Category: Trucking Industry

Healthy Eating Tips for Truckers

health-eating-tips-for-truckers

When you drive a truck for a living, making healthy choices can be difficult.  Some days the only vegetables you may get are the tomatoes on your burger and the only exercise, climbing in and out of the cab of your truck.

Making bad decisions is easy.  Eating right and making time to exercise while on the road is hard.  Driving a truck is like sitting behind a desk all day. It is a sedentary job, obesity is a common problem for long haul drivers. 

A 2014 study by the CDC  revealed that 69% of all long-haul truck drivers were considered medically obese.  The study also found that 61% of the drivers surveyed had two or more additional risk factors for chronic disease including hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, lack of physical activity, and inadequate sleep. 

Finding healthy food choices while on the road can be a challenge but it can be done.  Here are a few strategies to help you succeed.

  • Plan ahead. You’ll be more apt to grab a quick and easy fast-food meal if you don’t make some kind of a plan.  Start your day by researching and planning your stops so they include healthier options than the typical fast-food burger and fries.
  • Look at the nutritional information.  Even fast-food restaurants put their caloric information on their menus or make it available to patrons.  To maintain weight, the average woman should take in 2,000 calories per day and the average man 2,500. A medium McDonald’s Big Mac meal comes in at a whopping 1,100 calories, nearly half of your daily caloric recommendation.
  • Eat smaller meals more often. Having smaller-portioned meals more frequently rather than a few larger ones is better for your metabolism. Large meals cue your body to store it as fat. 
  • Drink water. A 20-oz. bottle of soda contains around 240 calories and is extremely bad for you. Water, on the other hand, helps with digestion, flushes body waste, helps maintain blood pressure, delivers oxygen and nutrients throughout the body via the blood, and helps skin look younger. 
  • Pack snacks. If you don’t have a mini-fridge for your truck, it’s a good investment for healthy eating. A fridge allows you to purchase healthy food when its available and save it for later when you may face limited choices. Pack fruits and veggies and hummus or other low-cal dips to snack on. 
  • Make better fast-food choices. If you must get fast-food, choose whole-grain breads or buns, lean meats like chicken or turkey, skip the cheese and creamy dressings, choose sweet potato fries instead of regular ones. 

Being a truck driver doesn’t have to destroy your health but it takes some planning and willpower to prevent it. If you make better dietary choices, squeeze in time for regular exercise, and don’t smoke, you’ll feel better, look better, and have a healthier life.

Direct Freight Services is a full-service load board dedicated to helping truckers find loads and companies to post their loads. The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as a mobile app, mile calculators, fuel price data, weather conditions, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing and more.

To see how Direct Freight can work for you, go to DirectFreight.com today!

Pic:  https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/unhealthy-vs-healthy-white-two-street-1650828448

Sources:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814#benefits

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-many-calories-per-day

https://www.livestrong.com/article/312522-how-many-calories-are-in-a-big-mac-meal/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4511102/

 

Appliances You Need For Your Truck

appliances-you-need-for-your-truck

For long haul drivers, life on the road can be an adventure but it can also leave them missing home and all of its creature comforts.  For many, the end of the workday means making a nice meal and enjoying some leisure time with family as a way to wind down and push away the stressors from the day.  Truck drivers are no different. The best way to achieve this on the road is to take some comforts from home.

Kitchen

Truckstop food is notoriously unhealthy and eating out frequnetly doesn’t just take its toll on your health. It can be tough on the wallet as well.  That’s why many drivers turn to cooking meals in their truck. With the right tools, you can be a trucker master chef!     

