in the year 1980, Wal-Mart adopted this approach.

Cross docking is a great way to deliver the product in a very short amount of time without using a lot of man power. It is simply the transfer of the manufactured product from the factory or the production house directly to the buyers. Apart from reducing the use of man power, it helps to reduce the space and time required to hold the product till it reaches its customers.

The product mostly involved in cross docking is either already sold which needs to be delivered to its rightful owner or an order by a company that is to be sent from a warehouse.

Cross Docking enables you to optimize the supply chain industry. Things move faster and more effectively. The Cross Docking operation works 24/7, so, the customers get their products mostly on time.

Why Cross Docking Is Good For You?

Here’re some of the most impressive reasons you should be doing cross docking.

  • It Provides Flexibility

It is great if you have a small start-up business. It does not require any warehouse. Hence, you can start just right off. The most important tip is to get as much clients as you can get. This makes the business run better and with a lot of profit if your customer base is loyal enough.

  • It Provides Good Quality Work

Cross docking does not require any storage facility; hence, the work is mostly done quite efficiently. The logistic experts take care of the business that goes on in the warehouse itself. Plus, the staff is equipped and have all the required information.

  • Reduction in the Cost

When the business is run by several companies at a time, the cost is minimal as it tends to distribute the overall cost. For example, when you are going to take some space from the warehouse, you only get to pay the space you took and not of the whole warehouse.

Plus, when there are multiple companies running, there is less labor cost; money is saved this way as well.

If there is any special delivery that requires a certain tool or any kind of equipment, the cost is usually taken up by the customer or your client, hence, you do not need to worry about it either.

Types of Docking

  • Manufacturing Cross Docking:

In this type, the raw materials which are used in manufacturing process are received and then moved to various plants directly.

  • Distributor Cross Docking

This involves purchasing different products from a variety of different vendors and then sending it to the customers.

  • Transportation Cross Docking

This is the most important type as it combines shipments from various carriers to save costs.

In short, cross docking is the best solution for the supply chain. Business to do things faster, save time and money.

We are Matrix Transpiration an industry leader in freight transport services! We have been in business since 2009, focusing on customer service. Our main headquarters is located in Brighton, Mi, but we cover Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Ohio. We offer other services such as freight management including shipping, warehousing and cross docking services. Call us today toll free 888.896.2405 or visit our website

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LTL vs FTL Shipping

Whеn you’re uѕing аn Atlаntа delivery company tо move large еnоugh ѕhiрmеntѕ of frеight thаt уоu’vе moved uр from uѕing dеlivеrу vаnѕ tо using full size truсkѕ, уоu’rе gоing tо ѕtаrt bеing presented with nеw options fоr service frоm thаt company. The larger уоur ѕhiрmеntѕ grоw, the mоrе diffiсult thiѕ decision саn bе tо mаkе, ѕо it’s important to undеrѕtаnd thе key differences between the twо рrimаrу fоrmѕ оf truсking, which аrе LTL аnd FTL shipping.

LTL аnd FTL stand for lеѕѕ than truсk load аnd full truсk lоаd respectively. These аrе the twо main wауѕ that trucking соmраniеѕ use thеir trucks. Thе essence оf it iѕ thаt an LTL truсk will mоvе саrgо which belongs to ѕеvеrаl diffеrеnt сliеntѕ. An FTL truсk will instead оnlу mоvе саrgо which bеlоngѕ tо оnе сuѕtоmеr.

Whеn уоu’rе ѕhiррing уоur cargo оn аn LTL truсklоаd, thе entire truсk iѕ going tо bе full, but you will only be using аѕ much оf the truсk аѕ you require for уоur gооdѕ. The оthеr аvаilаblе space on thе vеhiсlе will bе givеn tо оthеr clients оf thе соuriеr company thаt need to mоvе thеir gооdѕ in thе same gеnеrаl dirесtiоn. This means thаt most LTL vehicles run full, аnd it also means thаt mаnу оf the costs оf thаt ѕhiрmеnt аrе thеn ѕhаrеd bеtwееn a fеw diffеrеnt parties.

Thаt соѕt saving fеаturе iѕ thе primary reason whу many people dесidе to uѕе LTL shipping. Anуthing which iѕ over 100lbѕ аррrоасhеѕ bеing too hеаvу fоr shipping in a regular courier vеhiсlе, аnd nееdѕ tо be truсkеd instead. Hоwеvеr, until уоu аррrоасh 10,000lbѕ оf cargo, it iѕ gеnеrаllу imрrасtiсаl tо uѕе FTL ѕhiррing. Evеrуthing in bеtwееn these weights gеnеrаllу ships LTL, whiсh is whу thiѕ ѕhiррing орtiоn is ѕо popular.

