Trucking

3PLBest PracticesCarrier ManagerCustomer ServiceGPSintermodalThird-Party LogisticsTransportationTruckingUncategorized

  Shippers continue to experience the “spot market blues.” According to DAT Solutions, the average spot rate for trucking was 2.15 per mile at the end of March. The natural disasters occurring in the last half of 2017 merged with the ELD Mandate and the continuing driver shortage to send spot markets through the roof. You see, capacity isn’t coming back any time soon. Here at AM Transport, customers are top priority; that’s why we believe in cultivating great logistics partnerships! How can partnering with a 3PL help shippers navigate a volatile freight market? Let’s take a look. Right now, drivers are frustrated by the ELD Mandate because by eliminating paper logs, it forces compliance with HOS rules. We believe that the April 1 hard enforcement of the mandate is going to force shippers to change they way they do business.  Transport Topics’ Eric Miller reports that at a recent MATS (Mid-America Trucking Show) in Louisville, KY, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration chief, Ray Martinez told drivers frustrated with the mandate that when they wait at loading docks inefficiency is created in the economy. That inefficiency is bound to drive freight rates up. Both Martinez and drivers agreed that while HOS rules affect drivers, there’s no equivalent mandate forcing shippers to conform to strict time windows.   Furthermore, the driver shortage will continue squeezing capacity until the industry finds ways to mitigate the negative aspects of the driving life--lack of exercise, healthy food options, disrupted sleep cycles. In the same issue of Transport Topics, Miller reports that truck drivers, as a group, have a “50% higher rate of Type 2 Diabetes than the national average.” There’s a lot of work to be done before we begin to see an ease in the driver shortage. However, with many good people researching and working on this problem, we fully expect innovative solutions—check out ATRI’s (American Transportation Research Institute) Young Driver Assessment Tool for an example of industry innovation. How can good partnerships with 3PLs mitigate these problems? Did you know that most small carriers still receive their freight from direct interaction with shippers instead of load boards and brokerages? That’s what a recent survey developed by CarrierLists and Freightwaves indicates. Here’s what we know--good brokers have relationships not only with shippers but with carriers. Shippers looking for solutions could benefit from these relationships. And what about contract rates? We understand a shipper’s reticence to lock in contract rates; after all, according to our friends at Freightwaves, those rates have increased up to 10%. However, brokers with their wide variety of carrier relationships, can often lock in affordable contract rates that even out a shipper’s freight spend. In the coming months, savvy shippers will shift their strategy from last-minute bids to long-term solutions. And the best way to do this is to cultivate relationships with freight partners you can trust. At AM Transport, we have 30 years of experience partnering with shippers and carriers. With over 10,000 approved carriers, we are positioned to find the best solution for your freight. We understand the worry skyrocketing rates cause, not to mention, the impact they have on your bottom line. When you work with us, we get to know you and your business. We ask questions, analyze your supply chain, and create solutions. We know logistics and we want to take the worry out of transportation so you can get back to doing what you do best.    ...
3PLBest PracticesCommunityCustomer ServiceIndustry NewsLeadershipThird-Party LogisticsTransportationTruckingUncategorized

