ELD Poll: What’s Your Biggest Pain Point with the Mandated Device?
ELDs are still a hot topic. That probably isn’t going to change anytime soon. The mandated transformation from paper logs to electronic logging devices has arrived with much controversy, inefficiencies, bumpy roads, and implementation snags. Overdrive Magazine has boldly created a poll that asks truckers and trucking companies to pinpoint their biggest pains with ELDs. Is it repeated breaks in wireless connection between handheld device and ECM plugin? Or are you experiencing long delays in ELD vendor customer service for any major malfunctions? And, yes this is a valid question, are you still using paper logs? Check out our latest ELD blog post, which shows you how to prepare for the ELD enforcement coming full force April 1, 2018. That’s when you can get an out-of-service violation for not having an ELD.
Trucking Company Profits are Soaring with More Climbing to Come
Well, it’s official, trucking companies’ profits are climbing, and the projection is they are about to scale even farther up. Look at these numbers from American Trucker: Freight trucking companies expanded sales in 2017 on average 14.9% with profit margins expanding 6%. That’s the industry’s strongest sales growth since 2014. And guess what? 2018 is predicted to be even better. David Roush, President of KSM Transport Advisors, says that you would have to be a “very bad operator” to lose money in 2018. That’s a super certain statement of confidence right there. And because most US trucking companies are small with less than 20 employees, they can quickly meet market needs. So, truck on!
Shell’s Talked-About Starship Project is a Wow Truck
Yowsa! Are you ready to see Shell’s much-talked-about Starship Project truck? The Class 8 truck, which was built with the help of AirFlow Truck Co., was on display recently in the exhibit hall at the Technology & Maintenance Council’s annual meeting. What’s so spectacular about the Starship Project, besides the fact that it looks amazingly spacey and cool? Shell says it uses currently available technologies to minimize the amount of energy required to transport freight. Fleetowner.com has a couple of wow photos in an article that offers great details about the new, sleek trucking machine.
The grass is starting to turn green and flowers are blooming here at Apex. Spring has almost sprung. Winter has come and gone along with the December electronic logging device (ELD) mandate deadline. Yes, we’re talking about ELDs. We’ll be the first ones to admit, we’re guilty of contributing to an overwhelming amount of ELD conversations. Last year we talked a lot about ELDs. Five blogs worth in fact. In those blogs we even took the Nike slogan and told you to “Just Do It,” meaning just get compliant. But as spring approaches so does another important ELD deadline. We’re encouraging any trucking company still waiting to implement their ELD solution to do so within the next month.
Strict ELD Enforcement is Coming
To create an easy transition from paper to electronic logs, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) created a “soft enforcement” period between December and March 30, 2018. This period precedes April violations that will be issued to trucking companies without an ELD. During the “soft enforcement,” not having an ELD won’t impact CSA scores or result in being placed out-of-service (OOS). Unfortunately, that grace period is ending soon. Come April 1st, the consequences of not having an ELD will change.
Violations that Could Lead to Being Placed Out-of-Service
Using an ELD that can’t produce or transfer data electronically from the device to an authorized law enforcement officer or agent. This also applies if your ELD device is unable to print out the required data. (The same regulations apply to AOBRDs.)
Drivers falsely representing themselves as belonging to a special driving category where an ELD is not required.
Tips to Avoid Violations and OOS
It might seem like the answer to avoiding an ELD violation is obvious. But there is more that should go into purchasing an ELD solution than just buying the first ELD you find and putting it in the truck.
Research –It’s very important to verify that your ELD is on the FMCSA self-certified list. It’s just as important to make sure that the ELD is capable of transferring data electronically or to a printer. Doing your research is crucial to prevent violations because of a faulty product. Read customer reviews, compare models and functionality, check for a warranty program, and make sure the ELD provider has good customer service before a problem arises.
We believe in the motto, “it’s better to be safe than sorry,” especially when it pertains being placed out-of-service.
Keep Records– While most trucking companies do need to comply with the ELD mandate, there are exemptions. If your trucking company falls within the exemption criteria, keep a copy of the exemption in the truck at all times. Show the copy of the documentation to the law enforcement officer or agent.
Know your CSA Score– According to Overdrive, there are some states that have already begun issuing the CSA-impacting violations. It’s important to know your CSA score and to check it regularly. If you were issued a 395.8(a) violation for not having an ELD before April 1, you can challenge it through the FMCSA DataQs process. For more information on how to keep your CSA score low check out our tips.
