Friday, September 21, 2012

East Coast/Gulf Coast Port Strike Averted

A looming strike at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports has been averted for the time being. After working with mediators from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the International Longshoremen's Association and the United States Maritime Alliance agreed to extend the Sept. 30 deadline for a new contract until Dec. 29. They have also agreed to continue negotiations.

In a statement, FMCS Director George H. Cohen said of the reasoning behind the extension of 90 days: "The parties emphasized that they are doing so, 'for the good of the country' to avoid any interruption in interstate commerce," said Cohen.

The statement goes on to indicate that negotiations will continue with the help of the FMCS.
The widespread implications of a potential strike by longshoremen at 14 East Coast and Gulf Coast ports became quickly apparent, as the Sept. 30 deadline for a new contract had many industries watching closely and making contingency plans.

Curtis Whalen, executive director of the American Trucking Associations' Intermodal Carrier Conference, said that if the strike were to have taken place, the impact would have been profound.

"This is what we historically know as the peak season, and volumes are projected to be increasing. This strike would have [had] a financial impact on the stores, on the customers, on everyone-including those in the trucking industry. It would have [had] an immense impact," Whalen said.

The National Retail Federation applauded the move but urged both sides to keep negotiating.
""While this extension, facilitated by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, will provide both sides with more time, it is still critically important that USMX and ILA remain at the negotiation table to hammer out a final contract," said Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold in a statement.

"Until a final contract is ratified, America's retail community will remain concerned. NRF continues to urge both sides to negotiate in good faith to reach a firm and final deal for the good of the supply chain, and the good of the U.S. economy."
By Truckinginfo Staff

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

FreightWatch Figures Show Cargo Theft Drop from Second Quarter

The summer months saw a drop in cargo thefts compared to the second quarter, but there was a slight increase in the theft of electronics, auto/parts and pharmaceuticals, according to numbers compiled by FreightWatch International. In June, July and August, FreightWatch recorded a total of 188 thefts, with 62 thefts in June, 62 in July and 64 in August.

These figures make for an average of 63 thefts per month. The average value of thefts for the period of June-August was $139,172, a 5.6% decrease in average value from the second quarter of 2012, according to the most recent release of the FreightWatch Cargo Theft Report.

Food/drinks was the most-stolen product category in the last three months, with 37 thefts. Products in this category include soft drinks, coffee and frozen meat. Auto/parts suffered 23 thefts, including thefts of tires, automotive parts and oil. There were 21 thefts in the electronics category, including televisions, computers and cell phones. The food/drinks category continued to be the most stolen cargo in the months of June through August; however, its percentage decreased slightly through the last three months as thefts, in general, decreased.

Despite the recent decrease in overall thefts in the months of June through August, there has been a slight increase in the theft of electronics, auto/parts and pharmaceuticals. From June to August 2012, California had the most thefts at 46, accounting for close to 24% of all thefts. Texas had 33 thefts (17%) and Florida 22 (12%), making them the second and third most popular states for cargo theft in the second quarter.
Unsecured parking was the location with the most thefts for those incidents with a recorded location. Secured parking had the second-most theft occurrences, with about half as many thefts as in unsecured parking.

Following usual trends, incidents involving theft of trailers were seen most often, accounting for 78% of all thefts during this quarter. Thefts involving deceptive pickups rose slightly, making up 7% of all thefts in the months of June through August.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Reed Transport has partnered with the University of South Florida's MBA Program

Reed Transport Services, Inc., has partnered with the University of South Florida in order to help their MBA students further their education.

Reed Transport will open their doors to six MBA students who will build a business and marketing consulting plan during the fall 2012 semester through extensive research in the transportation industry as well as employee and customer interviews.

"Today's announcement of our partnership with USF is a great example of how we continue to invest in the community and of our commitment to helping educate future professionals," said Jason Reed, CEO. "We hope to use their plan as an analysis tool and see how closely it relates our actual business plan. It will be interesting to see if there is anything the USF students caught that we may have overlooked. It will be a great learning experience for everyone involved."

