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Next-Generation, Global IoT Service: Video Interview with ORBCOMM & Inmarsat CEOs

A new video interview was just released with Marc Eisenberg, Chief Executive Officer of ORBCOMM, and Rupert Pearce, Chief Executive Officer of Inmarsat, to expand upon their enhanced partnership announced last week. The interview is hosted by satellite industry expert Tim Farrar, President of TMF Associates. Watch it here: 

The next phase of ORBCOMM and Inmarsat’s partnership extends their agreement to provide L-band satellite service through 2035 at a minimum. ORBCOMM and Inmarsat will also collaborate on a next-generation, global IoT service called OGx to offer the best-in-class combination of high bandwidth data packets with low-cost terminals, which is expected to hit the market in 2022. In addition, Inmarsat will distribute ORBCOMM’s portfolio of OGx telematics devices globally through its extensive commercial and government sales channels as well as ORBCOMM’s end-to-end IoT solutions for end user customers in multiple vertical markets.  

By extending this long-term, successful partnership ORBCOMM and Inmarsat can leverage their synergies to continue to deliver the industry’s best satellite offering with the broadest geographic coverage, the most regulatory authorizations and the best value to an even broader customer base around the world.

To learn more, read the full press release.

Posted in 5. M2M/IoT Trends Tagged with: ,

Canadian ELD Update: ORBCOMM’s U.S. ELD Certifier Achieves Transport Canada Accreditation

There has been a big step forward this week for the third-party certification process that is needed to support the Canadian ELD mandate coming in June 2021.

Transport Canada has announced that FPInnovations, a Canadian research centre, has been accredited as the first third-party organization to certify electronic logging devices.  FPInnovations’ PIT Group already has an active program that tests ELDs in the United States focused on the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requirements.

ORBCOMM is no stranger to third-party ELD testing or to the FPInnovations (PIT Group). In July 2019, ORBCOMM became part of an elite group of ELD providers in the United States when its fleet management solution received third-party ELD certification. The solution was independently verified by FPInnovations (PIT Group) to be fully compliant with the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This required passing 314 technical points of thorough, unbiased testing by the PIT Group.

ORBCOMM is currently preparing our Canadian ELD product for certification and we anticipate it will be ready well before the 2021 deadline. Our ELD for the United States is already available in a French-Canadian language version and North American cross-border carrier customers are leveraging it to help fleets with their French-speaking drivers.

According to Transport Canada’s recently amended Commercial Vehicle Hours of Service Regulation, ELDs for use in Canada must be verified and certified by an accredited third-party Certification Body as compliant with the Technical Standard for Electronic Logging Devices. To qualify as an accredited Certification Body, FPInnovations has demonstrated compliance with the International Organization for Standardization standard ISO/ICE 17065, its expertise in testing ELDs and the validity of the results of that methodology. FPInnovations will launch its ELD certification program this fall.

FPInnovations employs more than 430 people. With R&D laboratories located in Montréal, Quebec City, and Vancouver, it has technology transfer offices across Canada.

For more information about Canadian ELD, contact us at eld@orbcomm.com.

Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , ,

Queen Transportation Yields Significant Savings with ORBCOMM ELD

“In the first year, the ORBCOMM in-cab solution led to an estimated $25,000 in Hours of Service compliance and administrative time savings” – Daniel Queen, Vice President, Queen Transportation.

North Carolina-based Queen Transportation yields significant savings with ORBCOMM’s Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance and Telematics suite. Previously, poor in-cab devices caused suffering for the company, as drivers struggled with connectivity and couldn’t complete their electronic HOS logs. Now, Queen Transportation not only saves money but also gains further value through automated workflow, optimized fleet management and better driver productivity, thanks to insights across the operation.  

Why Queen Transportation Chose ORBCOMM
ORBCOMM’s in-cab hardware, integrated cloud-based analytics and reporting platform delivers unparalleled connectivity resulting in better fleet management, streamlined workflow and happier drivers. Today, Queen uses ORBCOMM to better manage their fleet, streamline operations and save money.

