Trucking Adds Jobs As Unemployment Rate Drops

Posted in: advice, Business Factoring News, Freight Bill Financing News, Freight Factoring News, Freight Hauling Financing, Freight Hauling News, Staffing Company Finance News, Staffing Faqctoring News, Trucking Finance News, Trucking Financing News, Trucking News- Nov 09, 2014 No Comments

Unemployment in the U.S. fell again in October, pushing the unemployment rate to its lowest level since July 2008, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

The economy created 214,000 jobs during the month, pushing the unemployment rate a tenth of a percent lower to 5.8%.

The for-hire trucking industry added 3,900 jobs during October, 2.5% higher than a year ago, while the wider transportation and warehousing industry added 13,300.

Upwardly revised figures show 256,000 jobs were added in September and 203,000 in August. This compares to previously released figures showing gains of 248,000 and 180,000, respectively.

October marks the ninth consecutive month of employers adding at least 200,000 jobs, the longest streak since 1995.

The job gains were broad-based. However, the report also showed the labor participation rate remains flat since April, while average hourly pay barely advanced from September to October. The average pay rate is only 2% higher than a year, compared to an inflation rate of 1.7%.

While the headline rise keeps the average growth rate firmly above 200,000 per month, Sterne Agee Chief Economist Lindsey Piegza says the quality of job creation isn’t enough to translate into wage pressures, “nor has a clearly sufficient decline in labor market slack forced a meaningful increase in the workweek.”

“While this morning’s report does indeed mark the ninth consecutive month above 200,000, when we adjust for population, and first-time entrants including college graduates, keep in mind the market needs around 200k as a minimum just to cover demographic change,” she said. “So, while a vast improvement from days past when the economy was shedding 700,000 to 800,000 jobs on a monthly basis, relativity can only be applauded for so long. At some point the economy will need outright strength in hiring, such as 300,000 per month, to justify weaning off of extreme Federal Reserve accommodation.”

Lockridge ,E.(2014).Trucking adds jobs as unemployment rate drops.Trucking Info. Retrieved from http://www.truckinginfo.com/news/story/2014/11/trucking-contributes-to-overall-unemployment-decline.aspx

TravelCenters Offer Complimentary Meals on Veteran’s Day

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TravelCenters of America is inviting all truck drivers who are veterans to have a complimentary meal on Veteran’s Day. Participating TA and Petro Stopping Center sit down restaurants will be providing free meals for veterans to honor their service to the country.

On Nov. 11, any veteran with a CDL license can receive a complimentary meal of up to $15 in value by showing proof of service to their server prior to ordering their meal. Accepted proofs of service include U.S. Uniform Services Retired ID Card, Veterans Organization Card, DD214, a citation or commendation, and a photograph in uniform.

“Once again, we are taking this opportunity to thank the many truck drivers who are also military veterans for their service and sacrifice – both in our armed forces and each day on the road,” said Tom O’Brien, president and CEO of TravelCenters.

There will be nearly 220 participating Iron Skillet, Country Pride and other full-service, home-style restaurants at TA and Petro locations.

Staff. (2014).Travel centers offer complimentary meals on veteran’s day trucking info.Trucking Info.Retrieved from.http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/drivers/news/story/2014/11/travelcenters-offering-free-meals-on-veteran-s-day.aspx#.VFzRgyi4tCU.facebook

Schneider Trucking Raises Pay To Most Drivers Up to 13% – Truck Drivers Salaries Improving

Posted in: Business Factoring News, Freight Bill Financing News, Freight Factoring News, Freight Hauling Financing, Freight Hauling News, Staffing Company Finance News- Nov 07, 2014 No Comments

Trucking companies wages increasing

First Schneider Transportation based out of Green Bay, WI. raised the pay for it’s tanker drivers $4000. a year back in May.

This week the company boosted the wages for it’s dry van division, which is the heart of transportation.

The pay increase will be 8% to 13% for most of it’s drivers, other transportation companies are finally upping the pay too.

Another big trucking company, U.S. Xpress Enterprises made  a splash in the news 3 months ago by reporting that it increased pay by an average of 13 percent.

Smaller companies have also reported that they have finally increased the pay for it’s drivers. U.S. Xpress is a large trucking company with over 7,000 drivers, both companies deliver through the whole United States.

A $5000. signup bonus would be sweet!

There is also an increase in the sign on bonuses paid to drivers from $1,000 to 2,000. previously to now $5000. to bring in experienced drivers.

