Online freight marketplace uShip has announced three top national less-than-truckload carriers have committed to uShip’s shipper-direct LTL spot rate marketplace.
The move by Con-way Freight, Old Dominion Freight Line and YRC Freight brings the total number of national and regional LTL carriers that are either live or coming online to uShip’s marketplace to 28, representing more than 80% of the annual volume in the $32 billion LTL market in the U.S., according to the company.
“By publishing their rates through uShip, LTL carriers can act a lot like airlines or hotels when it comes to pricing,” said Jim Bramlett, general manager of uShip LTL Freight. “They can now reach shipping customers directly with rates they control and dynamically adjust with market and seasonal conditions. This optimizes their asset utilization, accelerates growth in their most profitable segment, and maintains strong yield levels while maintaining their 3PL contracts.”
uShip says it marketplace also provides millions of small to midsize shippers not under a freight contract with a single online location to manage all their shipping, direct carrier access, instant capacity and transparent, competitive pricing.
Currently, uShip claims to have 250,000 registered business shippers with more than 35% of its total shipping volume in commercial freight.
A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Penn. early this month indicted one person in connection with a scheme to defraud trucking companies over drug test results of drivers.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Pope, operator of Eastgate Laboratory Testing, has been charged with mail fraud for allegedly trying to defraud several Pittsburgh-area commercial motor vehicle drivers and employers, according to the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General.
“Our investigation revealed that Eastgate conducted drug testing for commercial vehicle operators and various trucking companies located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” the office said in a statement. Eastgate served as a third party administrator to oversee the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulated testing.
The indictment alleges that between 2008 and 2012, Pope used the signature of a medical review officer who had not worked for Eastgate since June 2005 to certify test results. FMCSA and the commercial operators relied on the suspect drug test reports to demonstrate compliance with federal regulations.
No date has been announced for the trial.
Both drivers in the fiery Northern California crash involving a FedEx truck and bus full of students had clean driving records.
FedEx driver Tim Evans and the driver of the chartered bus, Talalelei Lealao-Taiao, were killed along with eight passengers Thursday when the truck veered across the median of Interstate 5 and smashed into the bus.
California's Department of Motor Vehicles said neither driver had a moving violation, although Lealao-Taiao's license was briefly suspended in 2004, The Sacramento Bee reported. The reason for the suspension was not immediately clear.
The Glenn County coroner has not released official identifications, but the Bee spoke with a member of Evans' extended family, and Lealao-Taiao's employer, Silverado Stages Inc., confirmed her name.
Other than an expression of grief, the company declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
The bus was carrying 44 students from Southern California for a free tour of Humboldt State University on the state's far north coast. Many were hoping to be the first in their families to attend college. Five students and three adult chaperones died, along with the drivers.
Federal and state investigators expect to take months to determine what caused Evans to lose control of his truck, which sideswiped a sedan and collided with the bus. Dozens of injured students escaped through windows before the vehicles exploded into towering flames and billowing smoke in Orland, 100 miles north of Sacramento.
The sedan driver told investigators the truck was in flames before the crash, but the National Transportation Safety Board has said investigators found no physical evidence of a pre-impact fire or other witnesses to confirm that account.
A preliminary NTSB report is expected within 30 days; the entire investigation can last more than a year.
The bus's black-box-style electronic control module was recovered, and investigators will use other tools to reconstruct the truck's speed and maneuvers. Blood tests can tell whether either driver was impaired. The investigation will also review maintenance records and the drivers' medical histories.
A Wyoming trucking company is facing fines of up to $1 million and a driver is facing criminal charges in connection with the illegal dumping of oil drilling waste in North Dakota.
According to a release issued by the state’s Department of Mineral Resources, Black Hills Trucking Inc. is accused of violating multiple environmental sections of the state code by allowing saltwater oil drilling waste to flow directly onto the ground, by improperly disposing of the fluid, and by failing to have a proper license to haul waste.