As with most things in life, the best practice for avoiding violations and preventing being placed out-of-service is to be prepared. We tested ELDs for over 12 months last year and chose KeepTruckin as our partner to offer our clients a discounted ELD solution. We realize that KeepTruckin might not be the right ELD choice for every trucking company. We encourage you to avoid the stress, find your best ELD solution, and get compliant.
Are you waiting to get an ELD because of cash flow issues? We have the solution! Not only do we offer clients of Apex a discounted ELD solution, we also get you cash for your invoices fast! Those are just two small pieces of our full-service freight factoring advantages. Call us at 855-369-2739 or get started here.
Source: Transport Topics Norquist has chimed in as an opponent of increasing fuel taxes.
Should There be a Fuel Tax Increase to Pay for Infrastructure?
To raise the fuel tax or to not raise the fuel tax? That is the question. We’d even say it’s been the biggest question on most of the trucking industries mind since President Trump released his infrastructure proposal earlier this month. Quinnipiac University asked if the public thought that a fuel tax increase is a good idea in a poll and shared the results. A slight majority are in favor of increasing fuel taxes, but the official numbers are 46% in favor while 44% opposed. Not a win by a landslide by any means. See what industry big-wigs are saying about their stance on a fuel tax increase over at Transport Topics. See what others are talking about in regard to fuel taxes from FleetOwner and Heavy Duty Trucking.
Dock411 can Help You Find Your Dock
We look at your freight bills and see the differences between what is on the rate sheet and the bill of lading for your delivery destination. The difference is where the dock is located. Frustratingly the docks are sometimes nowhere near where the delivery location noted on the rate sheet, some they are even in different cities! Why isn’t there an easy way to get the dock address and information you need? Well, now there is. Dock411 is a free app that easily tells you where the dock is. Overdrive has the 411 on Dock411.
Industry Pushes for an HOS Reform
A little over two weeks ago the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) petitioned for a change to the current hours-of-service regulations (HOS) for truck drivers. The current HOS regulation allows drivers to operate for up to 11 hours during their consecutive 14-hour on duty period. For every 8 hours that is driven without a break, the driver is required to take at least one 30-minute break off-duty or in the sleeper berth. After the consecutive 14-hours on duty, they are required to take a 10-hour break before they drive again. OOIDA proposes that drivers take at least one rest break that can be as long as three hours off-duty during their 14-hour duty period, keeping the 10-hour off duty rest break, and eliminating the required 30-minute rest breaks.
It’s no secret that many are unhappy with the HOS rules currently in place. The rigid HOS regulations are more strictly enforced now with the use of electronic logs. Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) provide little to no flexibility for truck drivers to make exceptions for things like traffic jams, detention, truck parking, and more when their required rest break or off-duty time is ticking down to minutes. Another big issue is driver fatigue and getting adequate sleep. So, while the majority of the trucking industry agrees that the HOS regulations need to change, they aren’t all agreeing the OOIDA has the perfect solution. To find out more about what’s being said about HOS regulation reform head over to Trucker News, Heavy Duty Trucking, and Freight Waves.
It happens every year. It’s big. It’s shiny. We’re talking about the Mid-America Trucking Show. MATS is the largest annual heavy-duty trucking event in the world. It’s so large, over 1,000,000 square feet of all things trucking to be exact, that it can be overwhelming. We don’t want you to miss out on the real value of attending MATS, it’s best to make a plan and get started early.
Why should you attend MATS?
All the new stuff is there.
This is where the industry talks, teaches, learns, and shares.
Preparing for MATS 2018
Get your tickets. Now. Seriously. You can register for free until Feb 22. If you show up without a ticket, it’ll be $10 a person. So, save yourself some money and get your tickets soon.
Think about your goals. Write them down. Are you thinking about starting your own trucking company? Tired of paying too much for a load board? Ready to grow your fleet? Make a list of things you want to accomplish or learn about at MATS.
Make a plan. You can browse the companies that will have booths on the MATS website. Compare the company’s products and services to your list of goals.. Once you know some companies you want to talk to, you can find out where they’ll be and walk around the show floor with purpose.
Come see us!
We’ll be there with our arsenal of full-service factoring experts . We’ll be in the west wing at booth #61104. There you can sign up for our free load board, download our free mobile app, learn how we can help you start your own trucking company, and find out how we help with cash flow and collections.
What to Expect at MATS 2018
Crowds.Trying to park, trying to get in. It’ll be crowded. We recommend giving yourself plenty of time to get around and bring your patience. With over a million square feet of exhibit space, everyone will spread out, but there are a few bottleneck areas when you’re trying to get in and move around the show.
