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Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 17, 2011

LaHood Says Other States in Line for Fla. Rail Money

The funding for high-speed rail projects in Florida, which was rejected yesterday by Governor Rick Scott, will be headed to other states that are supporting the projects.

Mica ‘Deeply Disappointed’ at Fla. Ending Rail Project

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, Rep. John Mica, has shown his disappointment with Governor Rick Scott for his rejection of federal funding for high-speed rail.

House is currently debating 2011 budget containing deep cuts to transportation

With the 2012 fiscal budget fresh in everyone’s minds, it is still important to focus on the current budget for 2011, which contains deep cuts to transportation projects.

Business as usual in the Suez…for now

With the issues in Egypt still in the forefront of the news, many are worried about the problems it can cause with transportation through the Suez Canal. For now, it seems that there is no interruption.

A free market victory

The Federal Maritime Commission has worked hard to reduce regulatory burdens and bring cost savings to the shipping industry. The FMC voted to finally relieve more than 3300 NVOCCs from many of these costs and regulatory burdens.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 16, 2011

president obama | obama budget | state of the unionWith the recent proposal of the 2012 fiscal year budget by the White House, many people, organizations and groups have been commenting on the aspects that affect their interests. There is a wide range of news stories that reflect the opinions of different industries. Here are a few that affect the transportation and logistics industry.

Shippers, Carriers Cite Flaws in Obama’s Budget

Ports Concerned About Federal Budget Cuts

White House Boosts FMCSA Budget 10 Percent

Tightening our belts, strengthening our future

There were also a lot of other important news articles that have been published.

White House Proposes $50 Million for Cross-border Trucking

With the new budget proposal, there will be funding for the new cross-border trucking agreement between the US and Mexico. The money will help to bolster truck inspections and will reduce retaliatory tariffs that have been imposed since 2007.

Give the Obama administration a break

This is a great blog by Patrick Burnson explaining why the critics should give President Obama and his administration a break from the criticism. The blog states the facts about Obama’s goals and how the US remains on track to meet many of them.

Port Tracker report calls for solid first half of 2011

In another great sign that the economy is on a steady pace of improvement, a report was released that shows import volume to be up 6 percent annually for the first half of 2011.

FMCSA Extends HOS Comment Period to Cover Additional Documentation and Clerical Amendments

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended the comment period on the hours of service proposal an extra week, from February 28th to March 4th.

Cuban Box Terminal Will Become Transshipment Hub

The new hub will help to improve transshipment of containers to ports in North and South America. It will also become an important transshipment hub for cargo to and from the US when the trade embargo is lifted.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 15, 2011

2012 budget | US budget | transportation budgetProposed fiscal year 2012 budget represents increases for transportation funding

The White House proposed the 2012 budget request, which includes a 38 percent increase over the proposed amount in 2011 for the Department of Transportation. It also included a 6-year $556 billion surface transportation and reauthorization proposal. This proposal has been applauded by Transportation for America. Also, more information on the reauthorization proposal can be found here.

Administration Wants $2 Billion in TIGER Grants

These grants would help to increase funding towards projects that are not normally eligible for funding, including rail and port infrastructure work.

Survey Reveals Strong Support for Infrastructure Deal

A large majority of American people want better roads and bridges, but are not interested in paying higher taxes or other subsidies to cover the cost of these improvements.

Diesel prices move up another 2.1 cents per gallon

For the 11th straight week, diesel prices have increased in price per gallon. This is a 37.2 cent gain in this stretch.

Forecast: A Long Climb Out of Recession but a Busy Couple of Years for Trucking

The outlook for the trucking industry over the next couple of years looks great from a carrier perspective. This stems from the current increases in manufacturing and retail sales.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee rolls out new FAA bill

The FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 was introduced by Rep. John Mica and Rep. Tom Petri last week. The bill is designed to reform the FAA programs, create infrastructure jobs and set new policies for aviation systems.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 14, 2011

Since I was out of commission on Thursday and Friday of last week, there has been a large amount of news to report on. Because there were so many different important topics in the transportation industry, I will keep each summary short and only provide a link in some cases. Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Nadler Introduces Clean Ports Bill in House

Rep. Jerrod Nadler introduced the Clean Ports Act of 2011 to the House in order to reduce truck pollution at container ports.

