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INTERMODAL IS HOT: HOW SIX CITIES ARE MEETING LONG-HAUL CHALLENGES

intermodal

INTERMODAL IS HOT: HOW SIX CITIES ARE MEETING LONG-HAUL CHALLENGES

How hot is intermodal right now? Total volumes rose 20.4% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2021, according to the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) Intermodal Quarterly report

International containers gained 24.8% from 2020; domestic shipments, 15.7%; and trailers, 18.5%, according to the Calverton, Maryland-based association’s report, which also found that intermodal volumes not only grew for the fourth consecutive quarter in Q2, but the double-digit gain was the largest quarterly increase since Q3 of 2010 as well as the sixth quarter with a double-digit growth rate in the history of the data. 

“What is noteworthy is the breadth of the gains,” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA, before September’s IANA Expo in Long Beach, California, where the Q2 surge was a source of industry optimism. “With one or two exceptions, the three market segments showed positive performance in all of IANA’s 10 regions.”

Trans-Canada led with a 29.6% total growth increase, followed by the Southeast-Southwest at 28.9% and the Midwest-Northwest at 26.6%. The Intra-Southeast likewise posted a 25.9% increase; the South Central-Southwest, 24.5%; and the Midwest-Southwest, 21.8%. The Northeast-Midwest came in at 20.9%.

“Freight volumes are expected to slow but experience steady q/q growth into 2022,” forecasts the 2021 Second Quarter Intermodal Quarterly report. “For 2021 as a whole, truck loadings are forecasted to be 7% higher than 2020 levels.”

Freight demand pressures, the end of consumer stimulus infusions and unemployment supplement and the ongoing surge in small new trucking companies have complicated matters, according to the report. “Intermodal remains highly competitive with trucking due to very high rates and tight driver supply. 

This situation will likely continue at least into early 2022, however, could be affected by a quicker stabilization in the trucking market, as reflected by a peak in truck spot metrics.” 

Managing the ups and downs of intermodal transport is greatly assisted by the IANA, whose roster includes more than 1,000 members from railroads, ocean carriers, ports, intermodal truckers and over-the-road highway carriers, intermodal marketing and logistic companies, and suppliers to the industry. (Learn more at intermodal.org.) But at the hyper-local level, economic development corporations (EDCs) also play a role in keeping freight trains rolling. Below are six cities meeting intermodal challenges with the help of their EDCs.

MILLERSBURG, OREGON

The Albay-Millersburg Economic Development Corporation estimates that 81% of the exported agricultural products from the Mid-Willamette Valley of Southern Oregon are loaded onto ships at the Seattle and Tacoma ports, with the remainder exported from ports in Long Beach (8 percent) and Oakland (3 percent), California. 

Complicating the flow of produce is traffic congestion near Portland, Seattle, Tacoma and farther down Interstate 5 into California.

However, like an oasis of calm sits Millersburg, which allows agricultural producers in the region to consolidate their products efficiently and avoid bumper-to-bumper nightmares altogether. To that end, the Linn Economic Development Group (LEDG), which is an affiliate of the Albay-Millersburg EDC, is constructing the Mid-Willamette Valley Intermodal Center (MWVIC) in Millersburg.

The town of around 2,000 people just happens to be where the Union Pacific Railroad mainline, BNSF’s Portland Western Railroad and I-5 come together. The MWVIC was made possible by passage of the state’s Keep Oregon Moving legislation, which appropriated $25 million toward development.

The intermodal center will include a main office, parking lot, space for about 100 trucks to park overnight, amenities for truck drivers, capabilities to handle domestic and international containers, track space for inbound and outbound trains, a 60,000-square-foot storage warehouse and docks to support reloading and transloading onto rail, with capacity for longer-term storage of product.

Agricultural producers and train operators are not the only beneficiaries of the project. Shippers will now have the option of choosing the best transportation alternative for each individual load. The LEDG estimates that under full utilization, private transportation cost savings will total $2.1 million per year.

But the public should turn out to be the biggest winner. Reducing the number of trucks on the highways would lower maintenance costs, reduce congestion, improve air quality and decrease carbon emissions—while the MWVIC at the same time increases jobs and local spending. 

ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

The Norfolk Southern Allentown Rail Yard is among the railroad’s largest facilities, but only a few of the 200 manufacturers in the Pennsylvania town transport goods by rail. The Allentown Economic Development Corporation would like to change that. Saying of the yard “we’re very fortunate to have it,” Scott Unger, executive director of the Allentown EDC, says he and his team are pulling out all the stops to increase rail usage.

Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Rail Freight administers a special grant program called the Rail Freight Assistance Program that provides financial assistance to companies that are interested in bringing a railroad spur directly to their property for freight shipments. The goal of the grant program is to preserve and stimulate economic development through new and expanded rail service.

Also hoping the state incentive program lights a fire under local manufacturers is the R. J. Corman Railroad Co., LLC, which owns 11 Class 3 short line railroads in the Mid-Atlantic and the South, as well as the R. J. Corman Allentown Rail Yard.

“Products that are ideal for transloading include palletized commodities which can be loaded and unloaded in a boxcar,” explained John Gogniat, director of Commercial Development for R. J. Corman. “In addition, products such as lumber or steel that can be unloaded with a forklift are ideal candidates. That said, we are open to entertaining any potential commodity and will develop a mutually desirable solution for its loading and unloading.”

Gogniat notes that Allentown’s strategic location provides access to Philadelphia, Scranton, York, Harrisburg, Wilmington, New York and beyond.

WILKES COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA

The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Rail Industrial Access Program also uses state funds to help construct or refurbish railroad spur tracks required by a new or expanding company. Program funding is intended to modernize railroad tracks to ensure effective and efficient freight deliveries.

Many companies taking advantage of the incentive are located in Wilkes County, which was established in 1777 and is still known today as a mecca for outdoor recreation, small-town living . . . and a big business mentality. 

Consider the Yadkin Valley Railroad, which offers Wilkes County businesses rail access to ship their products into the Ronda and Roaring River areas. Operating out of the Winston-Salem area and hauling 11,500 carloads per year with freight, Yadkin joins G&O’s short line railroads, which offer connections to CSX and Norfolk Southern, in figuring into the logistical operations of Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility.

Wilkes County Economic Development Corporation will point businesses to other local and state incentive programs to improve rail access—dependent on the applicant’s potential to create new jobs and invest capital in the region. The aim is to get companies to locate or expand in North Carolina versus another state.

“The North Carolina Railroad Company partners with the state’s economic development community and railroads on initiatives designed to drive job creation, freight rail use and economic growth,” reads an EDC release. “Through NCRR Invests we evaluate requests for investments to address the freight rail infrastructure needs of companies considering location or expansion in the state.” 

But Wilkes County does not live by rail alone, as the EDC also trumpets a location that is close to major freeways and interstates, two international airports (Charlotte Douglas and Piedmont Triad) and three major East Coast ports (Wilmington, North Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; and Charleston, South Carolina). 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

An ambitious program was born out of congestion, pollution and unconnected cargo transportation options in the Big Apple. Freight NYC aims to expand the use of rail and water to move food, building materials and other goods that are normally trucked in from outside the five boroughs.

“Freight NYC will better equip New York City to meet 21st-century demand by modernizing the city’s freight infrastructure, reducing truck traffic and improving air quality, while creating nearly 5,000 good-paying jobs in the process,” says James Patchett, chief executive of the New York Economic Development Corporation. “This plan is a win-win for our environment and economy.”

