Tag Archive for trucking

Finding the Right Fleet GPS for a Livable City

Port Metro Vancouver
Images courtesy of Port Metro Vancouver

Vancouver has always prided itself as a livable city. Year after year, Vancouver tops the list as “world’s most livable city”. One unintended result—stemming from its freeway wars of the 1960s and 70s that put a finish to highway construction—was that the city’s residential streets would find themselves hosting long queues of Port container and long-haul truck traffic.

While Port Metro Vancouver does not operate container trucking companies or container trucks of its own, with 149 privately-owned trucking companies sending over 2,000 trucks to the Port, it has found itself at the diplomatic center of a delicate balance between trucking and city politics.

Last year after Port Metro Vancouver closed its receiving entrance on Clark Drive (a designated truck route), residents quickly noticed a huge increase in container truck traffic on Nanaimo Street (a primarily residential street). With complaints flooding in from constituents, City Hall put pressure on Port Metro Vancouver to do something to reduce this congestion.

In a special pilot program, Port Metro Vancouver equipped 300 container trucks with GPS tracking devices to send information to Port authorities about what routes Port-bound trucks were using. In a recent interview with The Vancouver Sun, Port Metro Vancouver CEO Robin Silvester described the pilot program  as having “already brought results”.

As with CP Rail (another customer of the Port), it vastly improved turnaround time at the Port. “It’s really looking at having a minimal number of trucks in the Lower Mainland,” Sylvester said, adding the Port hopes to reduce the number of trucks leaving without cargo by 30 to 40 per cent. “That would be fantastic. We’re building the tools to move toward that goal.” Based on the improvements in efficiency, the Port is looking to outfit all licensed trucks to its facilities with a GPS solution soon. The program is voluntary and free to licensed trucks serving the Port facilities.

Port Metro VancouverWhile the City of Vancouver is always keen to retain its “most livable city” designation, it also has big incentives to see trucks and commercial vehicles move efficiently.  With over $200-million worth of cargo moving through the port each day, the City must balance the needs of trucks and commercial vehicles positively with the overall health of the city.

The City enforces truck route regulations based on public complaints and safety inspections, but now Port Metro Vancouver can be pro-active. “The GPS (units) will create a system where we’re more pro-active rather than waiting until a community raises a concern”, Silvester said.

Ten-Top Trucking Topics of 2012

Since the release of last year’s Annual Trucking Industry Survey (in early October 2011) researched by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the average price of a gallon of diesel has climbed 33.7 cents to $4.086. Yet fuel prices rank only fifth on ATRI’s ranking and even the economy lagged behind two critical issues for 2012. The two biggest issues for this past year both revolve around regulatory compliance: CSA and HOS.

Some accounting for the ranking pre-ambled the results. For example, the high elevation of HOS was thought to result from “a final rule on federal Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations…issued at the close of 2011 and the degree to which the changes will impact the industry has yet to be fully understood.” Similarly, CSA’s rise to first place is thought to be the result of “uncertainty and dissatisfaction with the impacts of CSA” throughout the industry.

The ATRI survey is distributed to a large sample of more than 4,000 trucking industry stakeholders from both the U.S. and Canada (including motor carriers, commercial drivers and other industry stakeholders) to measure the importance of each issue. As with previous surveys, respondents are asked to rank a list of ten issues. This year, a record 943 respondents completed the survey.

2012 Results

2012-Trucking-Critical-Issues

What this means for you

As with our assessment of the 2011 ATRI survey, many of the issues most concerning to trucking fleets are in the domain of solutions Webtech Wireless provides:

#1 CSA – Two years after first debuting on the top-ten list, CSA has reached the number one position for the first time. Our customers report how their Webtech Wireless solution helps them meet CSA regulatory compliance in three key areas: unsafe driving, fatigued driving, and vehicle maintenance.

#2 HOS – Our Quadrant solution specifically targets both the US Department of Transportation and Transport Canada’s Hours of Service regulations. Quadrant’s Driver Log feature provides instant access to driver information enabling transportation companies to meet regulatory requirements, maximize driver efficiency, and eliminate manual errors.

#5 Fuel Prices – Our customers tell us how their Webtech Wireless solution significantly improved their fuel economy through reduced idling, decreased speeding, and route optimization.

#6 EOBR – By automating log books, telematics and EOBR solutions ensure drivers aren’t out of hours at the wheel. The evidence from our customers is overwhelming: their managers sleep soundly at night. With the increase in no-cell-phone laws, our customers are also happy that their EOBR solution eliminates the need for cell phones. This ensures drivers are neither fatigued nor distracted at the wheel.

#7 Driver Retention – A telematics solution levels the playing field for all drivers. Rather than bad drivers getting away with things they shouldn’t, all drivers are held equally accountable. Good drivers are more likely to stay and an in cab communications and EOBR device attracts young drivers, while reducing the number of times vehicles are stopped for inspections. That makes both drivers and management happy.

The complete results were released at the 2012 Management Conference and Exhibition of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) meeting in Las Vegas, NV, the nation’s largest gathering of motor carrier executives, which David Greer attended and shared in last week’s blog post.

“ATRI’s primary mission is to conduct transportation research with an emphasis on the trucking industry’s essential role in a safe, efficient, and viable transportation system.”
atri-online.org

Going Down the Road with Terry Fox

Webtech Wireless Remembers Terry FoxIn 1912, when Thomas Wilby set out from Halifax, Nova Scotia in his four-cylinder REO Special bound for Canada’s distant west coast, he knew his arrival in Victoria, British Columbia would mark the first time anyone successfully crossed Canada by automobile. It took two months. Last week, across Canada (and around the world), runners laced up and prepared to pay respect for another great Canadian, Terry Fox. Webtech Wireless employees also took part in the Terry Fox Run, a run that in some ways also commemorates transportation in Canada. This is the story of a Canadian hero and legend who joined a nation in his Marathon of Hope—to find a cure cancer.

Owing to its geographical size (second only to Russia), Canada has historically been challenged to provide a high level of communications to a relatively small population spread across a vast land. This is the reason highways were so important to Canada’s emergence as a leader in the post-war period.  Like the Federal-Aid Highway Act in the United States, Canada’s Trans-Canada Highway Act paved the way to build the transportation infrastructure needed to move the bounty of natural resources to waiting ports and to move people—including new immigrants—around a continent untouched by war.

But unlike the United States, Canada has always been a one-highway nation and that highway is the Trans-Canada Highway stretching 7,821 kilometres (4,859 miles) from St. John’s, Newfoundland in the east to Victoria, British Columbia in the west. It is this highway that 22-year-old Terry Fox set out to conquer and set the stage for conquering cancer too. In 1980 with little initial fanfare, he aimed west with his skip-hop-run that would later became his signature (he’d already lost his right leg to cancer) he began his long journey. Sometimes, it’s said that his journey was cut short by a return of the cancer that eventually killed him, but when he was forced to stop near Thunder Bay, Ontario, he had completed 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles) of his journey. That’s almost two Tour de Frances or 1½ times across Australia.

Webtech-Wireless-Teams Terry Fox run 2012

With a total of 17 runners, the two Canadian Webtech Wireless offices (Webtrekkers) ran in Toronto’s High Park and Vancouver’s Stanley Park to raise a total $5,496.62 for the Terry Fox Foundation. Congratulations to all.