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Solutions to combat driver fatigue accidents

Caterpillar, the world’s largest manufacturer of construction mining equipment, will start selling eye and face tracking technology to keep sleepy truck drivers from getting into accidents.

Driver Safety Solution consists of a camera that tracks a driver’s eye behavior, including pupil size and blink frequency, and where their mouth is located. When it senses the driver has fallen asleep or is looking away from the road and not paying attention, it activates audio alarms and seat vibrations to bring their focus back. An infrared camera in the truck cab allows the camera to analyze a driver’s eyes through glasses or in the dark.

If DSS senses a driver has entered a micro-sleep, a short sleep period that only lasts a few seconds, it will also alert support staff, who will have access to video footage of the driver’s eyes and data about their behavior from a GPS and accelerometer in the truck. Often people don’t even realize they fell asleep after experiencing a micro-sleep, making it especially dangerous for drivers.

The firm that developed the technology, Seeing Machines, is one of many companies looking to combat driver fatigue

Source: https://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-05/caterpillars-eye-tracking-sensors-will-wake-sleepy-truck-drivers

3 Ways to Manage Stress on Long Drives

Though some truckers wouldn’t admit it, transporting freight long distances can be very stressful. Demanding dispatchers, demanding receivers, and a plethora of timelines and conditions to adhere to is a recipe for stress. This can be accelerated if the driver is dealing with personal issues, or if they’re encountering some erratic traffic on the way to their destination.

Managing stress is key for having a more fulfilling work-life, and for maintaining a better level of health. Here are a few strategies drivers can use to handle things when the pressure gets a little excessive.

  1. Step away from the stressful environment, even only temporarily, can work wonders for your psyche. Sometimes you don’t always have the luxury of parking your truck and getting out to walk around for a few minutes. But when the opportunity presents itself, it’s a wise idea to consider.
  2. Use a stress ball or even a fidget-spinner, the modern replacement, can be helpful to take your mind off the demands of the road when you are able to find a stationary moment.
  3. Occupy your mind with other things once you have gotten a break. Reading, talking with others, and even playing various app games can all be great ways to keep the brain active while taking the focus off the stresses of the road.

Stress is something every trucker has to deal with, and it can greatly affect their trip. Knowing how to manage it is vital for a long and healthy career.

Source: https://truckernews.com/strategies-for-managing-stress-on-long-drives/

What’s the story on the B-Train?

It‘s arguable that what we call the modern B-train (a set of trailers joined by a fifth wheel on the lead trailer) is a Canadian invention that was prototyped and developed in Canada by Hutchinson Industries of Toronto, Ont., (now a subsidiary of Treamcar), under the tutelage of Ralph Hutchinson Jr., sometime in the mid to early 70s.

Whether or not the B-train was born in Canada the modern version of the B-train became popular after several crashes, mostly in Michigan in the early 70s, involving heavily laden fuel and lumber A-trains (this is why Michigan has some of the strictest axel-weight restrictions and why you see six axle trailers in the State. A-trains with their converter dollies and pintle hooks might better described as “wiggle wagons” which are in another league and nowhere near as stable as the B-trains. C-trains were also developed at this time, but are rarely seen these days.

B-trains are found in every province in the country and have proven themselves as the best method for hauling the most weight in 60 feet of combined trailers. Whereas the US, with a few exceptions in places like Michigan and Washington State, have never embraced the B-train. Some States won’t even allow them on their roads. B-trains in a word, are as Canadian as hockey, lacrosse, back bacon and maple syrup.

Source: https://www.trucknews.com/blogs/take-the-b-train/

Customization and Flexibility are key factors in the Tank Trailer industry.

The last available Tank Truck Industry Market Analysis done for the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) by the American Trucking Association (ATA), published in March, 2015, offered interesting findings:

  • In 2013, the tank truck industry hauled 2.48 billion tons of freight, which equaled 25.6% of all truck freight (9.68 billion tons).
  • The largest commodity group for all tank truck freight was petroleum products (gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuel), which equaled 1.22 billion tons or 49.2% of all tank truck tonnage, followed by sands at 419.9 million tons (15.2%), and chemicals excluding fertilizers and cryogenics at 240.9 million tons (9.5%).
  • In 2013, the tank truck industry generated $34.5 billion in revenue, which equaled 5.1% of all truck revenue ($681.7 billion).
  • The commodity group that generated the most revenue for for-hire carriers in 2013 was chemicals, excluding fertilizers and cryogenics, at just under $7 billion, or 28.3% of all for-hire tank truck revenue. Closely following chemicals was petroleum products, which brought in $6.8 billion in revenue in 2013, or 27.5% of all for-hire tank truck revenue. Cements were a distant third at $2.3 billion, or 9.5% of the total.
  • In 2013, the tank truck industry operated 163,670 tractors, or 10.9% of the roughly 1.5 million of all over-the-road tractors in the US.