FAA to examine health of air cargo industry

Obama’s $53 Billion Rail Plan: Applause, Jeers, and Many Unanswered Questions

The newly introduced plan is raising questions as to where the funding will come from.

More infrastructure investment will create jobs, boost economy, according to Treasury Sec. Geithner

Jobless Claims Drop to Lowest Since July 2008

Obama’s ratings inch up as economy improves: poll

President Obama’s job approval rating rose from 50% to 51% in January.

Trade deficit numbers tell an interesting story

Senator Moves to Reduce Rail PTC Mandate

The new bill will reduce regulatory burdens and remove a deadline for railroads to deploy positive train control technology.

Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index falls 0.3 percent in January

Lawmaker Proposes Cargo Tax for Infrastructure

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 9, 2011

widening the panama canal | asian cargo | south florida portsRail Exec Sees Florida Gaining From Panama Canal

The anticipated widening of the Panama Canal, which should happen in the year 2014, could mean great things for business through the ports of South Florida. The widening could mean that South Florida will be a gateway for Asian cargo moving to the Southeast.

IANA: Overall Intermodal Volume Ends 2010 Up 14.7% Year-Over-Year

The year 2010 was a record-setting year for international and domestic volumes of intermodal shipments. The overall comparisons from 2009 to 2010 showed an increase of 14.7%, with international volumes showing the highest increase of 18.5%.

LaHood Touts $53 Billion High-Speed Rail Plan

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Vice President Joe Biden announced a plan to continue construction of a national high-speed and intercity passenger rail network. This plan calls for a $53 billion investment over six years.

ATA’s Graves reminds Obama of pledge towards ‘robust’ transport program

American Trucking Associations’ President Bill Graves is appreciative of President Obama’s commitment to rebuilding the infrastructure of the US, but is calling on Obama and his administration to live up to their commitment by proposing a strong surface transportation program focusing on highways.

FMC Slow Steaming Inquiry Gets Under Way

The Federal Maritime Commission’s inquiry into the effects of slow steaming officially began on Monday with the commission seeking comments and discussion from industry groups and companies on all of the effects.

DOE Projects Diesel to Average $3.43 This Year

The Department of Energy is projecting that diesel fuel will average $3.43 per gallon in 2011, up from the $2.99 average in 2010.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb 8, 2011

obama speech | infrastructure investment | us innovationPresident Renews Call for Infrastructure Investment

President Obama met with the US Chamber of Commerce on Monday to discuss the economy and the US innovation and improvement needed to succeed as a country. He focused on the themes carried over from the State of the Union address including innovation, education and infrastructure construction. He also made promises to upgrade transportation and communication networks.

High-end counterfeit goods seized at Port of Los Angeles

In the continued effort to increase security at US ports, the Los Angeles Port Police discovered over $10 million in counterfeit electronics, stolen merchandise and bank receipts. These goods included many electronics resembling Apple iPods and iPhones.

Diesel Hits $3.51 in Tenth Straight Weekly Increase

The prices for diesel fuel have risen for the tenth straight week, putting the price at a new post-2008 high. With the tensions in Egypt, this price could continue its rise.

Amtrak’s rail line to Tampa grows in popularity

For a little hometown flavor, the Amtrak rail line has grown in popularity in the city of Tampa, meaning that this may be an indication towards larger high-speed rail projects. This may be to the disapproval of new Governor Rick Scott, who has been known to oppose the idea of high-speed passenger service in Florida.

Truckload Carriers Slow Capacity Decline

A group of five large trucking companies has slowed their reduction in capacity in 2010 and moving forward, meaning they are close to finding the sweet spot in truck counts as compared to shipper demand.

