Could Congress Change the Jones Act to Accommodate the Puerto Rican Recovery?

Posted: December 5th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Container Freight | Comments Off on Could Congress Change the Jones Act to Accommodate the Puerto Rican Recovery?

D.C. National Guard (36841007874)

The tiny Caribbean island of Puerto Rico is still reeling from the massive flooding, power outages, food and medicine shortages, and other systemic damage left in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Unfortunately, the lack of intact infrastructure has made the recovery and rebuilding process difficult, and much work remains to be done.

Some advocates have turned their attention to the Jones Act, arguing that some of its restrictions and regulations have made the recovery process far more time-consuming and expensive than necessary. Others argue that the Jones Act is having no impact on the speed of the Puerto Rican recovery and any tweaks or changes in response to Hurricane Maria would be ill-advised.

Read on to learn more about some of the allegations by the agencies trying to transport fuel and supplies to Puerto Rico, as well as some of the temporary (or permanent) potential changes that could be made to the Jones Act in order to help Puerto Rican residents rebuild.

What is the Jones Act?

Also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the Jones Act states that all goods transported by water between ports in the U.S. be carried on U.S.-flag ships, which must be constructed in the U.S., owned by American citizens, and crewed by American citizens or United States permanent residents.

What Issues is the Jones Act Allegedly Causing?

Some officials on the Puerto Rico Oversight Board testified before Congress about the repeal of the Jones Act, arguing that it is increasing the cost of recovery for a territory already deeply in debt. (In fact, this Oversight Board was formed under the Obama administration to create solutions to Puerto Rico’s rising debt.)

For nearly a century, the Jones Act has prevented tankers from hauling oil between any two U.S. ports unless the vessels are as all-American as can be. The Jones Act requires these oil-hauling tankers to be made in America and manned by a crew made up of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Although President Trump temporarily suspended the Jones Act for 10 days in September and October 2017 to ensure fuel could be brought to Puerto Rico unencumbered, the law is now back in place. Members of the Oversight Board argue that the Jones Act is preventing the recovery from proceeding as smoothly as it could and costing Puerto Rico more money in the process.

What Changes May Come to the Jones Act? 

Some lawmakers have pointed out the disparity between Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that isn’t exempt from the Jones Act, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, a chain of nearby U.S.-controlled islands that is exempt from the Jones Act. Senator John McCain co-sponsored legislation that would carve out a permanent Jones Act exemption for Puerto Rico, but this bill is still moving through Congress.

However, the maritime lobby has strongly opposed this measure, arguing that it’s a permanent solution to a temporary issue. Although the Jones Act waiver was in place for 10 days, only a single ship actually took advantage of it to bring supplies to Puerto Rico. Lobbyists have also argued that the recovery is instead being slowed by the inability to transport food, fuel, and other items through the island, not the ability to get supplies to the island. Should lawmakers find this a compelling argument, the Jones Act is likely to stay in place without any change.

What Can Freight Management Specialists Do to Protect Your Cargo?

Posted: November 9th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Container Freight | Comments Off on What Can Freight Management Specialists Do to Protect Your Cargo?

Intermodal containers in Etobicoke, Canada

The best freight management, drayage, and intermodal transportation companies have qualities that go beyond just getting your shipment from point A to point B in a timely manner; they also excel at making sure that your cargo gets to its destination safely, in one piece, and undamaged.

With extensive experience doing this kind of highly-skilled, closely-monitored and well-regulated work, your freight management specialists achieve this lofty but essential goal by implementing and enforcing certain policies, precautions, and procedures.

What are the most important procedures for keeping cargo safe during transit?