The students will begin their research this week and will also start conducting in-house interviews with employees. Customers will be asked to participate on a voluntary basis and will receive inquiries as early as this week. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

TCA Adding "Wellness" to National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

During National Truck Driver Appreciation & Wellness Week, the Truckload Carriers Association and state trucking associations will host health fairs and "celebrity walks" designed to get drivers exercising, eating better, and taking charge of their bodies. These activities will take place at 12 TA/Petro locations across the U.S. from 3-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

It's no secret that truck driving involves a sedentary lifestyle, so TCA launched this initiative to encourage drivers to make healthier choices. The idea is to remove obstacles by offering activities that are conducive to life on the road. Fortunately, the association says, more and more inexpensive and flexible resources are becoming available to drivers; NTDAWW's health-oriented events will heighten awareness of some of the possibilities.

The activities will begin with health fairs conducted between 3-6 p.m. Various subject matter experts will be on hand to provide information on health-related issues, such as weight loss, nutrition, obesity, heart disease, and sleep apnea. They will also provide basic health services such as glucose testing.

Read more here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Truck Driver Frees Severely Injured Children from Crashed Minivan

Truck driver Jason Harte of Rogers, Ark., has been named a Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angel for freeing children trapped in a minivan after a severe crash. Harte is a lease purchase operator for Sammons Trucking of Missoula, Mont.

On July 16, Harte was traveling on I-80 just east of Wamsutter, Wyo., when he saw a cloud of dust in the distance. As he approached the area, he saw that a pickup truck (later estimated to be going 75-80 mph) had pushed a minivan off the road and then hit a car, pushing it into the median.

Since bystanders were already helping the car victims, Harte turned his attention to the minivan, which was crumpled. A man and a woman holding a 6-month-old baby were frantically trying to get something out of the vehicle. Harte grabbed a first aid kit and medical gloves and went to help, finding that three children were still trapped inside. The third row seat had been pushed up to the second row seat, which was in turn pushed up to the front row seat where the parents had been.

Harte, who is a first responder and a former paramedic and EMT, heard a bystander using her cell phone to dial 911. He asked to speak to the operator and described the severity of the situation based on his medical expertise. He then extracted the most accessible child, a 5-year-old boy who was in the second row. He directed some of the bystanders to lay him on the ground, following basic spinal injury precautions.

Next, as emergency personnel began to arrive and assist, he asked the four strongest bystanders to help him reach the two girls trapped in the third row seats. At Harte's suggestion, the men opened the minivan's back hatch for better accessibility, allowing Harte to perform first aid on one of the girls. After someone removed a second row seat, he was able to slide her out.

By then, an off-duty EMT showed up. While the EMT followed spinal injury precautions, Harte held the child's body and car seat. Firefighters pulled apart seats and cut seatbelts until there was enough space to extract the child.

"I have been a firefighter/first responder since 1989, including four years as an EMT, and what I encountered that day was the worst motor vehicle accident I've ever seen," said Harte, noting that the injuries ranged from a broken pelvis, to broken legs, hips, arms and jaws, to fractured skulls and internal bleeding. He noted that only two ambulances were available to transport the eight victims of both the car and the minivan, so he spent a lot of time attending to the injuries while waiting for the ambulances to make return trips.

For his efforts that day, Harte has received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. Sammons Trucking also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.

Story from

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cross-border trucking needs revisions, audit says

The cross-border trucking pilot program with Mexico needs procedural and monitoring improvement and lacks sufficient data and participation to draw safety conclusions, according to the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General’s latest audit.

The oversight agency’s Aug. 16 report included the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s formal response to recommendations auditors made concerning the 11-month old program. The FMCSA disagreed with the OIG’s call for revision to quality assurance procedures for pre–authorization safety audits or PASAs. These carrier reviews verify compliance in areas that include drug and alcohol testing, hours-of-service, insurance, vehicle maintenance and driver qualification.

Auditors reported that in two of three instances they reviewed, FMCSA’s quality assurance personnel approved PASA results for Mexican carriers before verifying that Mexico’s transportation ministry had tested 18 prospective pilot program driver qualifications for commercial driver’s licenses.

By law, the agency must verify Mexico has tested prospective drivers’ qualifications. The oversight did not result in Federal Register publications of PASA results or approval of unqualified drivers, but showed FMCSA had not updated its quality assurance PASA procedures to reflect this requirement, the auditors wrote.

Read the full story here.