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Category Archives: Freight

Supply Chain Podcast from DAT

Check out the lastest podcasts from DAT and Freightvine.  A GREAT way to keep up to day while on the road…just listen in!

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EPA Seeks Comment for Cleaner Trucks Initiative

EPA Seeks Comment for Cleaner Trucks Initiative

Original post link

Andrew Wheeler

MARSHALL, Va. — Federal environmental regulators on Jan. 6 announced a call for public input to assist with the development of new guidance for emissions standards targeting commercial vehicles.

At a livestock exchange in the western part of Virginia, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler explained the Cleaner Trucks Initiative aims to reduce oxides of nitrogen, or NOx, emissions and streamline regulations.

“The U.S. has made major reductions in NOx emissions, but through this initiative we will continue to reduce emissions, while spurring innovative new technologies, ensuring heavy-duty trucks are clean and remain a competitive method of transportation,” Wheeler said.

In its advance notice of proposed rulemaking unveiled Jan. 6, the agency explained the initiative is a “holistic rethinking of emission standards and compliance.” The public comment period will last 30 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register.

The input the agency receives would assist in shaping guidance to reduce in-use emissions under broad operating conditions. Additionally, the rule would be designed to enable effective technological solutions while considering cost impacts. It also would seek to promote fair and effective compliance and enforcement provisions, incentivize early compliance and innovation, ensure a coordinated nationwide program, and engage with stakeholders, the agency indicated.

EPA intends to unveil proposed guidance this year based on the feedback it receives, followed by a final rule possibly as early as 2021, the administrator indicated.

The Trump administration had announced in 2018 it would tackle this issue. EPA informed that a revision of NOx standards for on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines occurred in 2001. According to estimates the agency provided, heavy-duty vehicles remain among the largest contributors to NOx emissions despite reductions of about 40% for such emissions between 2007 to 2017.

Epa by Transport Topics on Scribd

Several stakeholders who joined Wheeler at the announcement of the advance notice of proposed rulemaking applauded the agency’s move.

“ATA is committed to continuing to work closely with EPA on developing the next generation of low-NOx emitting trucks through the Cleaner Trucks Initiative,” American Trucking Associations Executive Vice President of Advocacy Bill Sullivan said. “To this end, the trucking industry seeks one national, harmonized NOx emissions standard that will result in positive environmental progress while not compromising truck performance and delivery of the nation’s goods.”

“EPA’s announcement on the Cleaner Trucks Initiative is a productive step toward updating standards for on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter,” Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies Executive Director Jason Sloan said.

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What is the best Transportation Management System (TMS)?

Making a decision about which one to utilize can be based on a variety of reasons…typically these reasons come down to two…Budget and Features!

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UPS Predicts Record Holiday Season

UPS Predicts Record Holiday Season

 John Sommers II for Transport Topics
Link to original article
UPS Inc. says it has been preparing for what it expects to be a record-breaking holiday shipping season by building additional automated facilities and adding jets to its fleet to handle more packages as online shopping continues to grow.

UPS Worldport

The shipping giant said retail sales are forecast to grow more than 5%, and online holiday retail sales are likely to reach a new high.

EARNINGS: UPS Net Income Up 15.9%, Revenue Rises 5%

The addition of automated facilities allows the company to handle another 400,000 pieces per hour, UPS said. The company expects to deliver more than 32 million packages a day, up 50% over its regular daily volume.

The company is hiring 100,000 seasonal workers for the holiday shipping season, which starts the week of Thanksgiving, spikes the following week and lasts past Christmas with returns and purchases using gift cards. This year, however, a late Thanksgiving means a shorter holiday shopping season overall.

UPS also expects that a shift toward more widespread next-day delivery will drive increased demand for its services.

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Indiana DOT Announces $99 Million for Local Roads

Indiana DOT Announces $99 Million for Local Roads

Link to original article

Indiana DOT announces funding for local projects. The Indiana Department of Transportation and Gov. Eric Holcomb recently announced the distribution of $99.2 million in state matching funds across local government agencies to fund infrastructure construction projects.

The funding, made possible through the Next Level Roads: Community Crossings Initiative, will be dispersed across 229 cities, towns and counties, according to an INDOT press release issued Oct. 10. Community Crossings, which Holcomb signed into law in April 2017, has awarded more than $612 million in state matching funds to local government agencies.

