Central Lift Maintenance Group http://centralliftmaintenance.com Central Lift Maintenance Group, your heavy equipment maintenance experts. Tue, 16 Dec 2014 03:05:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Intermodal Transport and Land Bridges http://centralliftmaintenance.com/intermodal-transport-and-land-bridges-2/ http://centralliftmaintenance.com/intermodal-transport-and-land-bridges-2/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 03:05:14 +0000 http://centralliftmaintenance.com/?p=2872 While most people are unaware of it, intermodal freight transport has been around for quite some time, going all the way back to the 1780s in England. The method of moving a container holding freight from one vehicle to another without having to handle the freight itself has grown from ships and rail to include trucks and barges as technology has evolved. The use of standardized containers, or ISO containers, has allowed shipping across country and nations to flourish, thanks to the time and money saved by crossing land bridges.

Land bridge is a reference to an intermodal freight shipment that starts on a ship then crosses a body of land for a significant part of the trip en route to its final destination. The land portion of the trip is referred to as the land bridge, with rail typically being the method of transport while crossing. There are, of course, different types of bridges – standard bridges, mini bridges, and micro bridges.

Land Bridge
A standard bridge is when an intermodal container shipped by ocean vessel from point A to point B crosses over an entire country before reaching its final destination. For example, a container is being shipped from Japan to England is loaded onto a ship in Japan which then docks in Los Angeles where the container is transferred to a train and taken to New York where it is put on another ship and completes its journey to England.

Mini Bridge
A mini bridge is when a container is similar to a standard land bridge with a minor change. Whereas a standard bridge involves the container starting and ending its voyage on a ship, only crossing over a country in an effort to get to another ship, a mini bridge takes the second ship out of the equation. Using our example from above, a mini land bridge would be if the containers final destination was in New York instead of England.

Micro Bridge
A micro bridge is close in definition to a mini land bridge, with the exception being that, still using our example from above, that whereas a mini bridge would extend to New York, a micro bridge would see the container end up somewhere like Chicago or Denver, an interior land destination.

Global Shipping
Thanks to intermodal shipping and land bridges, moving freight that once would have had to make large detours to avoid land masses is now possible via the most direct route. This allows companies to save time and money which can then be passed on to their customers.

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What Is Freight Transportation http://centralliftmaintenance.com/what-is-freight-transportation-2/ http://centralliftmaintenance.com/what-is-freight-transportation-2/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 03:04:07 +0000 http://centralliftmaintenance.com/?p=2870 Intermodal freight transportation is the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle using multiple modes of transportation. Like a truck, ship, or rail road service without any handling of the freight itself when changing the modes. This in return reduces cargo handling and promotes and improves security without having to worry about damages and losses.

Containers are the main type of equipment that is used in freight transportation. This is made up containers that are 8-feet wide and 8 feet high, with many other lengths for the moving of bigger objects. Handling the containers is also done with the intermodality in mind; this is things like transtainers, straddle carriers, grapple lifters, reach stackers, and swap body’s.

Freight is done through many different modes of transportation. Such as container ships, railways, trucks. Container ships are used to transport containers by sea; these vessels are custom built to hold containers or different shapes and sizes. Railways are used to ship containers in container well cars. A truck is also a frequently used means of transportation to connect the line-haul to the ocean and rail segments in order to assist in the moving of containers.

There are many different types of means that can be shipped through freight services. Such as automobiles, bulk cargo like salt, oil, and scrap metals, household goods such as furniture. Other things like envelops, mail, food, and raw materials are all things that can be shipped through freight transportation. In this field the main objective and role is for the driver to assist in moving goods and raw materials from one place to another with a limited amount of handling in order to reduce damage to the containers that are being moved.

By understanding what freight transportation is and what it has to offer us in today’s economy it allows you the opportunity to receive low priced shipping in the moving of goods and raw materials. This is done through logistics, which is the management of the flow of goods between one point of origin to another. This is done in order to meet the customers or corporations requirements when moving these items. Lastly it provides you with the knowledge to research what companies can offer you in order to receive the best type of freight transportation for the best cost. This in return will provide you with an efficient method in the flow of these materials from one place to another.

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What Is Intermodal Freight Shipping? http://centralliftmaintenance.com/what-is-intermodal-freight-shipping-3/ http://centralliftmaintenance.com/what-is-intermodal-freight-shipping-3/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 03:01:53 +0000 http://centralliftmaintenance.com/?p=2868 Intermodal freight shipping is a mixture of two or more methods of transport, delivering items by truck or train. Many businesses use this in transferring bulk items. It is the most convenient mode of transportation, as shipping companies have specialized methods for every item. It gives flexibility by allowing you to choose the combination of transport. It minimizes freight costs because business owners can personalize their routes based on the needs and strength of the chosen cargo. It also reduces delay and accidents because they have a specified route set by either the company or business owner.