In addition, the state attorney general has charged Leo Slemin, a driver for the company, with one class C felony for illegally dumping saltwater. The company did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
According to the investigative report, on Feb. 14 an inspector with the DMR witnessed Slemin driving a semi-truck along a stretch of road in southwest Williams County with valves on the underside of the truck open, allowing salt water to flow directly onto the ground. The alleged incident occurred in an area where numerous reports of illegal dumping have been received – a gravel road in rural Williams County between a drilling site and a well designed to hold the saltwater waste.
Slemin’s case is scheduled for hearing at 1 p.m. on Monday, April 21 in Williams County District Court. If convicted, Slemin could be sentenced to a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment, a fine of $10,000, or both.
The DMR is also pursuing civil penalties against Black Hills Trucking for this incident and at least two other instances where Black Hills trucks were seen illegally dumping saltwater onto the same stretch of roadway.
Alison Ritter, public information officer for the DMR, said the agency doesn’t know exactly how much saltwater was dumped.
“Since this was done illegally, there was no report filed by the company,” she said, adding that the cleanup process involved the county having to “scrape the road and put new material down.”
Ritter said reports of illegal dumping in the area prompted another company to set up surveillance footage, which led to the charges against Black Hills Trucking. She said field inspectors for the agency also witnessed the dumping.
“It’s definitely an issue,” she said. “There have been criminal charges filed against another driver before, and he did plead guilty. The problem with illegal dumping is obviously it’s illegal and the person who’s doing it is going to try to get away with it for as long as possible.”
Ritter said the agency is asking for help from other truckers and the general public to report any illegal dumping activity by notifying the state Highway Patrol, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health or her agency.
“The big thing would be try to get a license plate number or a company name on the truck. That way the responsible party can be found,” she said.
Courtesy of Landline Magazine
The federal government is calling on professional truckers to help identify critical shortages of safe and available parking – and truckers have until Friday, April 18 to participate.
The Federal Highway Administration has asked OOIDA to reach out to its members to take the survey.
Visit this link to take the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JasonsLaw-OOIDA. The survey takes only a few minutes to complete.
Congress required the Federal Highway Administration to conduct the survey as part of the “Jason’s Law” provision in the current highway law MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century.
The “Jason’s Law” provision is named after trucker Jason Rivenburg, who was ahead of schedule en route to deliver a load in South Carolina in March 2009 but was not allowed to park at the receiver. With limited options available, he parked his rig an abandoned gas station, believing it would be safe. During the night, he was attacked and killed by a robber for a mere $7 he had on him.
Jason’s wife, Hope, gave birth to twins 13 days after Jason was killed. She continues to carry the torch for safe trucking parking and even conducted her own independent survey on the parking issue. Her survey received 4,000 responses and identified shortages in various regions and cities. It also shed light on the amount of time it takes for truckers to find a safe place to park to comply with hours of service.
The Federal Highway Administration continues to gather information for the official docket. OOIDA and its research foundation are urging truckers to complete the survey and tell their fellow drivers about it.
According to the FHWA, responses will be directly reflected in the findings that the administration will publish on its website.
Courtesy of Landline Magazine
GRETNA – A woman who claims she entered into a contract to sell a refrigerated trailer to a trucking company and its owner in which they would pay her $30,000 in installments, claims breach of contract.
Alma J. McKay filed suit against Dexter Varmall and Dexter Varmall Trucking in the 24th Judicial District Court on March 20.
McKay alleges that on Nov. 1, 2009 she entered into a verbal contract with Varmall and Dexter Varmall Trucking in which they purchased a 1999 Wabash refrigerated trailer for $30,000 from her. The plaintiff asserts that after a bill of sale was created and notarized she delivered the trailer to the defendant who signed a promissory note in the amount of $30,000 that was to be paid for at the rate of $500 per week until paid in full. McKay claims that Varmall did not make payments on the trailer before it was towed by a towing company in November 2009.
The plaintiff alleges that in July 2010 the towing service sent her a final demand letter requesting $4,046.68 for the release of the trailer, which if not received would result in the property being auctioned off. McKay claims she negotiated the price to keep the trailer from being auctioned down to $3,000, of which $500 was paid by Varmall who afterward took control of the trailer again and has since used it and led to its depreciation in value.
