Industry Insights

MetroGistics, PMTG, and McNutt will partner as ‘asset medium’ provider

October 13, 2014

Announcements of the partnerships
US vehicle logistics services provider MetroGistics is joining up operations and customers with trucking provider Precision Motor Transport Group (PMTG) and less-than-truckload service provider, McNutt Automotive Logistics. Both MetroGistics and McNutt will eventually merge to become a single company.

The agreement will produce a mixed transport asset heavy and light model: ‘asset medium’, according to the three companies, which share the same private equity investor, Corinthian Capital Group. MetroGistics and McNutt, both based in Missouri, act as brokers for moving vehicles across the US; PMTG, meanwhile, is an asset-heavy car-haul company, based in Michigan, that transports vehicles via 300-plus covered and uncovered trucks.

Together, the three companies will serve customers that include new car manufacturers, the used car market, new and used car dealerships, remarketing companies, auctions, and personal vehicle transport. According to Scott Naz, co-owner of MetroGistics, the partnership would lead to a higher level of transport flexibility and services, particularly at a time of increased vehicle sales and limited trucking capacity in the US.

“It’s going to increase our operational reach tremendously,” Naz explained to Automotive Logistics. “Before we didn’t have access to company-owned trucks, but now we have access to PMTG’s 330 trucks that we can work with every day. It’s a very exciting move for us, and for them.”

MetroGistics works with more than 2,500 carriers in its brokerage network that will now be available to PMTG, which could help the company overcome capacity bottlenecks as well as carry out smaller transport moves, said Naz. “PMTG will be able to increase their operational reach too. Before perhaps they may have struggled to do a single move, but now they have access to us,” he said.

“For example, one of PMTG’s customers had overflow opportunities, but PMTG was basically at capacity, so couldn’t service a one-off move their customer needed,” explained Naz. “However, they now have access to over 2,500 carriers, all across the country, and will be able to utilise our services to help expand their reach, take on more opportunities, and handle one off moves.”

“We are very excited about working with the MetroGistics team and their professional blend of technology and logistics services to reduce lead times with our customers and empty miles on our trucks,” said Dallas Knepp, COO of PMTG, in a statement.

For MetroGistics, the partnership offers ready access to capacity, and the possibility to secure longer-term contracts. “We have 330 trucks behind us that we can start projects with, try to sell more long-term deals, and go after more contract opportunities,” Naz said.

McNutt and MetroGistics will combine under one entity, eventually becoming a single company, working closely and using the same technology, according to Naz. PMTG will be under the same umbrella as Corinthian Capital, but will remain as a standalone company with its own systems and processes. MetroGistics will have access to PMTG’s trucks, and PMTG will have access to MetroGistics’ and McNutt’s carrier network.

With the announcements of the partnerships, the three companies are also combining their customer focus. PMTG was solely focused on the new car side and non-domestic end of the new car segment, MetroGistics focused on the new car side, but had 40% of its business on the used and remarketed side, and McNutt focused on the dealer side.

“We’re bringing everything together and it’s pretty powerful,” Naz said.

 

Rachael Hogg

Source Automotive Logistics Magazine

Industry Insights

FMCSA Including Extra Step In Insurance Increase Rulemaking Allowing For More Industry Comment

October 13, 2014

More Industry Comment
The upcoming rule to increase the minimum amount of liability insurance that carriers and brokers must carry will have an additional step that allows fleets and owner-operators another chance to offer formal comment on the rule.

The proposed rule will first be issued as an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, rather than simply a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The ANPRM’s publication is expected sometime this month. FMCSA sent the rule to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget last week, and after its clearance there, the agency is set to publish the proposed rule.

The ANPRM will give the industry, the public and any other stakeholders the chance to make public comments on the rule in the regulations.gov rulemaking portal.

However, the agency must still issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking prior to issuing a final rule. The NPRM will also give all stakeholders another opportunity to comment.

The ANPRM this month will have a 60-day public comment period, according to a recent Department of Transportation report.

The NPRM, which will come after the ANPRM, will likely have a 60- or 90-day public comment period.