Increased Efficiency with Better In-cab Solutions
Poor connectivity was costing Queen Transportation’s fleet time and money. With diminishing connections on their older tablet-based solutions, drivers had to resort to time-consuming paper logs to track their HOS. The solution automates HOS calculations through ORBCOMM’s ELD making it far easier to use and ensuring drivers can continue to do what they do best: drive. “ORBCOMM immediately addressed the connectivity issues we were having with tablet-based systems and the frustration our drivers were experiencing,” says Daniel Queen, Vice President at Queen Transportation.

Enhancing Driver Performance
The ORBCOMM solution gives Queen Transportation valuable driver performance scoring insights. It supplies live, on-board performance scoring results to drivers (and the back-office). The information and scoring help to correct unsafe driver behaviors. A color-coded scoring system shows where drivers can improve, and this can be delivered by fleet managers showing examples of where poor behavior occurred. The driver is scored in 26 categories including idling, harsh braking, over-speeding and harsh acceleration and deceleration.

Key Integrations That Deliver Benefits
Queen didn’t lose an ounce of data thanks to ORBCOMM’s extensive integrations. ORBCOMM integrates with McLeod Software’s transportation management and workflow application. ORBCOMM’s partnership with Drivewyze PreClear Weigh Station Bypass helps to minimize driver stops.

To learn more, download the case study or schedule a demo today.

Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , , ,

How Africa Wildlife Tracking Leverages Satellite IoT to Prevent Poaching: Case Study

You can understand, especially now, the emphasis is on anti-poaching. You need a reliable unit that will report regularly. If you don’t get a report, you know there’s something wrong. If you have a unit which can’t send through trees and forests, you’re not getting good data back.” – Martin Haupt, Africa Wildlife Tracking. 

Africa Wildlife Tracking (AWT), the leader in tracking wildlife sees significant advantages with ORBCOMM’s IoT solutions. Using GPS tracking and monitoring, ruggedised hardware and robust connectivity, the company, with a passion for the conservation of the natural environment, works with governments, conservation organizations, universities and game reserves to address poaching, monitor and protect animals.  

Creating a Hub for Wildlife Monitoring
AWT uses a range of technology to monitor animals of all sizes. It uses RFID transmitters, attached to small animals like wild dogs, cheetahs or turtles. Modified units sit in elephant collars transforming them into communication hubs, transmitting the RF data to researchers and conservationists, who can then extrapolate and make observations on the information. This data gives the bigger picture. While poaching can be hard to predict, the collars help to identify incidents where animals are under threat, what areas can be hazardous and where habitat loss is impacting animal migrations.  

Hardware as Tough as its Surroundings
Monitoring wildlife is not easy. There is a significant cost associated with placing a collar on an elephant, or indeed any other animal. It requires a team which includes handlers, vets and in some cases helicopter support. The animals live in remote areas including dense forests, deserts, and jungles. ORBCOMM has worked through these challenges with AWT and together, have it down to a fine art. Longevity and ruggedization of hardware are vital pieces of the puzzle. “If you work in Gabon, you work on foot. To put 50 collars on in Gabon is not an easy task. It’s working, it’s vets on the ground, it’s mud and water.” says Haupt. 

Addressing Challenges Today
While monitoring poaching is of primary concern, COVID-19 has become a particular issue in the protection of wildlife in recent times. With the new threat of the global pandemic, some of the wild animals that AWT tracks are now in danger of being hunted as a food source. Haupt says: I think poaching will pick up drastically here in Africa, it’s a question of food. We need to do something, and if we don’t do it now, we’re not going to have a lot of the endangered animals like rhino, elephant, things like that. They’re going to disappear.”  

Why Africa Wildlife Tracking Chose ORBCOMM
ORBCOMM’s robust satellite connectivity is critical to AWT’s tracking and monitoring. Working with ORBCOMM’s state-of-the-art satellite modems, AWT delivers vital conservation data and helps to prevent poaching throughout Africa. The ruggedized and highly reliable IoT devices can withstand the tough environments where these animals live. Combined, all of these elements help AWT to stay one step ahead of poachers.  

Posted in 5. M2M/IoT Trends Tagged with: , , , ,

Container Tracking in Real-Time Across the Intermodal Supply Chain: IANA Webinar

We’re looking forward to adding our voice to the discussion on the future of intermodal transport, in the upcoming webinar, Improving Visibility Across the Intermodal Supply Chain.  

