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Month: December 2015

Four Transportation Trends for 2016 to watch for

If you’re a shipper or transportation company, this time of year, in the final months leading up to the new year you have to ask yourself, “what’s the outlook for next year?” We don’t have a crystal ball, but here’s how we see it.

1. Fuel Prices

Prediction: Most predictions are for fuel prices to remain relatively low next year.

• Most economies are slow or slowing.
• There is a glut of supply and the Middle East doesn’t seem to be slowing production.
• More fuel efficient vehicles are actually starting to effect demand for gasoline.
• Natural Gas is a very economical alternative right now due to the new fracking technologies recovering previously unrecoverable resource.

What could affect this prediction?

• A major conflict in the Middle East.
• OPEC deciding to cut production.

Fuel-Prices-Transcourt

2. Labour Shortage

Prediction: Continued driver shortage

This seems like old news, but every year the shortage of truck drivers seems to increase. We can expect more of this next year.

• Existing truck drivers are retiring at a faster rate than new entrants.
• The market for freight is growing and the demand for drivers is growing.

What could effect this prediction?

• A major recession.
• With the oil boom slowdown, trucking companies may be successful at attracting new drivers from the oil patch labour pool.
• Trucking companies are heavily marketing jobs to women. Women currently make up only a small fraction of truck drivers. Should female truck drivers become a trend, it could really help out the driver shortage problem.

3. Capacity

Prediction: More available capacity in 2016

Coming into the end of the year spot market capacity is up (according to DAT Trendlines) and spot market loads are down. This is a key indicator that freight volume is soft right now. From a capacity perspective we should see much more available capacity in 2016.

• Q3 2015 freight volumes are soft.
• Trucking companies being proactive about hiring and recruiting.
• Outlook for economy is soft.

What could effect this prediction?

• New rules or regulations that could tighten capacity.
• An economic boom.

4. Traffic Flow

Prediction: Increased southbound traffic to the US, softer northbound traffic to Canada, less East-West traffic in Canada.

• With the low Canadian Dollar, imports are considerably more expensive. This will drive less import from China and the US.
• With the low Canadian Dollar, Canadian Exports will be more attractive, particularly in the United States. More exports should shift to the US.

What could effect this prediction?

• A World Wide economic boom, or oil price shock, could appreciate the Canadian Dollar and reverse this trend.

http://www.xtl.com, November 2015

OSHA is taking a renewed look at fall risks on cargo tanks

FALL protection for cargo tanks may become a more complicated issue for the tank truck industry. That was one of the conclusions coming out of the Fall General Meeting of the Cargo Tank Risk Management Committee (CTRMC) held in mid-September near Washington DC’s Dulles Airport.

Tank truck carrier, shipper and tank equipment supplier representatives addressed topics ranging from recent OSHA rulings to industry efforts to eliminate workers from going on top of tank trailers, to safety concerns of a panel of tank truck drivers. The meeting was co-hosted by the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA) and National Tank Truck Carriers Inc (NTTC).

RELATED

Dr Nigel Ellis of Ellis Fall Solutions reported that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has “archived” its March 10, 2004 interpretation which has been relied upon as a defense by the trucking industry in cases involving falls from trailers. In that 2004 letter, OSHA said that the 29CFR 1926.501(b)(1) duty of an employer to provide fall protection did not include “ladders, vehicles or trailers, on which employees must be located in order to perform their duties” and that the General Duty Clause did not exist “where there is no feasible means of providing it,” including on trailers. The OSHA Archive notice means that the document “no longer represents OSHA policy.” OSHA issued the archive letter on August 20, 2015.

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While there is currently a “Memorandum of Under-standing” (MOU) dating back to the 1970s between OSHA and the Department of Transportation that OSHA will not regulate trucking equipment in service, OSHA has shown its interest in moving into that area currently considered under DOT jurisdiction. In its extensive Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Fall Protection (docket number OSHA-2007-0072-0001), OSHA asked eight questions, including: “Should OSHA exclude rolling stock from coverage under subpart D?”

