Welcome to the Zion Transport Blog!

In this space we will introduce various topics in our industry that relate to you, our customer. We want to you to be well-informed and aware of how these changes affect you and how we can help you navigate these changes.

Fighting Perceptions with Facts

Written by Peter Friberg.

Kudos to our colleagues at Martin Transportation Services. Our industry is an incredibly safe industry. But despite that statistical truth the perception is that we are dangerous. The best way to fight perceptions is with facts.

In this article by Sean Kilcarr, we get to see some of the benefits that MTS has realized by installing in & outward-facing cameras in all their vehicles. Jeff Wood, MTS’ director of safety, tells a story about how one driver was involved in a collision where it was clearly the other party’s fault yet the at-fault automobile driver blamed the truck driver. The cameras provided video evidence to exonerate the MTS driver.

Another One Bites the Dust; an Industry Rant

Written by Peter Friberg.

The recent VW diesel emissions-cheating scandal is an interesting metaphor for our industry. Depending on your political views and/or your views on the automobile industry, the environment, corporate greed, leadership, etc. you may have been outraged or maybe you thought the media was making a mountain out of a molehill. Your opinion was largely dependent upon what “camp” you belonged to. If you liked cars and thought environmental laws have gone overboard recently, maybe you didn’t care much. If you were an environmental activist, then the scandal was evidence that companies simply cannot be trusted.

Daimler Truck Leading Us to Autonomy?

Written by Peter Friberg.

Daimler Trucks announced an ambitious plan recently to greatly increase vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity and cooperative autonomy. Jeff Crissey of CCJ shares many of their impressive goals in an article posted earlier this week.

Daimler’s leadership towards increased truck autonomy is reminiscent of their automobile company’s leadership in safety 25-30 years ago…at that time air bags, as safety devices, were being introduced but with much hang-wringing and controversy. The airbags were inflated using what amounted to a bullet cartridge facing the driver. The accident would “trigger” the cartridge and ignite the gunpowder. But instead of firing a bullet, the gunpowder’s explosion would inflate the air bag prior to the driver’s face hitting the steering wheel.

This led to much debate as to whether air bags were safe or actually counter-productive and thereby further endangering the driver. Mercedes Benz ignored the hand-wringing and installed air bags in all their cars. The debate subsided and airbag safety devices are now mandated in all cars.

I wonder now if Daimler Truck’s leadership will be the same sort of pivotal movement in autonomous truck technology.

Have a great Resurrection Sunday weekend.

Thanks for reading and be safe out there.

Emissions Goals and Efficiency Standards

Written by Peter Friberg.

Jason Cannon of CCJ has a fantastic article posted today about the EPA’s next phase of regulations. He does an amazing job of highlighting some new technology, some challenges engineers face after getting a few easy wins, etc. There is a ton of great info in this article.

One of the things he highlighted was that the EPA, “…doesn’t mandate a specific new engine technology, and engine OEMs are free to take a variety of paths and methods to meet the efficiency gain goal…”

FMCSA to Allow Mexican Inspections; What's Next?

Written by Peter Friberg.

The FMCSA just announced that they are accepting Mexican inspection standards. The Mexican standards have been recently published by their Secretary of Communication and Transportation (Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes) and are reportedly sufficiently close to our own so that FMCSA felt comfortable allowing Mexican annual inspections for trucks that are stationed there.

I cannot help but wonder if this will begin a new trend of Mexican trucks coming across the border not for border-crossing freight, but for strictly domestic (domestic U.S.) freight business. And/or if the big boys in the freight world will start hiring and paying Mexican workers (truck drivers) while paying substandard wages (based on American norms). Is this a creeping policy? Does this portend things to come? Or is this just an acknowledgement of what is already a level playing field by corresponding workers of the same industry but from different countries? Keep in mind, NAFTA already guarantees access.

Thanks for reading.  

Electric Trucks; Game-changing Technology?

Written by Peter Friberg.

In 1996 General Motors made the GM EV1 available for sale (or at least for lease). It was one of, if not the first, fully electric vehicle on the market. Initially, it had a range of 40 miles. And the auto-buying public wondered, “What’s the point?”

Are You Ready for the New Food Safety Rules?

Written by Peter Friberg.

Sean Kilcarr has a great article over at FleetOwner.com discussing the upcoming new rules regarding food shipments and/or “reefer” trailer regulations.

These new regulations are set to go into effect on March 31 of this year. They will be enforceable 12 months later. Kilcarr quotes Don Drum, Director of Strategic Customer Solutions for PLM Trailer Leasing,

“But what [the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)] does is involve the FDA [the U.S. Food and Drug Administration] in the food supply chain as an enforcement agency. So why you need to pay attention to this [FSMA] is due to two words: criminal prosecution.”

Do you ship or receive perishable items? If so, you need to work with a carrier/broker who is on top of the new food safety laws who can help protect you; who will partner with you.

Thanks for reading.

Treat the Drivers Well?

Written by Peter Friberg.

At Zion Transport, we are amazed and baffled by how some of our competitors treat drivers (either their own drivers or how brokers treat drivers who contract with them). Our owner started out in logistics as a freight broker. And she saw how many companies treated drivers; nickel and diming them, belittling, etc. Additionally, she had family members who were truck drivers. She knew she could do better. She knew the drivers deserved better.

Target, Garbage Disposals, & Your Supply Chain

Written by Peter Friberg.

Target recently announced that their supply chain was part of their sales problem in 2015. And they announced that were spending $2-2.5billion to ramp up supply chain efficiencies. Now maybe your company isn’t as big as Target. I get it. But I’ve hammered on this before and I’ll do it again, when shippers try to route each shipment through a difference carrier or a different broker to pinch pennies they are creating complexity that is not good for business.

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