How Carriers Can Take Care of Themselves on the Road

The pandemic has created a situation where people can’t or don’t want to go to the doctor’s office. After all, that’s where the sick people are. The LA Times even ran a trend piece about it, discussing how folks are putting off medical care due to COVID concerns, including routine screenings, emergency room visits, and treatment for existing conditions. If you fall under this list, this is the perfect time to book that appointment you’ve been putting off or check in with a doctor. We can help with the latter.

Cargomatic has partnered with SASid to offer carrier members and their families two free months of telehealth coverage. At the end of the two-month period, you pay $8.99 a month to continue individual coverage or $9.99 for family coverage.

How Telehealth Works

MDLIVE is a low-cost and convenient alternative to urgent care clinic visits or waiting days for a non-emergency medical appointment. Doctors can diagnose your symptoms, recommend treatment, and prescribe or refill prescriptions for routine conditions via telephone, smartphone app, webchat, and email. 

Through SASid, you have access to MDLIVE’s board-certified doctors through phone or video 24/7 anywhere in the US, and you will be matched to a doctor that is fully licensed to practice medicine in your state. 

Telehealth visits are private and secure with $0 copays and e-prescriptions are sent to your local pharmacy for convenience.

In addition to telehealth, SASid is offering Cargomatic carriers and their families free access to its pharmacy program. This discount card offers instant savings at the pharmacy on name-brand and generic prescription medications for you and your household (including pets). Users save on average over 50% per prescription, and the savings card is accepted at more than 61,000 pharmacies across the country.

Click here to sign up for two free months of telehealth services.

This partnership with SASid is part of a long-term initiative to take care of our drivers and carriers. In December, we announced an ongoing partnership with IDShield for a discount on identity protection services. Last month, we introduced you to Lendio, a financial services technology company that is helping small fleets and other business owners gain access to PPP funding and other business loans. Be on the lookout for more partnerships in the coming months.

Connecting Trucking Companies With PPP Loans

For many small businesses, the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was difficult — less than 6% of the small business owners who applied for a loan received one. Applications for the second round of PPP loans are now open, allowing businesses of all sizes to secure loans that ensure operations remain intact.

What is the PPP?

The Paycheck Protection Program is intended to help small businesses maintain payroll and continue making payroll-related payments. This includes rent, utilities, healthcare, and interest accrued on other debt obligations.

The Small Business Administration expanded the program for this second round of funding. PPP loans are now available to more types of businesses, with greater flexibility for seasonal employees. They can also cover a wider range of expenses.

How Lendio Can Help

In order to help our marketplace trucking companies, we’ve begun working with a financial services technology company named Lendio. We believe Lendio can be a tremendous resource in understanding whether your business is qualified for this program, as well as in helping you actually apply and receive a PPP loan.

During the first round, business owners accessed more than $8 billion in PPP loans through the Lendio marketplace in just 2 months. We hope to see even better results through this second round.

Last month, we rolled out our discounted ID Theft Protection services for drivers. Our agreement with Lendio is simply another way that we’re trying to become more of a resource to the companies that rely on us to keep their wheels turning. 

You can learn more about our program by clicking here.

How Cargomatic Helps Drivers Protect Their Identity

Identity theft is so much more than someone skimming your credit card at a gas station and making some purchases. Identity thieves can open new accounts without your knowledge, accrue debt under your name, steal your driver’s license number, and so much more. 

The risk of identity theft is higher during the holiday season, and has been higher this year due to COVID. Truck drivers are at an extra risk, as they spend most days on the road and away from home.

As we shared previously, December is National Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month. To help drivers focus on their job – driving – Cargomatic is partnering with IDShield to help protect carriers on and off the road with identity theft monitoring and protection.

Drivers can get a discount on IDShield’s services, which include monitoring, alerts, and full-service restoration, with a $1 million protection policy. IDShield offers privacy and security monitoring, including high-risk accounts, social media, and credit, and alerts users if any discrepancies in their data are found. In total, ID Shield monitors more than 100 different types of your information. 

Cargomatic’s Chief Marketing Officer Chris Oliver spoke with Cassie Prinke at IDShield to talk about identity theft, why truck drivers are more susceptible to it, and how they can protect themselves while on the road. Learn more by watching this video below:

Ready to get started? Click here to sign up for IDShield at a discounted rate.

How Drivers Can Protect Their Identity on the Road

December is National Identity Theft Awareness Month. For drivers, this is a strong reminder that you’re more at risk than folks in nearly every industry, for several reasons. For OTR drivers, being away from home often makes it possible for thieves to steal mail and then start to take over an identity. For OOs, there is a real risk given the sheer number of times an OO needs to give out his or her social security number, which can be used to create new lines of credit in a person’s name. 

