Considerations for Cross-Country Shipping

November 17th, 2014

As the economy has been slowly improving, we’ve been getting a few more requests to coordinate cross-country vehicle shipments. More people are taking jobs on the opposite coast and need to ship their personal vehicles. More fleet procurers are finding good deals at auctions outside their usual purchasing region.

When shipping cross-country, factors like distance and weather definitely impact delivery dates. Alisha Bray, MetroGistics’ West Coast/Midwest dispatch coordinator, offers the following considerations to keep in mind when shipping cross-country.

Distance

  • Normal transit times for cross-country moves (coast to coast) are usually 7-10 days from pickup during normal conditions.
  • The average transit for north-south shipments is usually 5-7 days once haulers are loaded.
  • Longer distances also increase the possibility of delays due to mechanical failure or more pickups and drop offs along the route.
  • Any delay or cancellation can affect turnaround time of the load as drivers take time to deal with customers and help resolve issues.
  • Other than that, just following normal Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations for driving hours and conducting mandatory restarts will affect transit times.

Weather

  • Travel times can be affected greatly by inclement weather that occurs throughout the year. Winter is definitely the hardest time for haulers since they have to account for highway closures and dangerous driving conditions.
  • Transport through mountainous regions can cause significant delays, especially when the DOT mandates tire-chain requirements during snowy conditions.
  • Drivers can usually only run about 20-30 miles per hour when the chain rule is in effect. Drivers caught operating without chains when the rule is in place can be hit with steep fines.
  • Depending on how bad conditions are, an additional 2-3 days may be required for transport.

MetroGistics dispatchers work closely with customers to apprise them of all options and do their best to provide accurate ETAs and help ensure safe delivery. We do this by:

  • Promoting safe driving practices and strict adherence to all DOT regulations. We will not tolerate cutting corners or utilize drivers who break the rules.
  • Staying up to date on weather conditions across the country and advising our customers of possible transit delays.
  • Staying in constant contact with our carriers and providing nightly shipment status updates to our customers.

For more information on MetroGistics, call 877-571-6235, live chat via our home page, or email info@metrogistics.com.

Come See Us at NRC

October 15th, 2014

We listen.

Many people think we attend conferences and tradeshows just to talk. Talk about our latest partnerships, our technology, our service, our great staff…

We don’t come to events like the upcoming National Remarketing Conference just to talk (although we do have exciting new technology to announce very soon). We come to meet with our customers and introduce ourselves to new prospects.

We’ve got a lot to talk about, but we also like to listen.

We listen to our customers’ challenges, pain points and suggestions. We listen to industry leaders and experts who predict what’s next for the automotive industry. We listen to partners who have services and products that complement our own. Out of those conversations can come new ideas, new insights and new solutions.

We invite you to visit us in booth 207 at NRC, Nov. 12-14 at the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas. Come chat with our co-founders and Managing Partners Bill Billiter and Scott Naz, our Director of Business Development Dustin Ruch, and Director of Strategic Accounts Adam Laura.

As extra incentive, we’re giving away Surface tablets to two lucky winners. Look for the scratch-off card in your attendee bag and bring it by the booth to see if you’re a winner.

We look forward to seeing you at the National Remarketing Conference.

For more information on MetroGistics, call 877-571-6235, live chat via our home page, or email info@metrogistics.com.

Committed to Our Community

September 17th, 2014

Not only is MetroGistics committed to providing excellent transport service to our customers, we are also committed to helping charitable organizations in our community. As part of our Metro Giving Back Program, we let one of our employees pick the charity of his or her choice for us to donate to every month.

Here’s a recap of our recent donations.

St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Julia Engert chose the Children’s Hospital NICU/CICU program as her giving back charity. Julia told us, “My nephew Jack was there quite a bit. I can’t thank them enough for all that they have done for him and the family.”

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Craig Clayton chose the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. “In March of this year, my family was rocked when our youngest son, Camden, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes,” said Craig. “There is no prevention or cure for Type 1 diabetes. JDRF has been a very supportive organization.”

