Month: July 2018

ELD Mandates Improve Safety in the Transportation Industry

ELD Mandates Improve Safety in the Transportation Industry


Last year the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA announced the electronic logging device (ELD) manage to improve safety in the industry.  This is a device that is able to record the driving time automatically on a vehicles engine.  This not only provides a greater level of safety for drivers and other drivers on the road, but it also simplifies the process of logging time and is more accurate than the traditional paper log method.


This new mandate, according to the FMCSA, is to provide more compliance with hours of service regulations.  The mandate helps regulate the hours a driver is on the road to prevent tiredness that could cause potential unsafe situations for other drivers.  Not only does the ELD record their driving hours, it is also able to monitor other things such as location, miles, and movement.


Many concerns from drivers are being raised with this mandate.  One being, that this will impact their pay and hours.  With this mandate, it also strictly enforces 55-hour work week limits.  Which will affect their pay.  This is inconvenient to drivers and shippers, because of supply and demand.  If drivers, meet their legal limits they will be unable to go over to meet the high demands of shippers.


Drivers are not the only ones affected by this but shippers also.  This brings on an additional cost to them because to install one in a truck, it can cost an average of $584. Additionally, there is a monthly subscription free of $20.


One concern that has arose from this, is that due to drivers logging less time, they will feel the need to drive more aggressive and speed causing potential accidents to haul loads faster to move more and make more money.


While this is just one concern of many, there are benefits of this mandate.  This includes more monitoring of drivers, safer roads, automated processes, less fuel consumption, and saving shippers money.



Is A Career As A Truck Driver Worth It?

Is A Career As A Truck Driver Worth It?


A career in truck driving can be very challenging and rewarding.  However, it’s not for everyone.  Over the years wages have changed and many people think truck drivers aren’t paid adequately for the nature of the job.  Being on the road so much and away from family and friends also turns many people away from the industry.


In a blog, written by Brett Aquila, he talks about what he loves about the industry.  He mentions of quality of the trucks.  Stating that today’s trucks have the best technology and comfort yet.  The industry has made great strides to provide truckers with the best technology and safety features available.  This also includes communication and navigation systems.


On average, truck drivers make around $40,000 – $50,000 a year.  For a blue collared job, this is pretty good pay.  However, over the last 25 years or more, pay has been steady.  This year, we have seen a high demand for more drivers.  Many companies offering huge pay incentives for those who sign up.  They also are offering many bonuses including those for safe driving.


Now, drivers can be more regionalized.  This is a huge plus for many drivers.  They get more opportunities to be at home.


On the other hand, Aquila mentions many things that he does not like about the industry. One being the process is a pain.  To become a driver, you must pass background checks, drug tests, physicals, credit check, fingerprinting, employment verification, and many rules and regulations.


Also, enforcement is strict.  There will always be cameras on you inside the truck at all times.  Driving reports will also be sent to your company.  Your trucks every movement is tracked.  You will endure regular inspections and could be pulled over for an inspection at any given moment.  Companies will know everything that is going on every second of the day.


One of the biggest complaints today is traffic.  It is growing by the day. More and more drivers are distracted causing more wrecks.  Drivers have to be aware of this and drive with an extra level of caution.


Lastly, while the pay is pretty good, it is also not increasing.  Aquila states he has had the same pay since he started in 1993.



General Mills

Many companies are starting to take a hit from the rising prices in fuel, driver shortages, and the increasing demand.  One company that is coping with this is General Mills.  What they thought was going to be a time of very profitable growth, has suddenly become quite the opposite.  Higher cost for moving their goods has taken a hit into their profits.


According to General Mills, they began warning the investors last month that there was trouble.  This “trouble” however; was bigger than expected and their shares plummeted 9%, becoming the biggest single-day drop in nine years according to the company.


Raising prices are causing companies to suffer.  Higher gas prices, driver shortages, and increasing demand has forced General Mills to purchase hauling on a spot basis.  This has greatly eaten into their profits considering it is 30% to 60% more expensive.  Typically, spot rates account for 5% of their hauling costs, but now it is up to over 20%.


Like many other companies, they are looking for ways to cope.  For General Mills, this means looking at other trucking companies to acquire contracts at lower prices on train hauling.  Don Mulligan, CFO, says “In the long run, General Mills will reassess the placement of its distribution centers and the entire process for moving ingredients and finished goods. Which is a structural change that we are reacting to.”