January Heavy Truck Orders Soar 320 Percent

The continued strong increase in truck orders is a large indication that carriers are ready to start replacing outdated trucks to have a better economic impact and reduce diesel fuel costs.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

Social Responsibility: How Creative Can You Be?

Although the “going green” hype has seemed to quiet, I came across an article on that mentioned the use of shipping containers for homes, portable stores, and even skyscrapers. Now that is a bright and useful idea!  Of course, not just any one can find a shipping container and “Wah-Lah! Here’s my house!”  However, take note of the bigger meaning – it is important to think of and utilize our goods in all ways possible so that we are getting the biggest bang for our buck while preserving the planet at the same time. It’s a win-win for all

I think we can all agree that this year is already flying by and time is precious. Each day is valuable and presents opportunities that just can’t be passed up.  There is always room for improvement and although the “going green” message is not as popular or in-our-face as it has been, we should each take the initiative and attempt to make our steps a little greener

In application to business, I believe that companies in general can apply the message learned from this innovative movement to its products and services offered. Growth of a company is supported and encouraged by making wise use of all resources and providing the best solutions in the industry of focus.  Here at BlueGrace Logistics, we encourage going paperless in your supply chain by utilizing our technology, BlueShip™.  How simple!  We also have an optimization tool called “Mojo” that allows companies to reduce their carbon footprint using mode optimization to eliminate excess miles when shipping their products.  Hopefully in the future, companies become more socially responsible as there is an increased awareness of the impact they have on our environment. So the question is, how creative can you be?  What simple change can your business commit to in the new year, which benefits the Earth and generations to come? 

Make your space green with these tips!
social responsibility | green efforts
Article Referenced:

– Samantha Hill, Operations Support Associate
Follow me @SamHill_BG

Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb 7, 2011

cross-border tradeUS, Canada Pursue Trade, Security Overhaul

President Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have agreed to work together to focus on improving the speed of cross-border trade as well as improving the cargo security strategies. Both Obama and Harper signed a pact on February 4th to show dedication to improving these relations.

LTL carriers seize pricing with rising yield, rates

The Less than Truckload pricing has noticeably changed in favor of the LTL freight carriers. For many shippers, discounts are falling and rates are rising. This opens a great time for all shippers to evaluate their shipping process when it comes to moving freight locally or across the country.

LaHood Calls for Substantial Highway Bill

Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood is optimistic that the new surface transportation bill will be presented sooner than he expected. Recent meetings are showing a growing interest in getting it done soon.

New report shows the job-creating potential of smart transportation investments

A new report from Smart Growth America has been released showing that smart transportation spending can create jobs and grow our economy. This is a great report that evaluates the transportation spending in the stimulus.

STB Postpones Rail Competition Hearing to June 22

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has postponed the hearing to discuss the railroad industry and possible regulatory changes until June 22nd.

TransCore’s CarrierWatch CSA Industry Report Finds Significant Differences among States’ CSA 2010 Scores

TransCore has announced the availability of the CarrierWatch CSA 2010 Industry Report, which covers approximately 166,000 carriers with commercial vehicles subject to the new CSA 2010 program. Many of their findings can be found in this news brief.

Lawmakers Target DOT for $4 Billion Spending Cut

The House Appropriations Committee is seeking a reduction in DOT spending of 17 percent from spending levels in 2010. These cuts do not apply to highway or aviation trust funds since it is being focused towards discretionary spending.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 4, 2011

rail freight | intermodal freight | intermodal servicesDOT Issues Strong Intermodal Rail Endorsement

The Department of Transportation has sent a strong endorsement in favor of allowing rail and intermodal services to be able to regulate themselves. The STB proposal is attempting to give themselves regulatory power over all of this type of cargo.

Rails Seek Delay of STB Competition Hearing

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) is being asked by the railroad industry to delay their May 3 hearing on the new proposals for tighter regulations.

TSA looks to bump up air cargo screening deadline

The previous deadline of 2013 for the air cargo screening deadline seems too far away for the Transportation Security Administration, who is hoping to move the deadline up to the end of the year.

