Chassis Shortages at LA-Long Beach

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Los Angeles, Long Beach is the largest US port complex with 12 container terminals and whilst operating efficiently in the past, it has more recently been experiencing difficulties. The difficulties are due to a shortage of chassis with which to move loaded containers from one terminal to another and the return of empty containers back to their relevant terminals. More specifically the shortage is in chassis being available for the moving of empty containers as the drayage company responsible for doing that has least priority in chassis allotment.

Although the returning of empty containers may seem like a trivial problem, it does have a significant effect on the efficiency and productivity of the port as a whole as it can cause delays in full containers reaching their respective terminals. This problem had now also become a problem for the Harbor Trucking Association as their members now complain of a significant drop in dual loads. A dual load is when a driver will transport a full container in one direction and then return with an empty container, maximizing efficiency and of course providing the drivers with extra pay. Because of the shortage in chassis and the resultant congestion in the terminals, dual loads have dropped from 80% of driver’s jobs 5 years ago, to 20% today.

There are of course several users of the chassis within the port’s supply chain including BCOs (beneficial cargo owners), carriers and IEPs (intermodal equipment providers) all of whom take priority over the drayage companies responsible for the return of empty containers. Although all parties agree there is a problem and the problem continues to get worse, ideas on how to resolve it are few and far between. It would appear that the problem started when carrier alliances changed without full consideration of the possible problems it could cause.

As would be expected, the problem is most significant and therefore most detrimental, at peak times in cargo receipts and movements. At these times some shipping companies, due to the quantity of full containers they have to ship, refuse to take their allotted numbers of empty containers which of course leaves those unwanted empty containers in the wrong terminal or at least in the wrong place within a terminal. This then results in there not being enough vacant space for full containers and that affects the efficiency of the whole port operations.

It would now appear that the shortage experienced at the port is not due to a shortage in chassis in the Southern California region, which has a total of 65,000 chassis dispersed throughout the region at ports, rail terminals and distribution warehouses but more in the coordination of chassis dispersal. Although daily monitoring of the chassis is done, it has been suggested that a more active monitoring should be undertaken as estimates suggest that as many as 6,000 chassis are used to hold containers which have been stationary for 60 days or more. It is hoped that by better monitoring, allowing these inactive chassis to be brought back into full use, the port’s shortfall will be met at critical times.

How Driverless or Autonomous Trucks Will Impact Your Supply Chain Strategy

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With companies paying an average of $180,000 a year to operate the average commercial truck, it’s one of the biggest expenses in the supply chain. As autonomous trucks start to be used by companies around the world, there are some major changes coming to the industry. Driverless trucks will speed up transportation in ways that we still can only speculate on.

Here are 5 ways that autonomous trucks will improve your supply chain and impact your strategy.

1. Insane Efficiency

If there’s one basic fact about drivers is that they get tired. The number of people required to fill a truck, drive a truck and then unload it not only requires lots of other support staff, but also a huge payroll investment.

When you’re dealing with autonomous trucks, especially when they go electric, you’re talking about no emissions and no cost to staff. The supply chain will become streamlined when nearly 300 pounds of items can be delivered by an electric van. You could deliver your items to hundreds of people at a time without any human intervention.

Whether you’re dealing with a highway full of self-driving vehicles or final mile deliveries, this technology has huge ramifications. You’ll see traffic and congestion clear up as efficiency is improved.

From fulfillment centers to consumers’ homes, deliveries will only be as limited as the limits volume.

2. Long Distance Improvements

There’s been a lot of progress when it comes to long distance driving. Long distance deliveries are being explored by lots of vehicle companies. Uber even acquired a self-driving truck company in 2017, seeking to be ahead of the pack when it comes time to get the technology off the ground.

While most of the self-driving vehicles are still “driver assisted”, they’re the first step on the path of truly autonomous trucks. As the drivers assisting them are able to do less and less to correct the driving, we will get closer to automatic driving.

While interstates are much more predictable than city driving, once trucks are able to drive on their own on highways, that will be the next frontier.

