Transportation Industry Trends for 2016

If you’re a shipper or transportation company, this time of year, in the final months leading up to the new year you have to ask yourself, “what’s the outlook for next year?” We don’t have a crystal ball, but here’s how we see it.

Fuel Prices

Prediction: Most predictions are for fuel prices to remain relatively low next year.

• Most economies are slow or slowing.
• There is a glut of supply and the Middle East doesn’t seem to be slowing production.
• More fuel efficient vehicles are actually starting to effect demand for gasoline.
• Natural Gas is a very economical alternative right now due to the new fracking technologies recovering previously unrecoverable resource.

What could affect this prediction?

• A major conflict in the Middle East.
• OPEC deciding to cut production.

Labour Shortage

Prediction: Continued driver shortage

This seems like old news, but every year the shortage of truck drivers seems to increase. We can expect more of this next year.

• Existing truck drivers are retiring at a faster rate than new entrants.
• The market for freight is growing and the demand for drivers is growing.

What could effect this prediction?

• A major recession.
• With the oil boom slowdown, trucking companies may be successful at attracting new drivers from the oil patch labour pool.
• Trucking companies are heavily marketing jobs to women. Women currently make up only a small fraction of truck drivers. Should female truck drivers become a trend, it could really help out the driver shortage problem.


Prediction: More available capacity in 2016

Coming into the end of the year spot market capacity is up (according to DAT Trendlines) and spot market loads are down. This is a key indicator that freight volume is soft right now. From a capacity perspective we should see much more available capacity in 2016.

• Q3 2015 freight volumes are soft.
• Trucking companies being proactive about hiring and recruiting.
• Outlook for economy is soft.

What could effect this prediction?

• New rules or regulations that could tighten capacity.
• An economic boom.

Traffic Flow

Prediction: Increased southbound traffic to the US, softer northbound traffic to Canada, less East-West traffic in Canada.

• With the low Canadian Dollar, imports are considerably more expensive. This will drive less import from China and the US.
• With the low Canadian Dollar, Canadian Exports will be more attractive, particularly in the United States. More exports should shift to the US.

What could effect this prediction?

• A World Wide economic boom, or oil price shock, could appreciate the Canadian Dollar and reverse this trend.

What Do You Think?

XTL wants to know what your predictions are for 2016. Drop us a line, or comment on our post and keep the discussion alive.


Temperature Controlled Freight: Heat Season is Coming Soon. Are you ready?

iStock_000071261939_LargeOver the last few winters, Mother Nature has not been particularly kind.  Frigid temperatures and huge snow storms caused havoc for many shipper’s and carriers alike.  XTL has published some great articles over the last few years about temperature controlled transport and best practices during heat season.  Here’s a list of the content we have on our blog as a resource.

Extreme Weather Events Impact Logistcs

How to Increase Heated Freight Capacity During Winter

Heated Service vs. Protect From Freeze

Best Practices in Temperature Controlled Transport


“Hot” Tips from our past articles:

  1. Keep an eye on the weather forecast.  Get critical orders or supplies moving before the storm hits.
  2. Work with your carriers.  There are often huge costs incurred when a shipment gets stuck in a storm.  Be prepared to share the costs within an ongoing relationship.
  3. Increase your inventory levels of critical items to ensure you’re not caught short by a big winter storm.
  4. Ship heated freight and non-heated freight separately.  You may be able to get two smaller shipments moving rather than one large one when capacity is tight.
  5. Consider “no heat” on short runs where your product is unlikely to freeze.
  6. Consider blanket wraps to get a shipment moving when capacity is tight.
  7. Understand the difference between “heated” and “protect from freeze” service and how this impacts your shipments.
  8. Book early during inclement weather.  Don’t wait till the last minute.
  9. Be aware of the risk of freeze in all steps in your supply chain; from loading, during transit and during unloading.
  10. Get your product off the floor!  Make sure liquids are on pallets if possible.  Separating contact with the floor will prevent heat transfer.
  11. Keep product away from the walls.  The closer the product is to the walls of the trailer the more likely for heat transfer to occur.
  12. Put the most freeze sensitive product at the front of the trailer.  Especially if it’s an LTL shipment, near the doors gets exposed more to outside temperature.

Other “Hot” Tips for Temperature Controlled Freight


Just a reminder that XTL specializes in temperature controlled transport.  Plus, we’ve got a specially designed TEMPSOLUTION trailers that are specially insulated and have state of the art temperature control units.  We saw the need clients have for shipping extremely temperature sensitive products in a safe and controlled manner and responded with our TEMPSOLUTION trailers.  Check out our TEMPSOLUTION page for more information, or contact us.  We’re here to help.


