FRA’s March 7-9 Southcentral Region Meeting, held near Mobile, Alabama, included a General Session with excellent speakers covering many aspects of trucking efficiency and trucking safety/insurance. Some of the speakers’ presentation slides will be available to FRA members in the Members area of our website. Here are a few key points made by these speakers:
• Well-placed log trailer drop yards located near various mills can help a logger increase his production, hauling many loads during non-peak hours when mill unloading times are usually faster.
• If the log trucks go to the same harvest site all day, they will never improve their “percent of loaded miles” efficiency beyond 50% at best.
• For larger wood suppliers—those with a diversity of crew locations—bad weather rarely affects the ability to produce wood at all locations.
• Some truckers have helpful options to haul wood from manufacturing facilities or satellite woodyards when wet ground conditions prevent them from hauling from the woods.
• Automatic transmissions can improve a log truck’s fuel economy, reduce maintenance and repairs, and increase uptime.
• CAT Safety technology is available to implement a non-intrusive “fatigue event” and “distracted event” monitoring system for drivers of off-road and on-road vehicles, to maintain driver safety performance. (FRA members: See also the “CAT Detect for Personnel” RFID tag system that can protect the safety of on-the-ground workers near machines and trucks—FRA Technical Release 17-R-2.)
• One Southcentral Region-based log trucking business is part of a Captive Insurance program, which is a setup similar to self-insurance where groups or companies create a separate, licensed insurance company to help reduce costs and manage insurance predictability. Perhaps this insurance model holds promise for our industry.