Jeff and Russ Head Back to Capitol Hill

Jeff and Russ joined approximately 60 other TIA (Transportation Intermediaries Association) members for the annual TIA Fly-In which was held in Washington, DC on June 14th and 15th. The TIA is the professional Association for the freight brokerage and third party logistic industry representing some 1500 member companies.

Fourteen teams consisting of TIA members descended upon our Congressional and Senate leaders to advocate support for the FMCSA Safety Fitness Determination Rulemaking and the Protecting Workplace Advancement & Opportunity Act which is pending the the House as H.R. 4773 and in the Senate as S. 2707.

The Safety Fitness Determination Rulemaking calls for the FMCSA to establish a “red- light / green-light determination for entities that hire motor carriers as it relates to which motor carriers are safe to hire. The current four-tier system (Satisfactory, Conditional, Unsatisfactory,or Unrated) creates unnecessary liability traps for third parties if their is an accident or crash. The SFD will set a safety threshold to designate some carriers “unfit”. This will take unsafe carreirs off the road and better inform the public which carriers are safe to hire.

The Protecting Workplace Advancement & Opportunity Act rolls back the Department of Labor rule that will dramtically increase the number of employees who are eligible for overtime pay.. Logistics provided opportunities for good middle class jobs, but the DOL rule will force many employees onto an hourly wage and restrict how these employees can use mobile technology and flexible work schedules to serve customers and advance their companies.

Attention Alabama Students!

We will be attending your career fair today Wednesday, February 17th at Coleman Coliseum from 11am – 4pm. Lang Riddle and Sam Stewart, a recent Alabama graduate, will be there to discuss our culture and values as well as answer any questions you might have. So, come by our booth to learn about all of our opportunities in logistics and how we take the Prosponsive® approach.  We are extremely excited to meet with you and discuss potential careers within C.L. Services, Inc.

Attention Auburn Students!

We will be attending your career fair today Wednesday, February 17th at the AU Arena from 2pm – 6pm. Taylor Milan and Marty Donaldson, two Auburn alumni, will be there to discuss our culture and values as well as answer any questions you might have. So, come by our booth to learn about all of our opportunities in logistics and how we take the Prosponsive® approach.  We are extremely excited to meet with you and discuss potential careers within C.L. Services, Inc.

Are You Ready? Check the FSMA List

The FDA is stepping up safety regulations for food production and transportation via the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This act increases the FDA’s power by giving it oversight of food production and distribution including all involved parties, not just food manufacturers. That means new regulations for farmers, importers, warehouses, foreign food handling facilities, 3PLs, and transportation carriers. Under these new powers, the FDA is taking a proactive stance to preventing contamination to the food supply (prior to this act the agency was mostly reactive and became involved only after contamination was found).

Here are a few important highlights about the FSMA:

  • The FDA now has the power to make recalls mandatory.
  • Increased resources for inspecting facilities.
  • Comprehensive guidelines for storage and transportation under the Sanitary Transport Rule.
  • The FDA can refuse to allow imported food if it is deemed unsafe.

The FSMA’s Sanitary Transport Rule applies to all modes of transportation and focuses on preventing contamination in the food supply during storage or transport. This may seem redundant because 3PLs and carriers already take precautions when handling and moving perishable freight; however, this rule goes beyond what is already established. It also encompasses employee training, documentation, and communication. The rule aims to correct what the FDA calls food safety problems during transport.

The following readiness checklist for being in compliance with the rule:

  • Equipment must be maintained so that there is no possibility of contamination.
    • This includes pest control measures (fumigation), pallet or container design, building maintenance, wastewater disposal, maintaining temperature, etc.
  • The loading and handling of food products must prevent contamination.
    • Warehouse equipment must be sanitized, product must be rotated, quarantined products cannot be shipped, unloaded product cannot be left on the dock overnight, seals must be in tact, must use correct packaging, must not mix loads where cross-contamination could occur, etc.
  • Employees must be trained on personal hygiene as well as sanitary cargo handling.
    • Employees are also required to monitor and secure freight at all times so that it cannot be intentionally contaminated. All employees must know and follow policies for food safety. Policies and procedures must be written and updated.
  • Documentation is required for all shipments and the warehouse, 3PL, and carrier all must have a written prevention plan as well as documented corrective actions.
    • The plan must include science based standards for monitoring preventative measures.
  • Communication must be captured and flow freely between parties.
    • This is best done electronically using supply chain systems that can exchange information quickly like a WMS, TMS, visibility system, yard management system, etc.
    • The information has to flow between involved parties-producer, distributor, transportation company, and consignee.

