J.J. Keller & Associates Names New CEO – James J. Keller

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James KellerJ.J. Keller and Associates Inc. announced that James J. Keller, the company’s president and chief operating officer, is succeeding his brother, Robert L. Keller, as president and chief executive officer effective Jan. 1, 2012. Robert L. Keller has held the role of CEO since 1988 and will remain as chairman.

Jim brings a lifetime of experience to the role, having joined the firm full time in 1968. Over the years, he has worked in a variety of positions, becoming the company’s president in 2006. During his tenure as COO, Jim was instrumental in the manufacturing/operations of the business as well as growth in the services division. Jim has a background in graphic arts and printing. He graduated from Neenah High School and Madison Technical College and is a certified Master Printer. He is also vice president/treasurer of the J J. Keller Foundation Inc.

“Jim is a passionate and no-nonsense leader,” says Marne Keller-Krikava, vice president-strategy and business planning. “He is an absolute advocate for the customer and the J.J. Keller brand. He spends each and every day reinforcing these ideals as well as the organization’s ‘Associate Principle’ of shared responsibility, shared results. Having an experienced captain like Jim at the helm offers us the ideal opportunity for a seamless transition.”

The company says this announcement is a strategic step in a broader well-orchestrated multi-phase succession plan that positions and prepares the organization for the next generation of leadership and growth.

“Jim’s role as president/CEO in the near-term is a key part of our succession plan,” says Robert Keller. “We have taken a thoughtful and long-term approach to our planning with the intention of keeping the business private and in the family. We believe this allows us to remain true to our core principles of excellent customer care, the associate principle and to continue as a vibrant part of the local community.”

Robert L. Keller will continue as chairman, presiding over the board of directors. In addition to leading the board, he will be involved in preparing the next generation of leaders throughout the execution of the succession plan. He also will remain as president/chairman of the J.J. Keller Foundation. Bob started with the firm as a young boy of 12 and has served in nearly all roles throughout the firm including the top leadership role for over a quarter century. During his tenure he led the firm in growth from about $10 million to $200 million over those years. The company currently employs about 1,100 associates.

J.J. Keller is a third-generation family business, founded by John J. Keller in 1953. Robert and James are both second generation who have worked in nearly every aspect of the company during their long tenure.

Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico Rose 12 Percent

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Thursday, January 5, 2012
Contact: Dave Smallen
Tel: 202-366-5568

BTS Releases North American Surface Trade Numbers for October: October 2011 Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico Rose 12.0 Percent from October 2010

Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American neighbors, Canada and Mexico, was 12.0 percent higher in October 2011 than in October 2010, totaling $79.0 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico, the United States’ North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, in October 2011 rose 28.7 percent in two years from October 2009, and 8.7 percent from October 2008.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico in October increased by 18.2 percent when compared to October 2006, and also increased by 65.9 percent when compared to October 2001, a period of 10 years. Imports in October were up 57.8 percent since October 2001, while exports were up 76.4 percent. See Transborder Press Releases for historic data.

Surface transportation includes freight movements by truck, rail, pipeline, mail, Foreign Trade Zones, and other. In October, 86.1 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved via land, 9.6 percent moved by vessel, and 4.3 percent moved by air.

U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico surface transportation trade both increased compared to October 2010 with U.S.-Canada reaching $46.4 billion, a 14.1 percent increase, and U.S.-Mexico reaching $32.6 billion, a 9.1 percent increase.

See BTS Transborder Data Release for summary tables, state rankings and additional data. See North American Transborder Freight Data for historic data.

Trucking Companies on a Hiring Campaign for the New Year

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Written by Jessica Duff
Today's THV

Little Rock, Ark. (KTHV) -- Despite weak economic growth and high unemployment, some companies are still experiencing a shortage of employees. In fact, recent studies project the trucking industry will face a shortage of 135-thousand drivers by then end of the first quarter 2012.

Several trucking companies across the U.S. are experiencing a shortage and have been for the past year. And with thousands of our military coming back home, many will be looking for a job. Trucking companies are also targeting a younger generation, moving away from the average age of 45 - 55.

