New Omnitracs CEO wants the ‘Holy Grail’ of trucking

Navigation and other cloud-based applications in the new Omnitracs One platform are device agnostic

Three weeks into his new job as the chief executive of Omnitracs, Ray Greer sat for lunch with trucking media and analysts at the company’s Outlook user conference in Nashville, Feb. 27.

Before leading Omnitracs, a mobile fleet management technology provider, Greer was the president of BNSF Logistics, a large third-party logistics (3PL) firm.

BNSF Logistics recently went through a process of certifying 40,000 carriers in its network for electronic logging device (ELD) compliance, he explained. The lion’s share of its carriers were using ELD products from Omnitracs.

At BNSF, Greer saw the opportunity to leverage data from ELD applications to gain visibility of shipment status and to more quickly and efficiently locate capacity for loads.

During the lunch meeting in Nashville, Greer expressed interest in Omnitracs offering new freight matching technologies for 3PLs, freight brokers and carriers. To do this, the company is looking to accumulate more data and acquire companies as needed.

“The Holy Grail of trucking is matching carriers with shippers,” he said. “It is going to be fun, and I’m excited about how we are going to tap that market.”

Thirty years ago, Qualcomm pioneered satellite tracking and mobile communications in the trucking industry. In 2013, Omnitracs — a name given to the Qualcomm fleet management technology subsidiary — was purchased from Qualcomm by private equity firm Vista.

Carriers that use mobile hardware and software systems from Omnitracs, which include the XRS and MCP platforms, can satisfy the load tracking requirements of their shipper, 3PL and freight broker customers by sharing information through an application called Virtual Load View.

Kevin Haugh, Omnitracs chief product and strategy officer, discusses the applications in the new Omnitracs One platform.

Omnitrac’s Virtual Load View secures carrier location information and shares the details that carriers agree to share with trusted customers. The company plans to bring new capabilities to market by leveraging its route planning and optimization applications with Virtual Load View and other technologies.

For example, if a driver in Texas is empty with six hours remaining on his hours-of-service duty status, “we need to present loads (to the driver) that he can do in six hours,” he said. The loads would be coming from the carrier’s transportation management system, or from a shipper, 3PL or freight broker that will be using Omnitracs technology “in the middle” of the freight matching process.

“We will change the way carriers think about getting their next load,” he said.

The same routing optimization technologies are being applied to identify platooning opportunities for carriers. Omnitracs has a partnership with Peloton Technologies that will soon make platooning a reality. Its technology enables two trucks to maintain highway speeds in close proximity by automating their throttle and braking. The lead tractor in a platoon will save 4.5 percent in fuel and the rear vehicle 10 percent.

During the Outlook user conference, Kevin Haugh, chief product and strategy officer of Omnitracs, explained the depth and breadth of the company’s fleet management technology that it acquired and has been developing under the ownership of Vista.

Recent development has focused on converging technologies in the “first, middle and final mile” of transportation and distribution. The company has developed applications for carriers with all types of operations, and at the conference announced a new unified stack of technology solutions called Omnitracs One.

The new, integrated stack of software-as-a-service applications bring together features and functionalities from the Omnitracs portfolio of routing, dispatch, compliance, navigation, safety and more products in a single-source user experience.

Omnitracs will release an Android version of its in-cab IVG platform this year.

The single-source user experience covers everything from fleet operations management to mobile driver interfaces, data analytics, data discovery and reporting, he explained.

For the data analytics and discovery component, Omnitracs created new user experiences that give a comprehensive view of fleet operations with key indicators for vehicle and driver status. Drill-down features give the ability to find and take action on real-time information, he said, and to predict problems ahead of time.

Omnitracs One is designed to be device agnostic to give fleets a broader array of options based on their needs with an “open and secure” architecture for instant access to a network of technology partners and system integrations.

As part of the Omnitracs One platform, the company will be rolling out an Android version of its in-cab IVG platform later in the year.

“We want to make it easy for drivers to do what they do,” he said. “We are able to bring everything together seamlessly for the driver so they can manage their workday better.”

Original Source:

Original Author: Arron Huff

Original Date: Feb 28 2018

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Front Line: A New Age for Trucking

High driver turnover, the new mandate limiting drivers’ hours on the road, and the boom in e-commerce are spurring the adoption of driverless trucks

Embark Trucks, with partners Ryder and Electrolux, has been running a 650-mile autonomous truck route — the longest in the world.
Embark Trucks, with partners Ryder and Electrolux, has been running a 650-mile autonomous truck route — the longest in the world.

Trucking, as we know it today, appears to be on a collision course. Drivers are at a critical shortage and costs are skyrocketing. Sign on bonuses are advertised at upward of $10,000. Autonomous trucks may be an answer.