The FSMA and the Sanitary Transport rule apply to food consumed by humans or animals. Compliance deadlines are approaching! All companies must be in compliance within two years of the rule’s publication. Large businesses have one year to comply and small businesses have up to two years. Read the entire Sanitary Transport Rule on the FDA’s website here.

Breakdown: Hiring Reform Act

Motor Carrier Safety Fitness Determination – Bill 1454

In an effort to ensure safe motor carrier industry practices, the Transportation and Logistics Hiring Reform Act (S.1454) bill has been introduced to the US Senate.  The goal is to establish a hiring standard nationally for motor carriers that eclipses the current data provided by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).

Senators Deb Fischer and Roy Blount from Nebraska and Missouri respectively have introduced this bill that reflects a similar version of John Duncan’s February submission representing Tennessee. Both believe that the current data that is available to screen and hire carriers is inadequate and imprecise.

The CSA claims that their BASIC guidelines are clear enough for shippers to base their motor carrier hiring decisions. This criteria seems vague at best for third party logistics providers, shippers and freight brokers with which to screen and hire safe carriers. The passing of the bill would ensure that the carrier is properly licensed, maintains ‘at least’ the minimum liability insurance and does not have a rating of ‘unsatisfactory’.

In the CSA’s defense, resources are limited while they employ just over 300 inspectors to monitor over half a million drivers nationwide.  Compliance, Safety and Accountability are the 3 criteria currently used to meet CSA’s but truck brokers say that not only is it not enough, third party providers are being successfully sued if they have chosen a faulty carrier that is involved in an accident.  Acceptance of Bill 1454 would eliminate this legal avenue in the future.

Safety Fitness Report

The Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) is strongly supporting the bill claiming that new guidelines and compliance will allow freight brokers and shippers to comfortably choose carriers that achieve a Safety Fitness Determination.

The TIA believes that a national hiring standard would “clarify and standardize best practices for hiring safe motor carriers” says TIA President and CEO, Robert Voltmann.  He goes on to say that, “As Congress continues to work towards a multi-year transportation reauthorization bill, this bill is a key step towards helping American businesses who are being unfairly brought into lawsuits for no fault of their own,”

Presently, industry stakeholders are at risk of legal action by basing their hiring decisions on the current information available from the FMCSA.  The FMCSA contends that approximately 8000 carriers in the nation are responsible for 90% of accidents that can lead to lawsuits.

Voltmann summarizes the intent of the bill by saying “TIA members are tired of having their livelihood put at risk every time a motor carrier is hired, because the ‘Agency’ lacks the resolve to remove unsafe carriers from our nation’s highways”.  “Furthermore, this bill is vital to improve the overall safety of the transportation industry”.

Passage of the bill will certainly alleviate the pressure from shippers, truck brokers and 3PL providers.  But in the meantime, unsafe vehicles are on our roads every day.  One must remember that while these carriers continue to operate safely, the vulnerability of innocent victims involved in truck accidents continues each day.

Carriers Consider This When Working With Brokers

Truckers of America TY

According to the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), truck brokers in the US numbered over 20 thousand companies at the end of 2013.  In a single month, this number was reduced to under 13 thousand brokers.  The catalyst for this reduction was an increase of the minimum surety bond for truck brokers from $10,000.00 to $75,000.00.

Certainly this was a major blow to the truck broker industry and no one wants to see that many companies go out of business in one fell swoop.  On the other hand, it speaks to the volatility of many truck brokers who simply could not afford or obtain this security to maintain their business.  Here are 5 considerations for carriers when choosing which brokers to work with.