  • Microwave:  Up to 800 watts, allows you to eat cheaply with TV dinners, leftovers.
  • Mini-fridge:  Essential. Not only allows you to keep cold drinks but you can store fresh food which is important for a healthy diet.  
  • Crockpot:  If you like food cooked in a slow cooker, there’s no reason you can’t cook a slow-cooked meal in your truck.  They come in models that are 1.5 quarts and are powered by a 12-volt adapter. The best part? Your truck will smell like a home-cooked meal all day.
  • Electric Skillet or hot plate:  Cook yourself a full breakfast or a healthy veggie stir fry.
  • Blender:  If you’re trying to eat healthier, what could be better than a fresh fruit smoothie?
  • 12-volt “lunch box” cookers.  They plug into the lighter and they’re great for warming up TV dinners or leftovers and can do some light cooking.
  • Hot Pot:  Great for soups and keeping beverages hot.
  • Coffee Maker:  With a coffee maker in your cab, you’re ready whenever you might need a caffeine pick-me-up.
  • Charcoal Grill:  Obviously, this isn’t for cooking inside your truck but grilling yourself a nice steak now and then is a nice treat.  It can also give you an alternative to greasy fast-food burgers by grilling yourself healthier options like turkey or veggie burgers.  

Of course, you probably don’t have the room for all these appliances so try to determine which would be best for the types of foods you usually have.  Space in the cab of a truck is a precious commodity so you should try to determine which appliances you really need. You don’t have to keep them all in your truck all the time.  You can mix it up to keep things interesting. Keep your crockpot at home until the weather gets colder and you might find comfort in a warm, homey meal.

Entertainment and Relaxation

After a long day of work and a nice meal, it’s time to chill out and relax.  Fortunately, there are a lot of options.

  • Laptop:  Skype with family or keep in touch with them through social media or email. Whether you use it to get the day’s news, watch shows and movies, or play games, a laptop is the best way to stay connected with home.
  • TV:  A smart TV with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu can keep you caught up on your favorite shows while on the road.   
  • Game console:  If you’re a gamer, with a wifi connection and a laptop or your favorite game console, you can connect with others and play with friends and family back home.  
  • Wifi:  While many truckstops offer free wifi, you’ll be lucky if it reaches your truck.  You can get this using your cell phone as a hotspot but you should check your data plan to make sure it’s sufficient for your viewing habits.  Your mobile provider will have other options for connection using hotspots for your truck. Satellite services are also available.
  • Air conditioner and heater:  Small air conditioning units or heaters are available for truck sleepers that will keep you comfortable without keeping your truck idling.

Keep in mind the number of outlets you have in your truck.  A large power inverter will allow you to power almost anything but if you work for a trucking company, check first to see what their policies are for using inverters and appliances before you buy.  Some inverters require rewiring the battery which may not be allowed.

At Direct Freight Services, trucking is our business.  We help drivers find loads to keep their trucks on the road.  Direct Freight is a full-service load board that allows truckers to find loads and companies to post their available loads. The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as a mobile app, credit reports and scores, mile calculators, fuel price data, weather conditions, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing and more.  To see everything Direct Freight has to offer, go to DirectFreight.com today!

Sources

https://www.bigrighq.com/how-do-truck-drivers-watch-tv-while-out-on-the-road/

https://www.howtohome.com/portable-cookers-for-trucks-and-cars/

Truck Friendly National Attractions

truck-friendly-national-attractions

When you’re a long-haul driver, you see a lot of this beautiful country…from the cab of the truck.  Landmarks, scenic views, and exciting attractions pass by your windshield but you drive on because you have a deadline to meet.  But should you stop? Should you fit a little fun into your driving schedule?

Yes!  We all know that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so why not try to squeeze in some of the wonderful attractions that our amazing country has to offer?  Make your plans ahead of time so you can fit them in your schedule and check with your carrier. They may have rules against bob-tailing. Of course, you can always rent a car, or call a cab or a Lyft.

Whiskey-petes-hotel

Whiskey Pete’s

Whiskey Pete’s is a hotel and casino located in Primm, Nevada near the California border.  It’s part of the Primm Valley Casino Resorts. You can spend the night, play some slots or catch the whiskey band at Pete’s Place.  Primm Valley offers a movie theater, great restaurants, and you can even get in a round or two of golf.