Even a $15,000. dollar bonus is available if the driver stays for a full year, Schneider claims that they pay  signing bonuses of up to $7500.

Over the road truck drivers average between $850 to $1000. a week which is around the average for private sector workers, and trucking does not require extensive training or education.

Up to $7500. Signup bonus for truckers

But people are just not into long haul trucking jobs, drivers eat food in truck stops, or eat canned food, spend days and weeks on the road sleeping in the truck.

The trucking industry claims that it is short around 30,000 drivers, which puts a strain on the trucking carriers to fill the drivers seats.

Currently 30,000 truck drivers short in the U.S.

The U.S. economy is now improving which means that there is a larger demand for shipping goods across the United States, coupled with tighter government regulations placed on truck drivers, it’s hard to hire a qualified commercial truck driver.

Also a whopping 20 to 25% of a companies drivers leave, or turn over 4 or 5 times a year for the large truck carriers.

 

Allen,R. (2014).Schneider trucking raises pay to most drivers up to 13% – truck drivers salaries improving. Real Truck Driver Blog. Retrieved from http://realtruckdriver.com/schneider-trucking-raises-pay-to-most-drivers-up-to-13-percent/

Don’t mess with Texas: No. 1 for maintenance violations

Posted in: advice, Business Factoring News, Freight Bill Financing News, Freight Factoring News, Freight Hauling Financing, Freight Hauling News, Staffing Company Finance News, Staffing Faqctoring News, Trucking Finance News- Nov 06, 2014 No Comments

TexasCalifornia is no slouch when it comes to enforcing trucking regulations, yet the state conducted 65,000 fewer truck inspections than Texas in 2013. While the Lone Star State is the largest of the contiguous states, there are other reasons it recorded a whopping 534,304 inspections last year.

There are intense oilfield operations in the Eagle Ford Shale area and elsewhere. Numerous interstate highways, with some of the nation’s highest speed limits, criss-cross its regions. Those highways host high volumes of truck traffic, including many Mexico-domiciled carriers along the border commercial zone.

 These are also factors in Texas ranking No. 5 among the contiguous United States for truck-involved fatality crash density. The Texas Department of Public Safety has responded accordingly.

Image Source: Overdrive Online.

Texas violation profile

Image Source: Overdrive Online.

The state ranks No. 4 for overall inspection intensity inOverdrive’s analysis, up a spot from No. 5 in last year’s CSA’s Data Trail series of reports. The state conducted 10.3 inspections for every lane-mile of interstate within its borders in 2013, up nearly 20 percent from a 2011 inspection rate of 8.8 per lane-mile.

It’s not just the number of inspections that stands out; it’s also the inspections’ focus on maintenance and the aggressive approach to issuing violations. Texas leads the nation in maintenance violations as a share of its total violations. In the maintenance subcategories of light, brake and tire violations, it ranks No. 7, 13, and 2, respectively, inOverdrive’s analysis.

DPS officials did not respond to detailed questions posed byOverdrive about the enforcement program for the state’s 300,000 miles of public roads, noting only that “it is our mission (along with our law enforcement partners across the state) to help ensure those roadways are safe.”

FOCUS ON THE TRUCK AND NOT THE TRUCKER: Click through the image above or this link for further analysis of this chart and its maintenance-violation-heavy outliers, Virginia and Texas.

Image Source: Overdrive Online.

Drivers are quick to relate anecdotes of overzealous inspectors. There’s the 2013 case of a driver hit with five separate lighting-system-related violations that all started with a single loose pigtail, a case of “stacking” documented on Overdrive’s Channel 19 blog. Stacking is the practice of piling on violations that stem from a single root cause, one that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration attempts to discourage in various ways.

In the August Overdrive, Texas-based owner-operator Keith Stewart recalled the first inspection he’d received after purchasing a good-condition 2006 Peterbilt 379, which he continues to run. On a bobtail run after purchasing the truck, a spot of oil seen on a tire resulted in discovery of a leaky wheel seal and a violation for an oil-soaked brake. The inspector brought out the rule book and had a tough time figuring out whether to put Stewart out of service, costing the driver time and a $100 bonus his leasing carrier would have paid him for a clean inspection.

Owner-operator Keith Stewart and his 2006 Peterbilt 379

Todd Dills ,Overdrive Online

Since that time, Stewart has become even more of a target for Texas DPS. Now that he’s earning big bucks pulling a deck trailer in the oilfield, life would be great – but for the inspectors. DPS is laser-focused on oilfield trucks, particularly anytime there’s a serious accident involving such a truck, says Stewart. With the shale-oil boom, mainstream reports surface routinely of growing truck-crash activity in the oilfield areas in Texas, Pennsylvania, North Dakota and elsewhere.