By James Jaillet

   Source Trucking News
Industry Insights

More Trucking Groups Call On FMCSA To Remove CSA Scores From Public View

October 9, 2014

Trucking Groups Call on FMCSA

Several more trucking groups have called on DOT head Anthony Foxx to remove carriers’ safety data and Compliance, Safety, Accountability rankings from public view.

The groups say the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration uses data that has “statistical flaws” to produce the Safety Measurement System rankings within CSA. Furthermore, the groups allege, the flaws have been made known to FMCSA numerous times, which the agency “shamelessly and repeatedly ignored.”

The joint letter came from the Alliance for Safety, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation, the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, California Construction Trucking Association, the Expedite Association of North America, Auto Haulers Association of America and others.

The petition comes less than a month after American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association made a similar appeal to Foxx regarding the presentation of carrier Compliance, Safety, Accountability scores on the FMCSA website.

The latest letter points to several studies done on CSA that show the flaws in the agency’s scoring methods, including ones that show no correlation between the SMS data and future crash risk.

Overdrive Senior Editor Todd Dills in his ongoing CSA’s Data Trail series points out flaws in the agency’s data, along with the data’s bias against small carriers and owner-operators. Click here to see those articles.

The letter from ASECTT says FMCSA has “played mere lip service” to its disclaimer that SMS scores are not safety ratings. “Instead, the agency has continued to tout unproven SMS methodology as an alternative standard to be used by the public in selecting carriers. The agency’s advocacy of SMS has been seized upon by the plaintiffs’ personal injury bar, thereby causing great harm to shippers, brokers and carriers.”

ASECTT brought an unsuccessful suit against FMCSA in an attempt to have carrier scores removed from public view, since the agency has promoted them as de facto safety ratings. But the case was dismissed in June.

 

Source OverDrive

 

 

Industry Insights

Volvo Trucks Delivers 1,000th Auto Hauler

October 9, 2014

1,000th Auto Hauler

Volvo Trucks said it recently delivered its 1,000th Volvo Auto Hauler model, which the company designed specifically for the specialized automobile transport industry.

Volvo delivered the milestone truck, a VAH 200 model powered by Volvo’s D11 engine, to Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport. The daycab model featured a short bumper-to-back-of-cab configuration that enables the truck to haul up to 11 vehicles per trip.

“Understanding that payload is key for auto transporters, we designed the Volvo Auto Hauler’s dimensions to maximize the size and number of vehicles that can be carried in each load,” Göran Nyberg, Volvo Trucks’ president of North American sales and marketing, said in the announcement.

In addition to the VAH 200 daycab model for local hauling, Volvo also offers the VAH 430 sleeper model for regional-haul applications.

Volvo said all of its VAH models include features that reduce the truck’s overall height, including deep-drop front axles, low-height Volvo air ride rear suspension and reduced-height cab options.

Hansen & Adkins, based in Los Alamitos, California, operates 29 terminals in 21 states. The carrier delivers nearly 2 million vehicles per year with its 884-truck fleet.

 

 

Source Transport Topics

Industry Insights

Employee Benefits Liability

September 22, 2014

It’s no secret, given today’s driver shortage, companies are competing to attract and retain the best and most talented drivers. Often, this advantage comes in the form of financial benefits, including employee benefit programs. Employee benefit programs are a popular way to compete for new employees and have been shown to improve overall employee morale and productivity.

That sounds great, but providing an employee benefit program is not without risk. As an employer you face legal and regulatory requirements, as well as, the financial consequences from damages resulting from errors in administering these programs.
There is insurance coverage that will protect your business in the event a claim is filed due to these errors and omissions. Employee Benefits Liability, which is often referred to as Employee Benefits E&O, covers claims arising out of the administration of employee benefit plans.

An example of how Employee Benefits Liability comes into play would be as follows:
You hire a new employee who is eligible for medical, dental and life insurance benefits. The employee requests to add coverage for his spouse and son. The program administrator fails to get the employee’s family added as requested. The employee’s spouse is diagnosed with cancer and has over $400,000 in uncovered medical bills as a result of the error. As the employer you can be found liable for the uncovered medical bills.