The webinar is facilitated by The Intermodal Association of North America (IANA), as part of their Technology of Intermodal Series. ORBCOMM’s Al Tama, VP & General Manager of Container and Port Solutions, will be joining a panel of experts to discuss how to improve visibility across the intermodal supply chain.  

Where: Online, you can register at this link.  
When: Thursday, October 22, 14:00 (EDT) 

Replacing some of the familiar trade show events for this year, IANA’s developed a suite of educational webinars to discuss the big topics the intermodal industry is facing. In this discussion, moderator, Bill Cassidy, Senior Editor Trucking and Domestic Transportation, The Journal of Commerce will be joined by experts, Al Tama, Scott Friesen of Echo Global and Eric Klein of Crux Systems to examine the challenges and opportunity in realizing end-to-end, real-time tracking of shipments from origin to the receiver’s dock.  

About ORBCOMM 

ORBCOMM’s comprehensive transportation offering helps fleets more than 600,000 assets on road, rail and sea. Our customers use real-time alerts to prevent cargo loss. Centralized asset management, automatic temperature recording, and door-open notifications help to avoid costly errors and ensure your assets are where they should be.  

“ORBCOMM’s (intermodal container tracking) solution will play a significant role in improving shipment visibility and enhancing service to our customers.” Chris Kravas, Chief Intermodal Officer at Hub Group, Inc. 

Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS Tagged with: , ,

Driven by Data: How Increased Digitalisation and Data Analysis Bring Benefits

This article was originally published in Ports & Harbors Magazine 

Increased digitalisation and data analysis can bring the maritime sector a wealth of benefits provided that companies are willing to work together to progress towards a shared goal, says Al Tama, vice-president and general manager, container and port solutions/technology at ORBCOMM 

The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has thrust digital technology into the spotlight of the maritime world, accelerating conversations about large-scale change that would ordinarily have taken a backseat to other operational concerns. 

The need to pivot to a digital-first model wherever possible has built an airtight business case to boost transparency along the supply chain and facilitate remote monitoring of assets. Given that the average person is now used to tracking their assets in real time, whether this is an Amazon package or an Uber vehicle, this change is long overdue. 

Making Use of Technology

ReeferConnect IoT telematics solution

It is not that this technology does not exist. The automatic identification system (AIS) is one of the most established and comprehensive maritime data streams available today. In fact, many organisations already harness this data for a variety of uses, from vessel tracking and maritime safety to fleet management and enforcement of regulations. Furthermore, we have been talking about big data, internet of things (IoT), blockchain, and more in a maritime context for many years, and there are already test cases for harnessing these tools that have demonstrated tangible benefits. 

We at ORBCOMM have long been advocates for increased transparency in the maritime industry and have assisted shipping, fishing, port, and containers sectors. Clients use our thousands of satellite and terrestrial data sources to construct an accurate, time-sensitive picture of the supply chain. Merging various data streams to allow real-time asset management in the supply chain is the obvious direction for the maritime industry to take, so that we close the gap with other transport sectors.  

The fly in the ointment is digital cohesion, where the industry must agree upon standardisation of data terms and then create interoperable technologies that can work as an effective whole. 

The maritime industry is currently extremely fragmented, and getting various stakeholders to agree to industry-wide data standards and terminology will take considerable time and effort to overcome. After all, even in the case of shipping, you not only have different vessel categories but within individual categories, company size and access to capital for investment will all vary. When you take a step back and consider additional stakeholders such as ports, charters, ship managers, equipment manufacturers, and more – each with their own priorities – it is easy to understand why the maritime industry has been slower to digitise than many other sectors.

True Change

However, we are on the cusp of change and, despite the challenges to align digital input from so many different sources, we have recently seen a number of high-profile efforts out to break down the digital silos between stakeholders.  

In June 2020, the Digital Container Shipping Association, whose membership consists of some of the leading international container lines, published IoT connectivity interface standards for shipping containers. The standards are designed to level the playing field across the supply chain and enshrine interoperability between smart container solutions at the radio interface level. It applies to shipowners, ports, terminals, container yards, inland logistics providers, and other third parties. The fact that these standards, and others released by the association, are being championed by the container lines virtually guarantees their wide adoption and overcomes the hurdle of industry buy-in. 