Stewart says that while inspectors generally “keep banker’s hours” at the scale houses he passes, if there’s an accident, “they’ll have an ‘all hands on deck’ in the Eagle Ford Shale. … Say somebody blows up in a crude truck – there will be an officer on every corner of every farm road. As soon as they get done with one truck, they’ll hit another one.”

Such targeted enforcement is common across the country, but Texas is different, some drivers say. Stewart sees a more entrenched program to catch a “steady flow of easy-violation trucks” in the maintenance department. Go east from San Antonio on I-10, he says, and “there are two super-coops” between there and Houston. “I’ve never seen them open in my 13, 14 years running around there.”

Maintenance violations in Texas versus national average

Image Source: Overdrive Online.

On the other hand, the I-35 scale at Pearsall, Texas, between Laredo and San Antonio, is nearly always open for business-type hours, he says. “The northbound side will be feeding on oilfield and Mexican national trucks,” he says, and “southbound will feed on not just general commodity trucks,” but any rig suspected of oil field work.

Texas inspections and violations stats

Image Source: Overdrive Online.

Texas also is above average both for a high rate of violations per inspection and a low percentage of clean inspections.Overdrive readerR.C. Simmons runs only in Texas and has been inspected six times in eight years, but only one of those inspections was clean.

“My problem with inspections is the variants in how and what they inspect,” varying not just by state but even from inspector to inspector, as Simmons and others tell it. “It’s <i>never</i> consistent,” he says. “I have even heard an inspector at the New Waverly scale house on I-45 north of Houston make the statement: ‘Well, that’s my one clean inspection for today.’ No, it was not me with the clean inspection, and it was 4 a.m., her first inspection of the day! I took that issue up with a senior trooper in Dallas weeks later, who knew who I was talking about before I even said her name.”

If you're using a mobile device, tap the image to call and weigh in on the states that you run through and their enforcement efforts -- who's best? Who's worst? We'll utilize your input in a future "audio mailbag" podcast. If you're on a desktop, call 530-408-6423. Make sure to tell us your name and state of residence.

Image Source: Overdrive Online.

Reader Jack Simon says truck inspections can be a “cat-and-mouse game.” Inspectors have a clear advantage “since they can find something wrong with any truck they want, if they choose to use every rule that they have in the book,” he says.

In the maintenance realm, it’s at least clear that Texas is doing a good job of that.

Dills,T. (2014). Don’t mess with texas: no. 1 for maintenance violations.Over Drive Online. Retrieved from http://www.overdriveonline.com/dont-mess-with-texas-no-1-for-maintenance-violations/

Internet Truckstop releases rebuilt load-finding app

Posted in: advice, Business Factoring News, Freight Bill Financing News, Freight Factoring News, Freight Hauling Financing, Freight Hauling News- Nov 04, 2014 No Comments

Internet Truckstop announced this week it has released a completely rebuilt version of its ITS Trucker app, available for devices running both iOS and Android.

The app has new functionality and a new user interface, ITS says, “ensuring carriers have easy access to Internet Truckstop’s freight matching system for mobile phones and tablets.”

App users will be able to set preferences for searching and posting, ITS says, which will help them find freight and post their trucks more quickly. There’s also a new “Get me Home” feature that finds loads near a user’s current location that need to be hauled to their home base.

The app is free on both platforms.

Over Drive Staff.(2014).Internet Truckstop releases rebuilt load-finding app.Over Drive.Retrieved from http://www.overdriveonline.com/internet-truckstop-releases-rebuilt-load-finding-app/

Driver saves fellow trucker from hot asphalt leak after crash

Posted in: advice, Business Factoring News, Freight Bill Financing News, Freight Factoring News, Freight Hauling Financing, Freight Hauling News- Nov 04, 2014 No Comments

Driver Bill Hunt’s help in an April 2014 crash helped save the life of a fellow truck operator. Here’s his story:

Bill Hunt, driving for Crossett Inc. of Warren, Pa., on April 21, 2014, sees a wreck on Route 59. A tractor has flipped, draggin an asphalt tanker along the guard rail, ripping holes in it.

Bill Hunt, driving for Crossett Inc. of Warren, Pa., on April 21, 2014, sees a wreck on Route 59. A tractor has flipped, draggin an asphalt tanker along the guard rail, ripping holes in it.