  • As stated above, the FMCSA only accredits brokers who post the minimum surety bond.  Most surety bond premiums are based on a percentage of the bond amount.  A truck broker with a good credit record and years of experience can obtain a bond premium for as low as 2% or $1500.00.  Those with questionable credit scores and reputations can still obtain the surety but a higher rate of up to 12% or $9000.00.  This explains the significant drop in truck brokers but also weeds out the truck brokers that carriers would not want to do business with.
  • Multiple brokering practices can produce a myriad of headaches for the carrier. Even a double-brokered load increases the parties involved to four (shipper/broker/broker/carrier).  In some cases, this can be higher.  Carriers should insist on a broker providing sufficient evidence of their direct shipper customer base.  Fewer parties reduces the risk of non-payment and potential damage to the carrier’s reputation through poor performance by the broker.
  • Proof of liability insurance in the broker’s name is critical even though the broker is hiring a carrier to execute a move with the carrier’s equipment. The contract of carriage after all, is between the shipper and the broker.  Many of the liability coverages are similar to a personal automobile insurance policy in that injury or loss due to an accident is actionable by the victim. Contingent cargo insurance coverage from the broker for loss or damage to the cargo is also required in the event of a claim by the shipper or receiver.
  • Most carriers have a fleet of asset-based equipment consisting of closed vans of various sizes. But many also have a diverse fleet that may include flatbed trailers for bulk or heavy shipments.  Refrigerated or reefer trailers are also a specialty for moving temperature controlled goods such as fresh produce or frozen products.  Carriers that maintain this equipment would do well to ask their broker partners if their client base contains these kinds of shippers.  Typically, freight rates are higher for specialty equipment due to supply and demand as they are not as abundant as regular dry van trailers.
  • The trucking industry is vast across the country but it is surprising how compact the trucking community can be. Local, state and national trucking associations hold events and conferences around the country.  This is the time for carriers to consult with colleagues as to which brokers have a sustainable existence and reputation.  These are the brokers that you want to do business with in order to maintain a steady and profitable growth in your business.  For centuries it is said; word of mouth has done more for increased sales than any other marketing program.

The above guidelines are simply a starting point when choosing which truck brokers to partner with.  A careful vetting process is essential to increasing the bottom line and protecting your well-earned reputation.

C.L. Services, located in Atlanta, Georgia has been serving shippers as a truck broker for nearly 20 years.  We offer FTL (van, reefer, flatbed, produce) and LTL cargo services throughout the United States and Canada with a Prosponsive® mindset towards customer focus and retention.  Contact us to learn more.

C. L. Services, Inc. — SmartWay Certified Continuously Since 2009! We Can Bring Sustainability to Your Supply Chain

By becoming a SmartWay partner in 2009, C. L. Services, Inc. expanded on our ability to bring efficiency to our customers through measurable sustainability indicators that help us reduce fuel consumption and improve air quality. We are able to look at the total cost of transportation including its environmental impact. In 2012, Jeff Lantz, our President reaffirmed our commitment to the SmartWay program by announcing preferred status for SmartWay certified carriers. As of 2014, we have increased our SmartWay certified carrier base from 500 to 1,250. Our SmartWay performance score as calculated by the EPA is 4.

Through SmartWay, C. L. Services, Inc. is able to:

  • Benchmark and reduce our freight supply chain carbon footprint
  • Use SmartWay tools and data to do credible carbon accounting and reporting
  • Access freight supply chain best practices which reduce costs and emissions
  • Improve energy and environmental efficiency of freight operations
  • Meet customer/ shareholder demands for leadership in corporate sustainability
  • Earn recognition for achievements through the awards programs
  • Use the SmartWay brand to promote our participation

We continue our partnership fully aligned to the EPA’s Vision 2020 strategy for gaining transportation efficiency and mitigating the effect of freight movements on public health and the climate. More about Vision 2020 can be found at (

As a long time SmartWay partner, we can offer our customers the ability to improve their SmartWay score by moving all of their freight on certified carriers. The carrier’s score also increases as they haul freight using more efficient routes using less of the fuel in the gas tank. The result of selecting a SmartWay carrier is lower cost and better air quality-a win/win for the transportation industry, our customers, and our planet.

For all loads, we give certified carriers the priority in selection and strongly urge any transportation provider to become a SmartWay partner. Why? A recent EPA survey showed the growth of the program and the tangible benefits of participation.

Fast Facts About SmartWay Transport Partnership (from

  • Over 3,000 partners
  • $20.6 billion dollars in fuel costs saved
  • Saved 144.3 million barrels of oil — the equivalent of taking over 13 million cars off the road for an entire year.
  • 7 million metric tons CO2 reductions
  • 1,070,000 tons NOx reductions
  • 43,000 tons PM reductions

The EPA provides tools as a part of the program. These tools allow any company (from vendor to shipper to carrier to warehouse provider etc.) to calculate their carbon emissions and fuel consumption including all shipments on private fleets, common carriers, or even with non-asset based third party logistics companies. With this key information captured, we can numerically quantify the improvement when certified carriers are chosen. The tools today capture emissions from truck, rail and barge movements; however, ocean and air freight are on the road map to be incorporated so that emissions for all modes are available within the data.