Biosphere_2_Habitat_&_Lung_2009-05-10

Biosphere 2

Completed in 1991, Biosphere 2 was designed to be a completely enclosed, self–sustaining ecosystem to demonstrate how life could be sustained in space.  The 3.14-acre structure is located in Oracle, AZ. In 2011, it was taken over by the University of Arizona for research on the ecosystems on Earth and how they can be sustained in the future. Itand it includes an ocean with a coral reef, a rainforest, mangrove wetlands, a savannah, and living quarters and research facilities.  Tours are available for this unique attraction and its parking lot can accommodate trucks.

Double-O-Arch_Arches_National_Park_2

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is a red-rock wonder in Moab, Utah.  Park your trailer in the lot at the visitor’s center and drive through the park where you’ll see more than 2,000 stone arches as well as natural spires and balancing rocks.  If you have a bicycle, you could ride through the park or do some hiking.

Dean_Franklin_-_06.04.03_Mount_Rushmore_Monument_(by-sa)-3_new

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore’s majestic sculpture is more stunning in person than on a postcard.  It’s located in South Dakota’s Black Hills and is easily accessed by truck with parking in the visitor’s center lot.  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln will be happy you stopped by!

3Falls_Niagara

Niagara Falls

Niagara’s astonishing 167-feet tall falls can be viewed from the park, or from the Niagara Falls Observation Tower, or you can see it’s rushing waters up close on the Maid of the Mist tour boat or the Top of the Falls restaurant.  Parking Lot 3 can accommodate larger vehicles.

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South of the Border

This Mexican-themed attraction gets its name from its location being just south of the North Carolina border.  South of the Border is a rest stop that includes restaurants, gas stations, a video arcade, a small amusement park, minigolf, and truck stop.  It’s not Disney WorldDisneyworld but it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon.

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Route 66

This one is a drive full of attractions.  The historic Route 66 was the original highway that led from Chicago to Santa Monica.  If you can take this highway along your route, you’ll see attractions like the Uranus Fudge Factory, The Leaning Water Tower of Groom, TX, Meteor  Crater near Winslow, AZ, The Blue Whale of Catoosa, OK and lots and lots of diners.

The next time you’re planning your fuel stops and overnights, take the time to find a fun and interesting place to stop.  It’ll break the monotony and add some fun to your trip. After all, don’t we all need a little adventure now and then?

Direct Freight Services not only gives drivers a way to search for loads or post the availability of their truck, but it also has many useful features for planning your run like deadhead and trip mileage, weather, and turn-by-turn specific routing.  Try Direct Freight today and find a load and plan your adventure!

Sources:

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/las-vegas-apr-28-exterior-view-1413241208

https://www.primmvalleyresorts.com

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/circa-1992-biosphere-2-arizona-425312656

https://biosphere2.org/visit/what-is-biosphere-2

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/view-double-arch-arches-national-park-293792219

https://www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/mount-rushmore-national-monument-south-dakota-240571879

https://www.nps.gov/moru/index.htm

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/american-side-niagara-falls-ny-usa-171241988

https://www.niagarafallsstatepark.com

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/south-carolina-usa-nov-11-2018-1423791755

https://www.sobpedro.com

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/us-route-66-highway-sign-on-544058587

https://www.historic66.com

 

The Driver Shortage and Recent Layoffs: Making Sense of It All

driver-shortage-and-recent-layoffs

Despite the shortage in certified truck drivers that has been raging on in recent years, last year brought big numbers in layoffs throughout the entire trucking industry.  Left and right, drivers lost jobs and carriers large and small closed doors. In December 2019, 3,500 truck drivers lost their jobs with a total of 6,600 for the year.  Many that managed to keep their jobs saw  rates slashed.

More Than Drivers Affected

Carriers aren’t only cutting drivers.  Many positions being cut in the trucking industry are administrative and non-driving positions.