 

8,000 gallons of searing asphalt are leaking close to the driver, who is pinned by the crushed roof. Only his left hand is visible!

 

As hunt takes the driver's hand to find a pulse, the driver cries out for help!

 

Unable to extract him, Hunt gets a shovel and digs trenches to diver the molten asphalt away from the driver!

 

Hunt stays with the driver until emergency personnel take over. It takes them almost three hours to extract the injured man.

 

The Truckload Carriers Association named Bill Hunt a Highway Angel, and Overdrive names him a Knight of the Road.

Lomax,D.(2014). Driver saves fellow trucker from hot asphalt leak after crash.Over Drive. Retrieved from http://www.overdriveonline.com/driver-saves-fellow-trucker-from-hot-asphalt-leak-after-crash/
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Caterpillar debuts CT681 off-highway truck

Posted in: advice, Business Factoring News, Freight Bill Financing News, Freight Factoring News, Freight Hauling Financing, Freight Hauling News, Staffing Company Finance News- Nov 03, 2014 No Comments

Caterpillar added a second model to its new line of vocationally focused work trucks with the unveiling of the Class 8 CT681 truck Oct. 30 at the company’s Edwards Proving Grounds outside of Peoria, Ill. Caterpillar first previewed the new truck at the ConExpo Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. The Edwards launch today gave enhanced details on new truck while noting it has entered into full production.
The CT681 borrows heavily from the existing CT660 model, but features a host of enhancements designed specifically for tough vocational applications such as snowplow, mixer, dump and super dump. The truck features a set-forward front axle for a longer wheelbase with a 114-inch BBC measurement. Caterpillar’s global on-highway product manager Dave Schmitz says this configuration offers better ride quality on both long hauls and rough dirt roads while giving body-builders more flexibility and room for behind-the-cab installations.

Power is provided by Cat’s CT Series Vocational Truck Engine family, with several ratings from 365 to 430 horsepower available. Schmitz says Cat’s truck engine philosophy is “still evolving,” but says additional, higher horsepower ratings will appear in the near future. It is possible this could be as early as next year, coinciding with the launch of the next Caterpillar truck, the CT680, which Schmitz says will be a stylistic departure from the CT660 and CT681.

The CT681 has already made a move away from the CT660 in terms of appearance. The new truck features a more robust, spartan look. The wheel loader-inspired, brushed aluminum grill guard and trim that give the CT660 such as distinctive look have been abandoned on the CT681. Schmitz says this move was necessary to accommodate the CT681′s new, higher, radiator configuration and simplify front engine PTO access.

 

The CT681′s engine can be spec’d with Cat’s proprietary CX31 automatic transmission. Schmitz says that today, more than half of all new Cat trucks are rolling off the factory floor with the CX31 AMT, which features a high power-to-weight ratio, full power shifting and quick acceleration. The transmission has been fully integrated with the CT Engine series to deliver optimal fuel economy or power to meet any type of terrain or road conditions.

Jallet ,J.(2014).Caterpillar debuts CT681 off-highway truck. CCJ. RCetrieved from http://www.ccjdigital.com/caterpillar-debuts-ct681-off-highway-truck/

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2015 Medium-Duty Trucks: The Vehicles and Trends to Look For

Posted in: advice, Business Factoring News, Freight Bill Financing News, Freight Factoring News, Freight Hauling Financing, Freight Hauling News, Staffing Company Finance News- Oct 31, 2014 No Comments

Between light-duty pickups and Class 8 haulers sits the industry’s largest segment — medium-duty trucks. They carry tools and materials to construction sites, beverages and snacks to stores, propane to rural homes, and run pick up & delivery routes along slim city streets.

In our annual look at the latest midrange offerings we highlight the upcoming 2015 models offered by their prospective companies, while truck manufacturers weighed in on equipment trends and industry issues.

Ford: Fuel economy comes in many shapes and sizes

Ask any fleet manager about cost savings, and fuel economy will come up quickly in the conversation. For Ford, there are a number of ways to achieve this, including buying new vehicles.

“We are seeing increased growth and sales in the medium-duty segment,” says Mark Lowrey, marketing manager for F-Series Fleet Trucks at Ford. “Our customers are replacing aged vehicles as the economy begins to recover from the recession back in 2008 and 2009.”

Ford continues to make improvements and enhancements with a number of different technologies, Lowrey says. They include gas-prep packages for natural gas and propane upfits, automatic transmissions that allow engines to operate at optimal rpm ranges and open opportunities for more diverse driver employment, low-rolling-resistance tires, and gear ratio selections to match engine and transmission performance.