By Michael McKinney, CTB   This week, I was notified that AM Transport received a longevity award from the TIA (Transportation Intermediaries Association) for 25 years of continuous membership since 1993. I have to admit, it’s pretty cool to be recognized, and it’s hard for me to believe it’s been that long. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. The recognition comes at a great time. You see, I’m getting ready to attend the 2018 TIA Conference in Palm Desert, California. It’s TIA’s 40th conference, and I’m guesstimating that it’s my 15th or 16th, but to be honest, I’m just not sure how many I’ve attended. Like all great experiences, these conferences have become one long good memory I reflect upon often. Did you know that the TIA Capital Ideas Conference & Exhibition remains the only conference solely for 3PLs? AM Transport has been in the brokerage business for nearly 30 years, and this conference is always one of the highlights of my year because spending time with other brokers rejuvenates my passion for the industry. I could give you lots of reasons for why I attend--I like traveling to new places, meeting new people, and catching up with old industry friends. But there’s so much more to the TIA conference. The energy is palpable when industry leaders mingle, when ideas fly over the dinner table, when newcomers walk into the trade show for the first time!     Let’s talk about the membership. TIA members share ideas. It’s surprising, really, how willing members are to share best practices, tools of the trade, risk issues and their unique take on the industry. It might seem counterintuitive--competitors coming together to help one another. In fact, I’ve heard first-timers express real disbelief at how willing everyone is to share! I always head to the TIA conference with a list of challenges we face, as well as, thoughts I’d like feedback on and questions about industry tools/services. And of course, I like to share too. I’ve learned so much from others in my career, that I’m determined to give back when I can!   Education is another biggie. If you want to learn and grow knowledge, the TIA conference is the venue for you! Industry experts offer educational sessions on a deep and wide range of topics from Sales & Marketing to Technology and Risk Management; from Legal Concerns to Regulations and Capacity Sourcing. Whatever your interests might be, there’s a session for you because the list also includes: Compensation and Personnel, Finance, Change Management, Data Analytics, and so much more.   And let’s not forget the amazing trade show. The TIA trade show is the place to find out what’s new, upcoming, and cutting-edge in the industry. It’s where we go to review and learn about services and tools to boost productivity and efficiency. TMS solutions, visibility and tracking, compliance, insurance, payment solutions, LTL, rail, it’s all there.   I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that I like a challenge, and that’s another reason I don’t miss out on the annual TIA conference. Each year, I attend to see and hear what other companies are doing--growth they’re experiencing, new solutions they’ve created, staff development they offer. When you’re hanging with the best in the industry, you can’t help but catch the energy and the desire to do better.  It reminds me of what motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Come to think of it, Goethe’s maxim might be more appropriate, “Tell me with whom you consort and I will tell you who you are.” If it sounds like I’m looking forward to the TIA conference, then I’ve done my job. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t end with the one aspect of the conference that I simply can’t do without. It’s friendship. Over the years, I’ve met some awesome people who turned out to be good friends. This annual conference, is often the only time of the year I see them in person.  Sure, we talk on the phone, but you can’t beat talking in person, catching up on work and life. After all, breaking bread together and relaxing in the company of others who understand is a big part of who we are at TIA.  ...
Trucking

How about we all give a tip of the hat to the truck drivers out there? You know; the hard-working men and women who transport goods across our great nation on a daily basis to make sure we have what we need to go about our lives without interruption. This week is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, which is the one week of the year where drivers are recognized for the work they do and it couldn’t come at a better time. A large part of our country has been ravaged by natural disasters but trucking hasn’t stopped. Thousands of drivers have played a major part in the relief efforts after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and will continue to do so in the coming months to help everyone impacted. In total we have 3.5 million professional truck drivers in America that deliver over 10 billion tons of freight on an annual basis. Ten billion tons! These deliveries go everywhere from the nation’s biggest cities to its smallest towns and villages and make up 70 percent of all freight tonnage in America. Like us in the small town of Olney, IL and the surrounding towns and villages, trucking is the only way for us to receive the goods we need to live. These professionals work long hours and spend a great deal of time away from their families without much recognition to serve us. I’m a logistics professional and can’t think of a time where I’ve thanked a driver in person when I’m off the clock. Drivers deserve to be thanked and thanked often for what they do. The trucking industry also collects over $650 billion dollars a year, which equates to five percent of America’s GDP and is expected to grow by 21 percent over the next 10 years. Truckers not only transport the goods we need on a daily basis but they keep our roadways safe. I know I’ve been frustrated when stuck behind a slow-moving semi but they are professionals and drive that way to keep us safe. Truckers have a crash rate that’s 29 percent lower than the average driver and are at fault in just 25 percent of fatal crashes involving cars and semis. The trucking industry makes all of our lives easier, keeps our economy moving and gives us extra time to do what we please. Thank a driver this week (and every week) and don’t take what they do for granted. Life wouldn’t be the same without them....
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Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been devastated by the relentlessness of Hurricane Harvey. We are inspired by the strength and bravery shown by the first responders, volunteer rescuers, and residents who are helping in the wake of this landmark event. Along with the visible damage left by Hurricane Harvey, supply chain networks have been thrown out of wack and the storm is expected to cost the economy tens of billions of dollars. Below are some key points you should be aware of as relief efforts in the area continue. I'm not in Texas, why is my capacity impacted? Houston is one of the biggest cities in the country, and because of that, the supply chain the city serves has the market in a state of flux. Trucks have been unable to get empty and the ability to find a reload has been very challenging and will continue to be so for the immediate future. Shippers will need to understand this and implement certain procedures to make this scenario less problematic in the coming weeks. We encourage shippers to offer longer lead time, give drivers flexibility when it comes to shipping hours and ship dates, be flexible with equipment requirements if at all possible, avoid unrealistic expectations and show empathy for carriers as they battle through the change and devastation left by Harvey. One thing we have seen as a course of action from shippers to continue to serve their respective markets is changing the origin points in the southwestern United States. This will help goods reach those who need it most but will have an immediate impact on several markets. To combat this, storm relief is being sent into the area from FEMA-designated points. FEMA sets the market for transactional transportation in these lanes, but this also impacts the transactional market rates to all destinations from those origins. Along with the issues facing the trucking industry, people across the country will feel the economic impact left by Harvey. Houston is a massive hub for the oil and gas industry, producing half of the petroleum and gas exports in the United States. Harvey has forced 13 refineries to completely or partially shut down, which will lead to nearly two million barrels of lost production. That means higher gas prices around the country. Harvey will also have a major impact in the plastics industry. Houston is responsible for 70 percent of the nation's ethylene, which is the main ingredient in plastics. Experts are saying 37 percent of U.S.-based ethylene production will be disrupted by the storm. This will impact the economy but to a lesser extent than the oil and gas industry. All told, Harvey has and will continue to leave a lasting impact on the trucking industry and the economy as a whole. Time and patience dealing with these changes will be necessary and beneficial to all. Feel free to call the AM Transport team if you would like our feedback in what we're seeing in the market and what we expect to see in the coming weeks. Example Carrier Network Shipping INTO storm impacted area halted OUTBOUND shipping lanes shut down Equipment unavailable to meet customer commitments as it has not been repositioned ...
Trucking

