Over-the-road drivers benefit from the relationships and advocacy of Third-Party Logistics (3PL) providers. 

Owner-Operator Orrin Hintz knows first-hand the impact from all the changes happening in our industry. He also knows how much a strong third-party logistics provider (3PL) like GW Transportation Services helps navigate the challenges that have come with those changes.

Orrin has seen it all during his 45 years in the transportation business, as a warehouse worker, mechanic, over-the-road company driver, warehouse and distribution manager, private fleet manager, small trucking company owner, and now as a single-truck owner/operator.

Shrinking margins on the freight side has forced many carriers to be more competitive by taking on more work—just to get the work—at smaller margins. This drives some to cut corners to get the work done.

“Oftentimes, a driver’s personal time and his family time are sacrificed to make a living wage in this economy,” Orrin says.

The latest round of federal regulations, namely hours of service (HOS) has taken much of the flexibility out of a driver’s schedule. The driver has no control over weather, traffic, loading and unloading schedules and delays, breakdowns, but still must adhere to the very strict guidelines within which he needs to work—without any avenues to arbitrate a citation from a law enforcement official.

Orrin sees himself trying to balance these challenges with all of the great things he feels when he’s actually on the road.

“When the weather is good, the road is straight and you’re out on the highway with other competent drivers, pulling 45,000 pounds of America’s needs to its next destination, it doesn’t get any better,” Orrin says. “Every day it’s something new—places, people and situations.”

The challenges come, he adds, when the weather is not so good, the road is not so straight and you’re out on the highway with incompetent drivers.

A 3PL like GW Transportation makes Orrin’s job as an owner-operator easier by acting as the intermediary between him and the shipper and receiver.

“Sometimes you need a third party just to keep everybody cool,” Orrin says.

He benefits from the fact that GW Transportation Services has the time and resources to establish relationships with many more customers than he can, and they’ve qualified the payee to the extent that they assume financial risk for late and non-payments. GW also has enough industry experience to advocate for owner/operators when the need arises. He chooses GW to avoid the pitfalls that can happen if a broker isn’t a strong advocate for the owner/operator.

If a broker doesn’t give accurate or sufficient information on posted loads, that can be a problem, Orrin explains. A large percentage of posted loads are either “ghost loads” (loads coming from or going to a small, isolated town but listed as a larger city that can be up to 100 miles from the actual destination) or have been moved already. Sometimes they have unrealistic expectations of drivers and equipment.

Orrin praises GW for its involvement in his business through the years.

“In nearly 30 years of working with GW, they have been my gold standard. I judge everyone else by GW’s ethics, communications and commitment to the carriers and our industry,” he says.

For more information, or to receive a quote from GW Transportation Services for your next shipment, contact Lee Erickson at (800) 827-4610 or lee.erickson@gwtranserv.com. Visit us at gwtransportation.com.

Your Checklist for Logistics Services and Cargo Brokers 

According to Wikipedia, third-party logistics (3PL) providers “specialize in transportation services that can be scaled and customized to your needs based on market conditions and the demands and delivery service requirements for your products and materials.”

These providers “perform functions such as consultation on packaging and transportation, freight quoting, financial settlement, auditing, tracking, customer service and issue resolution and maintain a great degree of hands-on involvement in the transportation of products.”

This is a great way to outsource a process that’s important to your business without having to acquire a fleet of trucks and hire drivers. But, how do you choose the one best for your needs?

Here’s a checklist of things to consider when choosing a 3PL transportation provider:

  • Does the 3PL provide the services you require? (Depending on what you are shipping, you may need: Truckload (TL) shipments, which fill the entire trailer or flatbed; Partial Truckload (PTL) shipments, which usually consist of loads that take up lots of space but weigh very little and in cases where more than 10,000 pounds of freight or 10 or more pallets are being shipped; or Less Than Truckload (LTL) shipments, which do not by themselves fill the truck to capacity by weight or volume.)
  • Does the provider have experience in the geographical areas you need to go?
  • Is the provider financially sound?
  • How do the provider’s costs compare to others in your marketplace?
  • Do they have customer references for the types of transportation you require?
  • Do their current customers say the provider responds quickly and effectively to changes?
  • Does the provider take time to understand your business needs?
  • Will the provider communicate with you in the manner you prefer?
  • Does the provider’s corporate “personality” match up to you and your company?

Answering these questions will help you determine the right choice when making this important decision. In the business of moving materials from one place to another, time truly is money.

GW Transportation Services is a resource that can answer any and all transportation services questions you may have. GW provides Truckload (TL), Partial Truckload (PTL) and Less Than Truckload (LTL) shipping expertise and experience, with the flexibility to handle many different types of loads.

For more information, or to receive a quote from GW for your next shipment, contact Lee Erickson at (800) 827-4610 or lee.erickson@gwtranserv.com.

What is MAP-21?

