Category Archives: journal of commerce

C & V Transportation is Now Part of RoadOne IntermodaLogistics

C & V Transportation is Now Part of RoadOne IntermodaLogistics

Acquisition strengthens RoadOne’s northeast distribution network and operational platform

Randolph, MassachusettsRoadOne IntermodaLogistics, a leading single source intermodal, distribution, and logistics service company, announces today the acquisition of C & V Transportation of Milford, Connecticut to enhance RoadOne’s Southern New England operations and New York, New Jersey port business.

C & V, with over 30 new trucks and a new terminal adjacent to route 95 and 91 in Milford, Connecticut, provides a solid platform to service manufacturers and big box retailers that have established distribution centers in this growing market. This location also offers close proximity to the ports of New York/New Jersey and Boston. With this acquisition, RoadOne is the only intermodal transportation provider with terminals and drivers in all key markets in the Southern New England region[confirm correct location description].
With the new Electronic Logging Device (ELD) FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) mandate due to take effect December 2017, this strategic location in Milford will also help improve RoadOne’s efficiency and capacity and will allow the company to continue to be fully compliant with all regulations. RoadOne has already moved forward with a full implementation plan to install ELD and driver support systems into every RoadOne vehicle. One-hundred percent of RoadOne’s truck fleet of over 1000 vehicles will be compliant 12 months before the required deadline.
“Great service was the cornerstone of C & V Trucking’s business model for the past 38 years, as it is at RoadOne. I’m pleased to join the RoadOne team to continue that tradition and be an integral part of the company’s future growth. RoadOne has the resources necessary to succeed from advanced technology to the safety and compliance standards required in today’s marketplace,” said, Keith Grogan, Service Center Manager, RoadOneIntermodaLogistics.

“With the addition of C & V Transportation, we’ve bolstered our distribution network and drayage service capabilities in the Northeast. We are confident Keith’s extensive intermodal experience and strong financial background will contribute greatly to our strong growth in this critical region,” said Ken Kellaway, CEO of RoadOne IntermodaLogistics.

RoadOne looks for right mix to keep drayage drivers

RoadOne looks for right mix to keep drayage drivers
William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Oct 13, 2014 JOURNAL OF COMMERCE

Like many over-the-road trucking operators, RoadOne Intermodal Logistics is looking for the right formula to attract more truck drivers and keep them. However, in the drayage business that formula quickly becomes pretty complex, said Ken Kellaway, president and CEO.

RoadOne’s drivers are owner-operators, and unlike over-the-road truckload drivers they’re not typically paid by the mile. “More often they’re paid a percentage of the revenue per load or by time-zone rates, so they’ll get a flat rate to go to a particular market,” Kellaway said.

Compensation by the hour is becoming more common to cover time lost to drivers because of port terminal delays and extended loading times, Kellaway said. “We’re doing more and more of that,” he said. “The drayage driver can’t be responsible for assuming all the risk.”

Frustrated by port congestion and chassis shortages, drayage drivers increasingly are looking for other jobs both in and out of trucking, Kellaway said. That “outward migration” of drayage drivers and trucks threatens to slow shipper supply chains to a crawl.

Incentives are becoming a more prominent part of RoadOne’s recruitment toolkit, however. “These drivers are entrepreneurs, and like any entrepreneur they’re trying to figure out how to maximize profit,” he said. “We’re trying to help them with all the line items in their business.”

For example, RoadOne guarantees tractor financing for its drivers through a third-party leasing company, ENG Financial Leasing. The owner-operators aren’t required to have credit or a down payment, according to RoadOne, to take advantage of the financing offer.

“We’re also trying to help reduce their operating costs by leveraging our buying power on items such as fuel, license plates and insurance,” Kellaway said. “If we can get those prices down for them, we can help them reduce operating costs and maximize their profits.”

During National Driver Appreciation Week Sept. 15-19, RoadOne recruited 13 owner-operators at a two-day Driver Appreciation Open House at its headquarters in Randolph, Massachusetts. As part of a company awards program, owner-operator Idilio Taveres received a $15,000 grand prize one full year of truck payments. With 40 locations and more than 1,000 drivers nationwide, RoadOne plans to hold more recruitment events.

But drayage drivers need more than perks and incentives. They also need freight that provides a profit, Kellaway said. “We’re trying to be selective about the freight, to get the best-paying freight and the freight that’s easiest to handle for them,” he said.

