Self - Driving Trucks?

News You Can Use!

Embark’s autonomous trucking solution is showing off futuristic capabilities with a "simple technology and an incredibly strong business case..." The latest test truck made a coast-to-coast trip from L.A. California to Jacksonville, Florida, driving 2,400 miles from one end of the U.S. to the other.

The latest trip follows Embark‘s prior test route, which ran from L.A. to El Paso, and successfuly covers more than four times the distance than the first route. This recent 5 day trip included a safety driver on board behind the wheel to be ready to take over control - this extra security measure forced scheduled rest brakes to accomodate the human element. Upon approval, Embark expects the trip to take only two days in total. So get ready America - the future is upon us!

Embark’s goal isn’t to replace human drivers entirely - It just wants to make it possible for long-haul trips to be managed by fewer drivers, eliminating the need for team driving, for instance, and helping to address a lack of available qualified human drivers for this kind of shipping...which is currently in a pinch thanks to the recently initiated ELD Mandate. 

So what's next? 

As one can imagine, this is a slow process and human drivers are still expected to help with the parts of the route that don’t involve freeway and driving releasing some of the stress on supply and demand once their technology is in service, leaving the inner city roadwork to human drivers - like city deliveries and pick ups, but still there are many benefits to the shipping industry like:
  • efficiency
  • availability
  • safety
  • productivity

Embark has stepped up their game with this demonstration without using high-resolution, detailed maps of its route to inform its autonomous system, for instance; instead, it relies entirely on sensor data and its onboard machine learning - so think of a Smart Truck. Another efficiency measure in terms of preparation before establishing new routes, and Embark says its new 2,400 mile trip down the I-10 shows it can handle navigating major highways.

This is not the final solution, Embark’s truck has only just arrived back on the West Coast, and the team is still pulling all the data regarding disengagements and human intervention, but according to subjective reports from the drivers on board, Rodrigues says “the vast majority of the driving was autonomous,” with “hours at a time with no disengagements, and when they did occur they were usually only a few seconds”.

With partners like Peterbuilt, Data Collective and SV ANgel and 15 million in series A funding, Embark based out of San Francisco is growing the fleet in test vehicles, from two to five trucks in just four months. CEO Alex Rodrigues has a measurable goal that by the end of 2018, Embark hopes to have 40 trucks purchased for its fleet. 

News You Can Use! Embark’s autonomous trucking solution is showing off futuristic capabilities with a "simple technology and an in...

Avoiding Extra Charges for Specialty Freight

When it comes to shipping, few products have seen more changes than beer, wine, tobacco and alcohol. Regulations are often changing, along with shipping how do winemakers and beer brewers keep up with the ever-changing market? These constant changes make the process of getting products into the hands of customers that much more complex.

Traditionally, wineries, breweries and distributors would start their research into shipping by getting quotes for Full Truckload (FTL) and Less Than truckload (LTL) shipments from carriers which can take several hours or days on hold, not to mention, and not guaranteeing great rates as a direct customer. Luckily, however, today’s savvy shippers can call on Logistics Specialists to ask the right questions and negotiate the best rates while requesting the right services and minimize future surprises in costs and delays:

  1. What is the product classification? Each product has a different classification. Wine has a different classification than tires or furniture, and that classification needs to be known in advance of getting a quote. For example, wine is typically considered a class 100 product - which in the density rating is neither high, nor low, but can dramatically affect the price. 
  2. What is the weight & size of your shipment? This is a no-brainer, but liquid is heavy, so you might have more weight than space on a truck. Dry vans max weight is 45,000 lbs but usually they like to keep the weight around 43,000 lbs. Often, you are paying for the full van even though you only have 18 pallets due to the weight restrictions.
  3. What kind of operation is on the receiving end? Is the shipment being sent to a residence? A business? Will the delivery need to be taken inside a building or an office - this is called Inside Delivery and is an extra charge as only some carriers or drivers are willing to perform this service? While large bulk beer & wine move are typically dock-to-dock transfers, it is important to note when they are not, as these kinds of moves often result in additional charges.
  4. What kind of shipping “environment” is needed for your product - is this a Reefer load or does it need Protection from Freezing? Most trucks are not temperature controlled. For the most part, these “dry van” trucks are fine for shipping products that are not temperature sensitive, but wine and beer are definitely temp sensitive since beer is ruined if frozen and wine will spoil if too hot. Wine, can be shipped during the cooler months, or for short distances; however, shipping wine or temperature sensitive products long distances, especially during the summer months, is a gamble. Temperature controlled shipping might be the way to go - at a price. 
  5. Is driver assistance needed at either point?  LTL carriers charge for inside services.  FTL drivers charge extra for any driver assistance like strapping, tarping or using a pallet jack.  These extra services can be negotiated upfront, but if this service is added on without prior knowledge, there will be an extra charge.
  6. How fast does the shipment have to happen? Carriers like FedEx Freight, YRC, Daylight, and others offer different pricing based on the service requested. The various services often differ in terms of speed. For example: 