The city would invest as much as $100 million in the program that would include a 500,000-square-foot distribution center on the site of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, adjacent to the New York New Jersey Rail carfloat hub, as well as a new air cargo center near John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens.

Private participation in a $20-30 million barge terminal on five acres of land owned by the city in Hunts Point, a major distribution crossroads for produce in the Bronx, is also part of the multimodal plan. 

Small rail freight yards on a line through Brooklyn and Queens, where goods would be transloaded to smaller vehicles for final delivery, is also envisioned.

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

When you think of the granddaddy of rail operations in the Midwest, you think of Chicago. That’s part of . . . heck, the main problem, according to Nicole Bateman, president of the Decatur Economic Development Corporation and executive director of the Midwest Inland Port. The Windy City is not only the nation’s busiest rail freight gateway, it’s the third-largest intermodal container/trailer port in the world, following Singapore and Hong Kong, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

What comes to mind when you think about freight, Singapore and Hong Kong? Congestion. As such, shippers on both ends of the supply chain need alternatives to Chicago—which is where Decatur (as Bateman’s fingers cross) comes in. 

Located 160 miles southwest of Chicago, Decatur is now being propped up by its EDC and the Midwest Inland Port as a distribution transportation center, which is fed not only by four railroads but easy access to interstates and airports. The port association is utilizing public-private partnerships to capitalize on Decatur’s geographic location, while the EDC seeks to make the city Illinois’ designated downstate freight transportation hub as a way to relieve rail and highway congestion in Chicago.

Users of the Midwest Inland Port have experienced savings in freight transportation costs and significant reduction in transit times, Bateman recently told American Shipper.

SEGUIN, TEXAS

Talk about strategic locations, Seguin sits alongside Interstate 10 and the banks of the Guadalupe River, with San Antonio a mere 35 minutes to the west, Austin only 55 minutes north and Houston about 2 ½ hours to the east.  

Besides the easy access to I-10, Seguin also connects to State Highway 130, which it bills as “the safe, fast and reliable alternative to congested Interstate 35 in Central Texas.” Two international airports (San Antonio and Austin-Bergstrom) and two deep-water ports (Houston and Corpus Christi) are an hour of so away.

But perhaps the biggest jewel in the close proximity crown is Union Pacific’s San Antonio Intermodal Terminal (SAIT), a $100 million state-of-the-art facility designed to support the growing intermodal volume in southern Texas. The expansive facility is designed to handle 250,000 annual container lifts as it serves markets across South Texas.  

If that hasn’t sold you, allow the Seguin Economic Development Corporation to work its magic. The EDC helps guide businesses through the maze of available loans, grants and tax breaks from the city, county and state. To hear the EDC tell it, finding applicants should be no sweat considering Seguin’s “easy access to four of the United States’ largest consumer markets, allowing manufactures to get their products to millions of consumers, all within a five-hour drive.”

DOT inspections

What Fleet Managers Should Know About DOT Inspections

Operating a trucking company typically means covering a lot of variables, from vehicle depreciation and traffic jams to driver sick days, broken-down equipment, conflicts with business partners and everything in between.

One thing fleet managers definitely cannot afford to overlook in this list of responsibilities is the importance of DOT inspections. What do fleet managers need to know about DOT inspections, and how can they prepare for the next one before it arrives?

What Are DOT Inspections?

First, what are DOT inspections, and why are they so important?

State troopers or other enforcers, working under the authority of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) carry out surprise roadside inspections to ensure both truck and driver are in good working order.

The goal of these inspections is to keep truckers and other motor vehicle operators safe on the road. An inspector is tasked with determining whether a truck and its driver are following all of the applicable rules and regulations designed to prevent oversights and accidents.

The Six Levels of DOT Inspection

There are six levels of DOT inspection a truck and its operator may be subject to. Which one is carried out depends largely on the whims of the inspector. Drivers will never know what level of inspection to expect until they’re stopped, so it’s essential to be familiar with all six.

Level 1

Level 1 inspections are as comprehensive as they are commonly performed. There are 37 steps to complete for a Level 1 inspection, assessing both the driver and the vehicle as well as addressing the presence of any illegal cargo.

All of the truck’s systems will be inspected, from the brakes and electrical to the steering, seatbelts, and everything in between. The driver will also be assessed to determine whether they’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Level 2

Level 2 inspections are nearly as thorough as Level 1, though inspectors are not required to go underneath the vehicle to ascertain its condition. The driver assessment to look for the presence of drugs and alcohol remains the same, however.

Level 3

Level 3 DOT inspections focus solely on the driver. The inspector will review all pertinent paperwork, such as driver’s license, medical examiner’s certificates, and skill performance evaluations, to determine whether the driver is in compliance with all applicable FMCSA regulations.

As with the first two levels, the driver will also be assessed to determine if they are under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance.

Level 4

Level 4 inspections are not as common as some of the others, since they’re used for one-time examinations. They’re useful for tracking violation trends or other data, and they often don’t take up a lot of time for either the driver or the inspector.

Level 5

Level 5 inspections are the same as Level 1 inspections with one major caveat: the truck is the only thing being inspected. The driver does not even have to be present for this level of inspection, which frees them up to perform other tasks while their vehicle is being inspected.

Level 6

Level 6 inspections are only necessary for vehicles tasked with hauling radioactive materials. The Enhanced NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments is the same as the standard Level 1 inspection, but it pays special attention to any radiological emissions.

Once the truck and driver have passed inspection, the truck is marked with a clearly visible nuclear symbol that is removed once the delivery reaches its destination.

Preparing Vehicles for a DOT Inspection

Getting ready for a DOT inspection is a two-fold proposition: it involves preparing both the vehicle and the driver. First, let’s take a closer look at getting fleet vehicles ready for inspections.

By far the easiest way to pass a DOT inspection is to be prepared. This can entail but is not limited to keeping the vehicle in tip-top shape, keeping it clean, and ensuring all required and recommended maintenance is carried out in a timely manner. Understand the systems that will be inspected and address any problems promptly.

Fleet managers may wish to seek out a DOT Inspection Certification as well. While this will not prevent an inspection from occurring if there is an obvious violation to address, it can help streamline the process a little bit in some situations.

Keeping the vehicle clean may not be a requirement for DOT inspections, but it can ensure the inspector is focusing on the details of the inspection rather than becoming vexed because of the state of the truck.

Preparing Drivers for a DOT Inspection

Drivers are the other part of the equation when it comes to successfully preparing for a DOT inspection.

Driver inspections tend to require a lot of paperwork. Inspectors will go over everything from the driver’s commercial licensing, to their medical card, waivers, daily logs, and hours of service. They will also assess the drivers to see if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and will verify any HAZMAT requirements.

Start by ensuring all of the driver’s paperwork is up to date. Then keep a copy of all the necessary paperwork in a folder in the cab — as well as backups located elsewhere in case something happens to the originals. A lot of this information, such as the daily logs and hours of service, can sometimes be accessed digitally, depending on how the fleet is set up. Fleets that haven’t switched to digital data collection for hours of service and daily logs may wish to consider doing so to speed up the inspection process.

Make sure your drivers are always polite and professional when dealing with inspectors. It’s always a good idea to treat these individuals with professional courtesy, even and perhaps especially if they’re flagging a violation.

Don’t Fail an Inspection by Lacking Preparation

DOT inspections might be a hassle, but they are an unavoidable part of operating a trucking fleet. The easiest way to fail one of these inspections is to go into them entirely unprepared. As long as the fleet is operating properly, all violations are addressed as quickly as possible, and drivers and fleet managers are working to keep themselves and other drivers safe, then passing these inspections with flying colors should be easy.

