XTL Surpasses Industry Standard for Excellence in the 2015 Shipper’s Choice Awards

The results of Canadian Shipper Magazine’s annual survey of shippers for their Shipper’s Choice Awards are in.  XTL is pleased to have surpassed the industry benchmark for excellence in the 2015 Shippers Choice Awards.

The awards look at key areas of service like:  On-time performance, Quality of Equipment, Information Technology, Competitive Pricing, Customer Service, Leadership in Problem Solving, Value added services and Sustainable Transportation.

The complete results will be published in the July/August issue of the Canadian Shipper Magazine.

XTL would like to thank all of our clients who participated in the survey and big thank you to our staff for providing that excellent service which helped us come out on top this year.

XTL Helps!

If you’ve never experienced XTL’s great service before or are unhappy with your current transportation provider, we encourage you to contact us to experience what XTL can do for you.

We look forward to another year of earning the shippers choice award in 2016.

Transit Times: How long will it take my freight to arrive?

Have you ever had a hot shipment and wondered how long it would take your freight to arrive and why it takes a specified amount of time for delivery? This article explains transit times for you.
In USA and Canada, there are regulations relating to hours of service that determines how long a driver can stay behind the wheel on a given day. Hours of Service, and the number of miles between origin and destination have the biggest influences on transit time.
Without getting into the intricacies of on duty time and work week cycles, etc. A driver can drive for 13 hours/day in Canada and 11 Hours/day in the US. So we have to make some assumptions to get a rule of thumb. Since a typical transborder driver spends most of his/her time in the US, we have to take that into account in our calculation. Plus, 11 hours/day won’t be all productive driving time, the driver will have to stop for bathroom breaks, lunch, etc. So let’s as a rule of thumb round this down to an average of 10 hours per day driving time.
Generally, the speed limit is about 55 miles in an hour, which would mean about 550 miles per day based on the driving time. However, there are slowdowns and not all miles are highway, so let’s round down to 500 miles per day (50 miles an hour as an average) as a good rule of thumb.
Now, all we need is the distance. You can use Google Maps or Mapquest, (trucking companies have special mileage software, but Google or Mapquest will work for our purposes). Just get the mileage between origin and destination. Let’s say from Miami Florida to Toronto. Mapquest says it’s 1485 miles. So 1485/500 is three days transit time. Keep in mind this is not taking into account weather delays, border delays, etc. This is best case scenario. So in your planning process take this into account.

Can I speed it up?

Yes you can, if your carrier has a team available. However, this does not change the laws of physics! Miami, Florida is still 1485 miles away, and the average speed is probably going to be around 50 miles an hour. The advantage of a team is that while one driver rests, the other driver can drive and they can switch out without having to stop for extended periods. So the math in this case is 1485/50 = approximately 30 hours of driving time. So you could theoretically deliver this shipment next day assuming no delays with a team of drivers.

Rules of Thumb:

For a Single driver:

Total Miles/500 = approximate days transit time

*special note: if you’re talking LTL, then add one day. This is for other pick ups and deliveries on the truck.

For a team:

Total Miles/50= approximate number of hours transit time

XTL Has Solutions for You

XTL has helped many clients for over 30 years with hot rush shipments and solutions to many other logistics problems. If you’ve got a tough logistics challenge, contact XTL today! We’re here to help.

 

Trucking Runs on Information

Trucking runs on information. To make a shipment go smoothly, your carrier has to process a lot of information about your shipment. This article highlights 20 pieces of key information you can provide to your carrier to help make your shipment go smoothly.

1. Full address and phone number of shipper
2. Full address and phone number of consignee
3. Day/Time Shipper expects pickup
4. Day/Time Consignee expects delivery
5. If appointments are required at pick up or delivery?
6. Are there any pick up numbers required?
7. Are there any reference numbers required for delivery?
8. Actual size and weight of the shipment.
9. What size of skids if loaded on skids?
10. If loaded on the floor, who’s doing the loading?
11. How long does it generally take to load/unload?
12. Are there any requirements in terms of the driver (ie: safety gear, licensing, ID)?
13. Is the shipment hazardous, if so, hazmat class and UN Number?
14. If the shipment is to cross the border, name and phone number of customs broker and border crossing point if it’s specific.
15. If shipment is crossing the border are there any special requirements (ie: food may require an inspection or special documentation).
16. If crossing the border, does your customs broker provide for 24 hour clearance?
17. Any special care requirements for the shipment (ie: temperature control)?
18. Any special security requirements (ie: seals, seal numbers, etc.)?
19. Any special trailer requirements (ie: barn doors, roll up doors, lift-gate)?
20. Type of trailer required: van, flatbed or reefer?

