Pack n Send Blog

Truck and Freight Shippers Misuse of Physicals-Houston not Pleased

Posted on Wed, Sep 29, 2010

 Freight Hauler Royalty Free Stock Photo  

Pack  n send is posting this article written by Ryan  Phillios at News 21  as a service to your customers. We found the entire article published on msn.com.  While the trucking industry is making improvements, it looks like the DOT still has a way to go as far as monitoring its own policies.

 

Trucker Bob Caffee needed a medical card fast. His certificate from the U.S. Department of Transportation was to expire in two days, and he was in Southern California, halfway across the country from his regular doctor. So Caffee headed to one of the medical clinics that have sprung up at truck stops across America.

The clinic in Ontario, Calif., where Caffee stopped, is housed in a small, rundown building next to a Travel Centers of America truck stop. A sign advertises "DOT Physicals" next to a picture of a red truck.

"You say, 'I need a DOT physical,'" and the assistant says, "'OK, come back here and I’ll call the doctor,'" Caffee said.

About this project

  1. This project was reported by journalism students in the Carnegie-Knight  News 21 program in collaboration with the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization.

The two of them checked his blood pressure, urine, breathing, hearing and vision. Caffee remembers that he had trouble reading past the top two lines of the eye chart. "I told her I wear glasses, and she OK'd me," he said, even though his driver's license didn’t say he was required to wear glasses.

The whole thing was over in 20 minutes, and Caffee emerged with a medical certificate that states he is healthy enough to drive a commercial truck for the next two years. Cost of exam: $30.

The exam Caffee underwent is required for all interstate commercial drivers. However, in many states, almost any health professional, including chiropractors, physician assistants, osteopathic doctors and advance practice nurses, can issue medical certificates for truck drivers. There are no training requirements and only minimal standards for what to check.

If a trucker is denied by one doctor, he can easily try another. There is no database to check whether medical certificates are valid, or whether a driver is "doctor shopping."

Drivers can download a medical certificate from the Internet and fill it out themselves. Others don’t bother getting a medical certificate — genuine or false. Few are ever caught. A trucker caught without a certificate is often given a fine — and allowed to drive on.

Deadly consequences
The problem of medically unqualified commercial drivers first drew national attention in 1999 when a bus driver veered off Interstate 610 near New Orleans, struck a guardrail, went through a chain-link fence, vaulted over a golf cart path and rammed into a dirt embankment, killing 22 of the 43 passengers on board.

The driver, who had a current medical certificate, had been in and out of the hospital the day before for treatment of his kidneys. He was released less than eight hours before reporting to work, according to an NTSB report. Post-accident tests were positive for marijuana and an over-the-counter sleep medication that can cause drowsiness and dizziness. A passenger reported seeing the driver "slouch down" prior to the accident.

Conclusions

  1. Findings of the News21 investigation include:
  • The National Transportation Safety Board has essentially given up on 1,952 of its safety recommendations – one of every six it has made since 1967.
  • Federal agencies, states and transportation industries are taking longer than ever to act. Over the past decade, the average number of years to implement recommendations went from 3.4 years to 5.4 years.

The accident prompted the National Transportation Safety Board to issue a series of stern recommendations in 2002 to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, whose primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

Specifically, the board directed the FMCSA, part of the Department of Transportation, to "prevent medically unqualified drivers from operating commercial vehicles" and "establish a medical oversight program for all interstate commercial drivers."

Mitch Garber, a NTSB medical officer, said the FMCSA’s response to the board’s calls for tougher medical standards has been disappointing. The agency has addressed a few problems, but the approach has been piecemeal and largely ineffective, he said.

"It’s no more difficult for a medically unqualified driver to drive today than when the recommendation was made," Garber said.

For information on freight and cargo shipping from Houston, TX, please call pack n send at 713 266 1450.

Tags: crating packing shipping, cargo, cargo shipping, cargo containers

All Cargo Airline Assisting with flood relief in Pakistan.

