In today’s increasingly regulated transportation environment, carriers moving specialized and heavy haul loads across state lines face challenges from multiple fronts. They must comply with varying sets of requirements in each state, ensure safety for their drivers and the motoring public, and contend with opportunistic local, state and federal agencies seeking to cash in on permit violations.
Many shippers do not have the resources to keep in touch with regulatory requirements across all states. They also may not have the breadth of equipment and resources to comply with those requirements. Most important, they don’t have the bandwidth to build and maintain relationships to help facilitate successful heavy haul deliveries.
That’s why it’s important for shippers with heavy loads to find and partner with carriers who do have those resources.
Here are four ways that carriers with regulatory relationships can help shippers:
1) Make informed decisions based on knowledge and information obtained from memberships in key transportation organizations. These carriers have the resources to become members of trade associations, such as the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) or the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA). They designate leaders to attend conferences and meetings, sit on committees and boards, and lead initiatives. The point is that carriers who participate in these discussions have privy in real time to what’s going on and can inform their permit specialists and dispatchers who are on the front lines making sure safety standards are being met.
2) Overcome challenges and problems through key regulatory relationships and contacts. Part of how carriers are able to be successful in securing permits is through their relationships with state DOT officials that they have developed via their participation in these types of gatherings. These carriers allow their leaders to travel and take time away from work to attend important meetings where they network, collect phone numbers and get to know DOT and transportation officials personally. It’s about working together to achieve better conditions for all involved.
3) Coordinate and deliver complex loads across multiple states with less challenges. Coordinating multiple permits for mega loads can take days and even weeks of planning. Meeting customer expectations may prove difficult if carriers are not aware of the processes for each state and how long it will take to obtain various permits. For instance, one state may require more axles on a trailer than other states. If a carrier is not aware of these differences, they could end up stranded in a state with a truckload they cannot move because they do not have the proper permit. Carriers with regulatory relationships can facilitate the process more quickly and efficiently, thereby ensuring successful deliveries.
4) Coordinate teams of engineers and experts to study roads and bridges to determine best routes. Some states require this process before they will grant a permit. Bridges are rated to accept a maximum amount of weight, but the rating decreases through the years, and a load near the maximum weight may need to be rerouted in those cases. These evaluations can take time and sometimes months to coordinate ahead of time to ensure timely and safe delivery. Again, having contacts in the right place can move the process along more smoothly.
It’s all about Relationship-Building
This relationship-building is part of the behind-the-scenes activity that resourceful carriers must invest time and resources in to be able to deliver seamless transportation and logistics services that lead to satisfying customer experiences. Many customers have no idea what is really involved with getting a specialized item from Point A to Point B. They just want to see results. Relationship-building is an essential ingredient to that success.
About the Author
Jay Folladori is president of Bennett International Group’s largest division, Bennett Motor Express, a leading provider of global transportation and logistics solutions. Jay contributes decades of industry experience to various transportation organizations, such as the Specialized Carriers & Riggers Association, where he is a member of the Transportation Governing Committee and the Board of Directors. Past positions include co-chairman of the Transportation Logistics Working Group for the American Wind Energy Association in 2012 and president of the Jacksonville, Fla., chapter of the National Defense Transportation Association from 1994 to 2004.
Prior to coming to Bennett in 2015, Jay held a number of vice president positions at Landstar Transportation Logistics beginning in 1992. In 2012, he was awarded the Landstar Management Achievement Award. Before Landstar, he held leadership positions with Eck Miller Transportation for nearly 15 years. He earned in bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in political science at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and is married with two grown children.