Suez Canal Stays Open, Ports Congested

With the violence in Cairo escalating, many of the surrounding ports are becoming congested. This comes with the closing of Egypt’s ports, while the rest of the Suez Canal remains open.

Mica Announces Transportation Bill Field Hearings, Public Forums

John Mica, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, is staying true to his promises and has announced the locations for public forums to discuss the pending major surface transportation bill.

All systems stop in nation’s rail, truck hub

A large indicator of how bad the storm truly hit the US was the stoppage of all service through the Chicago terminals, the nation’s capital for the transportation of goods.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

Daily Transportation and Logistics News – Feb. 3, 2011

stb reauthorization | stb legislation | rail shippersSTB reauthorization legislation is back on the table

A few key points in the STB reauthorization legislation are raising the number of STB board members, giving the STB investigative authority, protecting rail shippers’ rates, creating strong service for rail shippers, preventing rail carriers on collaborating on rates and improving access to shipper relief. While this bill would be great for rail shippers in many aspects, the effects on rail carriers could be felt in pricing long-term.

Florida Republican John Mica could be a key ally on high-speed rail

With President Obama’s call for more infrastructure investment, a strong ally from the Republican side has developed in John Mica, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman. Mica presents the possibility of garnering more private investments from businesses and organizations that could be positively affected by the rail plans.

Winter Storms Disrupt Trucking, Rail Traffic

With one of the largest winter storms ever to hit the US leaving trucks stranded along the US highways, transportation and business operations for much of the US have been delayed or put on hold. One of the top LTL carriers has had 850 loads cancelled by shippers due to the winter storms.

FTR data points to improving trucking market conditions

With the recent edition of the Trucking Update by FTR Associates, their Trucking Conditions Index is showing signs that it may be ahead of the curve with the improving economy. The increased vehicle utilization and solid pricing power for carriers over the next few years could show a continued increase in this index.

TransCore Truckload Trendlines: Flatbeds Up, Reefers and Dry Vans Stable

TransCore’s DAT Network of load boards showed a nationwide increase in freight availability for flatbeds, while availability for reefers and dry vans remained stable.

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst

Donating Time to Help Animals, It Really is that Simple!

BlueGrace Logistics has taken The Humane Society of Tampa Bay on as their “pet project”, and this has given the employees at BlueGrace a wonderful opportunity to volunteer at the shelter.  I had never participated in any type of volunteer work before, but I have been a dog groomer and a vet tech as well as owned my own pet sitting business, so I was very excited to start my volunteer experience with them.

My first week there, I groomed a puppy and two shih tzus for them.   Everyone there was very encouraging and told me how great they looked, but the reward came the next weekend when I found out that they had all found homes.  It was all the incentive I needed.

My second week, I decided that I wanted to play with the kitties instead of doing the grooming.  I got there bright and early, while the staff was still cleaning.  I was able to get to know some of the cats and kittens before the public was invited into the shelter.  Each of them had their own story, and I tried to spend time with the older cats that were a little bit shy to encourage them to be more social.

The public was let in and a flood of people descended upon the cages!  I started talking to people and was able to match up so many cats with wonderful homes!  I had only intended on staying for 4 hours, but I ended up staying ALL day!  I couldn’t leave…I am hooked!

I left there and felt SO good about my day.  It was a very gratifying experience, and I couldn’t stop smiling!  Anyone who has ever considered volunteer work, but is apprehensive or says they don’t have the time, should come out and try it for a few hours.  Who can resist a cute puppy or kitten???

– Denise Overturf, Customer Loyalty Team Member
Follow me @Denise711_BG

community involvement | charity support

Rain was one of the cats that pulled on my heartstrings.  His owner passed away, and he was taken to the shelter.  I spent some time alone with him, and he is such a sweet boy who needs a loving home. For adoption information, please contact The Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

Top 5 Ways to Save Money on your LTL Freight Shipping

Compare multiple LTL carriers in order to ensure you are getting the most competitive rate.  This is best accomplished through a TMS or transportation management system.