For the 2016 model year, Ford’s F-650 and F-750 trucks will be offered with both gasoline and diesel engines, as well as compressed natural gas and propane autogas engine prep packages. All models will come with Ford’s 6-Speed TorqShift SelectShift automatic transmission, which features double-overdrive ratios and low-end 3.97 to 1 first gear. Ford is offering for the first time an optional 6.8-liter V-10 gasoline engine with the 6R140 transmission, as well as the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbo diesel engine, which is rated at 270 hp and 675 lb-ft. of torque, and offers B20 biodiesel capability.

Ford also added several new interior features, including a 110-volt power outlet, available Sync and Crew Chief factory-installed fleet management telematics, and a rapid-heat supplemental cab heater. A new steering wheel offers advanced controls. Buyers have a choice of hydraulic or air brakes.

Freightliner: Lowering the real cost of ownership

Freightliner Truck sees a change in how its clients are making truck-buying decisions.

“Similar to what we’ve seen in the on-highway segment, medium-duty customers increasingly recognize the importance of purchasing a truck based on the cost of ownership over the lifetime of the vehicle,” says Mary Aufdemberg, director of product marketing. “Customers recognize the lifetime savings when they consider the bottom-line impact of a proven powertrain, durable chassis, industry-leading visibility, customizable easy-to-upfit spec, and strong dealer support.”

The 2015 Freightliner M2 106 can be fitted with either a Cummins ISB or Cummins ISL engine and Eaton Fuller 5-, 6-, 8 ALL, 9 ALL, 9- or 10-speed manuals, as well as Eaton UltraShift 5-or 6-speed automated manuals and Allison automatics. Several new option packages include Efficiency, which combines Allison’s new FuelSense transmission programming with a Freightliner-exclusive Cummins ISB6.7 rating of 220 hp and 600 lb-ft. of torque.

“This pairing will deliver better fuel economy and reliability than any engine in its class,” Aufdemberg says. “We’ve packaged this powertrain combination with additional fuel economy-enhancing options to further increase mpg.” Because each medium-duty application can be very different, Freightliner offers a variety of customizable options.

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Hino: Looking to hybrids

 

 

While fuel economy with its diesel engine has been major point of emphasis for Hino over its 30-year span in the U.S. market, Adrian Ratza, its marketing manager, sees the 195h-DC low-cab-forward diesel-electric hybrid as “revolutionizing the industry in terms of viable and sustainable alternative fuel vehicle options. Our 195h customers have seen up to 30% fuel economy improvement over diesel-only since we launched this model in 2012,” he says.

The 195h hybrid uses a 5E-UG diesel rated 210 hp at 2,500 rpm and 440 lb-ft. at 1,500 rpm. The 2015-model 195 diesel LCF combines the J05E engine, selective catalytic reduction and an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission with cab aerodynamics.

To help customers reach peak fuel economy, Hino and its telematics partner Telogis now offer Insight 2.0, a fleet telematics management tool that features an idle time fuel savings opportunity calculator, plus various gauges, such as hard stopping and hard acceleration, to provide driver feedback. Route optimization is also available to ensure the most efficient route for the day’s work.

“An OEM that is very limited on options runs the risk of losing customer loyalty as the customer is forced to look at other product options to fit their application needs,” adds Ratza.

Isuzu: Building a practical truck

 

 

Fleet managers are often challenged with building a practical truck application with a sensible solution, according to Brian Tabel, director of marketing at Isuzu Commercial Truck.

“A truck purchase decision requires a vehicle with maximum uptime. Ease and cost of maintenance, driver efficiency and fuel economy are major components of the challenge to reduce costs and maximize profit — ultimately realizing the lowest cost of operation, which provides the lowest cost of vehicle ownership,” says Tabel.

For many customers, spec’ing a vehicle unique to their applications with the benefit of a reduced carbon imprint makes the purchase that much more attractive. While no single engine technology is the answer for all applications, Isuzu offers a pair of its own diesel engines and a General Motors gasoline engine that can burn natural gas or propane.

Isuzu 2015 N-Series trucks are available in Class 3, 4 and 5, including:

“In addition to reporting operating status of all major drivetrain and major operating systems, it reports driver-operating habits including acceleration, deceleration, braking, speed, fuel consumption and engine idle times,” says Tabel. “Utilization of operation facts can improve driver behavior and safety, and further reduce your cost of operation.”

