Different Types of Freight Shipping Options

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

Less than Truck Load

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

Dedicated Truckload

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

Full Truck Dedicated

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original Source: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/09/09/national-truck-driver-appreciation-week-let-s-celebrate-those-who-supply-our-lives-and-strengthen-economy.html

Original Date: Sept 9 2018

Written By: Kevin Burch

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Strategies That Reduce Freight Costs

Ship only on off-peak days –

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


For smaller shipment consider using a consolidation program –

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


Develop long-term agreements with freight shipping –

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


Changing your shipping lead times –

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


Reduce unnecessary weight per pallet –

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


Reduce the number of pallets used on LTL ships –

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


Show the carrier that your company loads trucks quickly –

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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Trucking Industry, Drivers Disagree On How To Address Shortage

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

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

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

What’s Causing The Shortage?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will The ‘Drive Safe Act’ Relieve The Shortage?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original Source: https://indianapublicmedia.org/news/industry,-drivers-disagree-on-how-to-address-shortage.php

Original Date: August 31 2018

Original Author: Tyler Lake

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Difference Between Freight Forwards and Freight Carrier

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


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

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


These benefits include:

Cutting Out the Middle Man

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


Ability to Negotiate Shipping Rates Yourself


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


You Can Choose A Company You Trust


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

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


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


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Balancing Different Types of Trucking Services with Shippers Needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trucking Industry News

Trucking by the Numbers 2018: Trucking and freight snapshot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original Source: https://www.fleetowner.com/fleet-management/trucking-numbers-2018-trucking-and-freight-snapshot


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Cross Docking Logistic Services Help Support Your Business

Logistics is an important part of the business and it is the concept of getting products from point A to point B in the quickest possible moment. Depending on where you are in the supply chain is how cross-docking can benefit you and your business.


What is Cross Docking

Cross-docking is a supply chain process in that it helps manufacturers and bulk suppliers get their product into the supply chain much faster. The product arrives at one side of the building and it is immediately unloaded and moved directly to the outbound side of the building ready to be loaded onto an outbound truck that is headed in the same location. This helps to consolidate loads and cuts down on expensive LTL shipping cost.


Benefits of Cross Docking

Gets the product to market faster – The use of cross-docking helps to improve efficiency in moving product to market faster. By turning around shipment quicker and less handling of the product also helps to speed up efficiency in shipping. The process can be used in both durable goods and those types of products that require refrigeration. It can be useful in the shipping of higher value items that normally need special security consideration.


Lowers over shipping cost – Cross docking cuts down on a number things like labor cost through, a smaller warehouse footprint so that you don’t need as much space. It also can help to consolidate several LTL shipments into a single shipment. You also eliminate having to rotate product and having inventory which saves money.


Improved service levels – Cross docking can be extremely useful when there is a call for a change in a shipment, this can make any changes downstream a lot easier since shipment arrives in bulk. The shipment is repacked in a container and shipped out to their final destinations. This process helps to speed up the entire supply chain, in turn, help all businesses across the board.


Downsides to Cross Docking

Cross-docking does not work especially well in all circumstances and it helps to know when those times are when trying to determine if it fits in with your logistical needs. Here are just a few examples of when it might not be a good fit for crossing docking shipments.  It requires a lot of management time to organize all of the movement of product and all of the planning that goes into can make it counterproductive under some circumstances.  Establishing a cross-docking terminal structure can be time-consuming and the capital expenditures need to be considered ahead of time.


Not all suppliers are able to support across dock setup and that could throw a monkey wrench into your operation having to have an alternative system in order to support the supplier’s needs.

In support of an efficient cross dock system, there has to be an adequate number of trucks to move the product in and out fast enough to support such a system.


It really works well with mainly high-volume products that break down well and can be repackaged for quicker shipments. In order for a cross-docking arrangement to work the supplier has to reliable enough to get their product to you in order to be able to turn it around fast enough.


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 www.matrixtransportation.com  To contact one of our trucking experts call toll free 888.896.2405 today.