The defendant is accused of breach of contract.
Damages in the amount of $30,000 is sought by the plaintiff.
McKay is represented by attorney Arthur G. Kingsmill of Gretna.
The case has been assigned to Division I Judge Nancy A. Miller.
Case no. 736-682.
Source: The Louisiana Record
Rand McNally announced the release of a navigation and software update for its line of mobile fleet management devices, including the HD 100, TND 760 and TPC 7600. With the release, the devices will have access to a full map update and new navigation features, as well as supplementary hours-of-service rules to help track hours in various locations and industries.
The update has been made available over the air to existing customers and will be included on all new devices.
Specifically, the software release includes an updated road network and more than 50,000 changes that impact routing, restrictions and clearances. The release also features additional specialty HOS rules for tracking hours – including HOS for motor coaches, for trucks traveling from the U.S. into Canada (HOS Cycle 1), and intrastate rules in three states.
The software update includes:
- An updated road network and Rand McNally’s award-winning truck navigation.
- A new “Compare Routes” feature, which provides drivers with a primary route and a reasonable alternate on a map for quick review. This feature allows drivers to then select their route.
- Speed limit updates across the U.S. and Canada.
- More than 50,000 changes that impact routing – including updates to vertical clearance and weight restrictions, number of axels permitted, and low ground clearance railroad crossings (“Hump” RR crossings).
- More than 2,000 updates to truck-relevant point of interest such as weigh stations, rest areas/welcome centers, and truck-friendly hotels; the update includes the addition of 157 rest areas and 77 CAT Scales.
- The addition of Motor coach HOS rules, Canadian HOS Cycle 1 rules, and intrastate HOS rules for Florida, Texas and California.
- Support for the California Agricultural HOS exemption.
- Updates to state emergency contact phone numbers, and the latest information on truck trailer length information by state.
Pay and benefits are changing as fleets work to recruit and retain drivers, but treating drivers right is still a top priority.
Recruiting and retention. It’s akin to bailing water out of a boat that has a hole in it. You really have to plug the hole first, otherwise you’re constantly fighting to stay afloat. In the trucking industry, that hole is driver retention.
One thing the experts agree on is if your company has an incentive rewards program, the rewards need to be given in a timely fashion.
In the past, you might have been able to keep afloat by bailing. But today, as increasing regulations and demographic factors shrink the pool of qualified drivers available, it’s like that bucket you’re using to bail has gotten smaller.
Large truckload carriers have seen their turnover rate hold above 90% for eight quarters in a row, according to the latest figures from the American Trucking Associations.
“I think our industry has traditionally had a greater emphasis on recruiting and making sure they have a healthy pipeline of candidates coming in, but they just can’t recruit fast enough if you’re losing drivers at a fast pace as well,” says Vikas Jain, vice president of product management and software as a service at Omnitracs, which says it can use data analytics to predict which drivers are at risk for leaving the company.
“I am hearing more and more fleets are focusing their efforts on retention as opposed to recruiting,” he says.
Generally drivers cite two main broad reasons for jumping from one company to another: pay and respect. And the same factors that can keep drivers with your company can also help attract new drivers to your company – especially when you consider the importance of word-of-mouth and referrals.
In a recent survey by background screening company HireRight, 39% of the transportation companies responding said they are increasing pay, and almost as many (36%) said they are offering various incentive programs.
They have to make up lost ground when it comes to pay, according to Gordon Klemp, head of the National Transportation Institute, whose National Survey of Driver Wages has been tracking driver pay for years.
The survey’s 2013 figures for median dry van pay show an annual paycheck of $47,544. Pay per mile, Klemp says, was up 1.92% last year. However, he notes, mileage pay for dry van drivers went down in 2008 and 2009 during the recession.
“It has slowly been coming back beginning in 2010, but it’s only up 3.3% since 2008.”
