Trucking is a noble old craft. The American trucker is an institution in and of themselves – representative of the bustling commerce and great wild expanse of the nation. The trucking industry is not all romantic metaphor, though: it is a complex and ever-modernizing area of business. If you want to get into the trucking industry as a driver, broker, or fleet operator, you will have to brush up on some key terms. This article covers some of the biggest buzzwords in modern trucking.
Freight factoring is one of the ways that trucking company operators and drivers can ensure that their cashflow stays positive and regular. When a truck operator invoices a broker for a job that has been completed, it can take a long time for the brokerage company to actually cough up the money. This is usually because brokers have a great many invoices to action and are usually very sparsely staffed.
Freight factoring is when a trucking operator sells their invoice to a third-party company instead of waiting for a broker to pay up. The factoring company will take a percentage of the invoice as a cut to administer the transfer and immediately pay the trucking operator. Essentially, the operator has to weigh up the value of getting their money quickly over the value of receiving the full sum. In order to keep a healthy cashflow, many operators choose the former option and engage in freight factoring.
The containerization of the logistics industry has had a huge impact on the world of trucking. Containerization first got rolling in the mid-1950s. It involves the transportation of goods in shipping containers. These containers are of a predetermined size. This makes them extremely easy to load onto vessels and stack onto trains and trucks. Containerization was an absolute revolution in international logistics. China and the United States of America export over 40 million tons of goods in containers every single year, according to the world shipping council. This accounts for a large percentage of the total exported tonnage of each nation.
Trucking has had to evolve alongside this revolution. A new kind of truck trailer system that can directly take on containers as they are unloaded from a vessel has been developed – and is extremely widespread. Containerized trucking is likely to be even more important in the future as fewer and fewer imports and exports are transported as bulk goods. Companies can also track individual containers, which makes the inventory process of any import/ export operation far easier.
Most trucking operators will look to take on a backhaul load in order tokeep their operations profitable. Backhauling is the process of taking on a load during the return leg of a journey as well as the outbound one. If a trucker backhauls, they will reduce the amount of time spent sinking money into a return journey for no profit. Good route planning is essential for backhauling. Return loads need to be organized for almost every trip if a truck operator is to stay profitable and prosperous.
Unitization was a concept that was developed in the United States in the 1920s and spread throughout the world during the Second World War as American military logistics became familiar to civilian operators. Essentially, unitization is the collection of various goods into ‘units’ – usually on pallets. This makes them far easier to transport and account for. Instead of accounting for individual items, each unit can be given a code or identifying mark according to destination. This makes logistics all the more logical. Any truck driver working today will be familiar with unitized goods and spend a lot of time hauling pallets, especially if they work in the dry van trucking field, the most popular type of trucking.
The world is fast running out of exploitable fossil fuels, and climate change is worsening conditions for life on earth. These truths are inescapable, and the logistics industry must address them if it is to stay viable into the future. To this aim, there has been a general push towards the electrification of the trucking industry. The electrification of the trucking industry faces some pretty significant challenges. Trucks rely on long-range and high power to efficiently convey heavy loads across continents. Although electric motors can potentially be extremely high torque, their range and power are limited by their batteries.
Recently, battery technology has undergone a significant and revolutionary leap forwards. Vehicle battery packs can now power trucks for long ranges, and the technology exists for truck stops to provide charging stations. Truck manufacturers have indicated that they are working on heavy-duty electric vehicles that could replace diesel options in the near future. The engine manufacturer Cummins is one of these companies. They already have significant experience in producing motors for powerful commercial vehicles. Large companies like FedEx have committed themselves to the decarbonization of their express trucking fleets in the next two decades. The age of electrification is upon us!
Simply put, intermodal transportation is where several different kinds of vehicles are needed to move goods from their starting point to their destination. A huge quantity of intermodal transportation takes place as part of global logistics chains. International trade is very rarely carried out without some degree of intermodality. The huge majority of international trade is undertaken by a combination of seafaring, roadgoing, and railway vehicles.
Intermodal cargo transfer facilities are usually located at ports or stations. These facilities are where cargo is transferred from one mode of transport to another. In shipping containers, vast cranes are necessary to lift containers from ships and onto waiting trucks or train carriages. These are known as gantry cranes, and are essential to the smooth and safe running of any container operation. The immense ports of Hong Kong, Tokyo, Baltimore, and Rotterdam all have large numbers of these impressive cranes to hoist up containers and move them from ship to trucks effortlessly and efficiently.