Archive for June, 2010

Long Haul Drivers & Human Smuggling

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Long haul truck driver Tyrone Williams is back in the news after a federal appeals court in Houston recently overturned the multiple life sentences without parole this Jamaican immigrant was given back in 2003 in a failed May 2003 human smuggling case that turned deadly. The deadliest human smuggling attempt using heavy haul trucking services in America, 19 illegal immigrants were discovered in a freight trucking unit driven by Tyrone Williams dead from dehydration, overheating and suffocation, after Williams decided to abandon the truck at a truck stop near Victoria, about 100 miles from Houston.

The prosecutors in this case did actually originally go after a death sentence for Tyrone Williams in this case, but the 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that William’s crimes didn’t meet the legal criteria for the death penalty. The appeals court also said that a judge, not a jury, should have sentenced Williams on the counts in question. The jury in question had originally decided that Williams should spend life in prison without parole for his crimes, but it appears that after this appeals court ruling, Williams will be going back to court to be re-sentenced by the Houston federal judge who originally presided over his trial.

The trucking industry was probably hoping they had heard the last of Tyrone Williams and the 19 illegal immigrants that unfortunately died during this human smuggling attempt. This kind of affair puts a black stain on the trucking industry in the United States and we need to learn from this unfortunate incident and get beyond it. We also need to make sure we take a look at improving the security measures in place in order to prevent the smuggling of illegal immigrants into the United States on transport trucks and educate truckers on the legal problems associated with this practice.

Intermodal Freight Transport in America Changing

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Intermodal freight transport in the United States for long haul freight shipping professionals will be changing in a few days as the Federal Carrier Motor Safety Administration’s roadability rule for intermodal container chassis becomes law on June 30. The heavy haul industry has known about the new rule coming into effect, but the confusion and miscommunication between the various transport modes appears to have delayed compliance with the rules and there could be a few changes made by companies providing roro and ltl freight services in the weeks ahead, due to the incoming rules. The exact changes that will be made will be the interesting part of this affair and we could see a few changes that will raise the eyebrows of a trucking company or two.

How does the new roadability rule for intermodal container chassis change the road ahead for the freight trucking industry of the United States? This is an interesting question because the rule requires the provider of the intermodal chassis to ensure that safety checks are done on the equipment and essential safety components, like the brakes and tires and a report to be reported before the chassis is provided to the freight carrier. In most cases this is going to be the rail or marine company involved in the intermodal transport, but this isn’t always the case and we could see even more firms trying to offload chassis ownership responsibility onto trucking companies, than has already been reported. This of course will spark a controversy and a battle between the different transport modes in the United States that could become very heated, before they get this affair sorted out.

Long Haul Drivers Concerned!

Monday, June 28th, 2010

There’s a growing concern in the American long haul industry about proposed changes to the allowable driving time of heavy haul drivers from 11 to 8 hours and the elimination of the 34-hour restart rule. The original changes were suggested by the Truck Safety Coalition, Public Citizen and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety in a public comments document previously filed. The growing concern is over the possible economic impact this could have on the freight trucking industry in the United States.

Recent economic impact data originally developed back in 2003 and then reassessed in 2005, seems to indicate that the changes could cost the freight shipping industry as much as $3.1 billion annually, according to sources. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had originally tried to rewrite the so-called 2003 rule a few years ago, but were subsequently stopped by a federal court ruling that suggested the FMCSA had failed to take into consideration the economic impact of the changes on the health of truckers.

The group that went to court to stop the FMCSA from making the changes were apparently hoping the court ruling would result in the driving time being reduced from 11 to 10 hours and the 34-hour restart rule eliminated. The FMCSA surprised them by keeping the 11 hour driving time and 34-hour restart rule, but changing the sleeper berth provisions to require longer rest periods.

This is great news for long haul professionals and it should save the freight trucking industry of the United States around $2 billion annually. It’s good to see the FMCSA following the directions they were given when developing new HOV rules that could have a significant econonic impact on the freight shipping industry. They also have to weigh all public comments, while looking at the costs involved when deciding to make rule changes and they have done a pretty good on this, so far.

Trucking Industry Fights Cancer

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Heavy haul professionals from the freight shipping industry were well represented at the CancerCare Manitoba Challenge for Life 20K Walk recently held in Winnipeg, Manitoba on June 12. This year trucking company professionals pulled out all the stops in order to fight cancer and proudly collected the most during the days walk, raising a total of $93,223 for the battle to defeat cancer. This was in addition to the long haul professionals that showed up for the Canadian Cancer Society 12-Hour Relay for Life on June 4, which included a freight forwarder or two, according to the latest reports. The money that was raised from this walk was also added to the total raised for the CancerCare Manitoba Challenge for Life 20K Walk and the desire to finally find a cure for cancer.

