More from: cargo control

It’s Time to Inventory Cargo Control Supplies

Last fall, we published a blog post encouraging drivers to do an inventory check of their cargo control supplies in anticipation of the pending winter season. Well, winter is long gone and spring is in the air. That makes now a great time to conduct a new inventory of your cargo control supplies.

Why inventory again? Because winter weather can do a number on everything from tarps to bungee cords. Between cold weather and road salt, cargo control supplies take a beating during the winter season. Conducting a spring inventory makes it clear what items need to be replaced, which ones can be repaired, and so on. Doing a spring inventory also gives truck drivers a good idea of what they will need to order before next winter season sets in.

Inspect Your Truck Tarps

A trucker’s supply of tarps represents perhaps the largest volume of cargo control supplies he or she carries on board. Ironically, tarps also tend to suffer the most damage during winter driving. So inspecting tarps is a good place to start. Drivers should pull all their tarps out of storage, unfold them, and inspect them for damage.

Small rips and tears in vinyl and poly tarps can be repaired with a standard tarp repair kit sold by Mytee Products. Larger areas of damage may need to be sewn before patches can be applied. As for canvas tarps, anyone handy with a needle and thread can fix most minor rips and tears.

Tarps should also be checked for mold and mildew, frayed seams, and loose grommets and D-rings. All these problems can be effectively addressed if they are caught early enough.

Bungee Cords and Webbing Straps

Bungee cords are designed to withstand temperature extremes throughout the year. However, they still wear out over time. If you have been through an especially brutal winter with very cold temperatures, check your bungee cords for excess wear. Bungees tend to get brittle in colder temperatures, so they are prone to cracking and splitting.

Straps made of webbing material tend to hold up a lot better under winter conditions. Still, each of your straps should be inspected for any signs of wear. This includes fraying on the edges. Also be sure to check where straps attach to hooks and buckles.

Corner and Edge Protectors

Corner and edge protectors made of metal usually do not require regular inspections. They are pretty tough. However, plastic protectors should be inspected every spring. Remember that plastic also gets brittle in cold conditions. It is not unusual for edge protectors to crack when it gets cold out.

Minor cracks can be repaired with super glue or something similar if you are so inclined. However, plastic corner and edge protectors are cheap enough that you might just want to discard cracked pieces and replace them entirely. It’s up to you.

Everything Else

The three categories listed above will constitute most of your inventory for cargo control supplies. If you are like most flatbed truckers though, there are other things in your toolbox that need a look. You will want to inspect your chains for signs of rust, stress, or any potentially broken links. Examine your binders to make sure they are still structurally sound. Take a look at all of you rigging supplies as well.

The point of the spring inventory is to better understand how your cargo control supplies held up over the winter. You are inspecting it in the hope of finding wear and tear or damage that could otherwise be a problem if ignored. The earlier you catch problems, the easier these are to address.


Ratchet Straps and Palletizing Strategies

On a beautiful spring day in central Florida, a flatbed truck was seen traveling down the road with a load of pallets packed with decorative paver stones. The pallets had been completely wrapped with shrink wrap before being loaded onto the trailer. To keep them secure, the driver ran two ratchet straps over each pallet row with large, plastic edge protectors between the straps and the cargo. This was the perfect setup for this kind of load.

Key to the driver’s strategy was securing the pallets from movement without damaging the paving stones. Now, it might seem a bit of overkill to use the edge protectors in light of the fact that the pallets were wrapped in shrink wrap, but shrink wrap does not cover the tops of pallet loads – just the sides. The highest layer of paver stones was fully exposed on the top surface. Edge protectors were necessary to protect the stones and ratchet straps alike.

Every Situation Is Different

The scenario described here is a perfect illustration of how wide the variation can be in palletized loads. For example, just because the shipper in this case used shrink wrap on the pallets doesn’t mean every shipper will do likewise. Paver stones are heavy enough that they will stay in place pretty much on their own, so some shippers will use a couple of aluminum straps along with large pieces of cardboard rather than shrink wrap.

How cargo is palletized really depends on the cargo itself and what the shipper believes is necessary to provide adequate protection. It is still the driver’s responsibility to get cargo to its intended destination without damage, regardless of how it is palletized. Therefore, it is not wise for drivers to rely on shippers and their palletizing strategies. Every situation is different.

In this case, all the driver needed to do to properly secure and protect the pallets was to have them stacked in rows before securing them with ratchet straps and corner protectors. If the palletizing method had been different, the driver might have had to choose another means of securing them.

This solution was relatively simple because all the pallets were of uniform size and height. Indeed, securing this load was probably one of the easiest things the driver ever had to do. There were no tarps involved, the weight of the pallets prevented them from being stacked, and the cargo itself was heavy enough that it was not prone to excessive movement.