Another victory for data synergy came in the form of a joint policy document submitted to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in June by a group of extremely high-profile industry associations, including the IAPH. Titled Accelerating Digitalisation of Maritime Trade and Logistics: A Call to Action, the document aims to accelerate the adoption of the IMO’s single maritime window initiative, harmonise data standards, and push for the adoption of port community systems. 

The IMO, which has been making digital inroads for over a decade with projects such as the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), drew a line in the sand in 2019 by mandating electronic ship-to-shore communication through amendments to its Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL) regulation. Most recently, its public-private partnership Global Industry Alliance released a just-in-time arrival guide that will facilitate port call optimisation by allowing vessels and ports to exchange data (see page 39). This will permit vessels to match their operating speed to the availability of berths at their destination ports – an effort that brings cost and environmental benefits.

There are multiple projects by private shipping companies that have been in place for years; new efforts are also are emerging virtually every day. The pandemic has irrefutably highlighted the risk management advantages to identifying where vessels and cargoes are at every stage of the transportation journey, as being a victim of bottlenecks in the supply chain has serious financial and reputational implications (see page 18). 

Going Further

These various efforts are music to our ears as we truly believe that data is the fuel that will propel us to the next stage, and we support all efforts to create a level digital playing field with ease of access for innovators. We acknowledge that there will almost certainly be teething issues as the industry adjusts to a new technology. Verifying the veracity of the data, cyber security, and accurate analysis are just some of the hurdles that will follow in the wake of harmonised standards, and companies must protect and future-proof themselves with the help of experts such as ourselves. 

As a company with a long-term investment in the maritime sector, we know the benefits of advancing as a unified industry outweigh any advantages that fragmented growth can bring. We look forward to the collaborative opportunities that arise as more people identify the opportunities that data analysis and IoT grant them access to and stand ready to embrace what the World Economic Forum has termed the Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2016 – the power of data. 

This article was originally published in Ports & Harbors Magazine.

Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Hours Of Service Rule Change LIVE Q&A Recap

Ahead of the FMCSA’s Hours of Service Rule Change on September 29th, we wanted to answer your questions. We received lots of questions on the rule change by email, and social channels. ORBCOMM’s ELD expert Scott Stofer answered your questions live via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. 

On LinkedIn, John asks “What will be changing in the HOS laws?”

Scott says: Thanks for your question John, that’s why we’re all here today! In short, the rule changes will impact the Adverse Driving Condition Exception, the Short-haul Exception, Sleeper Berth Provision and the 30-minute Break. We’ve done a thorough breakdown of the rules on the blog.

“Do I need a minimum number of hours driven for split sleeper to become available, some places take about 4 hours to load?”

Scott says: There is no driving limit specified for starting a split, let me explain here:

“How do these rules come into effect? Who decides them?”

Scott says: In brief, the rule changes are proposed by the FMCSA, based on review of current circumstances along with general input form the industry. Once they are proposed they are put up for review and comment by the public. After the comment and review period the feedback is considered, and any final revisions are submitted for approval. Once approved they are given an effective date and recorded in the federal registry. The publication in the federal registry make the regulation changes official. 

“Can I receive information on the configuration of adverse driving conditions? Will the TomToms have to be hard restarted on the 29th? What about units who are on the road driving during the upgrade? Also, when are the upgrades to FleetManager taking place?”

Scott says: Thanks for your question Rick. So, all changes in-cab and FleetManager will become available on midnight of the 28th and 29th and will not require a restart. For the Adverse Driving Conditions option, it will be available as a sub-status option once they select a status change after midnight. 

Russell asks via email: “Question about the 7/3 split. A driver said if he drives to the customer then is off for 3 hours that it won’t count against his 14. Is that correct?”

Scott says: Hi Russell, if the three hours is one segment of a spilt sleeper berth which also includes a segment of seven consecutive hours, then neither the three hours or the seven hours will count against the 14-Hour driving window. 

Adam asks this via email… “Can they continue to stay on the split breaks? Meaning can they take a 3-hour break, then a 7 when needed, then a 3 again…. never taking a full 10?” 