There are many reasons for the shortage: age, gender inequality, lifestyle issues, long hours away from home, cost of obtaining a commercial driver’s license, and mounting regulations. Drivers are restricted by law from driving more than 11 hours per day without taking an eight-hour break. To stop the cheaters, a mandate when into effect December 18 under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that requires truck operators to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to keep records of duty status.

For asset-based companies and those that purchase trucking services, capacity and a severe shortage of truck drivers is the “elephant in the room,” comments Matt Luckas, vice president of Supply Chain Services for Hanson Logistics. “Driver shortages across the board are impacting all facets of trucking,” he says.

Meanwhile, the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) data indicates that since the Great Recession, freight volumes have been going through the roof. For 2017, ATA’s seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index was up 3.7 percent from 2016 — the largest annual gain since 2013 (6.1 percent). The Association estimates that more than 3.4 million heavy-duty Class 8 trucks and over 3.5 million truck drivers are required to move 10.5 billion tons of freight annually.

Yet, Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist, reports that annualized driver turnover rates have recently been as high as 95 percent. He notes that the shortage falls between 35,000 and 40,000 drivers. Then there are added factors, notably the boom in e-commerce and the need for quick deliveries.

New Age
“Same day delivery is evolving into same-hour delivery in some places, and consumers are insisting on a broader selection and availability of goods,” observes Dan Letter, managing director of Capital Deployment NW Region for Prologis, a multination logistics real estate investment trust.

A report by The Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institute attributes the boom in e-commerce will lead to trucks quickly adopting autonomous vehicles. A number of companies, including Daimler and Volvo, are working on driverless truck adoption. They’ve made test runs in Europe.

Same day delivery is evolving into same-hour delivery in some places, and consumers are insisting on a broader selection and availability of goods. Dan Letter, managing director, Capital Deployment NW Region, Prologis In the U.S., Embark Trucks — with partners Ryder and Electrolux (which operates the Frigidaire Line) — has been running the longest autonomous route in the world — 650 miles starting in Texas and ending in California. And, in early February, Embark completed a cross-country test drive from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida. San Francisco start-up Embark relies on Ryder’s trucks and drivers to ferry freight between the warehouse and the interstate. “Embark’s trucks pick up at the edge of the interstate, and from there the computer drives [the truck] 650 miles,” a company video explains.

Embark doesn’t manufacturer trucks, but integrates autonomous technology into Peterbilt semis. That technology uses machine learning software and data from the sensors on board the truck to map its surroundings in real time and avoid obstacles.

The potential is huge. Market intelligence firm Tractica sees market growth accelerating as successful pilot projects come at an increasing pace. In fact, Tractica estimates that worldwide revenue from autonomous trucks and buses reached $84 million in 2017. It expects that with more competition within the industry, providing significant opportunities to various industry participants, the market will reach a value of $35 billion by end of 2022. During that period, Tractica forecasts that annual unit shipments will increase from approximately 343 vehicles in 2017 to 188,000 units in 2022.

While there still may be some resistance, autonomous trucks may provide a solution to today’s driver shortage and other issues.


Original source:

Original Author: Karen Thuermer


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The Difference Between Less Than Truckload and Full Truckload Shipping

Truckload shipping is the movement of large amounts of homogeneous cargo, generally the amount necessary to fill an entire semi-trailer or intermodal container. A truckload carrier is a trucking company that generally contracts an entire trailer-load to a single customer. This is as opposed to a less-than truckload (LTL) company that generally mixes freight from several customers in each trailer. One advantage Full Truckload (FTL) carriers have over Less than Truckload carriers is that the freight is never handled en route, whereas an LTL shipment will typically be transported on several different trailers.

Understanding the differences between full truckload shipping and less-than-truckload shipping is important for businesses looking to improve their bottom line. Knowing when to use each type of shipping method is beneficial for both cost savings and improved shipping efficiencies.

What is the Difference Between Full Truckload and Less Than Truckload Shipping?

Simply put, full truckload shipping is primarily used when companies have enough goods to fill an entire truck whereas less-than-truckload shipping is used when companies do not have enough items to fill a truck. There are some exceptions to this. Larger companies will sometimes prefer to use a dedicated truck even though they may not have enough items to fill it. With dedicated trucks, the shipped items remain in the truck from the point of origin to the point of destination which is beneficial for both security and safety measures. Unlike full truckload shipments that move goods on a dedicated truck, less-than-truckload shipments consolidate shipments from multiple companies.

When Should Less Than Truckload Shipping Be Used?

Less-than-truckload shipping is ideal for smaller businesses that are not shipping enough items to fill an entire truckload. By using a partner network, goods can be consolidated with shipments from other companies to reduce overall costs. Although less-than-truckload shipping is not as fast as full truckload shipping, the cost savings usually outweigh the expedited transit times.