“The study offered first-rate economic market intelligence that never before existed leaving most to rely on anecdotal guesstimates about our unique industry at best”, said NTTC President Daniel R. Furth. “Now industry players can really gauge the varied service segments and their respective market shares and apply this intelligence to planning and operations. Moreover, the study gave us a solid baseline to track market trends by commodity types over time as new commodity flow information becomes available.”

This is the type of data that serious players in this market like Transcourt Tank Leasing; rely on to better understand the market in which the company has been evolving for over 20 years. Leaders like John Campbell, Chairman and Co-Founder of Transcourt and Robert Pahanich, Vice-President Fleet Management and Procurement and Vice-President USA Business Development, rely on these types of studies to enhance their knowledge of the industry. They also have gained precious comprehension of the needs of their customers. Through the years they have developed a deep understanding of just how far they can go to offer the right solution at the right price to their customers. This is what differentiates Transcourt from other tank lessor in Canada and the United-States.

“The main goal of the tank industry’s ability to evolve is to gain better payload. As products become more sophisticated and more complex to handle, anti-roll and air inflation technology are becoming standard rather than options”, explains Robert Pahanich. “Stainless steel, FRP, Propane or aluminium, whatever the tank trailers are designed to haul it is important for carriers to have a piece of equipment that will last 20 to 25 years while respecting existing regulations. There are more loading tools and gauges available. With an automated approach replacing manual driver checks we are moving towards digital readouts provided by monitoring systems, the job is becoming safer for drivers who can work on the ground. This type of fall protection is very important here in Canada where the laws regarding fall protection are clearly outlined and the US is not very far from making this a standard as well.”

Trailer Body Builders’ 2016 Trailer Output Report indicated that out of 282,680 trailers of all types built by the top 25 trailers manufacturers in North America in 2016, roughly 7,500 were tank trailers. This is a number that has been declining in recent years due to the dwindling drilling activity. But there seems to be a shift on the horizon. World Oil, a voice of the upstream oil industry, reports that late December, 2016 and early January 2017 numbers indicate the start of a possible resurgence in the oil patch. World Oil suggested there may be increases in 2017 drilling of as much as 30% in the U.S.A., 21% in Canada and 9% in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This is surely a good sign for many Transcourt customers and for the lessee.

“When we started out, we discovered that tanks, at the time, were high maintenance equipment. What we did was start out by helping our customers get better quality and lighter products.  Spring suspensions were the standard then. Very few tank trailers were air ride. We now use spring suspensions only on the rare occasions when air ride are not available. Air ride was a great leap forward and today we are adding lift systems to increase fuel efficiency and reduce drag on our trailers; great options for those who can only haul one way in dedicated services. States John Campbell; “Innovations did increase the price but at the same time they improved efficiency and reduced operating costs. We felt this was a “must have” and many customers agreed with us.”

“Whether we are talking of liquid or dry bulk, we always listen to what customers are looking for and try to get a grasp of what was done in the past. It is only when we get to know our customers and their true needs that we can propose solutions that will make it possible for them to handle additional volumes. Helping our customers enhance what they can offer their customers is our way of building our trust level. Fair market is everywhere, but trust has to be built in our efforts to establish long lasting relationships with our customers”, continues Pahanich.

Transcourt has made a name for itself over the years by developing relationships with customers where it works closely with the client to understand the needs and then build a trailer to meet these needs. “We were never the lowest cost option, but we provided our customers the best equipment in every application.  Our marketing starts by looking at special needs and then working with the customer to add various modifications. We look at the big picture and ask ourselves; can we make it affordable if we customise it?”  said Campbell. “We are not a dealer for any specific manufacturer. We deal with all of them in order to respect our customer’s preference.”

Transcourt always tries to offer a customer different potential solutions: one with a bare minimum, a second middle of the road one and a third more expensive one that yields the highest results. Campbell, Pahanich and all other members of the Transcourt team also have to deal with the various axle configurations that vary from Canada to the United-States, from one province to the other north of the border or from one state to the other south of the border.

As complex as Transcourt’s approach may seem (and offering the right solution at the right price is no simple matter), the company has greatly simplified the process. And last but not least, the lease documents themselves are probably the most understandable, simplified and flexible in the industry.

Source: https://www.todaystrucking.com/customization-and-flexibility-are-key-factors-in-the-tank-trailer-industry-0

The Human-Robocar war for jobs is finally on

Written by: Aarian Marshall

A DAIS STUFFED with well-fed lawmakers sure doesn’t look like a battlefield, but make no mistake: The long-awaited war between self-driving vehicles and the humans they would replace has begun. And the humans just won the first skirmish.