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To ease trucker shortage, Trump team considers dropping age requirement to 18

To ease trucker shortage, Trump team considers dropping age requirement to 18


Tractor-trailer trucks move cargo in shipping containers out of the Port of Savannah in Georgia. (Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press)


The Trump administration is advancing a program to let some younger workers drive big trucks across state lines, signaling an openness to lowering the driving age more broadly amid a massive trucker shortage.

The federal government currently requires commercial truck drivers to be at least 21 to drive a large truck across state lines. But a Department of Transportation pilot program will soon allow some drivers as young as 18 to drive cross-country for private trucking companies. Specifically, the program would be available to some members of the National Guard and others with military experience

“Later this year, FMCSA will begin implementing a pilot program to allow 18- to 20-year-old drivers that have training and experience in certain military occupational specialties to operate commercial vehicles in interstate commerce,” said Duane DeBruyne, a spokesperson for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the Transportation Department.

House Republicans introduced a bill in March to lower the commercial truck driving age to 18 for anyone driving interstate who passes the required tests. President Trump has not announced a stance on the bill, but his administration is using the pilot program and other research efforts to lay the groundwork for lowering the age.

The truck driver shortage is expected to hit 63,000 this year, according to the American Trucking Assns. Some companies are raising pay to attract more people to the industry, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for a job that often requires people to be away from home for weeks at a time.

The shortage is causing delayed deliveries and higher prices at stores as companies pass the higher costs along to consumers.

“America depends on you,” Trump told truckers at the White House last year. “No one knows America like truckers know America.”

Many large trucking companies are urging Trump and Congress to change the minimum driving age as one potential solution to the problem, although safety advocates say that it would be a mistake and that big companies just want cheap labor. Congress originally directed the Transportation Department to start a pilot program for people who are younger than 21 and have military experience in a 2015 act. The Trump administration is working to make it happen.

Eighteen-year-olds can get a commercial driver’s license in most states already, but they are limited to driving inside state lines. It’s a quirk that means a 19-year-old can drive a semi-trailer truck several hours from Alexandria, Va., to Roanoke, Va., but not a few minutes from Alexandria to Washington, D.C. (California does not issue commercial driver’s licenses to people younger than 21.)

“We already say 18-year-olds can drive anywhere inside a state. All this bill does is say after they’ve completed a rigorous safety program of 400 total hours driving with somebody else, then they can cross state lines,” said Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind.), a lead co-sponsor of the DRIVE-Safe Act, which now has 54 co-sponsors, including three Democrats.

Hollingsworth says he has been flooded with calls and visits from restaurant owners, retailers and manufacturers who have “horror stories” of not being able to get their products delivered right now. He thinks the change would help get more people interested in trucking.

Driving an 18-wheel truck is one of the most dangerous professions in the United States, which is why lowering the commercial driving age to crisscross the country remains controversial.

Motor vehicle drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than people over 20 to fatally crash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At TDDS Technical Institute, an independent truck driving training school in Lake Milton, Ohio, opinion is mixed on whether lowering the age is a wise move. Some argue that 18- and 19-year-olds are allowed to drive trucks inside state lines, so what is the difference in crossing the border?

“I support lowering the age,” said Rick Rathburn Jr., the owner of TDDS. “We get a lot of calls from 18- and 19-year-olds that are interested in trucking.”

Rathburn pointed out that many truck driving jobs offer middle-class pay, but people graduating high school can’t access the jobs. Instead they go into construction or retail and forget trucking is an option when they turn 21.

Montell Myers is a 21-year-old who grew up playing with Hess trucks and came all the way from North Carolina to enroll in TDDS. He was working a $9-an-hour job at a go-kart track and wished he had been able to get into trucking sooner.

“At a minimum, I hope to make $65,000. I want to do flatbed trucking so I can get extra money,” Myers said. “I feel like I could have been here at 18.”

Others say teenagers aren’t ready for the responsibility that comes with driving an 18-wheeler that’s often carrying 80,000 pounds of cargo on highways and narrow city streets.

“I like the 21-year-old regulation,” said Gordon Zellers, a doctor who does the required physicals for TDDS students seeking their commercial driver’s license. “I always think: Do I want this 18-year-old driving near my grandchildren?”

The DRIVE-Safe Act tries to address safety concerns by mandating extra training before a driver under 21 can cross state lines alone.

