Monthly Archives: May 2017

Exactly What Does Congestion Cost The Trucking Industry

Arlington, VA – Traffic congestion on the U.S. National Highway System (NHS) added over $63.4 billion in operational costs to the trucking industry in 2015, according to research released today by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).  Utilizing a variety of data sources including its unique truck GPS database, ATRI calculated delay on the NHS totaling more than 996 million hours of lost productivity, which equates to 362,243 commercial truck drivers sitting idle for a working year.

ATRI’s analysis also documented the states, metropolitan areas, and counties that were most impacted by these delays and subsequent cost increases.  The top 10 states experienced costs of over $2 billion each, with Florida and Texas leading with over $5 billion each.

As expected, traffic congestion tended to be most severe in urban areas, with 88 percent of the congestion costs concentrated on only 17 percent of the network mileage, and 91 percent of the total congestion cost occurring in metropolitan areas.  This concentration of congestion has been well-documented in ongoing work by ATRI which annually identifies the worst truck bottlenecks in the U.S.

The analysis also demonstrates the impact of congestion costs on a per-truck basis, with an average increased cost of $22,676 for trucks that travel 100,000 miles annually.

As part of this analysis, ATRI has updated its congestion cost database with 2015 data to provide granular cost information to transportation planning officials on the hours of delay and associated cost by major jurisdiction type and road level.

“Congestion-related costs continue to rise and impact our supply chains. A five minute delay for each UPS vehicle, every day, costs UPS $105 million annually in additional operating costs. ATRI’s report quantifies this drain on the economy which must be addressed through targeted infrastructure investments,” said Rich McArdle, President of UPS Freight.

Click here to request the full report.

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Article By ATRI a non for profit Research Organization

Huge Cyberattack Hits Nearly 100 Countries With ‘Wanna Decryptor’ Malware

WASHINGTON — A cyberattack initially believed to be targeting only hospitals in the UK has now gone beyond, involving potentially dozens of countries.

“We are aware that a number of NHS organizations have reported they have suffered from a ransomware attack,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said, while speaking on the campaign trail in the UK. “This is not targeted at the NHS. It is an international attack. A number of countries and organizations have been affected.”

A report from a security firm indicates more than 45,000 malicious computer attacks in 74 countries in the past 10 hours. CNN has not independently confirmed that number.

Here in Memphis, a spokesperson for FedEx released a statement said, “Like many other companies, FedEx is experiencing interference with some of our Windows-based systems caused by malware. We are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible. We regret any inconvenience to our customers.”

The problem appeared to begin Friday morning when hospitals in the UK were crippled by a large-scale cyberattack, which forced operations to be canceled and ambulances to be diverted.

Health workers reported being locked out of their systems and seeing messages demanding ransom payments to regain access. NHS England described the incident as a “ransomware” attack.

At least 16 organizations connected to the National Health Service in England and an unknown number in Scotland reported being affected.

“The investigation is at an early stage but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor,” officials at NHS Digital said in a statement.

“At this stage, we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed. We will continue to work with affected (organizations) to confirm this.”

Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison said officials were convening an emergency meeting to deal with the problem.

In Spain, the government said Friday a similar attack had affected a large number of companies. The firms included telecom giant Telefonica and the power company Iberdrola, Reuters reported.

According to Alan Woodward, a visiting professor of computing at the University of Surrey, this particular malware emerged in February, and it has one purpose: “to extort money in return for releasing the data it has encrypted.”

And that’s not even the worst of it.

Woodward warned there are two problems.

“First, there is no guarantee the criminals will release your data,” he said, “and second, even if you do have your data released, there is no guarantee the criminals won’t repeat the exercise.”

He said most likely it occurred this time because some of the hospitals and other organizations affected may not have applied a patch that Microsoft released or they are using outdated operating systems no longer supported by the software giant.

Woodward said the malware “acts as a ‘worm.’ ”

“Once inside a network it seeks out and affects any susceptible computer it can find on the network,” he said. “The only sensible way to tackle it is to ‘pull the plug’ so that it can’t spread any more until you can isolate the affected machines and work out a remediation plan.”

He added, “It is a horrible lesson about why using supported software, and keeping that software updated, is so important.”

Awais Rashid, a professor of software engineering at Lancaster University, said “the key question” to consider is how an attack such as Friday’s could originate “from a noncritical system such as email” and then spread to other systems.

“Our society increasingly relies on interconnected systems to deliver key services such as health,” he said.

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Story by Wreg

Memorial Day avocado consumption may surpass Cinco de Mayo

The CAC created a retail recipe booklet with 18 recipes and tips to pair California avocados with summer foods.