The examples above aren’t exactly cutting edge, with hackers (likely in hoodies) poring over the computer as they attempt to infiltrate the inner workings of a driver’s finances. Instead, they’re descriptions of common types of identity theft.  

The FTC has an amazing set of resources to help prevent ID theft and identify whether you’re at risk. There are a few early indicators, including: 

  • Something strange on your credit report– AnnualCreditReport.com is a website built to allow individuals to see their credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus once per year. It’s advisable to stagger uses, checking Experian, Equifax and TransUnion every four months, as opposed to all of the bureaus at once, since those organizations are supposed to share information. It’s a great resource for any individual whose bank doesn’t offer free credit reporting. “Something strange” can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but the gist is that most folks will be able to explain anything they find on their report. If there is something that seems amiss, it’s important to investigate further. It might be as basic as a credit check for a cell phone provider you’re not actually a customer of. As the FTC says, consider placing a credit freeze or fraud alert with a bureau if you see anything out of the ordinary. This makes it so thieves can’t open new lines of credit in another person’s name. 
  • Bills not arriving on time (or at all)– For individuals who prefer paper bills to paperless billing, it can be an early warning sign if specific bills stop arriving. With the information in a cell phone bill (phone number, physical address, etc), thieves can start to take over a person’s identity. For drivers on the road a lot, leaving their mail in the mailbox can present a tremendous risk. An obvious workaround here is to have a neighbor or friend pick up your mail while you’re hauling, but a significant percentage of ID theft and ID fraud is committed by people who know the victim. In times of crisis, like a pandemic, typically good people’s motivations can change, so switching to electronic billing is an excellent way to stay safer. 
  • Bills you don’t expect start to arrive– Perhaps the most scary indicator of ID theft is when bills start to arrive that a person doesn’t recognize. Maybe it’s something simple, like a cell phone bill or a credit card statement. It can also be bills from a doctor’s office, indicating that medical ID Theft has occurred. In this instance, a thief has used someone else’s insurance to cover their medical expenses, leaving the victim to pay whatever outstanding balance is left. If you start to see bills coming in (or you receive unexpected calls from a collections agency), it can be a sign that something is wrong. 

If any of the red flags above apply to you, we’d encourage you to visit https://www.identitytheft.gov, a website built by the FTC to help victims overcome the issues they’ll face. 

Our team ends many of our conversations with drivers with some version of “stay safe out there.” As we enter National Identity Theft Awareness Month, we mean it in more ways than one. 

Current State of the Ports of LA and Long Beach

Just ahead of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Maersk representatives shared the company’s perspective on the current state of the neighboring ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach with the Harbor Trucking Association’s Productivity Committee.

Import volume is expected to continue through November. A slight decrease is expected in December, not due to demand but because of capacity and labor challenges. Q1 2021 is expected to continue with strong demand at least until Chinese New Year in February. Volume is expected to pick up after the holiday.

Shortages of Containers, Space, and Labor

Maersk pointed out issues with transporting goods from both ends of the Pacific. In Asia, there is a shortage in vessels and containers, with no containers available for lease until July. 

In LA and Long Beach, there is a shortage of skilled union labor, shortage of dock space at the terminals, and shortage of chassis. Vessels generally sit in the lineup for 2-4 days before they can be worked, and truck turns continue to rise. Depending on the terminal, 20-50% of transactions take over two hours. 

For Maersk, this may mean blank sailings in December, as the company does not want vessels sitting in the lineup for several days. Its primary focus is getting empty containers back to origin, collaborating with terminals to make it easier to return the empties, and turning vessels faster once they arrive into LA and Long Beach.

These challenges echo the larger problem with overcrowding at the ports. This past weekend, Bloomberg reported that nearly a dozen cargo vessels were anchored just south of Los Angeles as the ports were at maximum capacity for containers. Federal regulators are investigating the source of this and similar roadblocks in ports. Like Maersk’s report, the Bloomberg article cites the shortage in empty containers as a cause of delay.

On our end, we’re working with terminals to ensure we’re able to get appointments and make goods available more rapidly. However, shippers and carriers moving goods through the Ports of LA and Long Beach should plan for delays. For shippers, this may mean keeping customers informed of possible delays. For drivers, this may mean bracing for long waits at the port.

