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NASSTRAC Names 2016 Carrier of the Year Award Winners

At their annual conference in April, NASSTRAC awarded their carriers of the year. We would like to congratulate our partner carriers for their awards in the following categories:

National LTL Carrier:   ABF Freight
Multi-Regional LTL Carrier:   Old Dominion Freight Lines
Regional Northeast LTL Carrier:   Pitt-Ohio Express
Regional Southeast LTL Carrier:   Averitt Express
Regional Midwest LTL Carrier:   Dayton Freight Lines
Regional West LTL Carrier:   Dependable Highway Express

VGM is Coming...Is Your Company Ready?
Posted by Gail Rutkowski, Executive Director NASSTRAC

The July 1, 2016 deadline to implement new international rules on shipping container weighing is rapidly approaching. Shippers, forwarders, 3PLs, terminal operators and ocean carriers are looking for guidance from the agency in charge of enforcement, the U. S. Coast Guard, on how they need to comply with the new rules.

The container weighing regulation was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as an amendment to the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS treaty). While the U.S. is one of the signers to the SOLAS treaty, the Coast Guard maintains that the international accord does not grant them the domestic authority to regulate shippers of domestic business entities in the U. S., or to regulate ships that are flagged by countries other than the United States. Further, the Coast guard does not intend to pursue any agency rulemakings that could expand its authority to regulate container weights.

The end result of the Coast Guards inaction will mean that the industry will likely be required to shoulder the burden of implementing the rules of the treaty. Many questions remain between industry stakeholders about serious issues under the container weighing rules such as:

Unlike the U.S. Coast Guard, other regulatory agencies worldwide have taken action. Japan has released draft guidelines for shippers and Transport Canada announced they would likely waive penalties for the first months as the industry adjusts to the new rule.

The basic principle of the new container weighing rules is that no shipping container can be loaded onto cargo ships for export without a VGM that has been supplied to the ocean carrier in time to be used in load planning. The weight may be determined in two ways:

  1. Verifying the mass of each item packed into the container, including packaging, verifying the weight of the container itself, and then adding the two weights together, or
  2. Verifying the mass of the loaded container as we whole.

Estimated weights will not be permitted, and the company who appears on the bill of lading must provide the weight of the packed container. These requirements will be specific to packed export containers that are to be loaded onto any ship in international maritime traffic, with limited exceptions. The rules will not apply to containers on chassis or trailers that are driven on a ro-ro ship for short international voyages, or to cargo items tendered by a shipper to the master for packing onto a container already onboard a ship.

Because of the potential risk of having containers go unloaded and due to the lack of clear guidance from the Coast Guard, it is important that shippers protect themselves by ensuring that they have access to facilities to weight their cargo and containers in a timely manner and that they communicate with their ocean carriers regarding how to best share VGM documentation.

The World Shipping Council published an Industry FAQ’s document in December 2015.
You can access it at

Make sure your company is prepared.

Carrier Re-Weigh Prevention and Effective Steps to Dispute Carrier Re-Weighs

As LTL Carrier technology has improved, there has been a growing trend of carriers re-weighing shipments, using fork lift scales. This technology has allowed carriers to re-weigh every shipment immediately. Because of this, many shippers are faced with higher than expected costs or facing a dispute with the carrier.

Here are some steps to help prevent re-weighs from occurring:

  1. Make sure the scale you are using to weigh your products is certified on a regular basis, ideally every quarter, but at the very least once a year.
  2. Weigh all products/packages that will be shipped and provide this information on the Bill of Lading, do not use an estimated weight on the Bill of Lading.
  3. Weigh the skid that will be used on the shipment, and include this weight on the Bill of Lading with the accurate product/package weight.