Camp Casey

Elliot Myers chose Camp Casey, a nonprofit horseback riding program for children with cancer, as his Giving Back charity. Elliot told us, “I chose Camp Casey because I have known the founder for years and she is very dedicated to making kids happy even though they are going through difficult times.”

St. Clare of Assisi/St. Vincent de Paul

“SVDP helps families pay their rent, utilities, car payments, medical bills and more,” said Jesse Chilton. “The St. Clare parish, with the help of SVDP volunteers, also runs a food pantry for any and all in need. They are given vouchers to SVDP thrift stores where they can buy furniture, clothing, shoes, linens, and all types of housewares – things they would never be able to afford on their own.”

Miss Amazing

Bobby Johnson chose Miss Amazing to honor his sister, who recently won a senior Miss Amazing pageant. This nonprofit celebrates the abilities of girls and women with disabilities. “I chose this organization for my sister, Katie, who is one of the sweetest and most loving individuals on the planet,” said Bobby. “I can only hope that this donation helps Miss Amazing touch the lives of more women with cerebral palsy like my sister, because every woman deserves to feel beautiful.”

Give Kids a Smile

“I chose Give Kids a Smile because it is a national program endorsed by the American Dental Association that started right here in St. Louis,” said Michelle Burton. “I have volunteered with the bi-annual clinic and other events put on by this organization. They do a wonderful job of making dental care accessible to all children.”

Grace Hill Settlement House

Mike Dzurian chose the Grace Hill Settlement House, Patch Neighborhood Center Food Pantry. “I picked the Patch, as they are a good neighborhood charity and can use all the help they can get,” said Mike. “They are the only relief for people in this area.”

Responder Rescue

Brittany Twist told us, “Responder Rescue is a local charity out of Saint Charles, Missouri, that helps police officers, firefighters, and EMTs in need. Responder Rescue compensates for funds that the departments and insurance companies do not pay out when these individuals are injured and/or unable to work.”

West County YMCA

Dustin Ruch chose this organization because YMCA programs build self-confidence, teach leadership skills and reinforce positive values. He said, “The YMCA Strong Community Program helps children who could otherwise not afford to play team sports. Participating in team sports builds a sense of community and promotes a healthy lifestyle that will hopefully follow them throughout their lives.”

While we’re on the topic of charity, we’d like to mention that MetroGistics will be hosting the 3rd Annual Monster Mash on Saturday, October 25. This popular event benefits the Humane Society of Monroe County, Illinois, and Humane Society of St. Clair County, Michigan, both nonprofit organizations that take in rescues and owner surrenders. The animals are updated on all vaccinations, tested for heartworms, and spayed/neutered, making them available and ready for their forever homes. Watch for more details coming soon!

For more information on MetroGistics, call 877-571-6235, live chat via our home page, or email info@metrogistics.com.

Dedicated and Diverse Staff Energize Our Company

September 12th, 2014

Our MetroGistics team is made up of a diverse group of talented professionals, each of whom is excited to use his or her skills to serve our organization and its clients.

Bobby Johnson, our web developer and designer, is passionate about problem solving. “I love the thrill of getting thrown into something new and coding my way out,” he said.

Johnson has enjoyed working with computers since high school. He soon realized that what was a hobby could turn into a rewarding career. In his spare time, Johnson loves to play games and garden. He says that he would like the opportunity to meet Bill Gates to gain insights about business and humanitarianism.

Alycia LaMartina, strategic accounts dispatch, is passionate about customer service.

“I am a true believer in customer service, and with being a dispatcher, I must fulfill these needs on both our customer and carrier end,” said LaMartina. “I work on developing and maintaining strong relationships with both parties.”

LaMartina says that her strong work ethic and energetic team motivate her to do great work for MetroGistics. When she’s not working, she spends time being out on the water with family and friends.

As a dispatch coordinator, Elliot Myers makes sure vehicles are picked up and delivered on time. He works closely with the sales team to make sure customer expectations are met.

An almost two-year veteran of MetroGistics, Myers enjoys all things sports and was even a top-ranked diver in high school.

These three are just a handful of the talented professionals working at MetroGistics. Our company would not be where it is today without our staff’s hard work and support.



