Schneider National announced Wednesday, March 11, that it is endorsing FuelSurchargeIndex.org, a fuel surcharge mechanism from ProMiles Software Development Corp. designed to give shippers a precise, accurate calculation of their carrier’s cost of fuel for every load moved. It also provides users with visibility to auditable and verifiable fuel costs at the time of shipment, according to ProMiles.
“The best fuel surcharge program offers neutrality for both the shipper and carrier, low cost of administration, verifiable and auditable data, and a direct link to the day and route of a load,” says Mark Rourke, president of transportation services at Green Bay, Wis.-based Schneider National. “FuelSurchargeIndex.org accomplishes all of that and more. It’s an easy-to-use system that creates fairness and simplifies fuel surcharge calculations.”
Fuel surcharges first became a hot topic in the transportation industry in the mid-1970s, when the U.S. Department of Energy created the National Retail Average to compensate carriers for the volatile fuel prices of the OPEC oil crisis era. It operates the same way today as it did back then: Each Monday, a representative group of 350 truck stops/travel plazas report their retail diesel prices, which DOE uses to issue the national average diesel price for that week. In turn, the national average becomes the baseline for the weekly fuel surcharge rate billed by the carrier.
Instead of using the DOE’s weekly average of national fuel costs, ProMiles says FuelSurchargeIndex.org provides shippers and carriers with accurate fuel prices on more than 5,500 truck stops that are updated every 24 hours and specific to the route that a load is actually traveling. ProMiles also provides 52 of the 58 states/provinces with the software and data needed to administer compliance audits for International Fuel Tax Agreement, International Registration Plan and hours-of-service programs for thousands of carriers nationwide.
“Shippers are scrutinizing their energy spending more carefully than ever before and want to better understand how carriers arrive at a fuel surcharge rate,” says Tony Stroncheck, president of ProMiles. “The FuelSurchargeIndex.org tool, backed by our company’s data collection expertise, provides both the data integrity and visibility into fuel cost information that today’s shippers need.”
ProMiles says shippers using FuelSurchargeIndex.org obtain a lane-specific rate for a particular load by entering the load’s origin, destination and date into the Web-based system; they also input certain variables that are negotiated with their individual carriers, including mpg, trigger point, fuel type, route method and cost-per-gallon discounts. The system then immediately calculates both the cost per gallon and the fuel surcharge for the load based on these data points, according to the company.
And since FuelSurchargeIndex.org can connect payment systems between the shipper and the carrier, this number also can become the bill rate, ProMiles says; shippers easily can link their existing payment systems to the Web-based system with almost no internal technology investments.