The downturn in the trucking industry has a far-reaching impact. Carriers stopped adding to their fleets, purchasing 64% fewer new trucks than the prior year. Popular engine manufacturer Cummins announced that in Q1 2020 it will lay off 2,000 employees, and Volvo Trucks is laying off 700 people in January.

Ups and Downs

The trucking industry has a history of ups and downs, and often where the trucking industry goes, the economy follows. The economy has been on an upswing but a decline in the demand for trucks usually indicates that it’ll soon go the other way. The Great Recession that began in 2008 was preceded by a downturn in the trucking industry in 2006. Unfortunately, this is not a tried and true indicator of an impending recession. While a national recession is almost always preceded by a recession in the trucking industry, the reverse isn’t always true. In fact, the trucking industry experiences twice as many recessions than the national economy so trouble in the trucking industry doesn’t necessarily mean that the country will go through an economic recession.

Slowing in the Manufacturing Sector

Since the trade war with China reached a stalemate and tariffs were implemented, manufacturing has slowed.  Tariffs cost consumers and importers $1.4 billion a month with $165 billion in trade being directed to other countries, demand for goods has slowed and along with it, manufacturers aren’t producing, retailers aren’t buying, so carriers have less to ship.  Jobs up and down the supply chain have been affected.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Whether such a dramatic downturn will turn around quickly or we just see more of the same for 2020 still remains to be seen.  The hope is that 2020 will bring a light at the end of the tunnel. Talks with China are progressing.  If the US and China come to a deal on trade so tariffs are lifted and the U.S., Canada, and Mexico come to an agreement on NAFTA, there should be an upturn as manufacturing speeds up again to meet the demand, and freight begins to move again.

If you’re a driver who is looking for freight, Direct Freight Services can help you find loads to keep your truck on the road.  Direct Freight Services is a full-service load board that allows truckers to find loads and companies to post their available loads. The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as a mobile app, mile calculators, fuel price data, weather conditions, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing and more.

To see how Direct Freight can get you back out on the road, go to DirectFreight.com today!

Sources:

https://www.businessinsider.com/trucking-bloodbath-truck-drivers-december-jobs-report-2020-1

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t17.htm

https://www.businessinsider.com/cummins-confirms-2000-layoffs-at-truck-engine-manufacturer-trucking-downturn-2019-11

https://www.businessinsider.com/trucking-bloodbath-truck-drivers-december-jobs-report-2020-1

https://cdllife.com/2019/volvo-announces-mass-layoffs-due-to-lack-of-demand-for-trucks/

https://www.businessinsider.com/trucking-bloodbath-ata-truckers-potential-2019-8

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/trump-trade-war-cost-americans-14-billion-per-month-last-year-2019-3-1028002357?utm_source=markets&utm_medium=ingest

https://www.npr.org/2020/01/16/797100293/china-trade-deal-a-truce-awakens

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/01/16/usmca-senate-vote-mexico-canada-trade-deal-replace-nafta/4471596002/

 

The Pros and Cons of LTL Shipping

the-pros-and-cons-of-ltl-shipping

When a truck is referred to as LTL, it is carrying Less Than Load as opposed to FTL which is a Full Truck Load.  LTL shipping is a way for shippers to ship goods without waiting for a full truckload of freight that needs to be sent or paying for a small amount of freight on a big, empty truck.  An LTL load has multiple loads from several shippers going to different places.  

The Pros

LTL shipping has its advantages and can be a cost-effective way to ship freight.

It’s usually cheaper.  Because the shipper is only paying for a portion of the trip, he only pays a portion of the shipping costs.  The costs are shared with the other shippers who are sharing the space.

It’s better for the environment. Sharing space means there are fewer emissions than if you’d sent a less-than-full truck.  

It’s more secure than parcel.  Shippers who can’t fill a whole trailer often turn to parcel services like UPS or FedEx to ship their freight. With LTL, shippers are encouraged to put their goods on a shrink-wrapped pallet which will keep the items together, making them more secure.

It can have more options.  Some LTL carriers do pickup and delivery, liftgates, and non-commercial delivery to residential neighborhoods which is something FTL shippers do not.

