Thursday, April 28, 2011

Guide to.... Trucking Insurance

Having the right insurance policy with the right coverage is one of (if not) the most important factor for any trucking company.

Automotive Liability Insurance, Physical Damage Insurance, Cargo Insurance, and all the jargon and legal language that comes along with these policies, can be complicated and difficult to fully understand, and many companies pay their monthly premium without fully understanding what their insurance covers them for and what it does not. For any of these policies, the “exclusions” portion is one of the most important sections, since this will let you know what your policy does not cover.

So, now, let’s look at some examples of exclusions in insurance policies:

 Theft or a tractor/trailer from an unsecured, non-gated, and/or unmonitored area.

 Lack of evidence of a break in to a tractor/trailer.

 Reefer breakdown on trailers that are more than 10 years old – this can be regardless of if your coverage includes reefer breakdown – if the trailer is 10 or more years old, the insurance company will not provide coverage.

 Failure to maintain proper temperature in the trailer – unless the failure is caused by or results from fire, lightning, explosions, collision, overturn, flood (as defined as the rising of any “natural” body of water.

Common insurance statements, and what they mean:

Whatever the exclusions or conditions of the insurance policy that a company signs up for, most will have common language. Here are some examples, decoded:

 “The Insured warrants that the refrigeration equipment will be maintained at all times in accordance with the manufacturers specifications” – what this means is that the carrier company will make sure that the trailer and all its refrigeration equipment will be routinely inspected, maintained, and repaired if necessary, on a schedule that is advised by the maker of the trailer.

 “The Insured warrants that the refrigeration equipment will be fully inspected at least every three months by you or a facility approved by the manufacturers. Records of these inspections must be maintained and be made available for inspection” – what this means is that a carrier company must have legitimate paperwork for maintenance and reports, must keep ALL paperwork related to maintenance and repairs, so that they can be provided to the insurance company in the event of a claim. Keep these documents, and most of all, keep them in a safe place!

Remember, knowledge is king!

Are you unsure of what your policy covers, and what it excludes? Feel free to send it to us – we can review the policy and advise accordingly. It is in everyone’s best interest that we all understand what we are protected and covered for!

Do you have any specific experiences in dealing with insurance policies and exclusions? Please share!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Industry Hot Point – Update: United States & Mexico Cross-Border Trucking Agreement

Over the past few weeks, the Obama Administration has further revealed its plan to forge ahead with opening up the US-Mexico border to long-haul trucks from Mexico. In our previous post, we outlined how the basics of the program and what it will change. Today, we will go into more details regarding the plan, and some important time frames.

So, what are the plan details?

As outlined by the Administration, the plan is to implement a three stage program. Once a company from Mexico has operated in the US for 18 months and they pass a compliance review, they will be granted permanent authority. So, even if the pilot program was shut down, any Mexican motor carrier with permanent authority would be allowed to continue to operate long-haul in the US.

Where does this leave Mexican Carriers who have participated in previous pilot programs?

These types of carriers will be given “credit” for the time that they have previously operated in the US. So, for example, if a company completed 6 months in the previous program, they could theoretically get permanent operating authority after another 12 months.

How often will inspections of Mexican trucks occur?

During this first stage of the program, each truck participating in the program will be inspected each time it enters into the US. However, the plan is for driver licenses to be checked only 50% of the time. Each truck from Mexico will be required to be equipped with GPS or Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs).

What will happen with the tariffs Mexico imposed on US Exports?

Mexico first imposed retaliatory tariffs on US Exports almost two years ago. Under this new agreement, US shippers of fresh fruit and vegetables will now be able to move their product across the border without being subject to a tariff. The tariffs place on US products by Mexico will be reduced by 50% when a final agreement is signed. The Department of Transportation Fact Sheet estimates this will be in approximately 60 days. The remaining 50% will be removed when the first Mexican company receives its operating authority to run long-haul in the United States.

Want to weigh in on this discussion? Are you for or against this program? Share your thoughts!!!


Special Report: DOT forges ahead with cross-border plan. By Jami Jones. Accessed on April 8, 2011.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Going Green - What it Means to Us, and What Does it Mean to YOU

UWC has been promoting Green Initiatives for a few years now. An interesting fact: With all the office paper used in America every year, we could build a 12-foot high wall of paper from New York to California!

Here are various ways we are contributing to a greener environment;

- UWC is a SmartWaySM Transport Program Partner! SmartWaySM is an innovative collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the freight sector. Being a partner means that UWC is showing we are committed to promoting greater energy efficiency and air quality within the transportation industry. UWC improved our SmartWay Score by 1300% from year 2009 to year 2010!

- UWC’s Monthly Newsletter, The Road Ahead is available for distribution via email. Visit our website and sign up today – it goes out on the 15th of every month, in English or Spanish!

- Load Confirmations, Payment Confirmations, etc., can also be emailed to you. Contact our Carrier Relations department today toll free at 1.877.273.7400 or via email at and let us know you are also going green and would like these emailed to you!

- We promote direct deposit over sending paper checks for payment. This program is secure and efficient; all you need to do is provide us with your bank details and we can have your invoices paid directly in to your bank account. This service is available in Quick Pay or 7 Day Terms. Call Carrier Relations for more info!

- We use recycled paper in our office! The use of paper with a minimum of 40% post-consumer content has helped us to save 10 Trees in 2010!

These are just a few of the commitments we practice on a daily basis. So, now, we would like to know, what are your Green initiatives? Remember, every little bit helps!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How To.. Pre-Load Equipment Check

Today, we look at an excerpt from UWC’s Carrier Loading Guidelines. UWC introduced the first version of the Guidelines back in 2007 (wow, time flies when you're driving the road ahead!); they were designed to assist drivers in the proper procedures for the pre-loading, loading, in transit, and delivery stages of transporting goods. They reference many points that are established USDA and DOT standards for the protection of perishable foods during transport.

The first section that the guideline walks through is the Pre–Load Equipment Check stage. This stage is critical in preparing the driver and the refrigerated trailer. Below is the Pre-Load Equipment Checklist:

 Mandatory tools: pulp temperature thermometer (electronic recommended), pen, notepad, and cell phone (camera function recommended).

 Trailer length, height width, and empty weight adequate for the specifications of the load.

 Load locks or other devices available to secure load – 3 to 6 must be used.

 The refrigeration unit’s temperature control unit (thermostat) and temperature monitoring devices (thermometers) and all related electronics must be calibrated and accurate.

 Refrigeration air delivery chutes must be installed and attached properly, intact, and free of any restrictions, rips, or tears.

 Trailer’s insulation throughout the walls, ceilings, doors, and floors must be intact so that the trailer door seals in good condition and door seals tightly when closed.

 Walls free of cracks or holes.

 Inside of trailer: floor grooves and drains clear of obstacles, clean and odor free to ensure proper air flow out of the refrigeration unit, around the load, and back to the unit.

 Check fluids and test run the refrigeration unit by pre-cooling the trailer to ensure all residual heat inside the trailer walls, floor and ceiling is eliminated.

The objective with our Guidelines is to protect you. And we are confident that adhering to guide will increase your level of success for the safe and timely delivery of goods, and prevent your exposure to claims and other additional costs. Visit our website and download a copy of the full Guidelines Brochure, or visit our driver information board TC Trans in Blaine WA and pick one up today!!

How have our Carrier Loading Guidelines helped you? Has it changed your operations in any way? Any suggestions on how to make them better in our next version?