The Right Kind of Equipment

As cargo and palletizing strategies are different, a flatbed driver has to keep a good supply of all the right equipment on board. In this case, it means ratchet straps and edge protectors. In other cases, drivers will need bungee straps, tarps of various sizes and materials, and even wood blocks to prevent cargo from moving. The inventory of necessary equipment can be rather extensive for truckers who are willing to haul just about anything.

Here at Mytee Products, we do our best to maintain a solid inventory of all the equipment and supplies to flatbed truck needs. We also strive to ensure that all the products in our inventory come from trusted brand names truckers know and recognize. This helps us to ensure quality with every product sold.

We have no way of knowing where the trucker in the scenario described here purchased his ratchet straps. But we can say that if they were purchased from Mytee Products, they were made with high-quality bedding material built to last. They were the perfect tool for securing that kind of load.


What a Good Cargo Control Inventory Looks Like

America’s truck drivers rely on Mytee Products for high-quality cargo control equipment and supplies. Why? Because we have everything that the average truck driver needs to get the job done. Furthermore, we might be able to find a unique piece even if it is not included in our standard inventory.

If you are building an inventory of cargo control supplies for your truck, it is a good idea to sit down and assess what you would need for the kinds of jobs you normally take. Visit a couple of trucking forums and ask for advice too. Other truckers will be happy to tell you what they recommend.

We can offer a bit of advice thanks to the time we have spent serving the trucking industry. We believe the items listed below make up the foundation of a good cargo control inventory. Keep in mind that we carry all of them. You can purchase online or visit us in person.

Winch and Ratchet Straps

Winch and ratchet straps are straps used to secure heavy cargo to flatbed trailers. Both are made of heavy duty webbing material and come in a variety of lengths and working load limits. The only difference between the two is how they are applied.

winch-strap

A winch strap is attached on one side of the trailer and secured to the other using a winch. Ratchet straps are secured using ratchet devices. The average trucker will need an adequate supply of both due to the fact that both winch and ratchet systems are used throughout the logistics industry.

Chains and Binders

Exceptionally heavy cargo that needs to be secured with something more than winch and ratchet straps may require heavy-duty chains with higher working load limits. G70 chains are standard in the trucking industry. Truckers can use these chains to secure everything from concrete piping to steel coils.

G70

Along with chains are the binders needed to make sure they are tightened down. There are several different styles of binders to choose from, so drivers have to consider what works best for them. Once again, Mytee has a full selection of chains and binders to choose from.

Bungee Straps

Truckers typically do not use bungee straps as a means of securing cargo firmly to the trailer. Rather, bungee straps are deployed for keeping tarps in place.

bungee-straps

Having an ample supply of bungee straps is always a good idea given that you never know when one will break or be lost. And because they are inexpensive, buying them in bulk is generally not a problem.

Corner and Edge Protectors

A good cargo control inventory is not without a complete selection of corner and edge protectors. These seemingly small and inconsequential pieces can actually be critical to getting certain kinds of cargo to its destination undamaged. Corner and edge protectors keep individual pieces of cargo safe from damage that could otherwise be caused by road vibration, cargo shifting, and the application of chains and straps.

 

Corner and edge protectors come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. It is up to the trucker to determine what he or she needs for the kinds of loads typically carried. We are happy to say that corner and edge protectors are very inexpensive, like bungee straps, so buying in bulk ensures you always have enough on hand.

So there you have the basics of what a good cargo control inventory looks like. Feel free to add to your own inventory as you see fit. Whatever you do, remember this: the supplies you use to secure cargo matter. So choose wisely.


Fundamental Principles of Cargo Control

The term ‘cargo control’ is one that every truck driver should be familiar with. Experienced truckers know what it means and how it applies to their daily jobs. New truckers may understand the term, but only experience will teach them the finer points of cargo control.

Mytee Products serves the trucking industry with a complete inventory of cargo control products. Each of the products we sell is intended for a particular purpose. The benefits of these products are maximized when truck drivers understand the basic, fundamental principles of cargo control and how to apply them correctly. Those fundamental principles are explained below.

Restricting Cargo Movement

The foundation of cargo control is preventing cargo movement while a truck is en route. How cargo is secured depends on its shape, size, weight, and position on the truck carrying it. For example, large coils of steel cable need to be secured in a particular way because they are prone to rolling as well as shifting from side to side. A trucker may use a combination of chains and blocks to keep the coil rolls in place.

cargo

Movement must be restricted in all directions. It cannot shift forward or backwards when accelerating and braking, and it certainly cannot be allowed to shift from side to side. Therefore, cargo might have to be secured from multiple angles to prevent all movement.

