More from: cargo control

3 Ways Cargo Control is A Lot Like Planning Loads

Owner-operators have one of the toughest jobs in trucking. Not only are they hauling loads from coast-to-coast, they are also responsible for every other aspect of their businesses. They handle bookkeeping, taxes, and even contacting brokers and shippers to obtain loads.

Making it as an owner-operator is not easy. Over the years we have talked to many of them about their secrets to success. What we consistently hear about is planning loads. How a trucker goes about load planning partly determines his or her overall success.

We got to thinking about load planning and realized that it shares quite a few similarities with good cargo control. Maybe that’s why owner-operators with good load planning skills tend to be equally skilled at tying down and securing their cargo. Be that as it may, below are three ways that cargo control is a lot like load planning.

1. Thinking Ahead is a Big Plus

The most successful owner-operators are always planning a load ahead. They do not wait until they drop their current load to start thinking about where to find the next one. Planning ahead keeps the wheels turning and the money coming in. It also gives truck drivers an edge in that, with a little bit of knowledge, they can stay a step ahead of brokers who aren’t necessarily prepared to pay the best rates to drivers who are more haphazard in their planning.

Cargo control requires thinking ahead as well. Winter is long gone right now, but it will be back before you know it. How many truck drivers start thinking about chains, tarps, and other winter equipment needs during the summer? Obtaining what you need before the snow starts flying is the best way to guarantee you won’t be caught without it.

2. Knowing Where You’re Going Helps

Next up, a good owner-operator knows and understands the market he/she is heading to. Let’s say he/she is hauling a load from the Midwest distribution center to a large retailer in the Northeast. What freight lanes are hot right now? What can he/she pick up at the destination that puts him/her in the best position to get into one of those lanes?

Knowing where you’re going makes for better load planning. It also makes for better cargo control. If a driver knows what to expect from traffic, weather, etc. at the destination to which he/she is traveling, he/she also has a better idea of what will be necessary to secure and protect the next load being picked up.

3. Less Favorable Loads Are Sometimes Necessary

It stands to reason that an owner-operator would always want those loads offering above average rates. That’s reasonable. With some hard work and the right skills, it’s also quite possible to get above average rates most of the time. But there are still times when an owner-operator has to take a less profitable load. Sometimes it is better to keep the wheels rolling at a lower rate than remaining idle while you look for a higher rate.

Likewise, flatbed truckers look for the loads that are going to be as easy as possible to secure and transport. The less time and effort spent on cargo control, the more time a driver has to actually drive. Yet there are times when less favorable loads are necessary.

It turns out that load planning and cargo control have a lot of similarities. Whether you are an owner-operator or an employed driver, how much time and effort do you put into both? The best of the best do whatever is necessary to get the job done.


The Roadcheck is Over – Now What?

By the time you read this post, the 2019 CVSA Roadcheck will be in the record books. Trucks throughout North America will have been inspected by CVSA, federal, and state police officials in an attempt to remind drivers of their responsibilities toward road safety. We will not know until later this year how well the industry did when compared to 2018. But now that the Roadcheck is over for another year, what’s next?

As important as the annual Roadcheck is, there is a hidden danger to doing it every year: complacency. Every year we see blog posts, news articles, and even training seminars in the months leading up to the event. These are all very good things. However, all the attention paid to road safety during those months seems to suddenly disappear at the end of June.

Cargo Control Year-Round

Experienced truck drivers know that the emphasis of the Roadcheck changes every year. In 2018, inspectors focused heavily on electronic logging. The big emphasis this year is steering and suspension. However, inspectors are not limited to the Roadcheck’s annual focus. They still give trucks and drivers a thorough review in every respect.

Given that Mytee Products specializes in cargo control, that is what we tend to put our efforts into when we educate drivers. That’s where we go from here. In other words, we will continue educating truck drivers and motor carriers about proper cargo control even though Roadcheck 2019 is now in the rear-view mirror.

Proper cargo control is a year-round enterprise. It does not begin and end with the CVSA’s Roadcheck. In fact, we believe giving the proper amount of attention to cargo control eliminates the need to be extra diligent during the first week of June. If a truck driver is diligent about cargo control throughout the entire year, the week of the annual Roadcheck will not be anything unusual.

Know Your Equipment

If you are a truck driver, your first task moving forward is to know your equipment. Understand exactly what kinds of equipment you need to properly secure your loads. Educate yourself about things like working load limits, lateral and horizontal movement, federal cargo control rules, and so forth.