When Should Full Truckload Shipping Be Used?

Companies should use full truckload shipping when the shipment is large enough to fill the entire truck or when the cost of the items being shipped is far greater than the cost of using a dedicated truck. Full truckload shipping is usually faster and should be used for companies that require expedited shipping or are under strict time constraints. In addition to full truck truckload shipping being significantly faster, there is also less risk involved when using a dedicated shipment truck.

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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A truck on Highway 101 last month in Larkspur, Calif. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The future of trucking may tell us a lot about the future of work. It’s no secret that many Americans fear losing their jobs to automation. In a Pew Research Center poll last October, nearly three-quarters of respondents worried that “computers and robots could do most of the work currently done by humans.” And yet the job market seems to be sending the opposite message: With a low unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, many companies say they can’t find good workers.

Trucking symbolizes the contradiction. Trucking companies complain they can’t hire enough drivers, and the situation will get worse before it gets better. Why? The nation’s 3.5 million truck drivers are aging. More than half (55 percent) are 45 and older, and only a quarter are younger than 35.

Not to worry, experts say: Trucks can be automated into driverless vehicles. Presto, the shortage vanishes. But this creates its own problems, more for society than for the trucking industry. Yet another source of jobs for blue-collar workers, mainly men, withers. This bodes ill for economic equality and family stability, as men have a harder time finding well-paying jobs.

Not surprisingly, truck drivers are often cited as an example of impending job destruction wrought by automation. But the reality is more complicated. A new study by Uber argues that millions of driver jobs will survive well into the future and that the spread of driverless trucks may actually stimulate the need for more — not fewer — drivers.

The explanation lies in the plausible limits of driverless technologies. Here’s what the Uber study says:

“The biggest technical hurdles for self-driving trucks are driving on tight and crowded city streets, backing into complex loading docks and navigating through busy facilities. . . . These maneuvers require skills that will be hard for self-driving trucks to match for a long time.”

Based on this view, Uber argues that the trucking industry will split into two parts. Long-haul transportation over major highways will be performed increasingly by driverless tractor-trailers that will deliver freight to “transfer hubs” on the edges of major cities. There, local workers and drivers will reload the cargoes and make delivery to final customers.

This system, Uber argues, will be more efficient for shippers and more attractive to drivers. The study assumes that “each self-driving truck could do the work of two of today’s trucks because they can operate at all hours of day and night.” Now, trucks spend only about a third of their time on the road. By doubling this, self-driving trucks would cut costs. Lower costs in turn would stimulate more shipping. Combined with normal growth, this would require more drivers, despite the increase in driverless trucks.

Meanwhile, many drivers might prefer local employment. “Driving a truck is a tough job,” says the report. “The hours can be long and grueling. . . . In some cases, trucking can keep drivers away from home for up to 200 nights a year.”

Of course, we ought to take all this with some skepticism. Uber hopes to make a business of long-distance driverless freight transportation. Its intriguing analysis is not entirely disinterested. Presumably, it wants to defuse opposition to driverless trucks.

Still, the study makes a broader point: Automation — meaning almost any technology that promotes efficiency — has been eliminating jobs for decades without crippling the economy’s ability to create new jobs. Recent examples include kiosks in supermarkets and drug stores; automated parking lots and garages; automated teller machines. Although jobs were lost, others have taken their place.

Economist Timothy Taylor, who posted the Uber study on his useful blog (“Conversable Economist”), puts it this way: “A simple ‘technology replaces jobs’ story . . . is always more complex and sometimes even counterintuitive to how it may appear at first.”

Original Source:

Original Author:

Date: February 7

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What Option in Freight Shipping is best for your Business

Many businesses require a freight service to carry and transport their goods. Since freight transport helps moving around materials in both large and small quantities, it is the preferred method of transportation for several different types of businesses. However, freight shipping itself is a very diverse method of transport. There are a few ways to handle freight shipping. Finding the best shipping service for you depends on several factors, including the dimensions and size of the transport, and its efficiency. You also need to be mindful of how quick the service is since no business wants its goods or supplies to be delayed. The following are the best freight shipping options for your business:

Full Truckload Shipping (FTL)

Full truckload shipping refers to the practice of loading huge cargo in freight trailers, to the extent that the entire semi-trailer is filled entirely. It really lives up to its name, with around 15,000 pounds of storage normally utilized in this freight shipping method. If your business requires moving huge amounts of cargo on a regular basis, full truckload shipping (FTL) is the way to go. Utilizing FTL will help you get better freight costs, better insurance, and greater protection, while moving huge amounts of cargo. FTL is the best shipping method for large manufacturers.