“The drayage business is also notorious for high empty miles, as you’re bringing empty containers back to terminals,” he said. “We’re trying to find ways to increase their loaded miles so we can pay them more.” Shippers, the party that ultimately foots the bills, need to help too. “We’ve been successful in getting our premier customers to help us with these delay time issues so we can retain drivers,” Kellaway said. That help includes better container scheduling and advance pickup notice. “It’s working, but going forward, those are the customers who will really get our capacity, the ones who help support us.”

Port delays driving dray drivers away, RoadOne says

Port delays driving dray drivers away, RoadOne says
William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Oct 13, 2014 JOURNAL OF COMMERCE

The shortage of truck drivers on U.S. highways is affecting drayage operations at port terminals and inland railheads, too. Frustrated by port congestion and chassis shortages, drayage drivers increasingly are looking for other jobs both in and out of trucking.

That “outward migration” of drayage drivers and trucks threatens to slow shipper supply chains to a crawl as container chassis shortages, port congestion and drayage delay times get worse, Ken Kellaway, president and CEO of RoadOne IntermodaLogistics, told

“So many significant changes in the intermodal supply chain have negatively impacted freight flow that the owner – operators and drivers are taking a hit,” said Kellaway, whose company is one of the largest international and domestic intermodal container haulers in the U.S.

With more than 1,000 drayage drivers operating from 40 U.S. locations, RoadOne is struggling with a rising driver turnover rate. The No. 1 reason drivers cite for leaving drayage, Kellaway said, is frustration with waiting times at rail ramps and at ports.

“It’s getting to the point where we could have a backlash,” he said. “The global supply chain is a $7 trillion sector, but it depends on the $10 billion drayage sector in the U.S. If we can’t get the freight from the ports to distribution centers, the entire model starts to collapse.”

For a glimpse of just such a catastrophe, look no further than the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, he said. The largest U.S. port complex is reeling from terminal congestion caused by strong cargo volumes, a severe chassis shortage and poor intermodal rail service.

The neighboring ports have struggled with chassis shortages, rail service delays and unusually long truck turn times for much of the year. In the early fourth quarter, the congestion continues to get worse, and port officials largely blame chassis “dislocations.”

“The root cause is chassis,” Jon Slangerup, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, told last week. That complaint is echoed at ports across the U.S. Where shipping lines no longer provide chassis, locating chassis has become time-consuming and chaotic.

“The whole chassis conundrum has put extensive pressure on the drayage community,” Kellaway said. “The chassis pool has been put off-site, and that requires additional moves and waiting time. We’ve got to go get the chassis, wherever it’s located, and bring it back.”

That’s like going to a supermarket and being told you have to go to another store to get a shopping cart, Kellaway said. And offering chassis in separate, non-swappable pools is like being required to get one cart for the produce section, and another for the deli, he said.

Two major chassis-leasing companies, DLCI and TRAC Intermodal- will add 3,000 chassis over the next few weeks at the Port of Long Beach as part of a short-term relief effort. But in the long run, the ports need a “gray” pool of interchangeable chassis, Kellaway said. “It needs to become one gray pool so whatever chassis we grab, we can use it,” he said. In addition, Los Angeles and
Long Beach “have to figure out what to do with these larger vessels coming in, and they’ve got to a get a labor agreement finished” with longshore workers.

Kellaway also says port terminals need to get better at moving drivers, and containers, through their gates. “A lot of terminals, whether they’re going through a technology change, are low on staffing, or are handling larger vessels, they’ve got longer wait times,” he said.

The shift from picking up pre-mounted containers on chassis at port terminals to “live lift” operations once an unloaded chassis from a pool arrives at the terminal adds hours to the time it takes to get a container from a port to a customer and return the chassis, he said.

“The result is fewer turn times per drivers, which means a dramatic reduction in revenue for the drivers, and no one wants to step up and take responsibility for that,” Kellaway said.

“There are multiple stakeholders, and we all need to take responsibility for the parts we affect.”

Some terminals only measure drayage driver wait times from their gates, which is like “a coffee shop saying there’s no line before you arrive at the register,” he said. If a driver can’t get through the entire process in two hours, “then he should get delay time,” he said.

“Trucker dissatisfaction with marine terminals is not a local phenomenon,” Bruce of the PierPass extended-gates program at Los Angeles-Long Beach, said during a drayage panel at the JOC’s 2014 TPM Conference in March. “It’s a symptom of the real problem, which is the traditional delivery process most terminals have in place today.”

Transportation consultant Tioga Group estimates that drayage delays add $348 million a year in unnecessary costs to the supply chain including 15 million hours of lost work time and 9 million gallons of diesel fuel. Unfortunately, progress toward a better process is slow.