There are many industry specific procedures that are used to keep cargo safe and arriving on time, but there are 7 that stand out as the most important:

  1. Using only highly-trained, experienced drivers with the most advanced/sought-after certifications (i.e., Haz Mat, etc.).  A responsible freight management company’s policies also prohibit the use of:
  • fatigued drivers
  • unqualified drivers
  • the improper or unauthorized use of transportation vehicles
  • the use of unsafe vehicles on the highway
  • CDL standards violations
  • inadequate inspection, maintenance and repairs of vehicles
  1. Assiduously enforcing the Code of Federal Regulations, which includes but is not limited to:
  • Making sure that all cargo is properly secured & distributed
  • The driver’s view and ability to maneuver isn’t obstructed or hampered in any way
  • Transporting vehicles/conveyances are properly inspected and maintained for each trip
  • Making sure that weight regulations and restrictions imposed by the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways are abided by, including not exceeding the 80,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight for tractor trailers—except where lower weights are determined by the bridge formula;
  • Making sure that designated transporting routes provide or meet safe geometrics and vehicle/load supporting capacity—i.e., a) severity, sight distance and length of grades, width of pavements, horizontal curvature, load limits and bridge clearances, shoulder width, intersection geometry, and vehicle mix and traffic volumes.   Said routes possess lanes with at least 12 feet of width; they furthermore don’t possess peculiar characteristics promoting anticipated or current problems.
  • All appropriate forms of designation (e.g., Form BOC-3) being filed on time and accurately, as required of all Motor Carriers, Freight Forwarders & Brokers.  Failure to file such designations/forms can result in penalties and in clients of freight management companies having their cargo’s delivery delayed.  A designation agent is someone the government can serve with penalties & inquiries.
  1. Training all freight loading and handling personnel to follow the best and most up-to-date loading techniques and systems, including:
  • Placing heavy & large freight at bottom of loads;
  • If the trailer, container or flatbed is only partially loaded, the weight is evenly distributed;
  • Empty spaces are properly filled or secured in order to avoid products from collapsing into said spaces; etc.
  1. By bonding shipments/cargo, the warehouse, the yard, and personnel; by storing cargo in safe and well-maintained warehouses and yards, where cargo will be protected from:
  • inclement weather
  • vandalism
  • theft
  1. By simplifying and offering on-the-spot government oversight:
  • National Cargo Bureau (NCB), USDA, FDA, Fish & Wildlife, US Customs & SGS Inspections
  • An official Centralized Examination Station (CES)
  • Assuring all oversized/overweight/bulky “flat rack cargo” meet steamship line & port terminal specifications & limitations (lessens risk of mishaps or cargo being delayed or denied planned conveyance)
  1. At all times maintaining and providing top-notch and well-coordinated communication, ensuring that any changes are handled seamlessly, thus avoiding delays and mishaps. Communication should be maintained at every level of the freight operation, including:
  • warehouse management
  • office staff
  • cargo loading & transporting personnel
  • oversight agencies/personnel, etc.
  1. Expertly consolidating shipments into standardized containers, avoiding unloading and reloading multiple times. This can be especially important for vulnerable products, such as:
  • liquor
  • artwork
  • ceramics
  • antiques

If you have ensured that your freight management company covers all of these bases, you can rest easy that your shipments will be conveyed safely and on time, to their proper destination.

How Will the Implementation of Electronic Logging Devices in December 2017 Impact the Trucking Industry?

Posted: September 13th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Container Freight | Comments Off on How Will the Implementation of Electronic Logging Devices in December 2017 Impact the Trucking Industry?

In response to complaints of truckers falling asleep behind the wheel (and the myriad of personal injury lawsuits filed by victims and their loved ones), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted a patchwork of rules and regulations over the last decade to prevent trucker fatigue.

These regulations include everything from restrictions on the consecutive number of hours behind the wheel to mandatory sleep apnea screenings for truckers at higher risk of this potentially dangerous condition. While some truckers bristle at the increased bureaucracy and oversight inherent in these rules, others argue that they don’t go far enough in preventing drivers from falling asleep at the wheel.

AssetWorks Electronic Logging Devices
However, in December 2017, the hours of service regulation may gain new teeth as the FMCSA’s mandate on electronic logging devices (ELDs) goes into effect.  Let’s take a look at what exactly the new regulation entails, and explore how it will affect the trucking industry.

What are the electronic logging requirements?

By December 18, 2017, all rigs manufactured in or after the year 2000 will be required to install ELDs. These devices operate as a sort of “black box,” recording data about the truck’s speed, hours of operation, and GPS location. These ELDs will prevent truckers from being able to fudge their logbooks or other paperwork to cover up hours of service violations, ostensibly reducing the risk of sleep-related accidents on a nationwide basis.