Posted on Wed, Sep 15, 2010

image: Luxembourg Pakistan floods air freight cargo freight

 PAKISTAN – LUXEMBOURG – The catastrophic floods which have swept through Pakistan bringing misery to millions prompted the people of the Duchy of Luxembourg, encouraged by an appeal from the local Pakistan Consulate, to initiate a countrywide collection resulting in around 600 boxes, containing used clothes, sheets, shoes, plus tinned foods being donated.

Now Europe’s largest all-cargo airline, Cargolux, will transport these charity boxes free of charge on board its B747-400 freighter to Karachi on 14 and 21 September 2010. From Karachi, the shipment will be forwarded to the flooded areas by the local relief organization Edhi International Foundation.

Coordination and documentation were done by Cargolux’s Charity Committee at head office Luxembourg, taking care of the company’s worldwide charity activities, in line with the available space on Cargolux freighters.

Free storage room was offered by Streff, Luxembourg, who will also take care of the delivery of the boxes to the Luxair Cargo Centre, while Luxair Cargo arranges for free security screening of the Cargolux charity shipments.

On behalf of the People of Pakistan, The Honorary Consul General, Mr. Mark Samuel, extended his sincere gratitude to Cargolux Airlines, enterprise Streff, Luxair Cargo, and the People of Luxembourg at large for contributing generously with their valuable donation to help the floods affected people in Pakistan.

 

Pack n send has reprinted this article from the Handy Shipping   Guide as a service to our customers. Freight, cargo and airline companies consistently assist with disaster relief.

For information on cargo, and freight shipping from the United States, please contact pack n send at 713 266 1450.

 

Tags: freight shipping, cargo, cargo shipping, cargo containers

Freight Industry Outlook Good in US and Houston

Posted on Fri, Sep 03, 2010

  Shipping News Feature      

 Pack n send is monitoring Freight and Cargo Shipments both within the United State and worldwide.  This article taken from Handy Shipping   Guide highlights new strengths seen in US shipping markets.

Long Beach, California based UTi, a non asset based 3PL supply chain specialist turned in better than expected results yesterday following a general upward trend for the industry. With over 23 million square feet of warehousing in 23 countries the US company shows a pattern that seems fairly typical for the freight market at the moment. The CEO however offered a customary word of caution in today’s volatile conditions.

 Eric W. Kirchner, chief executive officer, speaking of the second quarter results said in a statement:

"Our improved results were primarily driven by strong volumes and better operating margins. Airfreight and ocean freight volumes continued to grow faster than the market and were higher than volumes recorded in the second quarter two years ago, prior to the financial crisis. Results remain tempered by yield pressure due to continued high transportation rates, and we expect these rates to remain volatile on many trade lanes for the rest of the year. We are also expecting volume growth to moderate during the second half of the year due to a slowing global economy and more difficult comparisons to the prior year.

"We continue to be encouraged by improvements in our contract logistics and distribution business, which reported solid revenue growth and higher operating margins. Client volumes improved in the quarter, particularly in retail and consumer markets, and we continue to manage our operations more efficiently. Our transformation initiatives remain on schedule and we are making good progress in all areas."

UTi saw increased operating costs, up 9% against last year but it seems although traffic volumes were higher, rates were more competitive dragging profits back somewhat. Net revenues were up 12% for the half year against 2009 at $379 million.

 For more information on Houston shipping, freight and cargo shipping, please feel free to contact pack n send at 713 266 1450.

 

 

 

Tags: Houston Freight, Houston Shipping, freight, cargo, cargo containers, Shipping, urniture freighting

Hurricane Earl- Possilbe Delays in Freight Deliveries

Posted on Thu, Sep 02, 2010

 During  Hurricane Isabelle

  

Pack n send is posting part of the information posted by MSNBC.  While we are in the process of adjusting freight shipments for our customers, and rescheduling when necessary, we are keeping an eye on the storm.

 HATTERAS ISLAND, N.C. — Hurricane Earl was barreling toward the Eastern Seaboard Thursday with winds swirling at around 145 mph, as forecasters issued a new warning for New York's Long Island and tried to work out how badly North Carolina would be hit.