  • Optimize your shipments.  Do you have multiple shipments going to different locations?  Make sure that you are using the most efficient routes.  Select TMS systems have an optimizer like BlueGrace’s Mojo Optimizer that enables you to input your shipments and calculate the most efficient routes by possibly eliminating shipments and saving you money and mileage, reducing your carbon footprint.
  • Effectively manage your inbound shipments.  In a previous blog, Who is in Control of your Supply Chain, Jason Lockard discussed the importance in controlling your inbound shipments in order to save you money. 
  • Audit your freight invoices to ensure billing accuracy.
  • Ensure that you are using the correct NMFC codes when booking your shipment in order to prevent reclassification. Educate yourself on freight classification by clicking here to learn how to class your shipment.  

Who is really in control of your Supply Chain?

In light of the seemingly endless reports of economic instability and companies digging their heels in with a wait and see approach to the future, many have put a emphasis on cost cuts and control.  From eliminating entire departments within an infrastructure to canceling the annual Christmas party, the impact of these changes can be felt on many different levels.  I have worked with clients during this time to drill down into the fine details of their business and help develop a solution that will prevent reducing their workforce or eliminating company functions that could inhibit the degradation of a company’s culture. 

A common area for improvement has been the inbound supply chain and routing process.  It is surprising how many companies either ignore the inbound component of their business or place all of the responsibility in the hands of their vendors.  It is common practice for vendors to utilize “shipping and handling” as a profit center to their customers.  In the most extreme cases the client felt they had a better deal than the competition in terms of the cost of the raw material, but failed to realize that the vendor was actually selling their product at a loss just to make a profit off the freight charges.

Another opportunity for additional control has been routing the inbound through a specialized team within our organization to set up checks and balances as well as follow proper routing procedures that have been set by the client.  There are many occasions where the vendor has requested expedited delivery at the expense of their customer in order to meet one of their own deadlines or contract agreements.  Would you allow any outside party to have access to your credit card or bank account without complete control over each transaction?  Freight is commonly one of the most impactful costs that most businesses must control and having a new set of eyes develop a customized solution will benefit the company, employees and culture.

– Jason Lockard, Director of Enterprise Sales
Follow me @BGJLockard

What is EDI and how does it work?

What is EDI and how does it work?  This question is asked to me every day.  I am not an expert in the technology field, but I do understand the terminology and the basic functions of the EDI cycle since I have been involved in setting up all of our carriers/partners so that they can communicate with our BlueShip™  system via EDI.  I came across this short paragraph that will provide you with some understanding of the EDI cycle in the transportation industry.  Furthermore, I have listed the technical definitions for each of the EDI codes.  

The typical cycle for Transportation is as follows:

A vendor sends a Motor Carrier Shipping Information document (EDI 204) to the cartage firm to specify that there is a shipment to be picked up. The cartage firm sends a Response Load Tender (EDI 990) to the vendor, specifying if they will pick up the shipment. When the shipment is picked up, the cartage firm may send back the status of the shipment to either the vendor or the ultimate receiver in the form of a Motor Carrier Shipment Status Message (EDI 214). The triggering of this document being sent can be pre-arranged (the parties will make an agreement of when the status is sent) or either the shipper or the ultimate receiver can request a status by sending a Motor Carrier Shipment Status Inquiry (EDI 213). Once the shipment is completed, the cartage firm sends the Motor Carrier Freight Details and Invoice (EDI 210) to the vendor to pay.

 EDI 204 – Motor Carrier Shipping Information-EDI 204 is used to tender a shipment to a carrier and/or forward the shipment details to a carrier, consignee or third party. It provides the carrier (and/or third party) with a detailed Bill of Lading rating and scheduling information pertinent to the shipment. Its basic use is to be an initial shipment tender between shipper and carrier. It can be used as a Load Tender (telling the carrier when to pick up the goods) or a Bill of Lading (specifying to the carrier what exactly is to be picked up.  The usual procedure is to send EDI 204 to the carrier. The carrier will respond with an EDI 990 (Response to Load Tender), which specifies that the carrier will pick up the goods.

