Trucking

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....