Cancer is a disease that most of us have had some experience with, either personally or through someone we know or love being effected by this disease. The freight trucking industry is no different and it’s good to see trucking professionals coming together with other concerned individuals around the world to raise money to combat cancer. Unfortunately, the freight quote that cancer gives those afflicted is a price that ends up costing too many humans the ultimate price, but hopefully the money raised in this walk helps find a solution that in years ahead will save lives.

The trucking industry has always had a big and caring heart for those that are suffering and this is just another example of humans in the business of transporting freight reaching out to others in the world to help out when they can. Together we can and will find a cure for cancer and raising the money we need to do the research is just part of the bigger picture.

Domestic Freight Shipping of Oil

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

There are freight shipping professionals that think there could be some fallout from the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon falling on the offshore oil transport industry in the days ahead in the century of the environment. The consequences of the sinking of the Transocean rig Deepwater Horizon for the offshore oil freight industry have yet to be assessed. Domestic freight carriers of oil can certainly expect the fallout from the oil and debris floating in the Gulf of Mexico. Fallout that could include increased operating costs after the nation’s most significant offshore environmental accident in decades. Higher costs that could result from increased safety regulations for freight shipping professionals in the business of transporting domestic oil to destination in the United States to cover increases in safety training, additonal safety equipment and higher insurance premiums that could result for domestic transporters of oil.

The oil sector analysts at Jefferies & Co in Houston took a look at the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon this week? What did the oil sector experts at this United States investment bank conclude? The analysts pointed to the recent criticism of the domestic oil freight shipping industry in America and the future possibility that the Deepwater Horizon disaster could have definite financial consequences for the business of transporting domestic oil in the United States. They did point out that at the moment any firm consequences for the industry are difficult to determine, but that higher costs are certainly part of the equation as the domestic oil shipping industry travels further into the century of the environment.

The consequences of the Deepwater Horizon sinking could be significant for domestic freight carriers of oil that were planning on doing more business in Florida’s offshore oil market in the years ahead. Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s previous stance on offshore drilling in Florida appears to have changed course after the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon? This week he pubicly withdrew all support for offshore drilling of domestic oil in Floria, after reportedly flying over the devastation in the Gulf of Mexico that according to sources covers at least 1,800 square miles, at present.

New RoRo Rail Loading Ramp in Port of Everett

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Heavy haul trucking professionals will be rolling roro freight onto the rail cars using a new 70-ton rail loading ramp that Port of Everett Marine Terminals maintenance crews built to the standards of the United States military in order to enhance intermodal freight shipping services in the ports terminal facilities in the future. This news should definitely decrease the amount of time it takes to move the roro freight onto and off of the rail cars and once news gets out of the enhanced roro freight services in the Port of Everett, we should see more customers show up at the port with freight to transport to destination in the months ahead in the century of the environment.

This announcement also has a number of other benefits, such as being able to drive heavy machinery onto the rail cars, instead of lifting the equipment with a crane, which is a lot more dangerous for the workers involved. This news also means that the Port of Everett can help serve the needs of the United States military since Naval Station Everett is located in the port and the new ramp will allow tanks and other heavy military equipment to quickly and efficiently be loaded onto rail cars should the need arise. One thing is for certain, we can certainly expect to see military transports loading roro freight onto rail cars more often in the Port of Everett in the future, and the volume of freight that can be moved through the ports terminals should increase significantly with this new rail loading ramp.

UK Heavy Haul Services Wants Changes Made

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Heavy haul services in the United Kingdom during the winter is a dangerous activity that has been an area of concern for long haul drivers in the United Kingdom. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) recently urged government officials in the United Kingdom to be flexible in the working hours of drivers during the winter months in the United Kingdom. The association also indicated that there needs to be an overhaul of driver working hours during the winter months, especially for freight carriers of essential goods, and they might look at putting a little more salt on the transport roads in the United Kingdom.

The need for salt became critical last year in some regions of the United Kingdom and the Freight Transport Association thought it might be a good idea to see if they can shorten up the supply lines for salt for the roads this year. Freight shipping services on the roads of the United Kingdom was crippled at times last year because of shortages of road salt in critical trucking regions, according to sources, and they obviously want to make sure this doesn’t happend again. They want to look at making road salt more available on a region basis and this might certainly help the situation at times in the United Kingdom.

The FTA also asked that a system like the one used in container ports to book transport vehicles be implemented in the future and that they look at adding more vehicle parking near the vital Cheshire salt mine. The association wasn’t finished with its suggestions for the Department of Transport as it was suggested by the FTA that the department needs to be on top of these things in the future and quicker to respond to the need for change.

