Monthly Archives: January 2014

The changes in weather mean changes in tire pressure

truck snowCold weather reeks havoc for tire pressure. Far west or southern fleets heading in and out of the Midwest area have the most to worry about. This is nothing new to seasoned truck drivers. Any given tire volume of air will expand or contract as the temperature outside rises and falls. With regard to a big rig, for every 10-degree change in the air, tire pressure will change by 1-2 psi.

When considering a route, a truck leaving sunny south Florida with its pressure at 105 psi at 75 degrees, it will likely be closer to 90 psi by the time it makes it to North Dakota. So what’s the deal deal? Should drivers be concerned with this?

There are a few things to consider. Tires on an 18-wheeler perform multiple functions. One of them is to keep you from flying off the road when making a turn. This is a function of the tire’s thread patch. Eighteen square feet of rubber is all that grips you to the road. Overinflated tires can greatly reduce your tire’s contact with thetire pressures road. Under inflated tires can increase the tire’s contact and can increase the rolling resistance of the tire.

Generally speaking, tires carrying a 4,250 pound load should have their tires inflated to about 75-80 psi, although most fleets increase their tire pressure closer to 100 psi. Most drivers do this in order to be sure their tires can support the weight of the load. Going back to the previous example, if a load leaves Florida at 75 degrees outside and tire pressure at 105 psi, by the time it delivers in North Dakota it’s now 15 psi under-inflated, that tire could be overloaded by as much as 1,000 pounds depending on the tire. This can also lead to irregular tire wear and potential changes in traction. And changes in traction during the winter spell trouble for everyone.

So remember to ask yourself – When was the last time you checked your tire pressure? All drivers can do their part and help correct their tire pressure when the weather fluctuations are so extreme. That is of course, if you can convince drivers to stand out in the freezing cold for 30 minutes with a tire gauge.

Falling concrete forces SB I-75 closure in Sarasota

The southbound lanes of Interstate 75 and all lanes of University Parkway are closed due to reported pieces of concrete falling from the I-75 overpass.

Northbound lanes on I-75 remain open, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

According to broadcast reports, a steel beam fell off a flatbed truck and onto the overpass about noon, causing a hole to form on the overpass and debris to fall on I-75.

Bridge inspectors from the Florida Department of Transportation will assess damage to the bridge, DOT said. The southbound lanes of I-75 and University Parkway in that location will remain closed until inspectors say the area is safe for motorists.

Traffic on southbound I-75 can exit at State Road 70 (mile marker 217). Motorists can take U.S. 41 to State Road 780 (Fruitville Road) for re-entry (at mile marker 210).

Stay with TBO.com for updates.

 

New HOS rules drive trucking costs up

Nearly three out of five companies responding to a survey by the University of Tennessee’s Global Supply Chain Institute think new federal regulations mandating rest time for truckers could lead to greater transportation costs. The new hours-of-service rules from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which went into place July 1, are designed to improve driver safety by reducing truck driver fatigue.

The rules, which reduce the maximum number of weekly driving hours to 70 from 82 and mandate a 30-minute rest break prior to the eighth hour on duty, also could slow the transportation of products or force companies to add more truckers to the road, the researchers said.

The study surveyed 417 companies and found that 58% of expected an increase in their carrier rates. They anticipated passing on the costs to their customers in the long term.

Although the changes have also affect ReedTMS, our operators are trying to create some new efforts to transport products while controlling costs. Things such as increasing customer delivery windows and also improving shipment consolidation.

Although the change significantly impacted long-hauls, we haven’t seen too many customers switching to rail just yet. Even though rail can sometimes offer a cheaper alternative to OTR. Many customers like the freedom a truck provides and know that when on the rail, they are at the mercy of the carrier. Understandably, the rail won’t transport only 3-5 cars at a time. So customers often have to wait for the rail to get enough cars to get it going.

All in all, the impact of the change of HOS hasn’t been positive, but we’ll all keep working together to keep business moving.

Intermodal is on a roll

October of 2013 saw an all-time high for total intermodal revenue movements in the U.S., and the upward trend is continuing. “We are entering record territory now,” said Lawrence Gross, senior consultant with FTR Associates. Gross moderated a panel on the state of intermodal at the recent annual meeting of the National Industrial Transportation League. The news for intermodal providers, which have struggled for years to match the service levels of long-haul trucking, was almost unremittingly positive.

Much of the growth has come from the domestic side – meaning that intermodal services are encroaching on truckers to an extent not previously seen. International movements were about half those of domestic in terms of equipment movements, said Gross. Year-to-date intermodal growth (as of October) was 6.6 percent for domestic and just 1.4 percent for international.

Part of the disparity is due to the tendency of shipping lines to turn back ocean containers at ports of entry into the U.S. They’re eager to get the boxes back to Asia for another import load, which is their chief source of revenue. So freight from those containers will often be transloaded into larger domestic equipment, whether trailers or containers, for movement to inland points.

Traditionally, the intermodal option has been economically feasible only for the longest hauls – say, Los Angeles to Chicago. But a lot of the industry’s recent growth has come in the form of business in shorter lanes, said Gross.

The reason: rail service is becoming faster and more reliable. Intermodal is gradually chipping away at the time advantage that over-the-road trucks have long enjoyed. Higher fuel prices are driving more freight onto the rails, where operating costs are already lower. As a result, hauls of 500 to 600 miles are now being considered serious candidates for intermodal.

Read more here.