Here at XTL Transport we make sure to get the details right. Plus, our state of the art Transportation Management System (TMS) and our driver communication systems ensure the right information gets to the right place. We’ve always believed that information is the key to successful logistics.
If you’re experience late shipments, late pick ups or any other transportation related difficulties, XTL is here to help put our 30+ years of experience to work for you. Contact us!

XTL: How Far We’ve Come in 30 Years

This year; 2015, XTL Transport celebrates 30 years in the trucking industry. Today, XTL is a vibrant national and international asset based transportation Management Company that includes trucking, logistics, warehousing and distribution.

Fast Facts about XTL Transport:

Business Growth

• XTL has grown over 50% since 2007 through expansion into Western Canada.
Terminals and Offices
• Langley, BC
• Airdrie, AB
• Mississauga, ON
• Toronto, ON
• Montreal, QC
• Boucherville, QC
• Quebec City, QC

Equipment:

• Approximately 400 Power Units
• 1200 Trailers including dry, temperature controlled and Refrigerated trailers. These are a combination of tandem, Tridem and quad axle equipment with barn doors and roll up doors.

Warehousing:

• XTL boasts 650,000 square feet of heated warehousing facilities in Toronto and Montreal capable of cross-docking and distribution. Plus, the facilities are fully equipped with rail siding for convenient processing and storage of your rail shipments.

Logistics:

• XTL Logistics provides full 3PL Transportation Management Services including truck brokerage throughout North America. XTL Logistics has the carrier base to get any shipment moving with their strategic partner alliance.
• XTL Logistics has the full backing of XTL’s asset base.

Specialties:

• Since inception, XTL Transport has been an expert in paper transportation. Servicing Northern Quebec, XTL quickly became a premier transporter of paper and newsprint. Plus, XTL’s distribution facilities are specially designed and equipped to handle paper rolls.
• XTL’s TempSolution initiative makes them the unparalleled leader in temperature controlled transport. XTL invests heavily in state of the art insulated trailers with computerized reefer units that maintain and monitor an exact temperature, making these units perfect for pharmaceuticals and other temperature sensitive goods.
• CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) are a mainstay of XTL’s business today including both the retail, pharmaceutical and medical industries.

Customer Base

• XTL has grown to serve many Fortune 100 and 500 companies in Canada and across North America.

Key Milestones

1985 Opened XTL, and warehousing, plus expanded into the US. Started with 25 trailers, 6 owner-operators and 8 staff members.
1987 XTL – TIC merge adds 75 owner operators.
1989 XTL – GTL Truckload & Truckit merge adds 150 owner-operators.
1990 XTL installs computerized Logistics Systems.
1996 XTL – TAC merge adds 60 company trucks and agency drivers to the fleet.
1997 XTL installs mobile satellites in all trucks.
2001 XTL Logistics is launched.
2004 XTL opens New Flagship terminal opened in Vaudreuil QC, and a new warehouse in Dorval QC.
2007 XTL opens office in Langley, BC to expand its dedicated Operations/Services.
2008 XTL opens office in Airdrie, AB to expand its dedicated Operations/Services.
2012 Genevieve Gagnon becomes President of XTL and XTL launches new Corporate identity Logo & sub-branding Logo’s.
2014 Operations for dedicated & local city operations management moves to Boucherville QC.
2015 Technological advancements continue to be at the forefront

XTL has managed to grow and prosper in a very difficult and competitive industry over the last 30 years largely thanks to their employees and management, in combination with strong customer relationships built over three decades.

You too, can leverage XTL’s 30 years of transportation experience by contacting the today and book an appointment with one of their logistics experts to review ways in which they can help improve your logistics systems.

Top 10 Reasons to Outsource Your Warehousing Operation

Here’s a list of the top 10 reasons why businesses outsource warehousing operations to reduce costs and make their businesses more competitive.

  1. 1.       Focus on your core

If warehousing and shipping isn’t your core business, then outsourcing your warehousing operations to a 3rd Party warehouse often results in greater focus on core business activities like sales, marketing and new product development.

  1. 2.       Risk Reduction

Warehousing and shipping comes with all kinds of risks; from financial risk of inventory loss and damage to possible injury of your workforce.  Outsourcing your warehousing and shipping operation typically results in less business risk for you.

  1. 3.       Better Systems and Performance

A 3rd Party Logistics warehouse’s main business is warehousing and shipping products.  They have systems and processes suited to do just that.  Typically, their investment in technology specifically related to manage inventory, pick, pack and ship is greater than the average business where this operation is not their core business.  By outsourcing to a 3PL Warehouse you can take advantage of their leading edge technology without the huge investment!