Kenworth: new applications

While Kenworth offers a number of conventional medium-duty trucks, including the T170, T270, T370, T440 and T470, the truck manufacturer recently entered into full production on two updated cabover models, the Class 6 K270 and Class 7 K370.

“Kenworth’s new cabovers feature extensive exterior and interior enhancements,” says Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. New additions include a new dash and gauge cluster, front air disc brakes, an electronic braking module, a push-button control shifter, and Dana rear axles.

The K270 and K370 come standard with a 6.7-liter Paccar PX-7 diesel rated at 220 hp and 520 lb-ft. of torque, and an Allison 2100HS 5-speed transmission. Both models also feature a standard air-ride driver’s seat plus a two-passenger bench seat with storage underneath, as well as single driver and passenger seats with a large console in between as an option. Available with wheelbases ranging from 142 to 242 inches in 12-inch increments, the trucks can accommodate bodies from 16 to 28 feet.

“All of the available features that come standard with the K270 and K370, such as an adjustable steering column, power-heated mirrors and an air ride driver’s seat, are proving to be a big draw,” he says.

T-series conventionals can be fitted with factory-installed front drive axles, rear air suspensions and aerodynamic fairings for tractors. Kenworth recently added Allison’s FuelSense package for medium-duty trucks specified with Allison’s Highway Series or Rugged Duty Series automatic transmissions. Fuel Sense adapts shift schedules and torque based on load, grade and duty cycle to save fuel while retaining performance.

Fuso: dealing with complexity

Medium-duty drivers, just like heavy-duty, have to keep on top of a lot more today than in the past, according to Todd Bloom, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America.

“The days of a fleet owner being able to hire untrained operators to drive a light medium-duty truck are passing,” Bloom says. “With tightened emissions limits, and the more sophisticated emissions controls they have brought to the medium-duty market, the need for driver intervention has also increased.

“Five years ago, the driver of a Class 3–5 diesel truck could essentially climb into the seat and drive it away in much the same way they did their personal vehicle. Today, commercial drivers have to be aware of all of the vehicle’s EPA mandated technology, in addition to all of the normal vehicle pre-run inspection and maintenance tasks.”

MFTA offers five medium-duty models: the Fuso Canter FE130 (13,200 pounds GVWR), FE160 (15,995 pounds GVWR) and FE180 (17,995 pounds GVWR) standard-cab models, the FE160 Crew Cab (15,995 pounds GVWR), and the four-wheel-drive FG4X4 (14,050 pounds GVWR).

All 2015 Fuso models are powered by a 3-liter diesel coupled to Fuso’s Duonic 6-speed-overdrive automated manual transmission with fully automatic dual clutch control and creep function. The design focus of the 2015 Canters remains on low cost of ownership, based on long service intervals, high payload capacities and good fuel economy.

Since the manufacturer’s vehicles cross a wide range of vocational markets, certain accessories remain optional. “Idle-limit systems are required in some jurisdictions, valuable for fuel savings in others, but not universally required or beneficial,” says Bloom. “Cab-mounted air deflectors can save substantial fuel in regional delivery (highway) applications, but do little to boost economy in stop-and-go urban traffic. By making these and other accessories optional, the fleet can choose the content for its trucks that best suits its business, operational and budget requirements.”

Navistar: more options

Navistar has added options and is focusing on “customerization,” says Bill Kozek, president of North America Truck and Parts.“What we call customerization is about empowering our customers, giving them more options, flexibility and ultimately more control in the process of selecting the right commercial truck and commercial truck components for their businesses.”

Last summer, Navistar shipped its first International DuraStar and International WorkStar vehicles housing 9.3-liter N9 and N10 engines with selective catalytic reduction exhaust-emissions equipment to customers. Their ratings range from 275 to 330 hp and 860 to 960 lb-ft. Also available is the Cummins ISB6.7, also with SCR, which produces from 200 to 300 hp and 520 to 600 lb-ft.

During a recent earnings call, Jack Allen, Navistar’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the company has produced more than 7,000 trucks with the ISB since it was unveiled in the fall of 2013, with 5,000 currently in use.

“The data that we’re getting back is very positive on fuel economy, on performance, on uptime,” he says. “So we do expect repeat business, but we expect a greater portion of the existing customers’ business.”

Navistar still makes non-SCR diesels and still calls them MaxxForce. The MaxxForce DT inline-6 produces from 215 hp and 560 lb-ft. to 300 hp and 660 lb-ft. The MaxxForce 7 V-8 makes from 240 to 300 hp and 620 to 660 lb-ft.