Truck Maintenance


On-time deliveries are key to driving a successful business. Customers and shippers alike are counting on shipments to be moved and delivered on time and intact. But there are factors out of everyone’s control, and that can cause delays in deliveries. Traffic, accidents up ahead, and weather are just a few things that can prevent you from doing your job.

With all of these uncontrollable circumstances, you can take responsibility for the one factor you can control: your truck. The last thing you need is for your truck to be out of service, damaged, or in dire need of repair, so be sure to take it in for some TLC and maintenance. That way, you can keep your hauls moving and secure more loads (hopefully through the Cargomatic app!) The following answers the “why and when” you should get your truck maintained in a nutshell. 

Why – as in: Why Does Truck Maintenance Matter?

Short trips are engine killers, (ahem, short-haul) and if you can’t avoid them, be sure to prepare for them. Trucks get maintained for many obvious reasons such as:

  1. Meeting DOT Regulations
    You won’t be able to drive your truck until every noted Out-Of-Service (OOS) Violation is fixed.
  2. Avoiding Costly Repairs
    Having routine systematic maintenance will make your costs predictable and is cheaper than emergency roadside service or emergency repairs which can eat away your profits and impact your bottom line.
  3. Increasing the Lifespan of the Truck
    By maintaining your truck, you increase uptime, lower your operating cost, lower your cost per mile and make your business more profitable.
  4. Safety
    The most important reason for having a truck maintained is safety. Safety for the drivers, the shipments and the road-sharing traffic.
Maintenance of Trucks - Costly Repairs

When – Like, When and How Often Should a Truck be Maintained?

This answer varies but there are a few different things to keep in mind. You can do periodic maintenance checks based on:

  • The type of truck you have (different makes and models)
  • Oil viscosity
  • Age of the vehicle
  • Time of year
  • Operating environment

Of course, there’s always mileage to consider when deciding when the best time is to bring your truck in to get serviced.

Maintenance of Trucks - Mileage

On average, the suggested range to receive basic service is every 10,000 – 20,000 miles. Basic servicing covers a quick inspection of your truck to ensure lights and brakes are working properly as well as getting your oil and lubricants refilled. Refer to the owner’s manual to get your intervals.

For a more thorough inspection (like the preventative maintenance check), the suggested mile usage for that would be every 30,000 miles. The maintenance check would include critical components such as:

  • Oil and lube change
  • Oil, air and fuel filter change
  • Fixing any repairs needed to ensure that the truck is up to DOT standards
  • Brake inspection
  • Proper tire inflation
  • Alignment and steering inspection
  • Lighting and electrical inspection

Conclusion

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires at least one Period Maintenance Inspection in a 12-month period*. Don’t do the bare minimum! Safety first, go get your truck serviced. Otherwise, what’s the point? Ensure that your truck is safe, legal and ready for the challenge of driving on the roads.

Planning it out will help you stay prepared and reduce the risk of surprise repairs, and ultimately make the truck last longer! In doing so, that will make you more reliable to your customers and repeat business.

Once you’re done getting the truck serviced, you’re ready to get back on the road. Don’t forget to have that full truckload. Check out Cargomatic’s Marketplace to see what’s on your route and fill that well-maintained truck up! Download our app at the Google Play Store or the App Store and check out our website for more information.

*Disclaimer: For state specifics, please refer to your local DMV, state troopers, highway patrol, regulatory body, etc.

Unexpected Partners: LTL Carriers and The Cargomatic Marketplace


How do LTL Carriers meet the needs of today’s clients?

If you’re an LTL trucking company, you’ve more than likely run into some challenges. From loose freight and shorter, more frequent hauls, to empty miles, there are plenty of obstacles. In the latest Cargomatic white paper, we provide insight into how our marketplace brings a field-tested combination of on-demand access to drivers and equipment, end-to-end visibility and easy-to-understand pricing that supports the needs of carriers in real-time.

LTL Carriers and The Cargomatic Marketplace. The Cover of the latest White Paper.
Cargomatic White Paper Cover


Download “Unexpected Partners: LTL Carriers and The Cargomatic Marketplace” now! Gain insight on:

  • The differences between traditional LTL Carrier models and today’s Omni-Channel Models of shipping
  • The challenges LTL Carriers face on their own
  • How Cargomatic’s Marketplace addresses LTL Carrier issues with mission-critical transportation
LTL Carriers and The Cargomatic Marketplace Quote.
Quote from the Cargomatic White Paper


Cargomatic’s Marketplace and community of truckers provide solutions that can be applied across the spectrum of traditional LTL scenarios as well as today’s challenges. Cargomatic’s iOS app and Android app is quick, easy and effective for LTL trucking companies to use. More information is just a click away.