Less than Truckload freight shipping (LTL)

If your business entails moving goods more than an amount weighing 150 pounds and does not require and entire trailer, less than truckload shipping (LTL) is the best shipping method for you. LTL’s often carry a mix of different companies’ goods and travel at far greater speeds. Therefore, they are faster than FTLs and make sure that your goods are transported as quickly as possible with the least bit of hassle. LTLs also service a number of different businesses, from the very small to the very large. If you want your goods to be transported as quickly as possible and don’t need the entire truck, use less than truckload freight shipping (LTL).

Just in Time truckload freight shipping

Just in time truckload (JIT) is the best way of ensuring that your goods arrive at the right time as quick as possible. They are smaller than LTLs and FTLs and naturally carry less goods than both. However, with just in time truckload (JIT) shipping, you can ship appropriate items at a set time and be sure that the goods will be delivered on time. With its closed inventory and quick delivery service, JIT is the best freight shipping method for small businesses looking to reach their customers as quickly as possible.

The freight shipping method you choose depends on your own understanding of your business’ needs and then judging which shipping method suits you the best. It is essential to select the appropriate freight shipping method since the shipping plays a big part in your customer dealings and refilling stock.

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 prepares for logging-device deadline

Trucking industry prepares for logging-device deadline
Just a month after the federal electronic logging device mandate took effect, state police officers in Illinois and Indiana, along with many truck drivers, are in learning gear. Some of the biggest confusion lies over the differences in ELD and automatic on-board recording device technology and in both truckers and officers knowing how to operate the technology. The “soft enforcement” phase of the mandate ends on April 1, when officers will start placing drivers out of service for ELD violations.

Provided photo

INDIANAPOLIS — Figuring out the difference between two different types of electronics has proven to be the biggest hurdle for law enforcement officers and truckers in Indiana, dealing with a truck industry mandate.

“They may look identical, but the functionality is different,” said Lt. Chris Barr, field operations commander of the commercial vehicle enforcement division of the Indiana State Police.

Barr said that truckers are using AOBRDs, automatic on-board recording devices, thinking that those perform the same functions as ELDs, electronic logging devices. ELDs became mandatory in many trucks when a regulation requiring their use went into effect on Dec. 18.

However, law enforcement are in a phase of learning, education and “soft enforcement” until April 1. That’s when out-of-service criteria related to the ELD rule go into effect and when officers can place trucks and drivers out of service for violations of the ELD rule.

“In Indiana, the enforcement is in the learning phase, just as our drivers are. The out-of-service criteria is not going to take effect until April 1, so we’re not placing any drivers out of service if they don’t have an ELD when required. And, there are no CSA points assessed for any roadside inspection,” Barr said.

Barr and Kim Hill, district coordinator and supervisor of the West Harrison scales and the Seymour scales, spoke about the first month of working with the new rule. Hill is keeping officers informed about changes happening within the rule and also answering questions for officers.

“I conducted the training for the commercial vehicle enforcement division on ELDs, and we did that back in December, before the rule became effective. At least once a week, and maybe twice a week, if needed, I send out an frequently-asked questions email, with questions and answers, so we can all continue to learn,” Hill said.

Learning Curve

They both said that trying to figure out if the device a truck is using is an AOBRD or an ELD, which can look alike, has been a big challenge.

“Determining which systems are an ELD and which are an AOBRD, because they may look alike, but the functionality is different, continues to be a challenge. When they are looking at the systems, there has been a little bit of confusion and some growing pains on what are they actually looking at,” Barr said.

He added that uploading hours of service records for the driver is an essential function of ELDs, which AOBRDs cannot do.

“If I am looking at an ELD, I can expect that device to be able to upload their records to an e-ROD (electronic Record Of Duty) program. An AOBRD is not capable of doing that function,” he said.

Confusion also exists around the rule’s effective date and the April 1 out-of-service effective date.

“We’ve had drivers and companies confused about the no out-of-service and no CSA points until April situation. They think that the whole mandate was pushed back to April,” Hill said.

Some drivers also have mistaken the April 1 date for the date they need to be operating an ELD.

“They think that because they delayed the out-of-service criteria and the CSA points, they don’t have to worry about getting an ELD until that time. This is a soft enforcement approach taken by FMCSA on the mandate,” Barr said.

Officers have had a learning curve, too.

“The most difficult part has been teaching them what type of device they are looking at and then all the exemptions. With this being such a new regulation, we have exemptions and exceptions coming in almost every day, it seems. So, keeping ahead of that and getting that updated information out to the officers in the field has been a challenge,” Hill said.