The California Avocado Commission, Irvine, Calif., estimates 123 million pounds of hass avocados will be consumed as part of Memorial Day weekend activities.

This is larger than the volume consumed on Cinco de Mayo, according to the commission, which was 119.4 million pounds.

The avocado commission released its sixth annual program to support avocado sales through the summer — United Plates of America.

“Memorial Day continues to be a sweet spot for California avocado merchandising activity,” Jan DeLyser, California Avocado Commission vice president marketing, said in a news release. “For the targeted retailers who carry California avocados, the timing of Memorial Day and crop availability plus California’s origin create a golden opportunity for thematic marketing.”

The CAC created a retail recipe booklet with 18 recipes and tips to pair California avocados with summer foods. The booklet is available to retailers who merchandise California avocados.

Advertising support for the program will also come from in-store radio and Pandora radio spots, online and social media advertising, public relations outreaches. The commission plans to e-mail consumers with Memorial Day and Fourth of July content that encourages California avocado use.

This year’s crop of California avocados is expected to reach 200 million pounds.

Story by Kate Walz at The Packer

Here’s a first look at Uber Freight, Uber’s long-haul trucking venture

Uber’s currently ensnared in a legal battle with Google’s parent company Alphabet over its self-driving car designs, but the ride-hailing behemoth doesn’t seem to be slowing down just yet. The company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, posted a photo over the weekend of a large semi that appears to be the first look at its long-hauling truck effort, Uber Freight.

As Business Insider reported last fall, Uber Freight stems from the company’s acquisition of Otto, a self-driving truck start-up it purchased for $680 million. (Otto’s founder, Anthony Levandowski, is a former employee of Google has been accused by its self-driving car project of stealing 14,000 autonomous tech designs from the company before he left to launch the start-up. Levandowski has since stepped away from Uber’s autonomous driving endeavors.)

At the time, Business Insider reports, an Uber exec said its intention with Uber Freight was to build a marketplace “that would allow self-driving trucks to flourish.

As The Verge notes, Kalanick’s tweet suggests Uber Freight’s plans now appears to include ambitions to own a fleet of semis—which, of course, would be a costly venture. Still, the project has had some successful public demonstrations; last October, an Otto truck completed a 120-mile beer delivery run. But it’s not clear how many tests have been conducted since. In February, Car & Driver revealed Otto was operating without a permit in California, a familiar point of contention for Uber.

Despite the ostensibly positive news for Uber, the company could face a setback this week: the judge overseeing Uber’s dispute with Google’s self-driving project is expected to decide this week whether to issue a preliminary injunction that could halt Uber’s autonomous vehicle program until the case is completed.

Story by Ryan Felton at Jalopnik

Sparked By Amazon, Cargo Business Growing At Tampa International Airport

Cargo business at Florida’s Tampa International Airport is growing, thanks in large part to online retailer Inc. Seattle-based Amazon has opened two enormous distribution centers in the greater Tampa Bay area. To supply those warehouses with merchandise, Amazon is shipping goods to Tampa International Airport daily aboard a Boeing 767 cargo freighter plane. It’s a lucrative arrangement for Tampa’s airport, which has seen a spike of more than 20% in cargo activity over 2016 cargo activity. The Amazon deal alone has generated more than $275,500 in revenue for the airport through fees and building rental payments, which continues to go up.

The daily flight is part of a national deal that Amazon quietly inked with Air Transport Services Group in 2015 to lease five Boeing 767 cargo planes and use them to move merchandise across the country. Tampa was one of the first regions to be a part of Amazon’s air cargo delivery network. Amazon and ATSG renewed the contract last year and extended the lease to 20 cargo planes. Business is going well enough that LGSTX Services Inc., a firm under the same parent company as Air Transport Services, wants to lease additional warehouse space from the Tampa airport. Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board members approved a proposal May 4 for LGSTX Services to take over the lease of a 7,680-square-foot cargo building from United Airlines to use for storage and the creation of pallets for packing and shipping. The lease, which extends to September 2018 and includes renewal options, will generate more than $91,000 in rent and fees annually.

Additionally, board members agreed to change the language of the airport’s air service incentive program to accommodate more domestic cargo freight business. The incentive program has been used mostly to lure new commercial airliners and flights to Tampa Bay, such as the direct flight to Frankfurt, Germany, on Lufthansa and to Panama City, Panama on Copa Airlines. The airport waives fees and has written checks for marketing reimbursements through the program. For cargo flights, the incentive program only allowed international carriers to participate. That changed May 4 when board members voted to revise the language to include incentives for all cargo air services. “When we created the policy in 2011, we thought the only growth in cargo business we’d see would be from international carriers,” said Chris Minner, vice president of marketing at the airport. “But that’s not the case, so we’d like the program to be open to any freighter.” Other cargo companies such as Atlas Air Inc., FedEx Corp. and the U.S. Postal Service are among the other cargo businesses at the airport. FedEx Corp. ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

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Story By Justine Griffin © Transport Topics, American Trucking Associations Inc.