Scott says: Thanks Adam, Good question. The regulation as published prohibits “leaping-frogging” split sleeper berth time. The rule states:  
(ii) Sleeper berth. A driver may accumulate the equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty by taking not more than two periods of either sleeper berth time or a combination of off-duty time and sleeper berth time… 
This ensures the drivers can’t link split segments and ensures that they have to get a total of 10 hours of rest. 

Mike asks via email: 📧“My question is in regards to adverse driving conditions. Is there a weekly requirement or limit on how often adverse driving extension can be used?” 

Scott says: Hi Mike, there is no specified limit on how many times. Just that when used that the use is in conjunction with an Adverse Driving Condition that meets the criteria set out within the Adverse Driving definition. An Adverse Driving Condition is not an exception, so having multiples in a week under normal circumstances is rare.  Thanks for your question! 

Rick asks via email: “Does this apply to the US only or Canada too?” 

Scott says: The changes only affect HOS in the United States. These HOS changes do not apply to Hour of Service Regulations in Canada. Let me talk about this a bit more on video.
For more on our work toward Canadian ELD compliance, visit our website here.  

Edgar asks via email: 📧“Based on the new rule, the sleeper berth requirements allow drivers to take the required 10 hours off duty in two periods, provided one off duty, whether in or out of the sleeper berth, is at least 2 hours long and the other is of at least seven consecutive hours spent in the sleeper berth. The revision also provides that neither period, when paired together, counts against the 14-hour driving window. 
What if my driver starts a new shift, drives 5 hours, then goes to sleeper berth for 8 consecutive hours, then he drives another 5 hours and then goes to OFF Duty (based on the regulation, he needs at least two hours, but what if he stays OFF duty for 10 hours, basically, completes his shift right there, will he be in compliance? 
Based on my interpretation of the language used in the rule (at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and at least 2 hours off duty (combined minimum of 10 hours) my driver’s log should be in compliance with the new regulations. But I want your expert opinion on that matter. 

Scott says: Hi Edgar, thanks for such an in-depth question. If he goes in for 10 Hours in OFF-Duty he needs to ensure that the vehicle isn’t rolling. 
Under that scenario, if the vehicle is rolling, he can only be in Off-Duty for up to 3 hours. (that is the time limit that the driver can be in the seat and handling paperwork personal affairs etc.) When they hit the 3 Hour mark that would put them at 8 Hours in Sleeper and 3 in Off duty for 11 Hours. The next 7 would not count toward a valid reset since he is Rolling and in Off Duty, not Sleeper. So, the clock would pause for 8 and 3 but everything after in Off duty is not compliant for a valid rest break. 
If the vehicle wasn’t rolling at the 3 Hour Mark and stayed stationary while he was off duty for the full 10 Hours, then it would be valid daily reset.
If the second segment of 10 Hours was in the sleeper berth it would be a full 10-hour rest at the end of the second segment and the clock would start once he exited the sleeper berth 10 Hours 1 min since he got the full 10 Consecutive. 

Tee-Tom asks via Twitter: Several organizations have filed a court petition to invalidate the new HOS rules. Do you think there will be an attempt by either or both sides to delay implementation? (That has happened previously.) 

Scott says: Hey Tom, there is always the possibility but under the circumstances, nothing leads us to believe it will at this point.

Next is an online question: When you complete your second split period, will that give a fresh 14-hour clock?

Scott says: When you complete your second split period it will give you a fresh 14-hours starting at the end of the first sleeper berth period. 

Another Question we received online: Can I take the 3 hours first and then the 7 hours next, or does it have to be 7 hours first and then three?

Scott says: This is a short one! The split can be taken in any order. 

From Daniel on our Facebook page: If a driver takes a 3-hour break, then a 4-hour break, then later takes a 7-hour break, will break will be calculated with the 7 hours? The 3 or the 4? Is it the 1st qualifying break or the most recent break before the 7-hour break? 

Scott says: Hi Daniel, thanks for joining in today. The Split should be based on the 4 and 7 the 3 wouldn’t count as a valid off duty period once the 4 hour period is taken. Since the Split is built on 2 qualifying segments one short period would get nullified. 