There is a cost to not participating. The financial cost is lost business as customers look to reduce their supply chain foot print and have made choosing certified partners a part of their foot print reduction strategy.  In many cases, large companies like Wal-Mart, Kraft, Kimberly-Clark,  exclude logistics providers who are not SmartWay certified from bids and RFPs.  Other companies use the SmartWay score when considering how they will award business. Certification is a method of gaining a competitive edge and often is the tipping point when all other factors are equal. Those providers who choose not to participate also incur the social cost of contributing to poor air quality and continuing to consume resources in a way that is not sustainable.

The certification process requires data and effort. Certification is a voluntary agreement between the partner and the EPA. To become certified or be eligible for renewal, we must:

  • Submit 12 months of operational data (or 3 months for newly formed companies)
  • Agree to an EPA audit of this data and provide any supporting documentation when requested
  • Allow performance results to be published publicly on the SmartWay website

We are thrilled to have our certification renewed for the sixth year! We look forward to the continued benefits that this program brings to our company for corporate sustainability, to our customers for environmental stewardship, and to our carriers for newly gained operational efficiency.


Let Us Help You Make a Decision…

With the global economy growing more and more each day, transportation and logistics are becoming increasingly important. It is the glue that holds the supply chain together and keeps operations flowing effectively and efficiently. Respectively, entrusting the logistics operations of your company to a third party is a decision that should be handled sternly and with great consideration. Choosing a 3PL solely based upon the lowest quote will save you money on the front end, but other factors should be considered to ensure that your 3PL of choice is not the bottleneck of your operation and costing you money and efficiency in the grand scheme of things. Some of those factors are as follows:


The list of 3PLs to choose from is fairly extensive, and while many may seem to meet a given set of criteria, the only way to confirm the quality of service is through reviews and testimonials from trusted sources. What other companies have partnered with this one? How was their experience? What challenges were they met with in their partnership? How quickly did they resolve these challenges?

These are the questions that will help to determine the credibility of the 3PL at question. If other notable companies won’t trust them with their logistic solutions, then why should you chance it?

Customer Service

In any aspect of business, good customer service can be overlooked until bad customer service becomes apparent. This can be attributed to the fact that many do not know to adequately measure good customer service. Your 3PL partner should strive to establish a relationship with you company. This allows them to know more about your company’s needs and how they can better satisfy them. They should reach out to inquire if they can service you further than your expressed needs and do so with a genuine, cheerful attitude.

Sense of Urgency

How quickly does your 3PL company respond to your needs? Logistics operation details are seldom constant and your 3PL needs to be able to adjust accordingly. Whether it is modifications in demand, scheduling, or transportation modes, your 3PL should be able to move expeditiously to accommodate all changes.

A reliable 3PL partner keeps all communication channels open which allows you to convey all of your needs. The time and money you will save with this open communication exemplifies why 3PL choice is extremely imperative.

Altogether, a good 3PL choice is determined my many qualities. All organizations are different, with unique needs and your 3PL should be able to cater to those accordingly, however, these factors should be nonnegotiable when selecting the perfect 3PL

Thank You Flatbed Team

Our Flatbed Team has just been knocking it out of the park lately! This is what they moved today.

Crane Move

The trailer is a 2 +1 and the tractor is 4 axles with a lift. The crane itself is 36 x 11 x 9.4 60,000 pounds.

Russ and Jeff Head to the Hill

Russ Caudell and Jeff Lantz, owners of C. L. Services, Inc. traveled to Capital Hill last week with the TIA, Transportation Intermediaries Association. The purpose of their trip was to advocate for the Motor Carrier National Hiring Standard Act (H.R. 1120) and The Transportation & Logistics Reform Act (S. 1454). These bills will enhance interstate commerce by creating a national motor carrier hiring standard; clarifying and standardizing industry best practices.

Russ and Jeff Capital Hill 2015










Russ and Jeff also oppose any attempt by motor carriers to create a loophole for them to continue to illegally broker freight. Allowing any sort of exemption to be enacted would ensure that motor carriers who are hired by unlicensed motor carriers for the arrangements of good will not be paid, which will ultimately jeopardize their business. This exemption would cripple small business and place financial burdens on consumers, who will have to front the bill, by allowing fraudulent entities to continue to operate. The language in MAP-21 was carefully crafted and should not be amended.