Reducing Road Vibration Risks

The second fundamental principle of cargo control is restricting road vibration risks. Physics dictates that road vibration cannot be eliminated, so the idea is to prevent any such vibrations from causing damage to cargo. This can be accomplished in a number of ways.

Cargo can be properly spaced on a trailer so as to avoid direct contact between multiple pieces. In addition, truck drivers can use edge protectors and spacers in situations in which cargo has to be tightly packed. Even moving blankets and tarps can be used strategically to minimize the risks of road vibration.

Proper Weight Distribution

Distributing weight evenly across the back of a trailer is the third fundamental principle of cargo control. Proper weight balance accomplishes several things:

• It reduces the likelihood that a trailer will become unstable.
• It reduces the risk of cargo shifting en route.
• It makes maintaining driver control easier.
• It increases fuel efficiency and reduces wear and tear on equipment.

Proper distribution of weight is critical to the safe and efficient transport of cargo. Furthermore, drivers need to get it right the first time. If a trailer is fully loaded and found to be out of balance, it may have to be entirely unloaded and done over. This is a waste of time and money.

General Protection of Cargo

Last is the principle of protecting cargo in a general sense. Beyond movement and road vibration, certain kinds of cargo have to be protected against environmental exposure. Thus, truck drivers use things like tarps and blankets to protect against weather conditions, road debris, and animals and insects.

A typical flatbed truck driver will keep a good supply of these kinds cargo control supplies on board. He or she may have several different types of tarps for example, including lumber, steel, smoke, and general purpose tarps. He/she will also keep a selection of straps and bungee cords on board for securing those tarps in place.

Cargo control is a fundamental concept of truck driving. It is something that every truck driver has to learn, both in the classroom and through real-life experience. Those who master it are capable of moving cargo over thousands of miles with minimal risk.


Auto Hauling: A Very Different Kind of Trucking

What is the most lucrative form of trucking? Is it dry goods or reefers? Or maybe it’s flatbed trucking. Perhaps the most lucrative way to make a living as a truck driver is hauling flammable or hazardous materials. The point here is that the definition of ‘lucrative’ has more to do with preference than anything else. Having said that, auto hauling deserves some consideration. If not the most lucrative, it is certainly a very different kind of trucking.

hauling

Auto haulers come in all shapes and sizes, as it were. There are employed truck drivers working for companies that specialize in carrying cars from distribution centers to local dealerships. There are independent operators who carry used cars from wholesalers in the South to small dealers in the North. There are even truck drivers who specialize in moving luxury and classic cars.

Auto hauling is very different for a number of reasons. From the equipment to the necessary skills, it is a career a lot of drivers aspire to but never attain. Here’s what makes auto hauling so different:

The Equipment

First and foremost is the equipment necessary for this kind of work. The owner-operator starts with a custom rig. Believe it or not, trucks and trailers for auto hauling have to be matched. You cannot just use any auto trailer on the back of any tractor. As a result, auto hauling rigs are significantly more expensive.

Next, owner-operators have to have a pretty significant supply of auto hauling equipment including hooks, shackles, rope clips, straps, and chains. There may not be any other form of trucking that requires so many pieces of equipment for a single run.

The Skill

Auto hauling is very different in terms of the skills a driver needs. What so many do not realize is that cars have to be loaded and secured in a certain way in order to prevent damage on the road. But loading and securing is not necessarily a cookie-cutter operation. Auto haulers have to account for different makes and models, different weights, potential weather conditions, and more.

Skill also comes into play on the actual journey. Drivers need to take a little bit of extra care due to the precious value of their cargo, especially when they are hauling expensive luxury or classic cars. They should be careful about accelerating and braking; they have to be careful about cornering; they need to be extremely cautious in bad weather.

The Experience

Just about every sector of the truck driving industry is affected by the conundrum of companies only wanting experienced drivers but new drivers not being able to get experience because they can’t find a job. Nowhere is this conundrum more prevalent than in auto hauling. Because auto hauling is so much more involved than simply applying some hooks and shackles, haulers almost always insist their new drivers have at least a couple of years under their belts – even if that time was spent hauling something else.

Drivers with extensive flatbed experience typically have an easier time breaking into auto hauling because they are already experienced with securing loads. They have used things such as hooks, chains and straps for cargo control. Suffice it to say that owner-operators who want to get into auto hauling have to work for it.

Here at Mytee Products, we are acutely aware of what it takes to be a successful auto hauler. We want to do our part by maintaining a solid inventory of auto hauling supplies for America’s owner-operators. From shackles and rope clips to auto hauling straps, we have everything the owner-operator needs.