 EDI 990 – Response to Load Tender-This transaction is sent by the motor carrier in response to a shipper sending the carrier a Load Tender (EDI 204 – Motor Carrier Shipping Information document with the Load Tender option).  The document will contain the carrier’s acceptance, conditional acceptance or a decline, if they decline to accept the load tender. It can also contain the reason for the conditional acceptance or the decline of the load tender.

 EDI 213 – Motor Carrier Shipment Status Inquiry-This transaction is used to request the status of a shipment from a motor carrier on a single shipment or a set of shipments.  It may be sent to the carrier by the shipper or the ultimate receiver of the goods. This document is an ad-hoc request for the status. If the carrier and the shipper and/or receiver have a set schedule for responses (in the form of an EDI 214 Motor Carrier Shipment Status Message), then this document is never sent.

 EDI 214 – Motor Carrier Shipment Status Message-This transaction is used to pass information relating to the status of an assigned, loaded-en-route, or delivered shipment. It is sent from the carrier to either the shipper or the ultimate receiver. It may be sent as a response to an EDI 213 (Motor Carrier Shipment Status Inquiry) or at regularly scheduled intervals. The carrier may also send it if there is a change in the shipment status (e.g. the truck is delayed in customs).

 EDI 210 – Motor Carrier Freight Details and Invoice-This transaction can be used as an Invoice to request payment for services rendered or as details pertaining to freight shipment charges. An Invoice will typically be sent for each shipment.  

*information/definitions taken from

Mike Sumnick, Director of Operations 
Follow me @msumnickBG

BlueGrace Makes Holiday Donation to Metropolitan Ministries

With the Christmas holiday approaching, BlueGrace Logistics donated toys for children of all ages to Metropolitan Ministries. Metropolitan Ministries’ mission is to care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in our community through services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity and instill self-sufficiency.  We would like to thank all of you who donated money or a toy this holiday season!   Happy Holidays from BlueGrace Logistics! 

toy drive | metropolitan ministries

Holidays Impact on Transportation

transportationEver heard of the “Holiday Rush”?  Sure you have but have you ever considered the impact it has on transportation providers?  Ever asked why you shop on cyber Monday and get free shipping but if you wait a week, you will have to pay for a premium shipping service to make delivery by Christmas?

Frustrating as it is for us, it is even more challenging for the companies hired to transport those goods.  They have to increase their work force three fold, find ways to dedicate more trucks to the same routes, and manage a flow of inquiries which quadruples through this short period of time.  Then, after the holidays are over, those same shipping companies must cut back on the resources as quickly as they brought them on to remain profitable.  

Now look at the company you own or work for, could you manage such an expansion and contraction in a thirty day period?  Yeah, most likely none of us could manage this type of activity.  What those transportation companies perform every year at this time is truly amazing.  So the next time you procrastinate and have to select an “Expedited” service to get that special someone their gift delivered by Christmas, remember even though it cost more, it is well worth it!  

Eric Chambers, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Follow me @ebluegrace

BlueGrace Makes Charitable Donation to Metropolitan Ministries

BlueGrace Logistics is pleased to announce that together the employees have donated a thousand plus cans of fruit to feed families that are less fortunate in the community.  In addition to donating a thousand cans of fruit, BlueGrace raised $325 to give to Boxes of Hope to provide holiday meals for families. Metropolitan Ministries’ mission is to care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in our community through services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity and instill self-sufficiency.  BlueGrace wishes to thank all of you who donated during this holiday season! 

charity | metropolitan ministries | food drive

Top 5 Reasons to Attend the Transcomp Exhibition and Intermodal Expo 2010

While attending last year’s Transcomp Exhibition and Intermodal Expo in Anaheim for the first time, we noticed the tremendous value of attending the show.  This year they are bringing it to the East coast, hosting the show in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida from November 15th through the 16th.   Anyone in transportation and logistics needs to attend this year’s upcoming show because:

1.  Networking
The Transcomp Exhibition is the one show this year that brings together the top providers of transportation and logistics from the entire United States.  All attendees usually tend to be executive level and have the decision making power.  Not to mention this is a great opportunity to further your relationships with partners, vendors, and customers.