Here’s a question we got on email. Can I receive information on the configuration of adverse driving conditions? Will the TomTom’s have to be hard restarted on the 29th?  What about units who are on the road driving during the upgrade? Also, when are the upgrades to FleetManager taking place?

Scott says: All changes in-cab and FleetManager will become available on midnight of the 28th and 29th and will not require a restart. For adverse Driving Conditions, the option will be available as a sub-status option once the selects a status change after midnight. 

Todd asks via email: “Can a driver use time at a customer for the split.  An example would be the driver arrives at the customer at 0700 checks in, gets dock assignment, this takes 30 minutes. The driver then has to wait in the truck for 3 hours in sleeper berth waiting for the trailer to be loaded. During this time the driver is sleeping or reading a book. Will that time pause/extend the 14-hour rule for 3 additional hours later in the day?” 

Scott says: Why don’t I answer this one by video?

Adam asks via email: “If an off-duty period of 2.5 hours is taken will it extend the 14 clock for 2.5 hours, or is it just whole increments 2 hours or 3 hours?  
Charmane asks via email: “It is my understanding that drivers can use any combination as long as a minimum of 7 hours are spent in SB and at least 2 hours spent off-duty (either in or outside of the SB). Both periods must add up to 10 hours.  Is this correct?” 

Scott says: I think I can address both of these questions here: It would extend it for 2.5 Hours’ time is tracked to the minute so you should get your 2.5 hours. As long as the minimum time and the total of the 2 split segments is at least 10 Hours any partial hours above the minimum would count and be available to the driver. 

Alan asks via email: “Does ORBCOMM have everything in order (to support the new HOS rule changes)?  

Scott says: Yes, we have all the changes in place, and they will go into effect on Sept 29th at 12:01AM. 

Colette chatted in via our website asking “Does the 30-minute break happen during the first 8 hours, or has to be taken after the first 8 hours?  I need to know between what hours do they take it in.” 

Scott says: Excellent question Collette. I’m going to answer this one with a video.

If you’ve got any further questions on the Hours of Service Rule Change, feel free to ask in the comments below or email us: eld@orbcomm.com.

Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , ,

HOS Rule Change: Live Q&A Rewind

With the FMCSA introducing its change to HOS regulations on September 29, I hosted a Live Q&A to answer the many questions we received on the subject. You can see the full thread of the Q&A in sequence below.

We’ve also produced a handy HOS Rule Change Visor Card to help make this rule change easier for drivers and fleet managers alike. If you have any questions not answered below, post it in the Comments below or reach out to me directly at eld@orbcomm.com.

Read more ›
Posted in 5. M2M/IoT Trends Tagged with: , , ,

HOS Rule Changes: Educate Drivers with this New Visor Card

The HOS Rule Changes are only 10 days away; will your drivers know what to do when the rules kick in on September 29?

To help make this rule change easier for drivers and fleet managers alike, ORBCOMM has developed this visor card aimed at drivers. It’s available to print, download on your cellphone, share by email or mobile. We want to ensure the safety and compliance of the entire transportation community. Feel free to share with any drivers, employees or partners who may find it useful.

(Download and Print Visor Card) (Download Mobile Version)

The FMCSA will implement four major updates to Hours of Service rules for commercial drivers on September 29. The visor card includes information on these rule changes that impact:

  • The 30-minute Break Rule
  • The Sleeper Berth Provision
  • Adverse Driving Condition Exception
  • Short-haul Exception

Live Q & A

If you’ve got more questions, you should join our live Q&A about the rule changes. Join our ELD expert Scott Stofer on Thursday, September 24, at 3pm EDT. He’ll be answering your questions live.

Live Q&A: HOS Rule Change
Thursday, September 24, 3p.m. EDT
Attend on Your Platform of Choice:

Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , , , ,

Queen Transportation & Logistics Profile

Since 2006, the family-owned Queen Transportation & Logistics has been focused on providing shippers with trucking and logistics services they can always trust, notes Daniel Queen, vice president. “Our customers appreciate our ‘whatever-it-takes’ spirit and our expertise in meeting their transportation needs,” Queen says. “What really sets us apart from the competition, however, is the quality of our well-trained drivers and the reliability of our highly advanced equipment.” 

