Viewing posts from: January 2016

2016 Could Be the Year of Regulatory Reform

Posted January 26, 2016 by Administrator

shutterstock_118561318 - CopyWith all of the changes and upheavals in the transportation industry, there could be good news in the area of regulatory reform. From the FAST Act to the pending confirmation of T.F. Scott Darling III, transportation regulation could be seeing many changes in 2016.

New FMCSA Administrator

President Obama nominated T.F. Scott Darling III last summer for the FMCSA administrator position. Darling III had to wait five months before his confirmation hearing in January. Before the Senate Committee hearing, Darling promised to reform many aspects of the FMCSA, including the CSA.

President Obama’s Regulatory Agenda

President Obama’s nomination of T.F. Scott Darling III was only one step in his effects to create an aggressive regulatory agenda. The introduction of the FAST Act was another effort of the Obama administration to improve regulation in the transportation industry. President Obama wanted changes in CSA scoring, which was part of the FAST Act.

As acting administrator of the FMCSA, Darling III has made many promises but has carried through on few of the regulations President Obama would like to see enacted, such as electronic logging devices and speed limiters. Many believe the acting administrator is waiting to be nominated before beginning aggressive changes in the FMCSA.

For more industry news, contact us today.

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FMCSA proposes rule for new carrier safety rating program, enforcement measures

Posted January 19, 2016 by Erin

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Jan. 15 a rulemaking proposal designed to update FMCSA’s safety rating methodology by integrating on-road safety data from inspections, along with the results of carrier investigations and crash reports, to determine a motor carrier’s overall safety fitness on a monthly updated basis.

 The proposed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule would replace the current three-tier federal rating system of “Satisfactory, Conditional and Unsatisfactory” for federally regulated commercial motor carriers (in place since 1982) with a single determination of Unfit, which would require the carrier to either improve its operations or shut down.

“Using all available information  to achieve more timely assessments will allow us to better identify unsafe companies and get them off the road,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“Carriers that we identify as unfit to operate will be removed from our roadways until they improve,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling.

Once in place, the agency believes the rule will enable it to properly assess the safety fitness of approximately 75,000 companies a month. By comparison, the agency is only able to investigate 15,000 motor carriers annually under the current system, with less than half of those companies even receiving a safety rating.

Two data sources underlie the methodology the agency proposes to use: Investigation results as well as roadside inspection/violation data as compiled and measured by the CSA Safety Measurement System in five of its seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) (excluding the Crash Indicator and the Controlled Substances/Alcohol category). A carrier’s on-highway performance in relation to a fixed failure threshold established in the rule for those five BASICs — Hours of Service Compliance, Driver Fitness, Unsafe Driving, Vehicle Maintenance and Hazardous Materials — will be considered.

Failure of any two will result in an unfit rating.

When assessing roadside inspection data results, the proposal uses a minimum of 11 inspections with violations in a single BASIC within a 24-month period as its data-minimum standard. Until that level of activity is reached in at least one BASIC, a motor carrier will not be eligible to be identified as “unfit.” If a carrier’s individual performance meets or exceeds the failure standards in the rule, it would then fail that BASIC. The failure standard will be fixed by the eventual final rule, the agency proposes. A carrier’s status in relation to that fixed measure would not be affected by other carriers’ performance, a key difference from the percentile scores computed within the CSA SMS in each BASIC.

The Unfit determination, ultimately, is proposed to occur with a carrier’s failure of any two BASICs, whether as a result of roadside violations, investigatory findings, or a combination of both.

FMCSA estimates that under this proposal, fewer than 300 motor carriers each year would be proposed as “unfit” solely as a result of on-road safety violations. Further, the agency’s analysis has shown that the carriers identified through this on-road safety data exhibit crash rates of almost four times the national average.

The proposal’s publication in the Federal Register, expected next week Thursday, Jan. 21, also will mark the advent of a 60-day public comment period on the provisions. FMCSA will be providing a reply comment period allowing for an additional 30 days for commenters to respond to initial commentary.