Walking. Did we mention the million square feet? That’s a lot of space, and that’s just the exhibitor space, not the hallways and everywhere else you’ll want to get to. Wear comfortable shoes and charge your fitbit. You’re in for a lot of steps.
Freebies.You can get a lot of stuff at MATS. If you want to collect all the free pens, magnets, keychains, and goodies you can, come prepared to carry all that stuff around.
A lot of information. Everyone wants you to remember them. It’ll be impossible to remember it all. So, if you’re interested in a product or service, grab a brochure, take a card and use one of those free pens to make a note on it to follow up.
If you won’t be at MATS this year but still want to know how Apex helps trucking companies with their cash flow and collections call us 855-369-2739 or get started today.
Life-saving relief comes in big numbers: 34,000 pounds of potatoes, 4,000 pounds of cabbage, 4,000 pounds of carrots, 1,000 bread buns, and a pantry full of fruits, vegetables, and winter clothing.
Think of those edible (and wearable) supplies arriving in a war-torn country, in seven villages on the battle front line, serving 700 people including 100 kids.
Nick Varkentin, CEO at Kingdom Truck Lines in California, took that rescue mission to Ukraine late last year. He and his company are part of Flame of Fire Ministries. Varkentin is also an Apex client, and we couldn’t be prouder of his benevolent work to provide for those less fortunate.
Paying Back for Blessings and Opportunities
“America has given me everything,” says Varkentin, who was born in the Ukraine and came to the United States when he was 18. “This is my way of paying back.”
Varkentin has been taking mission trips since 2012. He takes seven international trips each year – Ukraine, Ethiopia, Mexico, Africa, Asia, Finland, Estonia, Russia, and Germany, to name a few. At home, he helps low-income families, foster kids, single moms, the elderly, at-risk youths, and the homeless. Thanksgiving and Christmas are, naturally, busy times for his charitable work. He gathers food and clothing, the necessities of life that we take for granted.
At Apex, we believe in doing the right thing by our employees, our clients, and our community. Varkentin embodies those same ideals, he thrives on that same need to do the right thing. For him, it’s very personal.
“I’m living here and I’m grateful that I live here and I’m thankful for the opportunity,” he says. “That is why I am going over there and serving these people. I got successful over here, I got blessed over here. Now it’s time for me to help others.”
The trucking industry reacts to President Trump’s controversial infrastructure plan on the day after the proposal’s public unveiling.
Spokespersons from NATSO (National Association of Truck Stop Operators), ATA (American Trucking Association), OOIDA (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association), and TCA (Truckload Carriers Association) offered reservations about the plan’s structure, specifically its effect on the trucking industry.
The proposed plan calls for states and cities to privatize infrastructure funding that would be used to fix roads and bridges instead of using federal spending. Even more notable for the trucking industry, the plan proposes to repeal the current ban on interstate tolling, allow for the commercialization of rest areas, and alter the types of projects supported by federal funds, according to an article in Overdrive Magazine.
ATA President and CEO Chris Spear says in a Truckers News story: “A proposal that relies on fake funding schemes like highway tolls and privatizing rest areas will not generate the revenue necessary to make significant infrastructure improvements.”
All four organizations point to an increased fuel tax as the solution to the revenue problem, not more tolls or commercialized rest areas. Lisa Mullings, President and CEO of NATSO, said in a statement: “Why would anyone fail to support an increase in the fuel tax and, at the same time, work to create another type of tax (such as toll roads) that cost more to collect than the fuel tax?”
More Tolls and Commercializing Rest Areas Create Concern
Mullings also addresses the commercialization of rest areas as a potential detriment to the trucking industry: “Commercialization allows the government to hand-pick one company to operate exclusively at the state rest areas; this company behaves as a monopoly simply by virtue of its location on the highway shoulder or median.”
But the possibility of increased tolls remains the biggest concern. Two out of the four reader comments on the Overdrive piece at this time focused on the tolls issue. The TCA statement addresses the added cost of increasing tolls: “Tolling has traditionally proven itself to cost our nation significantly more in administrative fees than the traditional fuel tax and its collection process.”
Trump’s infrastructure plan has already generated debate and plenty of ink, including a piece in CCJ Daily Report. Expect more reaction to the plan in the next few days and weeks. We will continue to monitor the proposal’s progress and its effect on the trucking industry.
Keep this reality top of mind, though, this is only a proposal. It isn’t set in stone, not by a long shot. Lawmakers still need to weigh in and vote on the fate of this infrastructure plan. If you want to stay vocal during the process, contact your local representatives. Let them know your thoughts on this infrastructure proposal’s potential impact on truckers and trucking companies.