They say that failing to plan is planning to fail, and that is a rule to live by when it comes to preparing for DOT inspections.

fleet managers

What are the Best Ways Fleet Managers Can Reduce Costs?

Effective fleet management can be expensive. To keep vehicles operational requires spending on labor, fuel costs, maintenance and telematics. Managers also must consider external factors — like driver behavior and weather — that can further impact fleet performance.

When facing tight fleet budgets, it’s important to know how simple adjustments to vehicles and driver practices can reduce costs. These are some of the best strategies fleet managers can use tWhen facing tight fleet budgets, it’s important to know how simple adjustments to vehicles and driver practices can reduce costs. These are some of the best strategies fleet managers can use to do that.

1. Track Driver Behavior

How drivers use fleet vehicles can have a significant impact on fuel economy and vehicle lifespan.

Many modern telematics systems make it easy to track events like harsh braking and idling — practices that can increase vehicle wear and tear and fuel consumption. They can even put drivers in violation of certain city ordinances. These systems can help any business reduce unsafe and wasteful driving practices.

2. Keep Vehicles Maintained and Road-Ready

Proactive vehicle maintenance ensures vehicles are ready for use and less likely to break down on the road — reducing potential downtime.

The correct care can also have a significant impact on vehicle handling and the longevity of different components.

Properly inflated tires, for example, can make many vehicles easier to control and can also help tires last longer. Under-inflated tires tend to run much hotter, according to studies on tractor-trailer tire performance, and just 20% under-inflation can decrease tire lifespan by 30%.

Because tires naturally deflate over time — and because tire pressure can increase or decrease as temperatures change — it’s not unusual for vehicle tires to become under-inflated.

The right grade of motor oil can provide similar benefits for lifespan and fuel economy.

Preventive maintenance is more expensive than repairing vehicles as problems arise, but it can help fleet managers drive down overall upkeep costs in the long run.

Advanced telematics systems can provide fleet managers with instant notification on unusual performance or behavior, allowing them to schedule inspections or repairs as quickly as possible.

For example, networked tire pressure sensors can provide managers with a real-time view of fleet-wide tire pressure readings. Data from engine control units or similar onboard sensors can alert managers when components begin to fail or flag warnings.

In the near future, these systems may also enable predictive maintenance, a maintenance strategy that uses vehicle performance data and AI algorithms to determine when care will be needed.

3. Shop Based on Lifetime Costs

It’s not unusual for a fleet manager to primarily base purchasing decisions on a vehicle’s sticker price. While price will have a major short-term impact on budgets, it doesn’t always reflect how much it will cost in the long term.

Maintenance and fuel costs, downtime, taxation, and insurance can significantly impact a vehicle’s lifetime and recurring expenses. Opting for vehicles that are more expensive but reliable and cheaper to maintain can reduce fleet costs significantly.

When buying a new vehicle, consider reviewing weight and size, vehicle maintenance schedule and customer reviews. Owners may also want to investigate the possible savings alternative fuel vehicles may provide by eliminating the need for gasoline and diesel.

Adopting a forward-looking approach to vehicle and equipment purchasing can help in other ways, as well.

For example, the construction industry currently faces rising demand for almost every type of equipment as the economy recovers from COVID-19. Demand significantly outpaces the industry’s current workforce capacity and supply of resources and heavy equipment.

After a weak year, demand for heavy machinery recovered and then hit record highs in 2021. Many machines are in especially high demand as both residential and non-residential construction starts continue to trend upwards to pre-pandemic levels.

Demand for concrete pumps is expected to rise to meet the need for new foundations and infrastructure investments. At the same time, tight supply has already caused significant price increases for skid steer loaders, tractors, earthmovers and other types of construction equipment.

Considering the state of the market and likely future demand will help managers make additional purchases in the future, when prices are higher and vehicles are harder to come by.

4. Optimize Driver Routes

Efficient route planning is one of the best ways to reduce fuel costs and keep operating expenses low. Many modern fleet scheduling and management solutions offer tools that help managers find the fastest possible route for each given job.

The tool uses information like vehicle location, fuel economy, traffic and even weather conditions to automatically schedule routes so drivers reach jobs as quickly as possible, with minimal fuel consumption.

Savings from optimized routes can add up over time, helping teams cut down on one of the most significant fleet expenses.

5. Know How and When to Right-Size

Fleet right-sizing is the process of purging underutilized or overly specialized vehicles from a fleet. These vehicles are likely not necessary for operations or can be replaced by more useful models. They can significantly increase maintenance, storage and fuel costs while they remain with a business.

The right-sizing process typically follows a few steps, some of which can help managers identify underperforming vehicles in any fleet:

1. Break the fleet down into major vehicle groups or classifications.

2. Calculate average utilization for each vehicle or machine (often a measure of business mileage over a year-long period, or hours in use).

3. Identify vehicles with particularly low utilization — typically in the bottom 25 or 50 percent.

4. Identify low-utilization vehicles that are still necessary for operations.

5. Create a list of nonessential vehicles and right-size.

Other important metrics to use alongside utilization may include fuel consumption, maintenance costs and average hours in use. These metrics can be useful when the miles traveled metric does not accurately reflect the utility of a fleet vehicle.

The right disposal practices can help to make a business’s right-sizing more cost-effective. Selling vehicles as soon as possible after they are identified as being underutilized is important due to the high depreciation rate.

A formal disposal strategy that includes gathering users’ manuals and shop guides and cleaning and removing equipment can streamline the process.

How Fleet Managers Can Reduce Fleet Costs and Streamline Operations

Operating a fleet will always be expensive, but managers can use these practices to keep expenses within budget. Because driver behavior and maintenance costs are significant expense generators, telematics systems and procedures that track and minimize these expenses will typically be a good investment.

Management practices that take advantage of route optimization software and right-sizing strategies will also ensure minimal operating costs.

As alternative fuel vehicles become more common and practical, they may also be a good investment for fleet managers. The electricity these vehicles need is often cheaper than gasoline or diesel, and fewer moving parts can make for lower maintenance costs.

_____________________________________________________________

Emily Newton is an industrial journalist. As Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, she regularly covers how technology is changing the industry.

technology

TECHNOLOGY LEADS TO MEET MODERN CHALLENGES: PART III

For part three of our tech-focused featureGlobal Trade identified industry players who confronted challenges with the help of technological partners. Our case studies are arranged by the categories Global Trade covers on the regular, including ocean carriers, ports, trucking, and warehousing. Read part one here and part two here.

OCEAN CARRIERS

Company: Atlantic Container Lines of Westfield, New Jersey

Challenge: Enhancing operations and market share for refrigerated shipments

Problem Solver: Carrier Transicold of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Solution: PrimeLINE refrigeration units

In an attempt to gain new operational advantages and efficiencies for its refrigerated shipping operations, Atlantic Container Line (ACL) began acquiring 150 new containers equipped with Carrier Transicold PrimeLINE refrigeration units in May. The cube-shaped, 40-foot-high containers, which help preserve and protect food, medicine and vaccine supplies, have been put into service on trade routes between the U.S. and western Europe.

“With its energy-efficient performance, the PrimeLINE refrigeration unit is a perfect complement for our fleet, which includes some of the world’s largest, most fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible roll-on/roll-off containerships,” says Maurizio Di Paolo, Corporate Liner Equipment Department manager, with the Naples, Italy-based Grimaldi Group that includes ACL in its portfolio.