Although this regulation was initially published in 2015, giving the trucking industry two years to comply, it’s estimated that about half of all affected trucks are still without the mandated logging device. A driver or company’s failure to install an ELD prior to the December 18 deadline could risk fines, civil penalties, and other unpleasant consequences, potentially rendering their rig inoperable until an ELD is installed.

What impact will this have on the trucking industry?

Because it’s acknowledged that some truckers have been falsifying their paper logs to reduce the number of on-road hours reported, requiring ELD installation is expected to reduce the nationwide trucking capacity by a noticeable–if not crippling–margin. A similar hit to trucking capacity was observed in 2004, when the hours of service rule was first implemented by the FMCSA and the economy was still in recovery from the mild recession triggered by the war in Iraq.

One large freight broker estimated that this ELD mandate will reduce total truck miles by anywhere from 10 to 20 percent; assuming a 50 percent non-compliance rate, which may be optimistic given the penalties assessed to truckers not in compliance, trucking capacity may be reduced by 5 to 10 percent for the foreseeable future.

However, this isn’t all bad news on the trucking front. With more shippers having recently moved to spot contracts rather than long-term arrangements, those who have remained loyal to their trucking companies will find themselves at the front of the line, enjoying greater flexibility and an ability to dictate terms that won’t be shared by those who have spent the last few years chasing low prices.

What Does Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Means for the Trucking Industry?

Posted: August 1st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Container Freight | Comments Off on What Does Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Means for the Trucking Industry?
The news that Inc. intends to purchase Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion has sent shockwaves through a number of industries, and trucking is among those sectors that could see significant side effects from the merger of the e-commerce giant and the natural foods supermarket. In contrast to the disruptive impact that the deal is expected to have on the consumer packaged goods and grocery industries however, Amazon’s acquisition presents the potential for positive growth throughout the trucking and logistics sectors–with some causes for concern. 

Many industry analysts believe that the Amazon-Whole Foods merger will provide opportunities for trucking and logistics companies across the country. Amazon intends to keep operating Whole Foods’ 460 stores, and these locations can act as warehouses and distribution centers for a wide variety of goods that Amazon delivers. Put together, the continued emphasis on the importance of brick-and-mortar stores combined with the expansion of Amazon’s distribution network present the potential for increased demand for trucking and logistics services by the online giant. As the CEO of RLS Logistics, Russell Leo, notes, “For trucking and logistics, I see [the Amazon-Whole Foods merger] as neutral if not a positive impact because Amazon is still showing brick and mortar is still key.”

Additionally, in acquiring Whole Foods, Amazon has gained access to a key resource that they have been lacking up until now: temperature-controlled distribution warehouses. Why is this important? Transporting frozen and refrigerated products has been difficult for Amazon and other major internet retailers. By securing an instant network of these specialized distribution centers, Amazon has created the potential for their entrance into wide-scale distribution of an entirely new type of product–and with this expansion comes an increased need for trucking companies to transport goods.

Of course, Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods is not without potential cause for concern among those in the trucking and logistics industries. As industry analyst Ben Hartford of Robert W. Baird & Co. points out, Amazon’s “broader logistics ambitions” are still in question, and the internet giant has a long track record of disrupting established business models across a wide range of industries. Opportunities within the transportation industry seem to blossom with this deal, but it is still unclear how Amazon will approach solving its new logistics issues–and if it will do so in a way that benefits or disrupts established companies within the industry. 

Taken together, what exactly does all of this mean for trucking and logistics companies throughout the country? In short, it’s still impossible to say for certain. Many trucking companies–and their drivers–could benefit greatly from Amazon’s growing demand for short-haul trucking routes operated between their new network of Whole Foods stores-and-distribution-centers. Moreover, Amazon’s acquisition is just a piece of an overall acceleration in e-commerce sales, which could help boost the trucking industry even more. Still, Amazon’s history of disrupting established industries in surprising ways means that those in the trucking and logistics sector will have to wait and see how opportunities develop–or fizzle.

What Could A Change In Permitting Requirements Mean For Items Passing Through Malaysian Shipping Ports?