Truck Driver Health Should Drive Business Decisions

Truck drivers are vital to the flow of the supply chain yet this key resource is being drained at an alarming rate.

The average life expectancy for long-haul truck drivers is 61 years. As the current truck driver workforce ages and with fewer young people choosing a career as a truck driver, it leaves the industry with a major problem. How can these key individuals be replaced? Companies are scrambling to try initiatives such as sign-on and referral bonuses in order to lessen the impending shortage, but there is a better way.

The Root of the Problem

Driving a truck for a living is a difficult job and those who choose it for a career find themselves enduring long stints away from family. They also end up not eating a balanced diet and many get little exercise while spending most of their day behind the wheel.

This combination is a contributing factor that leads to obesity, a major problem in the industry today. A recent CDC study states that 69 percent of long-haul drivers are obese compared to 31 percent of the national working population.

Obesity is a major health concern that can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, type II diabetes, and sleep apnea. These diseases are preventable in many cases. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that 88 percent of all drivers had one of these conditions. Compounding the problems resulting from poor diet and exercise is the prevalence of smoking. NIOSH reports that approximately 54 percent of drivers smoke.

Ask many drivers about body mass index (BMI) and they may tell you they don’t give it much thought. BMI looks at a person’s height and weight. While it only scratches the surface of an individual’s overall health, it can indicate obesity and is now being looked at by the industry.

An adult with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight and someone with a BMI of 30 or higher is obese. A BMI equal to or greater than 40 would classify someone as morbidly obese.

The rate of morbid obesity in long-haul drivers, at 17 percent, is twice as high as the national working population, reports the CDC. In a study that looked at rookie drivers in their first two years on the road, drivers with a BMI higher than 35 had a 43 to 55-percent higher chance of having an accident when compared to drivers in the normal range. This indicates obesity could be a contributing factor to accidents.

Obesity is a contributing factor in the development of sleep apnea. This disorder can be related to obesity. Drivers that are at risk are required to undergo sleep tests to see if they have this disorder, and if so, they are required to use a CPAP machine while sleeping. This is an attempt to cut down on drowsy driving. A questionnaire conducted by law firm Pritzker Hageman administered at truck inspection stations in several U.S. states indicated that 28 percent of commercial drivers stated that they had fallen asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month.

When looking at the current obesity epidemic among the truck driver population, it becomes clear that things need to change. The nature of the job, and the demands that the industry places on drivers, is costing companies money in addition to making our drivers sick. As drivers’ fitness level decreases and their weight increases, many yield to the demands of the industry and leave the field in search of new work. What if this trend could be reversed and drivers could attain better personal fitness levels?

Healthy Dose of Prevention

Many companies have started to put in fitness facilities at terminals. However, with the drivers constantly being on the go, many of these facilities sit unused. Unless they become part of an overall wellness program, these sites represent a waste of money.

A more effective, long-term solution is a wellness program that looks at the individual driver. Companies must make the driver’s health the priority with fitness assessments, programs that are specific to each individual’s goals, and constant monitoring. Many drivers feel unappreciated and overworked, so a financial commitment by companies that shows they care about the employee and his/her overall health will go a long way. The companies have to look at this like any other process improvement project with better driver health as the goal.

The annual turnover rate in large truckload carriers hovers around 100 percent. When you take into consideration that it costs $3,000 to $5,000 to recruit and train one driver, it is costing the industry $3 billion to $5 billion annually to keep the one million or so driver positions filled, according to a recent Forbes article.

Instead of working to find replacements for our drivers, why not spend some money to make them healthy? What if the industry could add three to five years to a driver’s career by helping them to attain a better personal level of fitness and overall health? This goal would make them more productive employees and lower driver attrition due to health issues related to obesity. In addition, a comprehensive individualized wellness program could make them safer drivers.

While healthcare costs continue to increase and companies scramble to find ways to make people more accountable for their own personal health, the approach to truck drivers must be different. We count on these individuals to deliver the things we often take for granted. If we cannot keep storeshelves stocked and gas at the pumps, then what would happen? We must help keep our driver workforce healthy, or one day the storeshelves may be bare.

Story by : Glenn Clinger at InboundLogistics