Freight Loads Trucker News

How to Determine Freight Class for Truck Shipping

All items that move by ground in the United States are subject to regulations administrated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Commonly know as the DOT, this agency regulates safe ground commerce by enforcing guidelines for trucking companies that handle freight. The NMFC (National Motor Freight Classification) breaks down all shippable items in categories into which all freight must be properly classified prior to being shipped. To the surprise of many first-time shippers, each classification code affects the cost of transportation. In order to avoid confusion and possible fines for infractions, it is imperative to properly classify freight.

Determine what item is going to be shipped. Make a list of items to be shipped if there are more than one. Describe in great detail what the item is made of, its purpose, its value and its condition. Weigh and measure the dimensions of all packages being shipped. MNFC classification codes are extremely detailed, so any additional details, such as types of packaging, is helpful.

Contact a local LTL carrier. An LTL (less than truckload) carrier is a trucking company that consolidates various customers’ orders to fill trucks. Contacting a local LTL carrier is easiest by calling during business hours, but is also possible in many case online.

Give a description of the item to ship, along with all additional information, to LTL carrier. List all items that follow under different classification numbers, so that an accurate price can be quoted. The trucking company will help you classify the items by looking up the freight in the MNFC classification manual.

Calculate the density of the freight. Density is calculated by dividing pounds by cubic feet. Classifications are determined not only by classification number, but by density.

Business Lifestyle

Subcontract Requirements for the North Carolina Department of Transportation

The Office of Contractual Services (OCS) of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) operates a subcontractor program that allows subcontractors to work on: NCDOT statewide projects that originate from Raleigh headquarters office that are known as Central Let contracts; and NCDOT divisional projects that originate from one of the 14 division offices that are known as Department Let Purchase Order contracts.

Generally, subcontractors must fulfill three requirements to become and remain eligible to work on NCDOT contracts completing a separate application for each of the requirement levels.

The first-time Pre-Qualification Application is the initial entry into the NCDOT subcontractor program. OCS will assess qualifications and abilities before approving. Once approved, subcontractors are given a user ID and are listed in the NCDOT Directory of Transportation Firms with a Pre-Qualification Status of “Subcontractor” and will wait a month before being allowed to bid for jobs.

An annual Renewal Application is necessary to ensure that the OCS has current contact and experience information and Safety Index on file for subcontractors. A 3-year Re-Qualification Application allows for periodic reassessment of a subcontractor’s abilities, experience, and equipment list.

The NCDOT Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program is designed for independent small businesses where a minimum of 51 percent of the ownership stakes are controlled by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals, minorities, or women, respectively.

Through this program that is conducted by the NCDOT Office of Civil Rights and Business Development (OCRBD), these persons receive separate DBE certification and are not required to go through the pre-qualification process to be subcontractors, in accordance with Title 49 CFR, Part 26, Appendix C.

The DBE Certification Application is submitted to the OCRBD for review. After an interview and a site visit, a DBE Certification Technician will approve the application and will generate a listing in the federal Unified Certification Program (UCP) Directory. A UCP listing allows the DBE subcontractor to participate in any federally funded program with any other state agency without having to reapply for DBE certification.

DBE subcontractors are required to submit an Affidavit and Personal Net Worth Statement annually and a Re-Certification Application and Personal Net Worth Statement every three years to maintain DBE Program eligibility.

The NCDOT Small Professional Services Firm (SPSF) Program is very similar to the DBE Program. However, it uses the size of the business as a criterion for enrollment. The NCDOT uses the SBA size standards based on the number of employees and the gross annual income.

SPSF Program applicants will first complete the general pre-qualification process. Once completed, a complete and notarized SPSF Contractor’s Self-Certification Form will be submitted to the OCS. Upon acceptance, the SPSF contractor is listed in the UCP Directory.

Business Freight Loads

Elevated Methods of Moving freight

Several different types of equipment move freight from one location to another. Depending on whether you are moving freight inside a building or outside in a storage area, you should use the best equipment to stack the freight.