 

Original source – Commercial Carrier Journal | Author Todd Dills

– See more of the original story at: http://www.ccjdigital.com/fmcsa-proposes-rule-to-nix-current-carrier-safety-rating-system-implement-new-system-based-on-inspection-and-violation-data/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=01-18-2016&utm_campaign=Commercial%20Carrier%20Journal&ust_id=f63076e10059ec93965c3f2dca18baf6&#sthash.E52M8rC0.dpuf

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Start 2016 With These Agribusiness Apps

Posted January 19, 2016 by Administrator

You may think that an industry like agribusiness wouldn’t have many apps available. On the contrary, there are hundreds of apps that are for agribusiness or can be used for your agribusiness. Here are five of the most useful mobile apps you can use today to make 2016 more productive.

  • Evernote: A paperless work environment is beneficial for a business that isn’t confined to an office. Evernote is an app that can keep you slide4organized and can be used on your desktop, tablet and smartphone.
  • AgWeb News: You can view the latest agribusiness news wherever and whenever you need it with the AgWeb News app.
  • Pocket: And when you are without an Internet connection, you can still access AgWeb news articles and other digital content with Pocket.
  • Virtual Farm Manager: Manage all of your agricultural tacks and keep your business organized with the Virtual Farm Manager.
  • MFA Agronomy Guide: The MFA Agronomy Guide app is a great resource for corn, small grain and other crops.
  • Ag Direct Mobile Calculator: This mobile app is a great way to compare, calculate quotes and make an informed decision on financing and leases.

These five mobile apps are a great way to get your agribusiness off on the right foot in the new year. AgWeb App Finder has over a hundred mobile apps you can use for your agribusiness. Take a look to find all of the apps you need to manage and grow your business in 2016.

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Find Qualified Drivers for the New Year

Posted January 12, 2016 by Administrator

Man standing in front of truck

With the high turnover in the trucking industry, finding and keeping qualified drivers is important. If you have an open position in your commercial fleet, you need to adjust your hiring practices to attract top talent.

Determine What You Want

When you are creating the job description for your open position, you need to be as specific as possible. The more details you can offer, the better your chances of finding a driver with the right qualities. Removing vague descriptions from your job posting will also attract talented candidates who are looking for challenging and growing positions.

Make the Ad Attractive

With so many postings online and offline, you will need to be able to stand out in the crowd. With the right job description and an attractive ad, qualified drivers will be pulled to your posting and be encouraged to apply.

Don’t Forget Social Media

Social media sites are a popular way to search for and fill open positions. Network with qualified candidates so that when you have an opening you can communicate it to drivers you already have a relationship with. It will also give you time to vet potential drivers for your organization before you need them.

When faced with a small number of qualified candidates and a large number of positions, commercial trucking companies need to be creative. Focusing on a detailed job description, networking on social media and designing effective ads will help find qualified drivers for your 2016 open positons.

For more business tips, contact us today and our experienced staff can offer guidance on how your company can minimize costs while maximizing your insurance coverage.

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Will the Fed Rate Hike Hurt Agribusiness?

Posted January 5, 2016 by Administrator

shutterstock_3008334After ten years, the Feds raised rates to .25 in December. This increase will affect borrowing costs and prime rates and has been received with mixed reviews by the business community. Will this rate hike hurt agribusiness, an industry that has already seen drought, higher transportation costs and a negative impact on exports?

The increase will effect loans, equipment purchases and land prices. The higher interest rates can affect agribusinesses that have operation lines of credit and are depending on loans to help them recover from a bad growing season. When faced with these costs, businesses only have two choices: they can try to absorb the expense or extend it on to their customers.

Raised rates also impact production costs and a per acre increase for certain loans. For those who are able to reduce credit lines and their dependence on loans, agribusinesses will be able to reduce the burden of higher interest rates. For those farmers who are already struggling, it will add another cost at a time when organizations are trying to navigate difficult economic factors.

If your organization is looking to find ways to mitigate risks and lower costs, then you need to review your insurance coverage. Contact us today and our experienced staff can offer guidance on how your company can minimize costs while maximizing your insurance coverage.

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