Stay off tanks

CTRMC’s ongoing efforts to eliminate or significantly reduce the need for drivers and workers to go on top of tank trailers were addressed by several speakers. One approach is to eliminate cleanout caps on trailers, what one attendee called “the least engineered part of a tank trailer.” CTRMC advocates removing cleanout caps from the more than 25,000 chemical tank trailers now in service, as well as on new trailers. Trailer manufacturers in attendance said that they now let customers know that they have the option of ordering trailers without cleanup caps, though the majority of carriers still specify them—as they have always been “standard.”

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The transition to trailers without cleanouts at the ends of the trailers will not happen overnight, and efforts must continue to make access to those caps safe and infrequent. One concern expressed by a number of carriers is that many shippers make the driver move the tank trailer off shipper property after loading to secure equipment on top of the tank, rather than allow them to do it on site where there is a loading rack. While many shippers have stated that they do not require drivers to first exit their property, carrier representatives and members of the driver panel said this remains a common practice.

Both carrier safety directors and drivers said that problems arise because the wrong cleaning caps are put back on a tanker after cleaning, or the trailer is dispatched with improper fitting or poorly maintained caps. Closing the caps too hard after cleaning can strip threads, and be as much a source of leaks as not closing the caps tight enough. This especially is a problem with intermodal containers from overseas. (See the CTRMC White Paper on eliminating cleanouts.)

Other topics that attendees agreed to explore were how to eliminate damage to tank trailers during transloading from railcars, how elimination of cleanouts and other openings can reduce the need for security seals, improvements to “catwalks” and ladders for when workers must go on top of trailers, and cleaning approaches with tankcars that might be adapted to tank trucks.

CTRMC will continue to work with tank cleaning equipment suppliers to develop systems that will clean the entire tank without the need for cleanouts at trailer ends. The group also will work to improve and implement VISION 2020 in trailers to incorporate more safety in tank trailers. Several trailers incorporating VISION 2020 ideas for cleaning and fall protection will be on display at Tank Truck Week hosted by National Tank Truck Carriers, November 11-13 in Houston. http://www.tanktruck.org/meetings/tank-truck-week-2015/

VISION 2020 is available as TTMA Recommended Practice 105 at www.ttmanet.org.

Driver panel

One of the most popular features of recent CTRMC meetings has been the tank truck driver panel. Drivers are encouraged to take part in all discussions, as well as during their own presentations. Here are some of the issues and comments from the September Driver Panel:

•  Drivers appreciate all training but would like to have more training in areas of pumping and safe product transfer. They do receive good information on safe driving, hours of service, etc, but more education on product, fall protection, and conditions at new loading/delivery sites would be beneficial. Also, more information and resources for “onboarding” new drivers would help.

•  Drivers would like to not have to go on top of tanks, but there are many reasons they have to for product quality and securement reasons. It is especially frustrating when they are told to exit the shipper property before securing tanks after loading. Additional training on safe access to tank tops and better ladders is needed, especially when the need to carry equipment makes “three-point climbing” difficult. Even “3-o’clock” locations of catwalks are better than going on top of the tank, especially as drivers get older.

•  Drivers would like more information on the company they work for, including plans and the type of information any other employee finds beneficial. “Drive-alongs” with company executives, dispatchers, and others are welcome. This might help educate others on the need for specifying the right trailer—rear or side-unloading—and better information about delivery sites for safer and more efficient deliveries. Top management should visit cleaning facilities.

•  While “sitting and waiting” is part of a driver’s job at shipper or consignee facilities and cleaning racks in the tank truck industry, efforts could be made to reduce the stress of waiting. Some shippers will tell a driver to turn off his engine and remain in the truck. This is especially difficult and tiring on hot days. Quality of life improvements could help with driver attraction and retention.

•  More standardization in the tank cleaning industry could help reduce problems with loose or missing cleaning caps. Cleaning facilities also should ensure that water is removed from vapor recovery and other lines. More use of customer hoses and pumps would eliminate some problems. Mounting air hose connections at the fender rather than the top of tank would reduce the need to climb.

