Friday, January 25, 2013

Reed Leads - Business world Magazine

Reed Transport was recently featured in an article my Business world Magazine. Check out some of the highlights here.

First priority
At Reed Transport Services Inc., their vision is to develop and grow by creating opportunities for employees – who, in turn, drive value to customers and partners. To execute on that mission, the company has made their employees their “first and foremost priority,” says Mike Ryan, COO of ReedTMS. “Our culture here is to take really good care of our employees, and they take care of our customers and our carriers, which helps drive the business.”

Employees are taken care of in many ways, Ryan says. They are provided with compensation at or above market value, benefits, events, atmosphere, and more. The idea is that a happy employee is a productive employee, which in turn creates a happy client.  “We hire a lot of life people. We feel like you spend more time at work than you do with your own family, so you want the employees to enjoy working with one another,” Ryan says. “We hire like-minded individuals.”

Leading technology
To help drive efficiency, Reed Transport Services, Inc. uses two of the industry’s leading technology platforms, as well as their own internally-developed proprietary software. “Between three systems, we’re doing pretty well,” Reed says.  Their systems help the company to push forward their pricing and lane analytics in order to acquire additional strategic lanes and opportunities. “We’ve got all kinds of analytics that we look at through our reporting mechanisms.”

Drivers needed
One of the main challenges for Reed Transport Services, Inc. has been the difficulty they have had in acquiring drivers in certain markets. “It’s very challenging to recruit drivers in the northeastern Wisconsin region, which is where our main terminal is,” says Reed.  Responding to that challenge, the company has begun offering various incentives upon recruiting, including signing bonuses.

Operational expansion
Looking ahead at the longer term, Reed Transport Services, Inc. will expand their operations in and outside of Florida, for example, where they’ve utilized the significantly-sized ports state-wide and along the Gulf Coast. “The East Coast is starting to get some of the bigger container ships coming from overseas. The widening of the Panama Canal will have a positive effect on our domestic truckload opportunities,” Reed says. “Getting into some port services is a possibility with maybe some warehousing and cross-docking. It certainly is a viable option.”

Read the full story here.

Friday, January 18, 2013

President Signs Military CDL Act

President Barack Obama Friday signed the Military Commercial Drivers' License Act of 2012, which will make it easier for veterans and service men and women to obtain Commercial Drivers' Licenses, making them more employable once they leave active-duty.

The law will enable an active duty service man or woman to go through the training and skill acquisition necessary to obtain a CDL while they are performing their duties in service to the United States. The fact that they may be serving in a state other than their home state will no longer be an obstacle.

Previously, states were only able to issue CDLs to persons who are legal residents in the state. Since many military personnel often receive their vehicle training in locations other than their homes of record, including their duty stations, the old law made it difficult for them to obtain a CDL before leaving military service. The law creates an exception allowing states to test and issue commercial driver's licenses to service members who are domiciled in another state.

It was one of those rare bills that everyone in the trucking industry seemed to agree on.

The Teamsters Union applauded the signing of the bill.

"With construction projects ramping up there is an increased need for safe, dependable truck drivers with CDLs," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. "Through our work with the Teamsters Military Assistance Program and Helmets to Hardhats, we know that our active duty military and veterans are valued for their military training, making them sought-after candidates for freight and construction work."

In a statement when the bill passed Congress earlier this month, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves said, "As the economy continues to recover, it is becoming ever more challenging for trucking companies to find qualified drivers to move America's most essential goods," Graves said. "Veterans with experience driving trucks in the military are highly sought after."

"Making it easier for veterans to move into these jobs is a good thing for the military, for the veterans themselves and for our industry."

Other groups expressing their support included the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Military Officers Association of America.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Carriers Failing to Match Capacity

Despite attempts by carriers to pull capacity from east-west trade routes, significantly weaker cargo volumes have limited the success of their attempts to lift freight rates for any sustainable periods, according to Drewry Maritime Research's latest Container Forecaster report.

Since the huge overnight success of the March 2012 general rate increases (GRI) implemented by shipping lines to bring rate levels back above break-even, there have been a further seven attempts to lift rates – equating to a total of around $2,800-$3,000 per FEU on the Asia-to-North Europe trade. During this period, average headhaul freight rates have actually declined from about $2,700 in early March to $2,400 as of early January 2013.

While this is not a disaster for the carriers, it proves that there is a fundamental weakness in the market compounded by low volumes on the back of a non-existent peak season last year. Coupled with a marked reluctance by carriers to pull enough capacity, particularly in the Asia-Mediterranean trade, average headhaul load factors have remained in the 75-percent to 85-percent range for most of the second half of 2012 and the strategy of missing sailings has proved to be insufficient to lift freight rates for any sustainable period. With another 40 ships of at least 10,000 TEU due for delivery this year, carriers will have a very difficult time deploying them without doing further damage to the supply/demand balance. Operational alliances across virtually all global trade lanes will certainly increase.

Read more here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Put down the phone in Illinois!

Three important pieces of legislation supported by the Illinois Department of Transportation aimed at reducing cell phone use while driving and clearing lanes of traffic immediately following crashes are now in effect as of Jan. 1.

House Bill 5101 prohibits texting or using a hand-held cell phone while driving a commercial motor vehicle and makes this a serious traffic violation. Previously, Illinois law prohibited texting while driving for all vehicles, but cell phones were permitted. Illinois statutes were since amended to be in compliance with the Motor Carrier Safety Regulations law that prohibits texting and cell phone use by commercial motor vehicle drivers.

Senate Bill 2488 prohibits cell phone use in construction or maintenance speed zones regardless of the speed limit in those zones. Motorists can use cell phones in voice-operated mode, which includes the use of a headset or cell phones used with single button activation.

Prior to the passage of this law, the speed limit in a work zone had to be lower than the posted speed limit, or it was not actually considered a work zone by the definition in statute and the higher ticket did not apply. Voice activated use of cell phone was permitted prior to this change.

"People are tragically injured and killed in work zones and by commercial motor vehicles due to distracted driving. Cell phone distractions have been proven to be as dangerous as drinking and driving," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. "These laws will stiffen distracted driving laws and save lives."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Congress Votes to Reinstate Biodiesel Tax Incentive

It's back...
The U.S. House Tuesday reinstated the biodiesel tax incentive for 2012 and 2013 as part of a year-end fiscal package that avoided the so-called "fiscal cliff." President Obama is expected to quickly sign the bill into law.

The $1 a gallon biodiesel tax credit expired on Dec. 31, 2011. The two-year extension was made retroactive, so it will run through the end of 2013.

"It's been a long year with a lot of missed opportunity and lost jobs in the biodiesel industry. But we're pleased that Congress has finally approved an extension so that we can get production back on track," said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board.

A recent study found that the industry would have produced an additional 300 million gallons this year with the tax incentive in place. That would have supported some 19,213 additional jobs, for a total of 83,258 jobs supported by the industry nationwide, according to the study, conducted by Cardno Entrix, an international economics consulting firm.

Looking to next year, the study found that the industry would support some 112,078 jobs nationally with the tax credit in place versus 81,977 without it. Additionally, the return of the incentive is projected to increase household income by some $1.6 billion next year while supporting an additional $3.1 billion in GDP.

Along with these economic benefits, Steckel emphasized that biodiesel is helping reduce America's dependence on imported petroleum and making us less vulnerable to global petroleum markets that continue to disrupt the economy and threaten our national security, while significantly reducing tailpipe pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more here.