Distribution can be easier.  If you’re a retailer shipping to several storefronts, LTL is convenient and faster than shipping large quantities to a warehouse.  

Cons

LTL shipping has its drawbacks as well.

It can take longer.  Because you’re dependent on the pickup and delivery times for those who are sharing the load, it can take a lot longer for your freight to reach its destination.  This is especially true of cross-country shipments that have to make stops along the 3,000-mile journey.  

It can be less predictable.  You’re relying on delivery going off without a hitch with many different stops depending on how many other customers are sharing the trailer, making it less predictable than FTL which is usually a straight shot from shipper to its destination.

It’s less secure.  While it’s more secure than parcel, it’s less secure than FTL.  With FTL, your freight is loaded on the trailer, secured, and the trailer can be sealed and not opened until it reaches its destination.  LTL must make many stops which means that others have access to your freight. It also increases the odds of losing your entire shipment along the route where this wouldn’t happen with FTL (unless the entire truck went missing!).

Your freight can be damaged.  Of course, freight can be damaged no matter how you ship it but with LTL, your freight may be removed from the truck several times to retrieve other freight, increasing the odds of it getting damaged.

Which is Better―LTL or FTL?

LTL is not better than FTL, nor is the reverse true.  The decision to use one over the other depends on the type of freight and your flexibility in scheduling.  LTL is better for items that have some flexibility in their deadline, fit easily on a pallet, there are less than 12 pallets, and the products are durable.  FTL works better for more than 12 pallets of freight, products that have an unusual shape or are oversized, are of high value and/or are fragile, or are under a strict delivery deadline.  While LTL is generally a more cost-effective solution, shipment methods should be looked at on a case-by-case basis to see if LTL or FTL is the right way to go.    

Direct Freight Services is a load board that allows users to use their mobile device or computer to search for loads and post trucks.  With helpful features like full credit reports, load filtering, when to expect payments, and broker authority information, Direct Freight is an essential tool for owner-operators looking to move freight. Visit DirectFreight.com to find out more.

Best Cities for Truck Drivers

best-cities-for-truck-drivers

Maneuvering your car around during rush hour traffic can be a real test of patience and self-control. Now imagine what it’s like for a truck driver towing a trailer through city streets. Challenging at best, driving a truck through a city full of vehicles driving every which-way is like walking through a maze of anthills without stepping on any ants.
In some cities, drivers can get much better pay for having the driving skills to deliver goods safely, on-schedule, with traffic, limited parking, and loading docks that are seemingly impossible to back into. It’s really no wonder drivers can demand higher pay.

Best Cities for Trucking Jobs

Advisorsmith looked at small (<150,000), medium (150,000-500,000), and large (500,000+) cities to determine the best cities for truck drivers who are looking for jobs.
Joplin, MO came it at the #1 mid-sized city (although its population is roughly 50,000 people, Advisorsmith included Joplin’s surrounding counties that give it a metropolitan area of 210,000). It’s located right on Route 66 and the proximity to railways and major trucking routes, number of trucking lines headquartered there, and a 21% below-average cost of living rate makes Joplin an ideal home for truck drivers. The average salary for drivers in Joplin is $42,060.

Danville, IL was #1 for small cities. Danville sits between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis and is at the center of 4 railways and several major trucking routes. With its low cost-of-living (27% below average) and high average driver salary ($54,770), Danville is perfect for drivers looking for jobs.

Fayetteville, AR, the 3rd largest city in Arkansas, is #1 on the list for big cities. It’s within 30 minutes of Walmart’s HQ, close to busy trucking routes, and offers 3x the number of trucking jobs than the U.S. average. The cost of living is low (13% below average) and salaries for truck drivers average $48,790.

While some major cities may have a higher average income such as New York City with the average driver earning $56,346, the expense of living there uses up a lot of that higher salary.