Carrier’s Lynx Fleet digital platform monitors the cold-chain containers, although Di Paolo says that “is only the beginning” when it comes to providing benefits to the shipping line. “We are especially looking forward to the advantages that come with refrigeration unit health analytics and the subsequent efficiencies for our maintenance and repair operations,” he said at the containers’ roll out.

Lynx Fleet includes integrated telematics and a cloud-based architecture to ensure information is always up to date; a data management platform that provides enhanced visibility on the health and status of a fleet’s refrigerated containers, reducing operational costs and maintenance & repair expenses related to conducting new off-line pre-trip inspections; as well as platform accessibility from anywhere via smartphone, tablet or computer, through an interactive user-friendly, digital dashboard. The ACL units will also utilize Carrier’s Micro-Link 5 controller, the first and only one in the industry with wireless communication capability, providing greater memory, processing power and connectivity compared to standard controllers.

“We are pleased to support ACL’s modern fleet with our latest container refrigeration technology, which is designed to improve fleet efficiencies and help control operating costs,” says Kay Henze, Carrier’s account manager.

The deal with ACL was sealed a month after Carrier announced that SeaCube Containers LLC of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, became the first intermodal equipment leasing company to incorporate Lynx Fleet into its fleet, with an initial deployment of 2,000 PrimeLINE units. 

“This is an exciting step forward for SeaCube as we move toward realizing our vision of telematics as a standard within our reefer fleet,” SeaCube CEO Bob Sappio mentioned at the time. “We are confident that the Lynx Fleet offerings will help drive improvements in our own operating metrics and resonate with our customers to help them achieve optimal reefer performance and act on data-driven insights.” 

PORTS

Entity: Port of Los Angeles, California

Challenge: Advancing the port’s ambitious Clean Air Action Plan  

Problem Solvers: Toyota Motor North America of Plano, Texas; Kenworth Truck Co. of Kirkland, Washington; Shell Oil Products US of Houston, Texas, and multiple stakeholders 

Solution: Hydrogen fuel cell electric freight vehicles and stations

North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $259 billion in trade during 2020 and remained open with all terminals operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The port currently has 18 projects under way aimed at achieving clear air, clean water and sustainability.

Under an $82.5 million Shore-to-Store project, the port has teamed up with Shell, Toyota, Kenworth Truck Co. and several other public and private-sector partners for a 12-month demonstration of zero-emissions Class 8 trucks. The project—which rolls into a larger-scale, multiyear demonstration that is designed to advance the port’s Clean Air Action Plan goals—is designed to assess the operational and technical feasibility of the vehicles in a heavy-duty setting.

Kenworth designed and built the trucks that rely on a fuel cell electric system designed and built by Toyota. Of course, these vehicles need places to refuel, so Shell designed, built and will operate two new high-capacity hydrogen fueling stations in Wilmington, which is 7 miles from the port, and Ontario, which is 60 miles inland. The vehicles’ duty cycles will consist of local pickup and delivery and drayage near the port and short regional haul applications in the Inland Empire. 

“Transporting goods between our port and the Inland Empire is the first leg of this next journey toward a zero-emissions future,” said Port of L.A. Executive Director Gene Seroka during a demonstration in June. “This project is a model for developing and commercializing the next generation of clean trucks and cargo-handling equipment for the region and beyond. Just as the air we breathe extends beyond the port’s footprint, so should the clean air and economic benefits we believe this project will yield.”

Further expansion of the project will include five more hydrogen-fueled heavy-duty trucks, two battery-electric yard tractors and two battery-electric forklifts, whose feasibility under the rigorous demands of the Southern California market will be studied by the partnershipThey will also measure the reduction of nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.

“Shell believes hydrogen offers a promising solution to achieving net-zero emissions both in terms of immediate improvements of local air quality as well as meeting long-term climate goals, especially for heavy-duty vehicles and for long-distance travel,” says Paul Bogers, Shell’s vice president, Hydrogen. “That’s why we are working with truck manufacturers, fleets, governments and others to coordinate hydrogen infrastructure investments in high-traffic freight areas like the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, the Los Angeles basin and the Inland Empire.”

TRUCKING

Company: Paramount Transportation Logistics Services of Fort Myers, Florida

Challenge: Accelerate their digital freight management initiative

Problem Solver: Trucker Tools of Reston, Virginia

Solution: Smart Capacity real-time load tracking technology

Paramount Transportation Logistics Services (PTLS), which is part of the R+L Global Logistics family of companies, provides comprehensive logistics and transportation management services, including warehousing, distribution, asset-based truckload and LTL services in North America as well as freight forwarding globally. Having embarked on a strategic technology initiative to enhance broker efficiency, improve carrier engagement and expand the provision of real-time shipment information for customers, Paramount performed a detailed examination of companies to consider as a platform partner. Trucker Tools won the pony.

“Trucker Tools checks three principal capability boxes for us,” explains Mark Funk, Paramount’s director of Capacity Procurement. “The first is automated, real-time, GPS-based location tracking, which gives us reliable shipment updates every 15 minutes. Second is predictive freight matching, which automates finding available trucks, and makes it easier for truckers to book with us. By digitizing this process, we also cut the time and cost to cover a load by over 50 percent, increasing the number of loads our team can secure.” 

Trucker Tools’ multi-functional, multi-party mobile driver app and its wide adoption among the truckload community also factored into Paramount’s decision, Funk added. “Carriers are our customers, too,” he noted. “Importantly, we can leverage a common mobile app, familiar to thousands of independent truckload operators and small fleets, to access a much deeper pool of capacity and improve how we do business with them.”  

The Trucker Tools mobile app, which is available for both Android- and Apple-powered smartphones, is provided free of charge to independent truckers and small fleets with 10 or fewer vehicles, which together account for 90 percent of truckload market carriers, according to the company.

“We are excited to welcome Paramount to our growing community of over 300 brokers and 3PLs adopting Trucker Tools as their strategic partner for digital freight management,” says Prasad Gollapalli, founder and chief executive of Trucker Tools. “We truly see ourselves as an integral partner in our customers’ continuous journey to leverage emerging technology, improve how they engage with carriers and provide ever more sophisticated and valuable services to their customers.”

WAREHOUSING

Company: GEODIS of Levallois-Perret, France

Challenge: Improving job safety, comfort and the pool of potential warehouse workers  

Problem Solver: Phantom Auto of Mountain View, California 

Solution: Remotely operated forklift

It takes a lot of thinking to be a multi-dimensional supply chain operations with a direct presence in 67 countries, a global network spanning 120 countries and business rankings of No. 1 in France,  No. 6 in Europe and No. 7 worldwide. And so, it was a thinker at GEODIS who came up the idea of operating warehouse forklifts remotely.

Think about it, the thinker, who is a GEODIS manager, thought: Such an operation would: (1) reduce injuries and increase overall safety in warehouses; (2) lower the number of people physically inside warehouses to enhance worker comfort; (3) create new future-proof remote operator jobs that can be carried out within an office environment; (4) allow the hiring of individuals who may have physical disabilities restricting their use of traditional forklifts, as well as individuals from other historically underrepresented demographics; and (5) allow for recruitment from regions outside of where warehouses are located, including areas of higher unemployment.

Call that a win-win—with a win-win-win on top!