There iѕ оnlу really one dоwnѕidе to LTL shipping, and thаt iѕ thе timе thаt it might take уоur ѕhiрmеnt tо bе delivered. This iѕ оnlу going to be a соnсеrn if you’re starting tо аррrоасh the upper limit оf LTL shipping wеightѕ; оthеrwiѕе thе price differential for mоving tо FTL is too grеаt. Hоwеvеr, if you’re nеаr the borderline оf the wеight сlаѕѕеѕ, ѕоmе сliеntѕ рrеfеr tо mоvе to FTL because thеir ѕhiрmеntѕ will be delivered quicker. Thаt is because during аn LTL ѕhiрmеnt the truсk may bе delayed ѕеvеrаl times during the dеlivеrу whilе thе оrdеrѕ bеlоnging tо оthеr сliеntѕ аrе being dropped off. Thiѕ will dереnd оf соurѕе оn where уоur deliveries are ѕсhеdulеd аmidѕt the оthеr clients.

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 Debates How Advanced Tech Can Reduce Crashes

Truck manufacturers, regulators and technology firms are increasingly looking to technology like advanced driver-assistance systems to improve truck safety.

But the viewpoint isn’t universal.

Proponents believe that widespread use of the technology will help slow the increase in traffic deaths, but skeptics raise concerns about regulation, training and data privacy.

The systems, referred to in the trucking industry as ADAS, include functions such as collision avoidance, lane departure warnings and speed sign recognition.

On Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board and the nonprofit National Safety Council convened a panel of more than a dozen regulators, manufacturers, fleet owners, technology providers and insurance experts. Meeting in Schaumburg, Ill., they brainstormed how to implement ADAS in more heavy-duty vehicles.

“There’s proven technology available today — we don’t need to wait for a fully automated vehicle to rescue us,” said co-moderator Alex Epstein, a senior director at the National Safety Council. “There’s nothing that stops any of us from advancing this topic.”

Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of preventable death in the country, and more and more large trucks and buses are involved in fatal crashes, according to the government.

The number of heavy-duty trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2015 rose 8 percent from the prior year to 4,050, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

ADAS technology is designed to reduce collisions by targeting easily avoidable mistakes.

Adoption, however, has suffered because commercial carriers — especially those with small fleets — often don’t know exactly what ADAS entails, the panelists said.

Many truckers incorrectly associate anti-collision options with much-ballyhooed developments in driverless systems.

“We have to explain what the technology is, but also what the technology is not,” said Uri Tamir, director of strategic initiatives at collision-avoidance system provider Mobileye. “It’s not a surveillance camera and it’s not intended to replace the driver.”

ADAS technologies vary from developer to developer, which adds to the confusion and can trip up to drivers assigned to different trucks day to day. Also, the rapid pace of innovation means that the pool of options is always growing. Some dashboards now feature dozens of distracting alerts and warnings.

“If we don’t see some standardization in terms of what this particular buzzer means or what that seat vibration means, drivers will get confused and it will affect customer adoption,” said Robert Kreeb, a division chief at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Fleet maintenance, customization and driver turnover is another issue, panelists said.

A built-in ADAS system might be compromised by an aftermarket snowshovel added to the front of a truck, blocking sensors. Retrofitting older vehicles with the technology is encouraged, but the systems need occasional care.

“If that technology isn’t being managed or maintained properly, or if the driver isn’t trained, it raises exposure to risk,” said Bob Crescenzo, vice president of Lancer Insurance Co. “And drivers often moving back and forth between vehicles present challenges.”

So too does training those drivers, according to Deborah A.P. Hersman, chief executive of the National Safety Council.

“We have to make sure that drivers use that technology appropriately, that they’re not misusing it or confused by it,” Hersman said. “Technology will not be an immediate panacea for highway fatalities — all the technology in the world won’t make a difference if drivers don’t know how to use it or turn it off.”

But changing trucker demographics and vehicle design could help increase ADAS adoption, panelists said. Semi trucks don’t require as much manual operation as they once did. Younger drivers are joining fleets, as are more women.

“The pool is widening,” said Adam Gregori, chief executive of Sentinel Transportation, a private trucking company joint venture between DuPont and Phillips 66. “Their flexibility to accept new technology is what we need in the future.”

As the ADAS market grows for commercial truckers, the industry will face a choice: whether it will voluntarily adopt the technology or wait for manufacturers to make it a standard feature in vehicles.

Volvo Trucks North America, for example, just unveiled a complete redesign of its VNL long-haul truck. It has a camera and radar-based system that combines forward collision warnings and active braking and can spot and react to stationary vehicles. The system features an industry-first heads up windshield display if a driver approaches too closely to an object in front. If the driver does not hit the brakes, the system automatically kicks in to slow the rig.

Another option would be for regulators to mandate the technology be part of truck design, the panelists said.

Some suggested that the government offer incentives for carriers to adopt the technology, such as a truck replacement program akin to the 2009 Cash for Clunkers trade-in tactic used to take gas-guzzling passenger vehicles off the road.

Others worried about how to handle the vast troves of digital data generated by ADAS systems. Several panelists said they would share information about their fleets as long as it was left anonymous.

The level of industry engagement is promising, and will only increase, said Michael Cammisa, vice president of safety policy, connectivity and technology at the American Trucking Associations trade group.

“It does build up on itself,” he said. “As the big fleets purchase more, the price comes down, the technology gets better and the smaller fleets see the benefit.”