Supply chains are mostly impacted by long-distance driving as opposed to final mile trips, so this is the bigger hurdle when it comes to supply. Also, since most warehouses exist outside of cities, fixing interstate transport is the most important issue in autonomous driving.

3. Major Cost Savings

Autonomous vehicles will be a larger investment than buying a standard truck as they exist now. However, you’ll soon see savings as you’ll be paying less for staffing your trucks and covering all of the associated costs with having laborers.

Not only will you save on the cost of having driver, as stated above, but you’ll also be paying virtually nothing for fuel. Miles per gallon ratings on trucks aren’t very good compared to the cost of powering up electric vehicles.

On top of that, with automated systems and smart driving technology, you won’t be paying the kinds of insurance costs that are associated with transport. You’ll have to pay for insurance on drivers, liability insurance based on accidents, and even consider the disruption that accidents cause to productivity.

Automatic vehicles that are all in communication with one another can work together to prevent accidents and help improve supply chain efficiency.

4. Platooning

One of the biggest changes that could happen to improve the supply chain is the act of “platooning” your fleet. You could reduce your cost by tethering your vehicles together electronically.

While sometimes you have one part in one truck and another part in a second truck, you can ensure they all arrive together with platooning. Rather than having to have separate people manning separate trucks, with speeds and efficiency varying, you can keep your whole fleet on track.

One driver or crew member will manage the entire long-distance journey of your platoon, keeping your convoy from being split up. Once at a hub near the final location, you can have separate drivers direct everything to the final mile.

Platooning trials are being run all around the world now. In Singapore, they are able to move across four trucks on highways. In the U.S., trucks have been tested by Volvo to haul containers across California’s interstate highways.

5. Capacity Will Change

We’re sure to see a surge in freight capacity with the help of autonomous trucks. Since they can drive 24 hours a day, they can move for longer hours and change the math we use to understand how truck transport works.

Since they can be operated without consideration for driver schedules or their need for sleep, they can be driven at later hours, and significantly reduce congestion. This will mean that you’ll have a reduction in the cost of transport. Productivity changes open up the ability to improve and increase profits immensely.

The transportation sector will take up this technology eventually but it might take3 some time given the investment required. As autonomous trucks take over the roads, the supply chain may not be prepared for the improved efficiency.

There might not even be any reduction to staffing required. Staff will be redirected to distribution or at warehouses. As more product can come in and delivery takes less time, products can get into the hands of consumers fast.

Tracking will be improved, deadly accurate, and predictable in ways never expected before.

Autonomous Trucks Will Make Life Better

While some people predict that drivers will be out of a job once autonomous trucks become the norm. However, with that added efficiency, you’ll need staff to manage all of the product that will be at your doorstep. There will be just as much work to be done, just greater efficiency.

If you’re looking at shipment tracking software, check out our guide so you know what to look for.

3 Trucking Industry Trends Dominating 2018

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Are you facing increased demand and low trucking supply? E-commerce is changing the world of trucking: experts predict that spending will surpass the $3 trillion mark by 2020.

Keeping track of trucking industry trends is important, especially for large manufacturing companies. The battle for final-mile shipping is being fought all over the United States as companies like Uber and XPO Logistics gear up to get a larger share of this lucrative market.

1. Driver Shortage

As Walmart and Amazon rush to meet increased order volume, the transportation industry is struggling to find drivers.

Despite increased pay and bonuses, the freight transportation industry lacks more than 50,000 drivers. Long hours make for a tough job and many younger workers do not see trucking as an attractive lifestyle.

While some truckers report making up to $100,000 per year, the typical pay is closer to $50,000. Some trucking companies have increased their pay rate by more than 15% but are still having trouble finding willing workers.

2. Electronic Logging Devices

The trucking industry is experiencing some pushback from experienced drivers after new electronic logging devices laws began last year.

The ELD laws require the installation of electronic tracking devices that will ensure drivers only drive for 11 hours in a row. They are then required to rest for 10 hours every day.

For some smaller trucking companies, the cost of installing the ELD devices comes as a shock to the system. With fewer drivers on the road than ever before, mandatory rest periods could slow down shipping times.