Best Cities for Traffic

Traffic congestion is not just a huge headache for truck drivers, it’s costly, adding $74.5 billion in operational costs to the trucking industry annually. Every minute that a truck sits in traffic is lost productivity. Some cities are better than others when it comes to traffic congestion. According to the Fiscal Times, the three cities with the least traffic are Dayton, OH with 10 extra minutes of travel time per day due to traffic, Knoxville, TN with 11 extra minutes, and Omaha, NE with 13 minutes of extra driving time.

Best Cities for Driving

As most truck drivers know, older cities like Boston, MA, New York City, and Philadelphia have narrow streets that were built for horses and carriages. Although they have charm, they’re notoriously difficult for drivers to maneuver. Cities that saw later growth generally have wider streets that are easier to traverse.

Wallethub ranked the 100 biggest U.S. cities to drive in by looking at traffic, infrastructure, and safety and other factors. Their list ranks cities for drivability for all vehicles, and Raleigh, NC, Orlando, FL, and Lincoln, NE topped the list.

Direct Freight Services is a full-service load board that allows truckers to find loads and companies to post their loads. The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as a mobile app, mile calculators, fuel price data, weather conditions, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing and more.

To see how Direct Freight can work for you, go to DirectFreight.com today!

Sources:
http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Media/Slideshow/2016/04/11/10-US-Cities-Least-Traffic?page=9

Best Cities for Truck Drivers


https://www.salary.com/research/salary/benchmark/truck-driver-tractor-trailer-salary/ny
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-cities-to-drive-in/13964/

Trucking Industry Congestion Costs Now Top $74 Billion Annually

Winter Blend Fuel, What You Need To Know

winter-blend-fuel-what-you-need-to-know

As the colder temperatures set in, most chain truck stops begin adjusting their fuel mix to protect engines from seizing when it gets so cold that fuel begins to gel.  The cold causes the paraffin wax in diesel to form crystals that won’t go through the fuel system―the tanks, fuel lines, or the fuel filter. The truck won’t run, nor will it be able to heat your cab which could be dangerous if you’re in the middle of nowhere when things begin to freeze.

Summer and Winter Blends

Diesel comes in winter blend and summer blend.  Summer blend is straight diesel or 2-D which is what most trucks use under normal conditions.  Winter blend or 1-D should be used in the winter. Its ingredients keep it from becoming gel during colder temps but it has a lower butane content which causes it to not perform as well as 2-D.  This, and the fact that it’s more expensive than summer blend (as much as 50¢ per gallon more) is why it’s only used when necessary.   

In very cold weather, drivers use as high as 80% 1-D but usually a 75/25 mix is used in colder temps and a 50/50 blend for near-freezing areas but usually, you won’t know what you’re buying at the truck stops as they mix it for the area where they’re located.

Additives

There are fuel additives that can be used instead of 1-D that help reduce freezing in the fuel line in and in the fuel filter and they’re also cheaper than winter blend, costing 1.5¢-3¢ per gallon.  Some additives can be used year-round and can also improve the truck’s fuel efficiency which can save money but generally, the colder the weather, the more additive is used.  

Additives can thaw your diesel after it has begun to gel but by the time you start to feel like your truck’s fuel might be gelling as it begins to cough and sputter, the gelling has already begun in the fuel line and fuel filter too.  Putting in additives at this time means you need to remove the fuel filter to do it, sometimes changing it more than once, which can be difficult to do in freezing temperatures(especially if you’re broken down on the side of the highway).  Many of the bigger chain truck stops in colder regions winterize their own fuel as the season gets colder, and in some places fleet owners supply their drivers with an anti-gel agent to use on the road. If you’re going to travel in colder regions, carry additives with you before going into colder regions in case of an emergency.   

Additives can have their problems as well.  If additives are overused, the fuel lines can become clogged.  This is why truck engine manufacturers put out recommendations on additives and trucking companies may have their own policies on fuel additives so be sure you know what they are in advance.  A winter blend of diesel is the most effective and safest treatment against gelling.   

