Monday, April 27, 2015

North American Freight Numbers - February 2015

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data
U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $85.7 billion in February 2015 as two out of five transportation modes – air and truck – carried more U.S.-NAFTA freight than in February 2014, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by theU.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 1, Table 1). The $85.7 billion total is the lowest February value for U.S.-NAFTA freight since 2011. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by all modes decreased by 4.3 percent. The value of NAFTA trade by pipeline and vessel declined in February due to the reduced unit price of mineral fuel shipments.

Freight by Mode

In February 2015 compared to February 2014, the value of commodities moving by air grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 4.5 percent. Truck freight increased by 0.9 percent (Figure 1, Table 2). Rail freight decreased by 6.2 percent. Pipeline freight decreased by 22.8 percent and vessel freight decreased by 29.0 mainly due to the lower unit price of mineral fuel shipments.

Trucks carried 63.1 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $26.9 billion of the $45.7 billion of imports (58.9 percent) and $27.2 billion of the $40.0 billion of exports (67.9 percent).

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 14.4 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 7.1 percent; pipeline, 6.1 percent; and air, 3.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Share the Road Drivers Deliver Safety Message

ATA - American Trucking Associations
Share the Road Drivers Deliver Safety Message to 
Waynesboro, Va.
Drivers will Discuss Trucking and Highway Safety Issues at Community Awareness Day

Arlington, Va. – Drivers from American Trucking Associations’ Share the Road Program will attend a Community Awareness Day, April 18 in Waynesboro, Va., to discuss and demonstrate the importance of highway safety and the trucking industry.

“Communities across the country depend on trucking to safely deliver their goods – nearly 80% of our nation’s cities and towns have their freight delivered exclusively by trucks,” said Herschel Evans, a professional driver with Holland, Bremen, Ga. “Being able to talk to people about what trucking does for them and how to be safe on the roads is an important part of what we do with the Share the Road program.”

Share the Road is a safety outreach program of the American Trucking Associations. Sponsored by Mack Trucks and Michelin North America Inc., and supported by TravelCenters of America LLC, HELP Inc., SmartDrive Systems Inc. and Hyundai Translead, Share the Road drivers visit schools and community events across the country touting ATA’s message of safety and essentiality of trucking.

“Just like people depend on trucking, drivers like me depend on fellow motorists to share the road safely so we can all reach our destinations,” said Share the Road Professional Neil Kirk, Penske Logistics, Middletown, N.Y. “By slowing down, buckling up and being aware of traffic around you, you can do your part to ensure that everyone’s journey is a safe one.”

“Having the Share the Road truck in Virginia is tremendously important, we’re happy to host them,” said Virginia Trucking Association President Dale Bennett. “Trucking is important to Virginians and safety is important to all of us, so it is great having these professional drivers here to spread those messages.”

For the event, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 18, the Share the Road truck will be at the Lowe’s Home Improvement Center at 801 Lew Dewitt Boulevard in Waynesboro, Va. The drivers will conduct blind spot demonstrations and educate attendees on highway safety.

Share the Road is a highway safety outreach program of the American Trucking Associations that educates all drivers about sharing the roads safely with large trucks. An elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles deliver life-saving messages to millions of motorists annually. The safety program is sponsored by Mack Trucks Inc. and Michelin North America Inc.  Follow the Share the Road on Twitter and Facebook.

American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook. Trucking Moves America Forward.

Monday, April 20, 2015

OOIDA petitions to intervene in cross-border trucking lawsuit

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
(Grain Valley, Mo., April 8, 2015) – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to intervene in a cross-border trucking lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The lawsuit, filed in March 2015 by the Teamsters and safety advocate groups, challenges the government’s decision to grant permanent operating authority to Mexico-domiciled trucking companies to conduct long-haul trucking services throughout the United States.
The Association’s petition states that as the representative of small-business truck drivers, OOIDA can bring a unique practical and legal perspective compared to the other petitioners regarding the ability of Mexico-domiciled trucking companies to operate safely on U.S. highways. Additionally, the motion points out that the economic interests of small-business truck drivers differs from the interests represented by the other petitioners.
OOIDA contends that the U.S. DOT’s three-year pilot program did not generate enough data to reach an informed conclusion about whether the border should be opened. The Association questioned the evaluation and validity of the information collected during the pilot program in this letter to FMCSA. OOIDA contends that the border should not be opened unless and until Mexico establishes equivalent regulatory trucking standards to that of the United States and proves that its trucking industry can fully comply with U.S. safety regulations.
Editor’s note: The Association’s official publication, Land Line Magazine published this article on this latest development on the issue.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the only national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Trucking Business Tips for the Startup Owner-Operator

It starts with a dedication to being your own boss, and taking on the sole responsibility for the success of your owner-operator trucking business. There’s a lot to deal with in the first few years, but once the operation is moving smoothly and you have good back office people in place, your life as an independent trucker will possibly be best decision you ever made.

Staffing your Back Office


Even if you’re on a shoe string budget, it’s critical to have someone managing the financial aspect of the business if this is an area you’re not strong in. Don’t let ego or cost-cutting measures change your mind otherwise. New owner-operator trucking business ventures are made or broken within the first few months, and with tight cash flow, you want it managed properly.