Even with these precautions, shippers may find a situation where their freight is re-weighed and need to dispute the additional weight. Here are some steps to help effectively dispute re-weighs:

  1. Provide Spec Sheet/Product Information documentation of all products shipped, along with a copy of the Bill of Lading and Packing Slip. You may also want to include a copy of the most recent scale certification and photos of the shipment prior to shipping (if available).
  2. Have the local sales rep and terminal manager visit your facility, re-build the shipment, and weigh it. You may also have the local terminal weigh the re-built skid to compare.

Marking Its Second Year, Trucking Moves America Forward Demonstrates Successes in Its Mission to Shift Industry Image

Louisville, Ky. – March 31, 2016 – Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF), the industrywide image and education movement, is making significant strides in its mission to change the perception of the trucking industry. TMAF announced its achievements from the past year during a press conference at the 2016 Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS), the same venue where the organization publicly launched in March of 2014.

Leading off the press conference in Louisville, co-chairman of TMAF, president of Jet Express, Inc., and first vice chairman of American Trucking Associations Kevin Burch, cited several successes achieved by a wide range of education and communications efforts, particularly seeing 100 TMAF-wrapped trailers on the road.

“After a successful first year, we knew there was still much that needed to be done to work toward changing perceptions and building a more positive image of the trucking industry, and I’m happy to say we’ve exceeded expectations to date,” said Burch. “I want to sincerely thank all of our members and supporters for helping us come this far since launching TMAF here at MATS two years ago.

“I’m especially proud to announce today that we now have achieved our goal of putting more than 100 TMAF-branded trailer wraps on the road,” said Burch. “These ‘moving billboards,’ each seen by as many as 16 million people per city, are sending a message every day that our industry is more than just large vehicles on the highways; we’re moving America forward by transporting the products and freight that make life possible, serving as an essential provider to our communities and adding value to our economy.”

Leaders of TMAF and professional drivers presented an overview of the movement’s other major accomplishments through its consistent and dedicated marketing, education and recruiting efforts throughout 2015. To date, TMAF is pleased to announce the following achievements:

Todd Spencer, executive vice president and board member of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), spoke on behalf of industry owner-operators.

“There is a lot that we can celebrate today – and I’m especially encouraged by the way in which TMAF has supported the rights of drivers while connecting our entire industry,” said Spencer. “I look forward to seeing TMAF continue to expand, because whether you’re an owner, driver, supplier, or other industry professional, the movement helps shine a positive light on one’s career and contributions.”

Professional truck driver Don Logan with FedEx Freight and an America’s Road Team Captain, also spoke about the important role TMAF has played in improving the image of truck drivers across our nation’s roads and highways.

“Millions of people contribute to the story of the trucking industry and, as drivers, we recognize that we are the face of the industry,” said Logan. “We take that responsibility seriously, and that’s why we’ve seized the opportunity – with the help of TMAF’s many resources – to show how safety on the road, respect for fellow drivers, and commitment to our communities are central to our professional roles.”

Also at MATS, TMAF will encourage industry professionals to join the movement by signing the TMAF Ambassador’s Pledge. Those who take the pledge, at one of the participating show booths – American Trucking Associations, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Pilot Flying J, Kentucky Trucking Association, Tennessee Trucking Association and American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) – will be entered into a raffle to win an iPad mini or TMAF-branded merchandise. The drawing will take place on Friday, April 1 at 5 p.m. in front of the trailer featuring a TMAF wrap, in the North Pavilion area.

TMAF continues to expand its presence online via, offering the industry valuable resources. The site’s member resources section provides downloadable videos, advertisements, speeches, editorials, press releases, fact sheets and more for those who sign up. These materials can also be obtained by contacting

The site also now includes the TMAF e-store,, where hats, polo shirts, t-shirts, tumblers, and other TMAF-branded items such as backdoor decals are available for purchase to demonstrate one’s pride in trucking.

Throughout 2016, TMAF’s goals will be to continue to activate and engage the industry through education sessions, speeches, marketing and public relations strategies; support local and state advocacy efforts focused on improving highway infrastructure and the operational environment; develop strategies for the public message by aligning with research measurements; continue to build pride within the trucking industry to make trucking an attractive career option; and encourage fundraising at all levels of contributions, big and small.