Posted: June 21st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Container Freight | Comments Off on What Could A Change In Permitting Requirements Mean For Items Passing Through Malaysian Shipping Ports?

Straddle Carrier Northport Malaysia

For those who regularly use Kuala Lumpur or other Malaysian ports as an intermediate or final shipping destination, a new Customs ruling could impact the permitting process. This ruling, which took effect in April 2017 but hasn’t yet been applied, has come under criticism from Malaysian-based shippers, who must now go through the permitting process even when just transferring domestic items from one port to another within the country; however, it could present a boon to foreign shippers who use Malaysia ports. Read on to learn more about the implementation of this Customs ruling and how it may impact the cost and convenience of shipping products from the U.S. to Malaysia.

What does this Customs ruling change?

This ruling would require all shipping firms using Malaysian ports — even those only using Malaysia as an intermediate, rather than a final destination — to apply for approved permits (APs) for a variety of product types. Previously, these permits were required only of items intended for sale or consumption within Malaysia, not those that were being unpacked and reshipped to another foreign destination. 

Once enforcement of this ruling begins, every ship that docks in a Malaysian port must apply for an AP if any cargo falls within one of the 74 enumerated categories requiring these permits. While this added layer of bureaucracy and the additional costs of permitting are already beginning to cost Malaysian shippers in lost profits and volume, the fallout from this ruling could be a boon for U.S.-based shipping companies, who will now be able to transport goods within Malaysia–a privilege once reserved only for Malaysian-based shippers who weren’t required to seek any permits to do so. 

How will this ruling impact the cost and process of shipping foreign goods within Malaysia?

A number of Malaysian shipping and cartage groups have already begun to lobby for exemption from this Customs ruling due to their well-founded fears of losing business to foreign shippers; however, it’s unclear whether these lobbying efforts will meet with success due to the support for this ruling from foreign shippers who do a great deal of business in Malaysia.

Instead of paying a domestic firm to transport your goods to their next destination, risking losses or miscommunications due to language barriers, U.S.-based shippers will be able to handle this all in-house, saving money and improving efficiency while ensuring the safety of the items being shipped.

If your current shipping or cartage company does business in Asia but has avoided shipping to or within Malaysia in the past, it may be worth investigating the cost of shipping through Kuala Lumpur and other nearby ports now that this Customs ruling has been enacted. Even if this ruling is later amended or domestic companies are permitted to apply for exemptions, its April 2017 implementation has sent shock waves throughout the Malaysian shipping industry while opening the borders to foreign shippers.

What Could Changes to The Jones Act Mean for the Shipping Industry?

Posted: May 19th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Container Freight | Comments Off on What Could Changes to The Jones Act Mean for the Shipping Industry?

Maritime law is a relatively niche and often misunderstood area of law; indeed, even attorneys may have trouble defining the Jones Act or what it addresses, absent some prior experience in this field. However, for those who work in the marine industry, the protections offered by the Jones Act (most notably its provisions for payment to workers injured on the job) are often deemed crucial for maintaining health and safety at sea.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently posted for comment its proposal to revoke previous letter rulings that it deems inconsistent with the enforcement of coast and maritime laws, including several rulings carving out exceptions to the Jones Act. Some of the changes being proposed, if implemented, may have immediate ripple effects throughout the maritime industry.

Houston Industrial panorama and Port of Houston, Texas LCCN2011630961

What changes are being proposed to maritime law?

The CBP’s proposal is designed to restore certain parts of the Jones Act that were previously superseded or overruled by administrative letters of regulation. One of the primary rulings at issue is the one that has permitted foreign offshore construction vessels to operate in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere on the U.S.-controlled Outer Continental Shelf.

Previously, the Jones Act had prohibited this type of foreign operation absent express permission; under this Act, only a U.S.-built vessel owned and crewed by U.S. citizens was able to transport cargo between two domestic ports. However, lobbying by “big oil” groups, many of whom operate ships built elsewhere and crewed by non-U.S. citizens, eventually led to a regulatory ruling that permitted foreign ships to operate in the Gulf and elsewhere with prior permission.

