Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tips for Improving Your Fuel Efficiency

On-highway diesel prices continue to rise this week, and no one is more affected than the commercial vehicle operator. With oil prices reaching a US average of $3.573/gallon (the highest it has been in 2 years), it is crucial for drivers to get the most out of their fuel. Further unrest in the Middle East – notably, this week’s revolt in Libya – is the source of the latest market swing. Now more than ever, it is important to be aware that there are many practices that can be adopted to increase fuel efficiency and aid in keeping this operating costs as low as possible.

Fuelling Practices – what to do at the pump to make sure you are getting the most gallons for your greenbacks
1. Try to only fill up your truck in the early morning when the ground is cold. The colder the ground, the denser the gasoline in the station’s storage tank is. Keep this in mind as we head into the warmer months!

2. While filling up, try not to squeeze the nozzle trigger too fast mode; if you pump fuel at a fast rate, some of the liquid that goes into your tank becomes vapor. By pumping fuel at a lower speed, you are minimizing the vapors that enter into your tanks, and therefore you are getting the most out of your money.

3. Fill up your tank when it is half full. The more gas you have in your tank, the less air is occupying the empty space. Gasoline evaporates, so having less air in the tank will ensure your gas doesn’t “disappear”.

4. Try to avoid filling up when the gasoline truck is pumping into the station’s storage tank. During this process, the dirt that normally settles in the bottom of the storage tank is disturbed, and you will end up pumping dirty gas.

Maintenance practices – what to do on a regular basis to keep your truck out of “gas guzzler” status:
1. Change your oil regularly as specified by the truck manufacturer. Oil lubricates your engine components, and eliminates friction. Over time, oil can lose its viscosity along with picking up collected dirt. This can compromise your engines performance – less lubrication = more friction + stress on moving parts, causing more fuel being burned to maintain the required power output. Check your other fluids as well (transmission, transfer case, and differential) as the same principle also applies to them!

2. Maintain tire pressure – under-inflated tired create more drag and puts more of a load on the engine.

3. Maintain correct wheel alignment – more fuel will be consumed in an effort to keep your truck rolling in a straight line – reduce this by getting your regular wheel alignments.

4. Change your air filters – ensure clean air is going into your engine. If you keep driving your truck without changing the filter, the dirt can choke it up. Less air means less power output and you’ll end up stepping on the gas to compensate for this power loss.

Driver behavior – good, conscientious driving has many rewards!
1. Avoid sudden acceleration – more sudden power required consumes more fuel, kind of like if you were to blow a big breath out, you would first need to take a big breath in….

2. Avoid harsh braking – stopping suddenly requires fuel and power – keep your braking slow and controlled.

3. Reduce engine idling for long periods of time.

We hope these tips will be useful for our driver partners increase their fuel efficiency!!! Also, we would like to know, what are some other fuel practices that you use in order to get the most out of your money??

Thursday, February 17, 2011

CSA 2010 and HOS - The Perfect Storm for the Trucking Industry

New CSA regulations regarding the BASIC of Fatigued Driving and the proposed changes to the Hours of Service Regulations has the potential greatly affect many operations in the produce industry. This month, UWC reviews some of the primary principles of this topic.

A review
The Fatigued Driving BASIC measures the operation of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in non compliance with the Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations. This BASIC includes violations of regulations pertaining to logbooks as they relate to HOS requirements and the management of CMV driver fatigue. Example violations are: Exceeding HOS, maintaining an incomplete or inaccurate logbook, and operating a CMV while ill or fatigued.

Another important factor to note with regards to CSA in general - Whether a truck is passing through a scale or is cited for any infraction, there is immediate online access to their record by the agent, whether it be by a scale or a state trooper for example. Further, if there is an alert or high score on any one of the BASICs, it will prompt a further inspection (probable cause) of the truck and driver’s logbooks.

FMCSA proposed changes to the Hours of Service rule are as follows
Reducing the driving time from 11 hours down to 10, and reducing the entire on duty time from 14 hours down to 13. These changes are presently at Senate, with many groups lobbying for and against the changes. The FMCSA is required to publish a final HOS rule by July 26, 2011, and UWC will continue to monitor.

In a perfect world...
It would always be sunny and dry on the roads, there would be no construction or detours, and loading and fueling would be instantaneous. Unfortunately, those ideas are implausible. Weather, construction, detours, fueling and loading delays all compound the issues facing drivers under the new CSA 2010 and proposed HOS regulations. Weather delays are common, often unpredictable and can cause various delays and bottle-necks on the highways. Construction and ongoing efforts to improve the nation’s highways are necessary work that also causes delays. Detours, resulting from both weather issues and construction are typically a “long-way round” that take up more driving time. Fueling typically takes up to 1 hour, and loading at pickup sheds can sometimes take the better part of 6 hours.

As we can see, there are many external “on duty” issues that can affect a driver’s Hours of Service and logbook calculations. These issues add pressure to drivers to arrive at destinations when initial drive times are already tight. So now, let’s look at an example of how a driver would have to operate in order to be in legal compliance with the CSA 2010 Fatigued Driver BASIC measurement and the HOS Regulations.