Orignal Source:

Original Author: Jeannine Otto AgriNews Publications

Original Date: Feb 5 2018


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On-demand JIT Logistics Services Is Making the Supply Chain More Manageable Across Industries

One of the most important functions of logistics is the transportation of supply goods to production and trading companies, as well as to the customers of eCommerce. With the increase in frequency of these deliverables, the need for more reliable and logic operators is becoming the most preferred choice in various industries.

Just-in-time transport of goods or JIT logistics services are able to avoid the overhauls of late arrivals. Such a concept prevents the rise in overhead expenses for companies caused due to idle periods. Manufacturing enterprises have suffered huge losses in the past, especially due to the delay in delivery to end customers. In this case, the end user does not need to pay for the shipping costs when operators miss delivery timelines.

Benefits of Performance Driven JIT Logistics

Keeping up with queue management was becoming increasingly difficult for various services such as port and freight stations, logistics operators in which slot coordination is the basic means of handling the system. Late service of a specific vehicle would result in increased costs for transport enterprises.

The all in real-time idea of JIT transport makes time to deliver goods by logistics services no more an estimate, thus preventing the client to wait for the delivery. In fact, this model shows the challenges faced by the various services in action immediately, which essentially leads to an increase in performance efficiency with outcome based possibilities.

Actions Taken to Improve JIT Scheduling

The main aspect leading to this approach; however, involves meeting the “just-in-time” delivery condition. This hugely depends on the movement of logistic vehicles depending on the intensity of traffic on city streets. Transport logistic managers and customer support officials often do not take this into account when planning deliveries. The result is an unorchestrated organization of the delivery time without the careful consideration of the actual possibility of goods delivered within the designated time.

The logistics cycle followed by successful companies keeps the just-in-time planning and delivery safety in mind when calculating the time required for delivery from the onset.

  • Solutions in place to improve the quality of planning with adherence to factors such as delivery parameters, compliance and regulatory requirements, more precise understanding of time, and the schedule of the driver.
  • Integration and processing of data from logistic participants, exchange of information on traffic situations and delays.
  • Adjusting solutions for improvement of delivery control by calculating the time required to deliver current orders.

Future of JIT Logistics Services

Major companies today are using JIT as a more cost efficient method of holding and dispatching stock. It reduces the amount of inventory held at a given time and also schedule timely delivery of the goods. When demand is overdrive, it means shipping is overdrive as well. As companies continue to pursue outsourcing and expand their operations internationally, without a doubt jit transport will bring the revenue for the supply chain for a long time as it focuses on only one factor, cost reduction.

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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Ten trends trucking should watch in 2018

One of John Larkin’s annual “top ten” industry trend listings suggests automation may not arrive soon enough to stave off a major labor crunch.

There’s a lot of change going on in trucking right now, with the contentious imposition of electronic logging devices (ELDs) but one of the more salient examples.

Trying to keep track of all the trend lines affecting trucking, both inside and outside the industry, can be a daunting task but luckily John Larkin – managing director and head of transportation capital markets research for Stifel Capital Markets – takes a stab at it every year.

So, what should motor carrier executives keep their eyes upon as the New Year starts shifting into high gear? Here’s what Larkin thinks will be key in 2018.

  1. Automation and reduced regulation not occurring fast enough to keep pace with growing blue collar labor shortage and demand growth.

In the view of several executives Larkin has talked with, automation isn’t being applied quickly enough to eliminate what is evolving as a chronic blue collar labor shortage. “Truckers struggle to find compliant, drug free drivers. Truckers struggle to find technicians to perform maintenance work on their ever more complicated tractors and trailers,” he said. “Warehouse men, distribution center operators, and fulfillment center operators bellyache about the lack of competent, willing workers. The construction industry and the energy development industries face the same issue … and can’t seem to automate enough functions quickly enough to alleviate the worsening people shortage.

Photo: Aaron Marsh/Fleet Owner

Stifel’s John Larkin

Larkin thinks that within five to 20 years, depending on the task automation will be broadly enough applied across the global and national supply chains to eliminate, or at least greatly diminish, the current labor shortage. “However, growth of freight demand and additional factors constraining freight hauling and handling capacity could accelerate from here, extending the time frame required to ease the potentially problematical labor shortage,” he warned.

  1. E-commerce will continue to change the logistics playing field and raise the bar.

E-commerce currently serves roughly 13% of the broader retail market and analysts predict that e-commerce will control 17% of the broader retail market within five years and over 20% in 10 years.

“The dominant, brick and mortar store-based distribution model is gradually being replaced by a less forgiving e-commerce-based fulfillment model that provides less buffer inventory, that requires faster transit times, and that demands more precise pick-up and delivery times,” Larkin said. “There is little question that e-commerce requires a faster, more time-definite, and more tailored supply chain as well as forward positioned inventory that allows for two hour fulfillment, same day delivery, and next day delivery — all to the point of consumption.”