Also make a point of regularly inspecting your equipment to make sure it is in good working condition. It only takes one frayed webbing strap or a rusting chain to create a precarious situation. Check everything from your ratchets to your hooks and turnbuckles.

When something does show that first sign of wear, do not play games. Either get it repaired or replace it. The last thing a truck driver needs is to be caught off guard with a piece of broken equipment and no replacement. And should that one piece of equipment lead to an accident, dire consequences could follow.

Fully Stock Your Truck

The approach of summer means weather that is a lot less threatening to truck cargo. This is the time of year when you are not worrying as much about heavy winds and the damage ice and snow can cause. So this is also an appropriate time of year to check your inventory. Summer is the ideal time to fully stock your truck with tarps, straps, chains, edge protectors, and so forth.

Hopefully the numbers will look good when the CVSA releases them later this year. Hopefully, America’s truck drivers did better in 2019 than they did in 2018. Let us all work together to do even better in 2020. The more we can do to improve safety within the trucking industry, the safer all of our highways will be.


Tips for Finding the Right Cargo Control Supplies

Mytee Products sales personnel take a lot of pleasure in helping new flatbed truck drivers stock their trucks with cargo control supplies. We take immense pride in the fact that we have just about everything a trucker needs to keep cargo in place. Yet we get the fact that figuring out cargo control is a learning process. Drivers new to flatbeds may not necessarily know what they need.

We obviously want you to make good purchase decisions. It helps neither you nor us when you buy cargo control equipment you do not really need. It also doesn’t help you to be caught in the field without the right equipment. So to address both potential problems, we have put together a list of tips for finding the right cargo control supplies.

Figure out Your Loads

The very first thing to do is figure out the kinds of loads you are most likely to carry. As a new driver, you are probably willing to take just about anything that will fit on the back of a trailer. But realize that newbies do not have access to everything. It takes a while to work your way up to the more complicated loads. As a new driver, the bulk of your work is likely going to be things like lumber, pipe, building supplies, and other types of easy-to-manage cargo.

Visit Online Trucking Forums

Online trucking forums are a great resource for helpful information. You should join as many as you can even if you are not looking for cargo control advice. Having said that, feel free to post questions having to do with everything from tarps to ratchet straps and using blocks.

Veteran truckers should be happy to share their knowledge with you. And make no mistake, they are a wealth of information. The most generous among them will tell you everything you need to know down to brand name preferences. Some of them might even recommend us as a preferred supplier.

Ask Shippers Direct Questions

Next, do not assume to understand what a shipper expects. Instead, ask very direct questions about how they want cargo secured and protected. Some don’t really care as long as the load gets to its destination safely. Others are very particular. They expect you to use a specific number of straps, a particular kind of tarp, and a certain number of edge protectors.

Check out Other Rigs

You are going to encounter other flatbed rigs during your travels. Pay attention to them. Check out how other drivers are securing the same kinds of loads you carry. Not only will you increase your knowledge of cargo control equipment, you will also learn some of the best trade secrets. Always remember that observation is a great tool.

Talk to Our Sales Professionals

Lastly, we recommend speaking with Mytee Products sales professionals. We may not drive trucks for a living ourselves, but we have decades of experience in this industry. We know exactly how every piece of equipment we sell is supposed to work. We know what each piece of equipment is intended to do. We also know how to use our equipment and supplies according to federal and state regulations.

If necessary, one of our sales professionals can even demonstrate how to use a piece of equipment on your truck. We are more than happy to help if you need that kind of assistance.

At the end of the day, we have everything the flatbed trucker needs to keep cargo secure. It’s just a matter of figuring out what your loads require and then stocking your truck accordingly.


How to Secure Cargo with an E-Track System

Most of what we talk about in terms of cargo control pertains to flatbed trailers. That said, we do not want to leave dry goods trailers out. Although cargo control to a certain extent pertains to trailers with four walls and a roof, cargo still needs to be kept in place during transit to prevent damage.

Cargo control is undoubtedly a bit easier when you have walls to work with. In fact, drivers can use those walls to their advantage by way of the E-track system. Most of your modern dry goods trailers come with E-track built-in so drivers don’t have to worry about it.

An E-track system consists of at least one track running along each side of the trailer. Sometimes there are multiple tracks. The tracks take their name from the shape of the receiving holes. Those holes accept a locking mechanism that, when looked at from the side, resembles the letter ‘e’.

Deploying the Shoring Beam

The easiest way to secure cargo inside a dry goods trailer is with something known as the shoring beam. This is an adjustable aluminum decking beam that fits into the E-track on both ends. You simply slide the beam into the track on one side, extend it across the trailer and connect it the other track.