A Great Time to Choose Trucking as a Career

The demand for truck drivers has never been higher; the industry is growing, adopting new technology and is a key driver of our economy.  Ever considered a career in trucking?  Maybe you should!

A rewarding career

Almost every consumer product and foodstuff arrives by truck to the end consumer.   Without truck drivers, our economy wouldn’t be able to function, let alone feed, cloth, and house a nation.  The trucking industry is an important part of the Canadian Economy.

You’ll be in high demand

According to a recent Conference Board of Canada study (2013), it’s predicted that across Canada there will be a shortage of between 16,600 and 33,000 drivers by 2020.  This is largely based on industry growth and a high number of retirees in the years to come.

Recession Proof

Because of the general lack of truck drivers, during the last recession, trucking companies were still hiring.  This trend is expected to continue as the demand for drivers grows.

Choice and Freedom

Due to the high demand for truck drivers currently and for the foreseeable future, you’ll be able to pick your employer.  If one is not a good fit, you’ll be in such high demand that you’ll be able to choose a trucking company that is a better fit for you.

Cutting Edge Technology

The trucking industry is becoming more technologically advanced every year.  From onboard GPS vehicle tracking to satellite computer systems and communications technologies, the truck driver of the future will be more ‘wired’ than ever before.

Lots of Training Resources

There are a lot of training resources for truck drivers such as:  the Professional Truck Driver InstituteTrucking HR Canada or a provincial authority, such as the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association.

Opportunities for Advancement

There are career paths beyond truck driver that can lead to Driver Trainers, Driver Supervisors as well as Fleet Management and Operations Management careers.

Choice of Work

Not all truck drivers are on the road for extended periods of time.  Of course, many people choose long haul positions because of the freedom and the ability to travel they offer, but there are also many local and short haul positions available in the industry.

An Industry That’s Actively Seeking Women

According to statistics, 97% of drivers are men.  This is something the industry wants to change.  If you’re a female looking for a challenging and rewarding career, trucking may be for you.

XTL Transport is Hiring

If you’re considering a career in trucking, please contact us, we’d love to talk to you.  XTL offers many benefits to new drivers, including training and mentoring programs.  You can find more information and contact us on our website here.

Changes Likely Coming to CSA Says FMCSA

The FMCSA (June 29,2015) has just released proposed changes to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.  The changes are reflected primarily in changing intervention thresholds for BASIC measurement categories in their Safety Measurement System (SMS).

A note about how the system works:

Keep in mind while reading this article that the SMS is a ranking system not a rating system.  So if a threshold is set at 80%, say.  It means that to “pass” you have to be ranked in the top 80% of all carriers for this BASIC.

Why the Changes?

The main changes fall on changing compliance thresholds.  The FMCSA has taken a look at each of the BASICs in their Safety Management System (SMS) and correlated them to crash risk.  If follows that higher crash risk BASICs should have a tighter compliance threshold while BASICs that have very low correlation to crash risk should have lower compliance thresholds.

HIGH CRASH RISK BASICs:  Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance

MEDIUM CRASH RISK BASICs:  Vehicle Maintenance

LOW CRASH RISK BASICs:  Controlled Substances, Hazmat Compliance and Driver Fitness

What are the Changes?

Intervention Thresholds at 65%:  Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator and HOS Compliance will all remain at 65%.  That means if you are in the bottom 35% of all carriers you should continue to expect intervention activities.

Intervention Thresholds at 75%:  Vehicle maintenance was previously 80%, meaning the bottom 20% of carriers would receive intervention.  This is now changed to 75% meaning the bottom 25% of all carries will receive intervention.  So, more carriers are likely to fall in the intervention category for this BASIC.

Intervention Thresholds at 90%:  To reflect the lower crash risk, Controlled Substances, Hazmat Compliance and Driver Fitness will be lowered to 90% from 80% (I know that seems backwards!).  This means that instead of the bottom 20% of carriers requiring intervention, only the bottom 10% will require intervention. So, less carriers are likely to warrant compliance interventions for these BASICs

Other Major Changes

The FMCSA is also proposing to segment Hazmat Compliance by vehicle type.  Bulk Tank Carriers usually have very high compliance in this area, while packaged goods carriers often have trouble.   This is because of the wide range of clients a packages goods carrier may have on a single vehicle as well as, being susceptible to many more opportunities for violations vs. a tank truck carrier.  Since this is a ranking system, it’s unfair to compare bulk tank carries with packaged good carriers in the same ranking system.

Here at STL safety is always top concern.

XTL Transport Inc maintains a safety record below the intervention threshold in all categories.  You can check out our profile at:





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


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.