The Top 3 Things Our Community of Truck Drivers Love About Their Job

As you might have read in our past blogs and as you’re currently seeing with our Cargomatic, “Daniel, America’s Road Warrior” Comic Series, Truckers face a lot of challenges in the industry. From the aggressive drivers to poor road conditions, there is a lot that can drive truckers crazy. So we wanted to take a look at the other side of the road (metaphorically, not literally; always keep your eyes on the road!). We asked the Cargomatic Community of truckers what the best part of their job was and the following are the top 3 responses we received.

3. Traveling to Different Places

There are very few jobs where a person can tailor their job around their wants like a trucker can. “Where do I want to travel? What do I want to see? What kind of route do I want to take? Do I want to stay local? Go from state-to-state? See the whole United States? Stick to  quick trips?” There are always shipments that need to be delivered and freight that needs to be moved, so there are always places to see and be seen!

2. Meeting New People

I’ll admit, this one was a surprise. For most people, when “Truck Driver” comes to mind they think of being on the road…in a truck..alone. So when the responses were so high for “meeting new people,” we wanted to know more. Luckily, our Annual Driver Appreciation Event presented the opportunity to learn more. Truckers spoke at length about how they frequently make friends out on the road with other truckers. Sharing the roads, the truck stops, the routes, etc., they often see familiar faces and new faces alike. These are people who share and know first hand the struggles and joys of the job and can relate to each other.

1. Creating Your Own Schedule

Oh freedom! The freedom of being able to hit the road at almost any time and go anywhere. Not having to punch a timecard in and out, not having your typical, standard and monotonous day-to-day schedule. Something about the freedom of being your own boss is what captivates truck drivers using Cargomatic the most. Creating your schedule means having the freedom to decide what days of the week you want to work, what time you want to start your day and what time you want to come home. For a lot of drivers, it means getting to take their kids to and/or from school, maintaining a work-life balance, and making sure that they’re able to still do what they love to do for their hobbies. For other drivers, they love getting the freedom to decide when they want to take time off or take a long weekend without having to ask for permission. 

These are only 3 of many reasons why Truckers love their job. Interested in getting more opportunities? Sign up to join our Carrier Community and see what driving with Cargomatic has to offer!

Hot Shot Freight Is A Hot Opportunity

You might think of a hot shot as an important person but in the trucking world, hotshot freight creates hot opportunities for the drivers able and willing to do it. Hotshot freight refers to hauling freight for a shipper in need of expedited delivery —  the load is posted today and needs to be hauled today.

This type of freight-hauling need makes hotshot truck drivers sort of the minutemen of trucking — ready to go on short notice to ensure the customer’s service or operation is not disrupted. Shippers with time-sensitive freight face a lot of challenges in getting it moved quickly. They have to post the load, choose a carrier, negotiate or agree to pricing and ensure the load gets moved on schedule. Cargomatic’s Marketplace is built exactly for this situation. As soon as a shipper posts the load on our Marketplace, our network of truck drivers is notified via our free mobile app that a load in their area needs to be hauled. In most cases, the load is accepted by a vetted, trustworthy trucker within 15 minutes!

Our Marketplace is great for shippers as they know quickly that their load is in good hands and they can track every step of the job’s progress through Cargomatic’s web app. Shippers often expect to pay a premium for same day deliveries, but with Cargomatic you get “normal LTL rates” for same day service. But what is the upside for the trucker? Convenient, local work that pays a fair rate.

Even though those hot loads are often unpredictable as a shipper, same day service is the norm for the drivers on the Cargomatic Marketplace. Whether they use Cargomatic to find all of their work or if they have a regular load that doesn’t need hauled immediately, drivers know Cargomatic is the place to go to find same day, local freight that keeps the money coming in.

If you’re a shipper who needs to move freight locally and wants to enjoy normal rates for same-day shipping, visit Cargomatic.com to learn more. If you’re a driver interested in local freight to haul, download the free Cargomatic app now. You’ll get notifications of jobs in your area and get paid within days of completing the job. For more information about how Cargomatic can help with local freight, connect with us today.

Finding the Best Fit – Freight Brokers, Load Boards or Freight Marketplaces

There’s quite a bit of information out there about freight brokers, load boards and freight marketplaces, so deciding which of these models fits your operation best can be a challenge. If you aren’t sure what the differences are between the three, make sure you read our previous post which explains what role each model plays. When making this important decision, both shippers and truckers have a few things to consider:

  • Market Reach – How many shippers, loads and carriers are engaged with each model?