Thursday morning, the Senate released the first version of autonomous vehicle legislation meant to clarify who exactly is in charge of robocar regulations. (The bill, like its companion passed this summer in the House, would put most of the vehicle design oversight in the hands of the federal government.) It comes a few weeks after senators circulated a draft of the rules, and contains a significant difference from the older version: The Senate deleted the original mention of commercial motor vehicles like trucks and buses. Now big vehicles are exempt from the bill—meaning that rules for self-driving trucks are still unclear.

It’s a small but noteworthy loss for the burgeoning self-driving trucking industry and the innovators therein, like Uber, Tesla, and Amazon, which have all lobbied for clear national rules governing the autonomous big rigs they want to build, sell, or use. And it’s an early win for the labor unions, whose influence in Washington has taken a precipitous dive since the 1980s, and more specifically for the Teamsters, which represents almost 600,000 truck drivers nationally and had asked legislators to keep their commercial vehicles out of the discussion, at least for the time being.

“The issues facing autonomous commercial trucks are fundamentally different, and potentially more calamitous, than those facing passenger cars, and warrant their own careful consideration,” Teamsters rep Ken Hall told the Senate during a hearing on autonomous trucks earlier this month.

Self-driving trucks are an inevitability. Witness this big rig driver flip on robo-mode and clamber into the back seat during a demonstration last year. “It should be much quicker for commercial autonomous vehicles to be in the market as real products that are generating revenue and building real businesses,” says Stefan Steltz-Axmacher, the founder of truck tech company Starsky Robotics.

But the prospect of robot trucks raises questions. Are they safe? Are they cybersecure? And, critically, will they strip 3.4 million American truck drivers of a living wage? Trucking is the most popular occupation in at least 20 states, a rare job that pays decently (about $41,000 a year on average) without requiring a college diploma.

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/trucks-robocar-senate-war/

Fuel prices drop in UAE for November 2017

The Ministry of Energy has announced on Monday, October 30, new petrol prices for November in the UAE.

The per-litre prices have been fixed for Super 98 at Dh2.03 (down from Dh2.12 in October); Special 95 at Dh1.92 (from Dh2.01 last month); E Plus-91 at Dh1.85 (down from Dh1.94 in October).

Diesel price have been fixed at Dh2.11 per litre, a slight increase from Dh2.10 in October.

UAE fuel prices are linked to international crude oil prices.

Brent, the global benchmark, surged to above $60 a barrel for the first time in more than two years on October 28, amid enthusiasm that OPEC may extend its output deal.

UAE has cut up to 10 per cent of their oil exports in the last two months in accordance with the OPEC agreement, energy minister Suhail Al Mazroui said on September 25.

In December last year, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) struck a deal to reduce output by about 1.8 million barrels a day.

This was extended for another nine months in May to go on till March, 2018.

Source: http://gulfnews.com/guides/life/community/fuel-prices-drop-in-uae-for-november-2017-1.1661546

How Telsa’s self-driving truck scheme can dump human drivers

Written by: Alex Davies

 

ELON MUSK’S GRAND plan of moving beyond passenger cars to truly revolutionize transportation just got a bit grander. In addition to developing an electric 18-wheeler that Tesla plans to unveil next month, Musk wants to make the thing drive itself.

Tesla is working with Nevada authorities to begin testing a robo-rig prototype at some point in the not-too-distant future. “Our primary goal is the ability to operate our prototype test trucks in a continuous manner across the state line and within the States of Nevada and California in a platooning and/or Autonomous mode without having a person in the vehicle,” Tesla’s Nasser Zamani told officials with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, according to Reuters.

Assuming Tesla can figure out how to make battery tech work for long-haul trucking (no easy feat), adding autonomy to the equation makes perfect sense. Tesla joins a long list of enterprises working on autonomous long-haul trucking, including Uber, Google spinoff Waymo, Volvo, Daimler, the US Army, and a small horde of startups.

They all see a compelling case for human-free trucking: Big rigs carry 70 percent of all goods shipped across the US, but the industry doesn’t have nearly enough drivers. The American Trucking Associations says the industry needs another 50,000 drivers, and that figure could hit 175,000 by 2024 as more people retire or move on to other careers.

But—and there’s always a but when you’re dealing with leading-edge tech—the technology doesn’t really solve the driver shortage problem or truly pay for itself until you kick the human out of the cab entirely. And that is where Musk’s plan faces its biggest challenge.