The purpose of the program is to boost economic vitality by helping communities with projects such as road resurfacing and preservation, bridge rehabilitation and replacement and road reconstruction to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Material costs associated with crack filling and chip sealing also are eligible for funding. Chip sealing involves adding a coating of liquid asphalt and aggregate to protect the surface of the road.

“High-quality local roads and bridges are an important part of our formula for attracting jobs, growing our economy and building strong communities,” Holcomb said. “Our fully funded Next Level Roads plan and record-b


reaking level of construction has gained Indiana national recognition for our approach to infrastructure, and Community Crossings takes that commitment to the local level all across the state.”

The Community Crossings program has grown in popularity since its inception. According to the press release, the latest round of funding attracted more applications than there were dollars available. INDOT accepts applications for the program twice a year, in January and July. There is a $1 million cap annually per community for local government agencies interested in applying.

There will be an estimated $100 million available to communities that apply during the January 2020 call for projects. INDOT evaluates projects on a basis of need, traffic volume, local support, regional economics and impact on mobility.

“Efficiently and safely moving people and commerce is vital to the quality of life and vitality of our communities,” said Indiana DOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness. “INDOT is excited to partner with communities through this matching grant program to make infrastructure investments that contribute to the success of all Hoosier cities, towns and counties.”

Indiana DOT announces funding for local projects.

In order to be considered for funding, local government agencies must provide matching funds from a source approved for road and bridge construction. Larger communities must match 50%, while smaller ones must match 25%. They also are required to submit an asset management plan approved by INDOT for maintaining existing roads and bridges.

The funding is meant to help smaller communities, although all Indiana city, town and county government agencies are eligible to apply. State law requires that 50% of the available matching funds annually get awarded to places within counties that have populations of 50,000 or fewer people.

In November 2018, INDOT divided $100 million across 283 cities, towns and counties for local road projects through the Next Level Roads: Community Crossings Initiative.

INDOT also has used federal funds to support local road projects. In March 2018, the agency directed $161 million to rural road, bridge and sidewalk projects. The money was divided among 66 towns, cities and counties to support bridge rehabilitations, resurfacing efforts and traffic safety projects. The federal funds were supplemented with local funds, creating $212 million for those infrastructure projects.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom Signs Heavy-Duty Truck Smog Inspection Program Bill Into Law

September 25, 2019 4:45 PM, EDT

California Gov. Gavin Newsom Signs Heavy-Duty Truck Smog Inspection Program Bill Into Law

Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom by Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed into law a bill that directs the California Air Resources Board and other state agencies to develop and implement a new smog inspection program for heavy-duty diesel on-road trucks.

The inspection and maintenance program would begin with a two-year pilot program to develop and demonstrate technologies that show potential for bringing heavy vehicles more than 6 years old and with a gross vehicle weight of more than 14,000 pounds into a permanent testing program similar to one already in place for cars.

“Just as car owners have to get their own personal cars ‘smog checked’ every two years, so too should truck operators be required to maintain their emissions controls so that we can ensure long-lasting air quality improvements here in California,” Democratic state Sen. Connie Leyva, author of the bill, said in a statement. “With Governor Newsom’s signature, SB 210 reinforces California’s leadership on improving air quality and public health, while also leveling the playing field for law-abiding truck owners and operators in our state.”

Calif. Democratic state Sen. Connie Leyva

The new law would authorize CARB to assess a fee and penalties as part of the program and would create the Truck Emission Check Fund, which would be available upon appropriation by the legislature to the state board for “the regulatory purposes of the program.”

Mike Tunnell, California-based director of energy and environmental affairs for American Trucking Associations, said the future system would eventually sunset the current program requiring motor carriers to conduct annual smoke tests and replace it with a program that is more emissions-based.

“What that will look like is still to be determined,” Tunnell said.

But CARB is hoping to accomplish the goals of the new law with an emissions-testing program that would not have to follow the station-based model of the smog check program currently used for cars.

Instead, the agency has been working on a program concept that could be based on the use of telematics and other data collection and submission tools to enable the inspection process from the vehicle’s location, officials have said in discussion documents.

Mike Tunnell, California-based director of energy and environmental affairs for American Trucking Associations

One potential program design concept couples periodic on-board diagnostics system checks as the primary test method with on-road emissions monitoring that would use remote sensing devices and plume capture systems to identify high emitters and verify program effectiveness.

The program should be designed to ensure both in-state and out-of-state vehicles have adequate methods to demonstrate compliance with program requirements, according to CARB.