The average dry van pay today is 37.2 cents per mile, compared to 2008 pay of 36 cents per mile. However, he says, that’s not taking inflation into account. “Just to make up for the modest inflation we’ve had since then, it would have to be 40.28 cents per mile,” he says. “So in real terms, drivers have lost about 2.25 cents in that period of time.”
While it’s too early to call it a trend, Klemp notes that several large fleets are implementing pay increases “in the neighborhood of 3 cents per mile. Those are the biggest pay increases we’ve seen since 2005.”
Over the last few years, he says, he’s seen a lot of small pay increases by the bottom half of payers, but not a lot from the top-tier payers, except in the flatbed market. “So we’re seeing early signs that it may be a more vigorous year for pay moves.”
Moving away from mileage
Mileage pay, however, tells less and less of the story of driver compensation today. More companies are avoiding across-the-board mileage pay increases in favor of various incentive packages, bonuses and incentives that reward the best performers.
“In the last five years we have seen a new strategy, which is bonuses,” Klemp says. It’s really not new, he says, “but we’ve never seen them quite like they are today.”
It starts with sign-on bonuses.
“One of the things the marketplace is trying to do is offset the lack of movement in the mileage rates with one-time front-end payments,” Klemp says. For a solo van driver, he says, sign-on bonuses run as high as $6,000. For flatbed drivers, he’s seen as high as $7,500. And teams? “It’s insane,” he says. “We’ve seen them as high as $15,000. At any one time, you can usually find [sign-on bonuses for teams] of between $8,500 and $10,000 for dry vans.”
But sign-on bonuses are just the beginning of the bonus process.
“We’ve got more and more people joining the ranks of those who offer incentives for improved productivity” and other metrics, Klemp says, including fuel efficiency and safety – for the most part, factors “that translate directly into things that improve the bottom line.”
Fuel economy is a major driver of these types of programs. But perhaps just as important is safety and compliance. HireRight’s Stevens says many such programs began centered around the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. “They want to drive the right behavior to maintain that good CSA score.”
Some other operations are moving away from mileage pay altogether. One such fleet is Lousiana-based Dupré Logistics, which has a driver turnover rate of 34.5% for the past 12 months. About seven or eight years ago, Dupré decided to take the radical step of paying their drivers not by the mile but by the hour.
“Drivers are paid for everything that they do,” says Jim Barnett, vice president of operations. “It really incentivized our drivers to be safe. They don’t need to rush to cover those miles as fast as possible to make up for the time at the dock they weren’t being paid for.”
While this type of pay system did take some adjustment for both the company and its drivers, it has become a source for many driver referrals.
“When prospective drivers first look at how we pay drivers by the hour, they are disbelieving that it can be beneficial for them,” Barnett says. “But when our drivers tell other drivers about how it really works, new drivers believe it and our referral program generates a lot of interest in our company.”
Effective compensation packages
There is only three more weeks for the estimated 3,000 truckers who received medical certification from Dr. Paul Besdansky of Georgia.
Truck drivers who received medical certification from Dr. Paul Besdansky of Georgia before June 30, 2013, must be re-examined according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
FMCSA has determined that the late Dr. Paul Besdansky, formerly of Garden City, Ga., failed to conduct proper DOT medical examinations before his death, according to a notice issued by FMCSA. As a result, commercial driver’s license holders who currently possess a medical certificate signed by Dr. Besdansky are directed to be immediately re-examined by a medical examiner and to submit a new medical certificate to both the state agency that issued their CDL and to their employer.
All current medical certificates signed by Dr. Besdansky will be invalid as of May 2, 2014.
FMCSA believes that a majority of CDL holders with medical certificates signed by Dr. Besdansky reside in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, according to the notice. There is some speculation that some drivers in Alabama may also be affected.
The agency has sent letters and along with a list of frequently asked questions to the drivers they suspect hold medical certificates signed by Dr. Besdansky. The agency is also directing law enforcement personnel in other states to immediately inform the driver and FMCSA upon discovery of a medical certificate signed by Dr. Besdansky.