This presented some problems when legal issues cropped up; foreign ships didn’t always consider themselves subject to other U.S. laws regarding pollution, workers’ compensation, and worker safety, but enforcement authorities were reluctant to act without express standing.

The CBP’s current proposal would roll back these changes, restoring the original Jones Act language restricting maritime operation to U.S.-built and owned ships, all of which are subject to all other relevant U.S. maritime laws.

If these changes are adopted, what will this mean for the maritime industry? 

One immediate change may come in the form of increased national security. Many have pointed out the potential risk of allowing multiple foreign ships near the ports and passageways U.S. ships will need to access in the event of an attack or sudden declaration of war; even if these foreign ships aren’t openly hostile to U.S. interests and don’t attempt attack or sabotage, they may consume valuable resources and take up valuable space needed to protect the U.S. coasts and its citizens.

Restoration of the Jones Act protections can also help border patrol agents better enforce U.S. immigration laws, as it will be much tougher for foreign-born individuals to sneak into the U.S.; under current law, all these individuals need to do is to find employment on a foreign-flagged ship and disembark at any U.S. port to gain entry to the country, sometimes bringing illegal contraband with them.

At World Trade Distribution, Inc. we take national security very seriously, and work closely with United States government agencies at our Customs Examination Station to ensure imported freight is handled safely and efficiently, while complying with all national security regulations.  We also boast the most competitive rates in the industry, with a long reputation of being in good standing with all U.S. government agencies.  Contact us today to get a quote on any customs examinations and importing needs.

How Can the Use of Intermodal Transportation Benefit Your Company?

Posted: April 27th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Container Freight | Comments Off on How Can the Use of Intermodal Transportation Benefit Your Company?

Intermodal transportation changed the face of the freight shipping industry almost a century ago, and it is still the preferred method of shipment for most international shipping companies.  Each and every organization that has shipments moving any significant distance should consider using intermodal transportation. Exploring intermodal transportation can add value to the supply chain and even decrease the overall cost of shipping transportation, which in turns benefits the parties on both end of the shipment.

Intermodal shipping containers on a railway flat car

What is intermodal transportation? It’s a term that describes shipping that takes place by truck, train or ship, using an intermodal freight container. These containers are designed to be compatible with all modes of transportation, including trucks, trains and ships.  By transporting your cargo in an intermodal container, it can be moved between any of these modes of transportation without having to actually touch the product. In essence, you just pack the freight container and move it between any of the transportation routes.  By maximizing the different benefits of each mode of transportation, shippers can save big.

How is the service better than OTR shipping?

If you’re looking for the best quality of service in shipping, look no further than intermodal transportation. Thanks to the blend of the different shipping methods in use, shipping using intermodal transportation is faster than traditional trucking methods, and the usage of trains ensures that cargo will arrive at its destination much more quickly.

In addition, new technology has allowed shippers to have more visibility into their shipments than ever before.  Intermodal freight containers are now trackable, which increases the freight management workflow.

Can my shipment be guaranteed on time, for lower costs than OTR shipping?

You need a shipping provider and shipping method that can handle the consistent capacity that you produce. Intermodal freight containers allow for combining LTL’s (or Less-thanTruck Loads), saving clients money by combing multiple shipments in a single container.  No longer does the shipper have to pay for empty space on the truck.  Intermodal transportation provides for reliable capacity since it makes use of trucks, ships and trains. Since there is a driver shortage and shipping activity is overall on the rise, intermodal shipping has become a more attractive option. Instead of paying top rates to guarantee capacity, you can instead opt for intermodal transport. Your freight will arrive on time and at the right price.

How does intermodal shipping save me money?

Finally, the leading reason to use intermodal transportation is that it typically decreases transportation costs overall. Moving freight in intermodal containers alone represents a decrease in transportation spending. Making use of every available shipping route can lead to savings on fuel as well, as using the rails consumes less fuel. When relying on trucks to move your goods, you’re left with most of your money going towards putting gas in the tank. Trains and ships help mitigate this expense.

Again, intermodal containers don’t have to be unpacked and re-packed at every transportation transition, so cost is save on time and man hours.