How will all of that affect trucking? Will different freight-carrying trucks be needed to meet more “last-mile” demand? Will smaller-sized trucks be operating on more frequent delivery schedules? Or will drones be performing this work? And how do those demands impact warehouse/distribution center development? In short, the impact of e-commerce on supply chain operations may only be starting.

  1. Amazon’s insourcing tendency could prove problematical over the longer term.

Amazon – which is in many ways the 900-lb. gorilla of the freight world – challenges its employees to think “outside the box,” said Larkin. “The result of that thinking, so far at least, within the realm of transportation and distribution sector, suggests that Amazon is increasingly supplementing its transportation services vendors with its own capacity,” he explained. “Already the company is building a $2 billion airfreight and parcel hub in Cincinnati. The company has bought its own trailers and contracted with smaller [motor] carriers to pull the freight. We have heard from unverified sources that Amazon will soon purchase its own tractors and will soon contract with major railroads for its own double stack intermodal trains.”

If some or all of that “base load” volume is pulled in house by Amazon, how might that impact broader freight volumes handled by truckers?

  1. Electric vehicles are coming and at a faster pace than many may expect.

While Larkin noted that while there is disagreement on the extent to which electrically powered vehicles are cheaper to operate than gasoline or diesel powered vehicles, there is agreement that they offer somewhat lower costs in aggregate. “Their motors have less moving parts, require less maintenance, and have a longer expected life,” he said. “And the cost of electricity is generally less volatile than the price of petroleum-based fuels. The challenge is to develop batteries with enough storage capacity to allow for extended runs between recharging opportunities and batteries that are light enough so as to not impinge on the freight hauling capacity of the truck or tractor-trailer.”

The key, Larkin thinks, will be linking electric propulsion with autonomous vehicles. “Environmentalists and cost mavens alike may both support electric trucks, particularly if they are paired with driverless technology,” he said.

  1. Technology is transforming trucking at an accelerating rate – and will continue to do so.

“There was a time during the earlier stages of my career when virtually no venture capital firms cared about companies operating in the transportation and logistics space,” Larkin said. “My, how times have changed. There are a now plethora of venture capital firms looking to fund companies attempting to bring technology into the broader transportation and logistics space.”

He stressed, though, that the technologies under development – that are currently creating all the “buzz” in the venture capital community – are often focused on automating labor intensive processes such as freight matching, rating, billing, network optimization, fleet management, dispatch, maintenance planning, driver management, and the like.

  1. The tax bill will be a huge shot in the arm for business overall and for trucking in particular.

One indication is that many motor carriers are currently raising their driver pay 5% to 10% or more, in some cases, even before locking in the rate increases needed to pay for such pay increases. “By the way, the driver shortage/turnover problem is as severe as we have ever seen it, and we have been tracking the industry since the early 80’s,” Larkin added.

On top of that bonus depreciation will incentivize the purchase of more capital equipment and the accelerated replacement of aging trucks, with the new lower effective tax rates most likely harnessed to pay drivers more, renew fleets, and to fund merger and acquisition activity.

“While not many domestic transportation companies will benefit from the repatriation of foreign profits directly, their customers may invest more in the U.S., pay their employees more, and hire more workers as capital comes back to the U.S.,” Larkin said. “Any or all of those initiatives would likely be good for increased freight hauling demand.”

  1. Industry consolidation is poised to accelerate.

Expanding on his earlier merger and acquisition point, Larkin said consolidation within the freight transportation industry has accelerated in recent years, though, on balance, most sectors remain relatively highly fragmented – especially trucking. “The LTL sector is partially consolidated, while the truck brokerage, drayage, logistics, truckload, and contract logistics segments all remain relatively highly fragmented,” he said. “We would expect operating firms to continue consolidating their industry sectors and/or diversifying their range of services offered in 2018 and beyond. The cost of debt and equity capital remains very low, by almost any reasonable standard, while organic growth is challenged by the lack of qualified, compliant blue collar labor. Plus, customers are becoming increasingly comfortable dealing with fewer, larger, more diversified providers of full logistics solutions.”

  1. Transportation infrastructure investment remains sorely lacking.

The U.S. interstate highway system “literally changed the complexion of the nation’s economic development witnessed over the last 50 to 60 years,” argued Larkin. Yet little thought was given to the funding mechanism needed to enable this “spectacular civil engineering project” to be properly maintained and expanded over the ensuing decades, he said; thus the end result is a “poorly maintained system” that lacks sufficient capacity in certain parts of the country.