Heavy Haul Trucks Idle for One Minute in Future

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Freight trucking drivers idling for three minutes while conducting freight shipping services in Toronto have a new reason to try to avoid the City of Toronto in the future. The City of Toronto introduced a bylaw last week that will limit the amount of time heavy haul transports can idle while operating in Toronto to one minute that’s expected to come into force in the fall. You can probably add this to other reasons you have often hoped customers in Toronto would ask for a freight quote less often, which would mean you wouldn’t have to be trucking in the City of Toronto as often. For the moment you can still idle for three minutes legally while operating in the City of Toronto, but after the bylaw under goes a few amendments and is returned to city council for a vote sometime in July, according to sources, we can probably expect that within a month it will be illegal for you to idle for more than a minute while operating your truck while in the City of Toronto.

This is great news for the city accountants that have probably been wishing they had access to another source of quick income. The City of Toronto only issued a total of 88 tickets to vehicles in the city that were caught idling for three minutes or longer last year, so this one minute idling law should definitely increase the number of tickets that are handed out, just on pure statistics. This isn’t the best news for freight shipping companies that need to delivery freight to destinations in the City of Toronto on a regular basis however and it might even catch a trucking company or two off guard who aren’t aware of the upcoming changes to the idling laws in the City of Toronto.

Trucking Transport Hybrids Tested in Los Angeles

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

American trucking service professionals are currently conducting an experiment in Los Angeles, California that’s designed to test the tailpipe emissions from the latest hybrid trucking service transports from Azure Dynamics against the emissions from a baseline diesel transport vehicle. The experiment in Los Angeles has been evaluating six Azure Dynamics Balance Hybrid trucks, three gasoline hybrid electric vehicles and three diesel trucking transport units, on transport routes in the Sacramento and Los Angeles regions to see what the tailpipe emissions from these new gasoline hybrid transport vehicles is like in comparison to a baseline diesel transport.

What did the interm report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) say about the results from the test, so far? The first reports indicate that tailpipe emissions from the gasoline hybrids were quite a bit lower across all tested drive cycles than the emissions that were coming out of the diesel hybrid transports. The report also indicated that fuel economy was similar for both the diesel and gasoline versions, expect for the highest kinetic intensity drive cycle where the hybrid exhibited around 20 percent higher fuel economy than the diesel units.

This experiment will certainly be something of interest for trailer trucking service professionals of the world that will definitely want to take a look at the results from this experiment in Los Angeles. The use of hybrid transport vehicles is only going to grow in America in the years ahead for the freight trucking industry and we need to conduct more experiments like the one being conducted in Los Angeles in the years ahead in the century of the environment, if we are to take the freight transport industry down the road to zero-emissions and sustainability.

Totally-Automated Trucking Transport?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Is it possible that one day we could see all driving functions on a trailer trucking unit taking a trucking load to destination totally automated? This day does appear to be getting closer every day and while many in the freight carrier industry think that we’ll always have on-board human help during transport. The day when the driving will be done by automated systems does appear to be coming closer and closer as we look down the road to the future of the trucking services industry of America and the world in the century of the environment.

The newest natigational aid for trucking transport drivers, the ECO2 navigation system from Bosch provides drivers with pioneering route calculation ability implementing the latest communication options networked with the truck as well as truck-specific consumption curves and characteristics to optimize the operation of the transport for lower fuel consumption during freight trucking operations. This navigation system also takes into account elements and parameters that are significant in terms of ecology and the economy of trucking freight in North America.

What kind of elements and parameters are we referring to? Map-based parameters like the classification of the road you’re transporting on, the towns and villages that you’ll be traveling through during your trip and the number of intersections along the route. Vehicle-specific parameters have also been calculated into the navigation system, like engine size, the transmission, the air resistance values of the vehicle, along with any roof loads or trailers that are being towed. Driver-specific characteristics have also been calculated into this navigation system, like the driving style, which can have a significant effect on the fuel efficiency of a trip if the driver generally accelerates and brakes a lot during transport. The system can even help the driver learn to drive at recommended speeds and drive defensively by looking ahead to anticipate traffic conditions and other helpful features.

This navigation system does go the extra mile as it can help you balance the energy required on different routes and sections of routes as all the streets and roads with the same characteristics in the routing area in question are divided into individual sections for easy use. The transition points between the different sections of the route are marked by nodes, like a change in road classification, an intersection and the entry and exit ramps, which are likely to require more fuel consumption due to accelerating and braking requirements or potential waiting time requiring fuel-consuming starting and stopping.

The ECO2 isn’t ready for prime time just yet, but they do expect to have this navigation system ready to go into production in the summer of 2010, so we should see this system integrated into transport trucking units sometime after the summer.