Tips for Intermodal Efficiency

Over the years the demand for shipping has grown steadily and with that growth there has been a surge in productivity for the intermodal industry as shippers turn to multiple methods of transportation to meet that demand. Railways are coming into the spotlight for long distance deliveries, garnering interest for fuel efficiency and lower cost. Costs for shipping by rail can be anywhere from 15 to 40 percent less than by truck since trains depend less on fuel. Interested in going intermodal but new to the game? Keep these tips in mind and remember to call US1 Network with any questions regarding intermodal drayage.

Know the schedules like a pro

Incorporating rail into the supply chain is a strategic maneuver for the long run, but it also takes careful analysis to ensure you know when the trains take off and how to synchronize those schedules with your shipment. What is the train’s schedule and how will that affect the pickup and delivery time? You have to get your load to the origin ramp without delay and know when the train is due to reach the destination.

Drayage shouldn’t be overlooked

You can’t put all of your focus into the efficiency of the rail, don’t forget about the OTR carriers transporting goods to and from the ramp. You’ll want to make sure you carefully choose a reliable 3PL to ensure you get quality service and equipment. Streamline every aspect of your supply chain, one weak link can be costly.

Take care of your products

Especially if you’re shipping LTL.  You won’t know what other products will be traveling alongside your goods, so take care to package them properly. Determine whether your freight is fragile or non-fragile and keep it contained within a crate or box. Place your boxed goods on top of a pallet stacked in a tight square shape and avoid overhang. Print out the “Bill of Ladings” and stick it onto each package, just in case.

Tips for Intermodal Efficiency

Roadchecks are an important part of the trucking industry. Put in place to ensure drivers are safe and abiding by the laws, they can result in a quick pass or, if you aren’t prepared, a long stop that costs invaluable time and money (if you fail).

Here is how you can be prepared for the next roadside inspection.

Know what to expect

Do your homework on what will be checked during the stop. Paperwork and identification will need to be up-to-date and in order. Usually, these are Level 1 inspections, so you can count on the following truck parts getting a once over for functionality.

  • Tires, wheels, rims and hubs
  • Major safety components
  • Tractor (all sides)
  • Trailer (all sides)
  • Lights
  • Proper loading of cargo
  • Brakes

Invest in truck maintenance

Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to cancel those weekend BBQ plans and use that time to get your truck maintenanced. Do a pre-trip inspection so you know what needs to be tweaked and you can get assurance that your truck is safe and roadcheck ready. You’ll want to focus on areas that experience the most wear and tear, like the engine, tires and brakes.

Comply with the rules

Part of a roadside inspection involves having the correct paperwork and logs that show you are following all regulations. Inspecting HOS and ELD requirements are hot points that you need to be on top of. Understand the rules and how the device works. Common ELD violations occur because of malfunctions. Always keep a user manual, blank sheets for recording hours and an instruction sheet in a convenient place.

The same goes for your paperwork and identification. Make sure you have everything in an easy-to-reach spot, so you don’t waste time shuffling papers around. Here’s a brief list of important documents.

  • Vehicle Inspection Certificate
  • Medical Examiners Certificate
  • Record of Duty Status
  • Drivers License/CDL
  • Periodic Inspection Reports
  • Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate
  • Daily Vehicle Inspection Report
  • Shipping Papers

Tips for Intermodal Efficiency
Courtney L.
December 29, 2016

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