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Training Elevates Knowledge and Service

August 15th, 2014

In our marketing materials, we often describe MetroGistics as a “full-service vehicle transportation company.” While much of the external emphasis is on the transportation aspect of that description, our internal emphasis is on service.

In order to provide excellent service to our customers, MetroGistics is committed to the continuous development of our greatest asset: our people. It starts with hiring the right individuals. All of our teams are comprised of talented professionals, each of whom brings unique skills, perspectives, and work and life experiences.

Our training begins from day one with a custom five-day program developed to familiarize the new employee with company policies, procedures and departmental processes. And that’s just the beginning.

Each employee has the opportunity to participate in on-demand online courses that focus on customer service skills, technical skills, and management/leadership skills. Employees can also participate in offsite seminars in addition to online classes.

MetroGistics’ training goes beyond the classroom. Employees participate in cross-functional training that facilitates immediate coverage when the need arises. No task is too small or too big for a colleague to step in and assist with.

We encourage the sharing of industry articles focused on customer service, industry trends, government regulations and work-life balance. The combination of work experience and new knowledge allows our employees to better advise and serve our customers as well as assisting and communicating with our network of drivers and suppliers.

Our staff members attend, and occasionally present at, automotive and logistics conferences across the country.

Good ideas can come from anywhere. We encourage the development of new ideas and process improvements to help us continue to refine our service offerings and customers’ vehicle shipping experiences. We pride ourselves on developing cutting-edge technology, and are always looking for ways to leverage tech to improve service.

Likewise, if you have a suggestion or idea on how we can better serve you, please let us know.

Contact MetroGistics by calling 877-571-6235, live chatting via our home page, or emailing info@metrogistics.com.

Mid-Year Observations on the Auto Transport Industry

July 15th, 2014

At the halfway mark for 2014, we’ve seen some interesting developments in the vehicle transport industry so far. Here’s a quick breakdown from both the haulaway (truck) and rail perspectives.

Truck Driver Safety

In industry language, a “haulaway” is a truck designed for the transportation of automobiles. As safety is of primary importance at MetroGistics, we regularly monitor trends and legislation affecting trucking and driver hours.

The Senate Appropriations Committee recently voted in favor of an amendment proposed by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to suspend the hours of service ruling for one year while the Department of Transportation conducts a deeper study of the rule’s impact on safety.

The rule was introduced by the Federal Motor Safety Administration (part of the DOT) and was designed to improve safety on the roads by reducing truck driver fatigue. The rule would have limited the average work week for truckers to 70 hours. Suspension of the rule reinstates the maximum driver work week to 82 hours. Additional rules govern consecutive driving days and appropriate rest periods.

The vote to suspend the rule needs to be passed by the full Senate and then reconciled with the bill in the House of Representatives.

MetroGistics requires all of its contractors to comply with state and federal regulations, including whatever hours of service limits are currently in force. Our proprietary Safer Ship product monitors our carrier base 24/7 via a connection to the DOT/FMCSA to ensure that all our carriers have current and proper levels of insurance and are authorized by the DOT to haul vehicles. Our software checks and monitors compliance nightly.

Rail Transport

A very harsh winter disrupted the rail network in both the United States and Canada. As such, a short railcar supply caused a nationwide backlog across the industry of more than double the average number of vehicles awaiting transport.  The delays caused many vehicles to be stored at various offsite facilities, thus adding to the total transport cost.

While OEM’s traditionally use rail for distances of 200-300 miles or more, the short railcar supply has caused them to look at other vehicle distribution options (such as short-sea shipping from Mexico to the United States)  and found that trucking can even be cost competitive for a radius of 700 miles.

The railroads are projecting a relief in the backlog during the traditional summer auto plant shutdowns.

MetroGistics understands that rail will remain a critical component of the finished vehicle distribution network, and advises our customers accordingly depending on their needs and time frames.

To learn more about these and other vehicle transport trends, or to contact a MetroGistics dispatcher about your specific transport needs, call 877-571-6235, live chat via our home page, or email info@metrogistics.com.