To make this happen, the GEODIS thinker took his idea to a GEODIS think tank that concluded . . . We need help. La première étape (“step one;” finally, my seventh-grade French class pays off) was to find a worthy forklift maker. Deuxième étape (step two; oui-oui!) was to locate the technological know-how to make the contraption work remotely.

For the forklift, GEODIS did not have to look far. Germany’s Linde Material Handling GmbH, a KION Group company that manufactures forklift trucks and warehouse trucks globally, has a French subsidiary called Fenwick-Linde. But for the tech, GEODIS had to look west—waaaaaay west to the U.S. West Coast, where one finds Silicon Valley and Phantom Auto.

The Fenwick forklift combined with Phantom’s secure, network-agnostic and interoperable remote operation software now enables remote workers to “drive” the vehicle, unlocking efficiency and equipment utilization gains. For example, one remote worker can operate multiple forklifts at a number of warehouses at different times of the day, all from one secure, central location. Keep in mind that giant GEODIS has warehouses all over the world.

“Phantom Auto’s technology enables dynamic balancing of workforce allocation, safer warehouses, enhanced worker well-being, and employment opportunities to those who otherwise could not physically drive forklifts,” says Stéphanie Hervé, GEODIS’ chief operating officer, Western Europe, Middle East & Africa. “This innovation will be of benefit to the wider community and indicates the future of logistics operations. We believe that technology should serve people, and that is what this partnership with Phantom Auto illustrates.”

We began this story with market research, so let us conclude with StartUs Insights’ recent report that was based on an analysis of nearly 800 startup businesses and identified a number of Industry 4.0 technological trends. The top 10 are:

artificial intelligence, 16 percent; human augmentation and enhanced reality, 13 percent; edge, fog and cloud computing, 11 percent; network and connectivity, 11 percent; advanced robotics, 10 percent; Internet of Everything, 10 percent; big data and analytics, 9 percent; 3D printing, 8 percent; security, transparency and privacy, 7 percent; and digital twin, 5 percent.

Considering that report for The International Air Cargo Association, TIACA Director General Glyn Hughes noted that each trend StartUs Insights identified affects his members. While an email he recently sent to members is strictly tailored to his industry, his words actually apply to all the companies and problem-solvers cited in this article and beyond.  

“We have all moved on and technology has been leading the way forward and will continue to do so,” Hughes writes. “Future success will be determined by those who identify, embrace and capitalize on new opportunities.

“In that regard, the air cargo industry will also need to embrace these new opportunities. Many of these are already heavily influencing air cargo operational efficiency and a number of new solutions and industry best practices have resulted. When it comes to innovation, digitalization and technological implementation . . . it is very true to say that standing still is actually moving backwards.”

drivers

Tenstreet Market Index: With Turbulence Ahead, Take Advantage of Seasonal Gains

2021 has been an especially unpredictable year in an industry that already suffers from major uncertainty. The effects of COVID-19 on the economy and on the driver market are still being felt all across the nation, and carriers have their work cut out for them when it comes to keeping up with the need to fill and run their trucks profitably.

That being said, the past few months have been marked by optimistic data. Despite a challenging start to the year, the hopeful uptick we had begun to observe in our last Tenstreet Market Index has crystallized into an objective positive improvement over the past several months.

We’ve continued to observe several positive industry-wide trends in our data that indicate things are moving up for transportation – which should mean smoother sailing for carriers in the months to come. Let’s review the data to understand what’s happening with drivers and carriers – as well as how to prepare for the next big changes we’re predicting.

Weekly Driver Activity – 2021

We last visited this chart at the end of May, when the trend lines were all starting to move upward after a dip-filled start to the year.

As the chart, which describes weekly driver activity over the course of 2021 so far, details, driver activity has continued to climb. Since the beginning of June,  we’ve seen the number of drivers filling out lead forms and full IntelliApps climbing along with monthly Driver Pulse users, indicating a clear focus from drivers on finding carriers and getting hired. This is commensurate with most year-over-year trends that see stable volumes of applications in the summer months.

The only major dip during this season occurred right before the 4th of July, a common time for drivers to focus more on the holiday before returning to the job hunt. It’s important for carriers to remember how seasonal hiring can be, even on a week-over-week basis, as we enter the end of the year. As family holidays start to dominate the later months of the calendar, carriers need to be prepared for these dips in activity, which often occur in the weeks leading up to a holiday.

Application Activity Index

The Application Activity Index is a measure of Tenstreet clients who have had a consistent IntelliApp volume for the past 31 months. We assigned January 2019 a value of 100 for comparison, which gives us an easy way to see the rate of application activity change over the last two and a half years while removing the impact of growth in the number of carriers using the platform.

As you can see below, carriers as a whole took a huge hit starting in February of 2020 (just as COVID-19 was beginning to emerge in America) and the market slid steadily downward until May of this year. However, we finally seem to be on the rebound. Application numbers have been rising every month since April, finishing the summer off strong. This seems to suggest we’ll see the market move steadily back toward the growth patterns we were expecting before COVID hit – note how many of the lines nearly mirror where the index first started. Expect an increase in applications over the summer and into the fall.

Cost Per Full Application

For most of 2021, carriers were paying more and more each month for full applications (and on average more than they had to pay in 2020), but May marked a turnaround. The cost of a full app began to drop and continued in freefall for the next two months. The rapid cost decline has started to level out, but we’re back to the levels we were seeing at the beginning of 2020, before the start of COVID-19. Take advantage of this trend now to cut your recruiting costs while a wider selection of candidates are in the market.

How To Prepare for the Future

Improved market conditions, like a lower cost for full applications and more driver applications coming in, are obvious positives for carriers that result in saved advertising budgets and faster hiring timelines. Now is the right time to take care of hiring trends and recruit the best drivers you can.

Just as important as paying attention to current data is reflecting on seasonal patterns we’ve seen before. With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, we’ll likely start to see these positive trends start to turn around again as soon as early November.

At the same time, the industry still faces uncertainty around COVID-19. The delta variant could cause staffing and logistics issues through the coming seasons and into next year, so companies should be prepared for potential turbulence in the months ahead.

If you have seats to fill or are planning to grow your fleet in the coming months, getting that done soon will help you avoid losing money on empty trucks.

Strategies for Increasing Hires

If you’re one of the carriers looking to hire, consider picking up some new marketing tools that can help you improve your personal performance, regardless of industry trends.

Here’s a few marketing services that can jump-start your business as you look for new drivers:

-Tenstreet’s Job Store lets you post all your job openings from one place inside the Tenstreet dashboard. It brings more than 20 popular job boards together to save you considerable time, helping you find the drivers you need quickly at the best cost for your budget.

-Our free Job Store concierge service pairs clients with a specialist who can advise on maximizing the utility of the Job Store, writing better ads, setting hiring geos, choosing the best merchants for you, and managing your recruitment budget – all for no cost or long-term commitment.

-Pulse Match shows your job postings to candidates who meet the qualifications you’ve set for the position, keeping scattershot applicants out of your pool. Only pay a low price-per-application when you get one, and not a thing until then.

trucking

Promoting Healthy Lifestyle Choices in the Trucking Industry

Most discussions on trucker safety focus on driving habits and other vehicle-related actions. While these factors are undoubtedly critical to ensuring truck drivers stay safe, the industry should also consider some less obvious issues. Driver health receives less attention, and that should change.

More than 50% of truck drivers are obese, compared to 26.7% of all U.S. adults. Similarly, diabetes is 50% more common in truckers than in the general population, and 54% of truckers smoke, compared to just 21% overall. These health issues can put drivers at greater risk of disease, increase their medical bills, hinder their quality of life and even endanger their lives.