A combination of all these factors has trucking companies directing their campaign in a different direction to combat the shortage.

In the past year, the trucking industry has seen a drastic decline in employees.

"Just about every one of the primary motor carriers out there is looking for truck drivers to fill their truck shortages," says Dennis Hilton, Vice President of Safety for Cal Ark International.

Hilton says the shortage affects more than just the trucking companies...
Continue reading.


CSA 'Raising All Boats,' Says Schneider's Osterberg

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By Wendy Leavitt, director of editorial development, Fleet Owner

On the one-year anniversary of CSA, it would be tough to find anybody who thinks it has been an absolutely perfect fit. There is, however, a growing wave of optimism about its effects on the trucking industry as a whole.

Don Osterberg, senior vice president, safety, security and driver training for Schneider National, is among those who are encouraged by the initial results.

“As I think about this one-year anniversary, I really am encouraged,” he told Fleet Owner in a recent interview. “I was convinced it would be an effective program, a step up from SafeStat, and it has been. Our experience has confirmed what we expected. CSA has improved accountability [for the industry.]


“We have a third party that helps us report CSA violations,” he noted, “and we have seen a significant sloping of the trend line when it comes to inspections with violations, especially when it comes to fatigued driving. CSA is ‘raising all boats.’ Because you are compared to other fleets similar to yours, you have to improve faster than your competitors to actually reduce your own score.

“It remains to be seen if CSA will actually improve highway safety, but my instincts are that it will,” Osterberg added. “We had made the EOBR decision before CSA was rolled out and I am delighted that we did. Even with our very careful auditing of our paper logs, using EOBRs for hours of service is still so much better. In fact, my number one recommendation for fleets that want to improve their fatigued driving BASIC is to go to EOBRs and electronic logging.”

Osterberg is also convinced that CSA will help to develop a valuable new sense of professionalism among truck drivers...
Continue reading.

The Downside of the Upturn: a Truck Driver Shortage

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Idaho freight companies are finding it harder to keep drivers and hire new ones.

U.S. trucking companies may face a 30 percent surge in wage costs by 2014 as rising demand for freight shipments threatens to push the industry’s driver shortage to the longest on record.

Even with numerous truck driving schools to hire from, a shrinking pool of drivers is putting wage pressure on Idaho’s trucking companies.

“Throughout this past year, we were down quite a few drivers,” said Jason Andrus, chairman of the Idaho Trucking Association and chief financial officer of Doug Andrus Distributing in Idaho Falls. “We’ve filled those positions now, but it’s just taking a lot more effort to keep those trucks with drivers in them.

”The current national shortfall will double in a year to about 300,000 full-time positions, or 10 percent of the workforce, said Noel Perry, managing director at consultant FTR Associates in Nashville, Ind.

A gap between cargo demand and the driver supply adds to evidence that the freight industry is recovering. 2011’s gains in cargo tonnage fit “with an economy that is growing very slowly,” the American Trucking Association said.

“The truck-driver population is growing at less than 1 percent a year,” said Jeff Kauffman, a Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. analyst who follows truck and railroad stocks. “Freight’s growing at closer to 4 percent.

”Truckers’ shipping volume, a barometer of the broader economy, was up 11 percent in July from a year earlier, according to Cass Information Systems. Echo Global Logistics Inc. (ECHO), a Chicago-based provider of freight services.


As freight volume rises, local truckers see more opportunities around the state and country, which leads to job-hopping, Andrus said.

He said his company, which employs about 260 drivers, raised wages in some divisions and significantly increased marketing and advertising to hire new drivers.

The company recruits from Idaho trucking schools — the College of Western Idaho and Eastern Idaho Technical College both offer programs — and gives students loans that are repaid by working for the company after graduation.

Idaho drivers earn “fairly competitive” wages and benefits, compared with other states, Andrus said. But some competitors — namely, the North Dakota oil fields — are unbeatable.

