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Are shippers paying your detention charges?

“We’ve been more successful now than in past years in collecting detention charges, but we’re still not completely satisfied. We’ve seen a little decrease in waiting time and an increase in detention being paid. We’re being proactive now in collecting detention charges, whereas in years past, if it was borderline, we wouldn’t charge. Now we are charging after two hours. It’s still not where it needs to be, but it is improving. Most of our loyal customers have not even batted an eye. They have been very good in working with us.”
Rex A. Johnsonbaugh, vice president
J-Line Inc., Altoona, Penn.

“We’re having good success at collecting from shippers, but we’re having limited success in collecting detention from consignees. We’re focusing on consignees right now. They don’t feel any pressure. For most of them, it’s just business as normal. If we are there for any length of time, we are now calling to tell them they are subject to charges.”
Herb Martin, operations manager
Twin City Transportation, Little Rock, Ark.

“Not always. It depends on the type of freight and the time sensitivity. If it is not time sensitive, it is difficult to collect.”
Tom Sturgeon, transportation manager
Dollar Transportation Inc., Hennessey, Okla.

Next month’s question: How are you handling the recent upswing in fuel prices? Send answers to ahuff@ccjmagazine.com; fax (205) 248-1046.

Grading on a curve
After years of reading about how to control an eighteen wheeler when descending grade, I have decided to speak up. First of all, most of the articles I’ve read seem to say the same thing you do about intermittent braking. The problem is no two grades are alike. Some are steep and short, others are long and not so steep. Throw in the weather factor along with getting on and off the brakes and how do you arrive at a safe speed to descend any given grade?

The way I was taught almost 40 years ago by some old time pros was to watch my application gauge. In 20 years and over a million miles of local and over-the-road driving, this method has never let me down. Here is how it works: Keep the application gauge at 10 to 12 pounds with steady pressure on the brake pedal. This keeps you in control at all times with enough reserve to stop if you have to. If there is problem with a brake any where on your truck you will know it by the added pressure you have to use on the pedal and indicated by the application gauge. Your brakes will get warm, but you’ll never loose control and you won’t burn them up. You can descend any grade even if your brakes are in poor condition as long as you go slow enough. If the application gauge rises above 12 pounds, slow down and change to a lower gear. I left trucking about 20 years ago when deregulation hit. I now work in vehicle maintenance and see to the repair of 45 school buses.
Mike Cavenee, vehicle maintenance supervisor
Fullerton Joint Union High, La Habra, Calif.

‘Safe’ unsound
Your article (“Read the fine print,” February, page 6) has lent credibility to the complaints sounded by all in the transportation industry. For years now, the SafeStat information has been erroneous at best. And when trucking company executives sounded the alarm, it was dismissed as disgruntled companies looking to hide something. One of the new issues the Department of Transportation has begun reviewing is the safety issues of intermodal chassis. Equipment not owned or maintained by the trucking companies, such as intermodal chassis, have cost some companies in the SafeStat scoring system.

I again thank you for the article and can only hope that those in Congress will review the SafeStat system again and either hold those in charge of the system accountable or discontinue it all together.
Jeffrey A. Tippit, safety director
Clark Freight Lines Inc., Pasadena, Texas