Diesel Fuel Prices on the Rise Due to Severe Winter Weather
Jack Frost may be nipping at more than just your nose this winter. Diesel fuel prices could spike in the coming months due to the severe winter weather – from arctic temperatures to snow storms – sweeping the east coast and even creeping into the southern region of the United States. Diesel fuel, which powers commercial trucks, is made from the same petroleum distillate that comprises home heating oil, reports American Trucker. This winter is being called the “coldest in 10 years,” bringing with it much higher home heating bills in January and February. That means diesel fuel will likely see an uptick as well. It has already climbed an average of 7 cents per gallon. How much more will diesel fuel prices increase? Time, and Old Man Winter, will tell.
Owner-Operators Stand to Save Thousands Under New Tax Reform
Many owner-operators could save thousands on their annual taxes thanks to the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reform legislation that passed in December 2017. According to ATBS President and CEO Todd Amen, a new 20 percent deduction spells at least $2,000 in annual savings for many owner-operators. The consensus, from an article about the subject in Overdrive magazine, is that the more owner-operators make a year the more they will save in tax cuts. These deductions become effective for the 2018 filing year, not the current 2017 filing due April 17. Also, company truckers will not fare as well as owner-operators under the new tax law. They would pay $600 more a year on average, again starting in the 2018 tax filing year.
State of ELDs: It’s All About Enforcement Now
Now that the ELD mandate has come and gone, we are in the enforcement phase. While it is true that enforcement officers will not put truckers out of service for not having an ELD until April 1, and there will be no CSA points against the carrier immediately either, officers are reporting on those that do not have ELDs. Yet there is still some confusion on the enforcement side regarding ELDs and even AOBRDs, the precursor to the ELD that is grandfathered in until 2019. Fleetowner.com put together a comprehensive story that details some of that confusion as well as gives a state of ELD overview on compliance from carriers, shippers and brokers.
We did it again! We happily and humbly announce that we have been named one of the 2018 Best Companies to Work for in Texas. This is the 11th year Apex Capital has been honored for its warm and friendly office atmosphere, its emphasis on employee happiness, and its sought-after customer service. The awards program was created in 2006 and is a project of Texas Monthly, the Texas Association of Business (TAB), Texas SHRM and Best Companies Group.
The purpose of this statewide survey and awards program: To identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Texas benefiting the state’s economy, workforce, and businesses. Apex participates in the Best Companies to Work for in Texas two-part survey every year. That qualifies us for the award, yes, but even more important, it gives us an amazing opportunity to receive feedback that helps us get better.
Where Did Apex Rank? Stay Tuned!
Where did we rank in the list of 100 companies? The 2018 Best Companies to Work for in Texas rankings will be announced March 6, 2018, and an event will be held by the Texas Association of Business for all honorees on March 8, 2018 at Circuit of the Americas, Del Valle. We can’t wait to know!
All companies participating must have at least 15 employees working in Texas, be a for-profit or not-for-profit business or government entity, be a publicly or privately held business, have a facility in the state of Texas, and be in business a minimum of one year. Check, check, check, check and check.
Great Employees That Always Do the Right Thing
But here’s what we are most proud of: We foster an environment of employee camaraderie, stick to high client standards inspired by core values that are about always doing the right thing, and remain active in the community. We do charitable work with non-profit organizations such as The Pythian Home, Greater Fort Worth Susan G. Komen, Tarrant Area Food Bank, Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth, Cancer Care Services, and many more.
David Baker, Apex Capital President, started Apex 22 years ago with one passionate goal, “to create a company where people would leave work at the end of the day and go home and tell their kids how they made a difference in the life of someone that day.”
‘Apexers’ Are Part of a Big Family
This is exactly why Apex employees are dubbed “Apexers.” They are immediately part of a big family. Apex takes care of its family by embracing employee wellness through an extensive program, by offering tuition reimbursement for professional advancement, by catering month-end lunches, by rewarding our employees with quarterly profit sharing bonuses, and by celebrating company milestones.
The Best Companies to Work for in Texas nominating process has two parts. The first 25% consists of evaluating each company’s workplace policies, systems, philosophies, practices, and demographics. The second 75% is the employee survey to measure employee experience. The combined scores determine the top companies and the final rankings.
In addition to the Texas Association of Business Best Companies to Work for in Texas Awards Dinner and Celebration on March 8, 2018 at the Circuit of the Americas, Del Valle, the winners will also be profiled by Texas Monthly in a special publication that will be released in conjunction with the event.