“The cost of this lack of funding is immense given the incremental wear and tear inflicted on vehicles operating over deteriorating pavements and the congestion that prevents the free flow of good and citizens for large portions of the day in and around many of our most important urban areas,” Larkin stressed. “Clearly the transportation network in the U.S. is the primary logistical backbone supporting the existing economy and any incremental growth. It is time for Congress to wake up and address this critical issue or it may run the risk of putting further negative pressure on our global economic competitiveness.”

  1. Demographic and population shifts will continue to impact freight transportation.

Ongoing population redistribution is creating new “demand patterns” for consumers and new business-to-business demand patterns that impact freight flow volumes and lane balance. In addition, such changes directly drive the need for incremental infrastructure spending. “Supply chain networks also must adapt to the migration,” noted Larkin. “Optimal locations for distribution centers, fulfillment centers, and flexible manufacturing centers, can all change over time as the population shifts. The optimal sourcing decisions for raw materials, parts, and components can also change as the migration pattern continues to evolve. Thus logistics companies, motor carriers, shippers, and receivers all need to be mindful of this slow but sure need to adapt their internal networks and asset allocations to match better match morphing population density trends.”

10. Peak urbanization may have already been reached.

“For many years we have written about the re-urbanization trend:  Young college grads and professionals preferring to work, live, and play in trendy neighborhoods close to our ‘urban cores.’ Apartment living was the norm as singles delayed family formation, avoided home ownership – and sometimes automobile ownership – while often prolonging their collegiate social behavior through their twenties.”

However, once “family formation occurs” and children enter the scene – albeit a smaller number of children per family unit than typically of prior generations – migration trends re-accelerate towards the suburbs.

“This accelerating suburbanization, if you will, puts a strain on highway systems and suburban infrastructure – especially in the modern urban regions where jobs are not disproportionately located in the central business district,” Larkin said. “With reduced population density in the suburbs, last mile delivery is complicated, by the increased distance between stops, the reduced number of parcels per stop, and worsening traffic congestion.”

Thus, just when re-urbanization was predicted to simplify and create last-mile delivery efficiencies while reducing peak hour demand on the transportation network as a whole, Larkin the “white picket fence dream” may be experiencing a revival – and thus foment yet another shift in logistics needs.

Needless to say, all of the above is a heady mix of trends that’s hard to absorb in one sitting. Thus we’ll revisit Larkin’s projections as the year progresses to see what ones gain speed and which ones veer from their expected paths.

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Original Author:

Written by: Sean Kilcarr

Published: Jan 09, 2018

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5 Ways JIT Transportation Can Help Your Business Succeed

Transportation for Business

Transportation is one of the most important factors needed for a business.  There are many different purposes and areas for which we need to use transportation companies that specialize in business to business transportation services like JIT, FTL, and LTL. Trucking companies offering transportation services often offer competitive rates, insured services, and customer service guarantees.  One of the most important benefits however is their assurance that your deliveries both coming and going will be delivered on time and with care.

Location Specific Delivery

Using a company dedicated to transportation services has become popular in business now-a-days.  This is especially true of Just in Time transportation services as it allows goods to be delivered at a desired location and time.  This allows your business to avoid the expense that comes along with carrying inventory such as warehousing by delivering goods to your location when they are needed.  This inventory strategy helps to increase the efficiency of your business while decreasing waste and reducing inventory costs.

No Large Inventories

Using JIT transportation services are different than other modes of business such as FTL and LTL as it requires producers to make use of forecasting techniques to ensure demands are met in an accurate manner.  JIT is a system where there is a shift from traditional strategies of warehousing large inventories to help meet demand.

The JIT logistics services have number of advantage as compared to the traditional models used. The production is short and that means that the manufacturers can easily move from one product to another.  At the same time the costs are eliminated when this method is used as the storage needs are eliminated. The companies spend less money on the raw materials.

Cost Effective

Companies today love to use the JIT method as it is cost effective way of holding stock. The main purpose is minimizing the goods which you hold at a time. It helps you in saving space. The turnaround of stock is fast and thus you don’t need any stage space and warehouse for holding and storing stock, storage costs are reduced, and you don’t need to buy or rent the warehouse. This savings allows you to invest that money in other parts of the business.

No Waste

The waste is reduced when the JIT transportation strategy is used. The turnaround of the stock is fast and thus the goods being damaged and stolen gets reduced as there will be no goods stored it will not be having issues with goods. This saves companies money.   This transportation method is a good choice for large and small companies alike. Companies do not have to have any funds for purchasing high quantity of stock as it will be taken when needed which will create a healthy flow of cash in and out of your business.

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 Remains One of the Nation’s Deadliest Jobs

Truckers occupy one of the nation’s deadliest jobs. Last year, 786 drivers were killed while working.

That’s an increase of 5.5 percent from 2015, after falling the previous year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual census of fatal occupational injuries, published Tuesday.