Drivers that have further questions are directed to contact the FMCSA Southern Service Center at
Courtesy of Landline Magazine
A bill on the governor’s desk could soon authorize truckers and other drivers traveling through some of Georgia’s highly populated areas to travel a little faster.
Speed limits in metro areas around the state with more than 50,000 people now are capped at 65 mph.
House lawmakers voted 158-7 to sign off on Senate changes to a bill that includes a provision to allow the speed limit in urban areas to be raised to 70 mph – up from 55 mph and 65 mph. The bill next moves to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk. The Senate approved the bill on a 45-3 vote.
Josh Waller with the Georgia Department of Transportation said during a recent bill hearing the change could be done in areas where it could improve traffic flow.
Rep. Sam Watson, R-Moultrie, said his bill is an effort to bring Georgia speed limits up to par with other nearby states. However, he noted passage of the bill wouldn’t mean that speeds would change.
“This wouldn’t be an automatic change. Studies would need to be done to make sure this is OK to do,” Watson previously testified to a House committee.
Specifically, HB774 would require traffic studies performed by the Georgia Department of Transportation before travelers on urban interstates could be authorized to drive faster.
The agency increased the speed limit from 55 mph to 65 mph on a nearly 30-mile stretch of Interstate 285 in Atlanta late last year.
Waller addressed concerns about areas with heavy traffic. He told lawmakers there are certain areas with road signage and heavy driving conditions that would make any speed changes inappropriate. But based on posted speeds in neighboring states, he said higher speeds could work on certain Georgia highways.
“We looked at our neighbors with their urbanized maximum speeds set at 70 mph. It seems appropriate to take this step to give us the flexibility to make changes,” Waller said.
Courtesy of Landline Magazine
Members of Congress are inviting companies that earn money outside the U.S. to invest in American infrastructure in exchange for a tax break.
U.S. Reps. John Delaney, D-Md., and Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Md., have 60 cosponsors in the House – 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans for the bill they call the Partnership to Build America, HR2084.
They introduced the bill in 2013, but this past week they wrote letters to members of Congress to urge support.
They want Congress to create a national infrastructure fund – also known as an infrastructure bank – and they want to attract $50 billion in private-sector funding to start it. Once in operation, an infrastructure bank would loan money to states, regional governments and localities to finance infrastructure projects.
Delaney and Fitzpatrick believe that $50 billion could translate to $750 billion in investments in transportation infrastructure, water, energy, communications and educational facilities.
Their bill would concentrate on larger projects and would not be meant for everyday maintenance or smaller infrastructure projects.
The lawmakers see their idea as a short-term fix as Congress works on longer-term solutions to fund infrastructure for the next highway bill.
The Senate companion to the Delaney-Fitzpatrick bill is S1957, filed by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. That bill has 12 cosponsors.
Critics of an infrastructure bank say tolls could end up playing a significant role in road and bridge projects as the builders pay back the infrastructure bank.
Courtesy of Landline Magazine
MISSOULA - Jim Palmer Truck, a major Missoula-based company has been sold. However, MTN News was told the jobs will stay in Missoula.
MTN News learned that the sale of the 50 year old business was completed March 31st. Wil-Trans, based out of Springfield Missouri, is now the new owner of Jim Palmer Trucking.
This move, potentially saves some 300 jobs say Joe Kalafat, the company's outgoing CEO. Jim Palmer Trucking was almost closed in recent years, filing for bankruptcy protection in 2008.
It was eventually purchased by a Chicago based firm. However, Kalafat says the new owners didn't have the financial ability to invest in the company in the way it needed. According to Kalafat, this deal with Wil-Trans was key to keeping the business alive in Missoula. Kalafat said, "They're affiliated with Prime Incorporated. Personnel will slightly be altered but that's just part of the changing landscape of the industry." Kalafat added, "At this point I think they're still evaluating who and what will they'll need and how that's all going to turn out."
Kalafat didn't say anything about layoffs, but he says there will be some re-shuffling. Kalafat also mentioned that the company plans to expand by as much as 10 percent in the next year. Kalafat plans to leave the company at the end of the transition period.