Do you want to work at a company with a great culture that values you? Are you looking for more than just a job in Fort Worth, but a career that allows you to grow and develop personally as well as professionally? Check out our job openings!
This is one of my favorite times of year, but not for the reasons you might guess. Even though I love being able to eat too many cookies and give presents to family and friends, what I cherish most about the end of a year is looking forward to the new one.
Recently, we learned that we were selected as one of the Top 100 TruckingBlogs by Feedspot. We were thrilled when we came in at number 24!
We started the Apex blog in 2012 with a couple of goals in mind. First and foremost, we want to provide valuable information to the trucking industry and especially the small trucking companies we work with. In our business, we’re only successful if our clients are successful. Our team works hard to identify issues and topics that will be important or meaningful.
In the last five years we’ve published over 500 articles on all things trucking. We’ve written about new trucking regulations, truck shows, tips to run a trucking business, and even some of the best trucking movies ever! Being named a top trucking blog reminds us that our core mission is to publish news and information you can use to run and grow your trucking company.
As I look back at the most popular blog posts we published in 2017, I see an audience that is trying to start, grow, and manage successful trucking companies. With all the changes happening in the trucking industry, we hope that we’re a voice you trust. Here are the top 5 blog posts of 2017.
Up for discussion here is not whether the trucking industry as a whole is profitable, but how do you make sure your trucking company is profitable? Knowledge is power and the more information you have, the better decisions you can make. We listed a few key pieces of information you should have.
With ELDs being such a hot topic this year, we did a lot of research on them and wrote this white paper you can download for free. We understand that it’s a hassle to have to switch, but we found a lot of ways ELDs can save you time and money in the long run.
The number of women in the trucking industry continues to grow. Many women see trucking as a way to be in control of their own future. We talked to one inspiring woman who owns her own trucking company about her experience.
This is a topic that is close to our hearts. We get a lot of questions about budgeting, profit and loss statements, and how to make sure your financials are healthy. These are some of the basics, and we hope it gives you a place to start!
One more about that little thing that dominated the trucking industry this year. In the weeks and months leading up to the deadline, truckers and trucking companies were trying to figure out if they qualified for an exemption. To make a long story short, the ELD rule applies to most commercial motor vehicle drivers, but there are a few exceptions.
A Sneak Peek Ahead
With 2017 about to be in the books, what are we planning for 2018? This year, we’re going to dive deeper into the ins-and-outs of running trucking companies. We’re talking to successful entrepreneurs about how they did it and what you can do to follow in their footsteps. We’re going to examine issues that impact how you run your business every day, from finding freight and using technology to save time to the regulation changes that are sure to happen.
Truck driver Charles Bell, before and after his dramatic weight loss. Fleetowner.com
Over-the-road Trucker Turned Detention into Life-Saving Exercise
His name is Charles Ray Bell. He’s an over-the-road truck driver. By the time he turned 39, Bell was drinking too much, snorting cocaine, eating unhealthy food, and dealing with high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Oh, and he weighed 300 pounds. Today, Bell is 150 pounds lighter, a vegetarian, and a marathon runner. How did he do it? Well determination, yes, but also Bell took advantage of detention time during his long hauls to exercise. He ran, he biked, and then he ran some more. His story is inspirational, and one that proves even a major inconvenience like detention for truckers can be turned into a life saver. Fleetowner.com delivered a great profile of Bell and his motivational journey.
Both Sides of the ELD Mandate for Truckers and Trucking Companies
The ELD mandate is here. The December 18, 2017 deadline is a reality now. And yet the issue of electronic logging devices for truckers and trucking companies remains incredibly polarizing. You’re either for it or you are against it. There is no middle ground. Congressmen have appealed to the president for an executive order that extends the deadline for three months. Anti-ELD rallies have been plentiful across the country with many activists protesting. On the other side of the spectrum, some trucking companies have implemented ELDs to positive effect, and trucking association heads have praised its fairness in leveling the trucking playing field. Check out the report from American Trucker for a look at both sides of the issue.
Spike in Economic Conditions for Trucking Companies Signals Positive Outlook
FTR’s monthly Trucking Conditions Index for October reported that economic conditions for trucking companies spiked and that the positive momentum for carriers should continue into 2018, according to CCJ Daily Report. FTR cites a strengthening economy, combined with capacity pressures stemming from two recent hurricanes and the adoption of ELDs. These conditions have tightened trucking industry capacity and hiked up rates on the spot market and contract market. This is a boon for carriers, especially. Also, trucking industry employment climbed for the fourth straight month. So good news all around.