3. Rising Spot Rates

Spot rates should continue to rise through 2018, a trend relating to the shortage of truck drivers on the road.

Experts predict that the rates will even out, but for the time being there will be more freight shipped via railway. Shipping freight via train is cheaper than moving it by truck and many major shippers are already making the switch.

XPO Logistics arranged more than 10 million final-mile deliveries in 2017, but they have a fleet of more than 5,000 dedicated drivers and access to new shipment tracking software.

More Trucking Industry Trends

In the next several years, new technology is going to revolutionize the trucking industry. Uber Freight, Amazon, and Convoy are taking advantage of apps that connect truckers with on-demand freight.

In the next few years, these smaller companies stand a good chance of becoming competition for FedEx, UPS, and the United States Postal Service.

Tesla has also rolled out an electric truck that can go 500 miles on a single charge. Once there are more charging stations, these electric trucks have the potential to change the shipping market. Truckers who currently spend thousands of dollars on gas could find themselves a few pay grades richer.

New technology will continue to dominate trucking industry trends. We offer effective solutions for your shipping needs, allowing you to track delays, weather conditions, and damage to your shipment.

Drop us a line and let us know what shipping problems you’re dealing with. We work with businesses of any size and are more than happy to help.

How to Overcome Supply Chain Issues with Advanced Technologies

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There’s nothing quite like a supply chain issue to bring a business to its knees.

KFC proved it recently in the UK. Switching to a new supplier left them with a disrupted supply chain, a shortage of food, and lost revenue. But why do things like this still happen in 2018, with so much new technology available?

Below, we’re taking a look at how business can overcome supply chain issues with advanced technology.

Predictive Logistics

The Problem

If any of us are psychic, it’s a vanishing few. That’s why supply chains are at the mercy of our prediction models. That leads to excessive wastage or missed revenue opportunities.

The Solution

Technology makes predictive logistics easier every day. Companies are gathering and analyzing data like never before. That data can predict spending patterns, supply and demand, and even future changes in the market.

Tools for analyzing so-called Big Data are some of the most sophisticated in the tech industry. They’re in demand for everything from supply chain to politics.

Process Automation

The Problem

No matter how efficient your supply chain, it has an inbuilt weakness if it relies on people pressing buttons. Human error can disrupt a supply chain in seconds.

The Solution

An automated supply chain management system takes the uncertainty out of the supply chain. Supply chain logistics offer the perfect environment for process automation, as they’re simple logical chains with the primary variable being the hard facts of supply and demand.

Process automation frees up staff for roles that benefit from human intuition. That means you’re making more effective use of your human resources, filling in the gaps that even advanced technology can’t fill just yet.

Inventory Management

The Problem

Counting stock is a tedious job. Manual counts are subject to miscounts and lost goods. In turn, mistakes lead to over- and under-ordering, leading to additional ordering costs and wasted inventory space.

The Solution

Automated inventory and stock management systems take the margin for error out of the stockroom. Computers can handle tracking, deducting, and reordering of stock to keep the supply chain flowing coherently.

Technologies like RFID can track inventory without the need for extensive human input. They can sync with computer systems to maintain programmed stock levels.

Shipping and Tracking

The Problem

Once a shipment is out of your hands, it might as well be invisible. There’s no telling if your package will ever make it to your customer. In an age of instant information, that leaves customers in the dark.

The Solution

Advanced tracking solutions like GPS can reduce the risk of consignment loss. They can also improve the customer experience by providing live information on the status of their shipment.

This is increasingly important in a world of same-day deliveries. Companies are under intense pressure to deliver the consignment within tight delivery windows while maintaining customer contact along the way. If an issue occurs, customers expect swift responses to their missing delivery.

Erasing Supply Chain Issues

Supply chains represent an excellent chance for technology to change the game. By deploying advanced technology and doing it well, companies can bring never-before-seen levels of efficiency to their supply chain.

Looking for more logistics news? Make sure to follow our blog.