Employee Benefits Liability can be covered a few different ways; as an endorsement to your General Liability policy, written as a stand-alone policy, or by a Fiduciary Liability policy. Contact your agent to design a program that is right for your business.

Claim Spotlight

Tree Limbs

September 22, 2014

Tree Limbs

Bill was hauling a load of brand new pickup trucks. As he neared the dealership, he saw the route he planned was under construction.  He needed to take a short detour around the block to get to the entrance.  Although the area was residential, the streets were wide and Bill had plenty of room to maneuver.  The streets were lined with trees, but he thought he had more than enough clearance.  Besides that, the tree limbs looked pretty small and delicate… certainly not enough to cause any damage if he brushed against one or two.  He arrived at the dealership with no further delays and unloaded his cargo.  Each one of the brand new pickups that were on the top deck had dents on the roof and deep gouges in the paint.  Every damaged truck was crushed and the total claim was $135,000.

When Bill’s detour took him down an unexpected road, he made several expensive errors in judgment: (1) estimating the tree limbs’ height by eye versus getting out and measuring, and (2) assuming the branches could not harm his cargo. Simply “eye-balling” the height of your cargo, a bridge, a traffic light, or a tree branch is always a bad idea, especially while in a moving vehicle.  Experienced haulers know the only way to accurately gauge something’s height is to measure it.  Bill’s second mistake was assuming there were only small and flexible limbs above.  While there were small and flexible limbs, those branches were hiding the larger, older limbs that had latticed together and created a very solid hazard.

Lessons Learned:

Overhead accidents are always preventable. While measuring the height of your load and planning your route are important, overhead obstacles cannot always be anticipated.  There may be detours, missed turns, or even just trees branches that grew since the last time you went through.  By exercising the following best practices, you can prevent costly mistakes:
-1-When in doubt, get out. Never “eye-ball” the height of a possible overhead obstacle: get out and measure it.
-2-Be aware of the routes you take. Avoid residential areas when possible, since these roads are not built to accommodate tractor trailers and auto haulers.
-3-Remember that tree branches can hide other overhead obstacles, such as larger tree branches and poorly-maintained power lines. What you see above you does not mean that is all there is.

Bill Fralic Insurance News

BFIS Announcements

September 10, 2014

Bill Fralic Insurance Services, Inc. Announcements

We are excited to announce that August marks the celebration of Bill Fralic Insurance Services, Inc.’s 25-year anniversary. Bill Fralic started the company in August 1989 with Mike Staines and Ken Walker. From the beginning they had a great business strategy, exceptional customer support, positive attitudes, and total dedication. Working together, we have grown the company into the most respected commercial transportation insurance agency in the country.

As another successful year comes to an end, BFIS is gearing up, in many ways, to better serve our clients. Here is a quick look at the changes you can expect to see within our agency:

•BFIS is excited to announce that we are in the process of going paperless. We know that it is a necessity for a growing company to have the fastest access to information with the ease of information sharing among staff for better client support.

•BFIS continually strives to find ways to give our customers exactly what they WANT – a fast, reliable, easier way to pay. In turn, we are now accepting all major credit cards. We want to do everything we can to make it easier on our clients and we understand that they like the speed, flexibility, and convenience of electronic payments.

In 2015, growth will not be a given; it will be earned.

Industry Insights

Freight Increasingly At Risk For Cyber Crime

September 10, 2014

Cyber Crime

First, the good news: Old-fashioned cargo theft is down. Within the past three years, incidents have fallen from 1,317 in 2011 to 1,090 in 2013, according to CargoNet, a cargo crime tracking subsidiary of Verisk Crime Analytics.

And now the bad news: Cyber crime, as it relates to cargo, is up.

Cyber crime is less physically dangerous than stealing a tractor-trailer, said Keith Lewis, vice president of operations at CargoNet. And cyber thieves are harder to catch and much less likely to be arrested.