The “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act,” or MAP-21, will have a major impact on the transportation industry—and on anyone who ships freight in America.

MAP-21 goes into effect October 1, 2013, and is designed to help the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in its mission to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses, by supporting three core principles:

  • Raise the bar to enter the industry and begin operating on American roads
  • Hold carriers and drivers to the highest safety standards to continue operations
  • Prevent highest-risk drivers, vehicles and carriers from operating on our roads

MAP-21 directs the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to install several new laws over the next two years or so, designed to improve America’s infrastructure by:

  • Strengthening highways through the National Highway Performance Program
  • Establishing a performance-based program for more efficient investment of federal transportation funds
  • Creating jobs and support economic growth by authorizing $82 billion for road, bridge, bicycling, and walking improvements as well as including a number of provisions designed to improve freight movement
  • Doubling funding for infrastructure safety, including a fight against distracted driving and the push to improve transit and motor carrier safety
  • Streamlining Federal highway transportation programs by simplifying a number of complex programs into a few new core programs
  • Accelerating project delivery and promoting changes to help ensure the timely delivery of transportation projects

The Effect on the Transportation Industry

This Act requires our industry to:

  • Increase the broker bond from $10,000 to $75,000:

In the first of many steps to fight fraud, brokers and freight forwarders are required to post a bond or other financial security of at least $75,000, and more transparency is required in claims payment by bond and trust companies.

  • Disclose family ownership of multiple transportation companies:

Carriers, brokers and freight forwarders must disclose any familial relationships with owners of other transportation companies.

  • Ban “reincarnated” carriers:

DOT can revoke registration/authority or levy a fine on “reincarnated” (we call them “chameleon”) carriers. This also applies to failure to disclose important facts. These carriers run afoul of regulations then, just before losing their authority, ask a family member or friend to register a new company. They create havoc in our industry, costing lots of people a lot of money.

  • Place logging devices on all interstate commercial motor vehicles within 2 years

These event-on-board-recorders (EOBRs) are required to “improve compliance” with hours of service.

  • Establish a national driver registry:

Within the next two years, a database of all commercial drivers will include driver histories as well as drug and alcohol test results.

  • Impose minimum driver training standards within the next year:

The DOT will establish national driver training standards for a commercial driver’s license. Proof of the training is required for all new commercial drivers and those seeking to upgrade to a different class license.

  • Create a Unified Registration System:

All motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders must register; carriers and brokers must register with separate authority for each function.

Whew! That’s a lot of changes and new regulations. GW Transportation Services can help you navigate these new regulations to ensure that your shipments are always in compliance. We’re in the process of obtaining the new bond requirement and preparing for all the changes coming in the next several months.

How GW Transportation Can Help You Navigate These Changes

For over 30 years our experienced staff has seen the transportation industry evolve, and we’ve consistently provided guidance to our customers and carriers. Combine that expertise with our exceptional customer service, and you’ll see we do everything to make each shipment go smoothly.

For more information, or to receive a quote from GW Transportation Services for your next shipment, contact Lee Erickson at (800) 827-4610 or lee.erickson@gwtranserv.com. Visit us at gwtransportation.com.

Crete Carrier does a great job of recognizing its freight hauling and trucking services experts.

A lot of companies will talk about how important their employees are, but how many actually put it on a moving billboard?

That’s pretty much what Crete Carrier has done to recognize its drivers. Maybe you’ve seen the trailers being pulled down the highways. They say in big bold letters, “Our Most Valuable Resource Sits Here,” with an arrow pointing to the tractor.

When we saw this on the road we just had to take a picture, which you see accompanying this article.

It’s a reminder to us all, no matter which part of the transportation industry we’re in, to make sure we recognize and reward the trucking experts at all levels of our business. A recent study found that over 70 percent of high performers in organizations don’t even know they’re high performers—because no one told them!

Sure, we all know how many people it takes to source a truck, load it, put it on the road and get to the destination in a timely, safe manner. But we also often take all those moving parts for granted because we’re focused on the “it” (the load) more than the “who” (the people).

When we say, “reward and recognize,” our brains automatically go to money in some form, whether it’s regular compensation or bonuses of some sort. But rewarding goes much further than that, and the little things that leaders do make all the difference for employees at every level.

More than your facilities, trucks or product, your people are your brand. You need them engaged because everything they say and do—in the office or out on the road—is a commercial for your company.

Not surprisingly, Crete Carrier walks its talk. In fact, the company received the 2013 Nebraska American Legion Employer of Veterans Award for establishing an outstanding record of employing and retaining veterans. They seem to be doing a swell job of employing and retaining employees, and one of the major factors for the company’s success is an ongoing commitment to its drivers and other trucking service employees.

This sets the benchmark for the rest of us in the industry. You may not have the time or resources to paint your trailers, but you sure can take a few minutes today to acknowledge those people who keep you in business.