Trip: Yakima, WA to Nogales, AZ: Approximately 28-30 hours of driving time (this includes the breaks and fuel stops). Driving time formula with legal HOS Regulations: 11 hours consecutive driving once loaded + 10 required hours off + 11 hours of consecutive driving + 10 required hours off + 6-8 hours of driving to arrive at final delivery = 48-50 hours from loading to time of delivery. Therefore, in order for a driver to make a 2nd morning 7am delivery to Nogales (a common request ), the truck would have to be loaded and on its way by 7am in the morning 2 days prior (7am loaded and gone on Monday for a 7am Wednesday delivery).

With expectations and competition for loads on the rise, some drivers will be willing to gamble . However, this is likely to be only for the short term, as roadside inspections and enforcement of the CSA 2010 are ramping up. Compliance is not only essential, but NECESSARY for truck drivers and carrier companies to stay on the road and in business. All participants in the supply chain (shippers, customers, transportation providers, drivers, and receivers) need to be aware of the changes, so that driver expectations can be realistic and met.

For more information on CSA 2010, contact UWC directly, or visit http://

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Did you know??? You can keep more of your money – Just use TRANSFLO!!

In the truck driving industry, there are many periphery operating costs that can add up and amount to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year. One of these costs is faxing/sending paperwork. Many truck stops and other companies you work with may charge up to $2.50 per page to fax or send paperwork. Now, think about how many pages a year you fax while on the road?? That sure can add up, and many drivers and carrier companies have probably often thought that there should be more options to be able to send their paperwork for free. Well, now there is!!

United World Cargo has partnered with TRANSFLO to offer you a TRANSFLO ExpressTM Program!!! Wait, that’s not even the best part – it is completely free for all our drivers and carriers!!!! There is the potential to save hundreds of dollars a year, and cut down your operating costs just by using this free faxing service to send paperwork to UWC.

The TRANSFLO Express system operates out of several major truck stop networks at over 775 truck stops across the United States – what’s more, you are guaranteed to find the system at ANY pilot or Love’s location. It is a FREE and easy service to use that will allow you to send your documents (border paperwork, bills of lading, receipts and invoices, to name a few) directly to UWC and get immediate confirmation that the documents have been sent.

To use the program, UWC has created a “tripsheet”, available in English and Spanish. These tripsheets work similarly to fax cover pages, and allow UWC to process and organize incoming paperwork fast and more efficiently. There are a few ways you can obtain a tripsheet: 1) It is available to download off our website, under the “Carriers” section; 2) You can pick it up at TC Trans in Blaine, WA; 3) Or simply contact UWC and we will send them directly to you!

Want to use our Free TRANSFLO ExpressTM service but don’t have a tripsheet handy? Simply provide the cashier at the truck stop with UWC’s Fleet ID (also known as our SCAC Code) – it is UWCL.

Keep more of your money in your pocket!! Use the UWC TRANSFLO Express TM Program today!!!

Have you been using this service with us already? Do you have any comments or suggestions for improvements?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How it Works - Refrigerated Trailers

Reefer units are often misunderstood, and this misunderstanding can lead to misguided performance expectations. Today, we will outline some facts that will help us better understand how reefer units work and clarify their operation.

One of the most important elements to keep in mind when thinking about reefers is that they are designed to maintain temperature of the product inside them, not cool. Although it may happen if given enough time, reefers are not designed to for example, bring a field load from upwards to 100°F ambient temperature down to 45°F storage temperature. Reefers are solely designed to remove any increased heat, keep temperature of products stable, and control humidity by condensing moisture in the air.

Common ways that heat enters reefer trailers is through the walls (trailers are insulated to prevent this). Heat can also flow around gaps in door openings, through cracked door seals, through trailer floors, or out of the ceiling. A steel bolt or a structural member will act as a conductor if it passes from outside the trailer to inside. Most newer reefer trailers have internal structures for rub-rails and E-tracks that are separated and insulated from the outside walls. If you ever have to make repairs or add accessories to your trailer, remember to never drill bolt holes through the walls. This will maintain the thermal integrity of your reefer unit.

The product that is loaded into the reefer is another source of heat. Some products respirate (create heat) at a faster rate than others. For more on this, check out our publication, Interactions between Refrigerated Trailers and Products.

To accomplish the items that are mentioned at the beginning of this post (remove increased heat, keep product temperatures stable, and control humidity), reefers require 4 components:

- Thermal integrity in the trailer to prevent the inflow of additional heat
- Sufficient BTU capacity to remove the expected amount of heat
- Sufficient airflow
- Sufficient air velocity to move the air through the trailer, over and through the load.

Regular scheduled reefer maintenance and proper loading and stacking procedures will assist in succeeding the 4 above components. We know what the typical occurrences are: loads are often too warm when they are loaded, drivers don’t shut their reefers off before opening doors, and debris often blocks airflow. These occurrences often greatly increase the potential for temperature issues upon delivery.

Reinforcing proper loading procedures (including PULPING product upon pickup) can eliminate and significantly reduce the potential for temperature related issues upon delivery. For more comprehensive loading directions, check out our Carrier Loading Guidelines!!

Do you have anything to share regarding reefer units? What are your experiences?

Stay tuned for a future “scientific” examination of how reefer units work!!!!


Understanding reefers – how hard can it be?. Accessed on Feb. 2, 2011.