Considerations for Personal Vehicle Transport

June 13th, 2014

There are many reasons why an individual or family might need to have a car transported across the country. New college graduates may need to move their car after landing a job far away. Military personnel get reassigned to different bases constantly. (By the way, MetroGistics offers a 10 percent discount to active and retired military personnel.) Families relocate for career or lifestyle changes, or to be closer to other family members. The list goes on and on.

Likewise, there are many options for auto transport, and each has its advantages and limitations. Following are some considerations for different modes of personal vehicle transport.

Having a friend or family member drive the car

  • This option is free or relatively cheap if you offer some form of reimbursement.
  • Adds miles and road wear to your vehicle.
  • Potentially subject to accidents or theft.
  • Is he or she a good driver? Have they been involved in accidents in the past?
  • Are they insured for liability?

Hiring a professional driver

  • Adds miles and road wear.
  • Still a slight possibility of accident or theft.
  • This option may be best for short distances.
  • The driver should have sufficient liability insurance.
  • Should provide a detailed contract of services rendered.

Transporting by rail

  • Railcar transport is covered and will be less expensive than an enclosed car hauler going distances farther than 750 miles.
  • Most environmentally friendly. Rail transport reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 75%.
  • Transit times will be longer.
  • Railcars take eight to twelve vehicles. Since it’s up to the shipper to fill up the railcar before it ships, it can take longer to fill, thus increasing overall transit time.
  • You may need to arrange for truck-to-terminal and terminal-to-door delivery of your vehicle.
  • Some terminals do not allow for personal pickup of vehicles.

Using a car hauler (truck)

  • Can ship a single vehicle or multiple family vehicles. Drivers in our network can either haul a single vehicle, or build a full load with multiple cars heading to the same general destination.
  • Can ship door to door nationwide.
  • Will have shorter transit times vs. railcar.
  • Provides the option of open or enclosed transportation. Enclosed car haulers are the most expensive form of auto transport and are used most often for shipping luxury or classic cars.
  • Through a reliable transport provider like MetroGistics, you can easily get quotes, track and trace your shipment, and get automatic verification of a hauler’s insurance.

Which option works best for you? It depends on your priorities, concerns and time constraints. The good news is that MetroGistics’ professional dispatchers can provide no-obligation consultation to you seven days a week. Our dispatchers will gladly explain the vehicle shipment process and help you decide what makes the most sense for your personal auto transport needs.

We have a nationwide network that can provide safe and reliable shipment of your vehicle.

To contact a MetroGistics dispatcher, call 877-571-6235, live chat via our home page, or email info@metrogistics.com.

Catching up with the Metro Team

May 19th, 2014

The MetroGistics team is made up of very unique personalities. Some are very enthusiastic and outgoing, while others are behind-the-scenes powerhouses. Both types of personalities help make MetroGistics a well-oiled machine that works hard to provide excellent service and customer satisfaction.

Kelly Brda, controller, has been with the Metro team for just about a year. In charge of overseeing the accounting operations, she is known by her co-workers as hardworking and always willing to lend a hand. Kelly isn’t the type to dwell on the negative, and lives by the quote, “Be happy or don’t talk, just act; don’t say, just do; don’t promise, just prove.”

When the morning comes, all it takes to please Kelly is a hot cup of cinnamon hazelnut coffee. Not only does Kelly work hard, but she also plays hard. From golfing and cooking with her husband to running around with her “spoiled” cockapoo, Kelly makes sure her free time is filled with joy.

Bryan Dierkes, dispatch coordinator, leads the Metro team in the movement of vehicles contracted to MetroGistics. This month will mark Bryan’s first year at MetroGistics, and he loves nothing more than coming in every morning and working with a great team. His coworkers enjoy his presence as well, and consider him dedicated, funny and outgoing.

Bryan lives by the lyrics written by This or The Apocalypse that say, “Show them more heart than scars,” and would like nothing more than to show heart as a gladiator if he had the option to time travel. Since time traveling isn’t an option yet, Bryan finds pleasure in the present times by going to concerts, bowling and playing bass guitar.

