Does Your Freight Require a Pilot Car Escort?

pilot car escort, pilot car, escort carDepending on the nature of your freight, your machine transport might require one or more pilot cars. When does a carrier require such escort services? We’ll explain the ins and outs of pilot cars and their general purpose.

What Is a Pilot Car?

The term “pilot car” refers to an escort car that accompanies an LTL truck or other carrier. A pilot car is usually a pickup, SUV, or van that accompanies the truck, either in front of it or behind it; sometimes an escort vehicle is necessary in both positions. People who operate pilot cars are trained professionals who do this type of work for a living. Escort car drivers are also in constant communication with the carrier driver during the journey.

The Role of Pilot Cars

Pilot cars may drive ahead and warn the carrier of potential street closures, accidents, or obstructions up ahead.

The pilot car’s job is also to alert surrounding motorists that the carrier is carrying extremely heavy or wide loads. Pilot vehicles may have signs at the rear warning drivers to maintain a safe distance. Continue Reading →

LTL Consolidation for Cost-Saving Efficiency

machine transportAre you maximizing efficiency with each outbound shipment? If not, your company is spending more money than necessary on machine transport. LTL consolidation is a way of improving efficiency by maximizing the available space on your LTL or flatbed trailer.

LTL Consolidation Explained

LTL consolidation is a set of established warehouse shipment practices that maximize shipping output. The goal is to save on overhead costs by reducing the total number of outbound shipments and reducing transit times.

LTL consolidation eliminates partial shipments. Partials arise when you have to send out freight via two or more separate shipments.

If a separate freight shipment has the same destination, does sufficient space exist on the trailer or truck bed for additional pallets? How can you arrange the space to accommodate extra smaller freight? Continue Reading →

Key Points for Wide Load Transportation

wide loadDoes your machine transportation constitute a wide load? While specifications may differ state-to-state, a wide load is generally any shipment requiring a trailer greater than 2.59 meters wide. Here are some key points to consider when dealing with a wide load, also known as an oversized load.

Know the Legal Limits

The legal load limit for each trailer type is fairly consistent state-to-state. Freight generally cannot exceed a width of 8.5-feet. Maximum length is 48 to 53-feet depending on the state. Always check your state regulations AND the regulation of any states included in the travel route.

Determine the Weight Limit

Maximum weight is usually 46,000-pounds. However, freight may still exceed the limit even if it’s below that weight. Weight restriction also applies on a per axle basis. You may have to adjust the load to redistribute weight and eliminate the need for a special permit. Continue Reading →

Pallets Vs Skids: What’s the Difference?

Pallets Vs Skids │ Machine TransportPeople often treat the terms “pallet” and “skid” interchangeably. The two differ in a significant way. We’ll explain the difference between pallets and skids and their respective applications. Knowing the difference will enable you to optimize efficiency when transporting machinery.

What Is a Pallet?

Pallets have a deck at the bottom, making them more stable than a skid. The standard wooden pallet has a weight capacity of about 2,200 pounds. The addition of a bottom deck makes pallets the better choice for heavier machine tools, such as sawmills, planers, and grinding machines.

The bottom deck, though, also creates more friction, which makes the pallet harder to drag. This can be problematic as you move pallets around tight spaces in an LTL truck already near its storage capacity. Transportation may require a forklift.

What Is a Skid?

A skid is essentially a pallet minus the bottom wood deck. For this reason, some people refer to a skid as a poor man’s pallet. While less stable than a pallet, a skid provides more mobility. You can also easily stack and store skids not in use. Many warehouses use skids as a permanent foundation for heavy machinery. Continue Reading →

Zone-Based Pricing: How It Works

zone-based pricing, zone-based shipping rateContrary to mainstream belief, carriers and linehaul shippers don’t just charge according to freight weight, freight size, and travel distance. Several LTL shippers, in particular, are transitioning to a zone-based pricing model. We’ll explain how this affects the going rates.

How Zone-Based Pricing Works

Yes, all the aforementioned factors—freight weight, size, and travel distance—are part of the pricing formula. Zone-based pricing, though, may be the little-known fourth factor depending on the travel route. Basically, if the carrier has to travel through challenging terrain or to remote locations, then the shipment may incur additional fees.