The shoring beam represents the fastest cargo control method in dry goods trucking. Its weakness is that it is limited to certain kinds of cargo. It works well with large carts that might hold linens, paper goods, etc. It does not work well for palleted goods that might shift during transport.

E-Track Ratchet Straps

The dry goods equivalent of ratchet straps for flatbed trailers is the E-track ratchet strap. It works exactly the same way as its flatbed counterpart except that it is held in place on either end by the previously mentioned E-tracks. You simply hook both ends into the tracks and tighten down the strap with a built-in ratchet.

The straps are very convenient and quite effective for loads that will not remain stationary with the shoring beams. And because the straps can be woven in and around pieces of cargo, you can get a really tight fit.

Heavy-Duty Cargo Nets

From time to time a driver might carry a load that is naturally loose. An example that immediately comes to mind is dirty laundry heading from a depot to a laundry facility. A workable solution for keeping the laundry in place is the heavy-duty cargo net.

Heavy-duty cargo nets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are generally made of webbing material and include hooks or D-rings at key anchor points. They can be attached directly to tiedown points on the cargo or to the E-track using hooks and ropes.

J-Hooks and Tie-Offs

If all else fails, a driver can attach either J-hooks or tie-offs to the E-track on either side of the trailer. Ropes can then be used to secure cargo as needed. This is the most flexible solution when you are carrying a load that just cannot be secured in any other way. Having said that, these sorts of loads are not the norm for dry goods trailers.

If you do a lot of dry goods work, you are probably familiar with all of the items described here. The question is, what do your toolboxes look like? Do not be caught off guard by a shipper who calls you to pick up the trailer without properly securing the cargo. Have a good supply of E-track J-hooks and tie-offs just in case the shipper doesn’t provide any other means of properly securing the cargo.


How Well Do You Know Your Winch Options?

Winches are synonymous with cargo control in the trucking industry. No matter what kind of open-deck trailer is being used, a truck driver relies on strategically located winches to die down the cargo using webbing straps. A trailer needs enough winches to meet federal tiedown standards dictating the required number of straps for each load.

How well do you know your winches? If you have been a flatbed trucker for at least a few years, you are probably familiar with all of them. If you are new, that may not be the case. Suffice it to say there is more than one kind of winch. In fact there are four kinds that we carry at Mytee Products.

1. Standard Welded Winch

The industry standard is the tried-and-true welded winch. It comes in a variety of sizes and is remarkably simple in its construction. It consists of a main body along with the winch axle, ratchet, and gear. There is a hole in the axle just outside the main body designed to accept a standard winch bar.

This particular winch gets its name from the mounting method. In other words, it is welded directly to the rail of the trailer. It can be mounted horizontally on the outer edge of the rail or vertically on the underside. The obvious benefit here is strength. On the downside, welded winches are fairly permanent.

2. Bolt-On Winch

The bolt-on winch looks a lot like a welded winch except that the rear plate is slightly larger to accommodate heavy-duty bolts. It works the exact same way as a welded winch in function. The main difference is that it is bolted to the rail rather than welded.

The advantage of this sort of winch is that it can be moved around if necessary. But there is a downside. Every position you might want to locate this winch requires drilling bolt holes. And of course, moving winches around when you are trying to get a load tied down can be aggravating.

3. Stake Pocket Winch

The stake pocket winch offers the flexibility you do not get from welded and bolt-on winches. Considered temporary winches, you use them by sliding them into the stake pockets along the rail of the trailer. Wherever you have a pocket, you can insert one of these winches.

Stake pocket winches are deployed in seconds thanks to a spring-loaded hook built-in to the bottom. Retract the hook, slip the winch into the pocket, and let go. The spring-loaded hook will return to its normal position and lock the winch in place.

4. The Slide Winch

Last but not least is the slide winch. The slide winch looks a little bit different in that it has a purpose-designed plate that slips into a rail already mounted on the side of the trailer. Upper and lower lips built into the rail hold the winch in place. By the way, there are both single and double sliders. The double slider utilizes a double rail with upper and lower sections.

The biggest advantage of this kind of system is flexibility. Winches can be adjusted to accommodate any load configuration. The downside is having to mount rails on the trailer. Both the winches and rails also have to be inspected more frequently. More can go wrong with this sort of system.

As you can see, there is more than one kind of winch. It is up to you to determine which ones are best for you. Note that we have everything you need here at Mytee Products, from winches to webbing straps and ratchets.