  1. 4.       Cost Reductions in Storage

Typically, outsourcing your warehousing operation to a 3PL Logistics company results in an overall cost reduction.  Here’s why:  Most businesses have cyclical sales.  That is to say sometimes they need to carry more inventory than others.  So, if you are taking care of your own shipping and warehousing you have to own/lease capacity for your peak inventory.  Even if that only happens once per year.  A 3PL has the ability to mix and manage different customers with different peaks in their business.  Therefore, you only have to pay for what you use.

  1. 5.       Cost Reduction in Labour

Much like warehouse space capacity, labour usage for a typical warehouse has peaks and valleys.  If you’re running your own warehouse, you need to staff for the peaks and then have less than optimal labour usage when you’re not busy.  If you choose to outsource to a 3PL then the labour a 3PL uses is spread of many customers, reducing slack time and waste.

  1. 6.       Better use of Capital

Warehousing is an expensive proposition in terms of capital and investment.  If you’re like most business, you fight for every dollar of capital for investment.  If you’d rather invest your precious capital in developing new products or buying new machinery that gives you a competitive advantage, then 3PL warehousing is for you.   Because you only pay for what you use, it’s an expense, not a capital investment.

  1. 7.       Economies of Scale in Shipping

Because 3PL’s ship for a variety of customers, that volume of shipments are pooled together allowing the 3PL Warehouse to get better shipping rates on your behalf.  You save based on their larger volume of shipments.

  1. 8.       Agility

If you’re business suddenly grows or shrinks, this has a huge impact on your investment in storage space and your human resources if you’re managing your own warehouse operations.  It takes time to ramp up or slow down.  You may miss market opportunities while you’re building and hiring.  With a 3PL you have access to instant capacity.  This makes your business more agile and responsive to the market.

  1. 9.       Choice of Location

When you choose to outsource warehousing and operations to a 3PL, you have a choice of location.  You no longer have to have your warehouse attached to your head office geographically.  You can choose a 3PL that makes geographic sense where it’s optimal to serve your customers.  This typically results in savings from shipping operations and better customer service.

  1. 10.    Improved Service

Because a 3PL warehouse’s sole business is to pick/pack/ship, they are specialists.  They have the systems and people to excel at this operation.  Most business that chooses to outsource their warehousing operations experiences an improvement in customer service as a result.

XTL Distribution has warehousing operations in Toronto and Montreal with over 75 years combined experience in warehousing and distribution operations.  Plus, XTL’s Distribution operations combined with XTL Logistics and XTL Transport give clients unparalleled access to warehouse, logistics and transportation assets in Canada.  Contact us for a free consultation on how we can help you leverage 3PL warehousing to reduce your costs and make your business more competitive.

2014 Year in Review in the Trucking Industry

Wow, what a year of extremes we had in 2014!  As we begin 2015 this article is a look back on the highs and lows of 2014, an extremely volatile year.

The price of fuel

The price of fuel peaked at a National Average of just over $4.00 US per gallon and finished the year dropping to 3.21 per gallon, a price not seen since 2010 as we were coming out of the economic collapse of late 2008.

fuel graph 2014

Freight Volumes

The year opened with a bang! Transcore reported that their freight index was the highest ever, it peaked in April, but has since declined to slightly below 2012, and 2013 volumes for the month of December 2014.

Regulatory

  • In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced joint greenhouse gas emissions standards and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles, applicable to model-year 2014 vehicles and engines.
  • After a strong stance on the latest HOS regulations, on December 16, 2014 FMCSA suspends the enforcement of 49 CFR 395, regarding the restart of a driver’s 60 or 70 hour limit restart that drivers were required to comply with since July 1 2013.

Biggest News Stories

  • The driver shortage was by far the biggest story of 2014.  A combination of a booming economy, aging/retiring workforce and Hours of Service regulations that restricted capacity; everyone was feeling the pinch of more freight than they had drivers to move.
  • Extreme weather events:  the year started out with a massive ice storm the hindered transportation and left hundreds of thousands of people without power.  Late 2014 the Buffalo area was hit with a massive snow storm that closed down all major highways leading to the border for several days causing a major transportation disaster.
  • The Canadian dollar has slowly been declining with the price of oil, as Canada’s resource based economy is highly dependent on commodity prices.  The year started off with a 91 cent dollar that fell to 86 cents by the end of 2014.  If this continues it should effect the balance of trade and mean more southbound truck traffic to the US.
  • In part because of the dollar, and in part because of falling price of oil, the balance of trade with the US has experienced wild swings.  Making transborder logistics unpredictable.

The Canadian Dollar

  • The Canadian dollar has slowly been declining with the price of oil, as Canada’s resource based economy is highly dependent on commodity prices.  The year started off with a 91 cent dollar that fell to 86 cents by the end of 2014.  If this continues it should effect the balance of trade and mean more southbound truck traffic to the US.