Essentially, North America (including Mexico and Canada) is divided into zones. The industry rates each zone according to terrain complexity. Is the terrain flat, mountainous, hilly, icy, etc.? If the journey requires difficult navigation, this will factor into the fee. Continue Reading →

How to Organize a Laydown Yard

laydown yard safetyDoes your work area include a laydown yard? You probably have one but just don’t call it by that name.  A laydown yard is simply an outdoor space within a warehouse site where you store material and equipment. As you can imagine, such areas can be hazardous, hence the importance of organization.

Common Hazards in a Laydown Yard

Slip and trip hazards are commonplace if you fail to organize the area. Staffers tend to have a habit of throwing items around which creates fall and trip hazards. The area may also have struck-by hazards due to navigating equipment and machinery through tight spaces. Finally, laydown yards may have biological hazards in the form of pests, including insects, snakes, raccoons, etc. You should address any infestations—such as a hornet’s nest or an opossum brood—in a timely way.

Organization Is Key

First, consider the location of the laydown yard. Be sure you have ample space between the yard and the staging area for the trailer when rigging equipment. The yard and staging areas for machine transportation should be completely separate. Continue Reading →

Synthetic Sling Accidents on the Rise, According to Poll

synthetic sling accidents, rigging accidentsRigging accidents pose a serious risk and can lead to severe injuries or even death. Specifically, rigging accidents most often occur while crew members are working with a sling. Synthetic sling accidents are especially common in the heavy machine transport industry.

What the Polls Show

In a poll from Industrial Training International, respondents indicated that synthetic sling mishaps are especially prevalent. The compiled data showed that 81% of rigging accidents occur while working with a synthetic sling. That’s far more than the combined instances of accidents involving web slings, chains, and round slings.

The majority of the accidents resulted in cuts and abrasions. Most respondents also indicated that proper sling protection during a lift could have prevented the accident.

Are Synthetic Slings Inherently More Dangerous?

Crew members loading machinery on a trailer do not need to fear when working with synthetic slings. Injury risks are not inherently higher or lower with their use. The higher injury rate is due to lack of competency, knowledge, and experience. If you’re holding a sling on your right hand, for example, you should have sling protection in your left hand. Continue Reading →

Lift Director Duties During Crane Operation

Truck transport container on the road to the port.

Safety is paramount, which is why a heavy machine operator needs a second set of eyes. This applies whether operating a crane, forklift, or any machinery that can cause serious bodily injury. This is where the a lift director’s duties enter the equation when prepping equipment for LTL or dedicated truck transportation.

Lift Director’s Role

A lift director is on hand not only as a vital component of crew safety but also as an OSHA requirement. OSHA outlines this exact mandate under provision 1926.1432, which covers standard operating procedures for cranes and derrick lifts.

The provision states that a qualified lift director must be present during the use of a crane. The assigned director must be identified beforehand and be a direct member of the construction or transport operation.

All safety liabilities lie on the lift director, who shares greater responsibilities than the supervisor. However, the supervisor may also assume the role of the lift director. Continue Reading →

Carriers Now Required to Comply with Electronic Logging Device Mandate

electronic logging device, ELDLawmakers established a new mandate that went into effect December 18, 2017. The new federal law requires machine transport carriers to fit their trucks with electronic logging devices (ELD). Freight companies, whether operating as an LTL or truckload linehaul service, must abide by this new mandate.

What Is an Electronic Logging Device?

Federal law requires an ELD on each carrier truck. The device syncs with the truck’s engine and records the total time and distance traveled. Many freight companies have embraced the new ELD rules, though several feel the implementation is bad for business.

ELDs make it more difficult for drivers to falsify their records. Some carriers pay their employees by the mile. Drivers for these carriers record their total driving hours and mileage on paper logs. ELDs eliminate this age-old practice, which is prone to fraud, especially when drivers are on the road beyond the 14-hour limit. Continue Reading →

Freight Insurance Vs. Freight Liability: What’s the Difference?

freight insuranceWhen you ship out freight, you would be wise to insure the cargo in the event it incurs damage in transit. You ask: “Don’t carriers cover you automatically?” Well, yes and no. We’ll discuss freight insurance and freight liability and how they differ.

Freight Insurance and Freight Liability Explained

Insurance and liability coverage are similar but not exactly the same. Federal law requires all truck transports to have basic liability coverage. Depending on your freight and personal assessment, this may or may not be adequate.

Basic liability coverage differs from carrier to carrier. It covers a specific amount of damage, usually calculated by a dollar amount for every pound of freight. The maximum coverage amount may be less than the monetary worth of the freight. Continue Reading →