November 16, 2015 4:00 AM, EST

Trailer Tracking Helps Carriers Manage Regulatory Requirements

This story appears in the Nov. 16 print edition of iTECH, a special supplement to Transport Topics.

Whether carriers are preparing to meet the final requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act to comply with size regulations in states, technology providers said tracking technology can help operators comply with those regulatory requirements.

“With FSMA, you’re seeing the government is stepping in, wanting you to demonstrate compliance across the entire cold chain — from the trailer, across the supply chain, to the retail store,” said Christian Allred, senior vice president of enterprise solutions for Orbcomm. “FSMA is now making this space a government-compliance issue versus how the trucking companies are using the temperature-monitoring systems today for logistical issues.”

'WHERE'S MY FREIGHT?': Tracking loads increases customer service

R. Fenton May, co-founder of Atlanta-based CarrierWeb, said the company handles intermodal refrigerated container shipments and tracks the temperature every 15 minutes. “FSMA puts an added responsibility on the shipper,” he said.

Ben Wiesen, vice president of products and support for Carrier Logistics, based in Tarrytown, New York, said he is seeing companies modify their transportation monitoring system due to FSMA. “The chain of custody is important,” he said.

Carriers also have to manage the order in which they carry goods or the mix of goods they carry, said Ken Weinberg, executive vice president of Carrier Logistics. “There are rules that say you can’t move fish with a certain amount of chemicals. Keeping track of that is very difficult,” he said.

Wiesen said carriers also face restrictions on the order in which products can be loaded in a trailer.  “It is a real no-no to put food in a trailer that has carried tires,” he said. “Conversely, if they just moved a load of fish they have to be careful they don’t move general freight because of the smells.”

Tracking technology monitors the contents of loads and can flag carriers before they violate any regulations, May said.

SNL Distribution Services Corp., based in Birmingham, Alabama, uses tracking to ensure the company doesn’t send equipment into states where it is not allowed, said Shawn Zerges, director of information technology for the company. “Certain states don’t let you have certain lengths of trailers. You can set up a system where it will alarm you if you take a trailer into a state where they don’t allow it,” he said.