Since 2011, the annual number of driver fatalities has jumped 17.3 percent.

Opinions differ on what makes trucking so deadly.

“The underlying theme is two-fold for commercial vehicle drivers, fatigue and inattentiveness such as distracted driving,” said Collin Mooney, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of North American government agencies.

“It’s hard to pinpoint it to one thing,” said Norita Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents more than 160,000 independent truckers.

Regulators focus on rules that aren’t safety related, Taylor said.

“We still don’t have enough training or crashworthiness testing,” she said.

As could be expected for an occupation that puts people on the road for days or weeks at a time, the vast majority — 80 percent — of heavy-duty truckers’ work-related deaths involved transportation incidents, according to the BLS.

The job is one of the 10 deadliest for the year.

In 2016, truck drivers had a fatal injury rate of 24.7 per 100,000 full-time employees. Other dangerous occupations include logging, with a fatality rate of 135.9 per 100,000; fishermen, at 86 deaths; and aircraft pilots and flight engineers, at 55.5, according to the bureau.

tractor deaths graph The agency’s data underscores other recent federal transportation safety agency findings of increased trucking-related crashes and deaths.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported 722 truckers killed in traffic crashes in 2016. That’s up 8.6 percent from the prior year, according to the agency’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System annual census published in October.

The number of truckers who died in 2016 was 47 percent higher than in 2009, which registered the lowest number of fatalities since federal agencies began collecting fatal crash data in 1975, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute.

All are possible outcomes of a booming economy that’s resulted in increased highway miles for vehicles of all types and surging demand for e-commerce that’s seen a steady rise in freight volumes.

In addition to work-related deaths, truckers are more likely than the average U.S. worker to get injured or sick on the job.

Workers across all U.S. private- and public-sector industries in 2016 sustained work-related injuries or illnesses at the rate of 3.2 per 100 full-time employees, according to separate BLS data on nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses published last month.

By contrast, long-haul truckers sustained work-related injuries or illnesses at the rate of 4.4 per 100 full-time employees. In 2016, regional drivers were injured or got sick at the rate of 3.7 per 100, and moving van drivers at the highest rate: 7.6.

Work-related injuries and illnesses led long-haul truckers to take off a cumulative 47,560 days from work in 2016, according to the BLS.

Drivers Feel Slightly Less Safe Than in the Past

The uptick in work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses could be one reason drivers feel slightly less safe on the job than they did six years ago, according to StayMetrics, a South Bend, Ind., driver-retention technology company that polls truckers on issues such as job safety.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “strongly disagree” and 5 being “strongly agree,” drivers’ average response to the statement “I feel safe on the job” was 3.88 in 2017, compared with 4.12 in 2012, StayMetrics found. The company’s 2017 data are based on responses from 9,575 drivers.

trucker Safety feelings“There is erosion on how safe drivers feel about the profession,” said StayMetrics Chief Executive Tim Hindes. “I can only surmise that increased traffic congestion and lack of access to safe, predictable parking would be leading causes.”

Within the industry, there’s widespread disagreement over how effective electronic logging devices will be in combating driver fatigue. Some believe fatigue contributes to unsafe conditions and leads to crash-related injuries and deaths.

A federal mandate requiring carriers and independent drivers to install ELDs in trucks to track driving time went into effect Monday. Regulators believe the devices will help enforce a federal hours-of-service rule limiting truckers to 11 hours of driving within a 14-hour workday.

Differing Opinions on ELDs’ Potential to Curb Crash-Related Deaths, Injuries

ELDs are “one approach to address the fatigue issue,” said Mooney.

Fatality rates should drop as a result of the new mandate, he said.

In addition to keeping truckers out of harm’s way, Mooney said ELDs will reduce non-trucker fatalities caused by truck-involved crashes.

In 2016, two-thirds of people who died in truck-related collisions were occupants of passenger vehicles hit by trucks, according to the IIHS’ Highway Loss Data Institute.

Truckers accounted for 17 percent of truck-related fatalities, and 16 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists, according to IIHS.

A smartphone-obsessed society that’s led to more distracted driving-based crashes could be a contributing factor, Mooney said.

“Distracted driving is an issue for all drivers,” he said. “You see it every day; people are on their phones, they’re not watching the road.”

Better driver training and crashworthiness testing will do more to curb driver deaths and injuries than ELDs, said Taylor.

“I don’t think they’ll make a difference in terms of safety,” said Taylor, whose organization actively battled ELD implementation in the months leading up to the mandate’s start date.

ELDs track a truck’s movement and location and do nothing to address fatigue or ensure compliance with hours-of-work regulations, she said.

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Original Date: Dec. 26 2017

Original Author: Michelle Rafter

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