Based in Hickory, N.C., Queen Transportation provides long, medium and short-haul, local, intrastate and interstate services. “Shippers call on us for a single, dependable source of freight transportation,” Queen says. “Being an asset-based carrier, we are better able to manage capacity requirements and equipment demands with immediate access to trucks, trailers and drivers, and handle their changing needs.”  

Currently, Queen Transportation fields 60 company-owned Freightliner Cascadia sleeper and day cab tractors and 175 53-ft. dry vans, including new Great Dane Champion composite plate models. Along with having flexibility to handle a range of freight, Queen relates, safety is a major consideration when spec’ing trucks for the fleet.  

“We continuously invest in the newest safety systems,” Queen reports. “Our latest power units have the Detroit Assurance suite with standard features like Active Brake Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and automatic wipers and headlamps, as well as Active Lane Assist and Lane Departure Protection options.” 

Queen Transportation’s focus on drivers is also evident in tractor amenities it specs, the ongoing training it provides and its job offerings. For example, drivers opting for shorter haul, regular local routes can choose their own home time.  

“Along with competitive pay and benefits,” Queen says, “one of the big things we started is a quarterly and annual safety bonus program. In addition, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve made sure our drivers have masks and hand sanitizer. Overall, we constantly do whatever we can stay ahead of driver needs and keep them safe.” 

Focused on Technology  

Driver satisfaction was also a large part of Queen Transportation’s decision in 2019 to equip its entire fleet with ORBCOMM in-cab systems and to begin using the company’s management software. Today, several driver-focused telematics solutions are now in use by the fleet.  

With ORBCOMM’s FleetManager web platform, Queen Transportation is automating hours of service calculations. The in-cab solution uses GPS tracking for HOS and ELD compliance, which Queen says is more efficient for drivers. 

“With a previous tablet-based solution, our drivers had ongoing connectivity issues that often forced them to resort to using paper logs,” Queen relates. “The time-consuming process was impacting their productivity and led to retention concerns. But with the ORBCOMM ELD, which is more intuitive and easier to use, we’ve removed a large frustration for them. 

“We’re also using ORBCOMM’s integration with the Drivewyze PreClear Weigh Station Bypass solution so our drivers do not always need to stop at scales,” Queen continues. “We didn’t fully understand until we implemented it how much easier it was going to make our drivers’ lives. ORBCOMM’s solution is also helping us improve safety by providing live, onboard driver performance scoring that helps correct unsafe driving behaviors and reduce accidents and violations.”  

With Queen Transportation’s previous system, reliability and delays in data updates also led to customer service issues and back-end inefficiencies. The lack of accurate, timely data and integrated information also limited the effective use of the fleet’s enterprise management system. 

“Now, we can use the ORBCOMM solution to enhance efficiency through increased visibility and auditing,” Queen says. “In particular, we’re benefitting from an integration that links ORBCOMM’s FleetManager to our McLeod Software transportation management system and workflow application.  

“It also improves communication, which enhances customer service,” Queen continues. “With vastly improved GPS tracking data on exact vehicle locations, we can work with customers to streamline operations at facilities, including determining where there is excessive detention time. That enhances their operations and our fleet’s operational productivity.” 

The capability to collect data from vehicle engine, brake and other systems is also giving Queen Transportation access to valuable analytics and timely reporting. Including data from the carrier’s Blue Tree trailer tracking systems, the information speeds up the service capabilities of the fleet’s technicians, which Queen notes lowers the carrier’s maintenance costs. 

Measurable Savings  

Overall, Queen Transportation is realizing measurable savings and improvements with ORBCOMM solutions. “The technologies we’ve adopted have already led to an estimated $25,000 in Hours of Service compliance and administrative time savings, and within two years we expect to realize a full return on investment in their technology in improved efficiency and performance,” Queen reports.  

For Queen, the company’s expertise, equipment, technologies and drivers offer shippers a level of reliability and an ability to rise to any challenge. “We’re committed to getting the job done right 100% of the time because we are dedicated to quality and constant improvement,” he concludes. “By staying ahead of challenges, we’re prepared to handle all the needs and the headaches that go with modern commercial transportation.” 

This article previously appeared in Fleet Equipment Magazine.

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