5 Expert Tips for Managing Your Truck Fleet

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Trucks are the lifeblood of the supply chain. Every year, they’re responsible for moving nearly $740 billion worth of shipments all over the country. Some of the largest fleets in the nation are made up of tens of thousands of trucks.

No matter what size your fleet is, you won’t be successful without a great management strategy. You need to be on top of tracking your shipments, keeping your fleet in great condition, all while keeping your customers and employees happy.

Sounds like a lot? Don’t feel overwhelmed! We’ve got five expert truck fleet management tips that are going to help your business thrive!

1. Cut Down On Paperwork With Geofencing

Geofencing is one of the truck fleet management tools you’re going to wonder why you didn’t use it sooner.

A geofence is like a virtual perimeter around an area. By using GPS, it monitors when your truck fleet arrives and leaves a certain location.

By using this technology, you can track when a package is delivered without filling out a lot of paperwork. You can also use it for employees to clock in and out.

2. Be Proactive About Maintenance

A truck being taken off the road due to maintenance. Threats to employee safety. These are just a few of the concerns that can crop up when trying to keep track of fleet truck maintenance.

Should you have to schedule a trip to the mechanic all the time? Not necessarily.

Using telematics and OEM data, you can predict when maintenance is needed. It can also diagnose the severity of check engine lights.

3. Upgrade Your Navigation Systems

The everyday navigation systems we use in our personal vehicle are good enough to get us where we need to go. Fleet trucks need something much more specific.

Look into a commercial navigation system that has truck-specific routes, safe places for trucks to pull over in case of emergency, and private yard mapping. These are just a few of the things that will make a big difference for your drivers.

4. Use Telematics To Improve Turn Around Time

Telematics is a truck fleet management technique that involves using GPS and sensors to monitor your fleet. Not only will it help on turn around time, it helps you keep an eye on your inventory while in transit.

Telematics shows you what a truck needs while pulling into their next destination so you can have it ready to go. You can use it to time how long a delivery takes. There are tons of telematics applications.

5. To Be The Best, Hire The Best

Your employees are the most important component of your fleet. They are the backbone of your company.

There are two ways you can make sure you hire the best people. Take advantage of targeted digital advertising and make employee satisfaction a cornerstone of your company.

Making Truck Fleet Management Easy!

As you can see, truck fleet management doesn’t have to be a struggle. There are so many tools for you to apply to shorten turnaround time, track your inventory, and help your employees make safe deliveries.

If you want to learn more about how you can use these tracking tools to manage your fleet, contact us today!

The ELD Mandate: Is it Good or Bad for Business?

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Are you not a happy trucker due to the new ELD mandate sweeping the industry?

If so, you’re not alone. A new satisfaction survey gathered by trucking authority Coretex concludes that most distance truckers struggle with the electronic logging device mandate implemented in late 2017.

Here’s an overview of the mandate and how it benefits both truckers and fleets, as well as how it curbs their flexibility.

The ELD Mandate: What Is It?

On December 16, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a mandate for commercial long-distance vehicles. This new ELD regulation states that commercial vehicles must be fitted with an electronic logging device in order to accurately track a driver’s time on the road.

The mandate is supposed to reinforce the hours of service limit. Currently, drivers can’t log more than 14 consecutive hours of driving.

Under this rule, most affected vehicles had to implement the requirements by December 18, 2017. Certain vehicles were given a two-year extension if they had an automatic onboard recording device installed. Furthermore, vehicles whose engines predate the year 2000 are exempt altogether because their engines can’t link to an AOBRD or an ELD.

What Truckers Fear

Though the new electronic device mandate makes logging less of a hassle and helps drivers stay productive, many are afraid of its implications. ELD’s log everything and cannot be edited. This can cause strain between a trucker and his freight company, for instance.

Also, ELD’s are very expensive to install. While the FMCSA implemented this mandate, the government won’t carry that cost.

The Difference Between ELD’s and AOBRD’s

Both electronic logging devices and automatic onboard recording devices are installed into a commercial vehicle. They both rely on connectivity through the vehicles’ engine. also, they both log the vehicle’s activity, but the similarities end there.