 

Many of these health trends result from the industry’s long hours, little flexibility and limited options. Consequently, the trucking industry must change to promote healthier lifestyles. Here’s how it can do so.

1. Provide Health Information Resources

The first way the industry can fight unhealthy lifestyle choices is with information. Many drivers may be unaware of how to make healthier choices, and there are limited resources available to teach them. Truckers report that 70% of trucking companies and 81% of truck stops have no health promotion programs.

Studies suggest that providing more information could help promote healthier lifestyles. While 96% of American adults want their food choices to deliver health benefits, only 45% can accurately name the ones that can. Health coaching programs can help address that latter figure, providing a way forward for truckers.

Trucking companies and truck stops should offer resources to teach truckers how to improve their eating, exercise and other health habits. Information alone won’t solve the sector’s health issues, but it provides a starting point. Without it, becoming healthier is far more challenging.

2. Make Schedules More Flexible

One of the reasons so many truckers face health issues is because of their schedules. Since truckers work long hours, they may not have the time to exercise regularly. Even though it’s possible to work out in 10 minutes, drivers may be too tired after a long day on the road.

More flexible schedules would help give drivers the time they need to become more physically active. When that’s not possible, another solution is to send them on the road in pairs. While one drives, the other can relax or sleep, helping them feel less tired when they stop and encouraging more physical activity.

Having drivers travel in pairs will also boost trucker health by improving their sleep schedules. Sleep deficiency can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke and more. Truck drivers can prevent these risks by taking more time for shuteye.

3. Offer Access to Exercise Programs as a Benefit

Another obstacle drivers face in trying to live healthier is a lack of access to necessary resources. Truckers may not know of any available exercise programs or how to get started, and even if they do, they may be expensive. Trucking companies can encourage exercise by providing these programs as a job benefit.

Drivers who stay with the company for a given amount of time could get a free gym membership as a perk. More truckers may be willing to try programs they don’t need to pay for. Offering these benefits company-wide can also provide a social reason for going, as truckers will be in the gym with peers and co-workers.

Trucking companies can try to make these options more enticing by offering various options. For example, boxing can burn up to 800 calories in an hour and may interest drivers more than an ordinary gym. Providing fun ways to exercise like this may encourage more participation.

4. Reward Healthy Behavior

Similarly, trucking companies can encourage healthier lifestyle choices by rewarding them. A sense of competition, or even just the thought of a prize, can convince drivers who may not otherwise be interested in health programs. Companies can create a tier system where drivers who meet different goals receive increasing awards.

For example, a company could offer monetary bonuses, days off or gift cards for completing different weight loss tiers. These programs don’t have to last year-round, but holding them regularly can encourage ongoing healthier choices. After living this way for a month or two, drivers may want to adopt those behaviors permanently.

While these initiatives can create a spirit of competition, companies shouldn’t lean into the competitive side too much. Rewards should be based on completing goals, not outperforming others. Otherwise, these programs could have the opposite effect than intended, discouraging some employees from participating.

5. Promote Convenient Care Clinics

There are more than 40,000 medical providers that conduct Department of Transportation and CDL medical exams. Many of these locations are also convenient care clinics, which can be a useful health resource for drivers. Trucking companies should promote them so drivers know where they can find information about their health.

Convenient care clinics can assess truckers’ health, provide any needed care and help them develop a roadmap for healthier living. Having easy, affordable access to this care can significantly affect driver health, but they have to know about them first.

Trucking companies should inform new hires about these clinics and continue to promote them through newsletters, emails and signage. The more companies talk about them, the more likely drivers are to check them out.

6. Work With Truck Stops to Improve Offerings

Truck stops play a critical role in the health and lifestyle of truckers. Since drivers spend much of their downtime at these locations, that’s where they make many crucial health choices. They’re also notoriously insufficient when it comes to healthy offerings, so trucking companies should work with them to improve.

One study found that not one surveyed stop offered exercise facilities, and 81% didn’t even have a walking path. Most also only had a few healthy food offerings, with 25% lacking them entirely. If these areas had more options, trucker health would likely improve.

Trucking companies can see if they can partner with these stops to offer better choices. Funding exercise facilities or healthier food options will go a long way.

Trucker Health Must Improve

Healthier truckers will spend less on medical bills, have a higher quality of life and live longer. While health may be a matter of personal choices, trucking companies can help improve the safety of their employees by promoting better options.

As it currently stands, the trucking industry faces something of a health crisis. If more companies follow these steps, they can make the profession an altogether healthier one.

truckers

Let’s Hear It for Truckers.

Given the industry’s shortage of truckers, and the mess that has created along the supply chain, mid-September’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week took on added meaning this year.

Palmetto, Florida’s Port Manatee treated more than 200 truckers to lunches and jam-packed goody bags on Sept. 17, the final day of the weeklong celebration.

“Port Manatee is truly blessed to be served by these devoted professional drivers,” said Reggie Bellamy, chairman of the Manatee County Port Authority. “Especially in these challenging times, truckers have gone above and beyond in demonstrating their commitment to keeping the supply chain running smoothly.

A. Duie Pyle, a premier provider of asset and non-asset-based supply chain solutions, on Sept. 13 recognized 25 of its less-than-truckload (LTL) drivers for achieving the Million Mile Safe Driver milestone in 2020. Overall, the West Chester, Pennsylvania-based company has had 171 One Million Mile Drivers, 23 Two Million Mile Drivers, and two Three Million Mile Drivers.

“These drivers are true professionals,” said Pete Dannecker, Pyle’s VP of Risk and Integrated Resources, “and I congratulate them for their dedication to safe driving in the congested Northeastern metropolitan region in which A. Duie Pyle operates.”

Free grub, goody bags and safety recognition are nice, but one thing that is usually better appreciated is cold hard cash. That’s what Mark-it Express, an intermodal trucking and freight brokerage company headquartered in Lemont, Illinois, provided to its Land of Lincoln truckers effective Aug. 2 of this year.

“In appreciation for their loyalty, commitment and value the team,” the company announced Mark-it Express drivers in Illinois are now receiving $27 an hour without the Hazardous Materials endorsement and $30 an hour with the endorsement. Mark-it drivers at the Detroit and Kansas City terminals also got pay bumps. “We have been saying over and over that we appreciate our drivers and see how hard you are working,” said Mark-it President Tony Apa.

“Thank you all again–we wouldn’t be here without you.”

Preventive Maintenance

How Fleet Managers Can Simplify Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is essential for keeping a fleet on the road. By using a maintenance schedule and regularly inspecting essential vehicle components, fleet managers can extend the lifespan of their fleet vehicles and reduce unplanned downtime.

While preventive maintenance prevents costly repairs in the future, it can be both time-consuming and difficult to schedule in-the-moment. For managers, knowing how to streamline this maintenance approach will make it easier to avoid disruptions without making inspections or repairs less effective.

1. Digitize Paperwork and Scheduling

Administrative work can be one of the most time-consuming portions of preventive maintenance. Every inspection or repair generates paperwork that must be logged and stored properly to create effective records of maintenance.

Digital solutions can make storing, accessing, and analyzing this information much simpler. Support staff and mechanics can generate templates for common repairs using information from previous work, streamlining the process of documenting maintenance.

Once all information about the fleet is properly stored in the system, managers and technicians will be able to see at a glance all fleet vehicles and upcoming repairs, plus an overview of the business’s maintenance backlog. Having this information stored in one location will make it easier to track the movement of the fleet and forecast maintenance needs.