2.  Promotion of your company and services
This is the one show that is known industry wide as the must attend event of the year.  Therefore, you are able to raise brand awareness for your company and services.  If you are on the other end of the spectrum, you will have a lot of competition that better enables you to chose the right provider for your needs when shipping your products.

3.  Discover new ideas in the market place
Be ahead of the curve with upcoming technology that will improve and streamline your shipping processes while also saving you money. Last year, BlueGrace launched the iPhone app that allowed you access to the TMS (Transportation Management System).  This year we will be launching Dock to Doc, our latest technology that gives you automatic access to your shipping documents such as BOLs (Bill of Ladings) and PODs (Proof of Delivery).

4.  Education
Throughout the show there are several key speakers that address the state of the transportation industry and where it is headed for the upcoming year.  Take back to your office a better understanding of your industry market place.  This will enable you to make more informed decisions within your business.

5.  Enrichment
Learn about the state of the transportation industry along with new and upcoming technology as well as develop relationships so that you can grow your business with the necessary knowledge and information that you obtained  from Transcomp Exhibition and Intermodal Expo to make key decisions that will further develop you and your brand.

We look forward to seeing each of you at the Transcomp Exhibition and Intermodal Expo!  Stop by BlueGrace’s booth 1809 for a chance to win an Apple TV and tell us why you attended this year’s show!

Conference Call Do’s and Don’ts

There are many things you shouldn’t be doing while communicating with co-workers, customers or potential customers over a conference call. With the help of Eduardo Braniff, here are a few things to focus on during your next conference call.

1.  DO focus on the conversation. This biggest mistake a caller can make is getting distracted by other things going on. Focus on the call/phone as if it were someone in the room with you.

2.  DO schedule the call correctly. Make sure you have allotted the time for this call as the only project or task you need to accomplish during this time period.

3.  DO prepare your environment. For a call in a home, car, hotel room, etc., make sure you prepare an office environment, so that you can focus on the call with minimal distractions.

4.  DO notify the group of your calling situation. Calls may require you to be on a cell phone or in a noisy place. Let your fellow callers know, so that they can prepare for the extra noise or the possibility of your call getting dropped.

5.  DO listen. It is much easier to get distracted during a conference call than a standard meeting. Make sure you are not only listening, but effectively listening by keeping up with the conversation and giving valuable input on the where the conversation currently is at.

1.  DON’T multitask. When sitting in front of your computer or in your office, there is always something to do that can take your mind off the conversation. Make sure to follow DO #2, so that this time is spent for the current conversation and not the emails piling up in your inbox.

2.  DON’T interrupt. It is tough to keep a controlled conversation with people in different areas communicating with each other. Limit sidebar conversations and keep a flow of conversation rather than talking over people. Consider having a moderator to make sure it flows better.

3.  DON’T fall asleep.  I know it shouldn’t have to be said, but this can be a common occurrence for those on a call that don’t follow DO #3. If you are too comfortable during a call, and not fully involved in the conversation, it can cause you to fall asleep and ruin your credibility/reputation.

4.  DON’T forget the phone is a microphone. Most conference call devices are not the standard phone and actually contain a much better microphone in them. They are able to pick up side bar conversations, the rustling of papers or the sound of a coffee cup or soda bottle on the table.

5.  DON’T ignore the other people in the room. By focusing on the conversation over the phone, you can neglect some of the people in the room. It isn’t bad to have a conversation with other people in the room, just make sure it is one that is involving the current conversation. 

– Ben Dundas, Systems Analyst