Elevated freight equipment uses chains and hooks to pneumatically lift the freight high off the ground. Workers should engage in safety practices and have the required training concerning the equipment they plan to operate to elevate the freight for movement.

Move freight inside the warehouse with hoisting equipment. This hoisting equipment consists of a mechanical crane elevated above the warehouse floor that can be moved by a hoist operator. Attach the freight to the hoist with lifting cables and hooks.

Push the button on the pendant control to hoist the equipment off the warehouse floor. Guide the hoist with the freight by using the pendant control, which is a control box on a long cord that operates the hoist above. Lower the hoist and freight once you have moved it to a new location in the warehouse.

Move the freight from the warehouse with a telescoping boom attached to a forklift. Slide the lifting cables around the freight and hook the chain to the telescoping boom at the rear of the forklift. Ensure the freight is stable and centered on the forklift to prevent the machine from tipping over by the sheer weight.

Drive the freight to the necessary area. Lift the freight to the required height and stack it. Detach the chain and lower the telescoping boom to a normal height.

Business Lifestyle

What Is Contingent Cargo Insurance?

People ship cargo out to different regions on trucks, ships, trains, planes and other vehicles. This lets them do business with different people and companies even if they are far away. However, shipments don’t always reach their destination. This is where contingent cargo insurance can prove itself a true asset to a broker.

Contingent cargo insurance is a type of insurance that freight brokerages carry. It is a secondary insurance that covers some or all of the cost of handling, storing, getting rid of or replacing cargo that’s refused, damaged or lost. It pays only if primary insurance doesn’t pay out. It is called contingent cargo insurance because it covers unexpected expenses that aren’t covered in a primary insurance policy.


There is no law that requires a broker to cover contingent cargo insurance. However, carriers usually won’t work with brokers who don’t have this insurance. Brokers usually forward claims to their carriers if something happens to a shipment, but if the carrier’s policy won’t pay out, someone still has to pay expenses. If you don’t have contingent cargo insurance as a broker, your shippers — the people who hired you to find someone to ship their goods — can blame you for the loss even if you can’t be held liable. Your relationship with your shippers consequently can suffer. Carriers understand this and prefer not to work with brokers who are willing to take such risks.


Coverage under a contingent cargo insurance policy will vary based on where you get the policy. However, some standard protections are for theft, vandalism and accidents.


Having contingent cargo insurance lets you compete with other brokers and establish good relationships with carriers without paying for losses out of your own pocket. It also aids the consumer; if anything happens to a shipment, you still can get goods to others without too much disruption.
When It’s Needed

There are two instances when having contingent cargo insurance is imperative. The first is if you sign an agreement with a carrier that transfers liability to you. The second is if the carrier you select doesn’t have proper carrier’s insurance. Ideally, this shouldn’t happen, but carriers sometimes neglect premiums unintentionally or simply don’t have a policy that covers as much as you’d like.

Lifestyle Trucker News

How to Get Your DOT Number Today

Your company needs a U.S. Department of Transportation, or USDOT, Number if you haul cargo or transport passengers across state lines. Some states require all commercial motor vehicles to acquire a USDOT Number. Companies receiving a number for the first time are enrolled in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, New Entrant Safety Assurance Program. The FMCSA program requires passing a safety audit and maintaining good roadside safety performance. Your USDOT Number acts a unique identification number for government safety inspections, audits, investigations and reviews.

Register with the FMCSA online at its website. Answer a series of questions about your company to determine which form you need to complete. Skip online registration if you want to submit your application by mail.

Download and complete either the MCS-150 or MCS-150B form. Motor carriers requiring a Hazardous Materials (HM) Safety Permit need to complete the MCS-150B form. If you don’t need a HM Safety Permit, complete the MCS-150 form. These forms can also be acquired from your local FMCSA field office. The MCS-150 form requires information about your drivers, the number of vehicles that you operate, total mileage and information about the cargo you transport.

Print the form to keep a record for your company or if you want to submit the form by mail.