The 2015-MY International Durastar is available with Eaton 5-, 6-, or 10-speed manual transmissions, Eaton UltraShift 5- or 6-speed automated manuals, and Allison 1000, 2000 and 3000 series automatics. Navistar recently started offering Allison’s FuelSense packages for these transmissions.

Peterbilt: operator-friendly

Buying a truck that doesn’t require a commercially licensed driver can make hiring easier, notes Wesley Slavin, Peterbilt’s medium-duty products marketing manager.

“Easy to operate, non-CDL trucks open up a much deeper driver pool, so businesses in local delivery applications or utility work, for instance, can operate the vehicles and not necessarily require dedicated truck drivers,” says Slavin. “Customers continue to look for operator-friendly features that help increase productivity, safety and comfort.”

For 2015, Peterbilt is offering its Class 6 and 7 medium-duty cabover Model 220, which comes standard with the Paccar PX-7 diesel with up to 260 hp and 660 lb-ft. The 220 is standard with an automatic Allison transmission with a push-button shifter and an electronic braking system. The vehicle’s curb-to-curb turning radius has been reduced by 16%, with maneuverability further enhanced with a bumper-to-bumper spec as short as 35 feet. Even at the shortest wheelbase, the Model 220 features an additional 45 inches of payload room.

While Peterbilt integrates aerodynamics to increase fuel economy, the biggest saving can come from inside the cab itself. “The biggest impact on fuel economy is the driver,” says Slavin. “It’s even more significant in medium-duty markets where routes are local, there’s urban congestion and it’s often stop-and-go deliveries. So we focus on features that help the driver operate as efficiently as possible.”

This year, Peterbilt introduced Driver Performance Assistant, a coaching tool which provides operators with real-time feedback to improve driving habits, resulting in better fuel economy and reduced component wear.

Ram: rightsizing trucks

Customers are looking to save money by dropping classes instead of vehicles or drivers, says Rudy Albrecht, Ram chassis cab marketing manager. For example, a company might choose to move from Class 6 trucks to Class 5 or 4, which would reduce weight and increase fuel economy.

“Truck users are paying more attention to acquisition and operating costs, making sure they get the right truck with the correct capability. Previously the tendency was to buy bigger than they might need just in case they need it down the road,” Albrecht says.

Newer model Class 4 and 5 trucks are in many cases equal or more capable than the sometimes decade-old Class 6 trucks they are replacing, Albrecht thinks. He pointed to the ’15 Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs’ high gross combination weight and tow ratings.

A new Max Payload Package on 6.4-liter Hemi-powered Ram 5500s, which is made possible by a new torque converter on the commercial-duty Aisin AS66RC automatic transmission, increases gross vehicle weight ratings to 19,000 and 19,500 pounds on various wheelbases. Those GVW ratings are 500 to 1,000 pounds higher than before. Many customers are choosing the 6.4 Hemi gasoline engine because it costs about $8,500 less than the Cummins diesel, and still does a respectable amount of work. For heavy towing, though, the diesel is still the better choice.

“Offering a wide array of options for capability, functionality or comfort features makes sense in the context of cost control and rightsizing — getting the right truck with the right capability and features while balancing total cost of operation,” says Albrecht.

“For instance, Ram offers a 10,000-pound-GVWR option on our 3500 chassis cab for customers who don’t typically haul or pull heavy loads, but at the same time it helps them reduce some of the administrative and insurance costs that come with operating heavier trucks.”

Babcock,S.(2014). 2015 Medium-duty trucks: the vehicles and trends to look for. Truckinginfo. Retrieved from.http://www.truckinginfo.com/article/story/2014/10/2015-medium-duty-trucks-the-vehicles-and-trends-to-look-for/page/3.aspx

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How to Determine Whether Your Freight Broker Is Legitimate

Posted in: Trucking Finance News, Trucking News- Oct 24, 2014 No Comments

By Svetlana Guineva

Wouldn’t it be great if you did your business trusting all of the parties involved without a shadow of a doubt?

Sometimes this is indeed possible – when you’ve worked with the same partners for years, and you’ve managed to build a work environment of mutual trust and cooperation.

Most of the time, however, it’s not a bad idea to use available channels to check if the freight broker whose services you are about to use is legitimate.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Freight Broker?

A good broker knows the shipping industry in and out, uses the latest technology to accomplish client goals, and works with reliable carriers that otherwise may be hard to locate.

The benefits of using a freight broker include:

It’s not a rare practice nowadays, however, for a company to act as its own freight broker to save some money. But even such companies reach out to brokers from time to time to secure an important load.