With the storm expected to start hitting North Carolina later Thursday, officials expanded mandatory evacuation orders across new areas of the state's low-lying barrier islands.

The orders affect all visitors throughout Dare County as well as residents and visitors to the popular town of Nags Head, county emergency relief officials said.

Mandatory evacuations, similar to those already in effect for Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island, were also ordered for the beach communities at Morehead City, authorities said.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami issued a tropical storm warning early Thursday for the coast of Long Island and a hurricane watch was issued for areas of Massachusetts. A hurricane warning was already in effect for the North Carolina coast.

Canadian officials also put parts of the Nova Scotia coast under a tropical storm watch.

Category 4 storm Earl, which has maximum sustained winds near 145 mph, was located about 410 miles south of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and was moving north-northwest near 18 mph.

Forecasters said the storm had strengthened slightly, but expected gradual weakening to start later Thursday. Hurricane-force winds extend outward 90 miles from its center.

Watches and warnings were posted along the Atlantic coast for most of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and part of Massachusetts, alerting residents that hurricane and tropical storm conditions were possible within 36 to 48 hours.

No storm has threatened such a broad swath of the U.S. shoreline — the densely populated coast from North Carolina to New England — since Hurricane Bob in 1991, National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.

The last Category 4 to approach the Outer Banks was Helene in 1950, NBC News Meteorologist Bill Karins reported.

'Very significant impact'
Large swells roiled the coastline and experts warned Earl would bring dangerously high seas.

The first winds were expected to reach the North Carolina's barrier islands by Thursday afternoon and gain force during the night, though the hurricane is then expected to start weakening, the NHC said.

Tourists were largely gone from North Carolina's Outer Banks, but those resolute residents who stayed behind said they were prepared to face down the powerful hurricane. The islands jut out into the Atlantic and are frequently smacked by hurricanes and storms.

"There is still concern that this track, the core of the storm, could shift a little farther to the west and have a very significant impact on the immediate coastline. Our present track keeps it offshore, but you never know," Feltgen said.

The storm was forecast to pass just off Cape Hatteras, bringing wind gusts of up to 100 mph and several feet of storm surge both from the Atlantic and the sounds to the west of the islands.

Evacuations continued Thursday with residents and visitors leaving a barrier island in Carteret County, N.C.

Emergency services director Jo Ann Smith, of Carteret County, said she wasn't sure how many people were affected by the order to leave the Bogue Banks areas.

Unlike some of the barrier islands on the Outer Banks who had to take a ferry, Smith said people could simply leave in their cars.

 For more information on freight and cargo shipping, please contact pack n send at 713 266 1450.

 

 

 

Tags: Houston Freight, Houston Shipping, freight, cargo, cargo containers, Shipping, urniture freighting

Pod Not Used For Shipping But For Living

Posted on Thu, Aug 19, 2010

 Photo by Wang Yish/Imaginechina

Pack n send has been following alternative uses for containers used in freight and cargo shipping. This article from NBC news caught our attention because the the term “pod” housing. 

Huang Rixin, a spritely 78-year-old former engineer turned Beijing landlord, has made a name for himself in recent months producing cage-like, 21.5-square-foot living spaces dubbed “capsule apartments” for the capital’s burgeoning class of jobless and underemployed college graduates.

Two Chinese men sit in their own small spaces in capsule apartments in Beijing, China, in a photo taken June 12, 2010.

Taking Japan’s famous capsule hotels for inspiration, Huang has improved on previous iterations of his pod houses by doubling the size of the rooms and including more shelf space. Huang views his pods, with rent of about $51 a month, as a cost-effective way to house the estimated 3 million recent university graduates seeking employment or earning less than the average starting salary of approximately $400 a month.

In many ways his capsule apartments highlight the social and economic problems that belie China’s gaudy GDP numbers.

Even as the national economy surges, China’s per-capita income has simply not kept pace, and millions of people have been left out of the nation’s economic miracle.

China’s per-capita income, at around $6,600, is closer to that of Turkmenistan or El Salvador, rather than to the U.S.’s $46,000 or even Japan’s $33,000.