There are a million ways to steal a shipment, especially on Friday when freight needs to move fast and security is low. Seventy-five percent of all cargo thefts occur on the weekend, according to Keith Lewis, vice president of operations at CargoNet.

Cargo thieves create fake identities through the Internet, and set up fake websites, invoices and insurance certificates. Theft by fictitious pickup (a form of identity theft) has increased 70% in the past year, CargoNet reports, and now accounts for 9% of all reported cargo theft. “They’ll pose as a legitimate carrier, or they’ll set up a fraudulent company,” Lewis said to TOC Europe’s Container Supply Chain Conference last month. “Or they’ll go back and find a company that went out of business—their certificate is still out there on the Internet, all they have to do is reactivate it. For a few hundred bucks, I can get an MC number and be a trucking company.”

Telematics and other forms of emerging technology, which seemingly increases security and recovery, also assists thieves who use it to exploit IT systems. Mike Yarwood, claims executive at freight insurance specialist TT Club, told TOC Europe’s Container Supply Chain Conference that thieves stage petty break-ins at offices. Damage appears minimal and nothing is physically removed. However, “more thorough post-incident investigations reveal that the thieves were actually installing spyware within the operator’s IT network,” he said.

Also a target? Personal devices, where cyber security is non-existent. Hackers often use social networks to target operational personnel to determine routing and overnight parking patterns. Thieves also steal container release codes and delivery passwords to track units through the supply chain.

Awareness is the first step to reducing cargo cyber crime. Establish risk management policies that stipulate what information can or cannot be stored on personal devices. Tracking devices can be embedded in cargo to detect the location of stolen goods, and some companies are implementing remote-locking devices that stop stolen vehicles in motion.

 

Source PropertyCasualty360.com

About the Author

Melissa Hillebrand, PropertyCasualty360.com

Melissa Hillebrand, National Underwriter Property & Casualty managing editoroversees the Technology channel on PropertyCasualty360.com. She has served the trade magazine industry since her graduation from Creighton University in 2004.

Industry Insights

Workers Compensation in the Trucking Industry

September 10, 2014

Cost of Truckers Workers Comp

Workers compensation insurance for interstate trucking companies can be hard to obtain because the insurance company underwriter has difficulty accessing the risk.

Often, a trucking company is located in one state, the truck drivers live in other states, and the workers comp injury occurs in a third state.
Normally in this scenario, the truck driver elects to be covered by workers compensation in the state paying the highest indemnity benefits.

If the trucking company is domiciled in a state with high workers comp premium rates, the underwriter may choose to simplify and just use the higher state rate. There are interstate payroll classification codes available from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for use in most NCCI states. But the problem the underwriter has using NCCI ratings for trucking companies is the rates are not applicable in three big states – California, New York, and Texas.

However, when the trucking company is domiciled in a state with overall low workers comp premium rates, but most of the accidents happen in other states, the underwriter often uses a premium debt to increase the workers comp premium to a rate (hopefully) profitable to the insurance company (subject to the judgment by the underwriter)
Although the insured never sees the underwriter’s judgment as an additional charge, it’s always included.

Types of Workers Comp Injuries

Truck drivers have a disproportionate number of musculoskeletal injuries compared to workers in other workforces.

Due to the nature of their work, involving many hours of seating, followed by brief periods of strenuous labor loading/unloading the ruck, drivers are more prone to injury than those in other occupations.
Unfortunately, many truck drivers fit the stereotype of overweight men who get little physical exercise and are in poor overall physical condition.
Most drivers are paid by the mile; therefore, their working hours may vary, resulting in constantly changing schedules an irregular sleep habits.
These poor lifestyles habits directly impact the period of time the employee remains off work following an on-the-job injury.

The most common situations where injuries occur include:

Vehicle accidents
Slips and falls climbing in or out of the cab or trailer
Strains and backs injuries from lifting and/or moving items
Accidents while loading or unloading the trailer
Slips and falls on loading docks
Carpal tunnel injury
Crush injuries where a part of the load falls on the driver

Most truck drivers also say kidney stones and hemorrhoids are occupational hazards, but very few drivers attempt to claim either condition as an occupational injury/disease.