Four Ways to Ship Items

• Ocean Shipping – This consists of almost 90% of the world trade. It is the most common mode of transportation, even though it is much slower than other shipping methods. It has two shipping containers: a 20-foot less container load (LCL) and a 40-foot full container load (FCL). Its rates depend on weight, type, and distance traveled of the items.

• Air Shipping – This is the fastest method to ship items, but the most expensive. This is because of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules and prices of gasoline. It is suitable for shipping perishable items and small containers. Large items, on the other hand, have greater costs because airlines base them on dimensional weight.

• Road Shipping – Trucking is ideal for delivering consumer goods and raw materials. Different institutions have standards and restrictions on these, making it more difficult to find vehicles for transport. Its rates depend on the weight of the items and distance traveled.

• Rail shipping – This is one of the top choices when shipping items for a long distance. It is more affordable, as it can carry 200 tons of freight or three trucks in a single load. Items that are ideal for this are those you can stack, such as paper or items with flat surface. Boxcar, railcar, TOFC, COFC, and refrigerated are some containers shipping companies use.

Types of Intermodal Containers

• Tank — This is when shipping companies place a cylindrical-shaped tank inside the frame of an intermodal container. Liquid or gases, such as liquefied, cryogenic, pressurized, and gases stored through refrigeration, are some examples of items stored in those containers.

• Flat Rack – These are long, specialized containers with an open top. It is for carrying items that cannot fit inside a standard container. Heavy machinery, such as forklifts and bulldozers, are the common items that use a flat rack. This is to avoid dismantling and reassembling them.

• Refrigerated – These kinds of containers are for transporting perishable goods or decaying materials that need a certain temperature. These are common in trailer trucks, which have refrigerators inside to keep the items cool. Some examples are ice, vegetables, and fruits.

Choosing the right combination allows you to save money and time. Know which one suits your items to determine the best choice.

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Intermodal Freight Services http://centralliftmaintenance.com/intermodal-freight-services/ http://centralliftmaintenance.com/intermodal-freight-services/#comments Sat, 06 Dec 2014 02:58:39 +0000 http://centralliftmaintenance.com/?p=2866 The United States has a long history of moving freight via truck. When you drive cross-country, you see many semi-trucks moving along the highway. However, there is a form of freight transportation that is even older than trucking, and that’s by train. If you are trying to choose whether to use a truck or railway service to haul your cargo, the answer is simple: you can use both. Thanks to transportation companies that offer intermodal freight services, you can take advantage of the strengths of both forms of transportation.

Intermodal transportation uses more than one form of transportation to move your cargo. In the United States, intermodal transportation refers mostly to transportation via truck and railway. However, it also includes cargo chips, barges, or sometimes planes. What makes all these forms of transportation possible is the intermodal container, or shipping container. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published standards for shipping containers. Because these containers are standardized, they can be moved, loaded, stacked, and unloaded by any company that offers intermodal freight services, whether truck, railway, or ship.

Intermodal shipping is often more affordable than shipping by truck alone. This is because it combines the cost-saving advantages both trains and trucks provide. When cargo is moved via railway, much more freight can be used for the same amount of energy that a truck uses alone. In fact, using one intermodal train has the effect of eliminating 280 trucks from the highway. Not only is intermodal transportation more cost-effective, it is also friendlier to the environment.

While a railroad can move your freight efficiently from one city to another, it is highly unlikely it can deliver your goods from portal to portal. To get your product from your loading dock to the railroad and from the railroad directly to the customer requires a truck to deliver your freight to the final address. A solid and reliable trucking company is an important player in this win-win situation.

When you choose an intermodal freight service, you want to evaluate at least three qualities of the company: customer service, communication, and experience.

Customer Service

First, when you choose an intermodal freight service, you want a company that offers great customer service. Will they give you personalized attention? If you are a large company, do they have the infrastructure to handle a large or complex hauling job? On the other hand, if you have a smaller load, will they treat you just as importantly as a customer with a huge load? You want to make sure that you pick a company that will treat you just as well as their bigger customers.