Currently, there is no smog check-type program for heavy-duty vehicles to ensure their emissions control systems are functioning properly and repaired in a timely manner, according to CARB.

CARB’s current Periodic Smoke Inspection Program requires diesel and bus fleet owners to conduct annual smoke opacity inspections and maintain records of the tests, and repair those vehicles with excessive smoke emissions to ensure compliance. In addition, CARB randomly audits fleets, reviews maintenance and inspection records, and tests a representative sample of vehicles. A fleet owner that neglects to perform the annual smoke opacity inspection on applicable vehicles is subject to a penalty of $500 per vehicle per year.

CARB officials say that even with modern emissions controls and on-board diagnostics monitoring systems, 2019 estimates indicate that heavy trucks contribute approximately 58% of the statewide on-road mobile source oxides of nitrogen emissions and about 82% of the statewide on-road mobile source particulate matter emissions. Some of these emissions are attributed to broken or failing emissions-related equipment.

Approximately 12 million residents across California live in communities that exceed federal ozone and PM standards, according to state environmental officials. Increased exposure to harmful emissions has been directly associated with serious health impacts, particularly for the elderly, small children and people with pre-existing respiratory issues, it said.

“There’s work to be done on a new system,” Tunnell said. “Hopefully with the telematics on the truck, something can be designed that is less intrusive than what most of us know as a smog test program.”

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Info and Fleet Owner – Technology – Autonomous Vehicles

Info and Fleet Owner – Technology – Autonomous Vehicles

Neil Abt | Jul 17, 2019

Six fleets are using PlatoonPro in real-world conditions, Peloton said.

Peloton outlines plan for platoons with driverless following truck

As company works on Level 4 technology for the future, CEO Switkes says fleets reporting strong fuel efficiency gains with existing PlatoonPro system.

Peloton Technology has unveiled plans to develop Level 4 automated following technology that would allow one truck driver to safely operate two tractor-trailers in a platoon.

“We want to leverage the skill and experience of the lead driver,” Josh Switkes, founder and CEO of Peloton, told Fleet Owner in an interview. “That helps in a variety of ways make this type of automation dramatically simpler than a stand-alone driverless truck.”

Switkes spoke publicly of Peloton’s plans for first time on July 17 at the 2019 Automated Vehicle Symposium in Orlando, FL.

Currently, the company is rolling out its Level 1 PlatoonPro system, which has a driver in both the lead and follow trucks. The driver in the second truck steers, but the system controls the powertrain and brakes to manage the following distance.

PlatoonPro is being used by six fleet customers in real-world conditions, with numerous other customer trials underway. Switkes said the system has a perfect safety record, and customers are achieving fuel savings averaging more than 7%. In some cases, miles per day have exceeded 700 per truck, resulting in projected fuel savings of up to $7,000-10,000 per truck, per year.

Switkes declined to provide specific details on any of the fleets using PlatoonPro, but hinted much of the activity has taken place in Texas. He emphasized one takeaway thus far is how infrequently other vehicles cut into an established platoon, which critics have pointed to as a safety risk and a reason the suggested fuel economy benefits would not be as high in real-world conditions.

Addressing another frequently cited concern, Switkes noted it is rare for significant “hard braking” events to occur. However, the company has spent “a huge amount of time” understanding and measuring braking capabilities to ensure the system will work properly every time, regardless of the circumstances.

As Peloton works today to further deploy PlatoonPro, Switkes said there is no exact timetable for its Level 4 system, stressing that safety testing and validation takes time. But he was confident this technology would prove attractive to an industry struggling with finding enough truckers.

“We see the drivers as the world’s best sensors, and we are leveraging this to enable today’s drivers to be more productive through automated following platoons,” said Switkes.

Peloton’s advanced platooning system will use vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology, which allows the human-driven truck to guide the steering, acceleration and braking of the follow truck. Switkes said he believes the ability to double the productivity of the driver by controlling two vehicles through the platoon will prove attractive to fleets.

He also said the highest skilled drivers will likely operate these future platoons, and could receive higher compensation for their efforts.

Peloton said this will result in “improved work for drivers through better routes, schedules, and compensation, as well as better quality of life through expanding hub-to-hub and relay-style operations that allow drivers to be home with their families every night.”

Separately, a report released on July 17 from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) found that only 20 U.S. states have thus far authorized commercial automated vehicle platooning. The first start to do so was Utah back in 2015.