    1. Freight brokers tend to be on one end of the spectrum with a smaller network of carriers and shippers. While their networks tend to be relatively small, freight brokers build strong relationships over time with the shippers and carriers they work with.
    2. Load boards fall on the opposite end of the spectrum from brokers with large volumes of loads available and a large number of carriers looking at those loads. Load boards aggregate freight from many brokerages and shippers into one place and because there is little to no cost to access these load boards, there are often a very large number of participants involved.
    3. A freight marketplace is in a bit of a sweet spot since there are typically more loads available than a traditional broker, but fewer than a load board. The same tends to apply for the number of carriers engaged with a freight marketplace. As a relatively new model within an industry that tends to be slow to adopt new technologies, freight marketplaces will continue to grow in popularity but will likely remain smaller than load boards in coming years.
  • Flexibility – What impact do spikes in supply and demand have on shippers and carriers?

    1. A potential downside of freight brokers’ more limited capacity and load volumes s is the lack of flexibility. When unusual spikes in volume occur, freight brokers may find it difficult to scale and cover shippers’ loads at a moment’s notice. On the other hand, if there are fewer loads than usual, brokers may not have freight for drivers to haul. In an industry where margins are razor thin, this can be the start of more headaches and difficulties ahead.
    2. While high-volume load boards provide greater flexibility and more opportunities for shippers and carriers to connect, the flexibility may come at the price of building long-standing, reliable relationships with shippers and carriers that may be beneficial in times of market uncertainty.
    3. Again, freight marketplaces fall between two extremes with less risk than that associated with using a freight broker but easier access to vetted, consistent relationships than load boards. 
  • Resources & Level of Effort – What does each model require of shippers and carriers?

    1. In many ways, working through freight brokers requires the most resources. Limited market reach means they may not always have the capacity that’s needed and, as a result, shippers often need to work with multiple brokers at the same time. Matches between shipper and carrier are also time consuming since this is most often done manually through phone calls, e-mails and faxes.  Additionally, the settlement processes for the jobs are typically done through physical paperwork and traditional payment channels which require time and resources for everyone involved.
    2. Load boards require less effort and resource requirements than freight brokers to pair shippers and carriers. Aggregation of many loads from shippers and brokers translates to more load availability. Numerous carriers viewing the load boards mean the market reach is larger, which increases the likelihood that a load will fit well with available capacity. Matches are still negotiated manually like in the freight broker category which requires significant time and resources for both shippers and carriers.
    3. Freight marketplaces require the least amount of effort and resources among the three options. Shippers post loads as needed along with all the specifics a carrier would need to know to accept or pass on the job. When registering with the marketplace, carriers are fully vetted, capturing exact capacity configurations so only carriers with the right capacity are notified when a load is posted by a shipper. Once the carrier/shipper match is complete, the marketplace handles all documentation, paperwork and settlements making the entire process less resource intensive for everyone.
  • Time – How much time does it take shippers and carriers to get connected? Time is money and while this may be the easiest consideration, it is possibly the most important. Establishing the connection between shippers and carriers runs the full spectrum from manual to automated among these three models.

    1. A freight broker typically requires the most time as a result of limited market reach and a high level of effort/resources to ‘get the deal done’.
    2. A load board is faster than a brokerage because of larger market reach, but still requires the heavy lifting in the back office to handle all of the paperwork and settlements. Also, when services are free like so many load boards are, you’ll always need to consider quality on both ends. You’re also often left to negotiate with multiple parties and finalize “the deal” on your own, which takes time and may not necessarily be successful.
    3. A marketplace is the fastest and most “touchless” of the three models because it instantly and automatically presents shippers’ posted loads to vetted, qualified carriers.  Carriers with the available capacity can simply tap “accept” on a load that a shipper has posted, go get it, deliver it, capture documents electronically and get paid.  All of the back and forth discussions and exchange of paperwork is automated and touchless for both sides of the job.

Pointing to the strengths of a freight marketplace over other options seems obvious, doesn’t it? Bringing technology forward to address some limitations of traditional freight brokerage while also fostering the speed and ease of a marketplace certainly has its advantages. While the freight marketplace seems to be the best option for most loads when a marketplace is available, be sure to do your research. You’ll have the flexibility of a load board but will need to place your trust in the right marketplace to make sure they’re negotiating fairly on both the shipper and trucker end. Only then does a freight marketplace truly excel.

Questions about how Cargomatic can help you succeed? Connect with us today!