Automatic onboard recorders are much less sophisticated. they don’t display specific logging information; they just give a general overview of the truck’s distance driven. they can also be controlled by the driver and edited.

ELD’s are much more thorough in what they display. These computers can function as shipment tracking devices as well as trucking data logs. they cannot be altered by the driver in any way.

The drivers whose vehicles were exempt due to outdated engines still have to log their data. They can choose to write paper logs or use mobile software via phones and tablets to stand in as ELD’s. The paper logging was largely discredited by the industry. It can be tampered with when fleet managers or drivers are scrambling to complete loads on time or make more money per load.

The Benefits Of ELD For Business

The resistance to the ELD rule is due to unwanted expenses and confusion about the guidelines. Both truckers and freight companies are not sure what the mandate means for them. Once this confusion is clarified, the benefits of the system are obvious:

  • Less time spent on logging data means more time to drive.
  • A universal rule for all commercial vehicles means fewer issues with compliance.
  • Companies can easily track their trucks and provide accurate shipping to their customers.

Aside from the above business benefits, the mandate will achieve it’s main purpose: keeping consecutive driving hours in check. this should contribute to fewer commercial trucking accidents, resulting in a win for companies and truckers alike.

Are You Tracking Your Fleet?

Do you feel more confident about the ELD mandate and how it affects your trucking business? Ultimately, you can benefit from the new ELD regulations and increase the productivity of your fleet. Learn more about fleet tracking and other trucking regulation standards by contacting us or browsing previous blog posts.

Everything You Need to Know about ELDs and Trucking

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What if you were risking a costly fine every time you drove your truck on the job?

A recent government mandate requires all truckers to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). However, most truckers don’t know the exact government requirements, which means they may be violating this mandate without even knowing it.

Don’t worry, though. We’re here to save you time and money with our comprehensive guide to ELDs and trucking!

What Is the Mandate?

Essentially, every trucker who must prepare hours of service records of duty status must now use an ELD. Such ELDs must meet government standards for design and performance and registered with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).

The mandate also requires drivers and carriers to maintain and keep relevant ELD records. And on a bright side, the mandate protects drivers from discrimination or harassment based on the recorded ELD data.

Are They Expensive?

Truckers with long memories may fear ELDs being really expensive, as fleets once had to pay over two thousand dollars for a single electronic logging system twenty years ago.

However, official estimates for modern ELDs are that they will be under $500 per vehicle on average. And while no one likes an added expense, these systems do not represent a significant additional cost per vehicle.

Carriers may be able to get significant savings by exploring trusted vendors for different pricing options.

Will It Be Distracting?

Some truckers are understandably worried about safety on the road. They worry that having to interact with these devices on the road could lead to delays or even accidents.

Fortunately, that is not the case. Truckers primarily interact with the ELDs when the vehicle is at rest, like when they indicate that they are off duty or sleeping. Otherwise, the system automatically keeps track of driving hours without any interaction from the driver.

As a bonus, most ELDs offer an audio function. This offers features such as countdowns of hours left and a reminder that truckers have enough time to reach a parking place before hours run out.

Will It Affect Inspections?

Skeptics often wonder if ELDs will slow down safety inspections. Alternately, they may worry if such systems could cost them their jobs by automatically reporting violations.

Fortunately, this is just a myth. The ELD is merely a technological replacement for a paper logbook, and it has no way of automatically reporting a violation.

One benefit of ELDs for trucking that drivers often enjoy is that it speeds up roadside inspections. This is because inspection officials can quickly review ELD data and then get the driver back out on the road.

Is It Worth It?

Earlier, we discussed how individual ELDs do not cost that much. Nonetheless, drivers and carriers alike often wonder: Are they actually worth it?

In a word, yes. Such systems promote driver safety and ultimately save lives, which is good in and of itself. And being able to monitor drivers and their behaviors can help carriers create more efficient procedures that boost their bottom line.

ELDs and Trucking: The Bottom Line

Now you know about the importance of ELDs and trucking. But do you know where to get the best prices on ELDs themselves?

At ODYN, we’re all about saving logistics professionals time and money. To see what we can help you save, contact us for a quote today!