Original Source:

Original Author: Tiffany Hsu

Original Date: July 25 2017

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Lift in demand fuels hopes trucking has turned the corner

Improving freight demand could signal brighter days ahead for transportation companies — if they can persuade retailers and manufacturers to pay more for shipping.

Trucking and logistics firms should give their outlooks for the rest of the year as they begin to report earnings next week, with investors watching for signs of a rebound from a two-year slump in freight rates.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., one of the largest U.S. freight carriers, is expected to announce its second-quarter earnings Monday. C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., the biggest freight brokerage, reports Thursday. Several large trucking companies report the following week.

The results come as bountiful produce harvests and increased shipping demand tied to Inc.’s Prime Day sales promotion have helped boost rates on the spot truckload market, where companies book freight transportation on a daily basis. The average rate for dry vans, the most common type of tractor-trailer used to ship consumer goods, rose 11% in June compared with the same month last year, according to DAT Solutions LLC, an online freight marketplace.

The recent lift has fueled hopes for a broader freight recovery, and transportation firms will be watching closely this month to see whether the upswing holds. Spot rates can be a leading indicator for contract rates, the long-term prices transportation firms negotiate with shippers. Big carriers do the majority of their business via contract, and those prices have remained stubbornly low even as freight volumes rose.

“July is the canary in the coal mine for the industry,” said Cowen & Co. analyst Jason Seidl.

Overcapacity in the truckload sector, where customers book entire trailers to carry their cargo, has weighed on trucking companies since late 2015. Fleets that expanded during a previous boom found themselves with too many trucks chasing a smaller pool of freight. The glut has also tamped down rates in the intermodal business of moving container cargo over long distances by rail and truck.

At J.B. Hunt, the largest U.S. intermodal carrier, second-quarter earnings are expected to hold steady at $0.92 per share, according to a consensus of analysts via FactSet.

“Moving into 2018, you got to believe that at some point truckload rates may improve, even if just slightly,” Darren Field, J.B. Hunt’s senior vice president for the intermodal division, said at an industry conference last month. “It offers an opportunity for intermodal.”

Over the past 18 months large truckload operators have trimmed their fleets to reduce capacity and gain more leverage with shippers. Demand is also picking back up from manufacturers and retailers that cut back on shipping last year as they worked through excess inventory levels.

Still, it could be months before improvements in the spot market translate into broader pricing gains for most carriers, which often negotiate freight contracts in the first half of the year.

Rates may start to climb this year, and catch up in 2018, said Dave Yeager, chief executive of Hub Group Inc., an intermodal and brokerage provider that expanded its trucking portfolio this year with the $306 million acquisition of Estenson Logistics, which provides dedicated trucking services for shippers that have outsourced their private fleet operations. “It does appear that pricing is headed upward, versus that horrific downward trend we saw for quite some time,” Mr. Yeager said in an interview.

The surging spot market could shrink profits for freight brokers, which use it to source most of their trucking capacity. Citi recently lowered its second-quarter and 2017 estimates for C.H. Robinson.

Even as some truckload carriers report freight demand is picking back up, analysts expect earnings for their most recent quarters to lag behind compared with the same period in 2016 because contract rates remain low.

Better results are forecast for less-than-truckload carriers, which consolidate small shipments into trailer loads for multiple customers and have benefited from the rise in online shopping. Last month Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., Saia Inc. and YRC Worldwide Inc. reported increased freight volumes during the second quarter.

Original Source:

Original Author: Jennifer Smith

Original Date: July 15 2017

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Customize Dedicated Truckload Services for Your Companies Logistic Needs

In our fast-paced global economy it’s even more vital that a business has access to reliable freight shipping services to get their products where they need to go, on time, and in good condition.

When a company needs a product shipped in a set time period, a delivery system that involves multiple handoffs, with trucks making multiple stops just can’t cope. Expedited freight shipping is the best way to ensure delivery of cargo that is timely in nature. With our modern time-sensitive economy expedited shipping is a booming industry.

While expedited shipping guarantees delivery (when businesses need it most) many organizations can still find it a challenge to secure a guaranteed delivery date during peak periods. As demand for capacity grows, there is an opportunity for freight companies to capitalize by offering dedicated trucking services.

The business of offering a dedicated trucking service is a booming market for several reasons.  Shippers are always worried about securing enough trucks to ensure delivery during peak times. Dedicated truckload services provide peace of mind as carriers guarantee capacity will always be available.

There are plenty of advantages for a business to use a dedicated trucking service. For one, it locks in the price, giving a company a clearer idea on operating costs. It also ensures a company always has guaranteed availability during peak periods; removing the guesswork and stress of securing freight from businesses that are cyclical in nature.

Truckload freight isn’t just a cyclical business; it’s a seasonal one as well. The assurance of demand that a committed trucking service provides means that trucking companies can give their dedicated customers a break in the typical pricing structure.

There’s plenty of value to be had from both sides of the equation when it comes to a dedicated truckload service, and as more businesses discover its worth, the industry is set to grow even further.

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