A book keeper will give you the security of being focus on finances, leaving the operation of the truck and loads to yourself. Having a firm grasp on what your financial status is will allow you to fine tune your bidding process on jobs.

Acquiring Clients

Unless you’ve been keeping a little black book in your back pocket of potential clients, your first load job will most likely come off a load board, where short notice, one time drop-and-go’s are listed and bid upon ferociously by independent owner-operators. This is by no means a suggested method for acquiring long term, or even good paying clients, but it is a place to start to build a reputation and pick up loads when nothing else is available to you.

The bidding process is more cut throat on a load job board, but the principles are the same- offer the lowest price to attract a client, but not so low as you won’t make any money.

Once you are established with a few loads under your belt, you can begin knocking on doors. Don’t overlook other shipping companies, as many have a sub-contracting branch to help with their overspill. Your focus should be on building long term relationships with reliable customers.

Hiring Additional Drivers

A solid owner-operator business plan for a trucking business in the beginning is to limit liability and run just one truck. But, as your business grows, you might want to begin building a fleet. Your first drivers should be reliable and professional, so look to hire those you know and trust, or look for references from the trucking schools.

There are additional ways to pull drivers into your business, and don’t overlook the possibility of coming to a hot seat partnership with someone as a way to lower costs and increase profits. Whatever your choice, take the time to make sure it’s in your best interest and not because it just feels like the right thing to do. Expanding too fast without a plan can be the beginning of the end for an ill prepared trucking business owner-operator.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Truck Stop History In The United States

Truck Stop History
Truck stops aren’t a new concept in American history. The history of truck stops dates further back into the 19th century when stagecoach relay stations presented a resting site for wagon drivers, horses as well as passengers. These passengers not only had the opportunity to stretch and relax, but also fill their stomachs. But with the invention of gas-fuelled vehicles by Henry Ford, this provided an avenue for an average American individual to own a car. As a result, there was a massive boost in the development and establishment of truckstops along the roads and highways.

Initially, service station owners presumed that their customers would be individuals who traveled by car, little did they know that their operations would open the doors to truck drivers and that would be their major source of earnings.

World War I gave a remarkable improvement to the trucking industry. Previously, trucks were too undersized to cart much in a single load and they just weren’t effective. Usually, they broke down and the truckers repaired these trucks by themselves. The war altered that, as trucks were considered necessary abroad, as well as at home to convey supplies to the rail stations.

World War II further heightened the need for truckers as the trucking industry persistently grew. Many trucks were powered with diesel fuel, thus generating the need for truck drivers as well as new merchandise for truck stops to put in the market.

The 1940s and 1950s witnessed the evolution of truck stops from a more ad hoc industry to one that was more cautiously designed specifically with the interest of long haul truckers at heart. In 1948, Fred Bosselman (who was a trucker and farmer) together with his wife, established the Bosselman and Eaton Truck Stop in Grand Island, Nebraska for business. In 1965, the Bosselman Truck Plaza, also known as the "Truck Stop of Tomorrow," opened its doors for business and was located on the new Interstate 80. This gave a foretaste about how the trucking industry would look in the years to come. Till date, the Bosselman truck stops are still open for business across the United States.

In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Federal Interstate Highway Act which propelled the construction of 41,000 miles of new interstate roads. This led to a boost in the truck stop business.

Independent truck stops were sited along with the first chains, which were owned by the oil companies such as Amoco, Skelly, and Pure. As trucks became bigger, there was need to acquire more land mass in order to accommodate more trucks at the truck stops. This led to the epoch of multi-acre truck stop establishment and ownership.

In 1972, Truckstops of America (now recognized as TravelCenters of America) opened its first six locations. Also, Petro, as well as the Iron Skillet restaurant opened for operations around the same time.

In 1970, truck stops were referred to as travel plazas in order for it to appeal not only to the truckers, but also the general public at large. Today, the creation of travel plazas has not only made it possible to accommodate truckers, but also a mix of travelers. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

How to get a Transportation Worker Identification Credential?T

Who Has to Get TWIC?

Transportation Worker Identification is a sort of Identity card that is issued by the Transportation Security Administration as well as the U.S Coast Guard. This card is mandatory for all the marine workers who require unprotected access to secure areas of port facilities, outer continental shelf facilities as well as vessels regulated under the Marine Transportation Security Act 2002. 

Procedure for getting TWIC

In order for an individual to get a Transport Worker Identification Credential, such person needs to submit the documents which are listed in the procedure and also give proof of their citizenship. Citizens who are born in U.S have to provide documents proving their citizenship. A new card can be processed with standard fees of 128$ with effect from 1st February 2015. There is a reduction in price than the previous rates, as a result of the FBI’s lowered fingerprint processing charges. Usually, a new card would take duration of 10 to 12 weeks for processing as well as issuing. Hence, it is advisable to the applicant that they apply prior to this duration from their requirement of Transportation Worker Identification Credential.
To get TWIC card an applicant must provide biographic and biometric information like fingerprints and also be present for a digital photograph and be able to successfully pass the Security threat assessment test conducted by TSA.