Jeff Naz, Sonic account manager, spends his days at MetroGistics keeping our customers happy and traveling around the country to make sure things are running smoothly at each Sonic location. If any problems arise, Jeff is the problem solver who will identify the cause and create a solution — skills that are greatly appreciated in this industry.

Jeff, commonly described as outgoing and energetic, has been with our team since 2010 and likes to live every day like it’s his last. His favorite motto is “It’s another day alive and another day to conquer,” and he spends his free time conquering sports — he calls himself an addict —and spending time with his friends and family.

We are very lucky to have such a great crew. We appreciate each team member’s unique traits, and would not be the company we are without these hardworking individuals.

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Optimize Loads to Contain Transportation Costs and Improve Speed to Market

May 15th, 2014

MetroGistics deals with numerous clients that purchase or sell vehicles at auctions and request our help with shipping. Among these are many dealerships adding to their inventory and car rental companies looking to sell vehicles at auctions.

One factor that can impact the viability of auction purchases and/or sales is transportation costs. Maximizing loads and determining the best routes can help reduce your costs and improve your bottom line. When determining what types and how many vehicles to take to or purchase from auctions, consider load factors, weight and distance.

Load Factors

In general, most car haulers will average eight cars per load.

  • Passenger cars average eight to nine per load, depending on the size of the sedan
  • For midsize vehicles such as minivans, the average load factor is seven
  • For mixed loads of eight, the makeup can consist of:
    • four midsize vehicles and four cars, or
    • five SUVs and three cars

Most importantly, if you call for a quote on a full truckload and then exceed the number of vehicles that can fit on that truck, the single car or cars left over will have a much higher cost of transportation on a per-unit basis.

Weight Factor

Per Department of Transportation regulations, the total weight cannot exceed a combined total of 80,000 lbs., which equates to 32,000 to 34,000 lbs. of cargo weight.

Haulers may be able to accommodate more than one big truck (e.g., dually’s, stake trucks), but because of the total weight, the carrier will only be able to take one.

The best advice we can offer is to call, e-mail or live chat with one of our experienced dispatch team members available seven days week and let them know about the specific types of vehicles involved. The dispatcher will advise you if the load will or will not likely go over the weight limit.

Distance

As you might expect, the cost for a truckload moving freight to a major city or common truck lane will cost less than a shipment to a rural destination with smaller roads and more restrictions. A car hauler can legally operate around 500 to 600 miles a day per the DOT.

The considerations mentioned above are general industry guidelines, but our expert dispatch staff can provide additional help with model-specific questions.

Our knowledgeable dispatchers can provide one-on-one, no-obligation feedback or suggestions on what types of vehicles and how many will make a full load, and provide an ETA for you. Our dispatch team is ready to assist as trusted business advisors to help maximize load factors and minimize your transportation costs.

To contact a MetroGistics dispatcher about building your load for or from an auto auction, call 877-571-6235 or email info@metrogistics.com.

MetroGistics Adds Adam Laura as Director of Strategic Accounts

April 24th, 2014

We are excited to announce the hiring of Adam Laura as director of strategic accounts. In this role, Adam will be responsible for maintaining relationships with key customer accounts as well as developing and growing MetroGistics’ customer portfolio.

Adam most recently worked at ShipCarsNow, a subsidiary of Union Pacific, where he served as manager, business development. His professional experience also includes positions with Insight Network Logistics (another subsidiary of Union Pacific) as well as TNT Logistics. He has held leadership positions in network analysis, operations, procurement, account management and business development.

Originally from Detroit, Adam majored in both logistics management and marketing at Central Michigan University.

“Having Adam on board to help develop and grow our strategic account portfolio will be a great addition to our sales team,” said Scott Naz, managing partner, business development. “His expertise and experience within the marketplace, combined with our industry-leading logistics and technology platforms, will be a perfect fit in helping MetroGistics reach new heights.”

Outside of work, Adam enjoys golf, basketball, running and most importantly, spending time with his wife Nicole, son Joshua, daughter Olivia and dog Murphy. He is also an avid sports fan with a strong rooting interest in the Michigan Wolverines and all Detroit pro sports teams.