Submit the application form on the FMCSA website. FMCSA will immediately inform you of whether your application is approved. Successful applications immediately receive a USDOT Number. Alternately, you can mail the application form to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Mailed applications take an average of 4 weeks to 6 weeks to process.

Carriers Trucker News

How to Make Money With a Dump Truck

If you’re looking to make money with a dump truck, building contractors, landscaping companies and homeowners are your target clients. Get a commercial driver’s license (CDL), set up your business and spread the word.

Prepare for business. Get your CDL, which will enable you to legally operate a dump truck. Check your local ordinances for any additional training or licensing requirements for operating an independent dump truck business before you can begin to solicit jobs.
Contact the IRS to obtain a tax ID number for your business and open a business bank account. Have business cards and letterhead printed for your company that you can mail or leave with building contractors, landscape supply managers and homeowners. You will make a more professional impression if you leave your contacts with relevant pricing and contact information, along with a copy of your credentials. Better business impressions translate into more money for your business.

Contact landscape suppliers in your area, advising them that you are available to move dirt, mulch and other landscaping materials on a contract basis. Talk to the store managers in person, leaving them a packet with your business card, rate information and certification documents for owning and operating the dump truck.


Run an ad in several local papers and in the yellow pages describing the types of work you are available to do with your dump truck. Homeowners who enjoy do-it-yourself landscaping or renovation projects need your services to haul in or remove materials as they excavate or remodel. Advertise on Craigslist and other online sources for free exposure.

Make money with your dump truck by working with local builders as an independent contractor. New construction projects always need the services of a dump truck to move debris to the landfill as well as moving dirt and other landscaping materials. Contact the builders personally by phone or at a job site. Follow up with the same printed materials you left with the landscape supplier.

Contact your local city transportation services to inquire about winter snow removal jobs or other contract positions it may have available. You can also contact other snow removal companies to let them know you’re available for their overflow.

Lifestyle Trucker News

How to Repair a Truck Tarp

You can repair a worn and torn truck tarp to secure and protect your load while in transit. Truck tarps are available in a wide variety of sizes and designs to fit the beds of large and small trucks. The majority of truck tarps are made of a woven canvas or plastic polymer blend that is lightweight and durable. Extensive exposure to high speed winds may cause damage to the connection system or the truck tarp itself.



Trim the frayed edges of any torn sections of the truck tarp so they are clean and flat.

Hold torn edges together and apply a strip of tarp tape that is four inches longer than the tear to both sides of the truck tarp damage. Press the tarp tape to the truck tarp surface so it completely adheres.

Punch new holes in the edges of the tarp with the grommet tool in an undamaged location near where other grommets have failed. Crimp a new grommet onto the newly created hole using the grommet tool.

Secure the repaired tarp by hooking a few bungee cords into the newly placed grommets and attaching them to the truck bed.

Look in the rear view mirror to see the way the truck tarp is moving at high speeds. Add more bungee cords to secure the tarp down onto the load so snugly that it barely moves to avoid further damage.

Lifestyle Trucker News

How to Start a Transportation Company

Transportation companies transport goods or people via taxis, shuttles, ferries, limousines, buses or freight companies. If you’re interested in starting a transportation company, you will first need to define a structure for your business. Start with a business plan to help you identify a need and any competition.

Define your business. Freight companies move vehicles across the nation and overseas for commercial and individual clients, such as car dealers who may need to move a handful of cars to another locale or individuals whose jobs have moved them across the country. A freight company will have significantly higher start-up costs, insurance needs and manpower. Local transport companies may service hotels, restaurants, schools, and tourists. A school bus service may charter kids to school. Another option is to start a moving company for residents moving within the local area.

Get licensed, insured and registered. Select a relevant name for your business that includes the type of service you provide and then register your business and purchase liability insurance. Obtain the required license for your company. For example, if your company will include buses, trucks or vehicles designed to carry more than 16 people, you will need a commercial driving license. If operating a school bus company, contact your local motor vehicle department to learn the requirements for procuring a school bus driver’s license. Additionally, companies that move passengers or cargo across state lines may be required to obtain a USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number.