What does the card look like?

Transportation Worker Identification Credential card is a tampered card that contains Integrated Circuit Chip which contains holder’s Biometric data and holder’s information. This card can be read under a reader or by holding it near a contactless reader. Other alternative methods to decode the information stored in the cards are through a magnetic field and linear barcode provided at the back of the card.  

This card looks like a simple Identity card which carries your digital photograph and the chip at the front and magnetic field and barcode on the back of it.

Can we have Cards with Missing Fingerprints? 

There are a few slots of cards issued by the department wrongly without the Fingerprint information stored in the card. It is hard for holders to know that whether their card falls under this group or not. But there is a series of number provided on the website of the Agency. You need to compare the Agency Serial Number of your card with the numbers provided by the agency as affected series. An individual whose card falls into the category of the affected series need not to worry, as all that needs to be done is to call UES call centers and obtain a free replacement. Your card is still valid in case it is not carrying fingerprint information until you get your new card.

Why is it necessary to have a TWIC credential with you? 

According to CFR amendments the Merchant Marine needs to have all valid documents as well as a valid TWIC card compulsorily, failure of which would result in a denial for original, renewal, new endorsement, duplicate or raise of a mariner’s credential. However, it can also lead to revocation as well as suspension of such individual under section 46 United States Code 7702 and 7703.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Preparing for Your DOT physical

It’s time for your DOT physical exam again, and before you head off to have a company doctor poke and prod you, there are a few things you can do in advance to make your physical go smoother. Passing this physical means you’ll be given a driver’s clean bill of health, and more importantly, can continue to work from your cab for a living. Not passing- well, we’d prefer not to think what we’d be doing if we weren’t on the road. So, in order to perform your best at your mandatory DOT physical, here are a few tips to help you get things off on the right foot.

Bring the Essentials

Chances are you’re not going to your family physician for your exam, but a company provided doctor. These folks don’t know you lie your own care provider does, so showing up in the best shape possible and with all your necessities is critical.

If you wear glasses, contacts, or hearing aids, be sure to bring them along. Your license requires you to wear these things, and they are part of your physical. If you can’t read the eye chart of hear what the doctor is saying, chances are you won’t be passing your physical.

If you are on physician prescribes medications, bring them along, as well as the prescriptions themselves with the name and contact information for the doctor who prescribed them. On the same note, if you are undergoing treatment for any conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, sleep disorders, etc, bring along your treatment file to share with the examining doctor. The more information they have about your treatment, the better your chances are for getting a clean bill of heath as far as the DOT physical exam requirements are concerned. 

Come Physically Prepared

Before showing up at the physical, try and not be just coming off the road. Get a good night’s rest the night before, and make a conscious effort not to drink alcohol within 24 hours of the exam. Booze can run havoc with your blood pressure, and this isn’t looked upon favorably by examining doctors.

Arrive to the doctor’s office at least ten minutes early to fill out your appropriate paperwork and to catch your breath. Entering an exam flustered and in a rush might cause the physician to think you’re like that all the time- take it slow for your DOT physical exam and you’ll be fine.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

FMCSA Announces New CSA Smartphone App

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced a new Smartphone app that will allow for more convenient access to currently available online safety performance information for interstate truck and bus companies.
“By making currently available safety information on interstate truck and bus companies more easily accessible for both law enforcement personnel and the general public, we are providing greater transparency while making our roadways safer for everyone.  Safety is our highest priority, so we are committed to using every resource available at our finger tips to ensure the safety of travelers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.Called “QCMobile,” (QC standing for “Query Central”), the new app is expected to be a particularly valuable tool for state and federal law enforcement personnel, as well as insurers, brokers, freight-forwarders, and others interested in reviewing the USDOT registration and safety performance information of motor carriers.
“FMCSA will continue to use all the tools, resources, and partnerships available to further strengthen commercial vehicle safety across the country,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling.  “Aggressive safety enforcement, research, and technology development and deployment, combined with strong stakeholder participation, will continue to be directed toward removing unsafe trucks and buses from our roadways and protecting every traveler from needless harm.”
Law enforcement officers and commercial motor vehicle safety inspectors use customized software at the roadside to log-into national safety databases to obtain highly detailed safety information on all interstate truck and bus companies.
The new QCMobile app, which requires no log-in, immediately reveals whether the federal operating status of the carrier is authorized while helping to expedite an “inspect/pass” decision by a certified commercial vehicle safety inspector.
QCMobile retrieves data from a number of FMCSA sources and provides a clear summary of the results.  Law enforcement officers and safety inspectors then have the option of retrieving more detailed information on carriers covering their seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) that are a part of FMCSA’s cornerstone safety program, Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA).
FMCSA is proactively working to implement the provisions of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), as well as advancing core safety initiatives including the CSA program.  CSA is designed to further reduce the number and severity of crashes involving large trucks and buses by providing law enforcement personnel, motor carriers, and professional truck and bus drivers with detailed information outlining areas of potential safety concern, while also triggering processes to implement corrective action.
The free QCMobile app is available for both Apple and Android devices. Visit the iTunes App Store or Google Play to download QCMobile.