Communication

First, make sure you get your agreement in writing. Look carefully at your contract to make sure that there will be no surprise costs incurred at the end. Also, you will want to ask the company how they communicate the status of your delivery to you. Do they offer an online tracking system? Do they send emails or faxes that give the status of your cargo? Will they let you know if there’s any problems that will keep your delivery from arriving on time?

Experience

An experienced company has access to both private-access providers and class 1 railroads. They will also have relationships with ocean carriers and air freight operators if your freight needs to be hauled oversea.

The next time you need to ship your freight, consider the economical advantages of intermodal freight services. Truck and train can work together to provide you with the most cost-effective and efficient mode of product transportation.

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Intermodal Trucking Today http://centralliftmaintenance.com/intermodal-trucking-today/ http://centralliftmaintenance.com/intermodal-trucking-today/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 02:54:09 +0000 http://centralliftmaintenance.com/?p=2864 There is much to be said about the turbulence created by the recent economic downturn and the years that preceded this recession. Prior to 2007, the intermodal trucking industry experienced major growth paving the way for almost anyone to enter. Loose regulations and increased truck capacity allowed for a high volume of goods to be shipped and purchased by the credit rich consumer. The recession hit the brakes on free flowing credit and the volume of freight moving throughout the world.

This new economic outlook will change how we operate against the barriers effecting our industry today. Three areas that continue to absorb much energy at Universal Transportation include safety, equipment, and capacity. All three areas are related and will have a significant impact on how we run our business. Fortunately we are staffed with an experienced group to maintain a high level of service as we navigate our way through this new environment.

Maintaining a safe fleet of trucks is a key factor when sharing the roads with the general public. In addition, we are faced with new regulations (CSA 2010 – csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov) that is about to change the game for drivers and trucking companies operating in the U.S. UTS has taken these new regulations very seriously by upgrading our safety department and contracting with consultants (Midwestcompliance.com) to guide us through these changes.

Our efforts to increase the level of safety in our fleet will ultimately cost us drivers at a time when we need them the most. However, we’ve decided to make safety a priority in the wake of these changing regulations and in part to our responsibility in sharing the roads with other motorists.

Maintaining good equipment can be a challenge for any trucking company. The intermodal trucking section of the industry makes it especially difficult because truckers typically share the usage of chassis with other companies. We (truckers) bare the responsibility of inspecting the equipment before using but are also dependent on vendors managing the chassis fleets to maintain a healthy supply of good-order units for usage. Currently, large market rail ramps (i.e Chicago) are under-supplied which increases a driver’s turn-time (sometimes up to 4 hours) resulting in lost wages. Typically a driver is left with the option of waiting without pay or hauling inadequate equipment.

Our solution for the problem at UTS is to increase the awareness and education for our drivers on performing a proper pre-trip inspection and the effects of receiving violations for poor equipment. This is the most effective way to prevent against hauling unsafe equipment. We cannot control the chassis supply nor the mechanics who repair the chassis so our focus will remain on education. At some point, if this situation does not improve I expect detention charges for waiting at the rail to come into play.

One of the hottest topics being discussed in our industry is the truck capacity issue created form the recent recession. Shipping demand has increased in 2010 while the supply of power units has been depleted creating our biggest challenge and possibly our best opportunity in the near future. I’m convinced that we (Universal Transportation Services) could increase our revenue by another 30% if we had the truck power. This ratio should begin to shift at some point but will not go away.

Over 200,000 trucks have been taken off the road over the last 2 years with more to follow in the wake of CSA 2010. In order to attract drivers we have raised our compensation, instituted a healthy sign-on bonus, and offer other incentives for drivers based on drivers safety scores. Our investments in technology and experienced dispatch personnel makes UTS an attractive company to contract with but we continue to fall short of the truck count needed to handle the current volume of freight.

Although the truck shortage handicaps us from reaching revenue goals it has helped to increase rates for hauling freight. In order to sustain a manageable volume of freight over the past two years we were forced to reduce trucking rates between 10% and 20%. We are now seeing some of those rates returning close to pre-recession levels. Should the capacity issue persist I expect to see this trend continue and present some opportunities for the trucking industry in the future.

I do think the safety, equipment, and capacity issues are interrelated and will hopefully provide opportunities if managed correctly. Five years ago we ran the risk of our contracted drivers starting their own trucking company and competing with us. It was easy for them to get financing and they could fly below the radar with DOT regulations. Today the barriers to entering our industry have increased and survival by operating without focus on changing regulations will result in failure. Our focus on safety and our commitment to a high level of service will help navigate us through the changing regulations, equipment, and capacity issues facing our industry today.

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