Submitted by Taylor Malina on 10/03/2020
Late last year the American Trucking Associations released the latest edition of its annual data compendium, ATA American Trucking Trends 2019. The numbers released in this article illustrate exactly how significant the trucking industry is to the economy of the United States. In 2018 the industry moved 11.49 billion tons of freight and generated $796.7 billion in revenue, which represents 80.3% of the nation’s freight bill. Seeing these figures, it is fair to say that the trucking industry is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. Nearly 71% of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. goes on trucks and without the industry and its truck drivers, our economy would come to a standstill.
When shipping via truck, one of the first decisions that need to be made is whether to ship as a full truckload (TL) or as less than truckload (LTL). Both TL and LTL options have their place in the freight shipping industry but choosing the right freight option depends on several variables, including the size and weight of your shipment, freight classification and delivery timelines. However, there are some general guidelines that can be adopted when deciding between each of these methods.
TL shipping is generally the best way to transport your freight if you have a large shipment, a time sensitive shipment or a delicate shipment that you do not want to risk being damaged. However, TL shipping is generally more expensive than LTL freight shipping and you will be paying for unused space if your shipment does not take up the whole truck. Prices for TL shipping are dependent entirely on the market with no oversight from the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). Costs can vary widely from carrier to carrier and day to day, and generally follow seasonal fluctuations. TL shipping might be the right decision if:
· Your freight shipment will take up most or all of a truck. (A minimum of 10 pallets is a good rule of thumb.)
· Your freight is time sensitive.
· Your shipment requires special handling or could be easily damaged.
· You require hazardous materials handling (HAZMAT) or refrigeration.
· The weight makes it more cost effective than LTL. (A good rule of thumb is shipments that weigh more than 15,000 pounds, are usually more cost effective going TL than LTL.)
In most shipping scenarios you will not need to fill up a whole truck with freight. If that's the case, LTL is often the better option. With an LTL shipment, you often pay for only the space you use on the truck, not the entire truck. This means that you will likely share the trailer with shipments from other companies that are shipping small freight, and the truck will likely make multiple stops along its journey. This option is ideal for small to medium sized businesses that don’t own their own trucks and can’t afford truckload shipping. However, the potential cost savings do come with some disadvantages. LTL shipping generally takes longer, and carriers may not be able to guarantee an exact delivery date. Your shipment may also be transferred one or more times at regional hubs along the way, increasing the risk of loss or damage. LTL shipping may be the right decision if:
· Your shipment does not take up a full truckload but is too large for parcel post.
· Your shipment is not time sensitive.
· Your goods can be easily palletized or crated so they can be safely and efficiently stacked with other shipments.
· Your goods can stand up to frequent handling.
· You do not require special handling or specialized equipment such as refrigerated trucks.
LTL shipping rates are set based on the size and weight of your shipment and the NMFTA class, along with other variables such as origin and destination points and accessorial fees.
The goal of an LTL driver is to pick up as many small skid shipments as possible in a small territory to maximize the use of the 53’ trailer, compounding as much money per square foot as they can. I have treated my high school career just like that driver in the LTL world, trying to maximize the use of my metaphorical trailer while grabbing the high dollar/high risk shipments, stopping at every pickup in my high school radius, and grabbing onto every experience that I could along the way.
My journey started as a shy and introverted 7th grader, thrust into the intimidating world of high school. As long as I can remember, math came easy to me, and I was doing pre-algebra in Kindergarten. By the time I entered middle school, I was two-years off level, and commuted to the high school for geometry: a tiny 7th grader in a room filled with freshman. I was terrified of being bullied so would rarely raise my hand in class and would walk quickly through the hallways to avoid being "pennied" by the seniors. But like most urban legends, that never happened, and I eventually eased into my surroundings.
By the time I officially entered high school as a freshman, I was determined to break outside my shell, and began my social journey by trying a variety of clubs. I attended Latino club's "Salsa Night” and learned to
move my hips like Shakira. In French club, I wore a bright blue can-can skirt to perform the traditional dance. I even tried art club, but soon realized that my talents were nothing like Picasso's. Throughout the year I became more comfortable with myself and made new friends.
By junior year, my bravery expanded, and I was awarded an immersion grant to travel to Perú. I had never traveled out of the country before, so this trip took me far outside my comfort zone: navigating airports alone, traveling with 24 students that were complete strangers, and going to a country that did not speak my native language. For weeks leading up to the excursion, terrifying thoughts filled my head, but all of these insecurities dissipated early in the trip, and I immersed myself in the adventure. We hiked around beautiful Machu Picchu, interacted with local residents on the Uros Islands, and even tried the local delicacies: guinea pig and alpaca. I never thought that I'd become friends with the strangers that were my travel companions or love a country that was so different from my own.
Last summer, I was interested in continuing my education outside of the classroom, so I decided to enroll in a summer marine biology class at Cornell University, and went to live on a research island off the coast of Maine. Like in Perú, we started our trip as 20 strangers who would spend ten days together creating our own small community, but this time, we were studying elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays) and were completely immersed into the life of a marine biologist.
We spent the first half of our course in the classroom and lab, learning about the anatomy, reproduction, and behavior of elasmobranchs. We dissected specimens, viewed their internal structures, and learned how to properly draw a scientific diagram of an organism. I even got to deliver a baby stingray! We then took our newly acquired classroom knowledge and applied it in the field through multiple research trips on the ocean. We learned how to take water samples to test pH and ammonium levels, were taught how to safely tag sharks in order to track their migration patterns, and even successfully caught a seven-foot Mako shark and watched it breach right next to our boat. This unique class was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life and allowed me to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up: a biological field researcher.
Through my adventures in Perú and at Shoals, I have discovered my love of travel, foreign cultures, and scientific research. My collegiate plan is to combine my passions, pursuing a degree in biology and a minor in Spanish, with the career goal of conducting my scientific research in a Spanish-speaking country. Ideally, I will travel the world studying marine life and advocating for their conservation in fragile ecosystems, continuing to maximize my trailer and grabbing all of the high dollar/high risk shipments that life has to offer along the way.
Submitted by Taylor Malina on 10/03/2020