While China’s liberalized economic policy has certainly pulled hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and transformed the country into an industrial dynamo, little of that prosperity has trickled down to the majority of would-be Chinese consumers – the very people who many economic experts insist will fuel China’s growth well into the 21st century.

In essence, China is still the largest market in the world for virtually everything, and despite claims otherwise, Chinese consumers are very willing spenders. However, Chinese wages are currently so low that consumers simply are unable to contribute to domestic consumption unless serious wealth redistribution or salary adjustment occurs.

Whether that economic stature is fleeting – as it was for the Japan – or relatively more long-term, as it has been for the U.S., will bear close watching.

Pack n send has reproduced portions of this story from NBC News' Arata Yamamoto contributed to this report from Tokyo.

For more information on shipping freight and cargo from the United States, please feel free to contact pack n send at 713 266 1450.

Tags: Cargo Shipping from Houston, cargo

Port of Houston Boat Tour- See your cargo up close

Posted on Mon, Aug 16, 2010

The Port of Houston offers an up close look at cargo shipping. Pack n send is posting the information  taken from the Port of Houston website as a service to our customers.

Get ready for an unforgettably spectacular waterborne tour of one of the busiest ports in the world aboard the Port of Houston Authority's free public tour boat!

Named for the legendary military commander who led the fight for Texas independence from Mexico and later statehood, the M/V Sam Houston offers free leisurely 90-minute round-trip cruises along the Houston Ship Channel.

Embarking from the port's Sam Houston Pavilion, visiting sightseers can enjoy passing views of international cargo vessels, and operations at the port's Turning Basin Terminal. Measuring 95 feet in length and 24 feet in width, the boat carries a maximum capacity of 90 passengers with air-conditioned lounge seating and additional standing room on the boat's rear deck.

The M/V Sam Houston has been operating as the Port Authority's public tour vessel since its inaugural voyage on July. 30, 1958. By 1979, a total of 1 million passengers had taken the tour.

No food or beverages are allowed to be brought aboard the boat or into the pavilion. However, a free beverage is provided on the boat during the trip. We want all of our visitors to enjoy the tour experience in a clean and safe environment, therefore picnics in the pavilion are not allowed.

The tour is free; however reservations are required 24 hours in advance of the planned tour. Enhanced port security measures require government-issued photo identification for passengers ages 18 and older. Examples of acceptable identification are state-issued drivers license, state of Texas Identification card, or passport.

Register online anytime, or call 713-670-2416, Monday through Thursday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Please note: a maximum of 45 reservations is allowed for any one group. Also, a maximum ratio of one adult per four children under the age of 12 will be enforced.

SECURITY NOTICE

Because of heightened security measures, regularly scheduled tours aboard the M/V Sam Houston may be canceled without advance notice. Before making the trip to the Port of Houston for a tour aboard the Sam Houston, please consult this Web site for information on the status of your tour.

Security regulations also prohibit the carrying of any camera equipment aboard the M/V Sam Houston and the taking of photographs from aboard the ship is strictly prohibited.

Also, large baggage such as backpacks and oversized purses are not allowed on board. Passengers' personal belongings may be subject to searches in accordance with federal regulations. The PHA reserves the right to refuse passage to board the vessel to any person for any reason at any time.

 We advise that you arrive at least 15 minutes, preferably half hour, before your tour launches to assure that you have plenty of time to check in through security and to board the vessel.

Tour Times

Monday

Closed

Tuesday

10 am & 2:30 pm

Wednesday

10 am & 2:30 pm

Thursday

2:30 pm only

Friday

10 am & 2:30 pm

Saturday

10 am & 2:30 pm

Sunday

2:30 pm only

Holidays

Closed

 

For more information on international shipping, please feel free to contact pack n send at 713 266 1450.

Tags: cargo, cargo shipping, cargo containers

More Challenges for the Cargo and Shipping Industry

Posted on Wed, Aug 11, 2010

  • Global Warming
  • Now that a one hundred square ice piece has broken off a glacier, the cargo ships now face a new peril. 

    After dealing with pirates and colliding ships this floating island is another worry for boat captains.