  • priority service has a faster delivery time, but will be more costly than an economy service with a slower delivery time. 
  • FedEx freight offers a Money Back Guarantee with their Priority Service offering. 
  • Is there a dock at the pick up and delivery locations? If not, this will add a LIFTGATE service, which means a special truck is needed and could also delay the shipment. 
  • Need a delivery appointment? The need for an appointment can add a minimum of 1 day to the delivery. 
  • Is the delivery or pick up a Limited Access Location? 

How to secure a reliable quote and ultimately pay exactly what was quoted ~

When it does come time to request quotes for Full Truckload or Partial Truckload, it is worth asking if drivers will be working alone or as part of a team of drivers. A team of drivers can usually produce faster delivery since they are able to drive 1,000 miles per day instead of the regulated 500 miles per day per ELD Mandate, as the truck can continue to operate with minimal rest stops - although this is usually a more expensive method, it can be worth every cent if you are in a hurry.

Before getting quotes for FTL or LTL shipping, it pays to ask and answer these kinds of questions. Doing so ensures a more accurate quote and limits the “surprises” that can arise due to variances within the original quote. 

At Go123 Logistics, we have done many quotes for LTL, FTL, and other kinds of shipments, because we are transaction engineers for specialty products. If you would like to learn more, please contact us.

When it comes to shipping, few products have seen more changes than beer, wine, tobacco and alcohol. Regulations are often changing, along ...

The Ever Evolving World of Freight Brokerage

They say the only thing constant is change and technology in the lead! There are several emerging technologies that may frighten brokers; however, if we change our perspective, we can use these new technologies to our advantage! 

Drones are a concept that is being investigated for moving packages and have been tested in some instances; however, currently they are predominately used commercially for real estate and photography (Hollingsead, 2017). Companies are working towards using them to deliver to remote locations that cannot be reached by vehicle (Hollingsead, 2017). 

Although drones will not be capable to deliver around the world, they can be used to deliver local and the final mile (Hollingsead, 2017). I understand many 3PLs do not work with the final mile; however, maybe they should if drones begin to make an appearance!

Transportation management systems are another transforming technology and they are a broker's best friend due to them being hassle free, efficient, and producing important process documentation (Hollingsead, 2017). The more advanced TMS allow carriers to self invoice, self update brokers about arrivals, departures as well as status updates along the way in real time! Go123 Logistics offers clients a personalized portal and QUICK QUOTING system that enables customers to save, manage and even book their own shipments. This tool is not only a time saver, but a technological advancement for small companies looking to get a handle on today's shipping market. 

"Establish electronic relationships that lock you into your customers and carriers. The more you automate, the easier it will be to ensure a better future!" (Hollingsead, 2017). Shipping does not need to be so scary, and using tools like TMS can propel any company, small or large into the confidence level above and beyond waiting on a broker to send them a quote.  Our TMS allows the customer freedom to have access to immediate rates, instant booking and bill of ladings.  

Ready to try out TMS for your company? Contact me now to learn more. 

Hollingsead, B. (2017). Opinion: Emerging evolution of freight brokerage. Transport Topics (November 3, 2017). Retrieved from

They say the only thing constant is change and technology in the lead! There are several emerging technologies that may frighten brokers; h...