•  Drivers do recognize when another driver is having problems that could lead to a rollover, crash, or product mishandling. However, there is a natural reluctance to tell someone in authority that a driver might need a few days off or other duty. More drivers would be willing to pass on concerns to management if there was a confidential way to do so that would result in help for the driver.

•  Advances in electronics and onboard devices have been a positive development, but also can lead to stress, especially in the area of hours of service. Shippers need to be better educated about hours of service compliance and understand that if a driver is delayed past his allotted hours by the shipper, he cannot leave the property without violating the law.

• While truck driving is a tougher job today due to congestion, distracted motorists, and shipper requirements, it is still a good job, especially at a company with good communications policies. It is important when trying to attract new drivers to the industry to point out driving is a lifestyle, not a job. Recruitment will be easier when drivers are treated with more respect by their companies, customers and law enforcement.

• Remember the driver’s family and what they have to do while the driver is on the road. Consider the driver’s family a key element in how he does his job.

The next CTRMC General Meeting will be held March 16, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri, and will be hosted by Archer-Daniels- Midland (ADM). CTRMC meetings are open to any tank truck industry stakeholders interested in safety.

For more information on CTRMC safety efforts and resources, visit http://www.cargotanksafety.org/. Retired president of National Tank Truck Carriers, John Conley can be reached at ConleyComm LLC, concomm@atlantiacbb.net

Transcourt Joins Industry Leaders at Tank Truck Week

PRESS RELEASE

 For Immediate release

Transcourt Joins Industry Leaders at Tank Truck Week

Oaklville, November 19th, 2015 – Transcourt Tank Leasing joined for the first time other industry leaders at Tank Truck Week in Houston, Texas, November 11 to 13, 2015 at the George R. Brown Convention Center and Hilton-Americas Houston. Tank Truck Week is the largest tank truck industry event in North America and Transcourt’s presence at this event signals that the Canadian leader in leasing and long-term rental of liquid and dry bulk tank trailers is serious in its endeavors to penetrate the U.S.A. market.

“We opened our first American office in Illinois last spring and we intend to open two other offices in Houston and New Orleans to better serve our customers”, stated Robert Pahanich, Vice-President Business Development – U.S.A. at Transcourt. “Our goal is to offer top quality equipment and a customer experience that is second to none to become the supplier of choice for carriers and bulk shippers looking for tank trailers.”

This year, Tank Truck Week featured 250 000 square feet of exhibit space, conferences and workshops covering a wide range of topics from maintenance and safety to tank cleaning and more as well as the latest equipment and technologies. One of the most popular items at the event was a concurrent US Department of Transportation (DOT) Cargo Tank Test and Inspection workshop. Visitors and potential customers at Tank Truck Week were interested in Transcourt’s customized approach – offering business solutions that encompass both operational and financial aspects to meet the specific needs of each client, no matter how big or how small the project is.

As the Houston event opened, the organizers did not forget that November 11th is Veterans Day in the United States (Remembrance Day in Canada), a day that marks the signing of the armistice which ended World War I. The anniversary is celebrated annually on this date and a special homage was paid to veterans and those who gave their lives in WWI and the various wars and conflicts since then. A very special tank truck was exhibited on the floor and visitors did not hesitate to stop for a moment of silence as they walked pass the painted truck.

About Transcourt Tank Leasing

Transcourt Tank Leasing was founded in 1997, specifically to meet the leasing and long-term rental needs of the liquid and dry bulk transport industry. Transcourt’s large fleet of tankers is available to customers across North America. A wide selection of tank trailer configurations is available to a variety of unique industry segments and includes stainless and aluminum tankers, propane btrains and tridems, crude oil and condensate tankers as well as dry bulk trailers.

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Part of the Transcourt team on hand in Houston: Bruce Daccord, President; John Campbell, Vice-President; Kevin Quick, Vice-President Business Development – Western Canada; Tony Jelicic, Director Business Development – Eastern Canada and Robert Pahanich, Vice-President Business Development – U.S.A.

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The special Veterans Day tank truck.

Source: Vianna Murday

Transcourt Tank Leasing

905-338-5744

vmurday@transcourt.com