At the end of the day, “Somebody has to pay the drivers,” Kellaway said. “We need to get these guys justly compensated so they can make a decent living. At least we have to make it more attractive for those who are interest ed in being in the blue collar sector.”

Otherwise, those owner-operators hauling containers will take their trucks and go to the energy business, or over -the-road trucking companies that desperately need drivers.

New England Motor Freight, a regional less-than-truckload carrier with waterfront headquarters at the Port of Elizabeth, New Jersey, gets plenty of “walk-in” driver applicants from drayage operations, President Tom Connery said in an interview. “We have no problem recruiting in places like Elizabeth where there’s a lot of heavy truck traffic,” he said.

Those truck drivers can get LTL delivery or line-haul jobs where they’ll be home every day, or truckload jobs or even drayage jobs at NEMF, which has its own fleet of chassis.

In the past 10 years, port drayage has grown from a negligible business for NEMF to represent 8 to 10 percent of the company’s revenue, Connery said. “There were such delays in getting chassis that we bought our own, and that’s worked out very well,” he said.


Ocean Carriers’ Exit Puts Stress on Inland Chassis Supply

Ocean Carriers’ Exit Puts Stress on Inland Chassis Supply
The Journal of Commerce
Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Sept. 19, 2013

A prominent trucking industry executive warned that operational changes at rail ramps and other inland locations because of the accelerating exit of ocean carriers from the chassis business are placing added stress on the fragile intermodal drayage industry.

Ken Kellaway, president and CEO of RoadOne Intermodal Logistics, which has drayage operations across the country, told The Journal of Commerce’s Inland Distribution Conference on Sept. 18 that intermodal drayage companies are already experiencing longer turn times and additional costs under the new chassis regime.

Maersk Line shocked the U.S. transportation industry in 2009 when it announced that it would no longer directly provide chassis to truckers, forwarders and cargo interests because of increasing maintenance costs and liability risks.

Most other container lines since then have either divested themselves of many of their chassis, or announced their intentions to do so, thus bringing to an end the 50-year-old tradition of carrier-provided chassis.

Philip Wojcik, president and CEO of Consolidated Chassis Management, the equipment operating affiliate of the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association, noted that since 2009 carriers have made 400 announcements that they would cease to provide chassis in 42 seaport and inland cities.

While the new chassis regime has caused problems at marine terminals, inland rail ramps are also experiencing their own unique problems because most railyards today maintain “wheeled” operations in which containers are stored on chassis.

As carrier-owned chassis are replaced with chassis provided by pools, cooperatives and leasing companies, railroads will gradually shift to “stacked” operations in which chassis are stored four or five high on ground, similar to the system found at many marine terminals.

Kellaway said intermodal drayage operators view this development as bothersome and costly as the truck turn time for grounded operations is 15 to 45 minutes longer than at wheeled facilities. Also, storage of chassis at off-site equipment pool facilities creates additional trips for truckers, he said.

Additionally, when containers must be “flipped” from one chassis to another or transferred between equipment pools, more costs are created that someone has to pay for. While these new costs and added delays reverberate throughout the intermodal transportation industry, trucking can not assume a disproportionate share of the problems.

“This fragile industry cannot absorb other sectors’ challenges,” Kellaway said.

Railroads understand that they will have to make the transition from wheeled to grounded operations at their facilities, but Brant Ring, assistant vice president intermodal terminal operations at BNSF, said this won’t happen overnight.

Rather, as railroads build new facilities or expand existing yards, they will consider designing them for grounded operations, and will purchase the lift equipment that will be needed. “The transition to grounded will be incremental,” he said.

Another fear shared by the transportation industry is that a number of the chassis that carriers are selling to pool operators and third-party providers are old and in need of repair. “I am concerned about the condition of the equipment,” said Paul Dean, director of intermodal equipment/maintenance at Norfolk Southern Railway.

The chassis often feature non-radial-type tires that are prone to blowouts, lights that need replacement and other residuals of wear and tear that will eventually cause mishaps or result in fines, Dean said.

Wojcik said the condition of the chassis fleets vary with the operators. CCM, he said, pays close attention to M&R requirements, and as a result only 3 percent of its chassis are out of service. “That’s better than the entire industry,” he said.

However, some factors in the chassis regime have yet to change. The most important feature of the new chassis regime at inland locations is that railroads will continue to sign their intermodal contracts with the ocean carriers as they do now. Those contracts will include a provision for adequate chassis that will then be implemented by the pools or leasing companies.

“The chassis are still there. They haven’t vanished. It’s just the relationships that have changed,” Wojcik said.