Ditching the carbon-based life form altogether remains tricky, because although trucks spend most of their time on the interstate, they do venture into trickier terrain: surface streets, shipping ports, cargo terminals, and the like. And don’t forget the other tasks drivers tend to: hooking up trailers, checking tires, pumping fuel. Try to develop the technology to handle all that stuff, and autonomous trucks go from relatively easily to pretty damned hard.

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/tesla-self-driving-truck-musk/

Could this new app improve your health on the road?

LONDON, Ont. –Healthy Trucker announced today that the Healthy Fleet Challenge is returning on January 1. The new challenge will be based in their mobile app called Healthy Team, and integrates aspects from all of their previous challenges, including step tracking.

Andrea Morley, lead nutritionist and health coach at Healthy Trucker explained: “Going forward, we wanted to add more value to participants by creating a community for them to connect, learn, and share throughout their health journeys. We launched the Healthy Team app at the beginning of 2017, which was a great way to educate and motivate participants on healthy living, but until now it lacked the ability to track steps. We are proud to announce that the Healthy Fleet Challenge now includes step tracking as part of the app so that participants can track all aspects of their nutrition and physical activity.”

The app also includes daily educational posts from Andrea, which include recipes, videos, workouts, and more. Participants share their meals and workouts, and can cheer each other on, ask for advice, and monitor their progress all within the app.

Fleets create teams by signing up their company, which then allows any and all of their drivers and staff to download and use the app as they work towards their health and wellness goals. Participants are awarded points for their steps, meal & exercise posts, and more in order to climb the leaderboard individually and as a team.

The cost to the fleet? Free! Simply offer up a prize to give away to a team member at the end of the challenge. In the past, fleets have offered company merchandise, gift cards to healthy restaurants, new Fitbits, and/or a paid day off.

To sign up your company, e-mail info@healthyfleet.com with your logo and what prize your company will be giving away at the end of the challenge.

Source: TruckNews, https://www.trucknews.com/transportation/healthy-fleet-challenge-returns-jan-1/1003081428/

How analytics can save you money

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – “Do you wanna make more money?” That was how Brian Abel, freight network engineer with KSM Transport Advisors, introduced himself before a Surface Transportation Summit session on improving the profitability of your trucking business.

 

The key to achieving this, Abel contended, is by leveraging analytics. “Carriers for years have sought a metric that could best capture potential profitability,” he explained. His firm developed a concept called “yield,” which is essentially the margin per day of a fleet’s entire network. “As yield goes up, operating ratio goes down,” Abel explained. “The concept of yield creates a common language to allow carriers to analyze freight using proven mathematics.”

The metric measures the time and cost to deliver a load, beginning with the empty call following the previous delivery. Any unplanned time is considered delay, which gives the fleet insight into how long it actually takes to deliver a load compared to its expectations. It also considers geography and helps fleets to drill down on the most – and least – lucrative lanes, loads, and customers.

 

These analytics also allow fleets to better understand backhaul requirements, and whether they’re charging appropriately. Mike Buck, president, MCB Fleet Management Consulting, spoke to how improving maintenance practices can also improve a fleet’s profitability. A good fleet maintenance program needs rigorous inspection processes, he noted, so all technicians are following the same workflow.

 

Source: TruckNews; https://www.trucknews.com/business-management/analytics-maintenance-keys-trucking-profitability/1003081461/

How long before self-driving trucks are a reality?

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – The technology for modern-day society to look like an episode of The Jetsons is here, but the infrastructure to support that kind of life, isn’t. That was the consensus of the future of trucking panel at this year’s Surface Transportation Summit, who focused on technology at the October 11 event.

By far, the most exciting and “sexy” technology topic in the world of trucking today is self-driving vehicles. And though the industry has proven the ability for a truck to roll down the highway without human intervention is possible, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen in the near future, panelists agreed.

 

“The technology is there today to run autonomous vehicles,” Kudla said likening the technology to modern-day airlines. “I’ve used this analogy before…but 99% of an airplane flight is done by a computer. But the day a pilot isn’t in it, I’m not getting on that plane. Every one of the major OEMs has trucks running autonomously, but to have trucks on the road without drivers in them concerns me. And I don’t know if our governments or infrastructure will ever let that happen.”

Ritchie Huang, manager of engineering and safety in the compliance and regulatory affairs division at Daimler Trucks North America, agreed saying Daimler has similar views.

“From the Daimler perspective, we don’t see the driver being out of the picture for a very, very long time,” he said. “There is a need for the driver. You hear a lot of hype, and press about it, but we don’t believe that these self-driving trucks or driverless trucks will be here any time soon. The reason being there is not enough safety data out there.”

Source: TruckNews, https://www.trucknews.com/transportation/panel-discusses-future-trucking-technology/1003081465/