Employee or Independent Contractor

Due to the cost of workers compensation for trucking companies, some companies try to limit their cost of workers comp by classifying all their drivers as independent contractors.

If you use them, independent owner-operators who also drive for other companies on a regular basis can be classified as independent contractors and allow them to be responsible for their own workers compensation or disability insurance policy.
However, both the IRS and the state board of workers compensation is going to tell you your drivers are employees, not independent contractors, if they drive only for your company, and you designate when and where the load is picked up and where it is delivered.
If drivers working only for your company are classified as an independent contractors, it is quite likely the workers comp insurer will deny your claims and the “independent contractor” will then sure your company for the medical bills, all of lost wages (not the typical two-thirds paid under workers comp), plus pain and suffering which is not paid under workers comp.
Additionally, there will be penalties and fines for not having workers comp insurance, easily putting small and medium size trucking companies out of business.

Controlling Your Workers Comp Cost

The trucking company, like every other type of employer, should have a complete safety program in place, and:

Should provide every truck driver with a copy of its safety policy and driver specific safety guidelines to eliminate injuries.
Each driver must be required to attend at least one annual safety briefing to reinforce the company’s safety guidelines.

A drug testing program has a positive impact on the cost of workers compensation (and liability insurance) even if it becomes more difficult to find truck drivers. Better a sober driver and fewer injuries and claims!

A successful drug testing program should include new hire testing, random drub testing, and mandatory drug testing after any accident causing damage to property, other people, or the driver.
If drug testing is done only if the employee reports an injury, the truck driver will state he is not injured, but then in a few days will report he is now experiencing pain or other medical problems.

Health and wellness programs reduce the cost of workers compensation as well as the cost of health insurance benefits.

Medical conditions interfering with the employee’s recovery can be prevented or reduced through health and wellness programs.
The workers comp cost savings from the reduction of the obesity alone more than pays for the cost of a health and wellness program.

State laws pertaining to this subject matter change frequently, so you must check with your legal counsel or a knowledgeable professional.

 

Source AMAXXWorkersCompExperts

Article Author: AmaxxWorkersCompExperts

Industry Insights

Boydstun Will Start Making Car Carrier Equipment Again In August

September 10, 2014

Boydstun Return In August

Boydstun Equipment Manufacturing, formerly known as Boydstun Metal Works, has announced it will return to the manufacturing of commercial auto transport equipment at the start of August this year. According to the company it has already started taking equipment orders and will deliver its first unit by August 30th.

Initial production will include Boydstun’s 1901 soft tie cylinder Quick Load unit. Production of additional trailer models, including the HS-7 car soft tie cylinder unit, will begin February 2015 according to the company.

“I have greatly missed the relationships and challenges of meeting the design demands of our customers and the industry,” said company president Rob Boydstun. “We will continue offering our customers the high level of innovation and quality that they had come to expect.”

A number of equipment makers were forced out of the market in 2009 when the global economic downturn hit the industry, with some forced into manufacturing other sorts of equipment. The North American market has been dominated since then by Cottrell and Delavan. With the ramp up in demand in the region for specialised equipment at an all time high, exacerbated by rail wagon capacity shortages, even those market leaders are finding it difficult to meet demand within the timeframes specified.

As reported back in March, lead times on the delivery of transport equipment have been hit and are now stretching out to four or five months in some cases. Speaking to Finished Vehicle Logistics magazine earlier this year Brad Childs, vice-president for sales and operations at transport provider, Proficient Auto Transport, said that the limited number of trailer makers was causing problems. “If the demand is there to have the equipment that lead time gets longer,” he said (read more here).

The return of Boydstun to the field – a company with 20 years in the commercial carrier business – should then be a welcome announcement. In a statement the company said that over the past five years there has been significant change within the industry. “That, coupled with continued demand for Boydstun products, led to the decision to resume production to meet this demand,” said the statement.

Boydstun will also be opening a repair facility soon with an exact date expected within the next three weeks.

 

Source Automotive Logistics Magazine

Article Author: 08 July 2014 | Marcus Williams

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