Each of the above reasons are compelling on their own, but when combined, they formulate a perfect picture for anyone looking to streamline and enhance their shipping infrastructure. You’ll receive top quality service, have a system that can handle consistent capacity and even experience decreased shipping costs.

Can Utilizing Real-Time Data Save Money for Trucking Fleets?

Posted: March 15th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Container Freight | Comments Off on Can Utilizing Real-Time Data Save Money for Trucking Fleets?

The potential for big data to fundamentally change the way that businesses work is touted across many industries, and the trucking industry is no different. According to Iowa State University researchers, trucking companies stand to save billions annually if the industry can find a way to properly utilize the tremendous amount of real-time data that the U.S. and state Departments of Transportation collect.

How can real-time data help trucking companies save money?

By aiding fleets in avoiding highly congested areas, the state and federal Departments of Transportation’s collected data on interstate and highway operating conditions have the potential to dramatically improve fleet productivity. As noted by Dave Cantor, a supply chain management professor and one of the Iowa State researchers, steering clear of congestion, road work and accidents can help trucking companies boost on-line performance, ensure safer freight delivery, and reduce unnecessary idle time. All of these benefits directly translate into lower operating costs.

Flag of the United States Department of Transportation
However, while the various Departments of Transportation are already collecting this valuable traffic data, barriers still exist that prevent many trucking companies from taking advantage of it. In particular, smaller fleets have the biggest hurdle; the Iowa State researchers found that fleets of less than 100 trucks generally lacked either the manpower or the technology to retrieve and utilize the Department of Transportation’s data.

Besides issues with information distribution, problems coordinating the data itself still exist. Although individual Departments of Transportation collect data, there is little communication between different states. For the many fleets that travel beyond a single state’s borders, this fragmented information could end up containing a lot of holes that reduce efficiency gains.

What are some possible solutions for trucking fleets to access real-time data?

Researchers were able to identify several possible solutions to these data communication issues. The most promising fix involves the use of electronic logging devices. Since all trucks nationwide will be required to have an electronic logging device system installed by the end of 2017, information on road conditions could easily be disseminated to all trucking fleets via these devices. Individual state Departments of Transportation are also working on better information distribution systems; for example, Iowa is currently starting on development of an app or other readily-available communication system that would spread information more efficiently than electronic highway signs.

Indeed, the Iowa State researchers found that coordination between the data gatherers–namely, the various Departments of Transportation–was the biggest obstacle to full-scale utilization of real-time traffic data by trucking fleets. To that end, researchers put forward four key recommendations that they identified as most important to implementing a comprehensive real-time data solution: forging partnerships between Departments of Transportation in neighboring states, digging deeper into the potential cost savings of such a program, forming a coalition between government experts and industry leaders, and exploring potential partnerships with vendors.

Ultimately, a number of issues still need to be resolved before trucking fleets of all sizes can appropriately utilize real-time traffic data to boost their fleets’ productivity and realize the financial gains. However, Iowa State researchers have made a clear case for the benefits that big data can bestow on the trucking industry.

Intermodal Transportation is Important in Helping to Maximize Your Shipping Needs

Posted: February 27th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Container Freight | Comments Off on Intermodal Transportation is Important in Helping to Maximize Your Shipping Needs

Intermodal containers in Etobicoke, Canada

As technology has progressed, our economy has become more global than ever before. It is not unusual for companies to ship products across international borders, and while the internet can provide instant communication, physical transportation is still necessary to get products to their final destination. This is where intermodal transportation comes in. For those unaware, intermodal transportation provides increased efficiency when transporting goods long distances because an intermodal container is well-suited for transport by either ground, air, or sea. This use of multiple modes of transportation for a single container is called intermodal transportation, and maximizing the potential of this transportation can improve company efficiency.

Intermodal Transportation Maximizes Shipping Options

Because intermodal transportation is defined by utilizing multiple transportation options for a single container, don’t be afraid to explore all of the alternatives available. There are numerous options on the ground, including rail carriers and trucking options. In addition, traveling by air can always be compared to various ground and maritime opportunities. Some freight shipping companies, such as World Trade Distribution, Inc., have numerous intermodal options for clients to choose from. Your company should investigate all of its options, and balance the price with the timing of their delivery to maximize the value.