Balance of Trade with the US

  • In part because of the dollar, and in part because of falling price of oil, the balance of trade with the US has experienced wild swings.  Making transborder logistics unpredictable.

balance of trade

Outlook for 2015?

Let’s hope for the best, but many of the issues that caused uncertainty in the industry are going to be around for 2015.  The driver shortage is not going away any time soon, the price of oil remaining low could have significant effects on the economy and freight patterns, but one ill political situation in an oil producing country could cause oil to dramatically rise to more recent high prices.  As global warming increases over time, the weather situation will only get worse.

This is what makes trucking and logistics a challenge for everyone who works in the industry.  This year in 2015 XTL is celebrating 30 years in the business.  XTL has been navigating the ups and downs of the transportation industry for 30 years.  We certainly know how weather troubling times and uncertainty.  If you need help with your trucking and logistics systems, XTL can certainly help you.  Contact us to put our years of experience to work for you.

Extreme Weather Events and Their Impact on Logistics

ariel-view-snow-smallClimate change affects everyone. The trucking industry bears the brunt of many extreme weather events in North America. It’s not only the postman who has the motto “rain, sleet or snow…” Shippers expect their transportation providers to deliver no matter the weather conditions. Climate change and extreme weather events are impacting the transportation industry in a drastic and negative way.

Seven “Hot” Tips to Increase Your Heated Freight Capacity this Winter

With heat season just over a month away (many people start heating freight the first week of November), many transportation managers are wondering how they can avoid a shortage of heated trucks this winter. Especially, since freight capacity is already tight.  Here are seven tips that will help you out this winter manager your heated freight capacity.

Separate Heated Freight from Non-Heated freight

Many shipments are loaded with 90% of the freight being freeze tolerant and only 10% of the shipment requiring freeze protection or temperature control.  Not only does this cost the shipper a premium but it uses up heated capacity where none is needed.  Often by splitting the shipment into two, the cost of the increased LTL will be offset by reduction in the heated premium.  This is easy to implement and your front-line shippers should be made aware of this option.

Consider “no heat” on short runs

If you’re struggling to find heated trucks for a short run of less than a day, you may consider shipping without heat.  While there is a slight risk involved in this practise, generally, liquids that are in motion will not freeze.  Just like a river.  Plus, the liquids will have some residual heat from the time of loading.  For short runs, as long as you can work with your carrier not to leave the freight on the truck over night, you’ll probably be OK to ship without heat.  Use your judgement here; extremely freeze sensitive material would not be worth the risk!

Consider Blanket Wraps

Blanket wraps are a great way to increase heated capacity.  The idea is to wrap the liquid drums or totes in an insulated blanket.  The residual heat in the product slowly dissipates over time.  However, with proper calculations you can often ship freeze sensitive product over a few days without issue.   The blanket manufacturers should be able to help you with grade, timing and temperature rules of thumb.  The only downside to this method is you’ll have to ship the blankets back, so include that in your cost benefit analysis.  Plus, there is some risk involved here.  You should do your calculations carefully and include temperature probes and/or monitoring in your shipment.

Consider “heated” vs. “Temperature Controlled”

In transportation, the term “heated” could mean a diesel powered portable heater in the back of a dry van, or it could mean putting the freight on a temperature controlled reefer unit.  This may seem trivial, but when capacity is tight, you should consider what you actually need.  If your product has a freeze temperature at zero or below, and the weather is not in a deep freeze of say -20C, then you should be OK with “heated”.  That will open up your capacity to a much wider range of carriers with portable heating units.  However, if you state “must maintain between 5-10C, then you are limiting yourself to a temperature controlled reefer unit.  This will limit your options, if you don’t actually need that specification.

Consider Round Trips

If you happen to have the opportunity to ship between A and B (or very close points) let’s say the points are Chicago and Toronto, and you have heated freight from Chicago and non-heated from Toronto, then you can work with your carrier to send out a heated unit and work out a deal to buy the backhaul in advance.  Your carriers will love this, it makes their life easier and you just made your life easier by covering that heated shipment.

Book Early

Book early when you can.  Carriers have to plan their truck dispatch constantly.  Much of the time based on unknowns.  If you can provide your carriers with as much information as possible by booking early, they can often plan to have the right equipment where you need it.

Call XTL Transport

XTL has made a significant investment in temperature controlled trailers over the last few years, including specially designed TEMPSOLUTION trailers that precisely monitor and maintain temperatures for very sensitive goods like pharmaceuticals, chemicals and food grade additives.  If you’re worried about heated capacity this winter, now’s the time to contact XTL for a review of your needs.