Shipping in the Panama Canal

Shipping in the Panama Canal


In June 2016, the new third lane, which doubled its capacity, of the Panama Canal expansion project opened.  This expansion allowed for Panamax ships, which are 1,200 feet long and carry three times the cargo of the previous 965-foot-long ships.


The Panama Canal allows boats to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific through the Caribbean Ocean and vice versa.  The canal saves ships from going over 5,000 miles out of the way, to go around South America.


There are many factors that had to be considered when the canal was built. The Caribbean Ocean is lower than the Pacific, the tides, and lastly the Isthmus at Panama. This is where the engineering comes into play.  The ships will go through a series of locks that rises the ship, then lowers it back down to sea level.  This trip is 51 miles long and takes roughly 13 hours to travel.


The Panama Canal plays a vital part in the U.S. Economy.  The canal reduces inflation, which keeps the cost of goods down.  By 2018, the five ports that carry the majority of U.S. imports, Los Angeles/Long Beach (LA/LB), New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ), Seattle/Tacoma, Savannah and Oakland, will be able to receive the Post-Panamax ships.  The canal is great for the economy because it will create more jobs and allow the U.S. better access to markets in China.  Since the expansion, the port traffic is up 29 percent bringing millions of dollars to the U.S. ports.  It is now actually cheaper to ship goods via the Canal to Los Angeles than by truck or rail.


This expansion has sped up the shipping process from China to the U.S. east coast and rail.  Ships typically take 12.3 days to sail from China to the west coast.  Then to get to the east coast, the cargo is put on a train which makes the total trip 18.3 days.  This is the most common route of Asian imports to the U.S.

FedEx Is Testing Out New Technologies

FedEx has been testing out new technologies for its new Boeing FedEx Express 777.  The new technologies include a 100% biofuel plane, collision avoidance, and 3-D printed titanium parts.


The exDemonstrator program began back in 2011.  Last July, FedEx, and Boeing announced plans to create the fifth iteration of the program.  FedEx and Boeing have had a relationship for over 40 years.  This program strives to make aircrafts that are safer and more environmentally friendly and safer.


Back last December, “Hollie” was turned over to Boeing to begin testing.  The plane made its first appearance on display during and Earth Day event at the Memphis International Airport this past Monday, April 23.


David Cummingham, president and CEO or Fedex Express, was able to tour the plane on Monday.  Cunningham said, “Innovation is in FDX’s DNA, and Boeing and FedEx have had a long relationship of innovating and building new products and capabilities. “The ecoDemonstrator is just an example of that. At the end of the day, what we are all trying to do is make sure we have a safe environment, an efficient environment, and one that is sustainable from an environmental standpoint.”


A few other new neat features of this plane included a system that utilizes a laser which is able to identify clear air turbulence within 10 kilometers of the front of the plane.  This new system would be able to detect any rough air in front of the planes, in turn, allowing pilots to get passengers in their seats before hitting the rough air.


Doug Christensen is the program test manager for this program and has been involved in all 5 iterations.   While some of the technology is not close to implementation he said some, such as the new outflow valve, is very close.


Hollie Is the first commercial plane to be flown using only biofuel.  Jeanna Yu, director of technology integration for Boeing Commercial Airplanes and who over sees this program, said, “It is just such a great testament to the great partnership we have with FedEx.  FedEx has a goal of 30 percent biofuel by 2030, and we are supporting that and helping them bring new biofuels into market. Today, you can only fly a 50 percent blend, so this is a first-ever 100 percent.”



Winter Truck Kit

Winter is quickly approaching for many of us.  Driving in wintery conditions can be dangerous for everyone, but can be especially dangerous for truck drivers.  Many people traveling are not used to driving on snow and ice and do not alter their driving to fit the conditions.  It is extremely important for truck drivers to be aware of the surrounding drivers.


In addition, drivers need to be prepared with a winter survival kit. A kit can be very helpful in many situations such as, stuck in traffic for long hours or wrecks.  There are many items that should be in your kit including but not limited to:


  • Non-perishable food
  • Bottled water
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Blankets
  • Warm hat, socks, and waterproof gloves
  • Shovel
  • Tool kit (screw driver, pliers, knife, spare fuses & blubs)
  • Chains
  • Windshield scraper
  • Jumper cables
  • Emergency flares
  • Phone charger
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Tarp


These items could be very handy if you break down on the side of the road.  Also, if conditions worsen it is important to have food and water if you are stranded for hours.  Make sure your truck is properly equipped for this winter season!









MPCO Carriers, Inc. provides domestic freight transportation services throughout North America.


Our team is available 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day to answer any questions or concerns, so please do not hesitate to contact us!