Check the Broker’s Credentials Online

In order to operate, freight brokers must be licensed and bonded. All freight brokers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Visit the agency’s website to check whether the broker you are working with has a valid license. Make sure that it’s been renewed on time, and the required surety bond hasn’t been cancelled.

The website will also provide you with additional information, such as whether the license has ever been revoked and later reinstated, and how many times that has happened.

Even if the broker checks out online, it’s always a good idea to request a copy of its operating authority. Compare whether the name, motor carrier number, and all dates appear the same as the ones in the FMCSA database. If there are discrepancies, ask why, and use extra caution.

To ensure a broker is legitimate, ask these three key questions:

    1. Is the broker registered with the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) program? UCR is a federal, but state-administered, program that became effective in 2007. It requires that states collect fees from motor carriers, freight forwarders and brokers, and leasing companies, based on the number of commercial motor vehicles in their fleets.

The registration is mandatory. If a broker or carrier does not register but engages in interstate commerce, it may become subject to law enforcement action. Steer away from legal troubles when possible, and check in advance to see if a broker has a current registration.

    1. Is the broker insured?

Every freight broker must have an insurance certificate, and you should make sure to obtain a copy for your files.

Verify all the information on the certificate. Pay special attention to whether the insurance company is the same as the one listed on the FMCSA website. Along with that, all other information you find on the agency’s site should match with the certificate. Double-check the insured name, policy numbers, and effective dates.

Even better, you can contact the insurance company and ask them if the policies are still in effect.

    1. Is the freight broker bonded?

Freight brokers are obliged to purchase a surety bond in order to be licensed and operate legally. The bond, also known as BMC-84, is required by FMCSA, and it’s placed to ensure fair play. If a carrier isn’t paid as agreed, they can make a claim against the bond and receive all due payments.

Prior to Oct. 1, 2013, the minimum bond requirement was $10,000, but then it rose to $75,000. Losses up to $75,000 will be compensated fully.

Again, you can use FMCSA’s website to find out whether a broker’s surety bond is active.

Keep a Broker Database

If you keep a record of all the freight brokers your company ever works with, you can create something like a work history for each one. This profile doesn’t need to be limited to technical document verification.

You can also include details about the broker’s overall approach to the work load, if they’re capable of meeting deadlines, if they have a good business ethic, and so on. This will give you a more complete view of each one, to better help you decide who to call again.

Make sure to include all contact details such as phone and fax numbers, valid email addresses, and even physical addresses so you can easily get in touch. Keep a record of the payment and transaction history for each load, and update the database regularly.

Freight fraud doesn’t happen every day, but it does happen. It is also true that good partnerships are nurtured with trust and mutual understanding.

However, if you’re operating your own business, it is wise to take all necessary precautions, and carefully verify the information a broker provides.

Above all, be sure the broker is compliant with all federal and state licensing and registration requirements.

Article Source: Guineva, S. (2014). How to determine whether your freight broker is legitimate. Inbound Logistics. Retrieved from http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/how-to-determine-whether-your-freight-broker-is-legitimate/

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Heads up: Operation Safe Driver to boost traffic enforcement this week

Posted in: advice, Business Factoring News, Freight Bill Financing News, Freight Factoring News, Freight Hauling Financing, Freight Hauling News, Staffing Company Finance News- Oct 23, 2014 No Comments

Operation Safe Driver agreesive drivers poster

 

The annual Operation Safe Driver program of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance in collaboration with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and industry kicked off Sunday, Oct. 19,, nationwide. The program, created to “help to combat the number of deaths resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses and cars,” was first held in the year 2007.

During the week of October 19-25, enforcement agencies across North America will conduct heightened traffic safety enforcement aimed at unsafe behavior of drivers of both cars and commercial motor vehicles. Boosted truck roadside inspections, safety belt enforcement, and others activities aimed at improving driver regulatory compliance can be expected.

In addition the program contains a strong educational component. Interested fleets and drivers candownload a variety of materials via the CVSA website to share with other operators or those with whom you share the road.

Activities will be held across the United States, Canada and Mexico, CVSA says, with law enforcement and transportation safety officials offering educational and awareness safety programs to the motor carrier population and the motoring public.

Dills,T. (2014). Heads up: operation safe driver to boost traffic enforcement this week. Etrucker. Retrieved from. http://www.etrucker.com/ovd/heads-up-operation-safe-driver-to-boost-traffic-enforcement-oct-19-25

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