There is also a goal to see an additional 200 trailer wraps on the road. Said Burch: “There is much more work to do, and we need your support. Every donation counts. Every Facebook Like counts. Every trailer wrap on the road counts. Every positive news story counts. Every in-kind donation or service counts. It’s a movement that cannot happen without you.”

Georgia Logistics April 2016 Market Snapshot

Click here to view the pdf version of the Market Snapshot.

YRC Introduces New Faster Shipping Service – “Accelerated” Service

Shippers looking for a faster standard shipping option can now rely on the new "Accelerated" service from YRC Freight. Shipments delivered through the new Accelerated service reach their destinations one to two days faster than standard transit times and are made possible through a dual speed network at the company.

The Accelerated service is the direct result of customer feedback and rounds out what is already one of the most comprehensive and diverse service offerings in the industry.

"It is important that our customers always know we have the technology, the services and the people to fulfill their needs," said Darren Hawkins, president of YRC Freight. "I'm excited to announce our new Accelerated service which provides a faster standard shipping option for their shipments. This new service addition, combined with our already comprehensive portfolio of services and coverage, creates the opportunity for customers to use YRC Freight in every aspect of their supply chain."

Accelerated shipments move through YRC Freight's faster network, increasing customers' speed to market. It's available throughout the continental United States and as a cross-border service between United States, Canada and Mexico. To further speed up delivery, Accelerated shipments continue to move over the weekend without delay.

YRC Freight's new Accelerated service fits between the company's "Standard" service and "Time-Critical" premium service. It's a smart option for customers who need non-guaranteed shipments to reach their destinations faster.

Fuel Flash - May 2016 by Sokolis Group

During April, crude oil prices continued increasing for the second month in a row and closed the month at approximately $46/barrel. April was an active month with a number of factors that influenced pricing. Most notable was the meeing in Doha, Qatar during mid-April where many oil producing nations gathered in an attempt to rein in supply production. No agreement came out of that meeting and prices responded with a quick decline.

The price decline following the failed Doha meeting did not last long as traders found an assortment of encouraging reasons to support prices above $40/barrel. A prominent, but short-lived, factor was an oil workers' strike in Kuwait that threatened production. That strike was quickly settled. In addition, several refinery and pipeline incidents also caused concerns about supply disruptions. Other factors included flattening inventory levels for crude and refined products, sporadic signs of improvement in worldwide demand and a weakening dollar which typically drives up the price of oil.

As oil prices continued to increase, wholesale and retail prices followed. The graph below shows the movement of crude oil (converted to gallons) along with wholesale ("rack") and retail diesel fuel prices over the railing 15 months:

As this graph shows, retail prices increased slightly faster than wholesale prices in April. Retailer's quicker advance allowed margins to increase slightly higher. However, those margins still remain at a relatively low level compared to the preceding year as shown in the following graph:

Due to the market changes in April, almost all fleets would have seen a modest increase in their fuel costs. Looking beyond April, Sokolis Group anticipates prices will continue to fluctuate near their current levels. There is still some potential for a decline followed by a gradual increase over the next few months. However, any significant increases remain dependent on a major shift in global supply and demand factors.

While there were some preliminary indications in April that demand may start catching up with supply, it is still too soon to anticipate any rapid increase in prices. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that a large amount of domestic production capacity was taken off-line over the past year. If prices increase further, this capacity can be quickly redeployed which would dampen the potential for rapid price increases.

If you're concerned about the impact of future fuel price changes for your fleet and want to know if you're receiving the best fuel prices available, contact Conor Proud at Sokolis Group, or 267-482-6159. We are the nation's leading independnt fuel management consulting team and can help you make sure that your fuel management program is running at peak efficiency.

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