Find a location for your business. A taxi or shuttle service should be situated near hotels, airports or downtown. If operating a school bus service or freight company, look to move into an old warehouse to eliminate construction costs and zoning concerns.

Procure your commercial vehicles. Find reliable mechanics who are skilled on your particular makes and models. When first starting, you may have a small fleet, which means that anytime a vehicle breaks down, you are literally losing money. Quick repairs are imperative. Purchase commercial auto insurance for your vehicles. Hire trained and licensed drivers with clean records. Purchase workers’ compensation for your employees.

Procure a website for your transport business. Then invest in reservation software that can help you organize and track your reservations. Look for software that can integrate with your site and will provide your customers with accurate quotes, assign staff and vehicles, and display trip routes, cancellations, baggage options, freight handling and accommodations. On your site, detail policies for pets, cancellations and reservations. Hire a dispatcher or receptionist to take calls.

Business Lifestyle

How to Transport a Truck

Whether purchasing a new truck, selling an old one or moving your truck with you, finding the best transportation for your investment is essential. The vehicle transportation industry is huge and filled with both very helpful, and not so helpful, professionals and advice. Between professional resources and the do-it-yourself options available, choosing the right option can be difficult and confusing. Fortunately, choosing the best option for your needs requires little more than some research and the proper documentation.


Research the companies. Before you commit to a professional, check the company’s reputation through the Better Business Bureau and through customer reviews via the Internet and phone. Contact the companies via phone to get answers to all your questions regarding delivery radius, costs and necessary documentation.

Select the method of transportation. Many transport services offer two types of delivery. The first being transportation via tractor-trailer, the second being a hotshot truck. Tractor-trailer transportation tends to be cheaper but can be difficult to arrange. Tractor-trailers carry 40-foot-long trailers and have limited turning capabilities. This makes navigating residential locations difficult, requiring parties to meet somewhere else, like an open parking lot. Hotshot trucks, which are pickup truck-style transports, provide faster delivery and easier pick ups, but are more costly as they only carry one or two trucks per load.

Prepare the truck for transport. Collect all your necessary documentation and save it in a folder or other safe place. Make sure the truck is clean of all your personal property and keep an extra set of keys available in case of emergency.

Transport the truck. Arrange to arrive at the agreed upon meeting place at least 30 minutes early. This will give you a time buffer in case of unforeseen circumstances or an early pick up. Give all the necessary paperwork to the transport driver.


How to spot flood-damaged trucks

Used truck experts say flood-damaged passenger vehicles are much more common on the market than flood-damaged trucks, but truck customers still should use caution.

Although shoppers should consider if the truck is for sale in an area that’s sustained flood damage, the truck could easily have been taken to another region to sell. Wherever you’re shopping, choosing a reputable used truck dealer is a good first step, say market experts.

One obvious thing to check is if the truck has a salvage title, says Dan Jeske, vice president of purchasing and wholesale for Kansas City-based Arrow Truck Sales. Still, truck owners do not always turn in a flood-damage claim to insurance, he added, in which case it would not have a salvage title. Also, not every state requires vehicle titles to indicate flood damage, says Brittany Senary, a spokeswoman for Progressive Casualty Insurance Co.

“At Progressive, we have very strict guidelines on flood vehicles,” Senary says. “If water reaches the dash, or engine, the vehicle is considered a total loss and we would not repair that vehicle.”

Some existing consumer services attempt to trace records of vehicles damaged in floods and accidents, or those reported as stolen, but focus primarily on passenger vehicles. “A new service being introduced at the Great American Trucking Show will concentrate on commercial trucks,” says James Vogel, general manager of RigDig. RigDig will be the only service for used vehicle customers that’s for over-the-road trucks only. More information will be available at during GATS, which opens Aug. 25.

As for on-site inspections, buyers should look for a waterline on the truck, much like what you would see in a house with flooded drywall. That might be “caked mud high on the vehicle where water may have been pooled for some time and a mildew smell from the interior,” says Frank Scafidi, a former OTR owner-operator who’s now public affairs director for the National Insurance Crime Bureau.