freight shipping

“Pallet Loading” – A Definition


Ever wondered what the dispatcher was thinking when they are 1500 miles away from the actual load? I’ve thought about it a lot in the past, “what the h*** were they thinking?!” So here is a quick refresher course or definition of that the dispatcher was thinking:

Dispatcher: “Just put the pallets in straight!” Meaning: Usually a lighter than normal load, maybe 30,000 to 35,000 lb load.

Dispatcher: “May have to turn the pallets sideways, straight in!” Meaning: Usually a light load of low paying lettuce, etc. Put as many of those suckers in the trailer and load boxes to the roof! Need to make a profit somehow!

Dispatcher: “Gonna have to Pinwheel the pallets!” Meaning: Got a full load of bananas or toilet paper in a narrow container, close to maximum weight. Still need to make a little money on this load!

Dispatcher: “Gonna have to load double – single, double – single! Meaning: This load is close or over legal weight and we want you to spend 8 hours, loading, weighing and reloading to get the load legal! And by the way, company is going to give you an extra $10 for your troubles!



They Still Don’t Get It

Hurray to the guys in Washington D.C. today who took part in the “drive in” protest over $4.00 dollar per gallon diesel. You won’t find this story on CNN, MSNBC or your local news station. The only network to give 30 seconds to the cause was Fox News. The Olympic Torch was dedicated about 5 hours of breaking news time on CNN yesterday, yet almost no time was given to the subject of high fuel prices. I guess I should stop watching CNN for a while.

The reason for this post is because I heard something totally absurd. A commentator on CNN’s morning show, can’t remember his name, was talking about how he thought the cost of shipping, yes I said shipping, was going to come down. His thought was because more people couldn’t afford higher gas prices, that they would tend to order more products online and have them delivered by FedEx Ground! Huh? What? Did I hear him right? I didn’t want to embarrass this guy because I thought maybe he had a medical condition not allowing him to think straight, or maybe he thought high fuel prices was a big joke. I am sure someone in his position can joke about fuel prices because he’s forgotten how to even pump gas into his own car. He’s probably got a limo or a driver who takes care of those details for him. Heck, he probably makes so much money at his job, he probably has a nice portfolio of oil company stock. Does this guy even know how his groceries get to his supermarket shelf? Oops, I forgot, this guy makes so much money that his housekeeper does the shopping and his accountant pays the bills.

UPS actually reported today that they have seen a drop in shipping and expect the cost of shipping to rise because of higher fuel prices. The bleak picture that I see is higher shipping costs because of fuel prices, higher prices at the supermarket because of higher shipping costs and fewer people buying online because they just can’t afford it, PERIOD!

Trains vs. Trucks

It’s that time of year again, yearly inventory is wrapping up and transportation companies are ramping up. I’ve been out of the trucking loop for about a month now after being laid off at my most recent job due to slow freight. Anyone want to hire a 10 year veteran of the road, no accidents, no tickets and over a million miles? I don’t ask for much, just a livable wage, decent home time and good equipment.

Anyway, it seems as if the train companies are advertising on “green” friendly television stations and are on a push to make the general public that trains are more “Eco-Friendly“. What?! An eco-friendly train? The last train I saw in Washington was a smoky, dirty mess! The local fuel terminal is being threatened to be shut down because the leakage from the fuel tanks and hoses to fill those trains are leaking enough fuel to threaten the local aquifer. The latest advertisement states that a train can move a ton of freight 400 miles on a gallon of fuel. I did the math, the average truck can move a ton of freight over 500 miles on 2.5 gallons of fuel. Sounds like the train does a better job, doesn’t it? Except a train can’t back into a dock, transport that freight across town, nor can a train do it’s job without a truck!

I’d like to see the train company executives stop trying to compete with trucking companies, stop using poor examples of how much freight they can haul on a gallon of fuel, and start getting on board with true “green” or “Eco-Friendly” ideas to make the transportation industry a cleaner place in general. The trucking industry has spent billions on newer, clean burning engines and exhaust systems over the past ten years and we still get the brunt of bad PR as being dirty, pollution causing instruments of the environment.