This technology can also simplify scheduling and planned downtime. By integrating a fleet management system with the scheduling system, fleet managers can more easily catch potential schedule conflicts and better plan maintenance-related downtime to minimize disruption.

2. Train Drivers

Effective maintenance practices can go to waste if drivers don’t know how their behavior can preserve fleet vehicles.

Harsh driving, for example, isn’t just dangerous. It can also have a real impact on vehicle health. Harsh braking can wear out brakes and trigger a vehicle’s automated braking system, potentially causing it to fail earlier. Harsh acceleration can reduce a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Idling is bad for the environment, can be in violation of local anti-idling ordinances, and may result in an under-lubricated engine, which can cause a wide range of problems in any vehicle.

Training fleet vehicle operators to drive in a way that minimizes these behaviors can reduce a business’s need for maintenance. For example, drivers should know how to cut down on their fuel use and facts about fuel efficiency, like the fact that idling uses more gas than shutting off and restarting an engine. They should also know how to avoid harsh braking and acceleration, as well as the impact these behaviors can have on their vehicle.

Often, vehicle telematics systems and tools like electronic logging devices (ELDs) include features that help managers monitor for harsh driving, idling, and other unwanted driver behaviors.

A dashcam, for example, connected to certain ELDs can monitor for distracted driving, hard braking, reckless turning, and speeding. Most telematics systems can detect idling and automatically alert drivers and managers.

3. Maintain Part and Equipment Inventory

Keeping a part and equipment inventory that’s up-to-date will streamline maintenance. Most preventive maintenance involves the same few common replacement parts — like a new oil filter, new battery, or new belt. If a fleet is mostly made up of the same types of vehicles, managers can keep the right spare parts on hand to reduce repair time and maintenance costs.

With a regularly updated inventory record, the maintenance team will be able to instantly see if they have those parts in stock and plan maintenance without having to manually check part storage. This can make it easier for a business to further streamline preventive maintenance.

This inventory system can also assist technicians and managers in culling obsolete or expired stock. These items will take up storage space, clutter workspaces and can make finding the right part more difficult.

Digital inventory solutions can make this process easier. Barcoding essential items and equipment, for example, will allow mechanics or support staff to quickly perform inventory counts and update equipment status in an inventory tracking system.

4. Perform Regular Tire Pressure Checks

Prioritizing certain maintenance tasks can prevent repairs and simplify checks down the road. Regularly checking tire pressure is probably one of the most important ones — tire pressure affects a massive range of vehicle characteristics, including handling, rate of tire wear, rate of suspension wear, and fuel economy. All of these factors can influence driver safety — handling or suspension issues can pose serious risks to drivers — and may require premature maintenance or fuel stops.

Changing air temperature can also raise or lower tire pressure, meaning tire pressure will change over time, even without a leak. Regular air pressure checks prevent underinflated tires and the risks they can come with.

Automatic tire inflation systems, which bundle together gauges and inflators, can make the process of regularly checking and filling tires more convenient if a business’s fleet management team currently relies on separate devices.

In addition to regular tire pressure checks, fleet managers can also use digital solutions to track tire pressure across the fleet. Modern vehicles often have tire pressure sensors that monitor the current pressure in each tire. A telematics system with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) can help fleet managers and other staff access this data remotely and provide alerts when tire pressure for any fleet vehicle falls below a certain level.

5. Review Maintenance Data

A regular review of maintenance data will take time, but it’s the best way to spot recurring bottlenecks and process issues at a business.

For example, it’s not unusual for maintenance practices to generate process waste — like the waste generated when a poorly performed repair leads to additional work on a vehicle down the line. Identifying and removing the conditions that caused the poor repair will prevent these mistakes in the future.

Making maintenance records easy to store and access can help make this review a little simpler. If fleet managers know where all essential maintenance data is, they and their team won’t have to spend as much time prepping for the review.

The Right Practices Can Streamline Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is the gold standard for vehicle upkeep, but it can be both costly and time-consuming. Finding ways to streamline maintenance without sacrificing repair quality will help any fleet manager make their preventive maintenance strategy more efficient.

Digital maintenance and fleet management solutions are often useful in streamlining maintenance operations. Driver training and prioritizing specific types of maintenance — like tire pressure checks — will also be helpful.

splice

Splice Introduces Its Yard Management System and Changes the Spelling of Its Name

Today Splice announced the launch of Yard Spot, its integrated yard management system application built on the foundation of Splice. The cloud-based application combines numerous sources of data in a common operating view to reduce turn-times, avoid detention fees, and increase productivity of container yards.

Yard Spot displays location data from global positioning system (GPS) and electronic logging devices (ELD), operational data from transportation management systems and terminals, and real-time locations from fixed and mobile cameras. The integration of disparate data sources provides a complete picture of the yard to find equipment quickly and simply, and it helps prioritize movements for dispatch operations.

“Yard Spot enters the market when efficient yard management is essential,” said Kevin Speers, CEO of Splice. “Its benefits extend well beyond knowing where equipment is. Yard Spot helps retain precious truck power, reduce equipment-late fees and alleviate yard congestion.”

Yard Spot’s visual representation of yards has numerous benefits:

-Know where containers and equipment are in real-time to allow trucks in and out of your facility quickly.

-Prioritize dispatch movements to reduce per diem and detention fees by having last free day, gate in/out, empty/full mapped to the location of equipment.

-Audit the yard from anywhere, anytime and use the common operating view to see potential problems and immediately solve them.

“Yard Spot is powered by Splice’s integration platform, and it shows how we can stack applications that otherwise cannot talk to each other to build an altogether new tool,” said Chris Ruddick, COO of Splice. “Splice is continually adding integrations that will strengthen Yard Spot and our overall ability to improve supply chain logistics. Splice can integrate EDI, APIs, sensors, and IoT devices, which opens a whole new level of visibility, analytics and automation for Yard Spot users.”

Additionally, Splice announced that it has changed the spelling of its name. “The magic of Splice is analogous to splicing rope. We take existing applications and data and weave them together to make something stronger and more useful for supply chain and logistics operations,” said Speers. “The name highlights many facets of our value, and by using the accepted spelling of splice, we can better articulate the benefits of our solutions.” Formerly written as Splyc, the company is rolling out updates to its visual identity and branding. Learn more about Splice at www.splice-it.com.

For more information about Yard Spot, visit www.splice-it.com/yard-spot.

 _______________________________________________________________

About Splice

Splice is a solutions platform for supply chain logistics that helps applications that otherwise are disconnected share data and talk to each other. It grew out of the need for integration-driven innovation to speed up information flows, streamline supply chains, and eliminate manual and error-prone processes. We make it easier to work with partners and across organizations. Splice accelerates digital transformation through integration-enabled automation, and we are continuously building our library of integrations. By stacking applications and data sources on top of Splice, we can create point solutions like Yard Spot, our integrated yard management system. We value interconnectedness and inclusion, and we look forward to hearing from you. Learn more about Splice at www.splice-it.com.

For media questions and conversation, please contact Kevin Speers at 757-530-5300 or communications@splice-it.com.

IoT

A Quick Guide On How IoT Is Revolutionizing The Fleet Management Industry

Fleet management has been radically transformed by innovations such as smart devices and sensors in the digital age. The IoT-enabled future of the supply chain industry looks promising as more companies across the globe are embracing the technology.

Research predicts the revenue of the global IoT fleet management market will reach an estimated US$15,500 million by 2024. This is not surprising at all because the sector has achieved great strides by being tech-forward.