Written By: Erik Jensen, CTB The long-awaited electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is slated to come into effect on December 18, but as the date gets closer, the battle between the supporters and detractors of the upcoming law is increasingly contentious. The supporters of the mandate continue to state how beneficial ELDs are for carriers and their drivers.  Through ELDs, carriers are able to track their drivers with GPS tracking, and as we all know, this has become an expectation in our industry. The benefits aren’t limited to just tracking, though, as ELDs are also connected to the vehicle’s diagnostic port, which allows fleets to stay on top of any vehicle maintenance issues. ELDs will also benefit drivers through reduced paperwork, allowing them to spend more time behind the wheel—and thus safer roads. The FMCSA estimates that ELDs will help save 26 lives every year. Seems like a home run, right? Not so fast. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and a number of small carriers are fighting hard to stall the mandate from going into effect in December. These groups are seeking clarifications on the technical specifications and enforcement aspects of the mandate and feel that implementation should be delayed until these specifics are clarified. OOIDA and other carriers argue that the mandate violates truckers’ amendment rights to privacy by tracking them in real time—not to mention the financial burdens it will put on small carriers and owner-operators to purchase and maintain ELDs. The fighting and lobbying doesn’t stop there. They recently got Congress involved. Just a couple weeks ago, U.S. Representative Brian Babin of Texas introduced a bill in effort to delay the implementation of ELDs by at least two years. Babin feels forcing smaller carrier fleets to implement these devices is unfair to small businesses. In a story on trucker.com, Babin said, “While technology like ELDs have great promise, I didn’t come to Washington to force these ideas on small businesses – and neither did President Trump.” Babin followed this up saying, “If trucking companies want to continue implementing and using ELDs, they should go right ahead. But for those who don’t want the burden, expense and uncertainty of putting one of these devices in every truck they own by the end of the year, we can and should offer relief.” Babin’s bill and comments were met with disdain by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), who fully supports the upcoming mandate. ATA’s executive vice president of advocacy, Bill Sulllivan, released a statement saying, “It is incumbent on regulators and on Congress to dismiss this last-ditch try by some to evade critically important safety laws.” Sullivan went on saying the mandate is “common sense, data-supported regulation” and the arguments against it are “at best specious and at worst outright dishonest arguments.” ATA also cited an 11.7% drop in crash rates and 50% drop in Hours of Service violations when carriers switched from paper logs to ELDs, according to a 2014 administration report compiled by the department of transportation. So who is going to win this battle? No one knows for sure, but if one had to guess, the money would be on the mandate going into effect as planned in December. In an article published on Transport Topics website, staff reporter Eugene Mulero expounded on the subject and said Babin’s bill is “pretty much dead on arrival, since it lacks support from GOP leadership, a Senate companion bill, and backing from the White House." In other words—good luck to those wanting to delay the implementation mandate. The next couple months promise to be interesting. Stay tuned for more news....