What's going on with loads at UShip?

Can this be right? Over 49,000 Service Providers and 5,645 Active Listings?
That's a lot of guys with trucks chasing a much smaller amount of loads. I suppose the "New Bids" and "New Listings" stats are more indicative of who is doing what, and with whom.

Today's Marketplace Stats [from Uship website]

* Today's New Listings:351
* Today's New Bids:637
* Total Active Listings:5,645
* Total Service Providers:49,253
* Current Users Online:1,442

I think it would be interesting to quantify load price by mile and compare it with other dispatch boards. Could give consumers and providers an index to how efficiently priced their quotes are relative to the general market.

Chain prices going UP.

Just a word to the wise: if you anticipate buying auto tie-down chains in the next six months, better buy it before April.

Canadian auto transport company endorses Boydstun screw technology

This is an excerpt of a press-release I got from Boydstun today:

“Our record using the screw actuator/soft-tie strap system has been tremendous,” said Jeff Odway, National Fleet Manager for L. Hansen’s Forwarding Ltd. “We were fortunate in reducing damages significantly in the first year of a new contract. Damage reductions were attributed to the screw system running 99.77% damage free while moving approximately 22,000 vehicles in the first year.”

I actually talked to this gentleman a month or so ago, and he said that the strap trucks are actually extending the careers of some car haulers by five years or more. He said that there have been guys actually coming out of retirement to run these trucks.

He really put it in perspective, explaining that the physical demands of loading and unloading cars on a chain truck are pretty significant. You've got the weight of the chain itself, the force that it takes to crank the ratchets, plus the fact of having to climb up on the top deck to hook and unhook vehicles. It beats up on your body!

I wonder how long it's going to take the worker's comp insurance actuaries to figure out that this new technology decreases risk? Seems like decreased insurance expense would be an added benefit of going with the new technology.

Walter Frobos, who runs the shop for Southeast Auto Transport, has had similar luck hauling Toyotas with the new Boydstun screw trailers. Southeast Auto Transport is a division of JM Family Enterprises, 16th biggest privately held firm in the US. Last time I talked with him he was buying a bunch of the new trucks!

How strong are your ratchet wheel straps, really?

The AA Extra Long

The other night a fellow who was comparison shopping called me up to ask about ratchet wheel straps. He said that the other ones he was thinking about buying were made out of 12,000 strap material.

"Ask the salesman if they come with tags showing a 4000 LB working load limit," I said.

The industry standard is for these auto tie-down straps to be tagged with the safe working load limit, calculated at a ration of 1:3 of ultimate (breaking strength) of the assembly.

Most of the straps I see on the market are built with a 5000 breaking strength hook, but few of the vendors will point that out to car haulers; they just talk about their 12,000 lb straps.

I've seen a major truck sales company selling basket tie-downs that had absolutely no working load limit tags at all. NADA!

I've seen other companies with phony working load limit tags. (Don't worry, we're putting some of those through a destructive pull-test and will publish the results.)

I've seen other companies selling ratchet straps with huge ratchets-- the kind better suited for tying down loads on a flatbed trailer, where clearance is never an issue.

When you do something day in and day out, you learn all the "tricks of the trades" and you also see people using lame sales tricks like talking about their "12,000" straps, and not mentioning the working load limit of the assembly. This industry needs to start putting safety ahead of profits and explaining to buyers EXACTLY what they're getting, and how long the warranty is on the product. (Not to mention, how long the strap is!)

Kentucky Trailer Technologies to Relocate

Kentucky Trailer Technologies to Relocate: "Kentucky Trailer Technologies to Relocate"

Seems like almost every aspect of the auto industry is making the transition to the cotton belt from the rust belt. I wonder how much of this has to do with the business environment; i.e., taxes, level of education, and how much has to do with the emergence of the south as a new hub of the business. I think economists call this the "clustering" phenomenon.

Allied, Yucaipa Reach Ch. 11 Deal - MSN Money

Associated Press Business News: Allied, Yucaipa Reach Ch. 11 Deal - MSN Money

I wonder if the guys at Yucaipa have ever looked at Allied's fleet of trucks. I think they look different in the yard than they do on the balance sheet. No offense, Allied, but a little Slip Plate goes a long way, especially when you're hauling cars in the northern states with all that salt and sand on the road.

Boydstun has a new website and phone number.

Boydstun announced recently that they have a new toll-free phone number and a new website, including parts catalogs in PDF format (you can download them and store them on your computer or print them out). Sounds like they have a new phone system that can transfer you to whatever department or even location (Portland vs. Jacksonville) that you need.

Toll-Free Customer Service Phone Number

For the first time, customers requiring assistance or general company information can now call Boydstun directly and for free. The new toll-free number connects callers to a central dispatch officer who will route them to the appropriate department. Callers can use this number to speak to the Sales, Warranty or Finance Departments, schedule a repair or order parts, among other requests.

The following is an excerpt of a press-release sent to Car Hauler News:

The number (1-877-437-8952) is answered from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday. Customers can be connected to either the Portland, Oregon or the Jacksonville, Florida locations. Callers using this toll-free service after hours can leave a message and will be contacted during normal business hours.

What the auto transport industry really needs is one phone number that will take you to the parts department for all trailer manufacturers. Wait a minute-- they already have that... It's called C.F. Bender!

Madison County Record | Cottrell suit settles after blame reassigned

Madison County Record | Cottrell suit settles after blame reassigned: "Wednesday, February 28, 2007"

Will this be the last of these cases? Probably not.