Key benefits of IoT in fleet management

Real-time vehicle monitoring

The use of IoT in fleet management allows efficient monitoring of the vehicles and associated assets. The two-way communication system records crucial data. It facilitates remote monitoring, allowing operators to track vehicle conditions and ensure driver safety through predictive maintenance and timely delivery of goods in proper condition.

Risk mitigation

Automation through IoT-driven sensors and smart transport systems helps mitigate risks. The system keeps you informed in real-time about any required changes in routes due to traffic congestions or adverse weather conditions.


 

Remote data management

With an IoT-driven solution, fleet operators have access to vehicle performance data that helps them make informed decisions quickly. Endpoints can be handled remotely, and real-time data is easily accessible over the cloud.

Impeccable customer service

Fleet management centers can integrate smart solutions with their existing ERP systems to optimize performance across all aspects of the business. It helps them drive superior customer experience through higher on-time delivery rates and reduced defect rates.

Cost optimization

The IoT technology helps freight and transportation businesses work more efficiently. Automation eliminates the need for time-consuming operations, and connected devices provide seamless connectivity. Tracking shipments in real-time helps logistics companies optimize costs without compromising customer service and driver safety.

Smart reporting

IoT-powered devices such as the digital tachograph make fleet management reporting intelligent. It records complete data concerning a vehicle’s utilization and shares it in real-time via connected devices. The data helps fleet operators track the vehicle’s health and alerts them regarding upcoming maintenance requirements.

Six ways IoT has revolutionized fleet management

Environment-friendly operations

IoT solutions offer a great way to reduce carbon footprint through effective fleet management. These intuitive technologies monitor driver performance and fuel utilization per mile. You can use the data to align your efforts with your green fleet strategy.

It can be used to improve driver behavior through training and adopting route optimization techniques. Vehicle condition tracking allows the identification of service requirements in advance. You can regularly monitor all your vehicles and maintain them in a good condition.

Not only does IoT technology help reduce environmental pollution from idle vehicles, but it also saves money on wear-and-tear repair costs by helping drivers avoid speeding or idling their cars unnecessarily. It reduces the overall impact of your business on the environment.

Preventive maintenance

Vehicles equipped with IoT sensors collect data from endpoints and send automated signals. This feature can generate early warnings or alerts for monitoring crucial parts of a vehicle such as tires, breaks, and so on.

Based on the information collected, fleet managers can identify parts that need maintenance or must be replaced. You can set alerts for low battery, low levels of coolant, changes in tire pressure, fluctuations in temperature, or defective engine.

The preventive fleet management services help vehicles perform optimally. You can change crucial parts such as tires in advance and re-stock spare parts to avoid accidents and ensure all vehicles run safely at all times.

Engine performance

Remote Engine Monitoring & Diagnostics has been a catalyst to improved fleet performance and optimization. Fleet managers can use it to monitor and analyze the critical engine parameters remotely.

The concept uses diagnostics fault codes to understand what may be wrong with a vehicle. In-vehicle data acquisitions provide comprehensive information on how the vehicle performs or if any problems need attention off the road.

In addition, integrated field engineer optimization means less downtime by sending engineers where they are needed most.

Fleet operators can also use IoT for spare part management. Ensure your inventory is stocked as per upcoming requirements so your vehicles would not proceed on the next trip without necessary repairs.

Improved fuel efficiency

The fuel efficiency of a supply chain vehicle is mainly dependent on the driver and vehicle condition. Poor driving behavior such as idling or unnecessary acceleration and deceleration consumes excessive fuel.

It also leads to wear and tear of crucial components such as tires, brake discs, and so on. The performance of improperly handled vehicles depreciates over time, resulting in higher fuel consumption. Using IoT technology allows you to track vehicle performance data in real-time.

You can analyze data such as average speed to identify erratic patterns in driving behavior. It also provides details related to the condition of parts of vehicles. Improved fuel efficiency saves costs for the company and reduces the adverse impact on the environment.

Commendable automation

IoT-driven connected devices can be used to automate procedures and revolutionize fleet management. Fleet managers can automate many processes, such as route planning and maintenance checks.

Different IoT sensors and GPS-enabled smart systems installed on the vehicle send automatic notifications upon detecting a vehicle breakdown or when weather conditions are fluctuating. It reduces human intervention in maintenance checks and saves time.

Automatic rerouting informs drivers in real-time and helps in saving costs while meeting delivery timelines. Route optimization ensures your fleet takes the best possible route to reach the destination on the expected delivery date without increasing fuel spends.

Higher visibility

IoT collects data from different sensors and stores vast amounts of data. It helps companies use these insights to fulfill various objectives such as fleet performance, compliance with laws, driver behavior, idling, or speeding.

IoT enables cargo cars to keep perishable items and food products fresh. Their network of embedded temperature control devices throughout the cargo chain.

The visibility offered by them helps you ensure food items stay at an optimal safe storage level for consumption or transport.

They work by checking on whether items inside the vehicle’s cabin are outside the specified temperature range. The fleet operator is notified directly from within its internal environment-controlled compartment of the fleet.

Technology requirements for fleet management

Fleet managers should equip their vehicles with the latest IoT-enabled devices and wireless technology. Using high-quality sensors enables accurate recording of data at the endpoints.

For precise data collection, you must select a suitable variety or group of sensors depending upon the requirement of your vehicle and products.

You can pick from temperature, pressure, light, humidity, and proximity sensors. OEMs and telematics service providers must adhere to compatibility standards when developing IoT solutions to ensure precise data sensing.

When deploying IoT devices, you must ensure they perform across all networks, including 2G, 3G, or 4G LTE networks. Explore connection options across diverse networks like Wi-Fi and BLE for a cost-effective approach.

You can also experiment with advanced technologies such as Augmented Reality, Blockchain, and Cognitive Recognition to optimize your fleet management strategy.

You may also need custom software and cloud storage for storing and analyzing data. These must enable remote monitoring and controlling of all connected devices.

All IoT equipment used in your vehicle must conform to safety standards to ensure compliance with road safety rules and driving standards of all regions covered throughout the journey.

The combined impact of telematics and IoT

Telematics has fueled a revolution in the logistics industry by making fleet management more efficient.

-The use of technology to track the location and condition of vehicles means that drivers are less likely to get lost, miss deliveries, or run out of gas while driving.

-Modernized fleet management offers fuel efficiency.

-Driver monitoring ensures lesser accidents and penalties owing to poor driving practices.

-Improved safety for both drivers behind the wheel as well as workers on or near highways.

-Decrease in operational costs as fleets will last longer.

-It is now easier to keep track of shipments at all times through connected devices. The GPS tracking software allows fleet managers to monitor their shipments in real-time. You can follow the map and select the best route for on-time delivery.

-One can study valuable data related to vehicle maintenance or fuel management for project cost calculation and optimization.

Over to you

Imagine a world where you can know the location of your fleet within moments and track it in real-time. With IoT, companies save time and costs by decreasing wait times for inspections and conducting proactive maintenance of their vehicles.

They can provide better customer service by ensuring each customer can track their order and minimize delayed delivery instances. They control your fleet and can reduce accidents or delays caused due to miscommunication between departments.

IoT is making the adoption of these changes easier than ever for companies. They are equipped to strategize better and increase productivity by automating routine tasks.

Therefore, integrating information technology improves the performance of your fleet business manifolds. It assures improvement in efficiency and compliance with road security standards.