There are Alternatives for Shipping Lanes

The entire economy operates by supply and demand and intermodal transportation is no different. For example, if a company is based in a small city, it could be expensive to transport cargo a long distance directly out of this city; however, if the company can get its shipment to a larger city, this large city will have a wide variety of shipping options available. The numerous options could translate to a cheaper shipment price overall that the company could take advantage of. It may be worth it to take a short trip to a large city before booking the long haul. Always look for alternate shipping lanes.

Only Pay for What You Need

When you are approaching an intermodal transportation company with a shipping request, you should look into what their container options are.  Many companies will charge for a full container load (FCL), even if your product doesn’t fill the container, or alternatively make you wait until a container if full before shipping.   It is definitely worth your time to seek out a company that offers light container loads (LCL), and will ship them out immediately. For example, if the shipping order only requires 40 square feet of space, you shouldn’t pay for a 60-foot container just because that is what the shipping company offers you. Your shipment can be paired with others to fill the container, or the company should ship the LCL promptly.

Networking is Important

Intermodal transportation has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years and chances are that there is another company in the area that is also taking advantage it. Talk to your fellow local entrepreneurs and ask what they have found that works for them. Perhaps they have found a transportation company that they like or have some tips on negotiating with shipping companies. Networking is a powerful tool that can open doors that you may not currently be aware of. It never hurts to ask around and see what has worked for other businesses in the area.

At World Trade Distribution, Inc., we pride ourselves on competitive pricing and our excellent standards of customer service.  Contact us today to discuss your shipping needs, and let us help you get your products on their way.

Are We Expecting a Truck Freight Boom for 2017?

Posted: January 30th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Container Freight | Comments Off on Are We Expecting a Truck Freight Boom for 2017?


2017 is looking to be a fruitful year for the trucking industry, in particular because of a vastly increased demand which results in higher rates.

Typically, shipments slow down between Christmas and New Year’s Day, mostly because the holiday shopping mania has come to a halt, while, statistically, many people go on vacation. But in late 2016, the demand for trucks and vans along key routes had more than 5 loads per truck. All across the country, cities are seeing an increase in truck loads.  A couple of examples:

  • Memphis had 3,000 loads on one day alone with 10 loads per truck.
  • Atlanta had 4,500 per day with about 3.9 loads per truck.

The rates for outbound reefer loads, which transport perishable goods, exponentially increased the last week of December in Florida, Southern Texas, and Chicago. With the exception of California and Nevada, there was a huge spike in demand for reefer freight nationwide, and there were not enough trucks available to make all of these deliveries. The demand for refrigerated trucks led to rates of $1.95 and $1.96 per mile in November and December, almost on par with the peak rate of $1.98 per mile in June while contract rates for reefers also reached June rates in December at an average of $2.12 per mile. Flatbed rates for December 2016 were up $0.06 per mile compared to December 2015.

US Airmen support Honduras humanitarian aid; Denton Program 140613-Z-BZ170-001

The 18-month freight recession ended in May of 2016 after the industry experienced price drops from the collapse in oil prices in 2014. However, 2017 is heralding a truck freight boom because e-commerce brought on a massive increase in demand both during and after the holiday season. An increase in on-demand freight services has also contributed to a greater need for trucks and vans, including refrigerated vehicles at all times of the year. While oil prices and the state of renewable energy may be unpredictable for 2017, e-commerce alone followed by on-demand and spot market freight services has caused a massive truck freight boom to eclipse the recession.

With the expectation of increased corporate investments and private and public infrastructure spending surges in 2017, it is looking to be an optimistic year for the trucking industry. Rates may also increase if regulations on truckload capacity are lifted as a result of the ELD (electronic logging device) mandate, which smaller fleets are not expected to adapt to until late 2017. Since small fleets capture a majority of the spot freight market, being ahead of the ELD mandate is something to be aware of in order to not miss out on the boom rates that can be enjoyed this year. The combination of political, economic, and regulatory changes is leading to drastic changes in 2017 that are calling for increased demand for truck drivers and all types of freight deliveries.

Don’t forget to contact World Trade Distribution, Inc. for all of your freight transport needs.