Truck drivers typically attend a special school like TDDS for several weeks and then take a written and behind-the-wheel test to earn their commercial driver’s license. After that, they usually spend a few weeks with a veteran driver learning the job and equipment.

Under the bill, a young driver would not be able to drive alone across state lines before completing at least 240 hours of “apprentice” driving supervised by a veteran driver. The apprentice also can’t exceed 65 mph.

Original Source: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-trucker-age-requirement-20180629-story.html#

Original Date: Jun 29 2018

Original Author: Washington Post

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Food Industry Says Younger Drivers May Help Solve The Trucking Shortage

A big-rig truck in 2012 near Sturgis, South Dakota. (Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)

Being a truck driver is a tough job. Spending a long time away from home and earning low wages (the average pay for an interstate truck driver is $43,663 per year, according to PayScale.com) are major impediments to replenishing an aging workforce with younger, better-educated drivers. On top of that, the economy is better, so less grueling jobs are available, and the crackdown on immigration may have discouraged potential drivers without complete documentation from continuing to drive.

Exacerbating the situation, according to John Keeling, EVP and CEO of the National Potato Council, is “that fresh produce is often grown in somewhat isolated rural areas, and there is no inbound freight to bring to those areas so there is a lot of deadheading (trucks that ride empty). As a result, freight rates are high for potatoes (and other fresh crops), often exceeding the wholesale cost of the potato.”

To make matters worse, potato shippers and other produce shippers tend to depend on smaller independent truckers, but their ranks seem to be depleted.

Earlier this week, a coalition of 42 food trade groups sent a letter to Rep. Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican and the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to speed along passage of the DRIVE-Safe Act (H.R. 5358). It was introduced this past March by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and would allow drivers under age 21 to be able to drive trucks across state lines. The current laws allow drivers who turn 18 to get a commercial truck license but do not allow for interstate commerce.

As consumers demand more fresh produce and foods be available to them, the demand for trucks is increasing. In fact, in the letter to the Chairman, the trade groups said there is a need for 50,000 additional drivers today, and by 2026 the shortfall is estimated to top 174,000. This estimate assumes the current transportation system infrastructure, though, and doesn’t take into account new delivery technologies including self-driving trucks or drones.

Fresh produce is highly perishable, and every hour that this cargo is on a truck sees its shelf life, and possibly its market value, diminish. Without a robust trucking delivery system in place, farmers, distributors and retailers all feel a financial impact when the truck doesn’t get there on time.

In 2012, then-President Barack Obama signed into law MAP-21 — Moving Ahead For Progress in the 21st Century — a bill designed to improve our transportation system and highways. Part of the bill, Sec. 32301, required trucks to use electronic logging devices (ELD) instead of paper logs to increase highway safety. The objective was to tighten the transparency surrounding just how many hours a truck driver could drive before taking a break. The regulation was due to be implemented by December 18, 2017, and expired June 18, 2018, requiring all drivers to use an ELD. Livestock and insect haulers have an extended exemption through Sept. 30, 2018. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Rep. Greg Gianforte, (R-Montana) have introduced the Agricultural Business Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018, with the intent to exempt agriculture from the mandate.

The current federal “hours-of-service” regulation stipulates a total of 14 hours, with a maximum continuous driving time of 11 hours — the difference equating to three hours of breaks within the 14-hour period, followed by 10 hours of off-duty time. This regulation has been in effect since 2011. The current bill does have an agriculture exemption, which is in effect during each state’s designating planting and harvest season and is limited by a 150-mile distance from the source of an agricultural commodity. That means that the time a trucker spends operating within 150 miles does not count against the 14-hour limit.

Across the supply chain everyone agrees that we need a safer, better-trained truck driver workforce to move our foods from the agricultural centers of the country (California grows over a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts) to supermarkets across the nation. Lowering the driving eligibility could certainly create more opportunities for 18- to 21-year-olds and be part of the solution — but there is much more to solving the current dilemma.

Original Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/phillempert/2018/06/21/the-trucking-shortage-has-many-causes-the-food-industry-says-younger-drivers-can-solve-the-problem/#66491c2dbf8c

Original Date: Jun 21 2018

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