     This ice island break off follows six months of unusually warm record.  These past six months have recorded the warmest temperatures since 1962.

    Since glaciers are melting faster than any one had anticipated, they are adding to threats of flooding coastal cities all over the world.

    It should take approximately two years for this latest breakaway piece of ice to melt. At this point, the worry is that the iceberg may head toward shipping lanes off of the Canadian Coast, and also in the North Atlantic Ocean.

    By monitoring the progress of this large ice mass, ships should be able to adjust their course during the next two year time period.

    For information about freight and cargo shipping, please contact pack n send at 713 266 1450.

      

     

     

     

    Tags: cargo, cargo shipping, cargo containers, custom packing, crating

    Cargo Ship Collides While Loaded With Freight

    Posted on Mon, Aug 09, 2010

    Picture of Cargo Ships - Free Pictures - FreeFoto.comTwo ships registered to Panama have collided off the coast of India.  The cargo on one of the ships has been seen floating in the water. 

    We do not have any more information a bout the collision at this time, but will keep you updated as we receive more information.

     Pack n send regularly ships out of the Port of Houston. For information about our container loading and freight shipping, please call pack n send at 713 266 1450.

    Tags: cargo, cargo containers

    Common Sense Prevailed-Cargo Shipping through Port of Montreal

    Posted on Thu, Jul 29, 2010

     

    Canadian FlagsCanadian Flag flying in Vanier Park, Vancouver	  Objects / Culture

    CANADA – After harsh words had been exchanged over what the Innternational  Transport  Workers   Federation  (ITF) called last week “a needless overreaction” it seems talks are to resume at the  Port  of Montreal   which will possibly mean an end to the labor dispute which commenced in June. On the 27th of that month the dockworkers claim that employers changed the working conditions of 169 dock workers with the least seniority. The longshoremen responded by refusing to work overtime as of the 9th July.

    On Sunday the 18th July the union and employers met all afternoon and planned to continue ongoing negotiations during the following week. During the next 48 hours however there was a lockout preventing access to the port and infuriating union officials. The lock out was described as “incomprehensible and pointless. News of the lockout reached them they were in the middle of a general meeting to cancel the planned application of pressure tactics. They pointed out that overtime is voluntary and no reason to be excluded from work.

    Now it appears common sense has prevailed on both sides and they have agreed a protocol to return to work enabling the port to function whilst negotiations continue, with union representative Michel Murray saying that with both sides talking an agreement could be reached in the next few weeks.

    Shipping through the port, Canada’s second largest behind Vancouver and capable of handling one and a quarter million TEU’s per annum, has been diverted to other ports, principally Halifax, since the dispute started and the problems are causing delays and possibly the cancellation of new contracts and investments.

     Pack n send has reproduced portions of this article from Handy   Shipping News as a service to our customers.

    Pack n send monitors port operations throughout the world.  While most of our cargo shipments go via ship to ports in Central America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, any port closure or slowdown can affect freight shipments throughout the world.

     For more information on overseas shipping, please feel free to contact pack n send at 713 266 1450.

     

    Tags: freight shipping, freight, cargo, cargo shipping, cargo containers

    Strike Effect on International Shipping and Freight

    Posted on Fri, Jul 02, 2010

    The Los Angeles Times has reported that clerical workers  went on strike at several terminals in both Los Angeles Long beach. These workers are responsible for critical paperwork for ocean cargo in California.

    While the ports are fully functioning, there have been some picketing by workers at the port. 

    An arbitrator declared that the strike was improper and ordered the employees back to work. 

    The clerks who have walked off their jobs are responsible for export paperwork as well as transport documentation.

    This job action along with the governor call for minimum wage for all California state employees not currently under contract, could set a double whammy for the already beleaguered economy in California.

    Other ports around the nation that handle freight and cargo shipping have not been affected by this labor dispute.

    For information on shipping  freight and cargo from the Port of  Houston, please contact pack n send at 713 266 1450.

    www.pack-n-send.com

     

     

     

     

     

    Tags: cargo, cargo shipping, cargo containers