CEI said “with the coming advent of automated vehicles, numerous sections of state motor vehicle codes likely will need revision if we are to take advantage of the full range of benefits offered by vehicle automation technology.”

For platooning, the legislative hurdle generally surrounds minimum following distances on the highway. The group made two recommendations for altering these regulations while maintaining safety.

First is a “strong amendment,” which would preclude agencies from promulgating any regulations restricting automated vehicle platoons. Next is a “weak amendment,” which would grant motor vehicle authorities discretion in how to promulgate platooning rules.

CEI’s report, “Authorizing Automated Vehicle Platooning: A Guide for State Legislators” is a nationwide inventory of state “following too closely” rules that offers specific, state-by-state fixes to amend statutes in a way that exempts speed-coordinated vehicle platooning from those laws.

“The economic, safety, and environmental benefits of platooning should prompt other states to update their laws,” said Marc Scribner, CEI senior fellow and author of the report.

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ATA: Turnover rates in first quarter present “muddled picture” of driver market

The annualized turnover rate at large truckload fleets rose 5 percentage points in the year’s first quarter from the quarter prior, according to the American Trucking Associations, while the turnover rate at smaller truckload fleets fell four percentage points –   the first dip for small fleets in three quarters. The parity between the two rates “demonstrated a muddled picture” of the driver market, said ATA.

“While the market for drivers in certain segments continues to be tight, we’re seeing the impacts of a softer freight environment,” said Bob Costello, chief economist at ATA. Despite weaker freight growth, it is clear that there is still strong demand for quality driver’s industry wide, which will continue to put carriers under pressure to recruit and keep good ones.”

Large carriers are defined as those with more than $30 million in annual revenue, while smaller truckloads carriers are those with less than $30 million in revenue.

The turnover rate at large truckload fleets in the first quarter was 83% – 6% points lower than 2018’s average and 11% lower than the same quarter a year ago. At smaller truckload carriers, the rate fell to 73% – the same rate as 2018’s first quarter.

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Truckers are classified as ‘unskilled labor’? Nope


Todd Dills | December 19, 2018

If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times in the back-and-forth commentary over this or that issue, often centered around the issue of compensation: “If the Department of Labor didn’t classify us as unskilled labor …” What typically follows is the notion that this or that issue would be better for drivers.

The video here, from the folks at TruckerNation, does a pretty good job of debunking the notion that truckers fall into an “unskilled” classification, one used in government not by DOL at all, as Andrea Marks explains there, but by the Social Security Administration for various purposes. There, depending on the level of CDL obtained, and considering endorsements, amount of time worked and more, drivers are classified as either “skilled” or “semi-skilled,” she says. Never “unskilled.” It’s worth a watch.

What the video doesn’t get to is what’s typically happened in my own experience talking to folks all around the industry, as hinted at in the first paragraph here. When someone invokes the old “unskilled” notion, asked for some clarification what I’ve most often then heard is an invocation of the reality of the exemption from overtime-pay protections for DOT-regulated motor carrier employee drivers — that exemption was codified as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Follow this link for a clear fact sheet on it.

There’s been no shortage of talk about the seeming absurdity of an industry regulated by the hour but paid by the mile over the years, for sure. More seriously, you don’t have to look far to find past advocacy efforts centered on the notion that removal of the motor carrier exemption from overtime-pay requirements for safety-sensitive workers would force a better standard of compensation for company drivers, and drive better income conditions for owner-operators by extension. (Read owner-operator Joe Ammons’ past such argument here, and some distillation of related changing conditions — how that ELD mandate figures in — via this link. Find some carriers moving to more of a salary-type compensation model, with a miles incentive on top, via my own reporting from earlier in the year; such moves, when true earning potential is there, might be interpreted as a kind of advocacy in and of themselves.) In an industry where much energy is being expended by attorneys and drivers suing carriers over state meal and rest breaks in California, and by motor carrier interests hoping to overturn the outlier court action that is enabling such suits, changing the motor carrier exemption to the FLSA doesn’t seem to figure into compensation conversation so much of late.

What’s your view on it? If the FLSA exemption were removed and carriers were forced to adjust to the reality of overtime pay requirements, do you think your own particular situation in the industry would improve ultimately or not?

You can find the original article at:


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ANPRM Submission

Subject: Comment- Agency ANPRM for RIN 2126-AC10 Broker and Freight Forwarder Financial Responsibility

Download document here or visit the downloads page in the TFS Transportation Directory

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