“We can’t come close to the oil field wages,” he said.


The shortfalls seen in previous freight rebounds are getting a new twist, according to Andrus and Perry.

U.S. safety regulations curbing drivers’ work hours mean companies must have more employees, and new rules help companies assess applicants’ driving histories — weeding out the riskier ones...
Continue reading.

EPA Final Rule to Require 1 Billion Gallons of Biodiesel in 2012

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EPA's Final Renewable Fuel Standards Rule released December 27 requires that the total volume of fuel sold in the U.S. in 2012 must include 15.2 billion gallons of renewable fuels, including 1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel fuels. In total, renewable fuels would represent 9.23 percent of all fuel used in the U.S. in 2012. EPA required 13.95 billion gallons of biofuels in 2011. EPA postponed finalizing biomass-based diesel requirements for 2013, which had been included in the 2012 proposed rule. EPA had originally proposed requiring 1.28 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel for 2013.

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) requires EPA to issue volume standards for biomass-based diesel no less than 14 months before the start of the calendar year. EISA requires a minimum of 1 billion gallons of renewable diesel fuel in 2013. The proposed rule and a related fact sheet are available here. Contact: Glen Kedzie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Hours-of-Service Final Rule Revealed

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of December 26, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has, at last, revealed the Final Rule for the new
Hours-of-Service regulations.

Almost a year to the date that they first published the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) concerning the newest version of the Hours of Service regulations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has revealed the Final Rule.

The New Rules

Under the Final Rule, these will be the new regulations:

  • 11 Hours Of Driving Time
    In the NPRM, FMCSA had indicated that they wanted to restrict this to 10 hours but conceded to carrier demands that the 11 hours of Driving Time remain on the books.
  • 14 Hours Of On Duty Time
    FMCSA left in the Final Rule, the allowance for 14 hours of On Duty Time: all the time a driver begins to work or is required to be ready to work until the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. It includes driving time, inspection time, loading and unloading time, etc.
  • Drivers Must Take A 30-Minute Break Within An 8-Hour Driving Window.
    In a nod towards practicality, FMCSA has left in flexibility as to when drivers take the break, but they can’t drive for more than 8 hours without taking a 30-min break.
  • 34-Hour Restart Rule Limited To Once A Week
    The rules still allow you to ‘reset’ your hours of service by taking a 34 hour break, however, you can only do this once every 168 hours — 7 days.
  • 34-Hour Restart Period Must Include Two Periods Of Off Duty Time Between 1 AM And 5 AM.
    This was a concession to both carriers and safety advocates; the safety advocates want drivers to have two nights sleep but FMCSA has reduced the amount from the proposed Midnight to 6 AM.

Tumultuous Path

The Final Rule has come after a year of commenting, wrangling and lawsuits. All of this turmoil has contributed to a heavily altered version of the 2010 proposal appearing in the 2011 Final Rule. Given the back-and-forth that surrounded the proposal, this is not entirely surprising.

As we commented on the Transportation Ticker blog earlier in the week, the heavy editing is also not surprising given that FMCSA was being pulled by two separate groups (Carriers vs. Safety Advocates), the rules are unlikely to please everybody. On the other hand, the Final Rule does include concessions to everybody, which may or may not help with the chances of this Final Rule being implemented (compromise being the only guaranteed way to upset everyone).


The implemenation of this Final Rule is a little unusual. FMCSA have revealed the Final Rule and posted it on their website. However, as of publication they have not published it in the Federal

In the Final Rule, the implementation date is given as 60 Days after the publication in the Federal Register. Don’t worry just yet; the implementation gives 18 months for the rules to come online meaning that if the Final Rule is published soon, we should see the rules in place in mid-2013.


We may never see that implementation date. Already some of the big industry associations are gearing up to fight the Final Rule in court. The American Trucking Association is being particularly bellicose, releasing a special edition of Transport Topics which includes both the threat of lawsuits and a long history of successful court action against hours-of-service rules. In summation; ‘it ain’t over yet folks!’

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 718 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011