Other Options

Truck manufacturers have been looking for ways to protect their trucks against gelling such as systems that prevent gelling like recirculating the fuel, fuel filters with an electric heat option, and in-tank fuel heaters.  These options can keep you from breaking down in dangerous, freezing temperatures and keep your load on schedule.  

Direct Freight Services allows truckers to find loads and allows shippers and brokers to post their loads.  The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as mile calculators, fuel price data, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing, and the latest weather conditions so you can be prepared for cold weather conditions. 

To see how Direct Freight  can work for you, go to DirectFreight.com today!

 

Sources:  

https://www.acuity.com/acuity-focus/2015/trucker-focus/changing-weather-calls-for-changes-in-diesel-fuel

https://www.ttnews.com/articles/fleets-fight-fuel-gelling-winters-chill-tricks-truck-maintenance-trade

IoT and the Trucking Industry

IoT-and-the-Trucking-Industry

IoT, or Internet of Things, is a term used to describe a network of things―devices, appliances, and vehicles, connected using wireless networks that can be utilized and monitored using the internet.  You may not think that there’s a network of things that connect us everywhere but every day we’re more connected than the day before. “Virtual assistants” like Alexa have become hugely popular in the last few years, as has home monitoring and security systems and health monitors like FitBits.  You can buy trackers to track everything from your child or pet to an elderly person who has Alzheimer’s. You can even buy a fridge with a camera that points inside so you can connect with it while you’re at the grocery store to see if you need milk.  

IoT can be used to benefit or improve many industries, including the trucking industry.  Shippers, carriers, and drivers alike have been implementing IoT as a way to improve productivity, safety, and logistics.  

Electronic Logging Devices

ELDs are a requirement for all trucks.  They monitor a driver’s hours ensuring they’re aware and following the mandated Hours of Service and remaining in compliance with the law.  ELDs were made a requirement as a way to combat drowsy driving for the safety of drivers and anyone else sharing the road. At first, drivers weren’t happy with “Big Brother” watching their every move but  reality is that ELDs save drivers the time of filling out paper logbooks. ELDs that track speed and location can help dispatchers keep drivers on the most efficient, money-saving route. 

Geo-fencing

Geo-fencing is a “virtual fence” that triggers an automatic response when a device enters or exits a specific location.  It’s an elaborate form of GPS that gives alerts if the freight is off course which could result in lost time and efficiency.      

Smart Tags

Smart tags are sensors that can be added to the freight itself that tracks the package in their simplest form or can provide more specific data like whether the package has been opened or tampered with as well as product temperature.  This is particularly important in the food industry for perishables and the biopharmaceutical industry where medicines and other biological materials have to be kept at specific temperatures at all times. IoT allows constant monitoring of freight so that drivers and management can be alerted to any changes in temperature that might compromise the cargo.  

Fleet Management

There are many different sensors that can be used on trucks.  Engine and tire data can be used to detect a small maintenance problem before it becomes a big, expensive one.  Tire pressure being too low or too high or engine issues can trigger an alert that can avoid a blowout or breakdown.  Accelerometers, fuel sensors, tracking, and other sensors can provide vital information to allow the truck to deliver its goods safely and on time.  Sensors can provide real-time alerts to hazards or delays and can improve fuel consumption which not only saves the company money on fuel costs but it can also help reduce CO2 emissions which is good for the environment.  Better communication between shippers, carriers, and drivers allows everyone to be on the same page and with new technologies ever on the horizon, current IoT solutions are just the beginning.

Another technology used to streamline the shipping process is load boards that allow drivers to search for available loads or for shippers to search for carriers or drivers.  Direct Freight Services is a web-based load board that has many helpful features like full credit reports, load filtering, payment expectations, and broker authority information.  Whether accessed online or now through our easy-to-use Direct Freight Driver app, Direct Freight helps you find the right loads. Go to DirectFreight.com and start searching for those high-quality loads today!      

Source:  https://www.freightwaves.com/news/2017/11/9/trucking-and-the-internet-of-things